Monday, 18 January 2021

Dead End Reinforcement

The design of the T-34 tank left a lot of reserves for modernization. The chassis dealt with a 5 ton increase in weight during its production run. A result of a thorough modernization, the T-34-85, entered production in early 1944. This tank received a new turret and an 85 mm gun. The crew increased to 5 people. The T'34's armament was radically improved, but the armour of the Soviet tank remained the same. The T-34-85M tank with improved armour was an attempt to resolve this situation.

Friday, 15 January 2021

T-43 Reliability Trials

 "To the People's Commissar of Tank Production, comrade Malyshev
To the Commander of the Armoured and Mechanized Forces of the Red Army, Colonel-General of the Tank Forces, comrade Fedorenko

According to your orders, I report on the work of the main components of experimental T-43 tanks.

Tank #1 travelled 2669 km.

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

First Emchas

"Brief report on the technical condition of M4-A2 tanks arriving at the Gorkiy foreign vehicles QA department of the GABTU
  1. 26 M4-A2 tanks arrived in Gorkiy from November 20th to December 28th, 1942.
    Delivery of the tanks and external inspection was performed in the presence of the delivering party.
    Transport #
    Arrival date
    # of M4-A2 tanks
    Train chief
    November 20th, 1942
    Jr. Lt. Barsukov
    November 23rd, 1942
    Sr. Tech. Lt. Balyayev
    November 26th, 1942
    Tech. Lt. Volosko
    December 1st, 1942
    Lt. Nesayev
    December 24th, 1942
    Sgt. Kinozarov
  2. External inspection of M4-A2 tanks showed that:
    1. Transport #17413 had no seals or tarps on 9 vehicles. Tank #3020993 had an open toolbox. Tank #3021054 did not have its travel lock engaged.
    2. Transport #17414 was missing tarps on 11 vehicles. Tank #3021079 was not sealed.

Monday, 11 January 2021

Red Army's First HEAT Grenades

Tanks became a true terror for infantry in WWI, although an "antidote" for these steel monsters was quickly found. The first stage was introduction of new ammunition for existing weapons: armour piercing bullets, rifle grenades, bombs, mines. Special anti-tank rifles and cannons were built later, but grenades and bottles with incendiary fluid became some of the most common weapons used against tanks.

Friday, 8 January 2021

Tank Comfort

Vadim Elistratov is a renowned restorer of armoured vehicles, with experience of bringing WWII era tanks back to life with their original components. Since he doesn't just rebuild the tanks but also drives them, he gave his impressions on how various nations' armoured vehicles compare to one another in a recent interview with Tactic Media.

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

Book Review: Panzer IV


As a military history writer, it is hard to strike a balance between the two sides of a tank's history. Many opt to focus exclusively on the technical specifications of a tank, judging its effectiveness and evaluating its legacy via a measure of kilograms or centimeters divorced entirely from any kind of context. Others lean towards the description of military operations only and gloss over any technical aspects of the tanks involved or how well they were suited for the tasks they carried out. Publications that attempt to cover both aspects often result in abrupt switches from one to the other without any meaningful link between the two. The simply named Panzer IV by Thomas Anderson stands in contrast to these works, masterfully weaving together the combat experience of the Pz.Kpfw.IV tanks and the technical changes introduced into the design in response to lessons learned in battle.

Monday, 4 January 2021

Intermediate Tank

GKO decree #6209s "On organizing T-44 tank production at factories #75 and #264" was signed on July 18th, 1944. With this order, Stalin gave permission to produce a replacement for the T-34. However, the T-44 never truly replaced the T-34-85. It was only produced at a backup factory and production volumes were small compared to the T-34-85. 1823 tanks is a very small number, and even in 1946 only 2701 T-44 tanks were built. The T-44 shouldered the problems of a revolutionary tank, although its service was long and it even saw battle.

Saturday, 2 January 2021

IS-3 Production

 "To the Deputy Commander of Armoured and Mechanized Forces of the Red Army, Colonel General of the Tank Forces, comrade Korobkov

I report that:

In accordance with order of Deputy Commander of the Armoured and Mechanized Forces and the NKTP #113/023 issued on March 12th, 1945, trials of the experimental IS-3 tank produced by the Kirov factory are completed.

I present the commission's report.

Due to the fact that the IS-3 was accepted into service before the trials ended, the main design and production drawbacks discovered during the trials were reflected in minutes #1 dated March 27th and minutes #2 dated March 30th.

Drawbacks discovered during further trials and those contained in the commission's report are largely operational drawbacks.

Presently the issue that stands before the NKTP is accepting list #3 of proposals in correcting the aforementioned drawbacks.

Deputy Chief of the GBTU, Lieutenant General of the Tank Engineering Service, Lebedev

Chief of the GBTU TU, Engineer-Colonel Blagonrarov

April 27th, 1945"

CAMD RF F.38. Op.11355 D.2986 L.176

Wednesday, 30 December 2020

Weakest Link

 "April 5th, 1941

RE: supplies of V-2-34 diesel engines with a main clutch

To the Deputy People's Commissar of Medium Machinebuilding, comrade Goreglyad
8a Ryazanskaya St.

In response to your letter #16/2291 on March 18th, 1941

The GABTU considers it necessary to deliver the V-2-34 engine together with the main clutch for the following reasons:

The warranty period of the main clutch is seldom higher than the lifespan of the engine: the engine's guaranteed lifespan is 150 hours, the tank travels 2000-2250 km in this time. The existing main clutch needs replacing after this time.

Monday, 28 December 2020

Herald of a Revolution

The decision to mass produce the T-44 medium tank was made in the summer of 1944. This happened not only before the final prototype indexed T-44A was built, but before the GBTU even composed tactical-technical requirements for a new tank based on the combat experience of the first half of 1944. As a result, the tank seemed obsolete before it was even put into production, especially its armament. Work to correct this went in two directions. The first was evolutionary and led to the T-44-100 tank. The second was revolutionary and brought about a deeply modernized T-44 indexed T-54.