Photo of the Day: New Buildings at Kubinka

Today’s POTD comes from the live journal account of Russian tank researcher Yuri Pasholok.  From what we can gather from the computer generated translation of his blog, vehicles are being moved to new buildings which are currently being constructed as part of Patriot Park.   Visitors to Kubinka will be happy to hear that these new buildings will have both air conditioning and heat!

13975432_1790343661183720_3384847080278122058_o

 

Translated Articles from Archive Awareness

It’s time for another list of articles translated from Russian by the Archive Awareness blog.  As always, click on the title to read the full article.

World of Tanks History Section: Nighttime Storm Over Senno

soviet-shermansOn the second day of Operation Bagration, June 25th, 1944, the Red Army took the Bogushevsk settlement, located between Vitebsk and Orsha. As a result, the Germans lost a vital stronghold. Soviet command sent Major-General N.S. Oslikov’s motorized cavalry group into the breach. The group was tasked with developing the Red Army’s offensive towards Senno and Lepel, with the eventual exit to Berezina river.

Steel Inheritance

stug40-3The Czechoslovakian industry received a number of advanced military technologies after the end of the Second World War as the result of German orders, but their inheritance didn’t end here. A large amount of formerly German tanks were left in the country. Even though Czechoslovakia preferred Soviet tanks and SPGs, nobody was going to say refuse the wealth of German vehicles. As a result, the country ended up with a colourful tank park, including domestic pre-war LT vz.35 and LT vz.38, British Cromwells and Challengers, Soviet T-34-85s and IS-2s, and many German vehicles, including the StuG 40.

 

World of Tanks History Section: Breakthrough at Bogushevsk

isu-152_2On June 23rd, 1944, a mad steamroller entered the territory of Belarus. Thundering westward at a speed of twenty kilometers per day, it crushed and ground up German forces in its way. In mere days, Army Group Center was reduced into pitiful shreds. The demolition of German forces was unprecedented, to the point where the Western Allies were doubting Soviet reports. The only solution was to gather up foreign correspondents and hold the famous prisoner of war march. 19 German generals and 45,000 soldiers and officers became a convincing confirmation of the Red Army’s success. But where did this skepticism come from?

 

Light Tank M3: America’s First Thousand

m3-1American tank building fell behind those of other nations during the interbellum period, but rapidly closed the gap. In May of 1940, mass production of the Light Tank M2A4 began, a tank that caught up to other members of its class, and surpassed them in speed and armament. At the same time, the Americans realized that the war in Europe will last a long time, and tanks and guns grow obsolete quickly. This was the trigger that resulted in the Light Tank M3, the first American tank to result in more than a thousand mass produced vehicles.

 

An American Yankee in GABTU’s Court

m3ussr-9The USSR was the second country, after Great Britain, to receive tanks from the United States. Among them were M3 light tanks. According to American data, 1336 tanks of this type were sent to the USSR, a quarter of the overall volume of Light Tank M3 production. Out of all tanks sent, 440 (including M3A1 tanks) were lost during transport.  Domestic literature often calls the M3 weakly armoured and poorly armed. This evaluation is surprising, especially when you compare the tank to the Soviet T-70. In order to truly evaluate the American tank in the Soviet Union, we must consult archive documents.

 

World of Tanks History Section: Liberation of Fastov

kiev_nast_operThe Kiev Offensive Operation was not going smoothly for the Red Army. After penetrating the first line of enemy defenses, Soviet forces traveled 5-12 km, encountered German reserves, and started losing momentum. Nevertheless, on the second day of battles, November 4th, 1943, it was already clear that the Germans will not hold the city. The enemy started withdrawing westward. The Red Army attempted to prevent this, encircling the enemy and cutting their supply lines. The city of Fastov, some 70 kilometers south-west of Kiev, was among key positions that had to be captured for this plan to work. Tankers from P.S. Rybalko’s 3rd Guards Army hit the city.

 

World of Tanks History Section: 100 Years of Tanks

1916. For many months, endless trench warfare raged on along the fronts of the First World War. Attacks into a storm of enemy shells and bullets, thousands of dead men to push the enemy back hundreds of meters. Day after day, week after week. The way out of this dead end was coming. A new, never before seen weapon, a demon of technological warfare, was already coming to life within British arsenals. Its name was “tank”.  In order to bring this fighting machine to life, four technical inventions were necessary, as well as one condition to bring them together. Here they are.

 

T-30: Simplicity Itself

t-60-275 year passed on Sunday July 17th 2016 since the decision to produce the T-30 small tank. This tank remained in obscurity for a number of reasons. Born at a time of difficult for its country, it was overshadows by its “older brother”, the T-40, and “younger brother”, the T-60. In addition, the tank was indexed T-60 for some time, complicating the process of figuring out what tank is mentioned in reports. Lost among almost 6000 “real” T-60s, this tank played an important role on the battlefield in the fall and winter of 1941.
The First T-60

 

T-60: A Small Tank in a Big War

T-60-16The history of the T-60 tank is atypical for Soviet tank building. The tank was accepted into service before even the first blueprint was prepared, and thousand of units were ordered immediately at three factories. Even though the final results were a lot more humble, more than 5500 completed vehicles is a very impressive number. Remaining in production for just under a year, from September 1941 to July 1942, the T-60 became the most numerous small tank in history. These vehicles appeared on the front lines during the most heated part of the Battle for Moscow, and made a noticeable contribution to the war during its most difficult point. On July 20th, 2016, the T-60 turned 75 years old.

