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Category: Russia (Page 2 of 2)

56th Anniversary of Sputnik 1

 A Replica of Sputnik.

A replica of Sputnik.

Today marks the 56th anniversary of the launch of Earth’s  first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1 (Спутник-1), which was put into low Earth orbit on October 4, 1957 by the Soviet Union.

The T-22, or TG-1(Tank Grotte-1) or Tank Grote

In 1931 the Soviet tank design team (OKMO bureau) was ordered to develop a medium tank, the T-22; the task would fall to a German engineer Edward Grote(or Grotte as sometimes written). The ensuing project led by Grotte would end up bearing his name as the TG-1(Tank Grotte-1) or Tank Grotte. The vehicle only made it to the prototype stage, with the prototype vehicle being made in 1932. The development took place in Leningrad. Although the vehicle performed well in tests it was passed in favor of heavier contemporary designs due to it’s complicated design.

Although the TG was referred to as a medium tank design, it is described as an Assault gun as it possessed a 76.2mm Gun A-19 in its super structure atop which sat a turret mounting a 37mm Gun PS-2. The super structure mounting the 76.2mm Gun A-19 is sometimes mistakenly referred to as a turret.  The TG bears a close resemblance in terms of it’s general design to the Churchill-1; which mounted a 2 pounder in it’s turret and a 3 inch howitzer in it’s hull.

Works Cited:

1. Vendel, Ottar. “Russian tanks and armor – Tank Grote TG.”Russian Armour: 1915-1997. Ibis Media. Web. 7 Sep 2013. <http://www.nemo.nu/ibisportal/5pansar/5sidor/tg.htm>.

2. “Tank Grote.” Russati.su: Soviet tanks, armored cars, missiles and more!. N.p., 9 Nov 2012. Web. 8 Sep 2013. <http://www.russati.su/tanks/Tank_Grote.shtml>.

3. “Танк Гроте. СССР.” Альтернативная История – крупнейший блог Рунета. N.p., 13 Sep 2009. Web. 12 Sep 2013. <http://alternathistory.org.ua/tank-grote-sssr>.

The SU-100Y Tank Destroyer

This post focuses on the self-propelled guns developed from the T-100 project; with a focus on the SU-100Y.

The SU-100Y at the  Kubinka Tank Museum in Russia.

The SU-100Y at the Kubinka Tank Museum in Russia.

A profile view showing the T-100X (SU-100X), SU-100Y, and Object 103 (Obyekt 103).

A profile view showing the T-100X (SU-100X), SU-100Y, and Object 103 (Obyekt 103). This image mistakenly notes the SU-100Y as being used during the Winter War; this image courtesy of juniourgeneral.org.

Based on the T-100  (“SU-100Y Self-Propelled Gun.”), a prototype tank design which began it’s life sometime between 1938 and 1939 (“T-100 tank.”), the SU-100Y was a prototype tank destroyer. Development began in 1939 with the Winter War already being fought between the Soviet Union and Finland (“SU-100Y Self-Propelled Gun.”). The T-100 and the SU-100Y both only made it to the prototype stage; with the T-100 seeing action during the Winter War (“T-100 tank.”) and the SU-100Y serving during the defense of Moscow (“SU-100Y Self-Propelled Gun.”). Initial design requirements for the what would end up being the SU-100Y included the vehicle having qualities of a bridge laying, explosives transport, and tank recovery unit (“SU-100Y Self-Propelled Gun.”) . Although the T-100 had effectively been passed in favor of the KV given the poor performance of the T-100 and the SMK (a competitor to the T-100) during the war in Finland; work continued on existing proposals to enhance both (Zaloga and Grandsen 118). A request by Kirill Afanasievich Meretskov, commander of the Soviet 7th Army in Finland was made to use a larger gun on the heavy tanks to be used against bunkers and anti-tank obstacles among other things (Zaloga and Grandsen 118). A 152mm cannon was suggested however this was dropped in favor of using a 100mm or 130mm cannon (“SU-100Y Self-Propelled Gun.”). The initial design was given the designation T-100X and was accepted on January 8, 1940. The T-100X fielded a 130 mm Naval Gun B-13 as it’s main armament and used a torsion bar suspension. A redesign modifying the fighting compartment to reduce manufacturing times resulted in the SU-100Y (or T-100Y) (Potapov). Production of the prototype began on March 1, 1940 with the factory having received the hull (Potapov), and testing began on the 14th of the same month (“SU-100Y Self-Propelled Gun.”); this SU-100Y was actually built from a rebuilt T-100 prototype (Zaloga and Grandsen 118). In April 1940 a proposal for another T-100 based vehicle was made; this one called Object 103 (Obyekt 103) and featured a 130 mm Naval Gun B-13 as it’s main armament in a rotating turret along with three 7.62mm machine guns (“SU-100Y Self-Propelled Gun.”). Object 103 never went beyond the drawing board. Although the SU-100Y has the appearance and characteristics of a tank destroyer, it is sometimes referred to as a self-propelled gun; in fact, during the defense of Moscow it served with an Independent Artillery Division for Special Duties (“SU-100Y Self-Propelled Gun.”).

