Tuesday 17 December 2013

Mix and Match

The Soviet practice of making monuments out of military surplus is quite widespread. In nearly every town, no matter how small, there will be some kind of monument to the fighting that took place there, with a cannon or a tank. However, sometimes the tank on the monument is a mix and match of tank parts, some of which don't even belong on the same tank. For example, a photograph of a tank at Parfino (credit to LiveJournal user wadimych):

While a casual passerby might see nothing but a tank, an expert would swiftly detect an anomaly. Why, that's clearly a KV-1S turret on a KV-1 hull! What are they trying to pull here? However, upon further inspection, the plot thickens.

A German AT gunner made his mark here, with a shell that managed to strike the hull and turret, before bouncing off harmlessly. This means that this tank, as a whole, saw combat. But how could this be? The answer, as always, lies in the archives.

RGASPI 644-2-102

"Comrade Stalin
Comrade Molotov

By the order of the GKO, the Kirov factory has been producing KV-1S tanks that weigh 41.5-42 tons with improved components since August.

Due to the higher T-34 production quotas and cessation of shipments from factory #264 (Stalingrad), it was decided to increase the production of T-34 hulls at Uralmash and transfer the production of KV hulls to factory #200.

In September, factory #200 increased KV hull production nearly twofold. In order to match the plan, factory #200 needs to produce twice as many hulls in October as it did in September. 

Despite measures that were taken, the production is behind schedule. 

In order to meet the production quotas for KV tanks in October, I ask of you to allow the use of KV hulls with side armour thickness of 75 mm.

The GOKO decree is attached.

People's Commissar of Tank Manufacturing, I. Zaltsmann."

RGASPI 644-2-102

"The State Committee of Defense decrees that the Kirov factory is allowed to produce 100 KV tanks with thickened side armour (75 mm) to meet October quotas.

Chairman of the State Committee of Defense, Molotov"

In total, 70 of these hybrids were produced. 8 were sent to the 9th Guards Regiment at Kubinka, 16 to the 10th Guards Regiment at Kosterovo, 3 to the Ulyanov academy, 34 to the 12th Guards Regiment at Noginsk, 9 to the ZKU, and 7 to the Amoured Car and Tank Center at Lubertsy. The serial numbers of these vehicles are available in CAMD RF 38-11355-887, "Notice of accepted and sent KV-1S tanks with heavy KV-1 hulls".

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