Friday 31 December 2021

RPG-40 Manual

 "Study combat techniques! Anti-tank grenade model 1940

The impact anti-tank hand grenade model 1940 is designed to combat armoured cars and tanks. It can also be used to combat strongholds and field fortifications. The grenade weights approximately 1.2 kg.

The RPG-40 consists of a hull, a handle, and an impact fuse. The hull contains explosives. A handle is screwed on. A fuse is inserted into the top before throwing or on special orders from the commander. The fuse is held inside with a latch.

The grenade's trigger is held in the handle. The safety level disconnects when thrown and pulls out the safety pin. When the grenade strikes its target, a mobile weight inside the grenade will drive a rod forward. This frees two balls that then allow the spring to drive the firing pin into the primer.

Wednesday 29 December 2021

Warspot Article: How to Kill a T-34

Suddenly faced with the thickly armoured and well armed T-34 tanks in the summer of 1941, the Germans had to develop new tactics. Techniques developed to combat these new tanks ranged from reasonably effective to downright absurd. Find out about both types in my latest article on

Monday 27 December 2021

A Trophy from Pilsen

Germany invaded Czechoslovakia on March 15th, 1939. This was the final step in the process kicked off by the Munich Agreement in the fall of 1938. France and Britain were not prepared for war, and their appeasement policy handed Czechoslovakia to the Germans. The first step was annexation of the Sudetenland, then the rest of the country. Slovakia declared independence, but Jozef Tiso's government was loyal to Germany. The Germans assumed direct control of Czechia, its advanced industry, and its armoured vehicles, including the LT vz.35. These tanks were designated Pz.Kpfw.35(t) in the German army and played a big role in 1939-1941.

Friday 24 December 2021

Bigger Guns

"February 5th, 1945

Evaluation of tank armament

In 1944 the Germans accepted the Tiger B tank into service, which is now the main type of enemy heavy tank.

The Tiger B tank has powerful front armour and the 88 mm KWK-43 gun. The AP round of this gun has a muzzle velocity of 1000 m/s with an aimed rate of fire of about 6 RPM.

The second type of main German tank is the Panther medium tank. This tank has a 75 mm gun with a muzzle velocity of 1000 m/s and rate of fire of 7-8 RPM.

The AP shells of these tanks can penetrate our tanks from 1500-2000 meters.

Wednesday 22 December 2021

Winter Camo

"November 27th, 1944

According to an order of the Commander of the Armoured and Mechanized Forces, imported tanks that arrive in military acceptance departments in winter time are painted in white winter camouflage.

Tanks are then transferred to training regiments where the guns are tested and the tanks are used to train crew cohesion.

Experience from last winter showed that the camouflage is wiped off the tanks during firing and training, and the regiments are forced to paint the tanks again, which expends an excess of labour and paint.

I ask you to order the commanders of the 16th and 27th Independent Training Tank Regiments to request unpainted tanks from the GBTU Tank Directorate. Paint the tanks in the regiments before they are sent to the front.

Inform me of your decision

Deputy Chief of the GBTU Tank Directorate, Engineer-Colonel Muravich
Chief of the 5th Department of the GBTU TU, Engineer-Major Biletkin"

CAMD RF F.38 Op.11355 D.2190 L.254
Printed in Glavnoye Bronetankovoye Upravleniye Lyudi, Sobytiya, Fakty v dokumentakh, 1944-1945 p.229

Monday 20 December 2021

Object 430

One of the most important principles in tank building is that one must start working on a tank's successor as soon as it is accepted into service. Various intermediate stages are developed on the way to the next tank, some of which remains as drafts or technical projects, and some even reach the full scale model stage. One such vehicle that never came to be was the Object 430 tank designed in 1953.

Friday 17 December 2021

Pike for a Heavy Tank

Soviet tank building made a long leap during the Great Patriotic War, especially when it came to heavy tanks. For various reasons, Soviet medium tanks continued to use a pre-war chassis, but heavy tanks went through a revolutionary transformation. There was also competition among heavy tank designers, at times rougher than that of their German counterparts. The result of this competition was a rapid jump in development of heavy tanks. Development split into three directions by the summer of 1944. The first was ChKZ's Object 701, the second was the Object 252 (IS-6) developed at experimental factory #100. This was a grassroots initiative. Finally, the third direction was modernization of the IS-2 tank. Interestingly enough, factory #100 was tasked with a modernization of the IS-2, but after they started working on the IS-6 the task was given to ChKZ's SKB-2 design bureau.

