Friday, 27 January 2023

Overrated Soviet Medium Tank

Soviet tank building began to fall behind worldwide trends in the early 1930s. In part, this was because even prospective tanks were designed based on mid-1920s ideas while the rest of the world moved on. The UMM (Directorate of Mechanization and Motorization) created in November of 1929 found a solution to this problem. Fitting vehicles were purchased abroad in 1930-31. Initially the plan was to buy samples for familiarization, but all this changed after Khalepskiy's commission went abroad. It was obvious that Soviet tanks in development were incapable of reaching required characteristics and mass production would be accompanied with a mass of troubles.

The T-28 was the best known original Soviet tank of the 1930s.

Thursday, 26 January 2023

King Tiger Penetration

 "Approved by the Commander of Artillery of the 5th Guards Army
Guards Major General of Artillery Polyektov
September 11th, 1944

Results of penetration tests of the German Tiger B heavy tank (composed from data gathered by the 5th Guards Army, 13th Army, 3rd Guards Tank Army, 31st Tank Corps, 10th Independent Tank Destroyer Artillery Brigade

Notes:

  1. When firing at the turret with subcaliber shot and AP shells of all the aforementioned calibers, the turret is not torn off.
  2. The aforementioned calibers do not penetrate the front armour of the hull or turret due to the sharp angle of impact (no more than 46-48 degrees). The 152 mm shell penetrated the tank's front armour at 250 meters at an angle of impact of 86 degrees near the machine gun ball. The diameter of the breach was 350 mm.
  3. The running gear (tracks, wheels) is vulnerable to all the calibers shown in the table."

Monday, 23 January 2023

Video: Was the M4A2 Sherman an elite tank for Guards units?

I often hear that the Sherman was considered an elite tank in the Red Army and only given to the best Guards units. In my latest video, I take a look at how many units that received the Sherman were actually elites. 



Friday, 20 January 2023

IS-2 AMA

As usual, I did an AMA on the Ask Historians subreddit to promote my newest book. This was the most popular one yet with over 1000 upvotes and over 20 top level questions answered. Check it out!



Monday, 16 January 2023

Stream with The Chieftain

Yesterday I participated in my first Q&A stream! The Chieftain asked me about how Tank Archives got started, whether or not the Sherman was better than the T-34, and of course about my new IS-2 book. We also took questions from the audience, so there's all sorts of interesting tank trivia to be learned. Check it out!

Note that due to technical difficulties the stream starts at about 4 minutes into the clip.




Friday, 13 January 2023

Book Review: Surviving World War Two Tanks in the Ardennes

A trip to a Second World War battlefield can be a very time consuming thing to plan. A tourist arriving in a foreign country armed only with a camera and the vague notion that a battle took place somewhere nearby is doomed to a rushed and ultimately unsatisfying experience. Thankfully, it has never been easier to arm oneself with the required knowledge to explore famous war sites. As the name implies, Surviving World War Two Tanks in the Ardennes by Craig Moore is a complete travel guide for armour enthusiasts who wish to see the site of the Battle of the Bulge with their own eyes.


Wednesday, 11 January 2023

Building KVs

 "Addendum to agreement #B1-081 signed between the GABTU and Kirov factory for the year 1941

This addendum is signed on [rubbed out] June July 1941 between the GABTU (Customer) represented by Deputy Chief of the GABTU Major General of the Technical Forces I.A. Lebedev and Chelyabinsk factory (Vendor) represented by Deputy Director comrade Obrant and is based on State decree #525-224 issued on March 13th, 1941.

The Vendor accepts the responsibility of producing and delivery of 500 33 KV-3 tanks and increase of monthly delivery of KV-1 tanks by 10 units and the Customer accepts these vehicles and pays the previously agreed price of 740 thousand rubles for each one.

Delivery of KV-3 tanks is conducted in accordance with blueprints and technical requirements developed by the Kirov factory and the tactical-technical requirements approved by the State.
Blueprints and technical requirements are subject to final approval by the GABTU after the prototype is tested.

The agreed upon price of one KV-3 tank with parts and instruments is established at 740,000 rubles and is subject to adjustment according to calculations in reports delivered in October of this year. All calculations to establish the price of the KV-3 are subject to revision based on these reports.

