Wednesday 30 December 2020

Weakest Link

 "April 5th, 1941

RE: supplies of V-2-34 diesel engines with a main clutch

To the Deputy People's Commissar of Medium Machinebuilding, comrade Goreglyad
8a Ryazanskaya St.

In response to your letter #16/2291 on March 18th, 1941

The GABTU considers it necessary to deliver the V-2-34 engine together with the main clutch for the following reasons:

The warranty period of the main clutch is seldom higher than the lifespan of the engine: the engine's guaranteed lifespan is 150 hours, the tank travels 2000-2250 km in this time. The existing main clutch needs replacing after this time.

Monday 28 December 2020

Herald of a Revolution

The decision to mass produce the T-44 medium tank was made in the summer of 1944. This happened not only before the final prototype indexed T-44A was built, but before the GBTU even composed tactical-technical requirements for a new tank based on the combat experience of the first half of 1944. As a result, the tank seemed obsolete before it was even put into production, especially its armament. Work to correct this went in two directions. The first was evolutionary and led to the T-44-100 tank. The second was revolutionary and brought about a deeply modernized T-44 indexed T-54.

Wednesday 23 December 2020

Fake Antenna

Soviet tank industry outpaced the electronics industry. As a result, until 1943 "premium" tanks like the T-28, T-35, and KV were all built with radios, while "ordinary" tanks like the T-26, BT, and T-34 did not. About half of these tanks received radios until 1943, after which radios were installed on all tanks.

Even in the Spanish Civil War tankers noticed that the enemy attempted to knock out tanks with large frame antennas first. The introduction of smaller whip antennas made it easier to hide commanders' tanks, but they were still visually distinct. This was resolved in an obvious way.

Monday 21 December 2020

The Best of the "Varangians"

The first American Lend Lease tanks arrived in the USSR towards the very end of December 1941. The volume of shipments was small at first, but this changed in the spring of 1942. American light and medium tanks began arriving in large amounts and were widely used in battle by that summer. The Medium Tank M3, known as the M3S or M3sr, was the most common American medium tank shipped in 1942, but towards the summer the Americans began to shift production to the more successful Medium Tank M4. Its diesel variant, the Medium Tank M4A2, became the most common foreign tank used by the Red Army.

Friday 18 December 2020

Driver's Hatch Penetration

 "Record of proving grounds trials of part 34.29.1051 (driver's hatch), cast, mechanically finished

The commission consisting of:

  • Representatives of factory #183:
    • Deputy Chief Metallurgist comrade D.I. Apatov
    • Deputy Chief of Department #520 comrade A.V. Kolesnikov
    • Representative of Department #9 G.G. Ionga
  • Representatives of the BTU:
    • Senior BTU Engineer, Military Engineer 3rd Class, comrade L.M. Grachev
    • Senior Military Representative at the Mariupol Ilyich factory, Military Engineer 2nd Class, comrade P.N. Burykin
    • Military Representative at factory #183, Military Engineer 3rd Class comrade G.Ya. Yalyshev
conducted trials on March 23rd and 24th, 1941, at the Glubokiy Yar proving grounds according to the program composed by the factory and approved by the BTU and made the following conclusions:

Wednesday 16 December 2020

Indirect Fire

160th Tank Regiment
January 11th, 1944

To the Commander of Armoured and Mechanized Forces of the 63rd Army
RE: your letter #079 dated January 9th, 1944

The azimuth circle and clinometer installed on T-34 tanks for indirect fire were not used in practice by the regiment for the following reasons:
  1. Tank crews do not know how to fire indirectly as they were not trained to do it.
  2. It is unnecessary to use the tanks for indirect fire, as towed and self propelled artillery supporting the tanks' attack handles the mission perfectly well. 
I consider it reasonable to simplify the fighting compartment of the T-34 tank by removing the azimuth circle and clinometer from the T-34 and removing them from service, as the devices have no practical use.

Commander of the 160th Guards Tank Regiment, Guards Major Belyakov
Chief of Staff of the 160th Guards Tank Regiment, Guards Captain Filonenko"

Monday 14 December 2020

Beefy Sherman

American light and medium tanks had distinctively well balanced characteristics in WWII. The Americans rarely went too far in the armour department, reasoning that the mobility of a tank is one of its most important characteristics. However, the idea of building a tank with improved protection was not alien to them. One of these tanks was the specialized M4A3E2 tank, the best protected medium tank of WWII. Even though few were made, the M4A3E2 fought actively and proved itself to be an effective weapon.

Friday 11 December 2020

Panzerfaust Manual

 "To Chiefs of Staff

Copy only for the 37th Tank Brigade

I attach the German instructions for using the Panzerfaust translated from German. Study these instructions with your personnel.

Attachment: instructions on two pages.

Chief of Staff of the 1st Mechanized Krasnograd Corps
Colonel Yershov
April 11th, 1945

Wednesday 9 December 2020

Warspot Article: Shermans in Mud

The Sherman was a great tank, but even so it was not without weaknesses. One of the most glaring faults of the design was the narrow track, which gave the tank poor mobility in mud. Read about the various ways that American designers tried to solve that problem and how successful these methods were in my latest article on

Monday 7 December 2020

Video: SPG or Tank Destroyer?

In this week's video, I take a look at a commonly asked question: what's the difference between a self propelled gun and a tank destroyer? Was the SU-152 either or both? Watch and find out!

Friday 4 December 2020

SU-85 Production

"Order of the People's Commissar of Tank Production of the USSR #477ss
August 9th, 1943

On the organization of 85 mm SPGs on the T-34 chassis at the Uralmash factory

To carry out State Committee of Defense order #3892ss issued on August 8th, 1943, I order that:
  1. Uralmash factory director comrade Muzrukov must prepare for production of SU-85 SPGs designed at the Uralmash factory on the T-34 tank chassis and armed with the factory #9 D-5 gun.
  2. The following quota for SU-85 SPGs at the Uralmash factory is established:
    1. August: 100 units. Production begins on August 25th according to the daily table approved by me on August 8th.
    2. September: 150 units.

Wednesday 2 December 2020

Final Exam

"Questions that must be studied during evening training by privates and sergeants of the 8th Independent Guards Belaya Tserkov Order of Lenin Artillery Tank Destroyer Brigade of the Reserve of Supreme Command 
  1. Combat qualities of your weapon.
  2. Ballistic properties of your weapon.
  3. Ammunition issued per each of our weapons.
  4. Penetration of our weapons with AP and APCR ammunition.
  5. Armour thickness of the T-6 (Tiger) tank.