Sunday 31 December 2023

2023 in Review

As Tank Archives nears the conclusion its eleventh year, I've decided to bring up the traditional year-end summary from the blog's birthday on February 28th to New Year's Eve. Without further ado, let's jump in to see what I've been up to for the last twelve months.

Thursday 21 December 2023

British Tanks in 1943

 "Report on use of foreign MK-2 [Matilda] and MK-3 [Valentine] tanks in combat

1. General characteristics

Since the brigade was created on March 25th, 1942, it was armed with MK-2 and MK-3 tanks. The latter showed themselves well in battle as infantry support tanks in all sorts of battles. There were also cases of using them to combat enemy tanks (Pz.Kpfw.III, Pz.Kpfw.IV) at close ranges (200-600 meters), especially from ambush in defensive fighting.

The off-road mobility and maneuverability of the MK-2 and MK-3 tanks is insufficient compared to the T-34 in all types and periods of battle. The MK-2 tank in particular is not very mobile even on even terrain. In cases where it needs to turn 360 degrees, its turning radius is 15 meters. The tracks often fall off on sharp turns. The limit of the slopes it can climb or descend in winter, rainy, or damp weather is 15-18 degrees. 

The dimensions of the MK-3 tank allow it to get up close to the enemy using terrain features as cover and take them by surprise. In winter, the depth of the snow conceals it from enemy fire. MK-2 and MK-3 tanks have a clearance of 420 mm with a ground pressure of 0.60 [kg/cm²] when the tracks are submerged by 100 mm. In the winter, they can drive through 50-60 cm deep snow, which allows them to drive on country roads and off-road. If anti-tank obstacles need to be crossed, they can cross a 0.75 m tall wall, ford a one meter deep stream, cross an anti-tank trench [figure missing] wide. In the winter they can handle 18 degree slopes, in the summer and in dry weather they can handle 30 degree slopes.

Friday 1 December 2023

Video: Did Lend Lease Tanks Save Moscow?

Foreign tanks began arriving in the USSR in October of 1941 and reached the front lines a few weeks after. Were these tanks pivotal to saving Moscow from the Germans? Find out in my latest video.

Friday 24 November 2023

African Pz.Kpfw.III

The heavy Panthers and Tigers are the best known of Germany's tanks. The lion's share of discussions of armoured vehicles in the Second World War is dedicated to them, even though lighter tanks carried the Panzerwaffe through the majority of the war. The Pz.Kpfw.III tank proved itself to be a worthy opponent in the first half of the war. At the same time, it remained a mystery for the British for a number of years until the first trophies began arriving from North Africa in 1941-42. This is what the British learned from these studies.

Third time's the charm

The Pz.Kpfw.III medium tank was posed as Germany's main tank from the early days of the Nazis' reign, but development was slow. Only 120 tanks were in the field by the start of the Second World War and 381 by the beginning of the Battle of France. Serious losses among them prove that they were actively used and the British Expeditionary Force couldn't have avoided meeting them on the battlefield. However, even if a tank of this type was captured there was no opportunity to study it or send it back to Britain. The speed of the German offensive forced the British to abandon even their own tanks on the continent.

A column of Pz.Kpfw.III tanks in France prepares to move out. The British did not gather any detailed information on these vehicles in 1940.

Monday 6 November 2023

IS-2 in Combat

 "To the Commander of Artillery of the 5th Guards Tank Army

In carrying out your order, I present materials on experience of using IS-122 heavy tanks.

  1. During fording of water obstacles.
  2. Use of concentrated volley fire of IS-122 tanks (company and regiment).
  3. Examples of use of IS-122 heavy tanks in offensive combat.
1. IS-122 heavy tanks serve as support for medium tanks. During crossings, they support the medium tanks with their fire and cross the water after them.

Sunday 29 October 2023

Video: Can an IS-2 hit a target at long range?

The IS-2's can penetrate the Panther's armour at effectively any range, but can it hit? In my latest video, I take a look at the theoretical and practical precision of the IS-2's 122 mm D-25T gun to see if it could hit a Panther-sized target at long ranges.

Tuesday 24 October 2023

Roof for the SU-76M

A number of questionable publications on the SU-76 created the idea that the SU-12 (SU-76) initially had a roof over the fighting compartment, but it was later removed, never to return. This is far from the truth. The SU-12 prototype and a large number of production vehicles had no roof initially. Stalin personally demanded that a roof be installed on every vehicle starting with the first one, but this was only put into practice in the second half of March 1943. The claim that roofs were removed on the front lines is not supported by photographic evidence. Vehicles without roofs always have their headlights and other stowage in different positions, same as the prototype. The roof was also present on the SU-15 prototype, although the improved SU-15M (SU-76M) didn't have it.

SU-76M with a rigid roof developed at factory #40 in the summer of 1944.

Friday 6 October 2023

Americans in Africa

The trials of the American Medium Tank M3 in Great Britain gave mixed results. On one hand, the tank had no shortage of design defects. On the other hand, there was nothing else to choose from. The Americans refused to build British tanks under license and Britain's own factories could not meet its army's needs. However, British tanks were far from perfect themselves, and the American tank still had tough armour and a powerful 75 mm gun that outperformed both the British 2-pounder and 3" howitzer. As a result, the American tanks were sent to Africa to prove themselves in battle.

Eye of the hurricane

The North African front stood still after the British retreated to Gazala in February of 1942. This pause allowed to train crews for the new tanks. Small number of Grant tanks began arriving in North Africa back in late 1941, but now shipments really picked up. 666 vehicles of this type were in theater by the end of March.

An American instructor demonstrates the new tanks to British tankers.

Monday 25 September 2023

Two Tanks In One

A story of what a Main Battle Tank is and how it came to be.

Tanks evolved considerably over the course of over 100 years of service. The first tanks were built to break through enemy fortifications, but still ended up being much smaller than the landships that H.G. Wells dreamed of. Nevertheless, the effect they had was considerable. All armies of the world wanted to have their own tanks, but not all managed to create one. A tank only seems simple, but in reality is quite a complicated fighting machine that requires a powerful industry to produce. Far fewer nations managed to build their own tanks than their own aircraft. In addition, like any weapon individual tanks quickly became obsolete. It is only in the last few decades that tank development slowed down from its breakneck pace. Tanks remain one of the key types of vehicles on the battlefield. There have been many attempts to write them off as a relic of the past, but practice shows that this time has not yet come.

