Monday 13 September 2021

Armoured Confusion: Mid-war

The history of Soviet wartime armoured vehicles bore several misconceptions. There are many reasons for this. A number of myths came from a lack of information. Sometimes historians' own guesses that had little to do with reality were interpreted as fact. Unfortunately, the authors of some myths are still considered experts to this day and these exercises in fiction are still cited as fact. Initially the author planned on two articles dedicated to misconceptions about the Great Patriotic War, but there were too many misconceptions for 1942-1943, and so the second article won't be the last.

A different T-70

The T-70 tank was the second most numerous behind the T-34/T-34-85. The history of its creation has a number of omissions and outright fabrications, for instance the claim that the T-70 (GAZ-70) was competing against the T-45 tank developed at factory #37. This theory is downright comical, as the T-45 tank was developed in May-June of 1942 and the T-70 was accepted into service with the Red Army on March 6th, 1942. There is a series of articles dedicated to the T-70, T-70B, and its descendant, the T-80, but since one periodically encounters those who have not read them, it's worth repeating the main points. 

Despite claims otherwise, the T-70's mobility was higher than the T-60 and almost on par with the T-26.

For starters, the claim that the GAZ-70 performed worse than the T-60 in trials is an absolute lie. The truth is just the opposite: the T-70 could drive easily where the T-60 got stuck. The experimental tank's average speed in snow was twice as high as that of its predecessor. The gearbox did not break, and the trials were considered a success. The claim that the armour was insufficient is also false. The experimental tank had 35-45 mm of front armour, just like the production tank. This was the same amount of armour as the T-50.

The claim that the commander's working conditions were poor and triggered the development of a two-man turret are also false. The report on the T-70's trials that can be found in the NKTP's repository within the Russian State Economics Archive says the opposite. The commission had no complaints about the fighting compartment and outright states that "the workspaces are comfortable". The visibility was also satisfactory. The addition of a rotating periscope was a big plus. Interestingly enough, the author of this myth read this report in 1996 and signed for its receipt. This was several years before his publication on this topic. We will never find out why he wrote something he knew to be false.

The T-70's armour was the same from the start. The claim about identical armour to the T-60 is wishful thinking.

There are also plenty of myths about the T-70's mass production. The cast turret planned for the T-70 was not experimental at all. It was a mass production item and several dozen tanks were built with it, one of which survived until 1944 and was lost in the Baltics. Production was stopped purely for manufacturing reasons. The welded turret was also planned from the very beginning. The claim that the tank with a two-man turret (which started development in July of 1942) was developed before the reinforced suspension is also false. The prototype for the tank with a two-man turret was a T-70 tank with the serial number 208207 produced in August of 1942. This was one of the tanks that was used for testing thicker side armour and a new suspension, which is why its sides were 25 mm thick instead of 15. The program to reinforce the suspension began long before that.

The claim that the launch of a T-70 tank with a reinforced suspension in October of 1942 was only half of the planned modernization is not true. The author of this myth is also one of the people who is responsible for the index "T-70M" to refer to this tank. There was no such index in reality, all documents call it T-70B. As for the "T-70 with a two-man turret", it was finished in late September of 1942 and trials ended on October 2nd. The report on the trials refers to it as the T-80. No one expected to put it into production as is. The evolution of the T-80 continued into late 1942 and early 1943.

The GAZ had no idea about any tank called T-70M. They used the index T-70B or T-70-B. The letter B is also used in blueprint numbers.

This is not the full list of various omissions and fabrications linked to the T-70 tank. Their creator was a productive author, and since he was one of the first to work in the archives many believed his word alone. His myths about the T-70 spread far and wide since.

Looking for tanks in all the wrong places

The use of foreign vehicles in the Red Army is one of the hottest topics of discussion to this day. The topic is very wide in scope and deep in content. There is plenty of room for myths to form, for instance the claim that British shipments were covered under Lend Lease. In fact, these shipments were paid for by the USSR, including with gold. The famous story about recovery of the gold that sank with the cruiser HMS Edinburgh is linked to Soviet payments for British military aid. It had nothing to do with Lend Lease.

Statistics on shipments of foreign tanks show when they became a common sight.

