Thursday, 15 March 2018

Mauser Sniper Rifle

"5. Determining the combat characteristics of the German sniper rifle

The results of determining the muzzle velocity of the German sniper rifle are included in attachment #4, where you can see that the muzzle velocity of the Mauser rifle #6448 is 764 m/s.

The results of the precision and accuracy of the German sniper rifle with open and optical sights are included in attachment #5. Here are the average results.

With open sights
With optical sights
Dispersion radii, cm
Deviation from point of aiming, cm
Dispersion radii, cm
Deviation from point of aiming, cm

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Canadian Ratte

The German 1000 ton Ratte tank is a pretty well known device, and similar monstrosities described by well-meaning Soviet citizens volunteering their ideas. Turns out, the Western Allies were not immune from these flights of fancy. This suggestion was forwarded by a pretty high ranking official: than Sir Howard d'Egville. The description begins very promisingly: "...this vehicle, while not actually a tank, is of such capacity that it would be equal, in both offensive and defense power, to a considerable number of tanks." The armour is fairly reasonable at 5 inches (127 mm), but the armament is "of great striking power, including 4 inch naval guns". The vehicle would be transported in section, and if a section was knocked out, it would be removed and replaced. While not going into details on the design, d'Egville wanted a mockup built in Canada, and then the parts manufactured in several places, to preserve secrecy.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

F-32 in A-34


To the ABTU Chief, Corps Commander Pavlov
NKO House, 2 Red Square, Moscow

On the issue of: production of armour and assembly of A-34 hull and turret.

The armour for the A-34 is ready, both for the hull and the turret. The hull is in the finishing stages of assembly, the turret assembly will begin on December 22nd.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Prototype Problems

"To the GABTU Tank Directorate
Chief of the 4th Department, Engineer-Major F.A. Nenarokov
Moscow, 2 Red Square, NKO building

RE: work of Savin's group on designing an AA gun for a tank.

The anniversary of our design group is July 3rd. Working alongside you, with joint efforts, we managed to obtain a model of a mount with a cannon and a machinegun by September 8th, 1941.

On September 14th, 1941, we composed a letter for Ya.N. Fedorenko to deliver to the Council of Commissars with a request to build a prototype at the factories of the People's Commissariat of Medium Machinebuilding (including NATI), but the group was moved to factory #174 in Chkalov.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Marder III: German Tank Destroyer on a Czech Chassis

The start of the Great Patriotic War on June 22nd, 1941, triggered serious corrections to both Soviet and German tank building. The fighting in 1941 showed that the time of light tanks is coming to an end. At the same time, the increasing mass of more and more powerful anti-tank weapons limited their ability to be transported by their crews. The abilities of the German PzI Ausf. B tank were limited, and it was impossible to create anything more powerful than the Panzerjager I. It's not surprising that the Germans came up with the idea to create SPGs using the chassis of other obsolete light tanks. This article will discuss the family of Marder III tank destroyers, which were built on the chassis of the Pz38(t).

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Pz.Kpfw.II Ausf. G: The Fruit of Unending Labour

The idea of replacing the La.S.100, or the PzII, with a superior vehicle was born in January of 1937. The result was the La.S.138, otherwise known as the PzII Ausf. D and Ausf. E, created by MAN and the famous tank designer Heinrich Kniepkamp. The tank had a progressive torsion bar suspension, but its service did not last for long. It was clear that the story of the La.S.138 was developing poorly by the summer of 1938, before the tank even entered production. The result of this understanding was the development of another tank, which was supposed to replace both the La.S.100 and La.S.138.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Pistol Penetration

Penetration (or, rather, overpenetration) is an important topic for small arms as well as artillery. In this document, several different pistol rounds are compared in their ability to punch through 11 dry pine boards from a distance of 25 meters.

The guns in the list are:
  • "Mod. 1930" (likely TT-30)
  • Voyevodin's design
  • Browning (likely Hi-Power)
  • Lakhti-35
  • Star 7.63 mm
  • Borchardt-Luger
  • Colt M1
  • Mauser 7.65 mm
  • Sauer
The note on the bottom says that the Star pistol was using 7.62 mm model 1930 cartridges, more commonly known as 7.62 Tokarev. As you can see, that particular pistol was the most impressive, penetrating 8 boards with 10/10 shots, and the only gun to make a hole in the 10th and 11th board. The TT-30 doesn't do as well, only conquering 6 boards, but that's still better than the .45 bullet of the 1911 (3 boards) and 9 mm Luger (4 boards).

Via kris_reid

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

T-34-85 Armour

Even after the end of WWII, the T-34-85 continued to be a relevant threat, and thus demanded study. This measurement of a T-34-85 turret's armour thickness made in West Germany in 1961, however, suggests that the study could have been a little bit more precise.

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

British Tiger II Intel

The British, impressively enough, were already aware of the King Tiger long before ever seeing it in combat, at least by May of 1944.

On July 18th, 1944, the Germans lost three King Tigers on the Western Front. It doesn't look like the British noticed them, however.

Monday, 5 March 2018

Street Fighter

"March 21st, 1937
To the chief of the ABTU, Divisional Commander Bokis

Chief of Armament of the Red Army, Army Commander 2nd Class, comrade Khalepskiy
Chief of the General Staff, Marshal of the Soviet Union, comrade Yegorov

Experience in using the T-26 tank demonstrated its poor suitability for fighting in cities, where the tanks took heavy losses. There is no reason to assume that other types of tanks will perform any better. We much have tanks that are especially designed for successful street fighting, not only in small settlements, but in large cities, where the enemy will have the ability to attack our tanks from above.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Sturer Emil: Collector's Item from Stalingrad

Cases where prototypes that never saw mass production ended up on the battlefield are not uncommon. In the USSR, the T-100 and SMK were tested in combat during the Winter War. The T-29 and A-20 defended Moscow in the Great Patriotic War. There are similar examples for Germany. Two experimental SPGs, built on the chassis of the VK 30.01(H) heavy tank, which also never made it into production, ended up near Stalingrad in 1942. Unlike its ancestor, these vehicles not only took part in the fighting, but achieved impressive results. These tank destroyers are known as Sturer Emil.

