Friday 29 October 2021

Lend Lease Review

 "April 17th, 1943

  1. English Mk.II Matilda and Mk.III Valentine tanks have been used in the Great Patriotic War as a part of:
    1. Independent tank brigades and battalions where they were used alongside domestic tanks, chiefly the T-60 and T-70.
    2. Tank regiments of the 5th Mechanized Corps, equipped exclusively with English Mk.II and Mk.III tanks.
    3. Tank brigades of the 9th, 10th, and 11th Tank Corps jointly with T-60 and T-70 tanks.
      Mk.II and Mk.III tanks were used in 1942-1943 in the winter and summer, mostly on the Western (up to 200 tanks), Bryansk (up to 250 tanks) and North Caucasus (up to 150 tanks) Fronts as well as the 5th Mechanized Corps of the South-Western Front (up to 180 tanks.
      The Churchill tank was only used on the Don and Volkhov Fronts in the winter of 1942-43 in independent breakthrough regiments equipped only with this kind of tank.
  2. Practice of using English tanks shows that the Mk.II, Mk.III, and Churchill were used with success, but their design has a number of significant drawbacks that negatively impact the usage of these tanks on the front lines of our theatre of war.
    The most significant drawbacks are:
    1. The cooling system of the Mk.II and Mk.III tanks is located in difficult to access places. The hoses from the engine to the radiator run along the floor of the tank. In winter conditions the water in them freezes even if the engine is running.
      This makes heating the tank difficult and makes it nearly impossible to refill the cooling system at low temperatures.
    2. The tanks are complex, which makes repairs take 3-4 times as long.
    3. Maneuverability is low due to weak engines, high ground pressure (0.7-1.0), and low traction, especially in winter.
      Cruising range is 70-100 km.
    4. The Mk.II tank's spaced armour makes it difficult to replace running gear components. If the spaced armour is bent even slightly, the tracks will slip off and the tank is disabled.
    5. The tanks are armed with a 40 mm gun that is equipped only with armour piercing solid shot. Without an HE or HE-fragmentation shell the tanks cannot effectively fire at enemy troops or machine gun nests.
    6. The Churchill tank is not studied thoroughly enough in practice due to its limited use in battle, but experience on the Don and Volkhov Fronts shows that they have low off-road mobility, poor visibility (especially for the driver), high risk of fire due to the gasoline engine and large amount of flammable materials used to make equipment. The tracks of the Churchill tank are placed badly. In winter, snow packs under the tracks and raises the fenders above the turret ring and jamming it, which can break the turret traverse mechanism. 
  3. The use of English tank in combat allowed us to establish that:
    1. It's feasible to use these tanks in an infantry support role.
    2. The tanks can be used in mixed units with T-34 and T-70 tanks to improve their firepower.
    3. It is most recommended to use these tanks in the south year-round. On other fronts it is difficult to use them in the winter.
Chief of Staff of the Armoured and Mechanized Forces of the Red Army
Colonel Zayev"

CAMD RF F.38 Op.11355 D.22 L.66-68
Printed in Glavnoye Bronetankovoye Upravleniye Lyudi, Sobytiya, Fakty v dokumentakh, 1943-1944 p.178


  1. Very interesting, I had never read about hoses in the chassis floor freezing.

    PS I think there is a typo in "located in difficult to access plates", probably mean places?