Friday 30 October 2020

IS-7 Trials

"Commission for Government Trials according to decree of the Council of Ministers of the USSR issued on July 28th, 1948
September 4th, 1948
Kirov factory, Leningrad

To Acting Minister of Transport Machinebuilding of the USSR, comrade Yu.Ye. Maksarev
CC Acting Commander of the Amoured and Mechanized Forces, Colonel-General Solomatin

I report on the results of trials of tank #4 and its condition as of September 3rd, 1948.

On August 31st, 1948, after driving trials on a cobblestone highway, intensive leakage of oil from the engine block pressure plug due to gas penetration was discovered. When the engine was disassembled at the factory, the following was found: destruction of the piston and rings, deformation of the sixth left hand cylinder, high wear on the rings of the other pistons.

The destruction of the piston and rings took place due to working the engine at high head during trials that was permitted to occur by the cooling system in normal conditions and the general unrefined nature of the M-50T piston group. 

In total tank #4 travelled for 1400 km between July 25th and August 31st, 1948. The engine worked for 84 hours 30 minutes, 16 hours 40 minutes of those without load.

Wednesday 28 October 2020

Double Tigers

 "American Embassy
American Military Mission

September 13th, 1944

To Major General V.N. Yevstigneyev
Chief of the Department of External Affairs
People's Commissar of Defense

Dear General Yevstigneyev,

Several weeks after the last meeting with Lieutenant General Lebedev, we learned about a number of new German tanks and SPGs. The following tanks were mentioned:

Monday 26 October 2020

How the Wehrmacht's Diesel Stalled

All mass produced German tanks in WWII were equipped with gasoline engines. This fact resulted in a lot of myths that are being repeated to this day. How did Germany end up with a Maybach monopoly on tank engine and is it true that the navy ate up all the diesel fuel? Did German designers ever manage to create a good diesel engine?

Friday 23 October 2020

Bunker Buster

"Top Secret
Copy #2
1st Department of Land Artillery, GAU
December 14th, 1940

To the Chief of the Red Army GABTU, Lieutenant General of the Tank Forces, comrade Fedorenko

The Red Army Main Artillery Directorate ordered the following types of armament at the Kirov factory for 1941:
  1. 152 mm Br-2 gun on a self propelled chassis.
    1. Experimental prototype due on April 1st.
    2. Production batch of 12 due on October 1st.
  2. 130 mm B-13 gun on a self propelled chassis.
    1. Experimental prototype due on May 1st.
    2. Production batch of 12 due on November 1st.
The GAU will sign a contract for the armament and its installation in an SPG. I ask you to order the GABTU to sign a contract with the Kirov factory to produce 2 experimental and 24 production vehicles for installation of B-13 and Br-2 guns in the specified timeframe.

Deputy Chief of the GAU, Major General Savchenko."

Wednesday 21 October 2020

Warspot Article: Canadian Valentines

Canada is not known for its arms industry, but during WWII the nation pitched in a significant quantity of weapons. One example is the Valentine tank. 1420 units were built at the Angus Shops in Montreal, with the majority going to the Red Army. See how these Canadian tanks compared to their British counterparts in my latest article on

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

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.


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.