Unchanging samples bury the idea of the tank do not find their own implementation. Despite the evolution of spirited anti-tank weapon, until now there is no more reliable means to cover fighter than languid armor.
I bring to your attention the review of outstanding tanks since the second world war, made on the basis of programs Discovery — «Killer Tanks: Metal Fist" and the Military Channel — «The ten best tanks of the twentieth century." Certainly, all the cars from the review are worthy of attention. But I saw that in the description of tanks specialists do not consider it a fighting story completely, and only talk about those episodes of the second World War, when this machine was able to show themselves in the best way. It is reasonable to immediately break the war on periods and see how and when the tank is best. I draw your attention to two important points:
In-1's, not to be confused strategy and technical properties of the machines. Reddish flag over Berlin does not mean that the Germans were weak and did not have a good technique. Hence it follows that the possession of the best tanks in the world does not mean that your army will be victorious offensive. You can crush ordinary amount. Do not forget that the army — a system, a careful application of the enemy's own diverse forces can put you in a difficult position.
In-2, all the controversy, "who is stronger than the IS-2, or" Tiger ", have no special meaning. Tanks rarely wage war against tanks. More often their opponents — the enemy defense zones, fortifications, artillery batteries, infantry and auto technician. During WWII half of all losses of tanks had to act anti-tank artillery (which is reasonable — the number of tanks went to 10's of thousands, the number of guns counted in hundreds of thousands — more than an order of magnitude!). Another fierce enemy tanks — mines. Their blown about 25% of combat vehicles. Few percent recorded at his own expense aircraft. How, then, is left to the tank battle?
We conclude that the tank battle at Prokhorovka — the rarest exotic. At the current time, this trend continues — instead of an anti-"EP," are the RPG.
Well, now let's move on to our beloved machines.
The period 1939-1940. Blitzkrieg
… Pre-dawn darkness, fog, fire and the roar of engines. On the morning of 10 May 1940 the Wehrmacht breaking into Holland. After 17 days fell Belgium, the remnants of the British Expeditionary Force evacuated across the English Channel. June 14, German tanks appeared in the streets of Paris …
One of the criterion of "lightning war" — a special implementation strategy tanks: an unusual concentration of armored vehicles in the direction of the main shock and perfectly coordinated actions have allowed the Germans' steel pincers "Hoth and Guderian on hundreds of miles to crash into the defense, and without reducing the pace, move deeper into enemy terrain . The unique tactic claimed special technical solutions. German armored vehicles of mandatory order was equipped with radios, with tank battalions were critical for air traffic controllers due to the Luftwaffe.
Particularly at this time came "finest hour» Panzerkampfwagen III and Panzerkampfwagen IV. For so awkward names lurk severe fighting vehicles wound on his European track asphalt roads, icy expanses of the Russian Federation and the sands of the Sahara.
PzKpfw III, more recognizable as a T-III — light tank with a 37 mm cannon. Reservations from all angles — 30 mm. Superior quality — speed (40 km / h on the highway). Thanks to improved optics Carl Zeiss, ergonomic workstations crew and the presence of the radio station, "three" could successfully fight a far more languid machines. But with the emergence of new enemies, failures of T-III emerged more clearly. The Germans changed the 37mm cannon on the 50 mm gun and covered the tank mounted screens — Interim measures have yielded results, T-III provoeval a couple of years. By 1943 the production of T-III has been discontinued due to the complete exhaustion of its resources for modernization. Total German industry has released 5000 "threes."
More seriously looked PzKpfw IV, who became the most massive tank Panzerwaffe — the Germans managed to build 8,700 cars. Combining within itself all the advantages of a lighter T-III, «Four" had a higher firepower and protection — the thickness of the frontal plate uniformly adjusted to 80 mm and 75 mm shells of its long-barreled guns pierced the armor of enemy tanks as a foil (by the way, was released 1133 of early versions with short-barreled gun).
Feeble place machines — a very thin bead and feed (30 mm in the first versions), the designers neglected slope armor plates for the sake of technology and comfort of the crew.
Seven thousand tanks of this type were left lying in the fields of labor the second world war, but the story of T-IV is not over — the "quartet" operated in the armies of France and Czechoslovakia before 1950 and even took part in the Six-Day Arab-Israeli War of 1967.
The period 1941-1942. Reddish dawn
"… With 3 sides we fought fire on Russian steel monsters, but to no avail. Russian giants all came closer and closer. One of them approached our tank, hopelessly bogged down in a swampy pond, and without hesitation drove through it, push the tracks in the dirt … "
— General Reinhardt, commander of 41 Panzer Corps Wehrmacht
… August 20, 1941 KV tank under the command of Lieutenant Zenobia Kolobanova blocked the road to Gatchina column of 40 German tanks. When this unprecedented battle ended, 22 tanks were burning on the roadside, and our CV, received 156 direct hits from enemy projectiles back at the disposal of their own division …
In the summer of 1941 KV tank smashed the elite units of the Wehrmacht in the same impunity as if it was rolled out on the field of Borodino in 1812. Invulnerable, invincible and Incredibly powerful. Until the end of 1941 in all the armies of the world in general there was no weapon that is capable of suspending the Russian
45-ton monster. HF was 2 times heavier than the largest tank the Wehrmacht.