Where these foreign tanks showed up and how is a whole separate topic. It is often claimed that these tanks were the most important in late 1941 and early 1942. This claim is made in many sources without checking if it's actually true. The problem with that claim is that any noticeable use of foreign tanks (at first British ones) began in the second half of December of 1941, during the offensive phase of the Battle of Moscow rather than the defensive phase. Use in combat in any significant numbers came even later, in January of 1942. January 1942 is also when the first large batch of foreign tanks arrived. Twice as many tanks came in the first quarter of 1942 as in all of 1941, and the frequency of their use increased as well.

There is also one nuance here. There is a big difference between the amount of tanks that had arrived and tanks that were being used on the front lines. For instance, 130 M3 Mediums and 95 M3 Lights arrived in January-April of 1942, but their use in combat began only in May of 1942. The 114th Tank Brigade (the first to use American tanks) played a big role in combat, for instance it was the unit that punched through the encirclement near Chepel, allowing several units from the 6th and 57th Armies to escape. British and American tanks played important roles in the summer battles of 1942.

American, British, and Canadian tanks played the largest roles during the fighting in the North Caucasus. The M3 Light and Valentine that arrived just in time were commonly used here by the Red Army.

Those who seek a place where foreign tanks made a big impact should look to the North Caucasus and not Moscow. It just so happened that shipments of tanks were redirected in the summer of 1942 from the northern route to the south, through Iran and Baku. This redirection later came in handy. It turned out that all of the units fighting in the North Caucasus had obsolete tanks. The T-60 was the most numerous among them, there were also many T-26es. It is hard to call their use in battle here successful. The flow of foreign tanks was redirected here at just the right moment. The M3 Light, Valentine VII, and M3 Medium began fighting here in mid-October, and fighting successfully at that.

By December the most common Soviet tank in the North Caucasus was the M3 Light, the second most common was the Canadian Valentine VII. Foreign tanks continued to make up the bulk of tank forces in the North Caucasus until the end of the war. This is not surprising, considering that Baku was one of the arrival centers for foreign tanks.

Victim of imagination

Some myths that are now thought to be fact weren't conceived yesterday or even 30 years ago. Some of them date back to 1945, when the People's Commissar of Tank Production V.A. Malyshev ordered each factory to compose a report on their wartime activities. Some historians take these reports as written, which is a mistake. The only report that can be called unbiased is the one written by GAZ. It was prepared by the senior military representative at the factory, V.P. Okunev, an associate of the famous tank designer N.A. Astrov and one of the men responsible for the T-60 tank. By the time Okunev wrote his report, the design bureau was almost completely disbanded. Okunev, whose monthly reports were always honest, prepared a completely transparent document. There was no window dressing here, everything was laid bare and can be confirmed with prior reports. However, other factories swept entire stories under the rug and distorted other facts. The UZTM report is one good example. It is simpy impossible to use without supporting sources.

The report authors forgot F.F. Petrov and L.I. Gorlitskiy, leaders of the U-11 project.

One of these distortions has to do with the KV-9 tank and its U-11 howitzer. The UZTM report pitches it as a method of increasing the tank's firepower, as it is stated that the AP shell penetrated 110 mm of armour in trials. This knowledge came after the fact, and the report author unintentionally (or intentionally) muddled the actual history of the U-11. There is a separate article on it, but since this myth is so commonplace it's worth repeating.

The U-11 is often presented as a way of improving the KV-1's firepower, but that is not the case.

The situation with KV-1 production at ChTZ (ChKZ after evacuation of the Leningrad Kirov Factory) in the fall of 1941 was dire. Gun production was at greatest risk. Production of F-32 guns in Leningrad ceased and production of ZIS-5 guns at factory #92 was just starting. Something had to be done urgently. One solution was the U-11 howitzer, hurriedly developed in November of 1941 on Zh.Ya. Kotin's orders. The authors of UZTM's report forgot about F.F. Petrov and L.I. Gorlitskiy who directed this work. V.N. Sidorenko is credited instead. He was the lead engineer on this project, but did not direct its course. 

So why was a gun with the ballistics of the M-30 really made? The answer is simple. The 122 mm M-30 howitzer was the only cannon produced at UZTM in the fall of 1941, and so it was taken as the starting point. Increasing firepower was not the aim, the weapon was only an alternative to the ZIS-5. The GAU and NKV opposed the NKTP's initiative, and UZTM only produced 10 of these howitzers before the "artillerymen" tanked the project. There is also one caveat about the exceptional penetration. The howitzer fired an armour piercing shell designed for the A-19 gun, and with a supercharged round at that. The GAU and NKV opposed such experiments since such ammunition reduced the lifespan of the barrel and threatened to break the breech.

