Wednesday 25 June 2014

Flamethrower Tanks

"Memo on the use of the single-shot flamethrower and pistol flamethrower on the T-34 tank.
March 3rd, 1942

A. On single-shot gunpowder flamethrowers.
  1. Single-shot flamethrowers were developed according to the SNK decree #5830 from July 26th, 1941.  Kirov factory, on its own initiative, promised to produce and install 250 flamethrowers on KV tanks in August of 1941 (military representative Shpitalov's report #703 file 9 p.25 1941).
  2. Trials of single-shot flamethrowers on KV tanks (file 14 p.11 1940) were executed according to orders from Lieutenant-General comrade Fedorenko (file 120-2 p.13 1940 to #063 on August 5th, 1941). Trials commissions found the flamethrowers satisfactory and recommended their immediate production and installation on KV and T-34 tanks.
    In the first days of October of 1941, a document was addressed to Deputy Chair of the SNK, comrade Malyshev, saying that due to increase in automatic ATO-41, the need for single-shot tank flamethrowers waned. The document was shown to Major-General comrade Lebedev, and he agreed that the need for single-shot flamethrowers has passed. 
  3. As a temporary measure before the production of flamethrower tanks,  high explosive flamethrowers on T-34 tanks and single-shot flamethrowers on trawls are used.
  4. As the production of ATO-41 flamethrowers is delayed and HE flamethrowers mounted on T-34 tanks are heavy, clumsy, and uncomfortable to use, single-shot flamethrowers must be converted to be used on regular T-34 tanks. For this it is necessary to:
    1. Remove the defects of single-shot flamethrowers mentioned in the trials acts.
    2. Instruct the People's Commissariat of Tank Production to install 400 single shot flamethrowers on T-34 tanks in the second quarter of this year, specifically 150 tanks at factory #183, 150 tanks at STZ, and 100 tanks at factory #112.
  5. No less than a month is needed for production of single-shot flamethrowers to ramp up.
B. On trench flamethrower pistols (TOP)
  1. The automatic flamethrower design proposed by comrade Novikov is not novel. The proposed design is not worked out and is incomplete. For example, it lacks a receiver, air reductor, and valves.
  2. The flamethrower pistol produced at GVHU KA is already mastered by production lines.
  3. The weakest link of the system is the consumption of diesel vapours from the engine cylinders. The use of these vapours to reach a pressure of 30-40 atmospheres is complicated. These vapours contain oil and incompletely combusted fuel, which will reduce the reliability of the valve. Factory #183 engineers are at work on this issue, but no satisfactory answer has been found. The author proposes a diagram, and not a solution. He has no valve blueprints. 
  4. The production of a prototype using comrade Novikov's designs is premature. It is necessary to instruct the People's Commissariat of Tank Production to develop and test such a valve that would regulate the collection of vapour in order to produce the pressure of 30-40 atmospheres in a reservoir."

Note that as last time, the index "KV-6" does not appear anywhere in regards to a KV-1 with a flamethrower. 

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