 

 

 

Video: BT-7 Artillery tank

Here is a short video showing a replica 76mm gun turret being lowered onto a BT-7 hull.  This comes from the youtube page of Russian tank researcher Yuri Pasholok.

Translated Articles from Archive Awareness

Here is a round up of articles from either researcher Yuri Pasholok or World of Tanks EU translated into English and posted on the Archive Awareness blog.  Click on the article title to read the full piece.

 

Tetrarch in the USSR

tetrarch-1The British light Tetrarch tank is most often remembered in connection with the landing in Normandy. While it was the first tank used for this purpose, initially the Tetrarch was designed for something else. The adventures of the Tetrarch in the British army are well known, unlike the use of the tank in the Red Army. That story is still full of omissions.

 

AMX 38: A Tank Between Classes

amx38-6The results of the French competition for a new light tank in the mid 1930s were unclear. On one hand, the army made a deal with Renault to produce 300 light Renault ZM tanks. The tank entered service with the name Char léger Modele 1935 R,or Renault R35. A year later, the FCM 36 was accepted into service, which was more promising according to the infantry commanders. Doubt was cast on the production of the R35, but it was never cancelled, and it became the infantry’s most numerous tank. Right before WWII began, the AMX 38 appeared, another tank that could have been accepted into service with the French army.

 

World of Tanks History Section: Udalov, from Raseiniai to Silesia

is_2.2e9nntd5fr284koo00sow8wgg.ejcuplo1l0oo0sk8c40s8osc4.thThe summer of 1944 was coming to an end, but the Sandomierz foothold was still hot. The sun was beaming from above and battled raged on the ground. A German attack at dawn of August 13th failed, but the enemy started anew during the day, hoping that the long guns of the King Tigers will do their job. Their path was blocked by IS tanks from the 71st Guards Heavy Tank Regiment. Among them was a company commanded by Senior Lieutenant V. A. Udalov.

 

FCM36: Ahead of its Time

fcm-3The FCM 36 was the least lucky French tank created in the interbellum period. Its design was progressive: it was the first tank with sloped armour to be put into production. While other French tanks were put together with bolts or rivets, FCM made its hull welded. In addition, the FCM 36 had a diesel engine. Alas, the fate of this interesting tank was a difficult one.

 

Medium Paper Tank Destoyers

medium-tds-3Of all German E-Series (Entwicklung, development) only the E-100 ever reached the stage where it was ready to be built in metal. This did not stop other vehicles in the series from becoming very popular. These vehicles included not only tanks, but also tank destroyers, including the medium E-25 tank destroyer. Let us look deeper into its history and familiarize ourselves with other “paper” vehicles of its class.

 

World of Tanks History Section: Last Stand

last-stand-1A grenade and a bottle with incendiary fluid: this was the most widespread armament of a Red Army infantryman in late 1941. It was most effective where it was used with another powerful weapon: heroism. A well trained soldier could throw a bottle 20-30 meters, a heavy grenade bundle would fly even less. The bravest men closed in to this distance or even less, often paying with their life for a disabled or burned tank. On paper, this looks like a good trade, but in real life this is a tragedy.

 

World of Tanks History Section: Rifle Grenades

rifle-grenades-1The range of a hand grenade is very short. In WWI, many methods were tried to solve this problem. One of those was a special rifle grenade. A cup was attached to the muzzle of a rifle, which fired a grenade with the aid of a blank cartridge. This method was not very effective: the range was barely a few hundred meters, the fragmentation effect of the grenade was weak, and there was no accuracy to speak of. Due to a low muzzle velocity, the shots had to be fired at a large upward angle. Despite poor reliability and questionable effectiveness, the idea of rifle grenades not only survived until the Great Patriotic War, but continued to evolve.

 

Cruiser IV: A Bit More Armour

cruiser-4-5The adoption of the Cruiser Tank Mk.III in 1938 didn’t mean that the British were fully satisfied with it. Armour that was only 14 mm thick made the tank vulnerable to anything bigger than a rifle. High caliber machineguns that were one of the most popular anti-tank weapons during the Spanish Civil War made the military seriously think about improving protection. It was impossible to do anything radical with the Cruiser Tank Mk.III, since a whole new tank would be needed. It was decided to go down the road of minor modernization. The resulting tank became one of the best and longest lasting pre-war British tanks.

 

World of Tanks History Section: New Life for Rockets

38-11355-829-p03aUsing a rocket against a tank is very tempting. Rockets can carry a powerful warhead and can be launched without an expensive barrel: all you need is a rail. In the 1930s, Soviet pilots were already using rockets to fire at enemy planes.

During the Great Patriotic War, an attempt was made to use rockets to destroy German tanks, but it turns out that this wasn’t so simple.

Video of the Day: IS-2 & ISU-152

Some videos of Soviet WW2 era tanks from the youtube channel of Yuri Pasholok.

 

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.