Friday, 14 May 2021

Heavy Tank Brigades

 "Report by the Commander of Armoured and Mechanized Forces of the Red Army

To the People's Commissar of Defense I.V. Stalin on the equipment of a heavy IS tank brigade

November 20th, 1944

I report that:

As per your orders, one heavy IS tank brigade with two regiments of 21 IS tanks each and one regiment of 21 ISU-122 will be ready by December 5th of this year.

There are 65 combat vehicles in the brigade in total.

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Big Gun, Small Turret

 "State Committee of Defense Decree #4873ss
January 1st, 1944

On installing 85 mm guns on T-34 tanks instead of the 76 mm F-34 gun

To improve the artillery armament of the T-34 tank, the State Committee of Defense orders to:

  1. Accept the 85 mm tank gun designed by the Central Artillery Design Bureau of the People's Commissar of Armament (comrade Grabin) into service with the Red Army under the name "85 mm tank gun model 1944 (S-53)".
  2. Starting with January of 1944, equip T-34 tanks with 85 mm model 1944 (S-53) tank guns installed in turrets on the stock turret ring instead of the 76 mm F-34 gun.

Monday, 10 May 2021

An Alternative Layout

SPG designs hit a dead end in many nations by the end of WWII. The concept of a heavier gun on the same chassis stopped working. Regular guns were getting so large that there were issues with the chassis. The results were essentially the same as just putting the gun in a tank with a rotating turret. This was especially true for medium SPGs. Germany, the USSR, and Great Britain eventually ended up with medium tanks that had the same gun as medium SPGs. Several nations (especially Germany and the USSR) ended up overloading the front suspension. This led to a search for new solutions. This led to the Uralmash-1, the most unusual Soviet late war SPG.

Friday, 7 May 2021

SU-152 and ISU-152 Tactics

The SU-152 is an often misunderstood vehicle. Some think that because of its thick front armour and relatively short gun it engaged enemies point-blank, but in reality it was actually a long ranged fighter, engaging enemies from 1500-2000 meters. In my latest video I explore the tactics behind SU-152 regiments and how they evolved over time.

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

A German Cat in King George's Court

As soon as a new enemy tank appears on the battlefield, it is critically important to study it and find out which of its strengths can be mitigated and which weaknesses can be exploited. In case of the Panther tank, the British spared no effort. A Panther shipped from the USSR was tested before British troops ever met one in the wild. In addition to tanks captured throughout the war, several Panthers were assembled under British supervision and taken back to the UK to perform thorough trials. Read what the British learned about this German beast in my latest article on

Monday, 3 May 2021

Wrong Place, Wrong Time

 Work on Soviet heavy tanks split into two directions in 1944. One was the development of a new heavy tank, called Object 701. The second was the improvement of the IS-2 heavy tank, which later split into a minor and a major modernization projects. The former led to the creation of an IS-2 tank with a straightened upper front hull. Finally, a third tank came up in the spring of 1944 on factory #100's initiative. This tank was called IS-6 and turned out to be the odd man out.