Wednesday 28 February 2018

Five Years of Blogging

In my update a year ago, I promised something big by my fifth blogging anniversary. I'm happy to report on not just one, but two notable milestones!

The first, and probably most significant, is moving from online to paper. My translations have been published before, but this year saw the release of my first completely original work being printed. In addition to that, I started writing articles for the Russian military history website Warspot, which many of you will recognize as the source of many translations on this blog. So far I'm writing at a rate of about one article per month, but that might increase in the future. Articles about British and American evaluations of German armour seem to be most popular so far, with an analysis of the King Tiger sitting at nearly 20,000 views, the Panther at over 12,000 views, and the Tiger at nearly 10,000. Articles on Sherman tanks are proving to be quite popular as well, with the Sherman V and M4A1(76)W sitting at over 7,000 each, despite being significantly more recent. Canadian subject matter is proving to be less popular, with the Valentine VII falling short of 7,000 views and the Ram at under 5,000.

Unfortunately for my English speaking readers, all of these articles are in Russian. Currently, The Armor Journal has first dibs on the English versions, but the articles will be posted here some time after they are published. 

Another new feature (or so old it's new again) is my Twitter, which is slowly but surely gaining followers at an average rate of one per day (give or take). 

Now, for the stats you're used to. I'm up to 1687 published articles (up from 1381), and 3,039,948 views (up from 2,161,945). Google Analytics congratulated me on a record high number of unique users for the month of January. It's great to see how my readership is growing!

The demographics haven't changed much. The US preserves its lead, but the UK broke away from Germany, setting second and third place pretty steadily. Russia, Canada, Poland, and France keep their positions. Finland has a fair lead on Austria for eighth place, and the tenth place now belongs to Spain instead of South Korea. 

Aside from that, a few more book citations, a handful of new archive sources, and an upcoming appearance in a podcast, so if you just can't get enough of Tank Archives, there's plenty of content to look forward to. Thank you for five wonderful years!

Tuesday 27 February 2018

Aircraft Costs

"Prime cost of important products of the People's Commissariat of Aircraft Production

Prime in thousands cost during
% change in May
June 1941
1st quarter 1942
May 1942
Compared to June 1941
Compared to 1st quarter 1942



Monday 26 February 2018

SU-152 in Combat

"1836th Heavy Self Propelled Artillery Regiment

The 1838th Guards Heavy Self Propelled Artillery Regiment participated in offensive and defensive combat.

In offensive combat, the regiment fought among the tanks and behind them, destroying Tiger tanks and Ferdinand SPGs in counterattacks and ambushes, as well as enemy fortifications and dugouts.

In defensive combat, the regiment fought from ambushes, by the battery, positioned in locations of likely enemy tank attacks. Ambushes and maneuvers ensured that enemy tanks and SPGs were destroyed while SU-152s remained invulnerable.

Saturday 24 February 2018

An Alternative from Gorky

The history of Soviet light SPGs is inseparable from the city of Gorky, modern day Nizhniy Novgorod. Guns installed on Soviet light SPGs were developed and built here. The ZIS-30, the first Soviet wartime light SPG, was also created here. Gorky housed the main manufacturing base of T-60 and T-70 tanks, which were used as SPG chassis. It's not surprising that the design bureau of the Molotov GAZ factory eventually switched to building SPGs. The GAZ-71 and GAZ-72 SPGs might have become the main light SPGs of the Red Army.

Friday 23 February 2018

Intermediate Cartridge

December 25th, 1941
Chebarkul, Chelyabinsk oblast

We, the undersigned, Chief of the 1st Department of the NIPSVO, Military Engineer 1st Class R.A. Kulinich, Chief of the Design Department, Intendant 1st Class V.F. Kuzmischev, and an engineer of the Design Department, Military Technician 1st Class Yermolenko, compose this act to certify that the NIPSVO Design Department worked  on a 5.6 mm semiautomatic rifle according to GAU project #380.

Wednesday 21 February 2018


"From March 26th to April 1st, 1942

There is no change in the [123rd] brigade's location. Training continues. Tank companies are working on exercise 4 of the KOP-38 manual.

Between March 26th and March 28th, the brigade Staff, commanders, and company commissars participated in communications, chemical, and small arms training: exercise 2 of the KOP-38 with personal weapons.

Tuesday 20 February 2018

45 mm Tank Destroyer

"Attachment #3 to GOKO decree #2429ss
October 19th, 1942

Tactical-technical characteristics for a 45 mm SPG

1. Purpose of the SPG

The 45 mm SPG is designed to function as a weapon in tank destroyer regiments and in anti-tank batteries of moto-mechanized units to combat enemy infantry and tanks.

Monday 19 February 2018

Shermans in the Mud

Few people interested in WWII armoured warfare haven't seen this video depicting Swedish trials of a Sherman, a Churchill, and a Panther in difficult off-road conditions. Many people, after having seen this video, readily claim that the Sherman had inferior off-road mobility to the Panther. Certainly, it's hard to argue with the video, but there is a caveat. There were many different kinds of Shermans, and the video only tests one of them. I thought I'd take a look at some trials performed by the Western Allies in Europe to see if they arrived at the same results.

Saturday 17 February 2018

British Prime Minister in the USSR

Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister, visited Moscow in August of 1942. However, a Churchill arrived a month prior to that in another Soviet city, Archangelsk, with the PQ-17 caravan, and not just one. These, of course, were Churchill II and III infantry tanks. 301 tanks of this type were sent to the USSR, 253 of which arrived at their destination. Despite a rather small volume of shipments, the prime minister's namesake played an important role on the battlefields of the Great Patriotic War. Suffice it to say that these tanks, along with the KV-1S, were the primary heavy tanks of the Red Army during the Battle for Prokhorovka.

