Soviet tanks before the war

Soviet tanks before the warIt would not be so much an exaggeration to say that the Russian tankers first fell in love with BT tanks for speed. "What Russian does not love frisky ride?" Is not it? But for military professionals and the other was the principal of their quality: lost caterpillar, they continued to move on wheels, tracked vehicles that were not able to do. But it required to remove and undamaged caterpillar, because wheel drive and crawler at BT tanks were not synchronized. Also on wheels at the BT master was just only one pair of wheels, because of its cross on wheels was very low, especially outside the road, which in Russia is not always enough.

Everyone knew, apparently well aware young trooper of the 4th Tank Regiment Ukrainian military neighborhood Ciganov. Technical education he had, and was the inventor of self-taught, which, however, did not prevent him to create in 1934 an automatic coupler for T-26, T-27 and BT, for what Defense Commissar Voroshilov gave him a gold watch and made of junior commander in the platoon commanders.

In a speech before the 4th Tank Regiment, Voroshilov gave the order — to make a new "wheel-track mover for the BT, with which it can be transformed into a more formidable fighting machine."
Was present at all of this commander SVR I. Yakir instructed the job Commissar group of engineers under the control of H. Tsiganova. Working for 4 months for 16-18 hours a day, they did by April 1935 drawings and a model in the BT fifth natural size with the new engine of who had 3 pairs of leading and 1 pair of driven wheels.

Who exactly owned by the thought of making such a tank at the moment is not exactly say that. Ciganov himself quite sincerely believed that … Stalin, because that's his idea Tsyganov teammates told their "favorite general-Bolshevik" friend Yakir. In his own letter to Stalin and Voroshilov Regiment engineers with Tsyganov and report to say: you, Comrade Stalin, have put forward the idea, Yakir explained it to us, and we'll promptly done everything, to do the proper party debt, and the tank we decided to call BT-ICs (integrated circuits — Joseph Stalin).

Soviet tanks before the war

Russian light tank BT-IP 1936

Voroshilov on the personal instructions for the production of the BT-ICs have been allocated the necessary funds and place on a tank repair factory number 48 in Kharkiv. In June 1935, began testing the new tank, which, again personally reported to Voroshilov, who ordered that in 1936 it was made over 10 tanks BT-IC based on the tank BT-5. Then in June and March 1937 was followed by running new tanks along the route Kharkiv to Moscow, after which the tank again brought improvements and handed him over to military trials.
The final BT-IP was a wonderfully latest model of the BT-5 is different from the layout of the introduction of the 3 pairs of driving wheels for wheel speed. The presence of a special mechanism — synchronizer — equates to the speed of the wheels and tracks, with the result that the tank could keep going, even losing one of the tracks. In addition, six driving wheels allowed to use more than 75% of the weight of the tank as the coupling weight, which could not fail to increment its flotation on wheels.

The highlight of the design was the failure of the gear transmission with the speed of the drive wheels on the tracks of the rear road wheels wheel travel. Now turning to all three pairs of drive wheels transmitted through the drive shafts disposed in the upper part of the housing. With all of this candle suspension of all wheels on the tank type Christy survived, but the candles with impaled on their springs were placed in a tank on the other. Introduced a number of new devices wheel speed, synchromesh, the angular distribution box, top boxes, drive shafts, drives the drive wheels wheel speed, gear shift synchronizer, also set a new aft fuel tank.

During the test tanks BT-IS passed on wheels from 1500 to 2500 km, and in spite of the enormous complexity of an engine in comparison to the baseline tank BT-5, showed not only the best permeability, and durability. They were moving at great loss of one track, and one or two rollers. Naturally, the tank revealed shortcomings related in the main to the need to reinforce some heavy-duty parts, but overall the Army Commission concluded that the tank into service to take.

Followed the order: to make the installation in 1937 of a series of 5 cars. Their supposed to install on-board ramp width of 6 mm armor to protect the final drive and remove the identified shortcomings, so that the next year is to release 300 tanks BT-ICs. Mounting track during the course of a wheel provided on folding side shelves.

