Friday 7 November 2014

Tractor Trouble

For the Soviet Union, the start of the Great Patriotic War happened at a very poor time. Yes, everyone knows about restructuring after purges and rebuilding fortifications at new borders, but few people know about another problem: a shortage of artillery tractors. Existing tractors no longer fully satisfied the RKKA, and projects to replace them haven't really taken off. The loss of major industrial centers during this time didn't help.

"To the chief of the GABTU Auto-Tractor Directorate

In a response to the inquiry by the 3rd department of the GABTU ATU, I report the list of artillery systems that require tractors for towing. Currently, factories do not produce any tractors to tow them, and it is impossible to replace them with foreign made tractors, as they are too weak.
  1. 107 mm M-60 gun: 4300 kg
  2. 76 mm AA gun model 1931: 4970 kg
  3. 152 mm model 1910/34 gun: 7820 kg
  4. 122 mm model 1931 gun: 7800 kg
  5. 152 mm model 1937 gun: 7930 kg
  6. 203 mm model 1931 howitzer "B-4":  18150 kg (transported in pieces)
  7. 152 mm model 1937 gun "Br-2": 18345 kg (transported in pieces)
  8. 280 mm mortar "Br-5": 18420 kg (transported in pieces)
  9. 210 mm gun "Br-17": 20800 kg (transported in pieces)
  10. 305 mm howitzer "Br-18": 20800 kg (transported in pieces)
In order to tow these guns, the Red Army artillery branch (newly formed regiments, high power regiments, front artillery regiments) needs 3300 tractors.

Additionally, no tractors are being built to tow guns that weigh less than 3000 kg. Currently, foreign wheeled tractors are being used for this task that, naturally, cannot be a good replacement for an artillery tractor. 

6000 tractors are needed to towing guns that weigh less than 3 tons."

Here is how the guns were transported. The heavy Komintern tractor could take a B-4 all by itself.

But the lighter and weaker Kommunar needed help, either by attaching two tractors to one gun or towing it in two pieces. 


  1. that's a heavy AA gun

    1. AA guns were always very heavy. Take the German 88mm and British 3.7 inch for example, they weigh about 7-8 tonne. The Russian fared better, with their 85mm weighing 4.5 tonne.