Wednesday 30 March 2022

Waking the Canadian Bear

The Canadian Ram tank was superior to its predecessor, the American Medium Tank M3, but the newer Sherman tank surpassed its Canadian brother. The solution was simple: Canada would build Sherman tanks. The decision was made to copy the Medium Tank M4A1 under the name Grizzly. Like its predecessor, the Grizzly never saw battle, but nevertheless remains an important part of Canadian military history.

Read about the development and production of the Grizzly in my latest article on

Monday 28 March 2022

Intermediate Revolution

Work on the Light Tank T37 officially began on September 27th, 1946. This was the first of the radically new tanks developed after WW2. The appearance of this vehicle was an important event, since it signalled the new vision for American tanks. All that was needed was to design new components that the tank could be built around. Because of this, it took three and a half years to finish the tank. It was finally finished in 1949, by which point there was already a replacement ready for it. This was the Light Tank T41, an improved T37. This vehicle was also not mass produced, but it served as a predecessor of the Light Tank M41 that remains in service in some nations to this day.

Friday 25 March 2022

Where There's Smoke

 "Use of smoke in tank units as a method of improving survivability of a tank

Some experience gained from using smoke from the Churchill tank during penetration of heavily fortified defenses allows for some conclusions to be made.

The survivability of a tank and hence the survivability of a tank unit, i.e. the length of time that the former is kept in fighting order, becomes of utmost importance for commanders. Smoke is one of the biggest and most important aspects of keeping a tank alive. Each soldier is going to give the same answer: smoke is used to blind the enemy when approaching its front line and to blind individual strongholds inside the enemy's defenses. Our small experience lets us share some concrete examples.

Wednesday 23 March 2022

Warspot Article: Anglo-Canadian Cruiser

Canada is not a well known tank building nation, but they managed to produce a very competitive design during WW2. Based on the Medium Tank M3 chassis, it combined European and North American technologies to make a tank comparable with the Sherman. Read about the history of its design and production in my latest article on

Monday 21 March 2022

Bulldog's Ancestor

The Americans finished WW2 in a very strange position. On one hand they achieved great things, on the other hand they had fallen behind in a few areas. One of the aspects in which the Americans were in the lead was light tanks. Unlike other nations, which abandoned development of these vehicles by the middle of the war, the Americans rightfully kept going. The result was not just the best light tank of its time, but a whole family of SPGs. Production began to wind down in the summer of 1945, but a foundation for further work was already established. As a result, the first truly original tank built to post-war specifications was a light one. This was the Light Tank T37, an experimental vehicle that became the predecessor for the Light Tank M41.

Friday 18 March 2022

King Tiger Intel

 "Memo on the new "King Tiger" (Koenigstiger) heavy tank and methods of combat against it

Elements of the 1st Ukrainian Front captured 4 King Tiger tanks near Szydłów on August 12th, 1944, one of which was functional. 2 non-functional King Tiger tanks were captured near Korozvenka on August 15th, 1944. 

Preliminary characteristics of the King Tiger tank are as follows:

Wednesday 16 March 2022

SU-76 Misuse

June 19th, 1945

The GBTU Tank Usage Directorate received reports of incorrect use of SU-76 SPGs issued to rifle corps.

For instance, the 37th and 39th Rifle Corps of the 9th Guards Army used the SU-76 SPGs from the 1513th and 1524th Light SPG Regiments as tractors to tow captured vehicles over the course of 4-6 days, expending 25-30 engine hours and 250-450 km of travel for each SPG.

I order that:

  1. The use of tanks and SPGs to tow vehicles is forbidden. Tractors and prime movers are to be used for this purpose.
  2. Commanders of Armoured and Mechanized Forces of Fronts are to check the correctness of usage of all tank and SPG regiments attached to rifle corps.
  3. The commander of Armoured and Mechanized Forces of the 2nd Ukrainian Front must investigate the instance of incorrect usage of SU-76 SPGs of the 1513th and 1524th Light SPG Regiments attached to the 37th and 39th Rifle Corps and hold the guilty parties responsible.
Deliver this directive to commanders of armoured and mechanized units and formations of the Red Army and rifle corps commanders that have tank or SPG regiments attached.
Report on the execution of this order by July 10th of this year.

