Monday, 19 October 2020

Just Add Armour

 The caleidoscope of various vehicles based on the Heavy Tank T26E3 shows how difficult the situation was with American heavy tanks. The T26E3 was really a medium tank, especially when it came to armour. Several variants were developed to make it into a true heavy, from installing more powerful armament to a thorough modernization that resulted in the Heavy Tank T32. The simplest variant was the Heavy Tank T26E5 where the designers decided to limit themselves to thickening the tank's armour.

Friday, 16 October 2020

Warspot Article: Sherman Jumbo

 In early 1944 the Americans decided to build a heavily armoured assault tank based on the Sherman. Instead of reviving the disappointing T14 built for the British, they simply added more armout to the M4A3 chassis. The resulting tank was indexed M4A3E2 and is more commonly known as the Sherman Jumbo. It was enthusiastically received by troops, but only 250 were built. Read more about this tank in my latest article on Warspot.net.



Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Tanker's Oath

"A Socialist Obligation of soldiers, commanders, and political workers of the 1st Tank Battalion, 100th Tank Brigade

To the People's Commissar of Tank Production, comrade V.A. Malyshev

We, the soldiers, commanders, and political workers, take on the following obligations based on the directions given to us by you when you visited our battalion to take care of our vehicles with love, strike the fascists without mercy, and fight for the Guards brigade. We swear to:
  1. Carry out comrade Stalin's order #100 with honour. We will study our weapons to perfection, master the art of war, strike the fascist invaders until their annihilation.
  2. We will fight such that every crew is granted the high government honour of the Order of the Patriotic War.
  3. We will always keep our menacing tanks in full fighting order. In maintaining our expensive vehicles we swear to keep the engine running for 200 hours before medium repairs.
  4. Each T-34 crew swears to destroy at least 5 German tanks on the front lines of the Patriotic War and to receive a T-34 tank as a gift from you for every 5 German tanks destroyed.
  5. We swear to mercilessly defeat the fascist beasts in battle, to destroy their vehicles, to fight for the Guards brigade, and to honourably execute comrade Stalin's order to defeat the German fascists in 1942.
Death to German occupants!
This obligation is unanimously approved at the meeting of the 1st Tank Battalion, 100th Tank Brigade on June 9th, 1942.

Signed:
[signatures]"

Monday, 12 October 2020

The British Way: Boys and PIAT

In WWI the British created a new type of armoured vehicle: the tank. Very little attention was dedicated to the issue of anti-tank defense, as the Germans had very few analogous vehicles. However, in the interbellum period it became clear that the British infantry will have to face an enemy with a large amount of tanks, and so the issue had to be resolved.

Friday, 9 October 2020

PIAT Gunner

 "Award Order

  1. Name: Novikov, Gennadiy Vasilyevich
  2. Rank: yefreitor
  3. Position, unit: rocket gunner of the 252nd Independent Special Purpose Motorized Battalion
    is nominated for the Order of the Red Star.
  4. Year of birth: 1926
  5. Nationality: Russian
  6. Party affiliation: VLKSM
  7. Participation in the Civil War, subsequent fighting in defense of the USSR, Patriotic War: none
  8. Wounds or contusions in the Patriotic War: none
  9. In the Red Army since: August 1943
  10. Recruited by: Komsomolsk recruitment office, Ivanovo oblast
Brief and specific description of personal heroism or achievements: in the fighting from the city of Akkerman to the city of Bucharest comrade Novikov demonstrated his bravery and courage. Specifically, he destroyed 2 German tanks, 1 APC, three trucks of ammunition, and killed 12 Germans.

Commander of the 252nd OMB [signature]"

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

PIAT Review

A limited number of PIAT anti-tank grenade launchers were shipped to the USSR in 1944, but it was unclear if any of the weapons ever made it to the front line. Turns out they have, although they name they were given by Soviet troops makes tracing their path difficult. However, these weapons were found in one unit: the 252nd Independent Special Purpose Motorized Battalion. On December 2nd, 1944, the battalion reports 18 "rocket powered guns" in its possession. The battalion fought from August of 1944 to to May 9th 1945 and had little good to say about its weapons.

Monday, 5 October 2020

Big Anti-Tank Feline

 The Jagdpanther is one of the most famous German tank destroyers of WW2. Even though it was built on the chassis of the medium Panther tank, it's classified as a heavy tank destroyer. Many consider it the best German tank destroyer. The Jagdpanther combined good mobility, high protection, a powerful gun, and it had defensive armament, which is important for a tank destroyer. However, its influence is often overestimated. The vehicle was only available in large numbers by late 1944 and arrived on the Eastern Front only in January of 1945. The way these tank destroyers were used was often different from the original intention and this impacted its usefulness. Finally, the vehicle was far from the most reliable.

Friday, 2 October 2020

Video: When is the T-34 a Tank Destroyer?