Meanwhile Ciganov, considering that the case with the tank BT-IP has already been decided, he began to develop a tank with improved armor protection on the basis of the BT-7. Made newcomer machine was at the end of 1937 and was named in the best traditions of those years: BT-SW-2 "Turtle" (CB — "Stalin, Voroshilov"). Most importantly, what this tank was different from all the other, it was the construction of hulls, which were placed under the sheets very bolshennymi angles — 15-58 degrees. The nose portion has the same width as the body, because the front tube for directing wheels BT-7 this tank was not needed. Suspension front road wheels has not changed, except for the fact that its spring suspension rejected back at an angle of 38 degrees.

Housing BT-SW-2 had absolutely no protruding parts, except for the spring bonnet vertical suspension. All removable armor plates were made and were attached to the body by bolts. For greater rigidity of the armor covering his tracks in the bottom of the envisaged special jumpers, 3 on each side. Aft tank BT-7 on the tank was removed, because food has also become inclined, although because of the tanks had to have on the sides.

Soviet tanks before the war

Experienced Russian light tank BT-SW-2, 1938

Tower of the tank also had stern niche because of her radio station was moved to the nose of the building, where apart from the driver placed the 4th member of the crew — a radio operator.

Experienced standard BT-SW-2 was made of ordinary steel, width 10 to 12 mm, but the project is a real fighting machine there was even a 2-ways. First foresaw the introduction of your brand FD width of 40 — 55 mm, protected the tank from 45-mm shells at all distances; second foresaw protection from 12.7 mm bullets and implied the use of 20-25-mm armor brand "FROM" .

BT-SW-2 passed the test in winter 1937 — spring 1938, during which he passed 2,068 km. It was noted that such a reservation principle can be considered fully applicable, but the chassis serial BT-7 with real reservations tank and weight BT-SW-2 to 24-25 m will be very weak. It was supposed to make reference to the vsepolnotsennym tank armor and carry out a test fire. But all the work on this car, as well as on the BT-ICs, have been discontinued since 1938 first Ciganov a
nd his whole team were arrested. Even earlier — in March 1937 was arrested on a huge group of designers KhPZ, namely the head of the tank KB A.Firsova, which took place Koshkin, known throughout the world as the man who made the famous T-34.

Still not clear, would get our tanks and the diesel engine, if also arrested "dvigatelisty" Trashutin and I. Yu Stepanov in 1939 were not released after the elimination of Yezhov.

The exciting thing about that, though Roma and was arrested, the question of bringing the BT-7 to the level of BT-IC from the agenda of day or never took off. Moreover, while it carried out the tests, the General Management of the Red Army Tank-Automotive in October 1937 issued an order to actually KhPZ such as tank BT-20 in a new designation adopted by the A-20, which was made in the metal at 1939 Rim Drive on the move It was carried out on six wheels, as in the BT-IP and the upper frontal sheet is placed at an inclination angle 53 degrees. Pure tracked the A-20 was designated the A-32 and became a well-known layout "Thirty", but it set the gun 76.2 mm caliber, thicker armor and 5 pairs of rollers, the diameter of which in comparison with the BT was increased to 400 mm.

Soviet tanks before the war

Russian experimental tank A-20, 1939

It is interesting that in addition to all of these machines in 1932 -1938 years. was developed in the Soviet Union is still a huge number of tanks with wheeled crawler gear. Among them were two floating descent of the T-43, which in 1933-1934. done at the factory most experienced Mechanical Engineering. Kirov (№ 185) in Leningrad and Moscow's factory number 37.

Two floating tank on the standard tanks BT-TP-1 and TP-1A had a speed on the tracks: 62, on wheels — 90 and afloat — 6 km / h, and the PT-1 And even 10 km / h Weighing in at 14.2 and 15.3 t of their crew is 4, and the armament consisted of one 45-mm cannon and four machine gun it, though the thickness of armor they conceded BT.

