Monday 2 December 2013

Intelligence Gathering

Capturing enemy soldiers is a good source of intelligence on the eve of a battle. However, sometimes the intelligence is not so good.

CAMD RF 38-11355-1712

"A captured unteroffizier of the 226 infantry division Frmake Max said that he overheard other soldiers and officers discussing a new German super-powerful tank called "Panda-S", which, compared to a Tiger, has higher speed, thicker armour, and more powerful armament."

Soviet Intelligence is, as always, skeptical. Notes are made on the file: "Voroshilov: we need to confirm this report" and "we need to obtain through Sidorovich". What needs to be obtained is not written. Presumably the tank in question.

This is likely a misheard interpretation of the Panther. It was faster, had more armour (in the front), and a gun with higher penetration.

CAMD RF 38-11355-939 uncovers more German secrets: "Gefreiter Strembel Helmut reports that the German army has new tanks, that have armour that cannot be penetrated by any AT gun. Air is compressed between two steel walls, drastically increasing effective armour without increasing weight or decreasing speed."

This is, of course, spaced armour. Spaced armour does use air in between armour plates, but it is not compressed.

The following discoveries, on the other hand, are not at all linked to reality.

"To the head of GABTU: Lieutenant-General of the Tank Forces, comrade Fedorenko.

German sources report that the German army knows of a tank in the Red Army that weighs 115 tons.

Acting head of the communications department of the General Staff of the Red Army
Brigadier-Engineer Panfilov

May 5th, 1941"
CAMD RF 38-11355-298

"To the deputy chief of GABTU, Major-General of the Technical Forces, comrade Lebedev

According to obtained documents, the Germans, as a result of interrogating prisoners, are aware of a tank that is allegedly being produced at the Chelyabinsk factory:

Mass: 125 tons
Side armour thickness: 20 mm
Length: 750 cm
Width: 370 cm
Height: 380 cm
Speed: 30-40 kph

The German high command is very interested in obtaining more details on this tank.

Chief of the 1st department of the 2nd directorate
GRU, General Staff of the Red Army
Colonel Hlopov

June 2nd, 1942"
CAMD RF 38-11355-651

"An Azerbaijani from the 68th Tank Brigade ... was at a theoretical tank lecture, where Captain Motovalov told of new Soviet tanks. The tanks had 2, 3, and 5 turrets, and were soon to be included in the Red Army's tank forces. The facts revealed at the lecture were top secret, and were not to be repeated. Captain Motovalov said that the 68th brigade was the most reliable, and will get the new tanks for combat trials. In November/December, the brigade received two new tanks: a two-turret with a rocket battery on the roof and a five-turret.

The man reports that the tanks look like this: the two-turret tank is slightly bigger than a KV, the central turret is oval, and has a 76 mm gun and two machine guns. The top of the turret has 8 rockets, each mounted on a rail. The rocket rails can spin independently of the turret, 360 degrees. There are armour piercing rockets.

The second turret is to the left, has a 78 mm gun, and a coaxial machine gun. The turret can turn 150 degrees. There are two machine guns in the front of the tank, and the tracks are protected with armour. The tank can reach a speed of 45 kph. The tank has a plate with the name of the manufacturer: "Kaganovich factory".
NARA T-78-R579-F0887

I guess the "KV-VI Behemoth" has a historical basis after all!


  1. Weight 125 tons - 20 mm side armor.

    Either a zero is missing in armor number or Germans are verry easy to fool. :D

    1. What? Do you mean 1250 tons? :P
      (/me = foolish German ;))

  2. Usually interrogation reports are classified depending on the reliability of the prisoner. I am not surprised about statements like the ones posted.

  3. By the way, the dimensions in cms are a bit fishy..

    1. Height is measured in centimeters in Russia, it's likely that some peasant making up nonsense would measure a tank's length in centimeters as well.

  4. "We need to obtain through Sidorovich"