The U-11 died here, but only the tank version. The howitzer was quite suitable for an SPG, and so it was often pulled out and waved about for the same reasons of "improving firepower". The GAU and NKV still protested, but this time they were in the wrong. This weapon was a good match for an SPG since it was lighter and more compact than the M-30. The U-11 design later evolved into the D-5, D-10, and D-25 family of guns (although the UZTM report does not mention this either). 

Tout va tres bien, madame la Marquise

The mistakes in the post-war UZTM report don't end at the U-11. It just so happened that in 1942 Sverdlovsk became the center for SPG development. Work on the future SU-76 began here, factory #8 and UZTM worked on heavy SPGs. For various reasons light and heavy SPGs were not successful, but the medium ones found their groove. UZTM became the center for development of Soviet medium SPGs, and there is plenty in their history that is missing and distorted. It all started with the 1945 report and post-war researchers only threw more oil into the fire.

The U-35 prototype mysteriously did not make it into the UZTM report.

The UZTM report leads the reader to believe that they started working on self propelled howitzers on October 19th, 1942. This is incorrect. In reality, the design bureau of factory #8 (a part of UZTM) developed two projects prior to that: the ZIK-10 with the U-11 gun and ZIK-11 with the M-30 gun. These projects were competitors of factory #592's designs: the SG-122M SPG with the M-30 and SG-122U with the U-11. The report authors must not have considered the ZIK-10 and ZIK-11 to be "theirs", in which case the light U-31 and U-32 SPGs should not have been counted either, since they were based on the ZIK-7 SPG. The report tries to pass off the ZIK-10/11 as a project of factory #9, which is incorrect (factories #8 and #9 were split in October of 1942, after the story of these SPGs ended). The index of these vehicles is not even mentioned. The fact that the materials on the ZIK-10 and 11 were passed on to UZTM's design bureau is also omitted.

Inside the U-35's fighting compartment. There is nowhere for the loader to go.

That is where the most interesting part begins. UZTM's report admits to some mistakes in the design, although it skirts around them. At the same time, the wishful thinking is on the surface. The report claims that the U-35 prototype passed trials. That is not entirely true. The U-35 passed mobility trials, but not gunnery trials. The overall opinion on the U-35 can be characterized by this phrase from the commission's report:
"The dimensions of the fighting compartment and location of the ammunition and crew within it do not only fail to provide normal servicing conditions for the howitzer, but also safe operation for the crew."

The SG-2 that served as a source of many solutions for the mass production SU-122 was also forgotten.

The report's authors alone are to blame for claims that the U-35 passed trials. The claims that the U-35 competed against a vehicle designed by factory #592's design bureau on the Pz.Kpfw.III chassis called SU-122/T-3 are also a fantasy. The creators of the SG-2 would be quite surprised by this claim, as it used the T-34 chassis. This vehicle also failed trials, but a defective chassis was to blame. The commission's report on the U-35 requested that it be made as comfortable as the SG-2, but this was only done partially. As a result the SU-35 was still cramped to the point where the question of building a new SPG called SU-122M was already raised in late January of 1943. Finally, when it was time to reward the creators of the SU-122, the GAU reminded the government that Ye.V. Sinilshikov and S.G. Pererushev, the authors of the SG-122 and SG-2, also made a significant contribution to the development of the SU-35. As a result, the creators of the SG-122 were awarded the Stalin Prize 2nd Class. This fact is also omitted from UZTM's report.

A light SPG's roof and Stalin's ignorance

The history of Soviet light SPGs has no fewer mistakes in it. While various mistakes in the history of medium SPGs can be blamed on post-war report authors, issues with light SPGs can be blamed entirely on modern writers. Their mistakes start at the very beginning. For instance, the first work on an SPG on the T-60 chassis began in November of 1941, not in late January of 1942 when tactical-technical requirements were already developed. Information that S.A. Ginzburg developed a light SPG using T-60 components jointly with the Bauman Institute is also false. The institute used the STZ-5 high speed tractor as its chassis, and the decision to use the T-70 tank with a supercharged ZIS-5 engine and a high power 45 mm gun was made only in September of 1942. One author even called this SPG "the first Soviet Hetzer" (more on this later), which is entirely incorrect. This would have been a great surprise to the developers of NII-48's turretless tank. The creators of the IS-10 SPG developed by factory #92's design bureau would also have been surprised by this author's writings. He called their vehicle "ZIS-3Sh" and set April of 1942 as its development period. In reality, this vehicle was developed in November and nominally competed with the SU-12 and GAZ-71.