Lightweight wheel-track tank T-46-1, also made in 1925 by the number 185, was the driving wheels in front, make it harder for the drive to the wheels, but it was equipped with a synchronizer stroke. In addition to guns and several machine guns, including anti-aircraft, this tank was also paired with a pneumatic gun flame thrower, who had in store ognesmesi on 12 shots. Tank experienced, but adopted and not adopted.

Another light tank T-25, made at the Stalingrad tractor factory in 1939, was a contrasting mix of parts and components of the T-26 and BT, but in a series he did not go because of his speed on the track was only 28 km / hr

Then, in the period 1934-1937., An attempt was made to change in the production of pure tracked T-28 wheeled-tracked T-29, differing from its own layout and the only driver of the box.

Soviet tanks before the war

Russian middle of wheel-track tank T-29, 1939.

According to the project EKU OGPU — KB prison where detainees were working designers (which is a shame it did not sound, were repressed until 1937), the first tanks T-29 and T-4-29-5 were made in the 1934, but then improved the car a couple of years to start its mass-produce at the Kirov plant in Leningrad. Then in May 1937, he was also arrested the chief designer of the tank KB O. Ivanov, instead of which the position was 29-year-old J. Kotin, married to the adopted daughter Commissar Voroshilov, because the T-29 finish it already. In 1936, this tank was even adopted, in 1937, made the two cars, but then let the tank all the same did not. When the frontal armor of a width of 30 mm and a crew of 5 persons weight of the tank increased to 28.8 tons, which was the limit for the wheel-track mover, although this tank on wheels had a leading six rolls of 8.

In December 1937 Kotin signed drawings Coil T-28, converted by the type of languid chassis of the T-35, but it was obvious that towered tanks for any type of suspension will not be enough to protect the thick armor, and the smaller tank will have towers, the better.

Some other Russian tanks on the basis of BT was not created, nor was created and self-propelled guns with the introduction of some of their chassis. His resourcefulness shown here Finnish engineers, who in 1942 had to be upgraded captured Russian BT-7.

Soviet tanks before the war

ACS Finnish BT-42, made on the basis of captured Russian tanks

In the larger size tower they found the English 114-mm howitzer standard in 1918, equipping it with a muzzle brake to reduce recoil. With all of this no chassis or body of the tank unaltered. By the end of the year was 18 self-propelled howitzers of this type have received in the Finnish army designation BT-42. Of them formed a battalion of assault guns, armed with which they were directly before the exit of the Finnish War in 1944! During the siege of Leningrad own contribution to the defense of the town brought even experienced T-29, but in general the fate of improved tanks Christie in Russia, as those who are in the majority of their own creating, was sad.

Actions in Spain and forced the leadership of the country, and designers are already in which time to think about strengthening reservations Russian tanks and weapons in anticipation of the impending war, quite obviously. In general, similar work is never interrupted. So, once the transfer of the T-35 in a batch creation and the issue was resolved on its substitution even more massive and perfect tank, working on a project which began in May and June 1933, together with the development of Russian designers considered the project a 100-ton tank TG 6 (design Grote) and 70-ton tank of the Italian company "Ansaldo". Tank Grote was a real "cruiser", and who had five towers, of which the principal was armed with 107-mm gun, while others had to have 37/45-mm guns and machine guns.

Our Russian projects developed Barykova N. and S. Ginsburg, were a 90-ton machine, which had 50-75-mm armor protection. First tank project was armed with 2 107 mm, 2 45-mm cannon and machine guns 5. Second only different weapons — one 152-mm, three 45-mm guns and four machine guns, besides a flame thrower in the back of the tower! Options have built a successful and recognized as models in 1/10 of original size. It also became clear that the creation of the 1st prototype version of the tank, which was designated the T-39, will claim about 3 million rubles, and a period of about 1 year, so that it priemuschestvenno and rejected.

