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.
  2. On May 15th the Americans received permission to visit warehouse #37 to examine parts that arrived for American tanks.
    The Americans asked about the artillery warehouse, but I told them that I don't know where this warehouse is.
    Warehouse chief Colonel Zyryanov was warned in advance and the warehouse was suitably prepared.
    At the warehouse Mr. Lieutenant Colonel Grey could personally see the terrible packaging of American spare parts sent to the USSR. Parts including the plungers, injector casings, and an other precisely made components were dumped into a box haphazardly and were covered with a layer of corrosion. Electric parts, including lightbulbs, were packed with hammers and pickaxes. Flywheels were packed together with engine block liners, and the packaging was done very poorly. As a result, the electrical equipment, lines, and 50% of all parts were useless. 
    In addition, the radiators for M3 Medium transmissions that were sent were poorly made. Places that were supposed to have solder didn't have it. There was a clear gap where oil could leak through.
    Lieutenant Colonel Grey asked for other boxes to be opened. His request was granted. The quality of packaging was the same. He asked for the shipping manifests so that the origin of the package and the responsible party could be traced. He also asked to photograph the parts, which was allowed.
  3. On May 16th Lieutenant Colonel Grey photographed the aforementioned parts and opened boxes. I asked the personnel to put them on the floor so that the camera didn't focus on the sides. The film was handed over to Engineer-Major Arutunyan for development. After development it was confirmed that nothing was photographed except the parts and the film was returned to the Americans.
    Meanwhile, Mr. Lieutenant Colonel Grey asked to photograph the view of the Volga when walking next to the monument to Chkalov. The NKVD was notified in advance, so Mr. Lieutenant Colonel Grey was allowed to take photos of the Volga.
  4. On May 17th-18th training was performed at the new workshops at repair base #37 pertaining to the modernization of M3 and M4A2 tanks as well as the new simplified engine and control linkages adjustment procedure in the M4A2.
  5. On May 18th a report was made to the Deputy Chief of the Armoured Vehicles Center Lieutenant Colonel comrade Poruchikov regarding the possibility for the Americans to instruct training and fighting units.
  6. From May 19th to the 22nd the technical staff of the 229th Tank Regiment were instructed on how to adjust the engine and controls linkages on the tanks. Specially chosen technicians were present who entirely grasped the process of adjustment. 
    Mr. Aikanimou helped the Communications Chief to repair 4 radios.
    15 12.7 mm AA machine guns were broken in the regiment. Mr. Thornton tried to repair 3 of them, but fruitlessly, which demonstrated his poor knowledge of weapons. Some machine guns were repaired by repair base #97, others by the regiment."


  1. How do these groups tackle the language problem? Because i assume those americans spoke little russian, and considering there diffrent areas of expertise, one would require multiple translators who know these fields of expertise as well (most translators have difficulty translating technical stuff since they aren't technicians)

    Also funny how little trust they had do be paranoid about taking pictures

    1. Reminder that this was the state where the NKVD ran the fire brigades due to the access to potentially sensitive areas those needed to do their damn jobs, and maps accessible to the public were deliberately misleading to hamper possible invaders.

      The USSR under Stalin was peak paranoia and never forgot that the "Western imperialists" were only temporary allies of mutual convenience. (Reasonably enough; look up Churchill's "Operation Unthinkable" fever dream for ex.)

      Not that this particular example was, though. Trying to snoop in on each others' shit was par for the course even for allies with altogether fewer underlying tensions than existed between the USSR and the Democracies - I've read interesting things about the amount of spying German and Finnish liaison officers did on each other up North for ex.