Tuesday 1 September 2020

Radios for All

"Order of the People's Commissar of Tank Production of the USSR #447
July 28th, 1943

Presently, only 50% of T-34 tanks are equipped with radio receivers and transmitters. This reduces their combat qualities and makes controlling tanks in battle difficult.

To increase the combat qualities of T-34 tanks,  I order that:
  1. Directors of factories #112 (comrade Rubinchik), #174 (comrade Zadorozhniy), and UZTM (comrade Muzrukov) must install 9-R radio receivers and transmitters on all T-34 tanks as of August 20th, 1943.
  2. Director of the Kirov factory (comrade Zaltsmann) must install imported #19* radio receivers and transmitters on all T-34 tanks as of August 25th, 1943.
  3. Director of factory #183 (comrade Maksarev) must install 9-R radio receivers and transmitters on 50% of T-34 tanks and "Malyutka T" radio receivers on the rest.
  4. The chief of the NKTP GURT (comrade Goreglyad) must equip 50% of all refurbished T-34 tanks with 9-R radio receivers and transmitters as of September 1st, 1943.
  5. Directors of Kirov factory, UZTM, factories #112 and #174 must send all "Malyutka T" receivers to factory #183 within three days and also redirect any "Malyutka T" radio receivers that arrive at a later date.
  6. The Chief of Central Supply (comrade Rozin) must send all "Malyutka T" radios only to factory #183 from now on and all imported #19* radios to the Kirov factory.
  7. The Chief of Central Supply (comrade Rozin) must provide a revised plan of supplying 9-R radios allocated for the 3rd quarter of 1943 in accordance with items 1, 2, 3, and 4 within 24 hours. After approval, immediately change the distribution of radios in accordance with the new plan. Provide for timely production and delivery to all factories.
  8. Directors of all aforementioned factories must ensure production of whip antennae sufficient to equip 100% of all tanks and SPGs with radios.
  9. Director of factory #183 (comrade Maksarev) must ensure sufficient production of ASh antennas to not only satisfy the needs of factory #183 but also for equipment of SPGs produced at factory #38 and T-34 tanks repaired by the GURT.
  10. Director of Kirov factory (comrade Zaltsmann) must ensure production of reinforced AShU antennas sufficient to not only satisfy the needs of the factory, but also to equip KV tanks repaired by GURT factories and technical directorates.
  11. The Chief of Central Supply (comrade Rozin) must allocate to all aforementioned tank factories pipes, insulation, and other components sufficient to permit production of antennas at these factories.
People's Commissar of Tank Production, Malyshev"

*British Wireless Set No.19


  1. What was the reason why there where not enough radios?
    Was it to difficult to scale up the production at the same speed? Or was there a shortage of certain subcomponents/raw materials?
    Or was a radio just to expensive?

    1. Underdeveloped relevant industries most likely, which then could not be easily expanded to meet the need due to lack of knowhow and trained personnel. That was the primary reason any otherwise decently-equipped military was short on radios those days (the prewar global civilian market being heavily dominated by British and particularly US manufacturers didn't help).

      Relatedly one of the few prewar Nazi "People's Something" projects that actually worked out as intended and even paid further dividends was the (IIRC, could also be Volksfunken) Volksgerät ("people's radio"). The massively subsidised cheap domestic radio receiver not only meaningfully increased the coverage and penetration of state propaganda but also greatly expanded the peacetime radio-electronic industry which was obviously beneficial when they later needed to start putting that tech to military uses. (The Nazis did a lot of objectively financially stupid investing for such future warlike purposes, the synthetic fuel industry was another example.)

    2. Oh, i never looked at the volksgerät this way. But it does make a lot off sense indeed.

      Thank you for the very informative answer.