Translated Articles from Archive Awareness

Over at Archive Awareness blog they have posted a number of translated articles from WoT History Section and Warspot.  Click on the title to view the entire article.

 

IS-7: a Titan Late for the War

001The IS-7 was born in a strange time for the Soviet tank industry. The raising of the Red Banner over the Reichstag marked not only the glory of victory, but the problems of rebuilding for peace. Cities had to be rebuilt, factories returned from evacuation, defense industry re purposed.

 

Halfway to the Hellcat

T49-6 In late 1941, design of a new light tank destroyer on the Light Tank M3 chassis began in the USA. Work on equipping the T56/T57 GMC with a 76 mm gun game to a dead end. It turned out that the M3’s light chassis is unsuitable for such vehicles. By the time the T56 arrived at Aberdeen, the T49 was already undergoing trials. Even though it also never made it to production, further development of its design resulted in one of the best known American tank destroyers of WWII.

 

 World of Tanks History Section: Odd Grenades

navord_op_1665_hawkins_grenade123Those who saw the movie “Saving Private Ryan” likely remember the unusual method with which American soldiers planned to defeat German tanks. They planned to destroy their track with “sticky bombs”. This weapon could be made in several minutes from a soldier’s sock stuffed with explosives and coated in grease. This bomb should stick to a tank if thrown. As one of the characters in the movie says: “Think of a better way to knock out the tracks, I’m all ears.”

 

Fastest Gun Alive

bandkanon-6The post-war program to create a Swedish SPG lasted more than 10 years over the initial estimates, but the resulting vehicle, the Bandkanon 1, was anything but obsolete, as it often happens with projects that drag on like this. This heavy artillery system equipped with an automatic loader could fire with a speed that some rocket artillery systems would envy.

 

Stalin’s Maus Killers

107mm-10Gun design is driven by the desire to be at least half a step ahead of its opposition. The creators of tank armour aim to provide tank crews with maximum possible protection from all existing weapons, and gun designers aim to create a gun that would penetrate the armour of any modern tank. In the spring of 1941, work on a new 107 mm anti-tank gun began in the Soviet Union, a gun that would not see a worthy adversary for several years. Both these guns and their likely enemies were built in metal, but neither one ended upon the battlefield.

 

World of Tanks History Section: Ersatz Artillery

ersatz-1There is a simple rule: cheap, good, fast, pick two. AT guns are long and expensive. What do you do when fighting enemy tanks with a log is foreseen in the near future? British Ersatz Grenade Launchers.  When the British were expecting the Germans to invade the British Isles, Major Harry Horthover came up with the so called Northover Projector. This solution was cheap indeed: only 10 Pounds Sterling apiece.

 

World of Tanks History Section: Halfway to Prague: Taking of Brno

su100_7In April of 1945, Soviet Marshal Radion Malinovskiy was faced with new battles in Czechoslovakia. The Red Army already knocked their enemy out of Bratislava and now had to develop its success to take Brno.

The Brno industrial center was of great significance for Germany since the occupation in 1939. Brno was the home to Zbrojovka Brno, one of the largest small arms manufacturer in Europe, as well as a Skoda factory.

 

Captain Bekker’s SPG

geschutz-1The Battle of Leningrad became a proving grounds for new weapons. From the middle of 1941 to the summer of 1944, the battlefield here saw the newest and most extraordinary creations from both side of the front line. Finding armoured vehicles here was most surprising, as the conditions did not make it easy to use tanks and SPGs. One of the most unusual vehicles that could be found here was a German 105 mm SPG on the chassis of a British light tank.

 

World of Tanks History Section: Canadians in Germany, Battle for Binnen

foto_7_2.bHaving broken the resistance of the German divisions, the Allies reached the Rhine by February-March of 1945. This river could reach 500 meters in width and was the last serious barrier before the industrial regions of Germany and its capital, Berlin.

The objective of the 21st Army Group commanded by the British Field Marshal Montgomery was to encircle the Ruhr industrial area from the north.

Translated tank articles from Archive Awareness

Here is a round up of articles from World of Tanks History Section and Yuri Pasholok translated into English by the Archive Awareness blog.  Click on the article title to view the full article.

 

StuG in the USSR

stug-1At the start of the Great Patriotic War, Soviet military intelligence and the GAU had a very approximate idea about the types and characteristics of German tanks. This deficiency led to an overestimation of the possibilities of German armour and the launch of the KV-3, 4, and 5 programs in March of 1941. Even information on real German tanks was sparse. Intelligence missed the increase of the front armour of PzIII and PzIV tanks to 50 mm and use of 50 mm guns. This lack of information had to be made up for in the most reliable way during the war: studying trophies. Among the vehicles that were glossed over by Soviet intelligence was the StuG assault gun.

 

World of Tanks History Section: Antitank Exotics

During WWI, no participating country quite figured out tanks. However, in the two post-war decades, military thinkers managed to develop many theories and tactics, but some doubt remained. Germany’s success in Poland and France finally confirmed their usefulness beyond all doubt. As the popularity of tanks increased, so did the interest in anti-tank measures: guns, rifles, grenades, or more exotic methods.

 

World of Tanks History Section: Tiger Armageddon at Lisow

lisow-1By noon of the first day of the Sandomierz-Silesian Offensive Operation, Soviet infantry penetrated the first line of German defenses and hit the second. Quickly realizing the situation, Marshall Konev, the commander of the 1st Ukrainian Front, played the ace up his sleeve: several hundred tanks and SPGs. Thanks to them, Soviet forces were ready to assault the second line by the second half of January 12th, 1945.