T-72, the most numerous Main Battle Tank. These tanks were developed in the late 1960s but continue to serve and will do so for decades to come.

Tuesday 19 September 2023

Smokescreens in the 31st Tank Corps

"Report on the use of smokescreen by the 31st Tank Corps in January of 1945

A. Preparation of tank and SPG crews to use neutral smokescreens in battle

Strong attention to the use of smokescreens was paid during training of all types of forces in the corps. Personnel of tanks, SPGs, and motorized rifle units was taught the rules of using smoke equipment and its tactical-technical data.

The following topics were practices during tactical training exercises held in November-December 1944:

  1. The use of the RDG and DSh smoke bombs by a single tank or SPG to conceal its maneuver in combat.
  2. The use of smoke launchers by infantry and tanks to signal aircraft.
  3. Deployment of a tank battalion under the cover of a smokescreen set by an advance force.
  4. Attack by a tank battalion through a corridor in the smokescreen created by MDSh bombs lit by flanking tanks as cover from anti-tank gun fire.
  5. Concealing anti-tank obstacles in front of a defending rifle battalion with smoke to make crossing them more difficult.

Monday 18 September 2023

Copper Horns

The need for communications equipment in armoured vehicles became clear soon after their creation. Semaphores and signal flags were just a half measure. It was necessary to equip tanks with radios, but the road to equipping even a part of them was a long one. The modern system with a radio in the turret and a whip antenna was also far from the initial norm. There were many alternative visions of how a tank radio antenna should look.

The rail antenna was a characteristic feature of Soviet tanks in the 1930s.
Rail antennas became one of the characteristic features of Soviet tanks in the interwar years. "Horns" around the turret became a calling card of this generation of tanks. Few people stop to consider where such a strange antenna came from and how it works, especially since their age was brief. They were no longer used by Soviet industry after 1939, as opposed to the nation that came up with them originally.

Monday 11 September 2023

Italian Cruiser Tank

Italian tank building developed along a fairly usual trajectory. Once a direction was identified, the Italian military tried to stay on course. Under their close guidance, Ansaldo developed a series of combat vehicles: first a tankette, then a light tank, a medium one, and a breakthrough tank. In almost all cases, success was based on a foreign idea, primarily the British one. At first the Italians further developed the idea of the Carden-Loyd Mk.VI tankette and then the Vickers Mk.E support tank. 

Captured Cruiser Tank Mk.IVA at trials in Nettuno. This tank was the inspiration for a "colonial" tank.

Combat in North Africa revealed a series of deficiencies, including insufficient characteristics of Italian medium tanks. One of the biggest issues was their low mobility. The increase in engine power was not an accident. British vehicles were studied in parallel. A Cruiser Tank Mk.IVA was among those examined. This was not the most successful tank, but it was fast. A captured tank was tested at Nettuno in May of 1941. The idea of creating an Italian cruiser tank came about around the same tank. This tank was later called Carro M Celere Sahariano.

Monday 28 August 2023

Alternative Heavy Tank

Factory #183 in Kharkov was the center of Soviet heavy tank development in the interwar period. The T-35 powerful (heavy) tank developed in Leningrad by N.V. Barykov was produced here. Production was set up with the participation of I.S. Ber, who was appointed as the head of HPZ (factory #183) Diesel Department design bureau T-35K. Iosif Solomonovich Ber played a key role in the fate of the T-35 tank. It was he who produced the technical documentation for the tank and further development of the design was done under his direction. Work to replace the T-35 moved to Leningrad in 1938 and Ber was promoted to the position of deputy chief of the KB-520 design bureau. Work on heavy tanks in Kharkov ended, but not for long.

I.S. Ber, a key player in the creation of T-35, T-34M, and T-44 tanks.

Tuesday 22 August 2023

Failed Modernization of the KV-1S

Evolutionary development is a common sight in tank development. The fact that engineers do not seek to make work for themselves should not be mistaken for laziness. This is often a necessary requirement set by the customer, especially when it is necessary to keep up the rate of production. For this reason, revolutionary projects were often vetoed from above. This happened with the KV-13 and T-34M in 1942 when both were put away until better days.

Object 238 on trials, August 1943.

Saturday 19 August 2023

Video: Almost an Hour of the T-34-85 at Capel

Didn't get enough of the T-34-85 tank shown at Capel? Enjoy almost an hour of glorious 4K footage from the event:

Monday 7 August 2023

Shermans in "August Storm"

In Soviet historiography, the Soviet-Japanese War of 1945 is overshadowed by grandiose operations against Berlin and Vienna earlier that year. However, Western historians pay close attention to this campaign and debates on whether it was the A-bombs or the Soviet invasion that forced the Japanese to surrender rage on to this day. Famous historian David Glantz even invented a grandiose name for this operation: August Storm. The Red Army's advance was indeed lightning fast, in part thanks to foreign vehicles. This included the M4A2(76)W HVSS, the most advanced Sherman variant sent to the USSR.

Clouds gather

Stalin promised to enter the war against Japan within three months of Germany's defeat at the Yalta conference in February of 1945. Colonel-General Alfred Yodl signed an order for unconditional capitulation of all German forces on May 7th, 1945, coming into effect at 23:01 on May 8th. This kicked off the countdown for a Soviet offensive against Japan. The Red Army had three months to move an enormous force to the other side of an equally enormous country.

Concentration of the 6th Guards Tank Army in the vicinity of Tamsagbulag. The army included the 9th Guards Mechanized Corps that used Sherman tanks.

The 6th Guards Tank Army was one of the units that was destined to transfer to the far east. On June 26th, 1945, the unit was reallocated to the Transbaikal Front. It would have to cover a distance of 9000 km to cross from Czechoslovakia to Choibalsan. 88 trains of 60 cars each were allocated for this journey. The full transfer took 30 days, but the first elements began to form up by July 17th. New tanks awaited them there: 100 M4A2(76)W including the latest tanks with HVSS suspensions. These tanks were described in documents as "M4A2 with wide tracks". The 46th Guards Tank Brigade was fully equipped with these vehicles. One company from each of the tank regiments of the 18th, 30th, and 31st Guards Mechanized Brigades that made up the 9th Guards Mechanized Corps also received new tanks.

