Yuri Pasholok articles via Archive Awareness

The Archive Awareness blog has recently translated and posted several articles by Russian tank researcher Yuri Pasholok.  We have posted the first paragraph of each article below with a link to the full version over at Archive Awareness.

Cromwell: English Dictator in Soviet Fields

Over the years of the Great Patriotic War, over 5000 British and Canadian tanks were sent to the Soviet Union. Most of them were so called Infantry tanks, with thick armour and low speeds. Light tank shipments were limited to 20 Tetrarchs. As for Cruiser tanks, they never made it into the Red Army. Despite an initial desire to receive Cromwells, they only made it to the trial stage. Read on to discover why these tanks were rejected.


AMX 50 120: Long Road to a Dead End

At an unusual parade in Paris on July 14th, 1951, the French military showed off all their newest vehicles that was adopted by the army or still undergoing trials. EBR armoured cars and ARL 44 tanks drove along the Champs-Élysées. The parade was concluded with the passage of two Foch tank destroyers and two AMX 50 tanks. Only a chosen few knew that these tanks will not enter mass production and that superior tanks are already on the drawing board.


M6A2E1: Heavy Clownshoe

The Heavy Tank M6 had the worst fate of all mass produced heavy tanks of WWII. A decent vehicle with competitive characteristics became another victim of work dragging on too long. The tank was accepted into service, but only 40 vehicles in 3 modifications were produced, and none of them saw combat. By 1943, the M6 was obsolete and its road to the front lines was closed. However, a heavily modified version of the tank was soon once again in demand, and urgently. This is the modernization covered by this article.


Valentine Mods in the USSR

The Infantry Tank Mk.III, or Valentine, was the most produced British tank of WWII. However, the British themselves actively used Valentines from 1941 to the first half of 1943. The Soviet Union, who received almost half of these tanks, used them much more actively. Known as “Valentin” or MK-3/MK-III, these tanks debuted in the Battle for Moscow in the fall of 1941 and survived until the end of the war in some units. The Valentine was one of a few foreign tanks that saw a large scale conversion effort.

German Superheavy Paper Tank Destroyers

jagdpanzere100s1-cd4370df9b9b6b0a81069a495202b39cThe Archive Awareness blog has posted an English language translation of an article by Russian tank researcher Yuri Pasholok on the subject of WW2 German “paper” superheavy tank destroyers.  In this piece he takes aim as some of the fantasy tanks and tank destroyers that have circulated in magazines and around the net such at the E-100 “Krokodil.”


Fantasies regarding WWII era armour in the areas of technical capabilities and application in combat, both of tanks that existed and those that never made it off paper (or were never even planned at all), are very widespread. An popular category of these fantasies concerns tank destroyers on the chassis of German superheavy tanks. Do any of them actually have a basis in reality?

The Atlantis of German tank design: E-100 Krokodil

The E-100 and Maus superheavy tanks are some of the most worshipped idols among German armour. The fact that the development of both was stopped by a personal order from Hitler in July of 1944 does not stop many from believing that both monsters could make it to mass production. In reality, the fate of the Maus was sealed when the Allies bombed Krupp’s factories and there was nowhere left to produce the tank. The E-100 was never fully assembled and never moved under its own power, nor was a contractor determined for its production.

Tank destroyers on the chassis of the E-100 and Maus tanks are another topic. Information on these vehicles is quite incomplete which gives fertile soil to wild fantasies. One of the most hyped up examples at present is the imaginary E-100 Krokodil.

The entire article can be read at the Archive Awareness blog.  For the original Russian language version, click here.   The Russian version includes images not found in the Archive Awareness translation.

Archive Awareness Blog on Red Army AFV numbers in Operation Barbarossa

BarbarosaOver at the Archive Awareness blog, Peter Samsonov has posted an interesting summary of data from “Order in Tank Forces: What happened to Stalin’s tanks?” by Dmitriy Shein.  In the post, he challenges the commonly held idea that the Red Army had 26,000 tanks at it’s disposal in 1941 versus only 4000 AFVs of the German invader.  In a series of charts, Shein shows the number of those tanks that were in the Western districts as well as what state of functionality they were in.  When taking into account these various factors, the Red Army had, according to Shein,  roughly 7000 – 7500 functional tanks available for battle on June 22nd, 1941.  And while that is still a numerical advantage over the tank forces of the German invader, these Red Army tanks of 1941 were hampered by a number of shortages, particularly in fuel trucks and certain types of ammunition.  In other words, the tanks of the Red Army were woefully prepared to repel an invader.  And while most histories note these issues affecting the “26,000” strong Soviet tank force in 1941, it’s interesting to see the numbers broken and explained.

Read the full blog post here.