Armor KV — beautiful song of steel and technology. 75 mm metal firmament from all angles! Frontal bronelisty had the best angle, which further increased the snaryadostoykost your CV — German 37mm anti-tank guns did not take it, even at close range, and 50 mm guns — not farther than 500 meters. At the same time, long-barreled 76 mm gun F-34 (ZIS-5) to allow at least some direction to peel at least some German tank of the period from a distance of 1.5 km.
If fights like the famous battle Zenobia Kolobanova occurred frequently, then, 235 KV tanks Southern Military neighborhood could destroy a hundred percent Panzerwaffe in the summer of 1941. Technical ability KV tanks in theory allowed to do so. How annoying would it sounds, is not that exactly. Remember — we were that tanks occasionally at war with tanks …
Apart from invulnerable HF, in the Red Army was even more horrible tank — a majestic warrior T-34.
"… There is nothing worse than a tank battle against overwhelming odds. Not in numbers — it was not fundamentally for us, we got used to it. But against a good-quality machines — it's scary … Russian tanks so agile at close distances they clambered the slope or overcome swamp faster than you turn the tower. And through the noise and rumble you always hear the clang of shells on the armor. When they get into our tank, often you hear a loud explosion and the roar of burning fuel, very sonorous, so you can hear the dying clicks Crew … "
— German tanker outlook of the 4th Armored Division, destroyed T-34 tanks in the battle of Mtsensk October 11, 1941.
Neither the volume nor the tasks of this article does not allow one hundred percent highlight the history of the T-34. Of course, the Russian monster has no analogs in 1941: a 500-horsepower diesel engine, the unique book, 76 mm gun F-34 (generally similar to the KV) and wide tracks — all of these technical solutions provided T-34 average ratio of mobility, firepower strength and security. Even individually, these characteristics have T-34 were higher than that at least some of the tank Panzerwaffe.
The main thing — Russian designers managed to make a tank specifically for what he needed the Red Army. T-34 perfectly match the conditions of the Eastern Front. Utmost simplicity and adaptability of the design in the shortest time possible to make mass production of these combat vehicles, as a consequence — the T-34 were in operation are ordinary, numerous and ubiquitous.
Only in the first year War, by the summer of 1942, Reddish Army received about 15,000 "tridtsatchetverok", and all were released more than 84,000 T-34 of all modifications.
Journalists applets "Discovery" jealously reacted to the success of Russian tank development, constantly hinting that the basis of the success of the tank — the South American design "Christie". In a joking manner went to Russia's "brutality" and "neotesannosti" — "Well! Do not have time to get into the hatch — all scratched! "Amerikosy forgets that the facilities were not a priority feature of armored vehicles on the Eastern Front, fighting fierce temper did not allow the tanks to think about such trifles. The main thing — do not burn in the tank.
Were at the "Thirty" and much more severe defects. Box — rather weak link of the T-34. German design school preferred frontal placement box, closer to the driver-mechanic. Russian engineers have gone for a more efficient way — a box and the engine compact housed in an insulated compartment in the stern of the T-34. Eliminating the need for a longish propeller shaft through the hull of the tank, simplifies design, reduces the height of the car. Is not it a good solution?
Cardan was not needed. But were needed traction control. At T-34 they reached a length of 5 meters! Predstavlyate what efforts are needed to make the driver-mechanic? Yes, and it did not create special problems — in an extreme situation, a person is able to run around on his hands and pull his ears. But that could withstand the Russian tankers — could not stand the metal. Under the influence of thrust loads Straseni exploded. As a result, many of the T-34 went into battle on one, chosen in advance, the transmission. Box during the fight rather not touch — on the views of tankers veterans, it was better to sacrifice mobility than one moment to transform into a standing target.
T-34 tank is quite fierce, both in relation to the enemy and against its own crew. One can only admire the courage of soldiers.
Year 1943. Menagerie.
"… We went around through the base and ran into" Tiger ". Having lost a few T-34, our battalion returned back … "
— frequent meetings with the description PzKPfw VI of memories tankers
1943, while the majestic tank battles. Seeking to regain the lost technical advantages, Germany is doing at this time, two new standard "super weapons" — languid tanks "Tiger" and "Panther".
