Thursday 26 September 2013

GABTU's Tank Wishlist for 1940

The Red Army received a new heavy tank in 1940, and GABTU wasted no time before demanding more things from it. CAMD RF 38-11355-10 tells us the full story.

  1. The KV tank must have a 76 mm gun with a muzzle velocity of at least 800 m/s, in order to penetrate 70-80 mm of armour at 1000 meters. The gun must fire quickly, and have sufficient stock of ammunition. Must have an armour piercing shell and a high explosive grenade.
    At this time, the most appropriate gun is the AA gun model 1931. The tank should also have 90-100 mm of armour.
  2. The KV-2 tank must have a 107 mm gun with a muzzle velocity of 730-750 m/s in order to penetrate 100-110 mm of armour at 1000 meters. The gun must fire quickly, have high penetration, and have sufficient stock of ammunition. Must have an armour piercing shell and a high explosive grenade.
    At the time, the most appropriate gun is the 107 mm M-60 gun.
  3. Build heavy self propelled armoured artillery to destroy pillboxes. Use a 122, 130, 152, and 180 mm guns. 
    1. The most realistic way of solving this problem is the production of an SPG on the SMK or T-100 chassis, and installing a 100-130 mm gun on it, giving it an AP shell capable of penetrating 130-150 mm, and an HE shell. 
    2. In short order, develop an experimental 152 mm model 1935 gun (Br-2) mount on the SMK tank, supply the system with an AP shell capable of penetrating 150-160 mm of armour, and a concrete wall 1.5 meters thick.
      The gun must be protected by 60-70 mm of armour and weigh no more than 65 tons.
    3. Install a 180 mm gun on the SMK chassis. If necessary, alter the chassis, and reduce armour. [This entire paragraph is scratched out]
  4. During the transitional period:
    1. Manufacture KV tanks with a 152 mm model 1938 howitzer (M-10).
    2. Manufacture KV tanks with L-11 guns and regular shells.
    3. Immediately develop a mount for the 76 mm AA gun model 1931 and the M-60 107 mm gun.
    4. Immediately begin producing the T-100 with a 130 mm gun, and begin work on installing a 152 mm model 1935 (Br-2) gun on the SMK.
    5. Install 122, 130, and 152 mm guns on the T-35 and simultaneously test armour screens.
    6. Have two types of T-34 tanks, ones with 45 mm guns, and ones with 76 mm guns. Improve the armour piercing capability of the 45 mm gun, and use F-32 or F-34 guns.
    7. All tanks must use DS machineguns with thickened barrels, as they allow for longer continuous fire than the DT."
That's a lot of requirements. Let's go through and see which ones came true.

The first one came from the L-11's already insufficient AP performance. The F-32 gun that the KV-1 was stuck with had the same ballistic properties. The KV-1 didn't get a gun that satisfied this requirement until the ZiS-5. Next, the KV-2's 107. The tank was tested with a gun of that caliber, and it met the penetration requirements, but the KV-2 had no worthy opponents in 1941, and production ceased. 

Heavy self propelled guns are a whole different topic. The SU-100-Y definitely satisfied the 130 mm bunker buster requirement. The requirement for a mobile 152 mm gun wasn't met until the SU-152. The Br-2 was mounted on several self-propelled platforms, but never mass produced in that configuration. Its half-AP shell could penetrate 180 mm of armour, so that requirement is satisfied. 

The KV with an M-10 was certainly manufactured (KV-2). The KV-1 eventually switched to the F-32, and then ZiS-5 guns. The model 1931 AA gun was only ever tested in the T-34, and then discarded, as it was not necessary with the advent of the T-34-85. The T-100 with a 130 mm gun was the SU-100-Y, so that one was successful. The T-35 with a 152 mm gun wish was granted, in the shape of the SU-14, but only two were built.  

Plans were drafted to built T-34s with 45 mm guns in the event of a shortage of 76 mm guns, but such a shortage never happened. The T-34 received the F-34 in 1941. The AP capability of 45 mm guns was improved, with the 45 mm AT gun model 1942.

A number of these requirements was drafted with the Winter War in mind, when the Red Army was stuck on Finnish defensive lines. When Germany invaded, the USSR no longer had any use for bunker busters, as the bunkers they would have to one day storm were hundreds of kilometers away. Additionally, Germany did not bring any tanks with armour as thick as was foreseen, so 107 mm guns with ridiculous penetration were not needed.

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