Friday, 2 March 2018

KV-1S: From Temporary to Permanent

State Committee of Defense decree #1878 "On the improvement of KV tanks" was signed on July 5th, 1943. This was the starting point for the creation of a lighter variant of the KV, named KV-1S. Two prototypes were built by July 27th, and mass production began in Chelyabinsk by late August. The KV-1S was not as much of a legend as the KV-1, but this was the tank that defeated the Germans at Stalingrad and Kursk. Its creation and production was, in many ways, a necessary evil, but the KV-1S remained in production for a year, and remained on the front lines until 1944. This article covers its production and use in combat.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

MKb 42(H) First Appearance

I wrote about Sturmgewehr intel before, but here's an even earlier appearance:

"Main data:
  1. Automatic fire provided by gunpowder gases passing through the gas opening.
  2. The barrel locks via the bolt tilting.
  3. Uses a special shortened round, similar to the rifle ones.
  4. Range: up to 800 meters.
  5. Has a selector for automatic and single-shot fire.
  6. Equipped with a bayonet for hand to hand combat."

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Five Years of Blogging

In my update a year ago, I promised something big by my fifth blogging anniversary. I'm happy to report on not just one, but two notable milestones!

The first, and probably most significant, is moving from online to paper. My translations have been published before, but this year saw the release of my first completely original work being printed. In addition to that, I started writing articles for the Russian military history website Warspot, which many of you will recognize as the source of many translations on this blog. So far I'm writing at a rate of about one article per month, but that might increase in the future. Articles about British and American evaluations of German armour seem to be most popular so far, with an analysis of the King Tiger sitting at nearly 20,000 views, the Panther at over 12,000 views, and the Tiger at nearly 10,000. Articles on Sherman tanks are proving to be quite popular as well, with the Sherman V and M4A1(76)W sitting at over 7,000 each, despite being significantly more recent. Canadian subject matter is proving to be less popular, with the Valentine VII falling short of 7,000 views and the Ram at under 5,000.

Unfortunately for my English speaking readers, all of these articles are in Russian. Currently, The Armor Journal has first dibs on the English versions, but the articles will be posted here some time after they are published. 

Another new feature (or so old it's new again) is my Twitter, which is slowly but surely gaining followers at an average rate of one per day (give or take). 

Now, for the stats you're used to. I'm up to 1687 published articles (up from 1381), and 3,039,948 views (up from 2,161,945). Google Analytics congratulated me on a record high number of unique users for the month of January. It's great to see how my readership is growing!

The demographics haven't changed much. The US preserves its lead, but the UK broke away from Germany, setting second and third place pretty steadily. Russia, Canada, Poland, and France keep their positions. Finland has a fair lead on Austria for eighth place, and the tenth place now belongs to Spain instead of South Korea. 

Aside from that, a few more book citations, a handful of new archive sources, and an upcoming appearance in a podcast, so if you just can't get enough of Tank Archives, there's plenty of content to look forward to. Thank you for five wonderful years!

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Aircraft Costs

"Prime cost of important products of the People's Commissariat of Aircraft Production

Prime in thousands cost during
% change in May
June 1941
1st quarter 1942
May 1942
Compared to June 1941
Compared to 1st quarter 1942



Monday, 26 February 2018

SU-152 in Combat

"1836th Heavy Self Propelled Artillery Regiment

The 1838th Guards Heavy Self Propelled Artillery Regiment participated in offensive and defensive combat.

In offensive combat, the regiment fought among the tanks and behind them, destroying Tiger tanks and Ferdinand SPGs in counterattacks and ambushes, as well as enemy fortifications and dugouts.

In defensive combat, the regiment fought from ambushes, by the battery, positioned in locations of likely enemy tank attacks. Ambushes and maneuvers ensured that enemy tanks and SPGs were destroyed while SU-152s remained invulnerable.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

An Alternative from Gorky

The history of Soviet light SPGs is inseparable from the city of Gorky, modern day Nizhniy Novgorod. Guns installed on Soviet light SPGs were developed and built here. The ZIS-30, the first Soviet wartime light SPG, was also created here. Gorky housed the main manufacturing base of T-60 and T-70 tanks, which were used as SPG chassis. It's not surprising that the design bureau of the Molotov GAZ factory eventually switched to building SPGs. The GAZ-71 and GAZ-72 SPGs might have become the main light SPGs of the Red Army.

Friday, 23 February 2018

Intermediate Cartridge

December 25th, 1941
Chebarkul, Chelyabinsk oblast

We, the undersigned, Chief of the 1st Department of the NIPSVO, Military Engineer 1st Class R.A. Kulinich, Chief of the Design Department, Intendant 1st Class V.F. Kuzmischev, and an engineer of the Design Department, Military Technician 1st Class Yermolenko, compose this act to certify that the NIPSVO Design Department worked  on a 5.6 mm semiautomatic rifle according to GAU project #380.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018


"From March 26th to April 1st, 1942

There is no change in the [123rd] brigade's location. Training continues. Tank companies are working on exercise 4 of the KOP-38 manual.

Between March 26th and March 28th, the brigade Staff, commanders, and company commissars participated in communications, chemical, and small arms training: exercise 2 of the KOP-38 with personal weapons.

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"