The SU-31 was missing from the history of Soviet light SPG development until recently. Photos of this SPG surfaced earlier, but its index was still unknown at the time.

In reality the development of the new assault SPG using T-60 components was passed on to factory #37's design bureau in February of 1942. The first variant of the vehicle, the SU-31, was built using T-70 components, the second, SU-32, was built using T-60 components and two GAZ-202 engines in parallel. The SU-32 was the very same "universal chassis" promoted by S.A. Ginzburg. Despite the aforementioned author's claims, the SU-31 was finished in June of 1942 and the SU-32 was finished in July. Trials took place later, from August 21st to September 3rd of 1942. This was more of a method of selecting a chassis rather than preparations for production, as factory #37 had since turned into factory #50 and was preparing for T-34 production. The SU-31/SU-32 no longer had a future. Since the SU-31 overheated more, the SU-32 was chosen. It helped that Ginzburg promoted his idea with two engines in parallel, which ended up costing him dearly.

As you can see, the SU-12 prototype had no roof. It was only added in March of 1943 at the earliest.

Materials on factory #37's SPGs as well as factory #8's ZIK-5 and ZIK-7 were transferred over to factory #38. Here the SU-12 and a SPAAG on its chassis, the SU-11, were developed under Ginzburg's guidance. The military accepted this SPG into service on December 2nd, 1942, without putting it through trials. The SU-12 is covered in a separate article, but there is one issue with its history worth exploring. According to this myth, the roof was often removed from this SPG by troops, and many photos are shown of these SPGs without a roof. The truth is that the SU-12 (SU-76) didn't have a roof to begin with. Stalin himself ordered a roof to be installed, but this didn't happen before March of 1943. At least a third of all SU-12s had no roof at all. This is not a field conversion, since vehicles with roofs have other differences.

A SU-12 with a roof (above) and without (below). The headlight was moved up when the roof was implemented, which can be seen in photos. The SU-12 with an allegedly removed roof still has the headlight on its hull. This was not a field conversion.

One must also mention the claim that Stalin didn't know about the NKTP's harsh decision to send Ginzburg to the front as a deputy commander. This is a lie as well. Stalin knew what was happening with the SU-12 and why. On June 7th, 1943, he signed GKO decree #3530 titled "On SU-76 SPGs" with the following paragraph:
"Remove the designer of the SU-76 SPG comrade Ginzburg from work at the People's Commissariat of Tank Production. Do not permit him to take part in design work in the future. Direct him to the People's Commissariat of Defense for assignment to the acting army."

The Russian State Economics Archive contains Ginzburg's apology letter, which didn't help him.

Foreign SPGs

There are just as many misconceptions around the history of SPGs developed on the chassis of captured German tanks: the SG-122 and SU-76I. These misconceptions are generally caused due to a lack of information about these vehicles. Authors at first simply copied from one another, resulting in a poor understanding of both of these vehicles both when it comes to their creation and their use (despite the "canonical" version both of these SPGs were used in combat). A lot of new information has been published on both vehicles, yet 20 year old information is still being cited.

For a long time there were no photos of the SG-122 at all. Even now there are only two known photos: one of a vehicle in trials, another of the second production vehicle at a scrap yard.

The story of rearming the StuG III (or as the Soviets called it, Artshturm - artillery assault tank) began in February of 1942 and a draft project was finished by early April. Some call G.I. Kashtanov the author of this project, which is not true. This vehicle was created by Ye.V. Sinilshikov and S.G. Pererushev. Kashtanov joined the project in the summer of 1942 when the vehicle was being built, which is why he was not included in the list of those awarded for the vehicle's development. There are also some mistakes to do with the results of the trials and the vehicle's production.

One big issue is that the surviving documentation for the SG-122 depicts not the production vehicle, but the prototype in its initial form. It doesn't have any corrections that were introduced or things like a radio set. The claim that two improved variants were built is also false. In reality, these were already two production vehicles assembled in November of 1942. The second production vehicle was actually a conversion of the prototype. Finally, the claim that the SG-122 was used only for training is false. 14 vehicles were sent to the 1435th SPG Regiment. 8 vehicles made it to the front lines and 7 of those saw combat. The remaining vehicles were indeed sent to training units. They were later recalled and converted into SU-76I.