Soviet tanks before the war

Model of Russian super-heavy tank T-39-1

In 1937, KB Kharkov Locomotive Works (KhPZ) given the task to design a new languid breakthrough tank based on the T-35. The task was supposed to do three-turret machine weighing 50-60 tons of armor with 75-45mm, arm
ed with one 76 mm, 2 45 mm cannons, 2 and 6 mnogokalibernymi standard tank guns.

In a brand new tank was planned to use the box and the chassis of the T-35. But KB KhPZ, and without that not having significant forces for such a complex work, it was significantly weakened by repression, touching more trained engineers. Because, despite the numerous demands by the beginning of 1938 there were able to spend only sketchily elaboration 6 versions of the new tank, differed in the placement of weapons.

In April 1938 this work it was decided to connect the Leningrad Kirov Plant (LCZ), with its strong manufacturing base and experience of serial production of T-28, a plant number 185 them. Kirov frames which, in turn, have provided expertise in the development of new models of military vehicles. First plant designed tank QMS ("Sergei Kirov"), a leading engineer machine A. Yermolaev; 2nd — article 100 (or T-100), a leading engineer machine E. Paley.

By this time, at the Kirov plant in Leningrad under the control engineer M. Siegel has already been made tank T-46-5 (T-W), which had protivosnaryadnoe booking. Weapons he had left at the light tank T-26 45-mm cannon, two machine gun in the turret and another — the zenith. Speed of 30 km / h, the crew of 3 people. Booking car was unprecedented: a total weight of 32.2 tons tank had a 60-mm armor on the body and 50 mm — on the tower!

Soviet tanks before the war

Experimental Russian tank T-46-5, 1937

In the series, he did not go as nedorabotannost because of the structure itself, and because of the lack of tactical requirements for machines such an extent reservation, but the experience of the designers gave it. It is logical therefore that the work on the tanks SMK and T-100 progressed quite rapidly: the QMS was ready by May 1, and T-100 — June 1, 1939. December 9 projects of new cars and their models were considered at a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b) and the Defence Committee.

Soviet tanks before the war

Russian heavy breakthrough tank QMS 1939

Three towers were placed in tanks one by one so that the average tower towered above the limit, as if on a combat ship. Stalin did not like it and removed the back of the tower, so use it to gain weight reservation.

And QMS, and T-100 were very similar on the outside and actually quite prototype armed. The difference is in the suspension. QMS for the first time in Russian tank building used torsion bars (previously only installed on the experimental tank T-28) — iron shafts for motorbike, who worked on twisting when the tank could hit a snag. At the T-100 was applied suspension with leaf springs, which are protected on top of an armored screen.

Soviet tanks before the war

Russian heavy breakthrough tank T-100, November 1939

The tanks were constructed and handed over to the tests, which began on the night of July 31 to August 1, 1939 once the designers of T-100 was considered likely to create on its basis more powerful tank T-100Z, armed with 152-mm howitzer M-10 in the main tower, and self-propelled guns armed 130-mm naval gun that was used at that time in the Navy cruisers and destroyers.
What's all the same for the Kirov plant, it's not counting the ordered QMS has been designed to the same single-turret tank KV ("Klim Voroshilov"), leading engineers Yermolaev A. and N. Spirits. The tank had a shortened chassis of the QMS, armor width of 75 mm, and the initial plan for two guns in the turret, 45-mm and 76-mm.

Soviet tanks before the war

Russian experienced heavy tank KV September 1939 g

The new tank on the test results fall of 1939 have adopted December 19 as early as February 17, 1940 he was expelled together with tanks SMK and T-100 on the front of the outbreak of the Soviet-Finnish war where our troops could not break through the fortified Finns " Mannerheim Line. "
Generally, all new cars kept secret, so at the appropriate time to use all of a sudden and massive scale. But in this case it was the prestige of the Soviet Union and the Red Army, and Stalin himself. That's why, with a probable leak disk imaging of these tanks have decided not to be considered.

