Sunday, 19 February 2017

Char B1 ter: Pointless Modernization

In 1936, only two years after a decision was made to put the Char B1 into production, work on its modernization began. Mostly, it entailed improving the armour and armament. In April of 1937, the first modernized tank, indexed Char B1 bis, left its Renault assembly plant. It was destined to become the most numerous medium tank in the French army, although many of its parameters put it in the heavy class. Nevertheless, even before it entered production, discussion about a deeper modernization that would create an even heavier vehicle began. This vehicle was called Char B1 ter.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Char B1 bis: General Estienne's Legacy

On March 16th, 1934, after almost 13 years passed since the medium Char B program was launched, the French infantry command ordered the first seven Char B1 tanks. This decision was controversial. Yes, the French army was in need of a new tank. However, not only did its mass reach twice that of the initial requirements, but the tank came out very expensive, and there could be no hope of truly mass production. Paradoxically, the Char B1 bis, an improved version of the Char B1, was one of the causes of French defeat in the summer of 1940.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Field Repairs

The Red Army began the Great Patriotic War with a noticeable lack of any engineering equipment imaginable, and things only got worse when production was refactored to boost the output of tanks at the expense of everything else. Often, the only thing you had to repair the tank was the tank itself, and that had to be enough.

This contraption could be used to temporarily turn a T-34 into a crane in order to remove or install heavy components like the engine or transmission.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Firing on the Move

Trials to determine accuracy of the T-28 armed with an L-10 gun on the move were performed while driving at a speed of 12-14 kph, firing at a target 800-1000 meters away. The trials were performed in two sets: one with the tank driving towards a 12x10 meter target, the other with the tank driving parallel to a 10x10 meter target. Aiming was done with the PT-1 periscopic sight, firing was done using the foot operated trigger.

While driving towards the target, 14 out of 23 shots hit. While driving parallel to the target, 15 out of 25 shots hit. These results were considered satisfactory.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

37 mm Anti-Tank Rifle

"Rolling Company-level 37 mm Anti-Tank Rifle

Combat mode. Elevation angle 15°.

General characteristics of the system

The purpose of the system is to serve as company level anti-tank armament. It uses a semiautomatic breech with forced opening. Insignificant amount of recoil is achieved using a roller principle, where the shot is fired while the barrel is moving forward, which is done with a special spring* and a muzzle brake.

Monday, 13 February 2017

HTZ-16: Improvisation on an Industrial Scale

Improvised armour vehicles appeared during WWI, but the phenomenon became truly commonplace during the Spanish Civil War. The most common type of vehicle was the improvised armoured car, but armoured tractors were also built. Less mobile than wheeled armoured cars, they were not in high demand in Spanish conditions. WWII triggered a resurgence of improvised armoured vehicles. The USSR built the largest amount of armoured tractors, and one of them, the HTZ-16, was accepted into production and built on an industrial scale. On July 20th, this vehicle turned 75 years old.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Self Propelled Artillery on a Tractor Chassis

The idea to use tractors as a chassis for SPG was born in the USSR in the 1930s. The SU-2 and SU-4 prototypes were built, but the projects did not move past the prototype stage. On the other hand, the Germans achieved different results. Taking captured French Renault UE tractors, they created SPGs with 3.7 cm Pak guns. The resulting vehicle wasn't the best, but could be produced in large amounts at a small cost. A year later, the ZIS-30 was built in the USSR, the first mass production SPG of the war.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

76 mm Gun Accuracy

Tank
Gun
Deviation (m at 1000 meters)
Horizontal
Vertical
T-28¹
PS-3
0.34
0.34
T-28¹
L-7
0.41
0.3
T-28¹
L-10
0.39
0.46
A-34²
L-11
0.5
0.3
T-34³
F-34
0.3
0.3

1. "History of the T-34 tank" Memorial Museum Complex, Documentary Historical Collection #2
2. "History of the T-34 tank" Memorial Museum Complex, Documentary Historical Collection #4
3. http://tankarchives.blogspot.ca/2013/05/accuracy-revisited.html

VK 70.01 Super Gun

I briefly covered some German superguns before, but the topic is an endless source of amusement, so I present another one: a 150 mm gun for the VK 70.01 (Lowe).


Just as the Soviets all but gave up on putting the 152 mm Br-2 gun into a self propelled gun, the Germans came up with the idea of putting an even bigger gun (although the extra length didn't grant it must better characteristics) into a fully rotating turret. Of course, we know how this story ends: eventually the laws of physics and common sense won and this idea, like dozens of other German wonder-weapons, remained on paper.

Edit: my loyal reader Critical Mass helpfully comments that the VK70.01 was cancelled in favour of an even less practical tank, the Maus.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

T-50's Growing Pains

"To the People's Commissar of Medium Machinebuilding, comrade Malyshev

I report that the proving grounds trials of experimental T-50 tank prototypes produced by factory #174 cannot be completed before the deadline set in your order #009ss issued on January 7th, 1941, due to a series of design defects revealed during the trials process:

Monday, 6 February 2017

For Infantry, By Infantry

This tank was designed in December of 1942 by Vasiliy Stepanovich Greshnikov, an infantryman, giving a rather interesting view into what infantry wants out of their tank.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

SR Tanks

Like many nations, Japan wanted to have a light amphibious reconnaissance tank. The idea came up in the 1920s when the country purchased the French AMP amphibious half-tracked armoured car. In 1928, two amphibious armoured cars based on the Vickers-Wolseley were built, but what Japan needed was specifically an amphibious tank. This is where the sad story of the SR series of tanks begins.