The SU-76I project was launched before complaints about the SU-12 were filed, so the theory about the SU-76I as a replacement for the SU-12 is incorrect.

There are also many misconceptions about another vehicle on a captured chassis, the SU-76I. To start, it was not a temporary replacement for the SU-76. The decision to produce it was made on January 18th, 1943, when the issues with the SU-12 (SU-76) transmission were not yet known. The claim that factory #37 in Sverdlovsk produced these vehicles also seems silly. By that point factory #37 had been defunct for half a year, it was already renamed to factory #50 and was producing T-34 tanks and SU-122 SPGs. Kashtanov also had no connection to this vehicle at all. Like the SG-122, Sinilshikov developed the SU-76I himself at the Central Artillery Design Bureau. The chief designer of this project was L.T. Dombrovskiy.

The claims that the SU-76I was tested near Sverdlovsk are also false, unless some authors found secret reports about moving the Sofrino proving grounds from the eastern part of the Moscow oblast to Sverdlovsk. The SU-76I did not reach end users before June of 1943. The claim that these vehicles were more expensive than the SU-12 is also false: the SU-76I cost 50,000 rubles and the SU-12 cost 80,000. The claim that the SU-76I's roofs were removed is also wrong. Finally, these vehicles were used until April of 1944 at the earliest and were phased out for obvious reasons. More reliable vehicles were already in production by the spring of 1944 and there was no need for an SPG on a foreign chassis.

"What's a Hetzer?"

The history of Soviet light SPGs that one author with an overactive imagination dubbed "Soviet Hetzers" is also full of errors. It's unclear why they would be called this since the NII-48 turretless tank appeared much earlier than any German SPG with sloped armour thick enough to resist shells. The story is also full of events that don't line up. For instance, the commonly named SU-IT-76 developed by the NII-13 was only partially created by that institute. Like the S-1, the artillery design bureau was only responsible for the artillery component. The chassis using T-70 components was developed by a different organization: the Bauman Institute. 

The authors of the SU-76BM would be surprised to hear that their vehicle used a 57 mm gun.

Most of the history of the development of "Soviet Hetzers" is full of such omissions. These vehicles deserve their own articles, but let's cover the main points. For instance, 1944 was far from the start of their development. Most of the work in this direction ended in late 1943, with most of the projects beginning much earlier. These vehicles were intended as potential replacements for the SU-12 (SU-76). This was also true for the vehicle often named "NATI tank destroyer with a 57 mm S-1-57 gun". This designation has nothing in common with reality. This vehicle was developed jointly by the NATI and TsAKB, the latter of which was represented by the aforementioned  Pererushev. The TsAKB indexed this SPG S-17. It was supposed to use either the F-34 76 mm gun or the 57 mm ZIS-2 gun.

NATI's team in this project was led by V.Ya. Slonimskiy. Despite rumours, they were not faced with a shortage of engines. The SU-76BM was equipped with a pair of GAZ-AA engines from the start. This was a common solution for NATI, as the same engines were used on the NATI-D (Ya-11) tractor. The running gear was taken from the T-80 tank. The vehicle never received a 57 mm ZIS-2 gun, but it did get the 76 mm S-54. The prototype tested at the Sofrino proving grounds in October-November 1943 had this gun. The project was then closed as it had no future.

There are also many things that don't line up in the "official" history of the SU-74 (GAZ-74), both when it comes to the facts and the dates.

The writings on the GAZ SPGs have about the same level of accuracy. In reality, work on them began in March of 1943. The GAZ-74 was envisioned as a replacement for the SU-12 (SU-76). The lead engineer on this project was A.S. Maklakov. The SU-74 was initially designed as a classic Soviet light SPG with a fighting compartment in the back. The ZIS-16 engine was used instead of two GAZ ones. A prototype was built in May of 1943, but a decision was made to change the layout of the vehicle. This gave rise to another SPG, the SU-74B (GAZ-74B) with a front fighting compartment and the same ZIS-16 engine. It was built in June of 1943, but failed trials due to breaking of the ZIS-16 engine. A decision was made to replace the ZIS-16 with the GMC diesel. This vehicle received the index SU-74D (GAZ-74D). The GAZ-74B later received the 57 mm ZIS-4 gun and index SU-74B. Factory trials of the GAZ-74D took place in August, and both vehicles were tested at the NIBT proving grounds from August 28th to September 8th, 1943. They both passed trials and were recommended for production, but since the SU-76M was already accepted into production by then, there was no point in continuing.