The SU-100Y is available as a premium tank (for purchase) in the Video Game World of Tanks.

The SU-100Y as seen from the tech screen in World of Tanks.

The SU-100Y as seen from the tech screen in World of Tanks.

Works Cited:

1. “SU-100Y Self-Propelled Gun.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 24 Apr 2013. Web. 12 Jun 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SU-100Y_Self-Propelled_Gun>.

2. “T-100 tank.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 5 Jun 2013. Web. 12 Jun 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-100_tank>.

3. “SU-100Y.” World of Tanks. Wargaming.net, 12 Jun 2013. Web. 15 Jun 2013. <http://wiki.worldoftanks.com/SU-100Y>.

4. Potapov, Valeri. “SU-100Y Self-Propelled Gun.” The Russian Battlefield. N.p., 18 Sep 2011. Web. 15 Jun 2013. <http://english.battlefield.ru/su-100y.html>.

5. Zaloga , Steven J., and James Grandsen. Soviet Tanks and Combat Vehicles of World War Two. Arms and Armour Press, 1984. 118. Print.

Treasures From the Deep

Uncommon sight? You might think it would be uncommon to see an AFV pulled from a lake or other body of water, a bog, or even a muddy area; but it is fairly common. The following videos reflect just that; tanks that were lost but are now found again:

A Soviet BT-5:

A German Stug III:

A German Stug 40:

A British Valentine used by the Soviets through the Lend-Lease program:

A Soviet T-34:

Another Soviet T-34, this one with German markings:

A Soviet T-70:

A German Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer:

A Soviet KV-1:

Another Soviet KV-1:

A Soviet T-60:

A German Panzer III:

A US Sherman M4A2; I believe a Soviet copy given under the terms of the Lend-Lease program:

A Soviet BT-7:

The Großtraktor

The three competing Großtraktor designs.

The three competing Großtraktor designs*.

With Germany’s defeat following World War I, Germany faced military constraints pursuant to the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. The terms of the Treaty of Versailles prohibited Germany from possessing tanks among other military restrictions. With things being monitored, development of Tanks occurred in secret. An example tank was received from the Swedish machinery manufacturer AB Landsverk; called the Gutehoffnungshütte** (“Großtraktor”). AB Landsverk would go on to be the main manufacturer of tanks for Sweden. In 1926 Rheinmetall-Borsig, Daimler-Benz and Krupp were commissioned to develop a 20 ton tank (“Großtraktor”). As the 1920s were coming to an end; Germans were performing experiments in secret in Russia. The Treaty of Rapallo, signed in 1922 in secret between Russia and Germany, provided the ability for experimentation near Kazan in Russia. The testing facility near Kazan was called Panzertruppenschule Kama (Armoured Troops School Kama) and was used from 1926 to 1933. The location was a joint testing ground and tank training ground for both the Russians and Germans. The term Kama comes from the two words Kazan and Malbrandt; Kazan being the nearby town and Oberstleutenant Malbrandt being the individual given the task of selecting the location used for testing. The vehicle was dubbed Großtraktor (“Large Tractor”) and was developed at the same time as another vehicle, the Leichttraktor (“Light Tractor”) (“Leichttraktor”). With the Nazi rise to power, the experimentation in Russia was halted and the prototypes brought back to Germany were they initially served a training role. The prototypes were decommissioned in 1937 due to inadequacies evident in their use as training tools; at least one ended up as a memorial to early armored regiments.

