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Apr 19, 2013

Ensign's Q&A Answers #2

By EnsignExpendable

I received some pretty interesting questions last time, so here's another batch! I also got a request for a number of articles, which are coming once I gather the appropriate materials.

Q: I've heard about Object 416, which sounds like it would be a Russian version of the Chinese 121 or WZ 120, but nothing else. Any info would be much appreciated, even if it is just speculation at this point.
A: On the contrary, the 416 was a unique snowflake in a world of T-54 clones. For one, the tank features a rear turret, which looks more like an IS-8 one than a T-54 one. The armour is very weak, 110 mm in the front turret, 70 mm in the front hull. It's not even sloped that much. With a D-10T like gun (4.5 calibers longer, so it might get more than 175 mm of penetration), this is like a T-34-1 with worse armour and less gun depression. At least the driver is in the turret, along with all other crew members, so every shot to the hull won't kill him. This sounds like it's either going to be a tier 7 or a very, very painful tier 8.

Q: What did the "Y" stand for in SU-100Y? Also, is it "SU-100Y" or "SU-100-Y" (as per the RU wikipedia)?
A: The Y doesn't stand for anything. There were three T-100 proposals to answer the requirement for a fully armoured bunker buster: T-100X, T-100Y, and T-100Z. SU-100Y is based on the second one, hence the name. As for the proper form, Soviet numeric indexes are dashed (ISU-122-3), but letter indexes are not (ISU-122BM). However, since in this case the index replaces a number, I would say that the more proper way of saying it would be SU-100-Y.

Q: How effective were Russian artillery pieces (such as SU-18, SU-26 and SU-5) throughout WW2? They seem to have a lower range than their counterparts in other nations - did this impact their effectiveness?
A: SU-18 was never built, since the T-18 chassis was deemed too weak for a 76.2 mm gun. SU-26 also had a 76.2 mm gun. Considering that only 12 were built (and two more with 37 mm autocannons), they didn't have very much impact on any battles. As for SU-5, it was accepted by the army, but only 15 were built (spread across 3 modifications). With such few numbers, it is hard to judge its combat effectiveness compared to SPGs like the SU-122, which numbered in the hundreds.

As for range, it was pretty low. Keep in mind that SU-5 was developed in the early 30s, and SU-26 got a gun that was even older than that. By the time WWII came around, Soviet artillery could easily shoot at twice the range of these guns. 

Q: Is there an SU-26 in a museum somewhere (either a version as in game or some modded version)?
A: All SU-26es have been lost in battle by 1944. 

Q: Was there a Polish tank called 53 TP ? I heard somewhere that this tank has 40km/h, 130mm sloped armor and 120mm gun, it seems to be fake but that's why I asked.
A: There is a project from 1939 for a heavy Polish tank that mostly matches these characteristics: 130 mm front armour, a 120 mm gun, but projected speed was 25 kph. Yuri Pasholok posted some scans (in Polish), which you can read here.

Polish 1939 heavy tank project

Q: Was there T-54 /T-55 project with a 122 mm M-62 gun?
A: Not that I am aware of. The firepower of modernized T-55 tanks is increased using ATGMs. The T-55M6 modification upgraded the tank to the T-72B turret, along with its smoothbore 125 mm gun.

Q: Was there gun called 122 mm M-62-C2 ? (used in WoT in SU-122-54)
A: Yes, a non-stabilized version of the M-62 gun was built to replace the D-49 gun in the SU-122-54.

Q: The in-game lend-lease Valentine and Matilda both have unique Soviet guns, not their original ones. According to the wiki, this did happen, but there are not much details.
Were they only prototypes?
Did they see service?
Did they try other guns?
Did they change other parts of these tanks (engine, tracks, etc.)?

A: The first thing the Soviets noticed with the Matilda was that the tracks had exceptionally poor traction. Commonly, spurs were welded on, to increase off-road performance. 

As for the gun, a 1942 evaluation of the Matilda to determine if the Soviets should keep buying them does remark that the gun is barely better than the 45 mm gun installed on light tanks, and that someone is looking into installing the superior 76.2 mm Model 1941 tank gun (F-34) to equate it with the KV in terms of firepower. That someone was no other than Grabin's own construction bureau, which developed a ZiS-5 gun and a coaxial DT machine gun combo for the Matilda, indexed ZiS-96 or F-96. It was decided that all Matildas be armed with these new guns, but it is hard to say how many actually were. People's Commissar of Tank Production wrote to the People's Commisar of Armament in March of 1942:

"I remind you that factory #9 is going to throw off the re-armament of Matilda tanks. Instead of the planned 120 guns, they only produced 47. Meanwhile, they over-fulfilled their quota of ZiS-5 guns for the KV tank, which we have plenty of. The re-armament of Matilda tanks should be your problem #1. Take decisive action to correct this production for the 2nd quarter and make up the deficiency for the 1st quarter."

It is not known if any Matildas were armed with ZiS-96 guns at all, since, starting with Spring 1942, the USSR started receiving Matilda CS infantry support tanks, which at least had satisfactory HE shells, unlike the 2-pounder gun. In Spring of 1943, Matilda tanks were no longer ordered by the USSR at all.

The Valentine received a similar treatment. The lack of HE shells for the 2-pounder gun made it ineffective in its infantry support role. The solution to this was a combination of a 45 mm gun and DT machine gun, named ZiS-95. ZiS-95 was installed on one Valentine in December of 1941, but that was it. Much like the Matilda CS howitzer, the Valentine eventually received a 57 mm 6-pounder gun, which was very effective against enemy tanks, to the level that the 45 mm couldn't dream of.

