Tuesday, 20 February 2018

45 mm Tank Destroyer

"Attachment #3 to GOKO decree #2429ss
October 19th, 1942

Tactical-technical characteristics for a 45 mm SPG

1. Purpose of the SPG

The 45 mm SPG is designed to function as a weapon in tank destroyer regiments and in anti-tank batteries of moto-mechanized units to combat enemy infantry and tanks.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Shermans in the Mud

Few people interested in WWII armoured warfare haven't seen this video depicting Swedish trials of a Sherman, a Churchill, and a Panther in difficult off-road conditions. Many people, after having seen this video, readily claim that the Sherman had inferior off-road mobility to the Panther. Certainly, it's hard to argue with the video, but there is a caveat. There were many different kinds of Shermans, and the video only tests one of them. I thought I'd take a look at some trials performed by the Western Allies in Europe to see if they arrived at the same results.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

British Primer Minister in the USSR

Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister, visited Moscow in August of 1942. However, a Churchill arrived a month prior to that in another Soviet city, Archangelsk, with the PQ-17 caravan, and not just one. These, of course, were Churchill II and III infantry tanks. 301 tanks of this type were sent to the USSR, 253 of which arrived at their destination. Despite a rather small volume of shipments, the prime minister's namesake played an important role on the battlefields of the Great Patriotic War. Suffice it to say that these tanks, along with the KV-1S, were the primary heavy tanks of the Red Army during the Battle for Prokhorovka.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

AK Accessories

The accuracy of an automatic weapon is important, and many experiments were run on the AK platform to figure out if it can be increased. A number of experimental muzzle devices were built for this purpose. _tezka provided this picture.

Left to right: similar to stock type, brake-compensator, two chamber, flash suppressor, single chamber, reactive.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Birth of the SU-152

"State Committee of Defense decree #2883ss
February 14th, 1943
Moscow, Kremlin

On the production of SU-14 SPGs, KV-1S tanks, and armoured hulls for them in February and March of 1943

In order to satisfy SU-14 production requirements set by GOKO decree #2859ss issued on February 9th, 1943, as well as to ensure production in March, the State Committee of Defense decrees that:

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Nashorn Notes

"On firing positions for 88 mm SPGs (Nashorn, formerly Hornisse)
  1. During use of self propelled anti-tank guns, it is important to perform thorough reconnaissance (preferably on foot). Frequently, the neighbouring section of the front turns out to have more favourable conditions for firing and ambush positions. In that case, the commander of the anti-tank unit must apply them in the neighbouring sector, and not in his own. The specifics of this weapon require certain flexibility in its use. The only important thing is that it must function as effectively as possible.

Monday, 12 February 2018

DP in Combat

"To the commander of the 74th Rifle Corps

The use of the DP in modern battle
  1. In all types of combat, the DP light machinegun was and remains the main automatic weapon of the infantry squad.
    1. During penetration of enemy defenses, the crew, following in the squad formation, can quickly prepare for battle and conceal itself and then open massed fire against enemy strongholds that are preventing the squad from advancing.
    2. When blocking and liquidating bunkers and dugouts, the effective long range fire and rapid maneuver of the DP crew on the battlefield makes it the most effective weapon of an infantry squad.
    3. When reinforcing a captured line, as well as when deflecting enemy counterattacks, the DP crew can quickly prepare for battle and open sufficiently powerful fire, while heavy machineguns and other types of heavy infantry weapons are not available at the squad level.
    4. When pursuing the enemy, the DP crew is always prepared to open fire.
    5. In the defense, the sufficient range and the ability to stealthily change positions ensures the successful deflection of the enemy.
    6. When clearing enemy trenches during an offensive and during reconnaissance, the submachinegun is more effective.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Overweight Showpiece

Dead ends in tank building are not uncommon. They are often caused by militaries who cannot make up their mind about requirements for prospective armoured vehicles. The end result is a tank that has many of its parameters far out of the initially planned range. The Americans were no exception to this rule. One such vehicle, the Medium Tank M7, was even standardized. This tank was designed as a light tank, but accepted into service as a medium.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

AK-74 Ballistic Tables

"Characteristics of dispersion for Kalashnikov assault rifles (AK-74 and AKS-74)
Bullet with a steel core
Shooting in short bursts, while prone"

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

ISO: G41(W)

"To the Chief of Staff of the 53rd Rifle Corps
RE: #0151 January 19th, 1944

The new type of German Walther self-loading rifle has not been picked up by the 1312 Rifle Regiment trophy team, and none of the personnel use this weapon. Search for it in other units continues.

