Saturday 30 May 2020

T-43, Take One

Factory #183 in Kharkov worked on the T-34M medium tank in the first half of 1941. This tank was supposed to replace the T-34 in the second half of 1941. The start of the Great Patriotic War forced the plans to modernize the T-34 to be corrected. Only a handful of components migrated to the production T-34 from the T-34M. The issue of modernization was revisited in the spring of 1942. Unlike the T-34M, the tank called T-43 was built in metal and its development continued for over a year. This article covers the work performed on the T-43 tank in 1942.

Thursday 28 May 2020

Christie Price List

"Minutes of the discussion between comrades Khalepskiy, Gobar, and mister Christie
  1. Christie only produces one type of tank and wishes to elaborate on interest in "the type of tank that you produce for sale to the US Army and abroad".
  2. No tanks are currently runners. The old one was taken apart, the new one is being assembled. The new one is similar to the old one with improvements.

Wednesday 27 May 2020

Object 704

"To GBTU TU chief, Engineer-Colonel comrade Blagonravov

I report that the Kirov factory design bureau is completing the development of an SPG on the chassis of the Kirovets-1 tank.

The hull is characterized by the following:
  • Lower front plate: 120 mm at 55 degrees
  • Cheek plates: 120 mm at 50 degrees
  • Upper side plates: 90 mm at 45 degrees
  • Upper rear plate: 60 mm at 40 degrees
  • Lower side plates: 75  mm at 60 degrees
  • Vertical side plates: 90 mm
  • Floor and roof: 20 mm

Tuesday 26 May 2020

76 mm vs T-34

Even though the T-34 was not designed to withstand 76 mm AP shells, trials with various kinds of 76 mm ammunition were still included in the tests of defective hulls and turrets.

"d) Firing 76 mm type 2-03545 armour piercing shells

Trials of the 2-03545 shell, accepted into service, are shown in table 11 and on figure 50. The table shows data for two different hulls: shots 21-24 and 155-168 were fired at the first hull, shots 48-58, 113-125, 140-146, and 149 were fired at the second hull.

Monday 25 May 2020

Video: Sherman Reliability

A new video is up! This time I answer a Reddit user's question: how reliable was the Sherman tank? As you can imagine, it's not a trivial question to answer, especially due to the wide variety of Shermans that were made.

Saturday 23 May 2020

Pre-War Potential

As worldwide tank building practice shows, it takes about five years to develop a new tank in peace time from the development of the requirements to the final product. The tank often changes significantly between envisioning and production, as happened with the T-34. The initial requirements for the BT-20 tank composed in mid-October of 1937 described a convertible drive tank weighing 13-14 tons with 20-25 mm of armour and armed with a 45 mm gun or 76 mm L-10 gun. Three years later, the tank that went into production was fully tracked, weighed 25.6 tons, had an L-11 gun and 45 mm thick armour.

The mass grew gradually during development along with the improvement of the tank's characteristics. However, the T-34 was supposed to change significantly by the summer of 1941. This T-34M was the result of changing requirements. The start of the Great Patriotic War got in the way of developing even a prototype, but the T-34M became the starting point for a whole series of tanks and had an effect on the production T-34.

Thursday 21 May 2020

Next Generation Light SPG

The SU-76 was off to a rocky start in early 1943, and was eventually replaced in production by the more reliable SU-76M. Meanwhile, there was another SPG that could have possibly replaced it, had the stars aligned:

Wednesday 20 May 2020

Emcha Condition

Commander of the 1st Krasnograd Mechanized Corps
Guards Lieutenant General of the Tank Forces, Krivoshein

On the technical condition of tanks arriving from repair factories #382, 97, 137 (12 M4A2, 30 MK-9) after refurbishment for equipment of the units of the 1st Krasnograd Mechanized Corps

Tuesday 19 May 2020

Cast vs Rolled

The question of cast vs rolled armour is often encountered in specialist literature. It is typically accepted that cast armour needs to be about 10% thicker to provide the same resistance as rolled armour. This was the case with T-34 turrets: cast ones had a nominal thickness of 52 mm, turrets welded from rolled armour had a thickness of 45 mm. However, trials were held in late 1940 to confirm this theory. Defective hulls and turrets rejected by QA were used.

Results of trials with different types of shells were compared to determine the limit of partial penetration (PTP) and limit of complete penetration (PSP) in meters per second.

Monday 18 May 2020

Soviet Tank History: T-35

Another video is up. This time I'm taking a look at pre-war heavy tank development in the USSR and some tanks that could have been accepted into service instead of the T-35, as well as what aspects of the T-35's design migrated onto later Soviet heavy tanks.

Saturday 16 May 2020

T-26 as a Minesweeper

As armoured vehicles were built and improved, methods to combat them appeared as well. The race was only between shells and armour at first, but anti-tank mines appeared soon after. They could be used not only against tanks, but against other vehicles, and it was not necessary to completely destroy a vehicle, as a disabled tank was a perfect target for artillery. One of the countermeasures to this weapon was a mine detector installed on the tank. However, it was not that simple to implement this idea.

Friday 15 May 2020

More Tank Archives

Some of you may have noticed that there's a new link in the sidebar of this blog. Now that all the setup is complete, I would like to officially introduce the Tank Archives Facebook page!

