Tuesday 12 November 2013

Red Army's First Tank

Late stages of WWI showed the value of tanks in armed forces, and the Red Army wanted in on the action. A number of French Renault FT-17 tanks were captured in 1919, but their modernized Russian cousins will not start production for another year. In the meantime, a contest was announced for a brand new domestic tank design. The unit measurements are a bit archaic, so I will be providing conversions.


November 2nd, 1919

The Special Red Army Supply Commission declares a call for tender of a tank project. Awards for projects that fully satisfy all conditions are as follow: FIRST - 250 000 rubles, SECOND - 200 000 rubles, and THIRD - 150 000 rubles.
Projects that do not satisfy conditions, but contain original constructions of other tank components which, according to the jury, can be used when building the tank, can also earn an award: 30 000 rubles for a mechanism of tank movement (drivetrain) and 10 000 for all others. Projects accepted by the jury become property of the government. Rejected projects are returned to their authors. The deadline is 1.5 months since the beginning of the bid.
Projects must be sealed in envelopes and sent to Moscow, to the Special Supply Committee building at 4 Pokrovka, addressed to secretary Dosser.


The project must contain blueprints of a tank, large enough (the overall view and cross-sections must be in 1:10 scale, other blueprints in any scale) to figure out the composition of the tank and the workings of its mechanisms. The tank movement mechanism (drivetrain) must be developed in great detail.
Aside from the blueprints, the project must contain weight calculations for all components except the engine, and specify the materials used.
The project must come in two variants. One variant is armed with two Maxim machine guns, and the other is armed with one 37 mm cannon. Both must satisfy the following criteria:

  1. The tank must move using tracks or some other mechanism. The construction of the suspension must be such that the tank can travel on dirt and country roads no wider than 1.5 Russian fathoms (~3.2 meters), mud, and off-road terrain with loose dirt or sand. The tank needs to cross the following terrain:
    1. Potholes and ditches up to 16 inches (~0.4 meters) deep, grades 15 degrees steep and 40 Russian fathoms (~85 meters) long without overheating the engine.
    2. Roadside drainage ditches, both perpendicular to the axis of the ditch and diagonally across it.
    3. Trenches 9 Russian fathoms (~9 meters) long, 2.5 Russian fathoms (~5.3 meters) deep. Shell impact craters up to 2 Russian fathoms (~4.3 meters) in diameter and up to 5 feet (~1.5 meters) deep. 
  2. Ground pressure must not exceed 0.6 kg/cm^2.
  3. The tank is propelled by an automobile type engine, with the option on running on kerosene. It must be powerful enough to traverse all of the above obstructions.
  4. The armour must be constructed such that the engine can be reached from the inside, and all other components are convenient to access from the outside.
  5. The engine must have a mechanical and electric starter, and must have the ability to be started from the inside.
  6. The tank must have four forward gears and one reverse gear.
  7. The maximum speed must be 15 verst (~16 kilometers) per hour on good, flat ground.
  8. The tank must be agile, and have a turning radius that is as small as possible.
  9. The armour must be made from hardened steel. Thickness of armour plates struck by bullets at a normal angle must be 12 mm. Thickness of sloped and horizontal plates must be 9 mm.
  10. The crew of the first variant must be three members (two machine gunners and a driver) and two members (one driver and one gunner). 
  11. The overall weight of the tank when fully armed must not exceed 700 poods (~11.2 tons).
  12. Armament must be placed in rotating turrets. The cannon variant must have a turret that rotates 360 degrees.
  13. A mount must be developed for a 37 mm Rosenberg gun and a 37 mm machine gun of the Obuhovskiy factory.
  14. The mounts for the first and second gun are to be developed by the project author, and the Rosenberg gun must also have a device to automatically open the breech after a shot.
  15. The cannon must traverse 3 degrees to each side independently of the turret, and should be able to fire using a stock. The machine guns must turn 15 degrees to each side.
  16. The firs variant must have 15 degrees of gun elevation, the second 25 degrees.
  17. The hull or turret must hold 200 shells for the cannon and 4000 for each machine gun. The placement of the magazine must allow for rapid fire.
  18. The gun may be operated while kneeling or standing, with the latter allowing for rapid change of targets.
  19. The gun sight must extend to 500 Russian fathoms (1000 meters) (this is the only instance of a metric conversion in the document)
  20. The turret must provide 360 degree view. It is acceptable to achieve this through a cupola located on the turret.
Confirmed, assistant director of the orders department. Signature."

No comments:

Post a Comment