The narrow tracks of the Valentine were also insufficient for winter weather, and received spurs like the Matilda.

Q: How many turrets does Tank Grote have?
A: Tank Grote had one rotating turret, the top one with the 37 mm AA gun. The 76.2 mm gun was not in a rotating turret.
Edit: I realized that you may have meant the heavy Grote tank. That monstrosity came in 3 or 6 turret variants. Obviously none were ever built. 

That's it for now! Keep sending those questions to


  1. Thanks for answering my questions about Russian artillery =)

  2. EE, could you please have a look at this thread and identifly the last vehicle?

    This picture, on the left

    1. Sorry, I've never seen that thing before. The gun kind of reminds me of the M-69, but with a different muzzle brake and a larger recoil mechanism.

  3. Huh, interesting. Do you happen to know if they did some similar "customising" to their LL Churchills too? It's bugged me for a while now that the in-game one differs from the Brit-tree ones in a few noticeable respects (higher topspeed and slightly different engine power notably).

    1. The Churchill got spurs too. Marshall of the USSR I. I. Yakubovskiy wrote in his memoirs: "The Churchill's tracks had difficulty with even small bumps and slopes. I suggested that the mechanics should bolt metal spikes to the tracks. The heavy tank improved its performance. The Comandarm of the 65th Army P. I. Batov joked about how I put horseshoes on our ally Churchill."

    2. So better traction basically? I guess that'd explain it. Did they also tinker with the engine somehow, or are the 24 extra horsepowers and lower fire chance of the L-L one in-game pretty much down to strange Siberian magicks?

    3. Well, the heaters were also swapped for Soviet ones, so maybe the British ones were very fire prone :)

    4. Fur-clad mystics from the taiga then, it is. ;p

  4. Polish tank - surprisingly - looks very good indeed, decently armored.

    1. There was also quite interesting idea of medium tank 25TP (Pz.Inż), which was to carry 75mm gun (remember that we are talking about pre 1939 timeframe) and have IIRC 90mm subtly sloped armour:

      Overall, Poland had very good ideas for both tanks and planes right before war. We just haven't had enough time to finish them. And Polish mid 30s PZL P.11C figher and 7TP tank were both considered as one of the best worldwide.

  5. On a nitpicking side, SU-26 was also not built. It was a battlefield modification, carried out by troops during Siege of Leningrad (1941.-1944.). That is why they were all lost in battle. Troops removed turrets from T-26 tanks and installed mortars and anti-aircraft guns instead. Much more useful in a siege situation.

    1. That still counts as built in my book. But yes, I should have pointed out that it was not a pre-planned project, and more of a battlefield modification to rejuvenate obsolete T-26 tanks.

  6. If someone is interested, I've translated Polish text about the 53TP tank (53TP means "53 tonnes, Polish" by the way):

    Because Polish Army as of today doesn’t have heavy tanks, I decided to propose a concept of such vehicle.
    It will be a first-line tank, which will be able to withstand the impact of main offensive with the assistance of infantry and light tanks.

    Design features:
    Planned tank will be made of welded rolled steel plates. Hull front will be made of 130mm thick plates, sides - 100mm, rear 90mm. Turret will be made of 110mm thick plates.
    The armament will be comprised of modernized 120mm wz. 1878/10/31 cannon , and general purpose machine gun wz.30.
    (In original text there is o.k.m., “k.m.” means “karabin maszynowy” – machine gun, o. I can only suspect means “oólnegoprzeznaczenia” – general purpose; “wz.” means “wzór” – closest analogue will be probably “model” or “mark”, number after a “wz.” designates a year, numbers after slashes, year of modification, so cannon wz.1878/10/31 means “cannon model 1878, modernized in 1910 and in 1931”.)

    Vehicle dimensions:
    -length 8400mm (7600mm without cannon),
    -width 3600mm,
    -height 2900mm.
    Weight of the vehicle is estimated to be around 53 tonnes, which will require an engine with at least 500 horsepower to achieve speed of 25-30 kph.
    Below preliminary sketches:

    As can be seen preliminary sketches doesn’t show a lot of details, but they contain basically all main elements of the vehicle design and appearance. Expected crew: 5 or 6 people.

  7. I'm sorry to say that, but this Polish tank looks almost as post-WW2 fake, for several reasons. Are you interested, EE?

    1. Sure, post your reasoning. I don't even pretend to be a Polish tank expert, so I wouldn't know.

    2. I sent you an email, it was more convenient for me (as it had grown big). Have fun reading :) .

  8. Very nice, thx for info, blog is epic awesome.

  9. Regarding the Tank Grote, most probably the Soviet TG (or TG-1) is meant. There is no serious proof Grote was involved in the Ratte multiturret tank concept. IMO it's just hist name thta sounds similar to Ratte, that causes this misunderstanding.

    The information on TG-1 is not the whole truth. Tha tank was designed two-turreted. The Soviet manufacturers' failure to properly construct the main turret ring led to the decision (for the pilot vehicle only) the turret be welded onto the hull.
    Note there are no mechanisms to traverse the 76mm gun in the main turret, so it's very obvious it was supposed to be traversed with the turret.

  10. " ...There were three T-100 proposals to answer the requirement for a fully armoured bunker buster: T-100X, T-100Y, and T-100Z..."

    Why would the Soviets use Latin alphabet for this vehicle?


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