Wednesday, 24 October 2018

T-50's Growing Pains

"To the People's Commissar of Medium Machinebuilding, comrade Malyshev

I report that the proving grounds trials of the experimental prototypes of the T-50 tank cannot be completed in the time set by your order #009ss issued on January 7th, 1941, because of the design defects discovered during the trials.

The main defects of the tank are as follows:
  1. Unsatisfactory lifespan of the track links (cracks in the eyes and breaking of the teeth). Track links start to show damage at 300-400 km.
  2. Weak design of the drive sprocket (destruction of the hub, increased wear, and cracks in the crown after 250-300 km).
  3. Destruction of the conical pair of gears and bending of the 3rd and 4th gear fork after 1500 km of travel.
  4. Insufficient rigidity of the floor (strong vibration and 11 mm sag) and sag in the turret platform.
  5. Armament and observation devices are not installed in accordance to the comments made by the model commission (new turret was not produced).
  6. Insufficient padding around observation devices (it's hard to see as they fill with snow).
  7. Electrical equipment installation is not thought out. This creates radio receiver noise and the electrical wiring is not protected from mechanical damage.
  8. The radio connectivity range is not worked out and telephone communication inside the tank is not worked out.
  9. It's difficult to shift from 2nd to 3rd gear.
  10. The oil temperature in the gearbox is hot (100-115 degrees C with outside temperature of -15-19 degrees).
During the trials, the commission presented the factory with a list of defects that need to be corrected before the end of proving grounds trials. The factory took measures to correct the defects, but the deadlines are not being met.

Based on the above, I ask you to:
  1. Order the factory to correct all design defects discovered during mobility trials by February 10th of this year and present a new type of turret for ballistics trials between February 10th and [cut off]
  2. Increase the length of trials to 2500 km to thoroughly check the work of every component of the transmission and suspension after introduction of changes.
  3. Extend the commission's deadline to February 15th to complete trials and finish testing means of communication.
Deputy Chief of the Main Auto-Armour Directorate, Major-General of the Technical Forces, Lebedev."

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