Saturday, 27 May 2017

Renault NC: Destined for Export

The Renault FT ended up being not only the best tank of WWI, but the most numerous one. Its production continued after the end of the war, and 3728 tanks were built by 1921. Meanwhile, the French army was no longer satisfied with the Renault FT. Even the infantry, which inherited the tank, was not thrilled with a vehicle that had a top speed of 3 kph off-road. To replace this "pensioner", Renault designed a new tank called the Renault NC. Why were foreign armies more interested in this tank than the French?

Friday, 26 May 2017

Char B in German Service

The mistake of choosing a "battle tank" (Char de bataille) as a main tank became obvious during the campaign in France in May-June of 1940. The French tank industry did not manage to shift its gears for war. As a result, by the time the German invasion began, the availability of Char B1 bis tanks was far from what was planned. In addition, some French tanks were lost to either technical problems or because of poor supplies of fuel and ammunition. Many of them fell into German hands. How did the German army use the Char B1 and vehicles on its chassis?

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Leopard Tracks

While the West seems to have had a very foggy idea of what Soviet tanks were like during the Cold War, Soviet tank designers enjoyed a more accurate picture of their competitors. For example, here is a very thorough analysis of the tracks of Leopard 1 and 2 tanks.

Fig. 1: Leopard-1 tank track
1 - track link, 2 - track pin, 3 - track tooth, 4 - spring ring. 5 - pad, 6 - rubber shock absorber, 7 - supporting plate, 8 - directing plate, 9 - rubber pad, 10 - bracket. A-A and B-B cutaways are turned.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

T-40 Tank Destroyer

"To the Deputy Chair of the Council of Defense of the USSR, comrade Voznesenskiy

SNK and VKP(b) decree #1749-756ss issued on June 25th, 1941, removes the T-40 tank and Komsomolets tractor from production as of August 1st, 1941.

GAU is sending Military Engineer 1st Class comrade Komarov and GABTU is sending Military Engineer 3rd Class comrade Kulikov to perform one-day trials of the experimental ZIS-2 SPG on the Komsomolets tractor chassis and investigation of a ZIS-2 SPG on the T-40 tank chassis on July 10th, 1941.

A conclusion regarding restarting production of the Komsomolets tractor or T-40 tank for ZIS-2 SPG production will be ready depending on the results of the trials on July 14th, 1941.

GAU Chief, Colonel-General of Artillery, Yakovlev
GABTU Chief, Lieutenant-General of the Tank Forces, Fedorenko"

CAMD RF 38-11355-10

Monday, 22 May 2017

Svetlana Death Ray

"USSR - People's Commissariat of Aircraft Production
Factory #454
July 26th, 1941



About three months ago, during a conversation with Doctor of Technical Sciences, G.I. Babat, who was working at the "Svetlana" factory in Leningrad, comrade Babat and I decided on boundaries to a solution to the issue of an effective offensive death ray.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Light Tank M3A3: American Emigrant

The American Light Tank M3A1 turned out to be a strange tank. On one hand, it had several superior characteristics to its predecessor, the Light Tank M3. Some elements of the design were a definite step forward. For example, the Americans began to use welding to assemble it. On the other hand, some design decisions reduced its battle worthiness. The tank became cramped and uncomfortable for the turret crew. It's not surprising that another modernization quickly followed, which led to the most perfect form of the Light Tank M3 family: the Light Tank M3A3: a tank produced in large amounts, but almost ignored by the US Army.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Hellcat: Highway Tank Destroyer

The 76 mm Gun Motor Carriage M18, more commonly known as the Hellcat, is one of the best known American wartime tank destroyers. With a powerful 76 mm gun and high mobility, the vehicle was an effective anti-tank measure. A number of sources mention that several Hellcats ended up in the USSR, but that is usually all information that is offered. This is not surprising, since, unlike the GMC M10, which was accepted into service, the M18 never made it past trials. More precisely, the USSR received the pre-production prototypes, indexed Gun Motor Carriage T70. What was the fate of these vehicles?

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

ZIS-30 Production Plans

"Decree of the People's Council of Defense of the USSR

Contents: On the production of the 57 mm ZIS-2 gun on the Komsomolets tractor, on the production of 76 mm mod. 1939 (USV) guns on the ZIS-2 mount
  1. People's Commissar of Armament, comrade Ustinov, and the GAU Chief, General-Colonel of Artillery, comrade Yakovlev, must test the 57 mm ZIS-2 SPG on the Komsomolets tractor chassis designed by Stalin factory #92 within 5 days at the Sofrino proving grounds.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Phantom French Tanks

As you've seen many times on this blog, foreign intelligence can have some rather amusing turns. However, after fighting a war for 6 years you'd think that the German "Department for Study of Western Foreign Armies" would have a better idea about who they are fighting than... this:


Old French tanks are so obsolete that they can only be used for training. It is necessary to completely refresh their tank fleet.

The Americans supplied the French with light, medium, and heavy tanks, although there was no information on heavy tanks until January of 1945. "General Sherman" and "General Les" (or something like that) are types of American tanks. Light tanks weigh 18 tons, medium tanks about 30 tons.

Armament: 10 cm guns, medium tanks had, if I'm not mistaken, 12 or even 12.4 cm guns.

I don't remember the amount of tanks the French had, but I think they had about 80 tanks."

CAMD RF 500-12480-31

Monday, 15 May 2017

Artillery Committee Conclusions on the SG-122

"April 6th, 1942


On the draft project of the 122 mm SPG called "122-SG"

1. Contents of the project

The GAU Artillery Committee received a draft project of a 122 mm howitzer on the chassis of a captured StuG from the OKB-16 independent design group. The proposal was met with a question (letter #537868, March 17th, 1942) regarding the utility of replacing the German 75 mm gun with a domestic 122 mm M-30 mod. 1938 howitzer.

The NKV Technical Council had a positive reaction towards this proposal and offered the OKB-16 independent design group, led by comrade E.V. Sinilshikov, to execute the project.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Steel Chimeras of the Red Army

Scientific and technical progress has always been on the other side of the coin from war. Aiming to obtain instant superiority over the enemy, people who have never thought about the subject were as determined as those whose job was weapons design. In the years of the Great Patriotic War, self-taught designers earnestly believed that their tank or armoured cars can radically alter the course of the war. These designs remained on paper for obvious reasons, but accurately represent the spirit of their time.

The human mind does not stand still in a critical time, but invents curious designs. Most of these ideas do not even reach paper, but there are those who go even further and send their projects to ministries and directorates that, according to the inventor, should take interest in their creation. These people are motivated by many reasons, which are outside of the scope of this article.

The torrent of proposals during the Great Patriotic War was vast, and, following the principle of quality from quantity, some inventions were useful. Each commissariat and directorate had its own department of inventions, which reviewed the project and evaluated it. The Main Automotive and Armoured Directorate of the Red Army (GABTU KA) was no exception. Here is a small portion of the projects reviewed by the GABTU in the years of the GPW. Some are absurd, some are feasible, and some were ahead of their time.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Imagination Versus Hitler

As practice shows, the temptation to make up your own tank is great. Sadly (or thankfully), few people are destined to become tank designers. Here is where limitless human imagination steps in to create more "improved" or completely fictional projects than there were real tanks made.

Most of these made up tanks and SPGs belong to Germany. This is not surprising, since German dreams of Wunderwaffen firmly lodged themselves in people's heads. However, a lot of made up tanks were "invented" for Germany's enemies. There are a few of these vehicles in World of Tanks, but this article is not only dedicated to them. There were plenty of authors around the world, including during the war. Of course, some of these tanks were only partially fictional.