Thursday 17 January 2019

Spring HEAT

"State Committee of Defense 
Decree #GOKO-1537ss issued on April 4th, 1942
Moscow, Kremlin

On armour-burning shells

To perfect armour-burning shells, perform the following:
  1. Order the NKV (comrade Vannikov) to produce 50 units of HEAT armour-burning shells  for the 76 mm regimental gun according to existing Artillery Committee and NII-6 blueprints within 10 days.
  2. Order the NKChM (comrade Tevtosyan) to issue 5 units each of 40 mm, 50 mm, and 60 mm armour plate for trials of the aforementioned shells.
  3. Order the GAU (comrade Yakovlev) to perform trials of the aforementioned shells against the plates and give conclusions within 5 days.
  4. Order the NKV (comrade Gamov) to organize a group within the NII-6 for the perfection of thermite type armour-burning shells, delivering the first results to the GOKO by May 5th, 1942.
    Include academic Semyenov (Academy of Sciences) and Professor Maksimenko (Leningrad Chemical Technology Institute) into the group.
  5. Order the NKVD (comrade Kravchenko) to supply a group of specialists that previously worked with armour-burning shells to participate in the NII-6 group.
Chair of the State Committee of Defense, I. Stalin"


  1. This is discussing shaped charge shells in the first part right?

    how on Earth was a thermite shell supposed to work as an armor penetrating weapon? Wouldn't the thermite just fall off?even if it burned a hole through, I'm not sure how much interior damage it could do.

    1. Soviet pre-war work on HEAT hit a dead end, so when tanks damaged by HEAT shells were examined the first thought wasn't that the Germans had HEAT that worked, it was that they were using special shells that burned through the armour like a thermite shells. Even after Soviet scientists figured out how HEAT worked they were still colloquially called "thermite shells".

    2. I don't know if this clears things up or not, but a Term of Art for HEAT rounds is Thermal Penetrator (As opposed to Kinetic Penetrators, like APC or Sabot), since their action is via the hot jet produced by the shaped charge.