Fans of the blog shouldn't worry, this page isn't going to replace my updates this site, but is going to function similarly to the Twitter account. Expect to see larger "on this day" style posts, photo albums with historical and modern photographs of armoured vehicles, links to my latest videos, and much more. 

Thursday 14 May 2020

Study Guide

Deputy Commander of the 2nd Tank Army
Major-General of the Engineering Tank Service
September 9th, 1944

Directions for planning combat training of tank commanders and tank drivers

Due to insufficient training of tank commanders and drivers arriving in marching companies on issues of service, usage, and driving of tanks, especially in forested, swampy, or sandy terrain, the repair and usage department of the [illegible] considers it necessary to organize technical training for newly arriving commanders and drivers over the course of 20 days, a total of 80 hours.

Tuesday 12 May 2020

Sherman Rammer

"Award Order
  1. Astakhov, Vladimir Mikhailovich
  2. Rank: Guards Sergeant
  3. Position: Mechanic-driver of the 84th Guards Tank Regiment, 30th Guards Mechanized Brigade, 9th Guards Mechanized Corps
    is nominated for the Order of the Red Banner.

King Tiger Penetration Trials

Results of investigation of the T-6-B (King Tiger) tank to discover weak spots and penetration, carried out on September 2nd, 1944, near the city of Staszow (Poland) by a commission composed of:
  1. Chair: 
    1. Commander of Artillery of the 5th Guards Army, Guards Major General of Artillery V.I. Poluekov
  2. Members:
    1. Commander of the 31st Guards Rifle Corps, Hero of the Soviet Union, Guards Lieutenant General Rodimtsev
    2. Commander of the 155th Novorossiysk Army Cannon Artillery Brigade, Colonel M.A. Tarasov
    3. Commander of the 10th Tank Destroyer Brigade, Lieutenant Colonel Bazirenko
    4. Commander of the 31st Tank Corps, Guards Colonel Pleshanov
The results are composed into the following table:

Monday 11 May 2020

Soviet Tank History: T-26

The feedback has been good so far, and so I prepared another video, this time on the T-26. Let me know what you think!

Saturday 9 May 2020

A Captured Chassis

The overall concept of Soviet SPGs was fixed by the start of 1943. The light SU-12 (SU-76) and medium SU-35 (SU-122) were already in production, and work on the heavy KV-14 (SU-152) began in early January. Another, fourth SPG appeared in the spring. Its mass put it in the medium class, but its armament was more appropriate for the light. It was also based on a foreign chassis. This was the SU-76I, an unusual vehicle for Soviet tank building.

Friday 8 May 2020

Book Sale

Morton's is having a sale of their back issues on Pocketmags. In addition to other titles from their military history series, the digital version of my book can be had at a steep discount for just $0.99 (or similar in your local currency). If you don't have a copy yet, this is the perfect time to get one:

Thursday 7 May 2020

Heroic Tractor Driver

"Award Order
  1. Name: Tikhonov, Ivan Gerasimovich
  2. Rank: Guards Red Armyman
  3. Position and unit: assistant tractor driver of the 88th Order of the Red Star Army Evacuation Company of the 6th Guards Tank Army
    is nominated for the Order of the Patriotic War 2nd Class.

Wednesday 6 May 2020

Video: Russian Renault and MS-1

Now that my latest book is off to the publisher and I have some more free time, I decided to experiment a little and put my YouTube channel to good use. Enjoy!

Tuesday 5 May 2020

IS-6 Drama

"To GBTU representative, Engineer-Lieutenant Colonel comrade Markin

Having taken the post of the GBTU TU representative at factory #100 in April of 1944, I already reported that my work at the factory is made difficult because of the fact that the factory is hiding experimental work from me, which has now resumed at the factory. At first, this secrecy was obtained by organizing a special room, which only comrade Kotin and a short list of other people were permitted to enter. I was not included in this list (at the time, the design of the IS-6 tank was being kept secret from me).

Monday 4 May 2020

Lend Lease Review

"Brief Report on combat experience of tanks of the 252nd Tank Regiment of the 45th Dniester Mechanized Brigade of the 5th Mechanized Corps from December 1943 to present time

The 252nd Tank Regiment was equipped with American M4A2 tanks and British Mk.9 tanks. The following positive and negative qualities of the tanks and crews were observed:
  1. During long marches in spring mud the weakest link of the M4A2 was the main clutch. For instance: after a 200-250 km march 3 tanks broke down due to burning out of the main clutch and 4 tanks due to breakage of the main clutch casing. During a 130 km march on paved roads 2 tanks went out of action due to breakage of the track link joints.

Saturday 2 May 2020

High Caliber Convertibles

History often repeats itself. This well known fact is often confirmed in tank building. For instance, Soviet SPGs, especially heavy ones like the SU-14, were created in order to mechanize artillery. The requirements changed during the process of their creation. The Red Army was in need of an assault gun that was capable of direct fire and had shell-proof armour. The 212 SPG and subsequent vehicles were designed according to this concept. Work resulted in the creation of the SU-152. However, one day the Red Army once more found itself in need of a self propelled gun with an open fighting compartment equipped with a 203 mm B-4 gun.