All 3 cars took part in the fighting, and although fire anti-tank guns caliber 37-47mm they had suffered some damage, break through their armor such guns were not able to. When the QMS was blown up by a land mine while driving in the depths of the Finnish Defence, was seriously damaged by the crew and cast, and the languid evacuate the car with a broken chassis even with the help of a few of the T-28 did not succeed. But the Finns his touch did not — or could not, or motivate them a lot more lined serial T-28, which could be restored and used, if any single machine type unknown to them, so that after a "Mannerheim Line" tank again was in our hands. In general, to bring the tank back on plant, it had to be disassembled, and the plant it is no longer collected and restored.
It turned out that the 76-mm cannon tanks KV-1 is very weak for the destruction of enemy fortifications, because it was decided to urgently equip the tank 152-mm howitzer in the newest tower of increased size. Machine given the index HF-2, with all this must be seen in the history of tank development there are few examples of such a massive gun on a tank was set in a rotating turret, and even when the initial design for the installation of such weapons, he was not calculated.

It is logical that many experts have expressed doubts as to be able to withstand the undercarriage recoil (especially of weapons deployed on board). But tests showed that the tank will be able to act, because at the Kirov plant here made 4 such machines. Try them again on the Karelian Isthmus, where they betonoboynymi shells were shot at point-blank granite dragon's teeth on "Mannerheim Line". When one of the tanks out of the battle, his armor was 48 dents from armor-piercing shells, but neither one of them did not penetrate the armor. Naturally, the KV-2 here have adopted and before the second half of the 1941 series produced at the Kirov Plant.

T-100 in the light of all of these events are not quite lucky. Although the staff of the plant number 185 and tried to prove that this machine is a different class, if tank HF, and that it can also be installed 152 mm howitzer, while maintaining a 45-mm cannon in the front tower, Municipal Commission considered that to take it on board is inappropriate.

Soviet tanks before the war

Russian heavy breakthrough tank T-100, Fall 1940

The Commission notes the highest ground pressure (0.86 kg/cm2), — the quality management system, the figure was 0.66, while the CI — 0.77 kg/cm2 huge difficulties with the management of such a weighty and a big car, not a good maneuverability and the internal combustion engine, while at the KV has worked diesel.

Soviet tanks before the war

Russian heavy tank KV-1 standard in 1941

At this time, all the forces were sent to the impending improvement of the KV-1, although it is soon expected to change the machine KV-3 with thicker armor. Immediately developed a tank that decided to arm the weapon caliber 107 mm, because a year before the start of the war, in 1940, our intelligence reported from Germany, what's on the tanks already installed gun with a caliber 100-mm. And while this message is contradicted by the information that had been obtained earlier, in the midst of war there were people who claimed an old design here turn and quickly get started designing even more languid and perfectly armed tanks. In particular, it is believed in the message Deputy People's Commissar of Defense of the USSR Marshal G. Kulik, arguing that the caliber of 107 mm and a width of not less armor 100 mm in the light of intelligence, and only now can save the day.

Soviet tanks before the war

Russian experienced heavy tank KV-1 have a tower MT-1 and 152-mm howitzer M-10, 1940

According to the instructions on the newcomer tank KV-4, its armament was to consist of 107-mm guns, 45-mm tank guns, machine guns, flamethrowers and 4-5. The thickness of the frontal armor — not less than 125-130mm. On the tank envisaged to establish aviation engine prodigious capacity of 1200 liters. s. With all of this deadline the project was assigned to June 15, 1941, and experienced the standard required by September 1!

Since the job was only challenging the chief designer of the plant J. Kotin decided to have an open competition for the role of the plant in which everyone is invited. During May-June 1941, participants submitted more than 2-10-s projects, of which 21 came to us, with the 19 — well furnished and signed with numbers.

