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.

American evaluation:

The KV and T-34 tanks were designed soon after the Polish campaign, before Germany attacked Russia. These vehicles are the latest models of Soviet tanks.

The following drawbacks were discovered during trials:

  1. Bad cooling characteristics, limiting the temperature spectrum of work. During cooling trials the water boiled.
  2. Difficulty of steering on hard terrain at high speeds, as well as shifting down due to the massive trasmission gears.
  3. The air cleaners are unsatisfactory, which accelerates engine wear.
  4. Bad mobility in sand.
  5. Work distribution is uneven and components are not fully mechanically reliable. General reliability is satisfactory, as they completed a 14 hour run, but the slipping clutch and engine trouble suggest that they would not be able to run for longer stretches.
  6. The service life of tracks and pins is short, about 600 miles, which is very low.
  7. Mechanical finishing of components is insufficient, the finishing of the armour is bad.
  8. The driver's station is positioned poorly due to its proximity to the sloped armour. Only a very highly trained driver can work effectively.
Positive qualities:
  1. The shape of the hull and turret suggest excellent ballistic qualities, but limit the useful space in the fighting compartment.
  2. The ammunition stowage in the lower part of the hull is good.
  3. The machine guns are simple and reliable.
  4. The sights are excellent, the observation devices are primitive but satisfactory.
  5. The air starter is effective, but its reliability needs to be checked.
  6. The rear position of the drive wheels makes them less vulnerable and allows for better tensioning of tracks when crossing obstacles.
  7. The KV's torsion bar suspension is of great interest and showed itself well.
  8. The tanks' low silhouette allows them to be concealed easily.
  9. The tanks have good mobility off-road, in mud, and in snow.
  10. Principles of interchangeable parts suggest a tendency of mass production and simplification of repairs. Components, equipment, and assemblies of the KV can be used on the T-34 and vice versa, which reduces the amount of parts used.
  11. The requirement in fuel and lubricant is low.
  12. The engines start well.
  13. The range of visibility is good.
  14. The tanks are compact.
Comparison of Russian and American tanks:
  1. There is a noticeable resemblance between the T-34 and the American T4 Christie tank. The T-34 descends from the Christie type tank.
  2. The firepower is comprable with that of the American M4 tank. Even though the Russian tanks use 76 mm guns, their muzzle velocities are just 100 fps higher than the 75 mm M3 gun.
  3. The ground pressure is good compared to American tanks and mobility on bad roads is higher.
  4. Driving the T-34 is bumpy at low speed and smoother at high speed, but still not as smooth as the American M4A2 tank.
  5. Russian tanks proved themselves equal or even superior to American tanks when crossing vertical obstacles.
Conclusion: Russian KV and T-34 tanks are mainly good designs, well suited for production with semi-skilled labour.

CAMD RF F.38 Op.11355 D.2218 L.118-120
Printed in Glavnoye Bronetankovoye Upravleniye Lyudi, Sobytiya, Fakty v dokumentakh, 1944-1945 p.23

1 comment:

  1. Were there any comments by Soviet officials on these American observations?