The Großtraktor was designed as a heavy breakthrough vehicle. The prototype vehicles had differences; however what follows was true of at least one or more of the models. The main armament was the same short 7.5 cm gun initially used on the Panzer IV; with secondary armaments including multiple machine guns. The approximate weight being 16 ton. The engine was a six-cylinder engine, in the 250-260 hp range. The following may have applied only to the Rheinmetall-Borsig and Krupp designs: a machine gun was placed at the rear of the tank, behind the turret; and the tank commander sat not in the turret, but in the hull to the right of the driver (Zaloga 13-14).

One result of the experimentation in Kazan was that the German Army Motorization Department felt compelled to field two tank types corresponding to the Großtraktor and the Leichttraktor; codenamed BW and ZW. The BW reference being for Battalionführerwagen, or the Battalion commander’s vehicle; which was intended to be a fire support vehicle. The BW was to accompany the ZW, the Zugführerwagen, or Section commander’s vehicle intended to act as the core battle tank (Zaloga 13-14).

The work on the Großtraktor led to the Neubaufahrzeug, a similar design.

*I’m interested to know which work this illustration is from.
**I haven’t seen any photos of this vehicle; if anyone is aware of any please let me know.

Works Cited:

1. “Großtraktor.” Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 1 Apr 2013. Web. 15 May 2013. <http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Großtraktor>.

2. “Tanks of the treaty of Versailles and the first World War.”World of Tanks Official European Forum. N.p., 13 Dec 2012. Web. 15 May 2013. <http://forum.worldoftanks.eu/index.php?/topic/183100-tanks-of-the-treaty-of-versailles-and-the-first-world-war/>.

3. “Leichttraktor.” Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 22 Mar 2013. Web. 16 May 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leichttraktor>.

4. Zaloga, Steven J. . Panzer IV Vs Char B1 Bis: France 1940. Osprey Publishing, 2011. 13-14. eBook.

The Iosif Stalin Tank Family

With the current World of Tank special on the IS-3, IS-8, and IS-7 in full swing I have decided to write a post reviewing the IS series of tanks. The Iosif Stalin (IS) family of tanks was a series of heavy tanks developed beginning during the second world war.  Often written as IS, or “ИС”  in Cyrillic, the acronym means Iosif Stalin, or Joseph Stalin; the namesake of the Soviet leader at the time. With first deliveries beginning in October 1943 with the IS-1; this series would go on to see many models including the IS-2, IS-3, IS-4, and IS-10 or T-10 as it was renamed.

IS-3

IS-3

IS-4

IS-4

IS-6

IS-6

T-10/IS-10

T-10/IS-10

Models
Not including foreign operator variants, the IS family included 7 distinct variants including prototypes as well as 4 upgraded IS versions.
IS-85 (IS-1) – Initial 1943 model armed with an 85 mm gun.
IS-100 – A prototype variant armed with a 100 mm gun.
IS-122 (IS-2 model 1943) – 1943 model, armed with an A-19 122 mm gun.
IS-2 model 1944 (or “IS-2m”) -1944 design with D25-T 122 mm gun.
IS-2M – modernization of IS-2 tanks circa the 1950s.
IS-3 – 1944 armour design, internally similar to IS-2 model 1944, and produced concurrently. Roughly 350 built during the war, but did not participate in the war.
IS-3M – Modernization of the IS-3 circa 1952.
IS-4 – 1944 design which competed with the IS-3 design. Roughly 250 built after the war.
IS-6 – A prototype design using an experimental electrical transmission.
IS-7  – 1946 prototype design. The IS-7 model 1948 variant was armed with the 130 mm S-70 naval cannon.
IS-10 – 1952 design; renamed T-10 in the wake of Stalin’s death.

Operators
In addition to the USSR, the IS family would see service with the following nations: China, Cuba, Egypt, Nazi Germany, North Korea, Poland, Romania, and South Ossetia. In some cases these nations acquired their IS tanks as prizes of war.

Works Cited:

1. “Iosif Stalin tank.” Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 5 May 2013. Web. 5 May 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iosif_Stalin_tank>.

2. Nikiforov, Alexei . “IS-7: the armored wonder?.” PKKA-CA. N.p.. Web. 6 May 2013. <http://pkka.narod.ru/is-7.htm>.

3. “Тяжелый танк ИС-6 » Общественное поисковое объединение «Война-1945».” Общественное поисковое объединение «Война-1945». Поисковое общественное объединение «Война-1945», 18 Apr 2011. Web. 6 May 2013. <http://war1945.ru/domestic-vehicles/518-tyazhelyy-tank-is-6.html>.

