Friday 29 July 2022

Coded Accounting

 "December 19th, 1944

Proposals to change marking and numbering of tanks, SPGs, and engines

The following system is to be used for numbering tanks and SPGs:

  1. January and February 1945:
    1. Leave the factory letter codes.
    2. Keep the year and month, i.e. all factories will start serial numbers with 412.
    3. Increment tanks and SPG serial numbers, for example:
      1. Factory #183's first tank built in January of 1945 will have the number T412716 if the last tank built in December 1944 had the number T412715.
      2. Factory #112's first tank built in January of 1945 will have the number G412316 if the last tank built in December 1944 had the number G412315, etc.

Monday 25 July 2022

T-20 Komsomolets

The Red Army is often criticized for its vehicle fleet. On one hand, there is plenty to criticize. On the other hand, if one examines the situation carefully, it is often much better than claimed. This is especially true for tracked tractors. Even when you include civilian tractors, not everything was hopeless. Sure, the S-65 was not exceptionally quick, but in most armies of the world the only alternative would be a horse. If you count that as an alternative for the Red Army, the situation becomes different. Keep in mind that the S-65, STZ-3, and other slow moving tractors were only a temporary measure. The Red Army was not sitting idle and work on specialized vehicles was underway.

Komsomolets tractor during a demonstration at the War Motors festival.

Friday 22 July 2022

Ammunition Storage

June 9th, 1945

In accordance with your letter #843079s dated May 25th of this year, we present the following ideas regarding rational locations of ammunition in ammunition racks and painting of the racks with the goal of prevention of explosions.

For the SU-76

  1. Given 35 round of HE, 15 AP, and 10 APCR, place:
    1. 11 rounds of HE on the right side, 17 on the left side, 7 under the gun cradle.
    2. 15 rounds of AP in the upper bustle.
    3. 10 rounds of APCR in the lower bustle.

Wednesday 20 July 2022

T-54 at Aquino Tank Weekend

The T-54 tank and its close successor the T-55 were key players in nearly every Cold War conflict. Many nations keep these tanks in service to this day and even though they are no match for modern MBTs, modernization kits ensure that even these veterans can still pack quite a punch. The museum's vehicle was captured by British forces in Iraq and made its way to Canada from there.

Monday 18 July 2022

Two Turrets from Leningrad

The creation of the two-turreted T-26 tank

The most famous Soviet tanks of the interbellum era at BT light tanks. Their high mobility, convertible drive feature, and a certain photogenic quality made them the best known Soviet tank series. One popular theory classified the BT tanks as "highway aggressor tanks" that indicated the offensive nature of the Red Army and popularized the idea that the BT tanks were the Red Army's main tanks. This is only an indicator of how wrong that theory is.

T-26 tanks armed with either only machine guns or both a cannon and a machine gun on parade in Moscow.

Wednesday 13 July 2022

T-34 Commander's Cupolas

 "Order of the People's Commissar of Tank Production of the USSR #338
June 9th, 1943

On installation of commander's cupolas in T-34 tanks

In carrying out State Committee of Defense decree #3531ss, I order to:

  1. Approve a commander's cupola with the following specifications for installation on T-34 tanks:
    1. The commander's cupola is installed in the existing two-hatch turret instead of the commander's hatch.
    2. The commander's cupola has five vision slits covered in triplex bulletproof glass and a MK-4 periscope (English type) in the rotating lid of the cupola that allow for 360 degree observation.
    3. The lid of the cupola consists of two separate halves and must allow the crew to enter and exit the tank turret.

Monday 11 July 2022

Three Inch Halftrack

Germany produced a large number of well thought out and elegantly composed improvised vehicles during the Second World War. The main character of this article is not one of them. Its large and clumsy appearance war far from perfection. Nevertheless, the 7.62 cm F.K.(r) auf gp. Selbstfahrlafette (Sd.Kfz. 6/3) left its mark on history.

Wednesday 6 July 2022

T-34-85 at Aquino Tank Weekend

The T-34-85 is one of the Ontario Regiment Museum's most interesting vehicles. Its past is not yet fully known, but it definitely had a long and rich career before ending up at the museum. It was built at factory #112 in June of 1945 and captured in Bosnia during the Yugoslavian Civil War. The museum is returning the tank to its initial state, but it bears the signs of many modernizations and repairs applied along the way. 

Monday 4 July 2022

Lend Lease Tank Destroyer

After creating the relatively cheap and simple GMC M3 tank destroyer on the chassis of a halftrack, the Americans took the next logical step. They replaced the 75 mm M1897A4 field gun with a purpose made anti-tank weapon, the 57 mm M1 gun. This created a tank destroyer called GMC T48.

The GMC T12 tank destroyer was designed in the summer of 1941 and then standardized as the GMC M3. This was a successful combination of two existing designs: the M3 halftrack APC and 75 mm M1897A4 gun. This tank destroyer was an improvisation, but it showed how a mobile anti-tank weapon could be created. All that was left was to adapt it to carry a more appropriate anti-tank weapon. The choice was easy to make.

Prototype of the GMC T48.

Friday 1 July 2022

Captured Containers

Practice shows that stock fuel tanks are often not enough for long marches. This was especially critical for tanks that undertook lengthy marches away from supply units. This situation arose in the interwar period. For the USSR, this was most critical when it came to BT fast tanks. Even before the war, BT-7 tanks were equipped with 33.5 L external tanks. They were located on top of the fenders when driving on tracks or below the fenders when driving on wheels. These were the first ever specialized fuel tanks developed for armoured vehicles. These fuel tanks later migrated to the T-34. They were now attached not to the fenders, but the upper hull sides. As with the BT-7 the tanks were used during marches and were removed before battle, although this did not always happen.