 

Mythical Tanks

German secret tank projects are a common topic for internet arguments, reshuffling of facts, or outright falsifications. Some of this is done as a joke, some out of ignorance, and some intentionally. Today, let’s seriously try to discover which of these phantom German creations are real and which are not.

Waffentrager auf E-100

The most frequently discussed and unusual vehicle in the German World of Tanks tech tree. This vehicle is completely made up by Wargaming. Initially, it was supposed to have dual 128 mm guns, but due to a lack of multiple gun support, it received an AA gun with an autoloader. Soon it will be replaced with a much more realistic project found in the archives. The reason for this replacement is primarily that it’s too different from other vehicles in the tank destroyer branch.

 

Mauschen: Rat Race

mauschen-7The history of the Pz.Kpfw. Maus is still full of blank spots, despite the popularity of the subject. The beginning of the tank’s development from March of 1942 to 1943 is the least studied area. During this time, the project indexed Typ 205 radically changed. Essentially, the only constants were the index and the idea of using an electric transmission. Thanks to new publications and archive research, it is now possible to remove the veil of mystery from many parts of the project.
100 Ton Mouse

After the fall of France in 1940, German designers got access to French developments, including full scale models of superheavy tanks, the FCM F1 and ARL Tracteur C. Compared to these tanks, the German VK 65.01 (Pz.Kpfw. VII) that started development in January of 1939 seemed obsolete. It’s possible that this discovery led to the cancellation of the mild steel prototype.

Yuri Pasholok articles via Archive Awareness

Over at the Archive Awareness blog, they have recently posted a number of English translations of article by Russian tank researcher Yuri Pasholok.  We have posted titles and links below for those who may want to check these out.

Covenanter: Reservist Tank

 covenanter-1Winston Churchill’s saying “The tank that carries my name has more drawbacks than I do!” in regards to the Infantry Tank Mk.IV is well known. Despite this evaluation, the Churchill was the longest-living British tank, even finding itself useful in Korea. It is not know what the Prime Minister thought about the Cruiser Tank Mk.V, more known as the Covenanter, but there is one fact that says more than enough: it is the most numerous tank of the Second World War that never saw combat.

 

Medium Tank Mk.I: First of the Maneuver Tanks

med1-4The end of the First World War coincided with the decline of vehicles designed by William Tritton. Drastic budget cuts meant that further development of heavy tanks in Great Britain stopped. As for the first post-war medium tanks, they turned out to be too heavy, and could not repeat the success of the Mk.A Whippet. In late 1918, development of the Medium Tank Mk.D began, directed by Lieutenant Colonel Philip Johnson. The result was truly revolutionary and could reach a record of 20 mph (32 kph), but a large amount of mechanical problems brought about the end for that tank. After trials, the tank was not approved for mass production, but it did not disappear into nothingness. Later on, the Americans used it as a basis of their Medium Tank M1921. In England, the Vickers company had a go at making tanks and attained success with its first steps, creating the successful Medium Tank Mk.I.

 

Light Tank M22: Steel Locust

locust-5Thanks to John Walther Christie, the USA was the leader in airborne tanks before WWII, but with one caveat: not a single one of his vehicles was actually accepted into service. However, Christie’s experiments resulted in a very good understanding of what an airborne tank should be like. The idea of a tank with wings was quickly discarded in favour of a light tank that was attached under the fuselage of a heavy bomber or transport plane. This concept was used to make the Light Tank M22.

 

T2 Medium: Scaling Up

T2-3Starting with the M2 Medium Tank, American medium tanks were based on the M2 Light Tank. The method of their creation was as follows: novelties were tried out on a light tank, then the tank was proportionally scaled up in size. Of course, many changes were introduced into the design, like increasing the number of bogeys or return rollers. Overall, this method was successful. However, this was not the first attempt at using this method by American tank designers. The first time they tried it, they got something different…

 

KV-7: Lock, Stock, and Three Smoking Barrels

kv7-4Work on heavy SPGs in the Soviet Union began in the early 1930s. By the end of the decade, development stopped, but began anew in early 1940. The Red Army needed tanks to destroy enemy pillboxes. The result of this requirement was the 212 SPG which, for various reasons, was never built. In April of 1942, the 212 project was finally closed, giving way to another no less interesting project: the KV-7 assault tank.

 

The Last of the Char B

arl-8There is a misconception that the French worked only for their new masters during the occupation of 1940-1944. Indeed, most French tank manufacturing facilities ended up in the German occupation zone. Nevertheless, the resistance that so many speak of was active, and even on occupied territories, work continued. It became the foundation for French tank building that began immediately after the country was freed from occupants.

 

World of Tanks History Section: Panzer 58 Mutz

mutz What is Switzerland famous for? One immediately thinks of watches, banks, mountains, and cheese. Despite fighting its last war in 1848, this small country remained among the top producers of armament for decades.

For many years, Switzerland did not have its own tanks or SPGs. Even though Europe experienced a tank building boom after the end of the Second World War, Switzerland preferred to buy British Centutions and Czech G-13s (an improved version of the Jagdpanzer 38(t), mistakenly called Hetzer). This was cheaper than developing and producing domestic designs. The situation changed in the 1950s.

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.”

Excerpt:

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.