Seven projects were executed under the scheme of the QMS: gun, 107-mm was mounted in the rear of the main tower, while the 45-mm gun — in front of small turret. In the six projects a small tower was placed on the roof of the main. One of the projects proposed to use an existing tower from the KV-1, and 107-mm cannon installed in the housing with limited angles pointing to the horizon, as it was in the tank TG. Mass KV-4 in all the projects coming out no less than 80-100 m, so that it's not the end of the war the Germans were the favorites to create supertankov, which could not withstand almost any bridge, and our Russian designers who have tried to do as much as the orders of their own superiors. The fact that before the final version and its production of the metal, it never came, but the result of extraordinary events — June 22, 1941 Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union.

In general, even in the criteria devilish approximation band edge to the town on the Neva River, the work on the project of heavy duty tank (now it was the KV-5) in spite of everything last. At the same engine as that of the KV-4, the weight of the KV-5 was superior to a 100-ton limit. Outside the tank had to take a walk on the impregnable bunker.

Small body had a length of 8257 mm and a width of 4 m frontal should have a thickness of 180 mm armor. For placing the driver in the bow of the hull provides for a special turret, and next to it was to be placed for the machine gun turret. Torsion bar suspension was based on a tank chassis vosmikatkovom. The gun has a conventional 107-mm caliber. The first drawings of the machine J. Kotin first signed in 1941, but before August 1 developers have missed. The most recent work on the days of the KV-5 was on August 22, after that, apparently, the work on it was stopped. Leningrad cut off the enemy from the mainland and it was necessary to loaf on the mass production of the KV-1 replaced in order to amuse himself (in general, itself right?) Unrealistic illusions about the creation of the super-supertankov. In general, their story does not have ended.
In the web was reported that after the beginning of the war majestically Russian Stalin once told that the tank KV-2 could in one direction on a day to delay the coming of Hitler's armies. Stalin thought that the more powerful tank, which will be a huge number of towers, suspend them and even more so, and called to discover J. Kotin, inviting him to build the tank KV-5.

In fact the case, it was as much as three of the KV connected among themselves and had the most powerful diesel engine. Armament consisted of 3 linear lofty towers of KV tanks, and the average of them had as much as two 152-mm guns, and yet another tower from WT-5 mounted on top. As an added weapon on a tank installed flamethrower and rocket launcher "Katyusha". 1st Tank died, faults in the transition ravine, with ognesmes of burst pipes at all it has spread, there was a fire, from which the ammunition exploded. Second tank reinforced structure was fabricated and even became involved in the fighting, but once in the fog one of the towers has made a shot at the other, which is why there is ammunition exploded. Third tank which Germans dubbed "Stalin's Orchestra" for his cannon, missile dissonance, that was a tragedy could happen again, had a special stops rotating towers. Maneuverability he did not have any, that Stalin, in general, did not care.

When Kotin decided all the same to ask the leader, as such tank will turn, he replied that he did not turn it is necessary, because it will have to go straight to Berlin! But this tank to Berlin, received in KB at Kotin unofficial nickname of "hippopotamus", walk and could not. During the 1st Battle of its commander, apparently, bad understanding in fighting abilities of his car, gave the order to hit the enemy with a volley, resulting in a very strong because of the impact of so many guns tank overturned in a ravine was next, flammable liquid spilled again, then "behemoth" was blown up by their own ammunition. Build a fourth time it is no longer the steel, but its specific developers are headed in the same camp!

Sam J. Kotin, who had the opportunity not only to watch all of these experiences with the languid and heavy tanks, later wrote that only a "result of extensive experimentation, a formidable test machines actually could find a rational design solutions." Naturally, the experience — it's not bad, but not very often to our designers did not rely so much on the calculation of how much specifically on experiments in which the result appear more and more new designs of tanks, cruisers, not only in the drawings, and in the metal? Although, on the other hand, in those criteria required just to survive, they survived without regard to anything by doing any, even the most absurd of those jobs that they receive.

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