Friday 29 January 2021

Book Review: How to Kill a Panther Tank

Many of my readers are avid historians themselves, or at the very least dabble in primary documents, with small libraries of scans tucked away in your collection, and a lucky few may have visited archives and handled the originals. This kind of engagement usually takes a lot of time and effort, which makes it a difficult thing to do for the majority of people to do. Craig Moore's latest book is targeted towards this demographic, letting you step into the shoes of a historian and read raw unrefined documents originally typed or penned in the 1940s.

Wednesday 27 January 2021

Warspot Article: Second Fiddle

The Pz.Kpfw.IV became the workhorse of the German army, serving from the first day of the war to its last. However, one could hardly have predicted this in 1941. The British developed quite a negative opinion of this vehicle through trials and inspections of captured samples. Read why in my latest article on

Monday 25 January 2021

Armoured Confusion

Works on Soviet tank building are published with striking regularity. Some are the results of many years of archival research, but many are based on prior works. There is nothing shameful about this, as skillful compilation is an art of no lesser value than writing from scratch. However, an issue with credibility may arise when picking secondary sources, and even primary documents can contain mistakes often caused by a lack of information. As a result, dozens of myths were built around Soviet tank building over the course of decades that live on today. This article will discuss such myths connected to pre-war tank building in the Soviet Union.

Friday 22 January 2021

Accounting 101

18th Army Command
Operational Department
December 8th, 1943

Reports on the number of destroyed tanks

1. Precise reports on destroyed or knocked out tanks are of great importance for evaluating the combat strength of Russian tank units and estimation of success during defense. Not every hit on a tank destroys it. Reports need to differentiate:

  1. Destroyed tanks
  2. Knocked out tanks
  3. Tanks destroyed by the Luftwaffe
Tanks are counted as destroyed when they are disabled at our defensive lines or behind them.
Tanks are counted as destroyed if it's on fire, exploding, fell apart, or if the turret was knocked off. Tanks that can still drive away or move after being hit do not count.

Wednesday 20 January 2021

Tech Support


On the trip to the city of Gorkiy with a group of American specialists from May 13th, 1943 to June 5th, 1943

Goal of the trip:

  1. To train the command and technical staff of the 5th Tank Brigade, 229th Tank Regiment, and 45th Tank Regiment on American tanks.
  2. To teach technical staff at the Department of Military QA and repair base #97 the design changes made to M4A2 and M3 tanks.
  3. To help repair base #97 organize a technological process for repairing American tanks in the conditions of their new workshops.
The group of American specialists included:
  1. Lieutenant Colonel Grey
  2. Mr. Ford
  3. Mr. Aikanimou
  4. Mr. Thornton
Major Kenges and Captain McEnton arrived on June 2nd.
  1. On May 14th the Americans familiarized themselves with the required tasks to organize work in the new workshops.
    The plan was to equip the new workshops and to demonstrate American methods for using the equipment for tank repair.
    Mr. Lieutenant Colonel Grey directed the overall work of the group and also directed the installation of equipment and organization of work at the tank assembly plant.
    Mr. Ford was tasked with placing equipment and organizing work in the engine and transmission repair workshop.
    Mr. Aikanimou was tasked to install equipment in the radio workshop.

Monday 18 January 2021

Dead End Reinforcement

The design of the T-34 tank left a lot of reserves for modernization. The chassis dealt with a 5 ton increase in weight during its production run. A result of a thorough modernization, the T-34-85, entered production in early 1944. This tank received a new turret and an 85 mm gun. The crew increased to 5 people. The T'34's armament was radically improved, but the armour of the Soviet tank remained the same. The T-34-85M tank with improved armour was an attempt to resolve this situation.

Friday 15 January 2021

T-43 Reliability Trials

 "To the People's Commissar of Tank Production, comrade Malyshev
To the Commander of the Armoured and Mechanized Forces of the Red Army, Colonel-General of the Tank Forces, comrade Fedorenko

According to your orders, I report on the work of the main components of experimental T-43 tanks.

Tank #1 travelled 2669 km.

