Friday 29 April 2022

Warspot Article: Panther's Ins and Outs

The Panther was arguably the most dangerous German tank of WW2, available in greater numbers than the Tiger and equipped with a higher penetrating gun and greater frontal armour. The British dedicated considerable resources to finding out its weaknesses, starting long before they had to face a Panther tank in combat. Read about what they found in my latest article on

Wednesday 27 April 2022

SU-76M Experience

 "Report by the Commander of the Armoured and Mechanized Forces of the Leningrad Front
July 31st, 1944

The SU-76 shows itself well in battle, but the open top and rear as well as a lack of machine gun in a ball mount are significant drawbacks.

In battle, the SU-76 fights alongside infantry among its ranks within range of enemy machine gun fire and grenades. The SU-76 crews are completely open and singular submachine gunners can come up from the flank or rear and destroy the crew with submachine guns and grenades. This is characteristic of battles in forests.

Monday 25 April 2022

Balls of Soviet Tanks

Tank protection is developed based on information about anti-tank weapons of the potential enemy, physics of interaction between those weapons and a tank's armour, and the conditions in which tanks are used and that they fight in. An analysis of anti-tank weapons is a necessary step towards designing tank armour. In the 1950s it became clear that further improvement of tank protection simply through improving the characteristics of steel alloys is impossible. This was primarily true when protecting the tanks from HEAT warheads. The idea to use fillers to protect from HEAT ammunition appeared during the Great Patriotic War, but was not developed until after its conclusion.

Friday 22 April 2022

Tiger Weak Spots

The Tiger is a pretty iconic tank and is mentioned pretty frequently in Soviet anti-tank manuals, but penetration diagrams for the big cat are hard to come by. The one in the collection I posted earlier is very simplistic and does not really give a lot of details. Fortunately, this diagram provides a little bit more information, if only for the 76 mm ZIS-3 gun.

As in the Panther diagram, red represents APCR, blue is AP, and green is HE. 

As can be expected, the front of the Tiger is a pretty tough target. The only hope with AP is to penetrate either the driver's viewport or to jam the turret. APCR also points at the turret ring. The maximum range for this kind of attack is 500 meters. At 800 meters, you can hope to knock off the tank's tracks with HE.

From the sides there are more options. The side of the turret and hull are vulnerable to AP and APCR from 800 meters, which matches some instructions I've seen. At this range you can also use AP or HE to hit the idler or drive sprocket, immobilizing the tank.

Thursday 21 April 2022

Future of SPGs

"Prospective development of Red Army self propelled artillery
July 25th, 1945

The Red Army's self propelled artillery branch was born during the Great Patriotic War and evolved considerably during this period. Experimental work on SPGs was done before the war, but the vehicles produced at that time were not well received and were not developed further. The necessity of having self propelled artillery became obvious during the fierce fighting. The main aim of self propelled artillery was to fight alongside tank units and support them in combat against enemy tanks.

Monday 18 April 2022

Eternal Proving Grounds in the Middle East

Throughout the various Arab-Israeli wars of 1948-1982 Israel, Egypt, and Syria received foreign military vehicles in large amounts. The Middle East was an excellent proving grounds to compare the performance of Soviet and Western military vehicles in real combat. Let's see which vehicles Israeli and Arab tankers got their hands on and how they performed over the decades of conflict.

Friday 15 April 2022

Street Fighter

 "Tuesday, March 20th, 1945

Bulletin of street fighting experience, a daily publication of the Red Army newspaper For the Destruction of the Enemy

Guards Jr. Lieutenant-Technician M. Litvinov
Guards Jr. Lieutenant-Technician N. Deryugin

Self propelled artillery in street fighting

Self propelled artillery plays a considerable role in street fighting. Only an SPG can approach a fortified building with enemy machine gunners and destroy it at point blank range. The enemy has felt the blows from SPGs and hunts them, sending out Panzerfaust troops and shooting them on the approach. Completion of the SPGs' objectives requires considerable experience from the drivers.

In this article, we would like to share the experience of SPG drivers in street fighting.

