Monday 29 June 2020

Christie's Payment

"June 15th, 1930

Directorate of Mechanization and Motorization

RE: Christie tanks

Amtorg informs us by telegraph that the Christie company reports 75% completion and thus requests a payment of 15,000 American dollars to be transferred to New York by the end of June.

Our inspector, comrade Lebedev, determined that the order is only 20% complete and informed the Christie company that we refuse to pay $15,000 until the vehicles are 75% complete.

Sunday 28 June 2020

Warspot Article: Study of the T-34-85 in the Korean War

Even though the US managed to obtain two T-34 tanks during WWII, they missed their chance to get a T-34-85. This was remedied during the Korean War. Even though the tank that was recovered was incomplete, it allowed the Americans to learn a lot about Soviet tank development. POW interrogations filled in the gaps on the tank's performance in battle.

Saturday 27 June 2020

Armour of Hitler's Satellite

In March of 1939 Slovakia was formed as a semi-independent nation. Its armed forces were formed from the shattered remains of the former Czechoslovakian army. They included an armoured force, although its size and potential were limited.

Thursday 25 June 2020

Shopping Trip

"To the Chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council of the USSR


In accordance with your instructions #01924 issued on December 10th I present to you my ideas about buying tanks from abroad. These ideas were discussed with comrades Uborevich, Khalepskiy, and Berzin.

Wednesday 24 June 2020


Back when I was active in the World of Tanks community, the idea that the D-25T gun could hit the broad side of a barn seemed bizarre and impossible to many. Documents suggesting otherwise elicited heated discussion, with many suggesting that this is anything from an outlier to a fabrication. Fortunately, these trials were commonly performed as a part of standard QA testing, and many similar results are available.

Tuesday 23 June 2020

Allied Tank Observation


The main observation devices of the MK-2 are observation slits and mirror periscopes.

A dual observation slit and a tilting all-round reversible periscope are available in front of the driver. In addition to the sights, the crew in the turret has a periscope. The commander's cupola has a periscope and an observation slit. The observation slits are not protected with glass. The driver has a celluloid shield to protect him from dirt. The periscopes are the standard rotating tilting type. The angles are given in figure 9.

Monday 22 June 2020

Video: BT-5 and BT-7

In this week's video I go over how the BT-5 and BT-7 designs evolved from the BT-2 and the identifying features of the last generation of fast Soviet tanks.

Saturday 20 June 2020

Courtesy Visit

The USSR was always interested in tank building abroad. This is not surprising, like in any tank building nation its designers wanted to keep up with the competition. Foreign tanks often appeared in the USSR. Some of them were trophies (those turned up in the late 1930s), others came willingly. Among them was a Czechoslovakian LT vz. 35, which left a mark on Soviet tank building in the late 1930s.

Friday 19 June 2020

Warspot Article: The Tank's Hidden Foe

On paper, the Panzerfaust is a terrifying weapon. It could penetrate up to 200 mm of armour, enough to knock out any Allied tank, and could be hidden in every basement, in every window, and around every corner. How effective was this weapon really, and what did Allied tankers do to protect themselves from it? I answer this question in my article on

Thursday 18 June 2020

HEAT and Tigers

"Experience using HEAT ammunition in the 305th Howitzer Artillery Regiment in the summer of 1944

The regiment only used HEAT in the summer of 1944 on August 30th near the city of Gorodisk, when engaging enemy tanks.

The optimal distance to fire HEAT is 400-600 meters. At 500 meters the front armour of a T-6 (Tiger) tank can be penetrated. At a range of 600 meters and more the front armour cannot be penetrated. If the turret is hit, it becomes jammed and the tank becomes unable to fight. The side armour of the T-6 tank can be penetrated from up to 800 meters, in this case the angle of impact needs to be large. At a range of 1000 meters it is only possible to fight Tiger tanks by firing at the tracks and the armament of the tank (the track can be destroyed at a range of up to 1200 meters). Firing at the Tiger's armour from over 1000 meters away is ineffective.

The front armour of a medium tank can be penetrated at 800-900 meters.

If the shell hits an APC from any distance, it will be disabled.

HEAT ammunition was not used to fire at fortifications.

To improve the shell, it is necessary to increase the muzzle velocity, which will increase its effective range.

Chief of Staff of the 305th Howitzer Artillery Regiment, Major Agamas
Assistant Chief of Staff of the 305th Howitzer Artillery Regiment, Guards Captain Kharitonov"

Wednesday 17 June 2020

Waste Not, Want Not

A number of defective hulls and turrets that were rejected by QA were still put to good use by the GABTU. The parts were rejected due to cracking, particularly around the welds, but the question of how cracks affected the performance of the armour remained. There was only one way to find out.

Tuesday 16 June 2020

85 mm Vertical Stabilizer

"To the Chief of the 2nd Department of the GAU Artillery Committee, Major General of the Artillery Engineering Service, comrade Komarov
Acting Chief of the 1st Department of the GAU, Engineer-Colonel comrade Yakunin

RE: progress of work on the experimental ZIS-S-54 guns

I report that factory #112 finished the installation of 4 ZIS-S-54 guns with gyroscopic stabilizers in the turrets of T-34 tanks and that they are currently going through the final tuning process, checking of the gyroscope, hydraulic pump, power circuit, and other components of the gun stabilizer.

The last 5th gun is currently being installed in the turret of a tank.

Monday 15 June 2020

Video: Did T-34 Prototypes See Battle?

It is often claimed that T-34 tank prototypes were tested in combat in the Winter War, and sometimes even in the Battle of Khalkin Gol. I explore whether or not this was possible and where the tanks were at the time of these conflicts in my latest video.

