Saturday, 22 February 2020

The Last Cruiser

The stagnation of British tank building in the 1930s cost the country dearly in WWII. Nearly the entire war was spent playing catch-up. There were some minor successes such as the Matilda tank, but the most common type of tank was the cruiser. Having started the war with tanks that had similar characteristics to the Soviet BT-7 tank, British tankers continued to receive new vehicles that were half a step behind their German counterparts. The British only received a tank that had more or less caught up to the enemy towards the end of the war. This was the Comet, the last cruiser tank put into mass production.

Thursday, 20 February 2020


"Order to the forces of the 9th Army
January 29th, 1940
Active army

By order of the Stavka of the Supreme Command, fur ushanka hats have arrived for all personnel of the 9th Army.

I order that:
  1. The quartermaster of the army must:
    1. Issue fur ushanka hats to personnel based on the requests of unit quartermasters and commanders of independent units. Prioritize units in active combat. Complete issuing hats by February 5th, 1940.
    2. When issuing the fur ushanka hats, reclaim the old felt hats, collect them at the army warehouse, disinfect them and perform repairs.
  2. Commanders and commissars of army and independent units must issue fur ushanka hats to their personnel within 24 hours of receipt, reclaim the old felt hats, and deliver them to the supply warehouse or central supply warehouse in Kem, depending on location.
    Warn the troops that they must preserve their ushanka hat and not lose it.
    When the steel helmet is worn, the ushanka hat should be stored in the backpack.
Commander of the 9th Army, Komkor Chuykov
Member of the Military Council, Army Commissar 1st Class, Mekhlis
Chief of Staff, Komdiv Nikoshov"

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Obsolete Trophies

"Information on Somua and Hotchkiss tanks

On September 9-10th, near grid square 5016-7, the 38th Guards Independent Tank Brigade knocked out and captured 12 enemy tanks. Of them, 4 are Somua and 8 are Hotchkiss type. Of them, 1 Somua and 6 Hotchkiss are still functional.

Preliminary combat and technical characteristics of these tanks have been established:

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Long Living KV-1S

"Award order
  1. Name: Ivan Agapovich Podkosov 
  2. Rank: Guards Lieutenant
  3. Position: Commander of the "Papanin" tank, 80th Guards Idritsa Order of the Red Banner Order of Suvorov 3rd class Heavy Tank Regiment
    is nominated for the Order of the Red Star.

Saturday, 15 February 2020

The Australian Sentinel

Nations with no prior tank building experience first began building tanks in WWII, including several nations from the British Commonwealth. Most frequently, these nations built copies of British designs, for instance the Canadian Valentines. However, Canada also built its own original tank (the Ram) on an American chassis. Australia developed and began production of fully original tanks named AC (Australian Cruiser) or Sentinel. These tanks did not see battle, but they remain a colourful chapter of world tank building history.

Thursday, 13 February 2020

BS-3 Sights

"1st Ukrainian Front
Directorate of Artillery
December 20th, 1944

The commander of the 10th Guards Artillery Tank Destroyer Brigade reports that when firing HE grenades from the 100 mm gun at a 1.5 by 1.5 meter target installed at a range of 1200 to 1800 meters using a sight configured as in the manual, the shell passes above the target. A reduction in 2-4 mils gives excellent results (hit on first shot). 

The Commander of Artillery of the Front orders that:
  1. Check the correctness of these conclusions by performing practical firing trials with the 100 mm gun. If similar results are achieved, fire at these ranges with the reduced sight setting.
  2. Report the results of practical firing trials and deviation from the sight tables when striking a vertical target.
Chief of Staff of Artillery of the 1st Ukrainian Front, Colonel Murzin
Deputy Chief of Staff of Artillery of the 1st Ukrainian Front, Guards Lieutenant Colonel Skrobov"

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Katyusha Effectiveness


Enemy soldiers on our artillery and mortars (based on interrogations of POWs, journals and letters of German and Hungarian troops)

POW Unteroffizier Franz Georg Lamus (222nd Infantry Regiment, 1st battalion, 4th company) says the following on the power of Russian weapons:

"Russia has many weapons. There are powerful airplanes. This goes against the stories were were told that the Red Army is poor and has nothing. The Stalinorgel (Katyusha) has the greatest effect on troops. When the mortar fires 42 shots everything living in the vicinity of the explosions burns. The sound of the explosions also has a negative effect on the morale of troops."

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

T-34M Requirements

"To the Chief of the Red Army GABTU, Lieutenant General of the Tank Forces, comrade Ya.N. Fedorenko
December 30th, 1940

Copy: to the Chairman of the Committee of Defense of the Council of Commissars of the USSR, Marshal of the Soviet Union, comrade Voroshilov

In carrying out order #428 of the Committee of Defense issued on November 19th, 1940, I present the reasons for switching to a torsion bar suspension. The coil spring suspension of the T-34 tank is reliable, but has the following drawbacks:
  1. Significant oscillations make firing on the move difficult.
  2. The suspension spring and guide rod shafts constrict the internal space of the tank, impede free placement of components, and reduce the amount of ammunition that can be carried.
  3. Cutouts must be made in the sides of the tank for the suspension arms that weaken the resistance of the armour.

Monday, 10 February 2020

Sights Trials

"April 4th, 1941

Report on the trials of a PT-4 periscopic tank sight

Trials were conducted according to directive #145211/s of the Main Automotive and Armoured Vehicle Directorate of the Red Army issued on March 22nd, 1941, by commission #6833 composed of:
  • Chairman: deputy commander of military unit 6837 Major T.G. Kuznetsov
  • Members:
    • Deputy chief of artillery supply of unit 6833 Sr. Lieutenant Burkov
    • Chief of ammunition supply of unit 6837 Lieutenant Kochegarov
  • Also present:
    • GABTU military engineer 3rd class G.M. Margulis
    • GAU assistant military representative Major L.D. Podgoretskiy
    • Lenin factory #69 senior engineer D.P. Gimein
    • Experimental proving grounds senior engineer, military engineer 3rd class B.A. Ivanov