Panzerkampfwagen VI «Tiger» Ausf. H1 was created as a heavy breakthrough tank, able to kill at least some of the enemy and send to flight reddish Army. On the personal order of Hitler, the thickness of frontal armor plate was supposed to be more than 100 mm, sides and aft tanks defended eight cm metal. The main tool — 88 mm cannon KwK 36, made on the basis of a massive anti-aircraft guns. About her ability says that when firing the gun trophy "Tiger" was achieved 5 successive hits a target the size of 40 × 50 cm at a distance of 1100 m In the highest flatness, KwK 36 went to the legacy of the highest rate of anti-aircraft guns. In martial criteria "Tiger" released eight rounds per minute, which was a record for such a large tank guns. 6 crew members comfortably housed in a metal box invulnerable, weighing 57 tons, despite the wide open spaces of Russia through benign optics Carl Zeiss.
Massive German monster is often described as clumsy and kopotlivy tank. In fact, "Tiger" was one of the most rapid armored second world
war. 700-hp engine "Maybach" clocked "Tiger" up to 45 km / h on the highway. More agile and spirited this thick-skinned tank was in rough terrain, thanks to the eight-hydro box (almost automatic as a "Mercedes"!) And complex friction clutches, double power supply.
At first glance, the design of the suspension and caterpillar drive is a parody of itself — track width of 0.7 meters claimed the installation of the second series of rollers on each side. As such, the "Tiger" did not fit on the railway platform, every time one had to remove the "ordinary" caterpillar tracks and a number of outdoor rinks, instead of setting the fine "transport" caterpillar. You have to wonder force those men "RAZUVAEV" 60-ton colossus in the field criteria. But there were some good points about the unusual suspension "Tiger" — two rows of rollers ensure a higher smoothness, our veterans have witnessed cases where the "Tiger" shoot on the move.
Was at the "Tiger" another drawback that scared the Germans. It was inscribed in the technical data sheet, lying in each car: "The tank is 800,000 Reichsmarks. Reserved unto him! "
According to the logic of a corrupt Goebbels, tankers were very happy to find that their "Tiger" is as seven of the T-IV.
Realizing that the "Tiger" — a rare and exotic instrument expert, the German tank builders have made a more conventional and a cheap tank, with the intention to reincarnate it into a mass medium tank the Wehrmacht.
Panzerkampfwagen V «Panther" to this day is the subject of heated debate. Technical capacity machines prirekany not cause — a mass of 44 tons of "Panther" superior to the mobility of the T-34, building on a good highway 55-60 km / h The tank was armed with 75 mm cannon KwK 42 with a barrel length of 70 calibres! Armor-piercing shell fired from her hellish vents, flew for the first second 1 kilometer — with these performance characteristics gun "Panthers" could make a hole in the tank at least some allies at a distance of more than 2 km. Reservations "Panther" is also recognized by most sources worthy — the thickness of forehead ranged from 60 to 80 mm, with all this armor slope angles reach 55 °. Board was protected by a weaker — at the level of the T-34, because just amazed Russian antitank weapons. The lower part of the board in addition defended two rows of rollers on each side.
The whole issue in the event of "Panther" — you need to Reich was such a tank? Maybe it should focus on modernizing and increasing production tested T-IV? Either izderzhat funds for the construction of undefeated "Tigers"? I think the answer is simple — in 1943, Germany has nothing could save him from defeat.
Total built least 6000 "Panther", which was obviously not enough to saturate the Wehrmacht. The situation worsened drop properties armor of tanks due to a lack of resources and alloying additives.
"Panther" was the quintessence of advanced thinking and new technologies. In March 1945, under the Balaton NIGHT MODE to attack the Russian troops went weave "Panther", kitted night vision devices. Even that did not help.
Year 1944. Next to Berlin!
Changed conditions claimed new means of warfare. By this time, Russian troops have already received heavy breakthrough tank IS-2, armed with a 122 mm howitzer. If the tank shell hit ordinary cause local destruction of the wall, the 122 millimeter howitzer shell bore the house completely. What is required for a successful assault operations.
Other severe gun of the tank — 12.7 mm DShK mounted on a tower on the pivot setting. Bullets mnogokalibernogo enemy machine gun fetched even for thick masonry of brick. ANC on the order increases the ability of IS-2 in the fighting on the streets of European cities.
Thickness booking IS-2 reached 120 mm. One of the main achievements of Russian engineers — cost and a small metal structures of the IS-2. At a mass comparable to the mass of the "Panther", Russian tank was much more seriously protected. But it is very compacted assembly claimed the placement of fuel tanks in the department of management — at a penetration of armor crew Ex-2 was not enough chances to survive. In particular, risked a driver who did not have their own hatch.
Tanks liberator IS-2 became the personification of Victory and were armed with Russian army for almost 50 years.
Subsequent hero, M4 'Sherman', managed to war on the Eastern Front, the first machine of this type were in the Soviet Union in 1942 (the number assigned by Lend-Lease M4 tank was 3600). But fame came to him only after the mass introduction of the West in 1944.