A new video is up! This is a second video on my series on Soviet tank destroyers. This time I take a look at what exactly defines a tank destroyer and dispel some myths about the elusive T-34 tank armed with the 57 mm ZIS-4 gun.

You'll be pleased to know that I bought a new microphone and the quality of the audio increased dramatically since my previous recordings.


 

Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Tank Brigade Experience

"To Deputy People's Commissar of Defense, Lieutenant General Fedorenko

Experience in battle, especially the experience of the [91st Tank] Brigade between August 21st and 29th, 1942, shows that the KV tank lost its advantage over the T-34 in protection, as the same caliber of gun can penetrate both the KV and T-34. The KV has a significantly different weight and dimensions than the T-34, is less maneuverable, and is thus inferior to the T-34.

Monday, 28 September 2020

Experiments in Tankograd

"People's Commissariat of Tank Production
#1041s
February 9th, 1942

To the Deputy Chair of the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR, People's Commissar of Tank Production, V.A. Malyshev

The creation and deployment of a powerful heavy tank production center in the Urals requires the rapid organization of a design center based on the concentration of tank and engine designers already gathered here and a special experimental production base that has yet to be created.

Saturday, 26 September 2020

Bug with a Big Caliber

Germany was a leader in self propelled artillery at the start of WWII. Approaching the idea of motorized artillery from a new angle, they ended up with a wide spectrum of SPGs by the middle of the war. This also applied to self propelled howitzers, which were first used in France in 1940. Truly mass produced SPHes entered service closer to mid-1943. These were the Grille (Grasshopper), the best SPG series with the 149 mm sIG 33 howitzer.

Thursday, 24 September 2020

T-34 Variants

"Tactical-technical requirements for the T-34 "SU-34" SPG

T-34 (mass production)
T-34 lightened (SPG)
T-34 thickened
T-34M lightened (SPG)
Mass (tons)
27.5
23.5-24
25.5
28-28.5
19-20
Armament*
76 mm or 57 mm gun
85 mm gun**
57, 76, or 85 mm gun
57, 76, or 85 mm gun
Ammunition
77 rounds for the 76 mm gun

85 rounds for the 57 mm gun
45-50 rounds for the 85 mm gun
107 rounds for the 76 mm gun

110 rounds for the 57 mm gun

65-70 rounds for the 85 mm gun
Same
65-70 rounds for the 85 mm gun
Crew
4
4
5
5
5
Armour





Front
45
25-30
45
60
30
Side
45
25-30
45
60
25-30
Roof
13-16
16
20
30
16
Floor
13-16
10
20
30
16
Turret
45
25
45
60
25
All other characteristics of the tanks are the same.

* All tanks also have a machine gun for self defense.
** 85 mm gun without a turret with a limited traverse of +/-15 degrees.

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Panther Penetration

"Maximum penetration at which the armour of the German Panther tank is destroyed
Composed according to experimental firing data.

System
Ammunition type
Maximum distance in meters at which penetration was achieved  during experimental firing
Effect
Front armour
Side armour
Upper sloped plate (90 mm)
Lower sloped plate (50-65 mm)
Gun mantlet (100 mm cast)
Turret side (45-50 mm)
Upper side (45-50 mm)
Lower side (45 mm)
45 mm gun mod. 1942
APT BR-240
-
-
-
400
300
400
Complete penetration of the turret and hull side armour.

APIT BZR-240
-
-
-
400
300
400
APCR BR-240P
-
-
-
400
300
400
57 mm gun mod. 1941
APT BR-271
-
-
-
1200
1200
1200
APIT BZR-271
-
-
-
1000
1000
1000
APT BR-271 SP
-
-
-
1200
1200
1200
APCR BR-271P
-
-
-
1200
1200
1200
76 mm regimental gun mod. 1927
HEAT BP-354A
-
-
-
600
600
600
Complete penetration of the sloped turret armour.
76 mm regimental gun mod. 1943
HEAT BP-344A
-
-
-
600
600
600
76 mm ZIS-3 mod. 1942
APT BR-350
300
300
-
1200
1200
1200
Penetrates the turret and the side of the hull.
APCR BR-350P
300
300
-
1200
1200
1200
HEAT BP-350
300
300
-
1200
1200
1200
SU-76
APIT BZR-354
300
300
-
1200
1200
1200
APCR BR-354P
300
300
-
1200
1200
1200
SU-85
APT BR-365
1000
1000
1000
1500
1500
1500
Complete penetration of various parts of the hull.
APT BR-365 SP
1000
1000
1000
1500
1500
1500
122 mm gun mod. 1938
HEAT BP-463
800
800
800
1000
1000
1000
Penetrates armour and detonate the ammunition.
KV-122
APT
1200
1200
1200
1500
1500
1500
A shot to the front destroys the tank.
152 mm gun mod. 1937
AP BP-545
800 m and closer
The front armour is penetrated.
Confirmed: Authorized representative of the Operational Department of Artillery of the 1st Belorussian Front, Colonel Levit
Confirmed: Colonel Utin"