Wednesday 13 January 2021

First Emchas

"Brief report on the technical condition of M4-A2 tanks arriving at the Gorkiy foreign vehicles QA department of the GABTU
  1. 26 M4-A2 tanks arrived in Gorkiy from November 20th to December 28th, 1942.
    Delivery of the tanks and external inspection was performed in the presence of the delivering party.
    Transport #
    Arrival date
    # of M4-A2 tanks
    Train chief
    November 20th, 1942
    Jr. Lt. Barsukov
    November 23rd, 1942
    Sr. Tech. Lt. Balyayev
    November 26th, 1942
    Tech. Lt. Volosko
    December 1st, 1942
    Lt. Nesayev
    December 24th, 1942
    Sgt. Kinozarov
  2. External inspection of M4-A2 tanks showed that:
    1. Transport #17413 had no seals or tarps on 9 vehicles. Tank #3020993 had an open toolbox. Tank #3021054 did not have its travel lock engaged.
    2. Transport #17414 was missing tarps on 11 vehicles. Tank #3021079 was not sealed.

Monday 11 January 2021

Red Army's First HEAT Grenades

Tanks became a true terror for infantry in WWI, although an "antidote" for these steel monsters was quickly found. The first stage was introduction of new ammunition for existing weapons: armour piercing bullets, rifle grenades, bombs, mines. Special anti-tank rifles and cannons were built later, but grenades and bottles with incendiary fluid became some of the most common weapons used against tanks.

Friday 8 January 2021

Tank Comfort

Vadim Elistratov is a renowned restorer of armoured vehicles, with experience of bringing WWII era tanks back to life with their original components. Since he doesn't just rebuild the tanks but also drives them, he gave his impressions on how various nations' armoured vehicles compare to one another in a recent interview with Tactic Media.

Wednesday 6 January 2021

Book Review: Panzer IV


As a military history writer, it is hard to strike a balance between the two sides of a tank's history. Many opt to focus exclusively on the technical specifications of a tank, judging its effectiveness and evaluating its legacy via a measure of kilograms or centimeters divorced entirely from any kind of context. Others lean towards the description of military operations only and gloss over any technical aspects of the tanks involved or how well they were suited for the tasks they carried out. Publications that attempt to cover both aspects often result in abrupt switches from one to the other without any meaningful link between the two. The simply named Panzer IV by Thomas Anderson stands in contrast to these works, masterfully weaving together the combat experience of the Pz.Kpfw.IV tanks and the technical changes introduced into the design in response to lessons learned in battle.

Monday 4 January 2021

Intermediate Tank

GKO decree #6209s "On organizing T-44 tank production at factories #75 and #264" was signed on July 18th, 1944. With this order, Stalin gave permission to produce a replacement for the T-34. However, the T-44 never truly replaced the T-34-85. It was only produced at a backup factory and production volumes were small compared to the T-34-85. 1823 tanks is a very small number, and even in 1946 2701 T-34-85 tanks were built. The T-44 shouldered the problems of a revolutionary tank, although its service was long and it even saw battle.

Saturday 2 January 2021

IS-3 Production

 "To the Deputy Commander of Armoured and Mechanized Forces of the Red Army, Colonel General of the Tank Forces, comrade Korobkov

I report that:

In accordance with order of Deputy Commander of the Armoured and Mechanized Forces and the NKTP #113/023 issued on March 12th, 1945, trials of the experimental IS-3 tank produced by the Kirov factory are completed.

I present the commission's report.

Due to the fact that the IS-3 was accepted into service before the trials ended, the main design and production drawbacks discovered during the trials were reflected in minutes #1 dated March 27th and minutes #2 dated March 30th.

Drawbacks discovered during further trials and those contained in the commission's report are largely operational drawbacks.

Presently the issue that stands before the NKTP is accepting list #3 of proposals in correcting the aforementioned drawbacks.

Deputy Chief of the GBTU, Lieutenant General of the Tank Engineering Service, Lebedev

Chief of the GBTU TU, Engineer-Colonel Blagonrarov

April 27th, 1945"

CAMD RF F.38. Op.11355 D.2986 L.176