Wednesday 13 April 2022

IS-4 Report

 "To comrade I.V. Stalin

RE: experimental heavy tank designed at the Kirov factory

We report that the Kirov factory has designed a new heavy tank that has several distinct features from existing tanks:

  • The upper front hull armour of this tank is rolled. The upper front plate is 120 mm thick at an angle of 61 degrees. The lower front plate is 160 mm thick at an angle of 29 degrees, compred to the cast 120/100/60 mm of armour of the IS tank.

Monday 11 April 2022

T-34's Heart in a Tractor

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. Last time we told the tale of the trials of this engine in the A-8 tank. This article will cast light on the second stage of the trials. This time, the new diesel engine was put to work on a heavy tractor.

Friday 8 April 2022

Start of the T-54

 "May 7th, 1945

I report that in mid-February of this year I ordered NKTP factory #75 to develop a mount for the 100 mm gun in the T-44 tank with a new 1700 mm wide turret ring. The design and working blueprints are complete.

On May 5th of this year I gave orders to produce experimental prototypes of the T-44 tank with a 100 mm gun. Trials of these tanks are scheduled for June 10th.

As for stowing 50 rounds of ammunition as requested in your letter, it is very difficult to achieve. 34-35 rounds is much more realistic. Additional orders were given to factory #75 to investigate the possibility of stowing 50 rounds.

I will inform you of the results of this work.

People's Commissar of Tank Production of the USSR, V. Malyshev"

CAMD RF F.38 Op.11355 D.3048 L.9
Printed in Glavnoye Bronetankovoye Upravleniye Lyudi, Sobytiya, Fakty v dokumentakh, 1944-1945 p.487

Wednesday 6 April 2022

100 mm Guns

 "May 17th, 1945

I report to you on the work performed by the People's Commissariat and factories #92 and #9 on improving the firepower of T-34, T-44, and T-54 medium tanks.

Two types of 100 mm guns were produced for these tanks with turret rings widened to 1700 mm.

  • 100 mm LB-1 gun produced at factory #92 (Gorkiy).
  • 100 mm D-10T gun incorporating design elements of the D-10S SPG gun produced at factory #9 (Sverdlovsk)
Both guns were installed in turn into a T-34 tank with an expanded turret ring and tested at the Gorohovets proving grounds from April 6th to April 27th. Trials included firing 100 shots and 500 km of driving.

Monday 4 April 2022

Regimental Support Gun

The history of vehicles and weapons developed and produced in Leningrad in the summer of 1941 and during the blockade is an interesting topic for researchers. One of the most interesting parts are the improvised armoured cars, guns, and SPGs. Some of them are widely known, but others remain in obscurity. One such vehicle that became the foundation of the blockade SU-26 SPG will be covered in this article.

Friday 1 April 2022

Change in Ranks

The Red Army set a high standard for tank crew ranks in 1941, namely that commanders of nearly all tanks were officers. In 1945 Fedorenko petitioned the General Staff to roll that bar back a bit.

"October 17th, 1945

In order to fill the Armoured and Mechanized Forces of the Red Army with well rounded officers and NCOs, I consider the following to be reasonable:

  1. As of January 1st, 1946, set the length of training courses at tank academies to 3 years. Graduates are to be awarded the rank of Lieutenant and assigned as tank or SPG platoon commanders.
  2. Enroll privates and NCOs with at least one year of combat experience and at least 7 years of schooling or civilian youths with at least 9 years of schooling in these academies.
  3. Commanders of medium and light tanks and SPGs can hold the rank of Sergeant, Senior Sergeant, or Starshina, depending on their training and duration of service.
  4. As of January 1st, 1946, set the length of training courses for NCOs in training regiments to 1 year.
  5. Until a sufficient number of NCOs are trained, it is permitted to retain officers as commanders of light and medium tanks and SPGs.
I ask for your decision.

Commander of the Armoured and Mechanized Forces, Marshal of the Armoured Forces, Ya. Fedorenko"

CAMD RF F. 38 Op.11389 D.46 L.40
Printed in Glavnoye Bronetankovoye Upravleniye Lyudi, Sobytiya, Fakty v dokumentakh, 1944-1945 p.716