Friday, 20 January 2017

Begleitwagen: A Specialist of All Trades

The mittlerer Traktor (m.Tr., medium tractor), given the more widely known index Neubau Fahrzeug (Nb.Fz., newly designed vehicle) on October 3rd, 1933, began trials in 1933. The tank, an evolution of the Grosstraktor concept (Gr.Tr., large tractor) was supposed to become Germany's medium tank.

However, even as the tank began its trials, it was clear that the German military missed its mark. While the Grosstraktor was overcomplicated over its five years of development by three companies (it's enough to say that it was also amphibious), the Nb.Fz. was in an even bigger hole. The initial project, designed by Rheinmetall (chassis and turret) and Krupp (second turret variant) was supposed to fit into the 15 ton class. As a result, the appetite of the 6th Waffenampt led to a complex and expensive 23 ton tank.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

World of Tanks History Section: 5th Tank Army in Operation Uranus

By November of 1942, the 5th Tank Army walked a long and not so successful road. It began in the summer, when the newly formed army was sent to attack the flank and rear of the German forces rushing towards Voronezh. Due to poor reconnaissance and incorrect evaluation of the enemy's goals, our tankers were instead forces to engage the enemy tanks head on and took heavy losses.

After an unsuccessful counterattack, the army was disbanded and only reformed in September of 1942. General Prokofiy Romanenko was appointed as the commander. The army received new units: two tank corps (1st and 26th), six rifle divisions, and one cavalry corps. The Stavka intended the 5th Tank Army to play one of the two key roles in the encirclement of Paulus' 6th Army at Stalingrad. That is why Romanenko was given so much infantry: the rifle divisions were going to fight in the first echelon of the offensive and prepare a clean breakthrough for the mobile units. The cavalry corps was supposed to act as ersatz motorized infantry.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

180 mm Br-21

"To the People's Commissar of Armament of the USSR, comrade B.L. Vannikov

Reply to letter #125s from January 21st, 1941

The precision trials of the 152 mm Br-19 gun with a friction clutch in the elevation mechanism are scheduled for April of 1941, after which the decision regarding this system will be made.

The 180 mm Br-21 gun was trialed at the ANIOP with 120 shots.

The tactical-technical characteristics of the 180 mm Br-21 gun on the B-4 mount make for a weapon that has insufficient range for a gun and insufficient arc for a howitzer. The objectives that could be given to a 180 mm gun can be resolved by the B-4 or Br-2.

Based on the above information and the availability of a more powerful 210 mm Br-17 gun, the adoption of the 180 mm Br-21 gun on the B-4 mount and, therefore, the continuation of work on it, is unreasonable.

Marshall of the Soviet Union, Kulik."

There is also a note written across the typed page:

"The range is the same as the Br-2 while using twice as much propellant. Did you think about this? You approach the solution of problems formally, but fail to analyze all sides, and sometimes don't know what you're doing and confuse others. Gather all documents regarding trials and report to me. 26.2.41", followed by a signature but no name.

CAMD RF 81-12104-86

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Project Management

"To the People's Commissar of Tank Production of the USSR, comrade Malyshev

NKTP factories are busy with design and production of new experimental prototypes and modernization of existing tanks, both by your orders and on their own initiative.

This work, as a rule, is performed without prior approval of projects by GBTU, who is only given ready prototypes for trials. During trials, many noticeable drawbacks are discovered that lower the combat quality of the vehicles, which could have been discovered by joint inspection of the technical drafts.

Monday, 16 January 2017

T-34 Prototype Mobility Trials

"4. Off-road Performance

General off-road performance characteristics of the T-34 tank:
  • Combat mass: 25.6 tons
  • Ground pressure: 0.60 kg/cm²
  • Contact surface length: 5219.3 mm
  • Grouser height: 650 mm
  • Effective power: 19.5 hp/ton

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Czechoslovakian Tank Building: First Steps

In the late 1930s, Czechoslovakia was the second largest exporter of tanks in the world. A small Eastern European country that only obtained independence in 1918 began to catch up with Great Britain, the world leader in arms exports. Of course, such impressive leaps in only 20 years of independence didn't start with nothing. The first steps were made with inspiration from the British and German tank building schools. This experience resulted in a series of experimental vehicles and the mass produced LT vz. 34 light tank.

Friday, 13 January 2017

F-39 95 mm gun


F-95 tank gun.

The project never moved past the draft stage. The same, however, cannot be said for its towed predecessor.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

NATI-D Trials

"Conclusions
  1. The trialed experimental prototype of the "D" tractor demonstrated satisfactory average speed characteristics, good maneuverability, simplicity of service and control, and can cross the required slopes on grassy terrain while towing divisional artillery. The performance and smoothness are a significant improvement over the STZ-5 tractor.
    Tractor "D" can be accepted into service as a transport for divisional artillery.
    In order to increase off-road performance, grousers must be included for tracks.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Comparative Penetration

"Conclusions

1. As a result of trials of D-25 (122 mm) and D-10 (100 mm) tank guns, the following penetration ranges against the upper front plate of the Panther tank were established:

Gun
Shell
Distance of complete penetration
122 mm D-25
Armour piercing
2000
100 mm D-10
Armour piercing
1200
German 88 mm gun (Ferdinand SPG)
Armour piercing
600
German 75 mm gun (Panther tank)
Armour piercing
No penetration

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Medium Tank Mk.III: Britain's Cerberus

By the middle of the 1920s, the British army received a new generation of medium tanks that served for a long time. The Medium Tank Mk.I and Medium Tank Mk.II became the first turreted medium tanks in the world. A good design and high reliability guaranteed a long life for these tanks, but by 1926, the British military was already thinking about their replacement. A Vickers design, the Medium Tank Mk.III, was suitable for the job. Even though the rather interesting design became the ancestor of a series of later tanks, including Soviet and German ones, its life in the British army was a difficult one.

Friday, 6 January 2017

TK-3 and TKS: Poland's Armoured Cockroaches

By pure numbers, Poland had an impressive amount of armoured vehicles in WWII: about 870 units (against approximately 2700 German tanks in Army Group North and South). However, three quarters of them were rather unusual vehicles: TK-3 and TKS tankettes. What were the machines that formed the backbone of the Polish armoured forces like?