Off Topic: Artillery Photos And More

This is off topic but I thought I’d share a selection of photos of Artillery pieces I took while visiting the Texas Military Forces Museum not that long ago. There were several field pieces and at least one anti-aircraft, and one anti-tank piece; from several countries and time periods including examples from France, Russia, and the USA.

 

Doing Stupid Things With Tanks

What follows is a list of things people in power have chosen to use tanks to do that they should not have; this list is by no means exhaustive so let me know if you know of some good examples. Many of the examples below relate to the use of Tanks, which are a weapon of war, in civilian contexts.

Budapest 1956

During 1956 the Soviet Union violently put down a populist revolution in Hungary; the heavy handed use of force stunned the world and was best epitomized by pictures of Soviet tanks in Budapest.

Michael Dukakis in a Tank

Michael Dukakis in a Tank

Taking a cue from the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Margaret Thatcher, who successfully used a tank in a publicity photo; Michael Dukakis, the 1988 presidential nominee for the Democratic party posed with a tank in an effort to bolster his image. The efforts of Dukakis, who had served in the United States Army, backfired; with his rival successfully using the photo-op to ridicule him.

1989 Tiananmen Square Protests
1989 Tiananmen Square Protests

During the 1989 protest in Tiananmen Square, the Chinese military for some reason felt compelled to send in tanks to help clear the protesters; what followed was an iconic moment in 20th century politics as a single man frustrated the movement of a column of Chinese tanks sent in ironically to intimidate him and others.

During February and April of 1993, what has become known as the Branch Davidian Massacre occurred. During this event no less than  four ATF agents and 80 followers of David Koresh(Vernon Howell) would perish (“Branch Davidian Massacre Site”). There have been many criticisms of the events that unfolded; the use of heavy weapons was one.  The list of military equipment used at Waco included: nine Bradley fighting vehicles, five combat-engineer vehicles, one tank-retrieval vehicle and two M1A1 Abrams tanks (O’Meara).

On new years eve, 1994, Russian forces attempted to retake Chechnya with an assault on the city of Grozny; they did this with a force largely comprised of AFVs and little infantry support. The resulting debacle left 105 of 120 tanks knocked out and many Russian soldiers dead.

Works Cited:

1. Grau, Lester. “CHANGING RUSSIAN URBAN TACTICS: THE AFTERMATH OF THE BATTLE FOR GROZNY.” INSS Strategic Forum. Foreign Military Studies Office, n.d. Web. 6 May 2013. <http://fmso.leavenworth.army.mil/documents/grozny.htm>.

2. “This Day In History Nov 4, 1956: Soviets put brutal end to Hungarian revolution.” History. A&E Television Networks, LLC. Web. 6 May 2013. <http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/soviets-put-brutal-end-to-hungarian-revolution>.

3. “Michael Dukakis.” Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 8 May 2013. Web. 12 May 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Dukakis>.

4. “Branch Davidian Massacre Site.” Roadsideamerica.com. N.p.. Web. 12 May 2013. <http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/11910>.

5. O’Meara, Kelly . “CLARK TANKS USED IN WACO SIEGE.” WND. N.p., 16 Oct 2003. Web. 12 May 2013. <http://www.wnd.com/2003/10/21282/>.

The Lone MT-LB

While I was at the Texas Military Forces Museum I came across a Soviet MT-LB. It was the lone Soviet AFV and had what appeared to be a desert color scheme and markings from an Arab nation; I’m curious to know if anyone can identify which as I don’t know myself. The placard for this vehicle had a sub name of MPTV; I’m not sure what that means but I suspect it refers to the variant as the box like structure on the rear end doesn’t appear to be standard; if anyone can help clarify this I would appreciate it. There is a great article on Wikipedia about the MT-LB (www); in short though, the MT-LB was a troop transport from the early 1970s. The MT-LB could carry up to 11 people in its rear compartment or carry 2,000kg of cargo or tow up to 6,500kg. The vehicle has a two man crew; the driver and a commander/gunner.  The vehicle weighs 13.1 tons (11.9 tonnes) and is fully amphibious.  The main armament is a 7.62 mm PKT machine gun in a turret; there are further 4 gun ports on the vehicle.

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