Wednesday 23 February 2022

Obsolete Tanks

April 10th, 1945

I report that production for the T-27, T-30, T-37, T-38, T-40, and T-60 tanks has ceased. As of April 1st, 1945, there are 566 tanks of these types that require refurbishment but cannot be supplied with parts.

Imported Mk.II [Matilda], Mk.IV [Churchill], M3s [Medium Tank M3], and M3l [Light Tank M3] tanks are in the same state. As of April 1st, 1945, there are 315 tanks of this type that require refurbishment.

All of these vehicles are obsolete, as they have weak armament and insufficient armour. They cannot be used in battle and are only used in training units.

It would take a considerable expense to restore these tanks. Repair units are loaded with repairs of modern tanks, and it is not reasonable to distract them with repairs of obsolete vehicles.

I ask for you permission to use the aforementioned tanks until they require refurbishment, after which they will be written off and disassembled for parts. These parts will be used for light and medium repairs of tanks that are still being used.

Deputy Commander of the Armoured and Mechanized Forced, Colonel General of the Tank Forces, Korobkov."

TsAMO RF F.38 Op.11355 D.290 L.4
Printed in Glavnoye Bronetankovoye Upravleniye Lyudi, Sobytiya, Fakty v dokumentakh, 1944-1945 p.457


  1. Looking at Krivosheev's numbers for the whole war, are obsolete tanks such as these which are scrapped added to the Soviet 'dead pile'?

    I ask this as his numbers are additive; i.e., Total Tank Park = (Number of tanks on-hand in 1941) + (Number produced in war) + (Allied Lend-Lease received) - "Losses". It would seem that as these number do add up, tanks scrapped due to wear-and-tear and obsolescence would have to be included in the 'dead pile'.

    The reason why this is notable, as of course, people take the "total Soviet losses"(Kriovsheev's)/"German losses" to achieve whatever exchange rate they usually want to 'prove', not apparently knowing, that the Soviet 'dead pile' I suspect includes scrapped vehicles and the German dead pile undercounts everything mightily. The total German dead pile would have to be at least 50,000 vehicles (the number they made plus on-hand in 1939) and probably 67,000 (which would includes their use of captured vehicles; the SS Panzer corps has as many captured T-34s at Prokhorovka as Tigers.

    1. I don't know for sure, IIRC Krivosheev was working from documents that were classified at the time (and still might be), so it's hard to double check his work. There was definitely a huge push to scrap old tanks in 1945 while the war was still on, so if one simply subtracts the total number of tanks at the end of the war in order to get the losses they would be incorrectly counted as destroyed.

    2. Krivosheev's figures show a very slight decrease in the tank park in 1945 (35,400 in January down to 35,200 in June) as well as showing some 13,700 Soviet tanks as "lost" in 1945 when the previous data I have seen was only ~8,000. So maybe he is counting those scrapped as 'destroyed'.

      Baryatinskiy in his book "The IS tanks" says that 37 IS-1s our of 100 sent to field units survived the war, but only 26 of that 100 were destroyed in combat. The other 37 haven been written-off due to wear-and-tear. So at least for some Soviet armor, the tanks that died "natural deaths" can be a big fraction. Seems from that you'd have to be counting scrapped tanks into the total "destroyed", for Krivosheev's numbers to be as additive as they are.