From Choibalsan, the tanks would make a 300 km march to Tamsagbulag, where the army would prepare for the upcoming offensive. This march took place in extreme conditions. The temperature reached 45 C during the day, as a result of which marches took place only at night to avoid overheating the engines and running gear. This also helped hide the tanks from air reconnaissance, as there was nowhere to conceal them in the desert. The army's documents describe the M4A2 as less sensitive to hot weather than the T-34-85. The American tanks could cover more ground every day, but at the cost of increased fuel consumption. The Shermans normally burned 40 kg of fuel per hour, but this went up to 60 kg in Mongolia. Each tank could only run 90-100 km before refuelling instead of 150 km. The T-34-85 burned only 26 kg of fuel per hour.

M4A2(76)W HVSS, the newest tanks of the 9th Guards Mechanized Corps.

Wednesday 2 August 2023

Crewing the T-34-85 at Capel 2023

A month ago I joined the Capel Military Show as a T-34-85 tank crewman. With a full crew, hatches shut, and cannons firing outside, it was a great chance to experience what I've only read about. Watch my latest video for my impressions. 

Monday 31 July 2023

Soviet Armour for the British Valentine

History knows many tanks that were created from a grassroots initiative and treated with scepticism by the army, but evolved to become some of the most popular tanks. There are at least two such tanks that made their mark in the Second World War. The first was the Pz.Kpfw.IV. Krupp was originally only entrusted with the turret, but the conglomerate successfully pushed for permission to build two prototypes. As a result, the B.W. (Kp) easily demolished the B.W. (Rh) and survived several attempts to take it out of production. The first battles showed that the Pz.Kpfw.IV was the best tank Germany. had. In 1942 it also turned out that the Pz.Kpfw.IV could take on a long 75 mm gun, but the Pz.Kpfw.III could not. As a result, the Pz.Kpfw.IV became Germany's most numerous tank.

The second example is the Infantry Tank Mk.III or Valentine. Its creation was entirely opposed by the British army but in the end were forced to order it anyway. It turned out that Leslie Little, Vickers' main tank designer, made the right decisions. He successfully fought off the War Ministry's attempts to "improve" his creation and avoided overloading the chassis. The result was the most numerous British tank of the war. Formally, the British withdrew it from the front lines in the spring of 1943, but in reality it kept fighting until May of 1945, again against the army's best attempts.

A Soviet Valentine lost to a hit from a 75 mm Pak 40. The appearance of this gun was a big contribution to work on improving the tank.

Monday 24 July 2023

Between the Pz.Kpfw.III and the Panther

 German medium tanks that could not replace the Pz.Kpfw.III or IV

One might think that tank building developed very sluggishly in the interwar years. This is a mistake. Development continued even in the most difficult years when there was no money for tanks. Every 3-4 years tactical-technical requirements were revised and development of new prototypes began. Germany did not differ from the rest of the world in this regard. Since Germany was bound by the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, this cycle was concealed, but the mask was dropped in the early 1930s even before the Nazis came to power. This is when the tanks that Germany entered the war with began to form.

A broken Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf.F. Frequent gearbox failures were the reason why production of the Z.W.38 fell behind schedule and the relationship between Daimler-Benz and Heinrich Kniepkamp was ruined.

There are many cases in tank building where a nation manages to catch one wave of trends and miss the next. The USSR managed to create a successful series of tanks in the early 1930s but failed to do so in the mid-30s. On the other hand, German tanks developed in the early 30s were failures, but the designers redeemed themselves a few years later. Subsequently, while the USSR got the successful T-40, T-34, and KV-1 at the end of 1939, the Germans entered the new decade with a completely different result. One example is the story of the tanks that was supposed to replace the Pz.Kpfw.III and the Pz.Kpfw.IV: the VK 20.01 and its relatives.

Friday 21 July 2023

Special Design Bureau

 "State Committee of Defense
to comrade L.P. Beria

Several major German small arms designers remain in the German territory occupied by Soviet troops.

  1. Stange, creator of the MG-34 and MG-42 machine guns as well as other systems. Stange worked at the Rheinmetall-Borsig design bureau in Sömmerda.
  2. Grune, creator of the MG-42 and MG-45 machine guns. He led the design bureau at the Johannes Grossfuss company in Döbeln.
  3. Horn, creator of a new automatic carbine. He worked together with Grune at the  Johannes Grossfuss design bureau in Döbeln.
  4. Schmeisser, creator of the MP-40 submachine gun, MP-44 automatic carbine, and a number of other systems. Schmeisser owns the Haenel factory in Suhl. 
  5. Barnitzke, creator of anti-tank rifles and a new automatic carbine. Barnitzke led a design group at the Gustloff-Werke factory in Suhl since 1925.
  6. Gropp, a specialist in automatic carbines and semiautomatic rifles, worked in Barnitzke's group at the Gustloff-Werke factory in Suhl.
  7. Ladek, a pistol specialist. Worked in Barnitzke's group at the Gustloff-Werke factory in Suhl.
  8. Lorentz, leader of the ammunition group at the Polte factory design bureau in Magdeburg. Creator of the model 1943 intermediate round. 
Due to the high level of qualification of the aforementioned designers, it is sensible to recruit them to work in a special design bureau.

Chief of the Red Army GAU, Marshal of Arillery, Yakovlev
September 4th, 1945."

Isayev notes that the descriptions of the German designers' achievements is not necessarily correct. For instance, Schmeisser didn't create the MP-40 (which is correctly reflected in lower level reports).

Monday 17 July 2023

A Big Insect from Alkett and BMM

The German army felt a dire need for self propelled guns early in the Second World War. The highest priority items were a motorized anti-tank gun more powerful than the 3.7 cm Pak and a more mobile 149 mm sIG 33 gun. This was a versatile weapon that could serve in several roles thanks to variable propellant loads, although the SPG would be used in direct fire. A 38 kg HE shell carrying almost 8 kg of explosives could demolish a brick house in a few hits. This ability was widely used in May-June of 1940 when the 15 cm sIG 33 (mot S) auf Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.B went into battle. The first attempt at an SPG had issues. The vehicle was too tall and the Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.B chassis was overloaded. Nevertheless, the tankers (as the 15 cm sIG 33 (mot S) auf Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.B formed artillery batteries in tank divisions) appreciated this vehicle.

Geschützwagen 38 für sIG 33/1 (Sf.), the most common German SPG with a 149 mm sIG 33 gun.

Successful application of the 15 cm sIG 33 (mot S) auf Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.B pushed German command to continue the work on light SPGs. The next step was the development of the 15 cm sIG 33 B Sfl. Initially the development used a stock Pz.Kpfw.II chassis, but trials of a prototype showed that this was too cramped. A converted chassis was introduced. The 15 cm sIG 33 B Sfl turned out to be a poor vehicle whose engine was wholly inadequate. This failure did not stop work. There was another chassis in reserve: the Pz.Kpfw.38(t). It was more suitable for this task, and so the Geschützwagen 38 für sIG 33/1 (Sf.) was born, becoming the most common German SPG with a 149 mm sIG 33 gun.

Friday 14 July 2023

More Tank Archives to Love

Some of you might already know that I've been experimenting with more social media platforms. If Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube aren't your cup of tea, I'm starting out on Instagram and Threads (since the platforms are joined at the hip). Check it out!

Monday 10 July 2023

A Medium Tank with a Heavy Burden

The heaviest American tank at the start of the Second World War was the Medium Tank M2. It looked like an anachronism compared to other tanks in the same class, and so it was quickly replaced by the Medium Tank M3. The M3 was also a temporary measure, and even having completed the Medium Tank M4 the American tank designers were not resting on their laurels. Work on the Sherman's successor began as the tank was just being put into production. The Medium Tank T26E1 was meant to replace the Sherman, but after a number of changes in its development cycle it entered production in a completely different weight class.

Origin of species

The concept of a new generation of tanks formed in May of 1942. The basic tank had a 76 mm gun and was lower than the M4, which allowed the designers to add more armour without exceeding the weight of its predecessor. The tank also used an automatic gearbox. The Ordnance Committee gave permission to build two prototypes indexed Medium Tank T20

The number of experimental tanks multiplied. Since it wasn't clear how well the idea of an automatic gearbox is going to work out, the army decided to play it safe and also build the Medium Tank T22 using components already tried and tested in the Sherman tank as well as the Medium Tank T23 with an electric transmission that showed itself well in the Heavy Tank T1E1. Each tank had three types of armament. The basic tank would get a 76 mm M1 gun, E1 variants were equipped with a 75 mm gun and an autoloader, E2 variants received the 3" M7 gun from the GMC M10. There was also an E3 variant. These tanks had the 76 mm gun but also a torsion bar suspension.

The Medium Tank T23 surpassed the Sherman in both armament and armour, but the army's appetites had grown beyond what it could offer.

Monday 19 June 2023

Assault Gun with Field Improvements

The situation with German military vehicles in museums, especially Russian ones, is difficult. The treatment of German armour in many countries during the Second World War and immediately afterwards is understandable. It was decades before anyone started to think about their historical value. It's hard to blame our ancestors for this, considering what these vehicles did to them. As a result, German tanks and SPGs are very rare today. Nevertheless, they are slowly reemerging in the hands of museums and private collections thanks to restoration workshops.

A new vehicle appeared on display.

Vadim Zadorozhniy's Technical Museum is one such organization. The museum restores military vehicles of the Second World War, including German ones. Recently, the museum put a new StuG III Ausf.E on display. This is a somewhat unusual vehicle and its story is worth telling.

Friday 16 June 2023

Light Tank Destroyer

 "Approved by Deputy People's Commissar of Defense, Colonel General of Artillery, Voronov
October 17th, 1942

Tactical-technical requirements for a 45 mm anti-tank SPG

1. Purpose of the SPG

The 45 mm anti-tank SPG is designed as a weapon for tank destroyer artillery regiments and anti-tank batteries in moto-mechanized units to combat enemy tanks and infantry.

2. Requirements for the SPG

The SPG uses the traversing part of the 45 mm model 1942 "M-42" anti-tank gun. The SPG must satisfy the following requirements:

  1. Muzzle velocity of 870 m/s when firing the 1.4 kg armour piercing shell.
  2. Ability to use armour piercing, high explosive, and subcaliber ammunition.
  3. The practical rate of fire in direct fire mode is no less than 15 RPM.
  4. The elevation angle is no less than +15 degrees.
  5. The depression angle is no less than -5 degrees.
  6. The traverse is at least 30 degrees(15 degrees per side).
  7. The rate of elevation and traverse is at least 1.5 degrees per turn of the flywheel.
  8. The bore axis height is no more than 1600 mm.
  9. The gun uses the AZP sight.
  10. The SPG is serviced by three crewmen (including the driver). The fighting compartment contains folding chairs for two men.
  11. During travel, the gun can be rigidly fixed in the horizontal and vertical plane.
  12. The gun mount must allow for comfortable loading at all elevation and traverse angles.
  13. The SPG can carry two PPSh SMGs.
  14. The ammunition capacity is 90 rounds for the 45 mm gun and 1000 rounds for the submachine guns. The ammunition stowage must be reliable and safeguard the ammunition during travel. It must be easy to extract the ammunition from the racks to load.

Tuesday 13 June 2023

Aquino Tank Weekend: T-34-85

Last weekend I had the pleasure of assuming the role of a T-34-85 tank commander during Aquino tank Weekend at the Ontario Regiment Museum. In this video, I cover what we know about the history of this particular tank and briefly show it in action. 

Monday 12 June 2023

Firefighters of the Fiery Salient

Supplies of M4A2 tanks to the USSR began in late 1942. Unfortunately due to technical defects (chiefly to do with injectors) they did not see service right away. Only a few units received these tanks in the spring of 1943, but one of them ended up fighting in the most famous tank battle of the Great Patriotic War.

Firefighters of the fiery salient

The 229th Independent Tank Regiment was one of the first Soviet tank units to receive the new American medium tanks. 31 tanks of this type were issued to the unit on April 10th, 1943, and by the start of July the regiment had 38 functional Medium Tanks M4A2. The regiment was assigned to the 48th Army at the time. As of July 1st it was located in reserve in the village of Perehozheye. The regiment was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Merkulov with Major Bogatyrev serving as the Chief of Staff.

A very early M4A2 tank in Soviet service. This vehicle still has the return roller in the middle of the bogey, M34 gun mount with a narrow external mantlet, and direct vision ports

The regiment was moved to the vicinity of Kazakovka by July 5th, 1943. At the start of the Battle of Kursk the regiment had 1.2 loads of fuel per tank, three refills of ammunition, and 4 days worth of rations on hand. The Shermans got lucky, as the German spearhead struck west of them.

Friday 9 June 2023

SU-76 Requirements

 "Approved by the Deputy People's Commissar of Defense, Colonel General of Artillery Voronov
October 17th, 1942

Tactical-technical requirements for a 76 mm assault SPG

1. Purpose of the SPG

The 76 mm SPG is designed to support moto-mechanized units to combat firing emplacements, tanks, and personnel both with direct and indirect fire.

2. Requirements for the artillery component of the SPG

The SPG uses the stock rotating part of the ZIS-3 76 mm model 1942 gun. The ability to install a 57 mm IS-1 gun must also be retained.

The SPG must meet the following requirements:

  1. Practical rate of fire of no less than 12 RPM in direct fire and at small elevations.
  2. Gun elevation of at least +15 degrees.
  3. Gun depression of at least -5 degrees.
  4. Traverse range of 30 degrees (15 in either direction).
  5. The rate of traverse must be about 1.5 degrees per turn of the flywheel. The effort on the flywheel must not exceed 4 kg.
  6. The rate of elevation must be about 1 degree per turn of the flywheel. The effort on the flywheel must not exceed 4 kg.
  7. The recoil brake must be armoured. The armour must be 8-10 mm thick.
  8. The oscillating part of the gun and the recoil brake armour must be fully balanced.
  9. The bore axis height must be no more than 1650 mm.
  10. The gun position must allow for comfortable loading at all angles of elevation and traverse.
  11. The gun sight must be a mass production type either from the 76 mm regimental gun or the ZIS-3.
  12. Crew of 4 (including the driver).
    During travel, collapsible seats for three men must be installed in the fighting compartment.
  13. The gun must be rigidly fixed in travel and not move vertically or horizontally.
  14. The SPG must carry two PPSh SMGs.
  15. The SPG must carry 60 rounds of ammunition for the gun and 1000 PPSh rounds.
    The ammunition must be stored in places that make it comfortable for the loader to work with, fix securely in its slots, and be easy to unlatch and retrieve.

Monday 5 June 2023

First Among Equals

The defeat of the British Expeditionary Force in France in 1940 was a wake-up call for British tankers. It was clear that their tanks were not suited for modern war. Light tanks had no chance to survive on a battlefield saturated with anti-tank guns, and even heavier infantry tanks were more vulnerable than expected. The Infantry Tank Mk.I armed only with a machine gun was discarded immediately. The Infantry Tank Mk.II proved itself better, but was still far from perfection. German forces were expected to cross the Channel any minute, and Britain had no modern tanks to repel them with. The only choice was to develop a new tank, and quickly. This tank was called the Infantry Tank Mk.IV or Churchill I.

A tank of compromises

Work on the new tank began in July of 1940. The A20 tank, a potential replacement for the Infantry Tank Mk.II, looked quite archaic compared to its German adversaries. However, the British were not prepared to give up on the concept just yet. Harland & Wolff built one prototype, but there were many issues with it, not the least of which was the insufficiently powerful Meadows DAV engine.

Experimental A20 tank, the Churchill’s predecessor.

The British were in a tough situation when it came to tank engines. The army didn’t want to spend money on engine development, expecting to be able to adapt an engine already in production. This is what happened in this case: the DAV was initially meant to go into the much lighter Cruiser Tank Mk.V. The Vauxhall company proposed their own engine, the Bedford Twin Six, to replace the troublesome Meadows DAV. As the name implies, it was composed of two six-cylinder engines produced by Bedford, a subsidiary of Vauxhall. These engines showed themselves well on trucks. Vauxhall’s proposal was so enticing that they ended up with a contract not just for the engine, but for the entire tank.

Wednesday 31 May 2023

Landships Left In Port

Fosters of Lincoln Ltd. built tanks during the First World War, but returned to peaceful products after its conclusion, as the military no longer needed new tanks. When the situation began to change and the Mechanical Warfare Board was established in 1928, Sir William Tritton offered his help, but was rudely rejected. The reverse took place a few years later: when approached for help, Tritton refused. Fosters was doing fine without the army. Its factories were loaded with orders for consumer goods, and it was not worth his time to deal with the military for miserly contracts. However, peace did not last forever. 1939 came and with it, war.

A colossus from yesterday’s war

Talk of bringing seasoned tank designers out of retirement began in the summer of 1939. Words became actions in the fall. On September 5th, the Director of Mechanization Major General Davidson invited Sir Albert Stern, the designer of the famous British rhomboid tanks, to develop a “special tank”. On October 12th, 1939, the Minister of Supply Leslie Burgin created the Special Vehicle Design Committee within his fledgling ministry. The committee included Tritton, Ricardo (the developer of WWI era tank engines), and Major General Sir Ernest Swinton, among other engineers and soldiers. As many of these men had experience in designing tanks during the First World War, the committee was nicknamed TOG (The Old Group or The Old Gang).

The committee’s task was to develop a tank that could cross a 16 foot (4.9 meter) wide trench, climb 7 foot (2.1 m) tall wall, and have enough armour around the perimeter to protect from 37 and 47 mm anti-tank guns and 105 mm howitzers at 100 yards (91 m). The estimated mass of such a vehicle was 70-75 tons. This colossus would be armed with 2-pounder guns in sponsons and a field gun in the front of the hull capable of penetrating up to 7 feet (2.1 meters) of reinforced concrete as well as machine guns and smoke bomb launchers. The crew was composed of “just” 8 men. According to Sir Edmund Ironside, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, this tank would be needed at least a year from now, but work on it should start immediately. This project was designated “superheavy tank - land battleship”.

The tank was not created in an information vacuum. Members of the SVDC spent November 24th-30th in Paris, familiarizing themselves with the latest advances in French tank technology. Representatives of the British General Staff and others from the military were also present. The draft project of the new tank was ready soon after, on December 19th, 1939. Stern expected his tank to require 2.5-4“ (63-102 mm) of cemented armour and inquired at the admiralty about producing it.

The designers presented a model of their new tank to a military commission on December 21st. The tank was quite original for a group of old men, although not entirely satisfactory. The tank had a fairly large turret that could fit a 3” AA gun or 25-pounder. The tracks passed through an armoured conduit, which protected them from damage. The tank was rejected. The military requested a more conservative vehicle closer to old “rhombus” tanks. The new tank needed tracks that wrapped around the whole hull. No turret was needed; all armament would be installed in sponsons. The requirement for a field gun was removed, and no effort would be taken to equip the tank with a more powerful gun.

The designers began working on a new tank on January 11th. A model of the new vehicle was ready on February 29th. This is when the tank received a name: TOG 1. This tank weighed 55-60 tons with 2-4”(51-102 mm) thick armour. The armour was attached to a mild steel skin ⅜” (9.5 mm) thick. The committee estimated that such a tank could be built by June. Since the SDVC presented itself as a group of designers rather than manufacturers, there was no plan to build this tank at Fosters. The SVDC estimated that production of these tanks could reach 40 per month by November and a sufficient amount would be available “for the 1941 campaign”. No mention was made of what factory or factories was supposed to build them.

The TOG 1 was quite archaic. A 75 mm cannon was located in the front and 2-pounder guns in sponsons. The turret was not required by the customer.

Friday 26 May 2023

German Tank Tactics, 1945

  "April 9th, 1945


To the commander of the Armoured and Mechanized Forces of the 2nd Shock Army
RE: #08562 dated March 20th, 1945

Report of the 46th Independent Guards Order of the Red Banner Order of Suvorov Tank Breakthrough Regiment on the study of tactics and combat use of heavy tank regiments in the Red Army as well as enemy tank tactics and use of tanks in combat from January 1st to April 1st, 1945. Map scale 1:50,000


2. Tactics and use of enemy tanks in combat

Recently, enemy anti-tank defenses rely more and more on close combat weapons, especially Panzerfausts, which are continuously improved. This is explained by the growth of the Red Army tank fleet and heavy enemy losses in tanks and anti-tank artillery. Because of this, the enemy compensates for a shortage of anti-tank weapons (especially tanks and anti-tank guns) with mass use of Panzerfausts. As before, the enemy creates ambushes using tanks and SPGs, chiefly heavy ones, which combat our tanks and SPGs in most likely directions of advance. The proportion of heavy and superheavy King Tiger tanks compared to the overall number of tanks continues to increase. 

In areas where the enemy could prepare anti-tank defenses, they include anti-tank ditches (Ciechanow, Mława, Graudenz, Danzig) minefields (bridgehead west of Narew), and anti-tank guns. Passive anti-tank obstacles were covered with direct fire artillery, tanks and SPGs, as well as small arms fire.

More recently, the enemy foregoes using tanks and SPGs in the front of their defenses and only uses them in the depth in order to avoid heavy losses.

During the mud season, the enemy expected our tanks to be bound to roads and constructed defenses around forks, crossroads, and major settlements, leaving anti-tank combat between these strongholds to Panzerfausts. 

In the January operation, up to 12 enemy tanks and SPGs were spotted in front of the regiment, most of them Tiger and Ferdinand types.

In the operation near Danzig up to 10 tanks and SPGs were spotted, of them 6 were Ferdinand type SPGs. 

The enemy clearly works on improvements and modernizations to the Panzerfaust to improve its effect and make it more convenient to use. Expect to see new Panzerfausts in action.

Commander of the 46th Independent Guards Order of the Red Banner Order of Suvorov Tank Breakthrough Regiment, Guards Lieutenant Colonel Parshev

Chief of Staff, Major Bannov"

CAMD RF F.46 Op.2404 D.30 L.30-31

Wednesday 24 May 2023

The Last of Stalin's Robots

Unfortunately, museums frequently mislabel their own exhibits. The biggest problem with that is an incorrect information from a museum label is going to propagate. For example, Kubinka seriously thought that they had two BA-6 armoured cars, even though one was actually a BA-3M. The collection of the Patriot Park museum which used to be displayed at Kubinka has many downright unique exhibits, some of which were also misidentified. For example, this tank is called OT-130, but that is not the case.

TT-26 tank as displayed today.

In reality, the tank currently displayed in the pavilion depicting the war against Japan is the only surviving TT-26 teletank. This tank was once the subject of Yuri Pasholok's volunteer painting team. Let us tell the tale of this unique tank with a unique combat history.

Friday 12 May 2023

Heavies in Action

 "April 9th, 1945

To the commander of the Armoured and Mechanized Forces of the 2nd Shock Army
RE: #08562 dated March 20th, 1945

Report of the 46th Independent Guards Order of the Red Banner Order of Suvorov Tank Breakthrough Regiment on the study of tactics and combat use of heavy tank regiments in the Red Army as well as enemy tank tactics and use of tanks in combat from January 1st to April 1st, 1945. Map scale 1:50,000

1. Tactics and combat usage of heavy tank regiments

From January 1st to April 1st, 1945, the 46th regiment took part in three operations. From January 15th to January 23rd it penetrated the enemy defenses around the bridgehead on the river Narew jointly with other units of the 2nd Belorussian Front.

From March 2nd to March 5th, 1945, the regiment fought to destroy the enemy garrison in Graudenz and take the city.

From March 17th to March 31st, 1945, the regiment fought to liquidate the encircled Danzig group and capture Danzig.

Wednesday 10 May 2023

SU-122 Requirements

 "Approved by Deputy People's Commissar of Defense, Colonel General of Artillery, Voronov
October 17th, 1942

Tactical-technical requirements of a 122 mm self propelled howitzer on the chassis of the T-34 tank

1. Purpose of the self propelled howitzer

The self propelled howitzer is designed to accompany infantry and tank units, destroying dugouts and fortified firing positions with direct fire from short range or with indirect fire.

2. Requirements for the artillery component

The artillery component of the SPG is provided by the stock rotating part of the M-30 122 mm model 1938 howitzer. The mounting must meet the following requirements:

  1. Practical rate of fire of no less than 10 RPM in a direct fire role.
  2. Elevation of 25-35 degrees.
  3. Depression of -3 degrees.
  4. Traverse of +/- 10 degrees.
  5. The recoil buffer must be armoured. The armour must be at least 12 mm thick.
  6. The oscillating part of the howitzer with the recoil buffer armour must be completely balanced. Increase in effort required to aim cannot surpass 10%.
  7. The height of the bore axis must be no more than 1500 mm. To achieve this, a cutout in the front of the SPG is permitted.
  8. The gun port must be completely covered at a gun elevation of up to 12 degrees.
  9. The gun mount must allow for comfortable loading at all angles of elevation and traverse.
  10. The sight is the stock sight from the 122 mm M-30 howitzer with a Hertz panoramic sight.
  11. The gunner's seat must rotate with the gun. The seat's rotation in relation to the panoramic sight and aiming flywheels must allow for comfortable operation.
  12. The crew consists of five men, including the driver. All crewmen must have comfortable seats.
  13. The gun must have the ability to be reliably fixed for travel, preventing horizontal and vertical movement.
  14. Two PPSh submachine guns must be carried as auxiliary armament.

Monday 8 May 2023

Sherman's African Debut

The Medium Tank M4A1 that arrived in the UK in the summer of 1942 was much more promising than the Medium Tank M3 that had arrived shortly prior. The layout of the armament was much more conventional, the armour was tougher, and the crew's workspaces were more comfortable. Before too long, these tanks were on their way to North Africa, where they would have to fight against the harsh environment in addition to an experienced enemy. The Sherman's career was not going to be an easy one.

First blood on the sand

The tanks that arrived in North Africa were not prepared for desert warfare. They were modernized in field workshops, where British technicians added dust shields, brackets for the Sunshield camouflage tarps, racks for canisters with water and fuel, stowage bins, and other equipment necessary for life in the desert. Desert camouflage was applied over top of the olive drab paint. 252 Shermans were ready by the Second Battle of El Alamein: 92 in the 1st Armoured Division, 124 in the 10th Armoured Division, and 36 in the 9th Armoured Brigade.

The situation with the delivery was far from ideal. The tanks arrived only weeks before the planned offensive. The lack of time to train had an impact not only on the skills of the crews, but also on the cohesion with the forces fighting alongside the tanks. Since the Shermans were going to attack at night through minefields, cooperation with infantry and engineers was quite important.

Shermans of the 9th Hussars, 9th Armoured Brigade, September 15th, 1942. The tank is likely already painted in desert yellow, but disruptive camouflage has not yet been applied.

Tuesday 2 May 2023

Long Living T-50

1941 was a year of great calamity for the Red Army and for the USSR. The war that broke out on June 22nd was not at all like the war that was predicted. The Germans and their allies tore deep into the USSR with the Red Army suffering defeat after defeat. However, through great effort, the flywheel of the Blitzkrieg lost momentum. The enemy continued to move forward, but not at the rate predicted by Plan Barbarossa. The Germans were supposed to have reached the Archangelsk-Astrakhan line by September-October of 1941 at the latest, but they were far from their goal at that point. They were so sure in their victory that they did not even prepare for the arrival of winter, which then turned into complaints about "General Frost". Soviet tank forces also played a big role in stopping the Germans. At the cost of heavy losses, they managed to stop the German divisions moving towards Moscow and allowed a counteroffensive to begin on December 5th, 1941. Tank brigades played a key role in these battles.

One of the nine T-50 tanks delivered to Kubinka, fall 1941. It was used to test winter camouflage.

Wednesday 26 April 2023

Canada's Valentines

The British War Ministry had no illusions about how the situation in Europe would develop, even in 1938. The policy of appeasement was adopted to postpone the inevitable large conflict, which the kingdom’s military was not prepared for. The situation continued to escalate in the summer of 1939, but the British were still not ready for a full blown war. Cruiser tanks only entered service in 1939, and infantry tanks, with the exception of the Infantry Tank Mk.I, were not even in production. Meanwhile, observers from across the Atlantic Ocean monitored the situation in Europe carefully. The United States began production of the Medium Tank M2 and trials of the Light Tank M2A4. They knew that if a war broke in Europe, they would be drawn into it sooner or later.

Similar sentiments were not uncommon in Canada, but hardly any preparations were being made for war. Unlike the United States or Great Britain, Canada had no tank building tradition. The Canadian armoured battalions that were established during the First World War came too late to take part in the fighting. The Canadian army was not mechanized during the interbellum, and had almost no tanks of its own at the start of the Second World War. Nevertheless, a proposal was made to create a Canadian tank force once more after the fall of Poland in 1939. Mechanization of cavalry units, both of the Permanent and the Non-Permanent Active Militia, was on the table. It quickly became clear that it would be impossible to arm a tank force without setting up domestic tank production. 219 obsolete M1917 light tanks that were purchased from the United States at scrap value, but they were useful for training and not much else.

Facing a shortage of armoured vehicles of every kind, Canada purchased worn out and obsolete M1917 Light Tanks from the US at scrap value. These tanks were worth little more than scrap.

Friday 21 April 2023

First KV-1S

 "To the Chief of the GBTU BTU, Major General of the Tank Forces, comrade Korobkov

I report that the Kirov factory presents two KV-1S tanks for trials.

First tank: #10279

  1. Engine: V-2KF #A-1401 650 hp at 2100 RPM
  2. Cooling system:
    1. Water radiators designed for the KV-3 tank
    2. Oil radiator from the RZT aircraft
  3. Gearbox: 8 speed with demultiplier, blueprint 21gr
  4. Main clutch: four disk, blueprint 110gr
  5. Fan with stamped blades and milled diffuser, blueprint 902gr
  6. Shifting gate blueprint 119gr and control rods blueprint 117gr
Second tank: #10334
  1. Engine: V-2KF #4ML-1669 650 hp at 2100 RPM
  2. Cooling system:
    1. Water radiators: production with additional radiators - blueprint
    2. Production oil radiator with extra radiator, blueprint 902gr. Air intake with deflectors.
  3. Gearbox: 8 speed with demultiplier, blueprint 212gr
  4. Main clutch: four disk, blueprint 210gr
  5. Fan blueprint 219gr
  6. Shifting gate blueprint 219gr and control rods blueprint 217gr
  7. Final drive blueprint 15gr (normal drive sprocket with 16 teeth)
By April 21st, 1942 trials of tank #10334 had started. It drove for 99 km on a highway. Linkage cones for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th gear control rods cut off.
Tank #10279 went on an initial run today (April 22nd) but was not accepted for trials since the air intakes on it are still wooden models.

The vehicles are not ready for checking the cooling system.

Senior Assistant to the Chief of the 5th Department of the BTU, Military Engineer 2nd Class [Signature]"

Wednesday 19 April 2023

45 mm APCR Penetration

 "To the Chair of the State Committee of Defense, comrade I.V. Stalin

We present the main results of proving grounds trials of 45 mm subcaliber armour piercing shot designed by Military Engineer 1st Class comrade Burmistrov.

