Sunday 27 July 2014

1931 Tank Program

"Decree of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the VKP(b) On the Tank program

February 20th, 1931

Building on the decree from November 30th, 1930 on the tank building program that specifies the requirements before 1932: 4,000 tankettes, 13,800 small tanks, and 2,000 medium tanks, the Politburo decrees:

1. Tankette
  1. Approve the T-27 tankette with the Ford AA engine with the following characteristics:
    1. Speed: 36-40 kph
    2. Mass: 2 tons
    3. Armour: 10-15 mm
    4. Armament: 1 machinegun
    5. Engine, watercooled, 40-45 hp
  2. The tankette will be produced at automotive factory #2. The production will be mastered in 1931 by means of production of 400 tankettes. 
  3. Considering that T-27 tankettes uses Ford truck components, in addition to armour and tracks, VSNKh is assigned the issue of creating a second manufacturing base for T-27 tankettes at the Nizhniy Novgorod automotive factory, assigning 20-25% of the factory's output to them.
  4. VSNKh and NKVM must report in two months how many tankettes the factory can produce before spring of 1932.
2. Small tank
  1. Approve the T-26 (Vickers) with the following characteristics:
    1. Speed:
      1. On roads: 35 kph
      2. Off-road: 20-25 kph
    2. Mass: 7.5 tons
    3. Armour: 8-13 mm
    4. Armament: one 37 mm gun and one machinegun or two machineguns
    5. Engine: Armstrong-Sidley air cooled, 84-93 hp
  2. In order to master production in 1931, produce 300 tanks of this type at the Bolshevik factory. Prepare for organization of production at Bolshevik and Stalingrad factories with their own engineering staff.
  3. Bolshevik factory should be expected to produce 1,500 tanks per year and Stalingrad 12,000 tanks, with spare parts. The production base at Stalingrad must be ready by April 1st, 1932. The experimental plant must be ready by spring of 1932, which should produce 100 tanks per shift per year. In order to master production, the experimental plant must produce one batch of tanks in spring of 1932.
3. Medium tank
  1. Approve the powerful TG tank as the main medium tank with the following characteristics (preliminary):
    1. Speed:
      1. Maximum: 40 kph
      2. Average: 25 kph
    2. Mass: 20 tons
    3. Armour: 30/20/15
    4. Armament:
      1. 76 mm gun
      2. 37 mm gun
      3. 4-5 machineguns
    5. Engine: 240 hp, air cooled
  2. Propose acceleration of the tank building program to OGPU and NKVM, consider it the most important task in producing experimental tanks in 1931.
  3. In order to master production, produce 50-75 tanks in 1931.
  4. Considering the combat potential of this vehicle, be ready to produce 2000 tanks of this type by spring 1932.
  5. The main manufacturing base will be at the Kharkov Locomotive Factory, in cooperation with the Stalingrad on the hull, engine, and steel casting.
    VSNKh is tasked with investigating if a second manufacturing base can be set up in the Urals.
  6. After 80 T-24 tanks are produced, remove it from production and redirect the available resources to produce TG tanks.
4. Considering the possibility of a second manufacturing base for the TG tank in the Urals, cease production of small tanks at MMZ after existing components have been used.

5. Considering satisfactory results when producing T-27 tankettes with Ford AA components and preliminary successes at armouring and arming Kommunar and Caterpillar tractors to create infantry support tanks, consider it necessary to create a second echelon of infantry support tanks on automotive and tractor bases, for which NKVM and VSNKh must report in six months on the types, amount, and locations of production in 1932 and 1933.

6. On engines: supply tank factories with the following engines:
  1. T-27 tankette: Ford AA engine from the Nizhniy Novgorod automotive factory
  2. Small T-26 tank: Armstrong-Sidley engine from the Bolshevik and Stalingrad Tractor factories
  3. For medium tanks: NKVM should accelerate investigations of medium tank engines and decide on a type in 1-2 months. Due to a lack of factories capable of producing powerful medium tank engines, NKVM should accelerate the construction of a factory that can produce sufficient engines for medium tanks by spring of 1932. Initially, aim the production at M-6 and Grotte engines. VSNKh, NKVM, and OGPU should design powerful diesel engines with 240-300 hp in 1931.
7. On armour
  1. The consumption of armour by the current program is 50,000 tons of processed armour. The existing base (Izhor and Bolshevik factories) can provide 6,000 tons. 
  2. VSNKh should organize a new manufacturing base at Stalingrad that can provide 46,000 tons of processed armour starting in spring of 1932.
  3. Considering the necessity of increasing numbers of powerful medium tanks and tankettes, as well as production of second echelon infantry tanks on truck and tractor chassis, VSNKh should propose changes to the armour consumption.
  4. The currently produced armour is inadequate compared to Vickers armour, despite the presence of twice as many coloured metals and ferrite alloys in our armour. NKVM and VSNKh should finish current investigations on increasing armour quality to Vickers levels and decreasing the amount of imported ferrite alloys in two months.
8. On small steel casting

In order to complete the tank program, 55,000 tons of small steel casts are required, with the Bolshevik factory's capacity of 4,000 tons. VSNKh should build a manufacturing base at the Stalingrad tractor factory capable of producing the missing amount."

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