Thursday 17 October 2013

"Zoo" on the Eastern Front

"Tank marching into battle. Leningrad Front. 1941."

The fierce nature of the Eastern Front required the Soviet Union to use every tank in its disposal. The majority of the obsolete light tanks were lost in the early days of the war, but various small units were somewhat heterogeneous even later on.

CAMD RF 3098-1-11 reveals the summary of an attempt to knock the Germans out of Laryushino (next to Zvenigorod, in the Moscow region) in December of 1941. The infantry regiment was reinforced with one KV, one T-34, one BT-2, and one T-26. Despite the obsolescence of half of the assigned tanks, the attack was successful. 

The 124th Tank Brigade had an even more heterogeneous makeup. CAMD 204-113-11 lists them as in possession of the following tanks on October 28th, 1942:
  • 2 KV tanks
  • 1 T-34 tank
  • 5 BT-7 tanks
  • 2 BT-7M tanks
  • 1 BT-5 tank
  • 2 BT-2 tanks
  • 1 T-70 tank
  • 1 T-26 tank with AA gun
  • 1 T-40 tank
Not surprisingly, the brigade's stock of spare parts for its tracked vehicles is listed as 0%. The T-26 with AA gun is a rarity, a field improvised 37 mm 61-K AA gun on the T-26 chassis. Only two were made in Leningrad, and both were used by the 124th.

Another BT-2 is spotted at STZ's repair base. The following photograph was published in "Komsomolskaya Pravda" on November 13th, 1942. The presence of hexagonal turret T-34s in the background suggests that the photograph is not very old at that point.

CAMD RF 3273-1-15 describes another rag-tag group, in December of 1943. The list is a little more homogeneous.

"The brigade has the following tanks combat-ready:
  • T-34 tanks: 33
  • T-26 tanks: 21
  • T-70 SPGs: 3
  • T-26 SPGs: 1
  • BA-10 armoured cars: 4
  • T-26 medical transports: 2"
The T-70 SPG is obviously a SU-76, but what is a T-26 SPG? The answer may surprise you.

It's a SU-26, a field modification of a T-26 to accept a 76.2 mm regimental cannon in an open turret. 


  1. Do you have any pictures of the ZSU T-26?

  2. ...I had no idea the T-70 and SU-76 were related. The ingame SU-76 is much larger than the T-70; is this historical? My only real familiarity with the SU-76 was from using them in RO1, and the T-70 is a tank I didn't even know about at all until fairly recently.

    Also, 61-K on a T-26 chassis? Ahuehuehue, pls gib. Is that the ZSU-37 or was that a different design for the same purpose? Thing is ridiculous in MoW, they limited 61-Ks because you used to be able to hellcamp so hard with them.

    1. The T-70's hull had to be elongated by one road wheel in order to accommodate the much bigger gun, but yes, they are related.

      The ZSU-37 was built on the SU-76 chassis, since the T-26 was all kinds of obsolete by then.