Divisional Chief of Staff, Colonel Mukanin."

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Improved ZIS-30

"Tactical-technical requirements for the design of anti-tank artillery

1. The main purpose of anti-tank artillery is the escort of armoured units, combat against enemy tanks, enemy anti-tank artillery, and suppression of machinegun strongholds (nests) during an offensive with infantry or tank riders.

2. The anti-tank SPG must satisfy the following requirements:

Monday, 5 February 2018

Ferdinand Intel

"Report on new types of tanks and SPGs based on POW interrogations and intelligence reports as of July 20th, 1943

1) Ferdinand SPG
  1. Mass: 67 tons
  2. Crew: 6
  3. Hull length without gun: 7 meters
  4. Height: 3 meters
  5. Width: 3.5 meters
  6. Track width: 0.75 meters
  7. Clearance: 0.5 meters

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Don't Leave Well Enough Alone

On March 25th, 1936, the French cavalry accepted the Automitrailleuse de Combat modèle 1935 S into service. More commonly known as the SOMUA S 35, this tank was officially classified as an armoured car, but turned out to be one of the best French tanks of the interbellum period. It combined sufficiently thick armour, powerful armament, and decent mobility. Despite its respectable characteristics, work to replace the tank began in the late 1930s. This decision appears rather logical, as the development of armoured vehicles was moving very quickly. This article will discuss the history of the SOMUA S 40, the prospective replacement for the S 35 that nearly made it into production. Alternatives to this tank designed during German occupation will also be mentioned.

Friday, 2 February 2018

Sturmgewehr Intel

Some of you may have wondered when the Soviets noticed that the Sturmgewehr has joined the arsenal of German infantry. Wonder no more! Via kris-reid:

"To the People's Commissar of Defense, Marshal of the Soviet Union, comrade I.V. Stalin:

Since the Spring of this year, forces of the Kalinin, and then Volkhov and Leningrad Fronts have captured, among other weapons, several specimens of new German automatic 7.92 mm carbines, which are a new type of infantry weapon that has not been previously used by the Germans in large amounts until recently."

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

French Defenses

"Translated from French

Commander of the Theatre of War
General Staff, 3rd Department
#1039 3/ET June 1st, 1940

General instructions

Based on his inspection, the Supreme Commander came to the conclusion that infantry that came face-to-face with the enemy doesn't know how to or didn't want to dig in.

It was established that German attacks generally occur as follows:

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

The One with the PPSh Shoots

"Order of the Stavka of the Supreme Command #46175 on rearmament of rifle units with submachineguns
May 23rd, 1943

In order to increase the strength of automatic fire of the rifle company, the Stavka of the Supreme Command decrees that:
  1. One rifle platoon in each rifle company in rifle divisions and rifle brigades of the active army, will be re-armed, replacing rifles with submachineguns. In other rifle units, only arm with submachineguns the commanders of squads, platoons, companies, and battalions.
  2. Rearmament must be first performed in rifle divisions and brigades that are in reserves of Armies, Fronts, and the Stavka reserve.
  3. The Chief of the General Staff and the GAU Chief must determine the order and priority of arming the rifle divisions with the aim of rearming reserve divisions and brigades within one month and other divisions and brigades no later than the end of July.
  4. Front and Army commanders must immediately organize the training of submachinegunners in platoons where replacements will be performed, and train tactics of rifle companies in all types of scenarios, assuming one platoon of submachinegunners per company.
  5. Report on the 1st, 10th, and 20th of June and July.
Stavka of the Supreme Command
I. Stalin"

Monday, 29 January 2018

Heavy Tank T1E1

Engineering directorate
Engineering department of the People's Commissariat of Foreign Trade of the USSR

May 25th, 1942

We received the following data on the Heavy Tank T1E1 from Washington.
  • Mass: 57 tons
  • Armament: 
    • 1 75 mm gun
    • 1 37 mm gun
    • 2 .30 caliber machineguns
    • 2 .50 caliber machineguns
    • 2 .45 caliber submachineguns
  • Top speed: 56 kph
  • Crew: 7
  • Front armour thickness: 80 mm
  • Engine: gasoline Wright Cyclone, aircraft type, 9 cylinder, 1100 hp at 2100 RPM, water cooled