Monday 28 September 2020

Experiments in Tankograd

"People's Commissariat of Tank Production
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.

A heavy tank and engine experimental production center is most reasonably built in Chelyabinsk, at the Kirov factory, as the leading factory of the Ural heavy tank production conglomerate. It has existing production as well as metallurgical and machining tools.

Experience shows that rapid implementation of experimental designs in production plants, especially improvement work, is either completely impossible or throws off an organized production cycle and disorganizes it.

The presence of a special base for experimental work gives the possibility of quickly building, assembling, and iterating designs of experimental components, vehicles, and engines without interfering with mass production and only minor use of production plants.

An organic link between the experimental design department and a large production facility like the Kirov factory allows factory plants to prepare for pilot production of tanks and engines, which will inevitably be built at this factory, even while the design is still being completed.

Presently, the most urgent goals in development of heavy tanks are the supercharging of the engine, and improving mobility of the KV and T-34, which will require the creation of new transmissions and partially the running gear, development of cooling systems, controls, etc. Work to improve the tanks' armament must also continue nonstop.

In addition, there is an urgent need to continue work on many parts and assemblies used in production tanks, especially with the aim of removing deficit materials, reducing production time, reducing complexity, and improving performance. This is necessary to meet the increasing demand for combat vehicles built at Ural factories.

Based on the above, I ask you to:
  1. Allow the Kirov factory to create a central experimental design department of the People's Commissariat of Tank Production that specializes in heavy and medium tanks as well as engines for them.
    Base the department on designers from the Kirov factory. Consider design bureaus at UZTM, factories #183 and #76 as subsidiaries of the design department. Establish the fact that the experimental design department also services mass production of the aforementioned factories through their special design groups.
  2. Establish the Kharkov Machine Tools Factory on the unused territory of the Red Proletarian factory and MKh-2 plant, handing over the former ChTZ Experimental Plant to the experimental design department, equip it with 120-150 machine tools and perform other necessary work.
  3. Build the following on the territory of the former ChTZ Experimental Plant:
    1. A hangar for assembly of experimental tanks, 1000 square meters in size.
    2. Two test stands for engines.
    3. A building for test stands and laboratories, 1000 square meters in size.
    4. A storage area for a museum that would include experimental tanks and engines, tanks removed from production, and foreign tanks.
In addition, establish a tank proving grounds for trials of experimental vehicles.

Given the extreme importance of new tank designs to the processes of creation of new tanks for the Red Army and development of qualified engineers and designers, tankers and motorists, I ask you to resolve the issues I raised positively.

Deputy People's Commissar of Tank Production of the USSR, Major-General of the Technical Forces, Zh. Kotin"

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