Wednesday 15 December 2021

Video: Tanks in Snow, Winter 1941

It's winter again, and with it comes a sequel to my Tanks in Snow video. This time I narrow the scope a little bit and talk about how tanks in the Red Army performed in the winter of 1941-42, specifically about the T-26, T-60, Valentine, and Matilda tanks.

Monday 13 December 2021

A Second Life for Obsolete Chassis

Instances where obsolete tank chassis are used to make quite modern vehicles that nevertheless remained experimental are common. Nearly a dozen German SPGs were produced in tiny amounts but still saw front line service. One common example is the Pz.Sfl.V tank destroyer, better known as the Sturer Emil. This vehicle was built on the chassis of the VK 30.01(H) heavy tank that was never put into mass production. Only two Pz.Sfl.V were built, but they were used quite successfully.

This German SPG was brought up as an example intentionally. Today it is displayed alongside its Soviet analogues, which also remained experimental. These are the SU-14-1 and T-100Y SPGs, built as bunker busters. They did not make it to the Winter War, but were likely used in battle during the defense of the NIBT Proving Grounds. Both vehicles were built on the chassis of tanks that were either considered obsolete or otherwise unfit.

Friday 10 December 2021

Aberdeen Feedback

 "May 24th, 1944

I direct to you the detailed official report of the US War Department on trials of our T-34 and KV-1 tanks and brief excerpts from the translation of the report. I ask for your comments on their contents.

People's Commissar of Foreign Trade, A. Mikoyan

Excerpts from the summary report on trials of Russian KV and T-34 tanks at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds

Reports from German press:
New Russian tanks are the standard of good design and were produced in stunningly short time. The most fearsome tank of the Red Army is the T-34. The effectiveness of its armament, good slope of the armour, and mobility make it a very dangerous opponent.

Reports from British press:
The Russians surpassed the Germans not only in production of tanks, but also in quality. The Russian T-34 tank is the only tank that the Germans fear. They consider the T-34 the most effective and best Russian tank they encountered.
The high maneuverability, good gun, and quality of armour of the T-34 are excellent, which makes it a favourite of Russian tank crews.
The armour is the only interesting aspect of the KV tank.

Monday 6 December 2021

Results of a Great War

Germany's surrender was signed on the night between May 8th and May 9th, 1945. The core part of the Second World War, the largest war in history, was over. The German army was not the only loser in this war. German industry also lost the battle fought in factories and on drawing boards. The Soviet Union won this battle, finishing the war with the largest tank force in the world. Unlike in the summer of 1945, this was a qualitative rather than merely a quantitative advantage. More importantly, German tank building hit a dead end, while Soviet tank building evolved down a road that later proved correct. Nevertheless, there were plenty of dead ends along the way. This article tells their story.

Friday 3 December 2021

85 mm Gun Instructions

"Instructions from the 4th Department of the Combat Training Directorate of the Armoured and Mechanized Forces of the Red Army on the specifics of using the 85 mm tank gun

February 23rd, 1944

  1. The T-34 tank uses two types of 85 mm gun: D5-T-85 and S-53.
    In combat the guns are serviced by two crewmen: the gunner and the loader.
  2. The differences in characteristics of the weapons are negligible. Both are meant to combat enemy armoured vehicles, suppress artillery batteries and anti-tank guns, as well as enemy personnel, at ranges of 1500-2000 meters.

Wednesday 1 December 2021

Warspot Article: Skink

The Canadian Skink AA tank was the best anti-aircraft gun platform of WW2. Unfortunately, development took too long due to the change from Hispano-Suiza to Polsten guns, and so by the time it was finished the Luftwaffe had essentially gone extinct. Nevertheless, one vehicle was sent to Europe for battlefield trials in order to figure out its advantages and drawbacks for the next generation of AA tanks. Read about the history of this unusual vehicle in my latest article on