"Sherman" — the tip of rationality and pragmatism. All the more surprisingly, that the United States had the war began 50 tanks have been able to make such an equilibrium fighting machine and rivet by 1945, 49,000 "Shermans" of different modifications. For example, the Army used "Sherman" with an internal combustion engine, and in the Marine Corps M4A2 came modification, automobile diesel. South American engineers are rightly believed that this will significantly simplify the operation of tanks — Solarium could just find the sailors, as opposed to high-octane gasoline. By the way, this is the modification of the M4A2 came in the Russian Alliance.
A special version of the famous "Sherman" — hunter tanks "Firefly", armed with the British 17-pounder gun, "Jumbo" — a heavily armored version of the body kit and even assault amphibious "Duplex Drive".
Compared with the fastest form of the T-34, "Sherman" highest and clumsy goof. Possessing a similar weapon, the South American tank essentially loses the mobility of T-34.
What did "Emcha" (as our soldiers dubbed M4) so attracted command of the Red Army, which is fully boarded their elite units such as the 1st Guards Mechanized Corps and the 9th Guards Tank Corps? The answer is simple: "Sherman" had the best ratio of the reservation, firepower, mobility, and … reliability. In addition, the "Sherman" was the first tank with hydraulic tower (it has provided extraordinary guidance accuracy) and the stabilizer gun in a vertical plane — tankers recognized that in their duel situation was always the first shot. Among other advantages, "Sherman" is usually not indicated in the tables, there was a small noise, making it possible to use it in operations where secrecy is needed.
Middle East gave "Sherman" second life, where the tank is served until 70 years of the twentieth century, taking part in more than one 10-ke fights. Recent "Shermans" completed his military service in Chile at the end of the twentieth century.
Year 1945. Ghosts of future wars.
Many people expected that after the death and destruction Straseni second world war come a long awaited lasting peace. How annoying would it sounds, their expectations are not met. On the contrary, ideological, economic and religious differences have become even more Edged.
It is perfectly understood by those who created new weapons systems — because the military-industrial complex of the victorious powers did not stop for a minute. Even when victory was already yavna and Nazi Germany struggled in its death throes in KB and factories lasted theoretical and experimental research was conducted to develop new types of weapons. Increased attention has been paid armored forces, well-established in the course of the war. Since the massive and uncontrolled towered monsters and ugly tankettes, almost two years later entered the tank building a fundamentally different level. where once again faced with an abundance of threats, as antitank successfully evolved. In this regard, it is interesting to look at the tanks, which the Allies to end the war, what conclusions were sdlelany and what measures are taken.
In the Soviet Union in May 1945 from industrial plants Tankograd rolled out the first batch of IS-3. The new tank was the forthcoming modernization languid IS-2. Now the designers have gone even further — the slope of the welded sheets, especially in the front part of the case was brought to the very probable. Thick 110-mm frontal armor plates were placed in such a way that created trehskatnaya, cone-shaped, elongated nose forward, received the title of "pike nose". The tower was the latest flattened shape, which provided the tank has the best protivosnaryadnuyu protection. The driver got his own hatch, and all the peepholes were changed to modern periscopes.
IS-3 was late for a number of days by the end of hostilities in Europe, but a beautiful new tank took part in the Victory Parade on a par with the famous T-34 and KV still sooty nedavneshnih fights. A nice change of generations.
Another exciting innovation was the T-44 (in my beliefs — a landmark event in the Russian tank manufacturing). In fact, it was designed back in 1944, but did not have time to take part in the war. Only in 1945, the troops received a sufficient number of these stunning tanks.
The big drawback of the T-34 has been shifted forward Tower. This increased the load on the front rollers and made it unfeasible strengthening the frontal armor of the T-34 — "Thirty" and ran to the end of the war with 45 mm forehead. Realizing that the problem of not just decide designers have ventured into a full rebuild of the tank. Due to the cross-engine, reduce the size of the MTO, which allowed tower mounted in the center of the tank. Equalize the load on the rollers, frontal armored plate increased to 120 mm (!), And the slope up to 60 °. Have improved the working conditions of the crew. T-44 was the prototype of the famous family T-54/55.
The specific situation of the ocean. Americans suspected that apart from the successful "Sherman," Army needs a new, more heavy tank. As a result there M26 "Pershing", a large battle tank (from time to time it is considered a languid) with massive armor and the latest 90 mm cannon. At this time, the Americans were not able to make a masterpiece. At the technical level, "Pershing" has remained at the level of "Panther", owning in all this a few more reliable. In the tank there were difficulties with mobility and terrain — equipped with M26 engine from the "Sherman", having all of this huge mass of 10 tons. The limited use of "Pershing" on the Western Front began only in February 1945. Follow-up time, "Pershing" went to fight in Korea already.