Sunday 14 June 2020

Warspot Article: The Longest Millimeter

The Sherman tank was superior to any other tank in North Africa when it made its debut in October of 1942, but such supremacy is rarely permanent. Improvement to its firepower in the form of a 76 mm gun was conceived in 1942, but it took until 1944 for mass production of tanks with 76 mm guns to begin. Read about the development of Sherman tanks with 76 mm guns and their evaluation in my article on

Saturday 13 June 2020

Stillborn Maus

The Pz.Kpfw. Maus is one of the most famous German tanks. It was the heaviest tank ever built in history. Opinions about the Maus tend to be extreme opposites, some believe that the Maus was the Wehrmacht's last hope, others say that it was the proverbial straw that broke the back of German industry.

As usual, the truth is somewhere in the middle. The Maus was unlikely to save Germany, but it would have been a nasty thorn in the side of the Allies if it ever reached the battlefield. German industry didn't need to apply any kind of heroic effort to produce it. However, the damage dealt to German industry was so severe that the Maus was impossible to produce by the fall of 1943.

Thursday 11 June 2020

Penal Company

371st Rifle Division
Personnel department
August 8th, 1942

To the Chief of Staff of the 30th ARmy
RE: #04/01114

I report that a penalty company could not be organized within the 371st Rifle Division due to a lack of personnel guilty of crimes against the Motherland. The tank units did not send anyone guilty of crimes against the Motherland either.

Chief of Staff, Lieutenant Colonel Sakayev
Staff Military Commissar, Battalion Commissar Popov"

Wednesday 10 June 2020

Tanker's Syllabus

Deputy Technical Commander of the 3rd Guards Tank Army, Guards Major General of the Tank Engineering Service, Solovyev
June 14th, 1945

Program for technical training of tank and SPG crews in the units and formations of the 3rd Guards Tank Army

Number of hours
Diagrams and materials
Tactical-technical characteristics and a brief description of the overall operation of tanks and SPGs
Brief user’s manuals of tanks and SPGs.
Operation of the engine, purpose and design of its components. Common issues, diagnosis and correction methods. Engine service.
Brief user’s manuals of tanks and SPGs, brief user’s manual for the V-2 engine, fuel system, lubrication system, and cooling system.

Tuesday 9 June 2020

Soviet Tank Observation

From "Observation from Modern Tanks"
Engineer-Major L.S. Tolokonnikov
Vestnik Tankovoy Promyshlennosti (Tank Industry Herald) 1944 #10

"Presently, tanks use simple observation devices
  1. Observation slits with protective glass and without.
  2. Mirror observation devices (periscopes).
  3. Commander's cupolas with observation slits or periscopes.
  4. Observation ports.
Optical (aside from sights) and mechanical observation devices are completely absent. until a new type of tank observation device is discovered, further improvement of observation from tanks, protection of the observer, and convenience of observation can only be increased by improving the design of existing devices, increasing their quality, positioning them more rationally, and improving their attachment inside the tank.

This article will examine only a portion of the issue, that is the position, amount, and observation angle of modern tanks, domestic, captured, and allied (25 in all).

Monday 8 June 2020

Video: Hunting Tigers, North Africa 1943

The Tiger was undoubtedly at the height of its power in early 1943, but could it still be defeated? I take a look at British weapons available at the time in North Africa and how effective they were against this new enemy.

Sunday 7 June 2020

An Intermediate Step

The road to a new tank often goes through a number of intermediate prototypes. The Germans took this road to the Tiger and Panther, the American Pershing also evolved in a similar fashion. Soviet tank building also followed this road. For instance, the KV-13 tanks may not have gone into battle but they served as a foundation for the IS-2, the best Soviet tank of the war. The T-43 tank was also such an intermediate step. This interesting tank fell victim to trials that dragged on and a rapid increase in tactical-technical requirements in the second half of 1943.

Thursday 4 June 2020

T-43 Wishlist

"Tactical-Technical Characteristics for a Medium Tank
November 9th, 1943

1. Overall characteristics
  1. Type: tracked, single turret
  2. Mass: 33-34 tons
  3. Crew: 4
  4. Armour: rolled, homogeneous, high hardness:
    1. Hull front: 90 mm
    2. Sides: 75 mm
    3. Rear: 60 mm
    4. Roof and floor: 20 mm
    5. Turret: 110 mm (cast front), 75 mm (rolled sides)

Wednesday 3 June 2020

Japanese Tank Destroyers

"Directions on tactical techniques and military misdirection used by the Japanese army and countermeasures against them
Tank destroyer groups

In all types of anti-tank defenses, the Japanese consider the most common and effective anti-tank weapon to be groups of suicide tank destroyers. Other techniques (anti-tank guns, tanks, anti-tank obstacles) are considered ineffective. In practice, tank on tank battles are rare and accidental.

In reality, this low effectiveness is explained by the insufficient amounts of tanks and artillery in the Japanese army.

Tuesday 2 June 2020

Common Questions: Sherman vs. Tiger

The topic of Sherman vs. Tiger is one of the most consistently popular ones that comes up during the discussion of WWII armoured warfare. Despite the years that have passed, such simple questions as "at what range can a Sherman penetrate the Tiger's armour" can get results ranging from "point blank" to "not at all". Many contemporary sources had much more optimistic evaluations, for instance the Americans estimated this range to be over 1000 yards (914 meters). Results of Soviet testing were much more conservative, ranging from 400 to 625 meters.

Monday 1 June 2020

Video: Christie Tanks and BT-2

My newest video is up! This time I take a look at how Christie came up with his revolutionary suspension, what exactly made it so good, and how his designs came to influence Soviet tanks.