Thursday 15 February 2018

AK Accessories

The accuracy of an automatic weapon is important, and many experiments were run on the AK platform to figure out if it can be increased. A number of experimental muzzle devices were built for this purpose. _tezka provided this picture.

Left to right: similar to stock type, brake-compensator, two chamber, flash suppressor, single chamber, reactive.

Wednesday 14 February 2018

Birth of the SU-152

"State Committee of Defense decree #2883ss
February 14th, 1943
Moscow, Kremlin

On the production of SU-14 SPGs, KV-1S tanks, and armoured hulls for them in February and March of 1943

In order to satisfy SU-14 production requirements set by GOKO decree #2859ss issued on February 9th, 1943, as well as to ensure production in March, the State Committee of Defense decrees that:

Tuesday 13 February 2018

Nashorn Notes

"On firing positions for 88 mm SPGs (Nashorn, formerly Hornisse)
  1. During use of self propelled anti-tank guns, it is important to perform thorough reconnaissance (preferably on foot). Frequently, the neighbouring section of the front turns out to have more favourable conditions for firing and ambush positions. In that case, the commander of the anti-tank unit must apply them in the neighbouring sector, and not in his own. The specifics of this weapon require certain flexibility in its use. The only important thing is that it must function as effectively as possible.

Monday 12 February 2018

DP in Combat

"To the commander of the 74th Rifle Corps

The use of the DP in modern battle
  1. In all types of combat, the DP light machinegun was and remains the main automatic weapon of the infantry squad.
    1. During penetration of enemy defenses, the crew, following in the squad formation, can quickly prepare for battle and conceal itself and then open massed fire against enemy strongholds that are preventing the squad from advancing.
    2. When blocking and liquidating bunkers and dugouts, the effective long range fire and rapid maneuver of the DP crew on the battlefield makes it the most effective weapon of an infantry squad.
    3. When reinforcing a captured line, as well as when deflecting enemy counterattacks, the DP crew can quickly prepare for battle and open sufficiently powerful fire, while heavy machineguns and other types of heavy infantry weapons are not available at the squad level.
    4. When pursuing the enemy, the DP crew is always prepared to open fire.
    5. In the defense, the sufficient range and the ability to stealthily change positions ensures the successful deflection of the enemy.
    6. When clearing enemy trenches during an offensive and during reconnaissance, the submachinegun is more effective.

Saturday 10 February 2018

Overweight Showpiece

Dead ends in tank building are not uncommon. They are often caused by militaries who cannot make up their mind about requirements for prospective armoured vehicles. The end result is a tank that has many of its parameters far out of the initially planned range. The Americans were no exception to this rule. One such vehicle, the Medium Tank M7, was even standardized. This tank was designed as a light tank, but accepted into service as a medium.

Thursday 8 February 2018

AK-74 Ballistic Tables

"Characteristics of dispersion for Kalashnikov assault rifles (AK-74 and AKS-74)
Bullet with a steel core
Shooting in short bursts, while prone"

Wednesday 7 February 2018

ISO: G41(W)

"To the Chief of Staff of the 53rd Rifle Corps
RE: #0151 January 19th, 1944

The new type of German Walther self-loading rifle has not been picked up by the 1312 Rifle Regiment trophy team, and none of the personnel use this weapon. Search for it in other units continues.

Divisional Chief of Staff, Colonel Mukanin."

Tuesday 6 February 2018

Improved ZIS-30

"Tactical-technical requirements for the design of anti-tank artillery

1. The main purpose of anti-tank artillery is the escort of armoured units, combat against enemy tanks, enemy anti-tank artillery, and suppression of machinegun strongholds (nests) during an offensive with infantry or tank riders.

2. The anti-tank SPG must satisfy the following requirements:

Monday 5 February 2018

Ferdinand Intel

"Report on new types of tanks and SPGs based on POW interrogations and intelligence reports as of July 20th, 1943

1) Ferdinand SPG
  1. Mass: 67 tons
  2. Crew: 6
  3. Hull length without gun: 7 meters
  4. Height: 3 meters
  5. Width: 3.5 meters
  6. Track width: 0.75 meters
  7. Clearance: 0.5 meters

Sunday 4 February 2018

Don't Leave Well Enough Alone

On March 25th, 1936, the French cavalry accepted the Automitrailleuse de Combat modèle 1935 S into service. More commonly known as the SOMUA S 35, this tank was officially classified as an armoured car, but turned out to be one of the best French tanks of the interbellum period. It combined sufficiently thick armour, powerful armament, and decent mobility. Despite its respectable characteristics, work to replace the tank began in the late 1930s. This decision appears rather logical, as the development of armoured vehicles was moving very quickly. This article will discuss the history of the SOMUA S 40, the prospective replacement for the S 35 that nearly made it into production. Alternatives to this tank designed during German occupation will also be mentioned.

Friday 2 February 2018

Sturmgewehr Intel

Some of you may have wondered when the Soviets noticed that the Sturmgewehr has joined the arsenal of German infantry. Wonder no more! Via kris-reid:

"To the People's Commissar of Defense, Marshal of the Soviet Union, comrade I.V. Stalin:

Since the Spring of this year, forces of the Kalinin, and then Volkhov and Leningrad Fronts have captured, among other weapons, several specimens of new German automatic 7.92 mm carbines, which are a new type of infantry weapon that has not been previously used by the Germans in large amounts until recently."