In accordance to State decree #548-232s issued on March 15th, 1941, the amount of KV-1 tanks build according to agreement B1-081 is reduced by 100 units, as a result of which the cost of the contract is reduced by fifty two million three hundred thousand (52,300,000) rubles.

The overall cost of the KV-3 tanks is established by this addendum to equal three hundred and seventy million rubles (370,000,000).

The final cost of contract B1-081 including the addendum is therefore six hundred and thirty five million rubles (635,000,000).

The Vendor accepts the responsibility of producing a manual for the KV-3 vehicle by November 1st, 1941 and a catalog of spare parts by November 1st, 1941.

All other sections of the contract B1-081 remain in force.

[Signatures]
June 5th, 1941"

Item

Amount

Unit cost (thousand)

Total (thousand)

KV-1 tank

400

523

209,200

KV-2 tank

100

558

55,800

KV-3 tank

500

740

370,000

Total

1000

-

635,000


 

KV-1

KV-2

KV-3

 

Amount

Cost
(thousands)

Amount

Cost
(thousands)

Amount

Cost
(thousands)

January

40

20,920

-

-

-

-

February

45

23,535

-

-

-

-

March

50

26,150

-

-

-

-

Q1 Total

135

70,605

-

-

-

-

April

65

33,995

-

-

-

-

May

-

-

70

39,060

-

-

June

50

26,150

30

16,740

-

-

Q2 Total

115

60,145

100

55,800

-

-

July

100

52,300

-

-

-

-

August

50

26,150

-

-

55

40,700

September

-

-

-

-

105

77,700

Q3 Total

150

78,450

-

-

160

118,400

October

-

-

-

-

110

81,400

November

-

-

-

-

110

81,400

December

-

-

-

-

120

88,800

Q4 Total

-

-

-

-

340

251,600


CAMD RF F.38 Op.11355 D.98 pp 65, 67

Monday, 9 January 2023

Kirov Factory's Light Alternative

The appearance of Zhosef Yakovlevich Kotin as the chief of the Kirov factory's SKB-2 design bureau in 1937 launched a number of interesting processes. Under O.I. Ivanov before him, the bureau sat quietly and worked on ideas that came from the top. There were few original projects, and the ones that were weren't seriously considered. The situation radically changed when Kotin arrived on the scene. A fierce competition broke out with experimental factory #185 that previously held a monopoly. The monopoly on breakthrough tanks was the first to crumble. This was Kotin's achievement, as he created first the SMK-1 then the KV. Factory #185 wanted to build their alternative to the KV with the index 050, but while the KV was accepted into service the 050 was not even built. At this point the experimental factory was reaching the end of its life.

An experimental hull of the T-221, Kirov factory's first support tank.

Factory #185 was also losing territory to factory #174. In 1939-1940, the latter did more than the former achieved in a very long time. This only happened due to the arrival of S.A. Ginzburg at factory #174. Ginzburg had an excellent understanding of a vehicle's lifecycle.

Friday, 6 January 2023

Book Announcement: Designing the IS-2

I'm delighted to announce that my third book is now available! This is the first title released by the Military History Group, a new publisher created by notable historians Bernhard Kast (Military History Visualized) and Chris Bergs (Military Aviation History). 

This book briefly covers the birth of the Soviet heavy tank from captured British Mark V tanks to the KV-1S before describing how the IS-1 came to be, why the IS-2 replaced it in production so quickly, and why the IS-2 itself managed to hold on to its spot on the assembly line for much longer than its predecessor. Like my previous books, this one is extensively based on primary documents that have never before been available in the English language. 

The book can be purchased at http://is-2-tank.com/ or from Amazon.





Tuesday, 3 January 2023

Goliath Demolition Vehicle

 "Artillery HQ, 49th Army
August 12th, 1943
#128/op

To Chiefs of Staff and Commanders of Artillery Regiments

In order to combat our tanks, dugouts, and pillboxes on the Central and Volkhov Fronts, the enemy is using torpedo tankettes and suffocating yellow-green smoke that is created by means of burning a special powder.

I attach characteristics of these types of German weapons.

Brief characteristics of the torpedo tankette and means of combat against it: