Tuesday, 20 March 2018

IS-3, Take One

"Report on experimental work at factory #100 for the first 10 days of June, 1943

Most effort at the factory was directed towards production and assembly of IS-3 components according to altered blueprints and continuation of factory trials of IS-1 and IS-2 tanks, bringing the total distance travelled to 2000 km.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Pershing: Heavy by Necessity

The British Churchill tank was the only one supplied to the USSR by the Western Allies en masse. The US had bad luck with heavy tanks. Work on the Heavy Tank M6 hit a dead end. Nevertheless, heavy tanks did arrive in the American army by the end of the war. These were Heavy Tanks T26E3, standardized as M26 Pershing. However, the T26E3 was rather arbitrarily classified as heavy. In practice, this was a medium tank. Only its mass made it a heavy, and even then, it returned to medium after the war. This article is dedicated to the trials of the T26E3 in the USSR, during which it was compared to heavy tanks.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Last Request

"Report on the requests of imported armoured vehicles as a part of the 5th protocol

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Mauser Sniper Rifle

"5. Determining the combat characteristics of the German sniper rifle

The results of determining the muzzle velocity of the German sniper rifle are included in attachment #4, where you can see that the muzzle velocity of the Mauser rifle #6448 is 764 m/s.

The results of the precision and accuracy of the German sniper rifle with open and optical sights are included in attachment #5. Here are the average results.

With open sights
With optical sights
Dispersion radii, cm
Deviation from point of aiming, cm
Dispersion radii, cm
Deviation from point of aiming, cm

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Canadian Ratte

The German 1000 ton Ratte tank is a pretty well known device, and similar monstrosities described by well-meaning Soviet citizens volunteering their ideas. Turns out, the Western Allies were not immune from these flights of fancy. This suggestion was forwarded by a pretty high ranking official: than Sir Howard d'Egville. The description begins very promisingly: "...this vehicle, while not actually a tank, is of such capacity that it would be equal, in both offensive and defense power, to a considerable number of tanks." The armour is fairly reasonable at 5 inches (127 mm), but the armament is "of great striking power, including 4 inch naval guns". The vehicle would be transported in section, and if a section was knocked out, it would be removed and replaced. While not going into details on the design, d'Egville wanted a mockup built in Canada, and then the parts manufactured in several places, to preserve secrecy.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

F-32 in A-34


To the ABTU Chief, Corps Commander Pavlov
NKO House, 2 Red Square, Moscow

On the issue of: production of armour and assembly of A-34 hull and turret.

The armour for the A-34 is ready, both for the hull and the turret. The hull is in the finishing stages of assembly, the turret assembly will begin on December 22nd.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Prototype Problems

"To the GABTU Tank Directorate
Chief of the 4th Department, Engineer-Major F.A. Nenarokov
Moscow, 2 Red Square, NKO building

RE: work of Savin's group on designing an AA gun for a tank.

The anniversary of our design group is July 3rd. Working alongside you, with joint efforts, we managed to obtain a model of a mount with a cannon and a machinegun by September 8th, 1941.

On September 14th, 1941, we composed a letter for Ya.N. Fedorenko to deliver to the Council of Commissars with a request to build a prototype at the factories of the People's Commissariat of Medium Machinebuilding (including NATI), but the group was moved to factory #174 in Chkalov.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Marder III: German Tank Destroyer on a Czech Chassis

The start of the Great Patriotic War on June 22nd, 1941, triggered serious corrections to both Soviet and German tank building. The fighting in 1941 showed that the time of light tanks is coming to an end. At the same time, the increasing mass of more and more powerful anti-tank weapons limited their ability to be transported by their crews. The abilities of the German PzI Ausf. B tank were limited, and it was impossible to create anything more powerful than the Panzerjager I. It's not surprising that the Germans came up with the idea to create SPGs using the chassis of other obsolete light tanks. This article will discuss the family of Marder III tank destroyers, which were built on the chassis of the Pz38(t).

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Pz.Kpfw.II Ausf. G: The Fruit of Unending Labour

The idea of replacing the La.S.100, or the PzII, with a superior vehicle was born in January of 1937. The result was the La.S.138, otherwise known as the PzII Ausf. D and Ausf. E, created by MAN and the famous tank designer Heinrich Kniepkamp. The tank had a progressive torsion bar suspension, but its service did not last for long. It was clear that the story of the La.S.138 was developing poorly by the summer of 1938, before the tank even entered production. The result of this understanding was the development of another tank, which was supposed to replace both the La.S.100 and La.S.138.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Pistol Penetration

Penetration (or, rather, overpenetration) is an important topic for small arms as well as artillery. In this document, several different pistol rounds are compared in their ability to punch through 11 dry pine boards from a distance of 25 meters.

