Thursday 18 September 2014

American Visit

I have written a few articles on Soviet visits to American facilities, but what about the other way around?

"Report on a business trip to the city of Gorky with a group of American specialists from May 12th, 1943 to June 5th, 1943.

Objectives of the trip:
  1. Perform technical exercises with the technical commanders of the 5th Tank Brigade, 229th Tank Regiment, and 45th Tank Regiment on the topic of American tanks.
  2. Perform exercises with them Military Acceptance department and repair base #97 to familiarize them with design changes made to the M4A2 and M3.
  3. Help repair base #97 to organize the process of repairing American tanks in new workshops.
The group was composed of American specialists:
  1. Lieutenant Colonel Grey.
  2. Mr. Ford.
  3. Mr. Aikanymeaux.
  4. Mr. Thornton.
Major Konges and Captain McIntosh arrived on June 2nd.
  1. May 14th. The Americans familiarized themselves with work that needs to be done to organize work in the new workshops. The objective of assembling the workshops and showing American methods of using it to repair tanks was set.
    Lieutenant Colonel Grey, aside from overall direction of the group, occupied himself with positioning equipment and organizing work in the assembly section.
    Mr. Ford was tasked with positioning the equipment and organizing work in the engine and transmission repair section.
    Mr. Aikanymeaux was tasked with directing the assembly of the radio repair workshop.
  2. May 15th. The Americans were allowed to visit the armour warehouse, to familiarize themselves with spare parts for American tanks that have arrived. The Americans were interested in the artillery warehouse, but I told them that I do not have any information on where that warehouse is located.
    Colonel Zyryanov, the commander of warehouse #37, was alerted in advance, and the warehouse was appropriately prepared.
    At the warehouse, Lieutenant Colonel Grey had the opportunity to witness the horrible way parts shipped to the USSR were packed. Plungers, ejector casings, and other parts that were carefully machined were poured into the crate, and were covered in a layer of rust. Electric parts were packaged with hammers and pickaxes, including lightbulbs. The flywheels were packed with cylinder valve caps. The packaging itself was messy. As a result, 50% of electric components, valve caps, and other parts were useless.
    Additionally, the transmission radiators for the M3 were made poorly. In places where welding was to be done, there were no welding seams, leaving gaps that oil would leak through.
    Lieutenant Colonel Grey asked that other crates be opened. His request was granted. The packaging was of similar quality. He asked for the bill of lading, to check where the packages came from and who was responsible for them. Then, he asked to take photographs of the damaged parts, and got our permission.
  3. On May 16th, Grey took pictures of the parts and opened crates. I asked for the crates to be put on the ground, so the walls of the warehouse were not photographed. The film was passed on to Engineer-Major Arutyunyan for development. After developing the film, we made sure that nothing was on it aside from the parts, and returned it to the Americans.
    During our walk on the escarpment near the Chkalov monument, Lieutenant Colonel Grey asked if he could take a picture of the view of the Volga. After alerting the NKVD of this, he received permission.
  4. May 17th-18th. In the new workshops, repair base #97 staff and Military Acceptance staff perform exercises on modernization of M4A2 and M3 tanks, and study new simplified and more precise methods for regulating the M4A2 engine and controls. On May 18th, a report is made to the chief of the armoured center, Lieutenant-Colonel Poruchikov, on the possibility of receiving consultation from the Americans regarding training and marching units,
  5. May 19th-May 22nd. The technical staff of the 229th Tank Regiment participate in exercises on adjusting the engine and controls on 5 uncalibrated tanks. Technicians were present that completely mastered the adjustment process. Simultaneously, Mr. Aikanymeaux helped the regimental communications chief repair 4 radios.
    15 Browning 12.7 mm AA machineguns were nonfunctional in the regiment. Mr. Thornton attempted to fix them, fruitlessly, giving away his poor knowledge of armament. Several machineguns have been repaired by the repair base gunsmith, the rest were already undergoing repairs by regimental gunsmiths.
    Exercises were held, as a rule, from 10:00 to 15:00. After dinner on these days, work was done on repairing tanks and building new workshops.