Archive Awareness on Finnish Impressions of T-34/85

archive awarenessThe blog Archive Awareness posted an interesting article earlier this week reporting on Finnish impressions of the T-34/85 tank compared to the earlier model 1943 version.  The Finns seem generally impressed with the vehicle, noting that the quality of the armor is better than on previous versions and also that while the engine is the same as found in previous models of T-34, the quality of construction has improved leading to a slightly higher power output and engine lifespan.  The 85mm gun is praised in the report as being “identical to the German 88 mm tank gun in main parameters.”  The Finns also praise the refractive telescopic sight on the T-34/85, noting that is “greatly superior to the sight of the model 1942-1943 T-34 tank.”

Read the full article here.

WoT History article on T-14 Armata

The Archive Awareness blog has translated a Russian language article on the T-14 Armata tank that originally appeared on the World of Tanks History page.  While numerous articles have appeared on the T-14 recently, this one seems to have a good bit more detail than most we have seen.


30 years ago, engineers from Nizhniy Tagil created a foundation for a new tank with Object 187 and Object 187A. The innovative but unfortunate Object 195 was then built in metal. What was the fruit of the labours of Ural engineers?

On the way to a breakthrough

Successful decisions in the 1960s allowed Soviet engineers to achieve a tank with a very tight layout. The tanks were compact, not very heavy, and had excellent protection. On the other hand, if the enemy shell did punch through the armour, it was nearly guaranteed that it would destroy components or kill the crew. The ammunition rack in the fighting compartment was especially worrying.

In the end of the 1980s, all major Soviet tank factories were working on new tanks. Engineers aimed to boost the firepower (including by means of increasing the gun caliber), increase protection, and automate the vehicles. Additionally, a new layout was necessary, as the classic layout was no longer sufficient for survivability on the battlefield.

obiekt_195_150203_01Soviet engineers had a difficult task. They needed to develop an innovative solution to protect the crew and fighting compartment, separating them from the ammunition rack. Kharkov, Nizhniy Tagil, and Leningrad were working on this task. The Nizhniy Tagil project from Uralvagonzavod, Object 187A, was never built in metal, but was the basis of the experimental “Perfection-88” program. In 2000, the Object 195 vehicle was created based on that research, a predecessor for the T-14 tank built on the heavy universal tracked Armata platform.

Read the full article at Archive Awareness blog.

WoT History Articles translated to English

At the Russian language World of Tanks website, they frequently publish articles on the history of various tanks and vehicles written by their staff of researchers.  Fortunately for English language readers, the Archive Awareness blog regularly translates and posts these articles.  April saw a good number of these translated articles posted online.  Here are some links to the most recent ones.

World of Tanks History Section: SOMUA S35

World of Tanks History Section: Infantry’s Fangs (anti-tank rifles)

World of Tanks History Section: Tanks in the Far East

World of Tanks History Section: K2 Black Panther

World of Tanks History Section: PT-76

MS-1 Soviet tank restoration

ms-1-restoration-17Over at Archive Awareness they have posted a series of pictures and videos chronicling the restoration of a vintage Soviet MS-1.  This particular vehicle was found near the Russian-Chinese boarder where it had been dug in as a bunker. According to the man responsible for the restoration, “The work took about three years, but preparing for the restoration took even more time. We needed to retain all technical subtleties, so it was not just a copy, but as close to possible to the original. It is known that this tank participated in the events at Lake Hasan. To this day, no more than 5 tanks of this kind remain. Experts already admit that our tank is the closest to the original.”  The full post can be read here.

Valentine IX Trails in the USSR

valentine-9-1For the Record has an interesting post translating information on the Valentine infantry tank in Soviet service provided by Russian researcher Yuri Pasholok.  The post relates the results of Soviet testing at Kubinka in March of 1943 of a Valentine IX tank.  The IX variant was equipped with a larger turret and 57mm 6 pounder gun as compared to earlier versions of the vehicle which had the 2 pounder gun.  The report concludes that the Soviets were less than enthusiastic about this varient of the tank due to the lack of an HE round for the main gun and lack of coaxial machine gun.  The test results can be viewed at the Archive Awareness website.

Q&A with “Ensign Expendable” of Archive Awareness

header4For those who regularly visit forums such as World of Tanks, War Thunder or Tank Net, the name Ensign Expendable is a familiar one.  The man behind the Ensign Expendable avatar is Peter Samsonov, creator of the website/blog  Archive Awareness.  Digging through online archives only made available since the end of the Cold War, Samsonov diligently posts on a daily basis, translating Soviet archive material into English for a North American audience.  Armed with his blog, Ensign Expendable is a man on a mission, battling what he sees as a cold war legacy of negative perceptions in the West of Soviet tanks and armored vehicles.

For those interested in Soviet tanks of the Great Patriotic War (World War II), Archive Awareness has much to offer.   [Read more…]