Deputy Chief of Armoured and Mechanized Forces, Colonel General of the Tank Forces, Korobkov".
CAMD RF F.38 Op.11362 D.16 L.23

Printed in Glavnoye Bronetankovoye Upravleniye Lyudi, Sobytiya, Fakty v dokumentakh, 1944-1945 p.549

Monday 14 March 2022

T-34's Heart on Trial

The engine is the most complicated and most important component of any tracked fighting vehicle. It might even take more time to develop the engine than the rest of the tank put together. Even today, not all tank building nations have the ability to produce their own engines, and a successful design can define the development of tanks for years to come. The V-2 diesel engine put into production in 1939 was one such design. This article will tell the story of the trials that paved its way to life.

Friday 11 March 2022

American Experience

 "Report by the 92nd Tank Brigade on use of American M3 medium and M3 light tanks in August of 1942

Positive qualities from a tactical point of view:

  1. Good density of fire.
  2. Good visibility from the medium tank (has a commander's cupola).
  3. The light tank is very mobile.
  4. The engine noise is insignificant in motion.
  5. The 75 and 37 mm guns of the M3 S and M3 L are precise and have good ballistics.
  6. The crew positions of the M3 S and M3 L are comfortable.

Wednesday 9 March 2022

T-34 Improvements

 "Order of the People's Commissar of Tank Production of the USSR #230-M
June 12th, 1942

With the intention of further improvement of the quality of T-34 tanks and realization of decisions made at the technical meeting of factories #183, #112, and STZ, I order that:

  1. RE: air cleaners: factory #183 director comrade Maksarev must perform bench trials of a simplified Cyclone filter developed by the factory by July 15th and test it in a vehicle in road conditions by July 25th. Send a report to the NKTP by August 1st.

Monday 7 March 2022

Limping Jagdtiger

The German Jagdtiger tank destroyer was built in two variants: one with a Porsche suspension and one with a Henschel one. The former was deemed poor and removed from production. This fact is stated in every publication dedicated to the Jagdtiger, but is not discussed in detail. In this article we won't stop at brief descriptions, questionable overviews, and conclusions, but instead will discuss how German late war tank suspensions were developed, cover the Porsche suspension, then present the history of the Jagdtiger's suspension in the appropriate context. Our tale will be based on an analysis of the design rather than compilations of opinions of other authors.

Friday 4 March 2022

Panther Weak Spots

Soviet diagrams showing areas where to shoot enemy tanks are pretty common. There were both elaborate ones showing various weapons printed at the Publisher of the People's Commissariat of Defense and simpler ones, produced in the field, showing whatever weapons were relevant for the unit that printed them. Here are two such flyers for the Panther.

The first one is relatively well known. Each drawing of a shell shows the range and caliber with which you can destroy a Panther tank. The small bullets are 14.5 mm bullets fired from the PTRD or PTRS. The large tube symbol under that is HE, a projectile partially filled with red is an AP shell, a fully red projectile is solid AP shot. The red arrowhead projectile is 45 mm APCR. 

Wednesday 2 March 2022

Comparing Shells

 "Report of the GBTU Self Propelled Artillery Directorate on results of comparative penetration trials of American, German, and domestic AP shells
May 13th, 1945

Firing according to the attached velocities was done at the Main Artillery Proving Grounds of the GAU at NKB proving grounds at Sofrino

Results of firing the shells at armour plates at prescribed velocities (see table)

#1: 76 mm AP shells against 50 and 75 mm thick plates.

The experimental shell from 60Kh30 steel shows undoubtedly superior results compared to the stock shell or the American shell.