The GAZ-75 (SU-85A) had the same fate.

The end of work on the GAZ-74 didn't mean that the GAZ gave up on light SPGs. The result of their new project was the most protected Soviet light SPG: the GAZ-75. Development of this vehicle was led by I.V. Gavalov. This vehicle was developed in a record time, only 26 days. A prototype was sent to the NIBT Proving Grounds in December of 1943. The factory design bureau continued working on technical documentation until February 1944 inclusive. At a weight of just 14 tons the vehicle had 82 mm of front armour and an 85 mm D-5S-85 gun. Trials were completed successfully but work did not progress past that. There are many reasons given for this, but few have anything to do with reality. The fault lies only with A.A. Lipgart, the chief designer at GAZ. He wanted the factory to stop producing armoured vehicles, and so new projects were disposed of. The GAZ-75 died in March of 1944, and any prospects for 1945 are merely an author's fantasy.

Not a fighter

Finally, let us talk about development of medium tanks at factory #183's KB-520 design bureau, primarily the T-43 and its predecessors. There are also many misconceptions about the pre-war deep modernization project called T-34M. This vehicle is often called A-43, but that is likely a mistake. Its real name was T-34M, and there was not just one but several tanks by this name: the well known model reviewed in April of 1942 and a different one that was approved for production. Finally, a third tank with this designation turned up in late spring of 1942. It no longer had 60-80 mm of armour, from the start the hull armour was 75 mm all around and the turret armour was 90 mm thick,

57 mm ZIS-4 gun. As you can see, the index "ZIS-4M" was never used. Like the model 1943 ZIS-2, the new ZIS-4 had a monobloc barrel. This barrel appeared in late 1941.

The history of the T-43 tank was already explored in detail in two parts. Many facts discovered during research in archives clash with the popular history of this tank. This applies to both the tank developed in 1942 and the second variant built in 1943. The strangest myth is the GKO's alleged decision to put the tank into production. For starters, July 15th, 1943, did not coincide with any event in the T-43's history, nor was there a GKO decree on that day to do with the tank. In reality trials began on August 2nd, 1943, and finished on August 29th. The GBTU indeed considered recommending the tank for mass production, but with a series of caveats. The hull had to be 90 mm thick and the turret 110 mm. The armament had to be upgraded to the 85 mm D-5T gun. While it was not too difficult to install a bigger gun (in fact, a model of the D-5T was installed in the turret of the T-43 in September), the other requirements put the T-43 into a dead end. At a weight of 35 tons the lifespan of the running gear decreased, especially the road wheel tires. KB-520 understood this perfectly, which is why they developed a new 30 ton tank with a perpendicular engine

A note indicating that one tank was sent to factory #92 after trials and the other three returned to factory #183. As much as they wished, the T-34 tanks with the ZIS-4 gun could not have seen front line service.

The history of the "small modernization" of the T-34 with the ZIS-4 gun is no less interesting. This gun is often called ZIS-4M, which is not the case. The gun built in 1943 was still called ZIS-4, but unlike the one built in 1941 it no longer had a composite barrel. The ZIS-2 had a monobloc barrel by the end of its production in 1941. Since the name didn't change to ZIS-2M, the ZIS-4's name didn't change either. This gun was installed in T-34 tanks as a fast solution for increasing penetration. Four guns of this type were installed on T-34 tanks, and one later was installed in the GAZ-74B. Factory #92 managed to produce 154 guns that were left in limbo at factory #183, since it was clear that a weapon more powerful than the ZIS-4 was needed. Many attempts at using up these guns were made, for instance the SU-57

The same applies to the T-43. Unless the fighting was around Nizhniy Tagil, the T-43 could not have taken part in it.

The T-34 with the ZIS-4 gun is not mentioned in the story of T-43 myths for nothing. The myths about joint trials battlefield trials of the T-43 and T-34 with the ZIS-4 are still alive and well. The claim is that they were put together into "special tank company #100" in August of 1943. 100 must indicate the proof of spirits that the author of this myth consumed. As mentioned above, both T-43 prototypes were used for trials from August 2nd to 29th and could not have been used by any such company. The same is true for the T-34 tanks with the ZIS-4 gun. These vehicles arrived at the Gorohovers ANIOP in late July of 1943 and remained there through August. One tank was sent to factory #92 and the rest returned to factory #183 without assignment to any company.

No comments:

Post a Comment