  6. On May 23rd, after speaking with Moscow on the telephone, Lieutenant Colonel Grey discovered that Major Olsen was leaving for American. As a result, Grey left for Moscow to give Olson appropriate directions.
  7. On May 23rd and 24th, due to a request by Engineer-Major Muravyev, repairs of an M4A2 tank with asynchronously functioning engine regulators were enacted. The regulators were replaced with GMC 6004 and GMC 6046 regulators.
  8. On May 26th, Lieutenant Colonel Grey returned from Moscow with a large amount of technical literature. 
  9. On May 26th and 27th, the design for a new radio workshop was approved, and assembly began. Additionally, Grey checked on the engine repair workshop design.
  10. On May 28th, the Americans familiarized themselves with the T-34 tank. A tank and crew from the 3rd Tank Brigade were prepared. The location was distanced from the brigade location. The commander of the brigade, Colonel Nemi, his assistants, and Engineer-Major comrade Arutyunyan were present. The Americans inspected the tank inside and outside, after which each one of them drove the tank. Grey demonstrated an excellent tank driving ability, the rest drove satisfactorily. The Americans had an excellent impression of the tank and commanders. Indeed, the behaviour of the commanders was by the book.
    Engineer-Major Arutyunyan included a petition in his request to award a "For Excellent Driving" tanker badge to Lieutenant Colonel Grey, as he has demonstrated his excellent ability to drive a T-34 now and an M4A2 with S-series injectors back in the winter. 
  11. May 29th. Preparations for the technical meeting on the location of equipment in the engine repair workshop.
    In parallel with the Americans, workshop chief Sergeev composed a layout plan. Comrade Sergeev used equipment blueprints, given to him by the Americans.
  12. May 31st and June 1st. Exercises with the technical staff of the 5th Tank Battalion on the topic of M4A2 and M3 tanks.
  13. June 2nd. Major Kenges and Captain McIntosh arrived. Gray assembled all Americans and gave them new orders on organizing the workshops.
  14. June 3rd. The technical meeting on the topic of new workshops was held. Comrade Sergeev presented his plan. Several major changes were made, and this project was approved as the workshop layout. At the same time, the decision to make a general assembly and disassembly line was made, and the issue of auxiliary workshops explored.
    The assembly and disassembly line was assigned to Major Kenges, Captain McIntosh was assigned the artillery workshop.
  15. June 4th. Major Kenges presented his design of the assembly and disassembly line. The project review was not finished, and was postponed to the following day.
  16. June 5th. I was ordered to Moscow by the assistant of the 5th department chief, comrade Chugunov, and left for Moscow to report on completed work and to receive new directions for the Americans.
  17. June 8th. According to orders from TU chief, Engineer-Colonel comrade Afonin, I left for Gorky to receive orders from Lieutenant-General Lebedev regarding further presence of the Americans in Gorky, due to exceptional circumstances. The Americans have already left for Moscow according to orders given to Major Chugunov by Lebedev.
Overall issues:
  1. Food and housing was organized as well as it was in December of 1942.
  2. Cultural amusements: there were several operettas organized, as well as walks on the shore of the Volga.
  3. I remained in constant communication with the NKVD on all issues.

A group of Americans lead by Lieutenant Colonel Grey in Gorky resulted in great help to technical commanders of the 229th Tank Regiment and 5th Tank Brigade on the issues of organizing technically correct use and service of American tanks. 

At repair base #97, the Americans demonstrated an ability to organize a correct technical repairs process that can be transferred to tanks of any type.

Major Kenges, during his short presence, proved himself to be a knowledgeable specialist. Captain McIntosh did not have enough time to fully show his abilities, but is likely very familiar with armament and electrical equipment.

Special attention should be paid to Thornton: he knows a little of everything, but is not a specialist, having only the vaguest idea about armament, even though he was sent here as an armament specialist.

Overall, technical staff at Repair Base #97 received great help with repairing tanks and using equipment.

Senior Engineer of the 5th department of GBTU TU
Senior Technician-Lieutenant, Khorolenko"

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