The shot with heavy and hard tungsten alloy shows the best results. This shot satisfies the requirement of penetrating at least 60 mm of armour with the resistance coefficient of at least 2400 at an angle of 30 degrees at a range of 300-500 meters. They considerably increase the power of the 45 mm model 1932/37 anti-tank gun.

Monday 17 April 2023

Baby IS-3

The Second World War was a catalyst for the creation of many armoured vehicles, including heavy tanks. These vehicles were quite rare at the start of the war, but this changed radically in 1941-42. The Red Army was the most heavily invested in heavy tanks. At first, Soviet heavy tanks followed the classic path of gaining more and more weight, as a result of which the KV-1 became overloaded. The need for mobility led to the KV-13 and KV-1S. The result of this new branch of development was the IS-1 (IS-85) tank, which was quickly replaced with the IS-2 (IS-122). The tank combined powerful armament with sufficient mobility and high levels of protection. Nevertheless, work on modernizing the IS-2 began in the spring of 1944.

Kirovets-1 at the NIBT Proving Grounds, December 1944.

Friday 14 April 2023

The Wehrmacht's Unplanned Workhorse

How the Pz.Kpfw.IV became Germany's most numerous and longest serving tank.

There are many cases in worldwide tank building where not everything went according to plan. Even the legendary T-34 was supposed to leave the stage in 1941 in favour of the T-34M. Only the start of the war saved it from replacement. A similar thing happened to the Medium Tank M4. It was supposed to be replaced in 1943, but the replacements didn't turn out well. This happened to every long-serving tank, and the Germans were no exception.

The Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.C was the most common German medium tank at the start of the war.

Monday 10 April 2023

Second Fiddle

Even though the German Pz.Kpfw.IV tank was originally created as a support vehicle (Begleitwagen) and fell short of its counterpart the Pz.Kpfw.III in many ways, it was still the heaviest tank in the German arsenal and mounted the largest caliber gun. Issues with Pz.Kpfw.III production also made it the most numerous German medium tank at the start of WWII. Despite its “secondary” designation, the Pz.Kpfw.IV did not evade the attention of the British. Intelligence agents and tankers alike strived to uncover its secrets.

A meeting in Africa

As with the Pz.Kpfw.III, the British only knew about the Pz.Kpfw.IV from rumours. There was little verified information, but one of the few things known for sure was that the tank was heavier than the Pz.Kpfw.III. Intelligence summaries referred to it as a medium tank, whereas the Pz.Kpfw.III was called a “medium-light tank”. Naturally, the British encountered the Pz.Kpfw.IV in France in 1940, but a sample could not be obtained for study due to the rapid defeat of the British Expeditionary Force. Even though there was no precise data about the armour or armament of the tank, an identification poster was still composed and distributed on December 16th, 1940.

A drawing of the Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.C composed according to intelligence data showing distinguishing features of the vehicle. The antenna deflector, fixed gun mantlet, pistol port in the single piece front plate, and driver’s observation slit were among the features unique to this variant of the tank.

Friday 7 April 2023

Heavy Trophies from Leningrad

There are plenty of armoured vehicles that had an impact on tank building worldwide. This list includes German vehicles, especially the Tiger tank. At the moment of its appearance, it was the best protected and most heavily armed tank in its weight class. Even though the effectiveness of Tiger crews is often exaggerated, this was indeed a very dangerous enemy, especially from 1943 to the spring of 1944. Tanks all over the world evolved to deal with Tigers.

Tiger 121 before winter camouflage was applied.

At about 9:30 am on January 18th, 1943, the Volkhov and Leningrad Fronts met at the eastern outskirts of Worker's Village #1. This was the first penetration of the Leningrad blockade. Another important event took place on the same day: Tiger tanks were captured in the vicinity of Worker's Village #5. Two samples were delivered to the NIBT Proving Grounds in Kubinka. Their study showed that the Soviet tank program requires some urgent changes. Today, we will discuss how the German tanks were captured and what were the first impressions regarding these tanks.

Monday 3 April 2023

Heavy Without Alternatives

One can often encounter brainstorms about how individual vehicles or even entire tank building schools ought to have evolved. Most of these brainstorms are done by people that are far removed from the field of history, but sometimes even notorious historians take part in this exercise. Among Soviet tanks, the T-28 is a popular character in alternative history. Modern improvements to this tank know no bounds, but the fact that the T-28 was replaced by the KV-1 and not the T-34 is often ignored, as is the fact that a replacement for the T-28 by the name of T-29 already existed. 

Object 237 accepted into service with the Red Army as the IS-85 (IS-1).

The IS-85 heavy tank was accepted into service with the Red Army on September 4th, 1943. This was the finale of the program aimed at developing a successor to the KV. One can often hear claims that if the KV remained in production and was modernized then it could be made into a heavy tank that was no worse than the IS-85. You may laugh, but these claims were not just made by alternative historians. Attempts to preserve the KV-85 were made at the highest levels, even in 1944. Nevertheless, the KV had to make room on the assembly line for its successor. Read on to find out why this happened and why there was no alternative to the IS tank.

Saturday 1 April 2023

Video: Is the KV-6 Real?

The KV-6 Behemoth is one of the most infamous fake tanks, but is there a kernel of truth inside the fiction? I take a look at the history of the KV-6 tank in my latest video. 

Friday 31 March 2023

American Generals in King George's Court

The British found themselves in an undesirable situation in North Africa by 1941. Matilda and Valentine infantry tanks were quite modern and often vulnerable only to 88 mm AA guns, but cruiser tanks did not measure up to their opponents. Even the Crusader, the most modern vehicle of its class, was armed with the same 2-pounder gun as its predecessors. The armour was a little bit thicker than the last generation, but still only resisted the 3.7 cm Pak from long ranges. These tanks were outmatched when German Pz.Kpfw.III and Pz.Kpfw.IV tanks hit the battlefield in 1941. With the British “heavy cruisers” still in early stages of development, salvation came from the Americans with their Medium Tank M3.

Picky guests

The British first asked the Americans for tanks in the summer of 1940, after a large percentage of the British tank force was lost in France. The initial proposal was to build British tanks under license at American factories. This offer was rejected. The British would receive the same tanks as the American army used. However, the USA still had no modern medium tanks, and the British still had some influence on their creation. One of the aspects was the volume of production.

Assembly of the Medium Tank M3.