Friday 28 October 2022

Borgward Tankettes

"Main Intelligence Directorate of the Red Army
October 20th, 1943

To the Commander of the Armoured and Mechanized Forces of the Red Army, Colonel General of the Armed Forces, comrade Fedorenko

Agents report (still need to be confirmed) that the Germans are producing B-4 tankettes that are controlled by radio and are conducting training on their use.

The tank is loaded with 300 kg of explosives and has several smoke emitting devices. It is designed for destruction of bunkers, making passages through obstacles, and clearing minefields.

The tank's characteristics are:

  • Length: 3 meters
  • Width: 1.05 meters
  • Height: 1.1 meters
  • Weight: about 10 tons
  • Type: amphibious (equipped with flotation buoys)
  • Speed:
    • Flat terrain: 70 kph
    • Water: 10-15 kph
  • Armour: 20 mm
  • Front armour: 25 mm
  • Engine: Maybach 300 hp, runs on ethanol
The B-4 tank can be controlled like a regular tank. To control it over radio, the driver moves to another tank (Pz.Kpfw.III or Pz.Kpfw.IV) equipped with a radio control device.

The explosives are dropped from the tank and explode three seconds after being deployed. If necessary, they can be activated inside the tank, in which case it is sacrificed.

All of these operations to drop the explosives or set them off are performed from another tank (the control tank) that can control up to two B-4 tanks. The radio control range is 3 km.

The radio equipment sends out a carrier wave into which 12 modulations (special tones) can be included, which control the directed tank. These modulations are split into two groups: "Richard" and "North Pole". Each modulation matches to a function of the B-4 tank (turning, stopping, etc).

The B-4 tank's receiver includes a resonating camertone that has 12 small buttons. Each one activates a function of the tank. To keep moving, the B-4 needs to receive a tone every 20 seconds.

Trials of the B-4 tank were conducted in 1941. They are produced at two factories in Bremen. 

Presently, the Germans allegedly have created seven companies of 52 B-4 tanks and 150-200 men each. These companies are collected into the 300th Reserve Tank Battalion which is located in Eisenach. Other sources say that tank training is conducted in Vienna.

The battalion is directed for use on the Eastern Front starting on October 10th, 1943.

Acting Chief of the Main Intelligence Directorate, Lieutenant General Ilyichev"

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