The guns in the list are:
  • "Mod. 1930" (likely TT-30)
  • Voyevodin's design
  • Browning (likely Hi-Power)
  • Lakhti-35
  • Star 7.63 mm
  • Borchardt-Luger
  • Colt M1
  • Mauser 7.65 mm
  • Sauer
The note on the bottom says that the Star pistol was using 7.62 mm model 1930 cartridges, more commonly known as 7.62 Tokarev. As you can see, that particular pistol was the most impressive, penetrating 8 boards with 10/10 shots, and the only gun to make a hole in the 10th and 11th board. The TT-30 doesn't do as well, only conquering 6 boards, but that's still better than the .45 bullet of the 1911 (3 boards) and 9 mm Luger (4 boards).

Via kris_reid

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

T-34-85 Armour

Even after the end of WWII, the T-34-85 continued to be a relevant threat, and thus demanded study. This measurement of a T-34-85 turret's armour thickness made in West Germany in 1961, however, suggests that the study could have been a little bit more precise.

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

British Tiger II Intel

The British, impressively enough, were already aware of the King Tiger long before ever seeing it in combat, at least by May of 1944.

On July 18th, 1944, the Germans lost three King Tigers on the Western Front. It doesn't look like the British noticed them, however.

Monday, 5 March 2018

Street Fighter

"March 21st, 1937
To the chief of the ABTU, Divisional Commander Bokis

Chief of Armament of the Red Army, Army Commander 2nd Class, comrade Khalepskiy
Chief of the General Staff, Marshal of the Soviet Union, comrade Yegorov

Experience in using the T-26 tank demonstrated its poor suitability for fighting in cities, where the tanks took heavy losses. There is no reason to assume that other types of tanks will perform any better. We much have tanks that are especially designed for successful street fighting, not only in small settlements, but in large cities, where the enemy will have the ability to attack our tanks from above.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Sturer Emil: Collector's Item from Stalingrad

Cases where prototypes that never saw mass production ended up on the battlefield are not uncommon. In the USSR, the T-100 and SMK were tested in combat during the Winter War. The T-29 and A-20 defended Moscow in the Great Patriotic War. There are similar examples for Germany. Two experimental SPGs, built on the chassis of the VK 30.01(H) heavy tank, which also never made it into production, ended up near Stalingrad in 1942. Unlike its ancestor, these vehicles not only took part in the fighting, but achieved impressive results. These tank destroyers are known as Sturer Emil.

Friday, 2 March 2018

KV-1S: From Temporary to Permanent

State Committee of Defense decree #1878 "On the improvement of KV tanks" was signed on July 5th, 1943. This was the starting point for the creation of a lighter variant of the KV, named KV-1S. Two prototypes were built by July 27th, and mass production began in Chelyabinsk by late August. The KV-1S was not as much of a legend as the KV-1, but this was the tank that defeated the Germans at Stalingrad and Kursk. Its creation and production was, in many ways, a necessary evil, but the KV-1S remained in production for a year, and remained on the front lines until 1944. This article covers its production and use in combat.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

MKb 42(H) First Appearance

I wrote about Sturmgewehr intel before, but here's an even earlier appearance:

"Main data:
  1. Automatic fire provided by gunpowder gases passing through the gas opening.
  2. The barrel locks via the bolt tilting.
  3. Uses a special shortened round, similar to the rifle ones.
  4. Range: up to 800 meters.
  5. Has a selector for automatic and single-shot fire.
  6. Equipped with a bayonet for hand to hand combat."

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Five Years of Blogging

In my update a year ago, I promised something big by my fifth blogging anniversary. I'm happy to report on not just one, but two notable milestones!

The first, and probably most significant, is moving from online to paper. My translations have been published before, but this year saw the release of my first completely original work being printed. In addition to that, I started writing articles for the Russian military history website Warspot, which many of you will recognize as the source of many translations on this blog. So far I'm writing at a rate of about one article per month, but that might increase in the future. Articles about British and American evaluations of German armour seem to be most popular so far, with an analysis of the King Tiger sitting at nearly 20,000 views, the Panther at over 12,000 views, and the Tiger at nearly 10,000. Articles on Sherman tanks are proving to be quite popular as well, with the Sherman V and M4A1(76)W sitting at over 7,000 each, despite being significantly more recent. Canadian subject matter is proving to be less popular, with the Valentine VII falling short of 7,000 views and the Ram at under 5,000.

Unfortunately for my English speaking readers, all of these articles are in Russian. Currently, The Armor Journal has first dibs on the English versions, but the articles will be posted here some time after they are published. 

Another new feature (or so old it's new again) is my Twitter, which is slowly but surely gaining followers at an average rate of one per day (give or take). 

Now, for the stats you're used to. I'm up to 1687 published articles (up from 1381), and 3,039,948 views (up from 2,161,945). Google Analytics congratulated me on a record high number of unique users for the month of January. It's great to see how my readership is growing!

The demographics haven't changed much. The US preserves its lead, but the UK broke away from Germany, setting second and third place pretty steadily. Russia, Canada, Poland, and France keep their positions. Finland has a fair lead on Austria for eighth place, and the tenth place now belongs to Spain instead of South Korea. 

Aside from that, a few more book citations, a handful of new archive sources, and an upcoming appearance in a podcast, so if you just can't get enough of Tank Archives, there's plenty of content to look forward to. Thank you for five wonderful years!