Sunday 28 February 2021

Eight Years of Tank Archives

Today, this blog turns eight years old! Over the years I've made 2345 posts which received 5,747,840 views, almost a million of which came in the last year alone. Unfortunately, changes to the Blogger stats tab don't let me compare my visitors directly with last year's results, but according to Google Analytics most of my readers by far are still from the United States, with the UK a distant second and Germany third. However, over the past year Canada has overtaken Germany for third place, although they still have ways to go before getting into the top 3 for all time readers.

Of course, Tank Archives is no longer just a blog and there were plenty of achievements in other areas over the last year.

Friday 26 February 2021

One Piece

 "To the People's Commissar of Ammunition of the USSR, comrade Vannikov
Chief of the Red Army GAU, comrade Yakovlev
Deputy Chief of Armoured and Motorized Vehicles of the Red Army, comrade Korobkov

In accordance with GOKO decree #6868s issued on February 4th, 1944, the People's Commissar of Tank Production instructed the Kirov factory to study the issue of single piece ammunition for the 122 mm D-25 gun.

Wednesday 24 February 2021

75 mm Gun vs KV-1

"Secret, copy #1

On the organization of enemy anti-tank defenses in the sector ahead of the 178th Tank Brigade and type of damage dealt to knocked out and burned KV tanks.

The enemy organized active anti-tank defenses in front of the 178th Tank Brigade with the use of terrain. Anti-tank minefields were placed in directions where tanks can be used (see diagram). There were no passive anti-tank obstacles (dragon's teeth, anti-tank trenches, barricades, scarps or countescarps) detected along the front or in the depth of enemy defenses.

Monday 22 February 2021

ISU-122 Frontline Impressions

The Soviet ISU-122 heavy SPG is often overshadowed by its more famous siblings, the IS-2 tank and ISU-152 SPG. The similarity in the designs gave birth to the myth that the ISU-122 was an ersatz ISU-152 built due to a shortage of 152 mm guns. That is far from the truth. Let us try and figure out what crews of these tank destroyers valued the most, and what they would rather have changed.

Thursday 18 February 2021

Warspot Article: Voroshilov Abroad

The KV-1 tank was a mystery even to the USSR's allies, but it didn't remain this way forever. Both the US and UK received a sample to study and both made some conclusions from the tanks that inspired their own designs. Read about their findings in my latest article on

Wednesday 17 February 2021

Muzzle Brake Requirements

Tank Usage Directorate
July 4th, 1944

To Assistant Commanders in charge of Armoured and Mechanized Warfare of Fronts
Copy for the Assistant Commanders in charge of Armoured and Mechanized Warfare of the 1st Baltic Front

A report by the Usage Department of the Armoured and Mechanized Warfare of the 2nd Ukrainian Front in February and a report of the NKTP inspector's group at the 1st Belorussian Front in May indicated vases where the gearbox of the T-34 tank with an 85 mm gun broke when the gun was fired on the move.

Monday 15 February 2021

An Amphbian's Missed Chance

Plenty of PT-76 tanks were in service in the early 2000s. The Vietnamese army alone had about 500 units and the total number of functional but obsolete tanks was about 1000. An idea came up to modernize these tanks and give them as second life.

The PT-76 was simple and reliable, but also quite obsolete. The 76 mm D-56TS gun was no longer satisfactory for modern combat. A modern light tank needs to be able to fight personnel, unarmoured and lightly armoured vehicles, anti-tank weapons, helicopters, and low flying airplanes. Because of this, the primary goal in modernizing the PT-76 was improving its firepower. At this time TsNII Burevestnik in Nizhniy Novgorod offered the AU-220M artillery system, which had its own long history.

Friday 12 February 2021

Landlocked T-40

 "Meeting minutes

August 20th, 1941

  • Factory #37 director Levitanskiy
  • Chief of KB-1 Astrov
  • Chief of the 1st Department of the GABTU BTU, Military Engineer 1st Class Pavlov
  • Chief of the 1st Section, 1st Department of the GABTU BTU, Military Engineer 2nd Class Chizhikov
  • Senior Military Representative at factory #37, Military Engineer 2nd Class Kostsov
On the change to the T-40's starter mechanism necessitated by the delivery of 25 non-amphibious T-40 hulls without an opening for an external starter that 030 (T-60) tanks normally have from the Podolsk Ordzhonikidze factory.

Permit installation of internal pedal starters on 25 non-amphibious T-40 tanks of the same type as on the amphibious T-40, with the exception of a lack of propeller and its drive as well as installation of a special cover and armoured plugs in the openings of the rear bay.


Note that the index T-40S was not used here. This index was a post-war invention and was never used to refer to T-40 tanks incapable of swimming.

Wednesday 10 February 2021

Rifle vs Tank

The British were the first to invent the tank during WWI, and so the Germans were forced into the position of being the first to undertake the difficult task of developing anti-tank weapons. The Kaiser's army approached the issue of protecting infantry from tanks in a pretty straightforward way: if regular machine guns and rifles can't penetrate the new British wonder weapon, then make a larger rifle.

Monday 8 February 2021

Driving the T-34

Vadim Elistratov is a renowned restorer of armoured vehicles, and has extensive experience in driving the tanks he and his group restores. In a recent interview with TacticMedia he recounts the experience of driving a T-34 tank.

Friday 5 February 2021

Export to Czechoslovakia

 "Chief of the General Staff
Worker and Peasant Red Army
July 5th, 1936

To the People's Commissar of Defense, comrade K. Ye. Voroshilov

While in Czechoslovakia I met with the Chief of the General Staff of the Czechoslovakian army General Krejčí on his request. The meeting was confidential and took place in a seldom visited suburban hotel near Prague. 

General Krejčí was accompanied by his deputy General Fiala and a Colonel, Chief of External Relations and military attache in France.

I was accompanied by our military attache in Czechoslovakia, Colonel L.A. Schnitman.

General Krejčí underscored the respect that the Czechoslovakian government and army have for the Soviet government and Red Army and stated that he found it necessary to inform me and discuss a number of important issues to do with Czechoslovakia and the mutual assistance pact.

Thursday 4 February 2021

Designing the T-34 eBook

Probably the most frequently asked question about my book has been "is there going to be an ebook". I am excited to announce that the ebook version is finally here! Morton's designed variants for Amazon KindleKobo, and Google Play Books. If you're on the fence about buying, Google Play offers the longest sample. Enjoy!

Wednesday 3 February 2021

Teletank Revival

 "To the Chief of the Tank Directorate, Engineer-Colonel Afonin

RE: development and production of teletanks (your letter #1148978)

October 2nd, 1943

Modern telemechanical devices for tanks consist of a whole complex of separate devices and components. Their production is effort intensive, requiring qualified personnel and highly precise equipment.

Production and tuning of telemechanical components can largely be done only by hand.

It is senseless to revive equipment for teletanks based on existing NII-200 designs and development of new simpler types of equipment would take a long time (5-6 months). Transition into mass production would take an equal amount of time.

Monday 1 February 2021

Light and Long Lasting

The light tank as a cheaper and more numerous version of a medium tank was obsolete by the end of WWII. The Germans were one of the first to stop building classical light tanks, the USSR followed soon after in the fall of 1943. The USA was the only major tank building nation to continue light tank development. The result of this development was the Light Tank M24, the best light tank of WWII. Its success is underlined by its longevity: some nations kept theirs in service into the 21st century!