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May 22, 2013

Ensign's Q&A Answers #4

By EnsignExpendable

Lots of excellent questions coming in this round! Here are the answers:

Q: What do the different letter codes mean? A, B, F, etc.
A: There really isn't much rhyme or reason to them (each factory or group got to choose their own), but here you go:

2##: initially Kirov factory, then factory #100, then NII-100
7##: construction bureau of the Kirov factory in Chelyabinsk
##-K: factory #8 in Kalinin
A: factory #183
BL: Beria, Lavrentiy. Factory #172.
B: Bolshevik factory in Leningrad
Br: Barricade factory in Stalingrad, factory #221
D: Devyatka, "niner", factory #9
F: factory #92, Grabin's construction bureau
S: TsAKB, Central Artillery Construction Bureau
U: UralMash
V: factory #75, but they weren't the only ones to use that index
ZiF: Zavod imeni Frunze, "factory named after Frunze"
ZiS: Zavod imeni Stalina, "factory named after Stalin"
ZiK: Zavod Imeni Kalinina, "factory named after Kalinin", factory #8 during evacuation

Q: How well was the M3 Lee received in Russia?
A: The M3 Lee, appearing in Soviet documents as M3s or M3 Medium, was not exactly a favourite. Once Shermans became available, the USSR started ordering those. In his book on Lend-Lease tanks, Baryatinskiy puts it politely: "The Red Army met the M3 Medium without excessive happiness". The tankers themselves made a song about it:

"America gifted Russia
An M3 medium
It's loud, but pointless,
and as tall as the sky"

The Lee also earned the nickname "Certain Death" and "Mass Grave". The Lee was barely used in its primary role: as an infantry support tank, due to its massive size and low agility. Interestingly enough, the Soviets managed to fit 16 people into it (10 infantrymen with SMGs and the crew), and could still fire both guns. There was a recommendation to use it as an APC. There is, however, no indication that it was ever used in this role, as the Red Army was already getting non-worthless tanks in sufficient amounts. Lees were sent to the Transbaikal front, where the Japanese tanks didn't offer them much resistance.

Due to the use of ethylated gasoline, which many Soviet tankers never encountered, the Lee ended up killing its crew members by poisoning them before even leaving for battle.

The only bright moment in the life of the M3 Lee in the USSR is when Soviet divers retrieved 12 Lees from a  sunken transport, after a year at the bottom of the ocean, and 11 of them could be repaired and sent into battle.

There are some accounts of M3 Lees allegedly shooting down planes strafing Lend-Lease convoys, but this is extremely unlikely, as the vehicles on deck were covered in waterproof tarps (which were glued on) and shipped covered in grease and without ammunition. Dmitriy Loza writes that it took over two days to "undress" a new Sherman. It is unlikely that the Lee could be prepared to repel an air raid.

Q: Tell me more about T-34 prototypes: A-20 and A-32, as well as the A-43, A-44, and Object 416.
A: The A-20 was developed by Koshkin. He was ordered to produce the A-20 tank (sometimes in documents at T-20), a lightly armoured tank that followed existing Soviet light/medium tank doctrine: fast movement on tracks or wheels will protect a tank better than heavy armour. The tank featured a vertically stabilized 45 mm gun.

However, he was unhappy with the thin armour and wasteful convertible drive. On his own initiative, he developed a tank called A-20G, or A-32. The A-32 had a 76.2 mm L-10 gun, and was slightly better armoured. A second prototype of the A-32 had a 45 mm gun. It was overloaded with weights to 23 tons in order to determine the feasibility of increasing front armour to 45 mm.

The A-34 was what followed the A-32. The tank had the longer L-11 gun, 45 mm of front armour, and a new engine. The M-250 diesel was an improved V-2, but failed trials due to a very high oil temperature. The A-34 served as a basis for the T-34.

The T-34M (A-43) was developed at factory #183. The project got as far as a wooden model of the tank, and production of various components in metal, before the war started and the project was cancelled. If not for the cancellation, the Soviets would have had 800 of them by the end of 1941.
The T-34M solved most, if not all, problems with the T-34. The tank had a commander's cupola, as well as a dedicated gunner, two features that would not be implemented until the T-34-85. The armour of the A model was the same as the T-34. The B model had 60 mm in the front. In April of 1941, front armour was upped to 60 mm, and roof and bottom to 30 mm. This variant was called T-60. The engine was a 2000 RPM 600 hp V-5. A variant with a planetary transmission, T-34T, was also planned. The T-34M had a more modern torsion bar suspension. The tracks were slightly narrower than the T-34's at 450 mm.
The T-34M A variant could theoretically accelerate up to 60.5 kph, the B variant could go up to 55. The operational range was 330 km.

The A-44 (not related to the T-44) was developed in 1941, and meant for production by 1942. Three A-44 project were proposed with the ZiS-4, ZiS-5, and ZiS-6 guns, 75-120 mm of front armour at 60 degrees. Maximum speed ranged from 53 to 65 kph. 

The Object 416, despite its similar layout, was unrelated to the A-44. The tank was equipped with a M063 100 mm gun that, according to calculations, could achieve a muzzle velocity of 1000 m/s. The armour, however, was not so great, with 75 mm in the front hull. The tank turned out to be very light, but had no advantages over other medium tanks, and was thus not adopted by the army.

Q: What about the captured Panther and PzIV?
A: The PzIV was considered a good tank by the Red Army, and usable for both regular service, and infiltration missions. The Panther, however, was deemed inferior for both tasks to the PzIV and StuG III. Nevertheless, there were projects to re-arm both tanks with Soviet guns: the PzIV would get a 76 mm gun, and the Panther would get an 85 mm. A captured tank in-game wouldn't just be a recolour. With these modifications, a PzIV could be a serviceable tier 5 premium with preferential matchmaking, but it would be pretty tough for the Panther to work anywhere above tier 6 with preferential matchmaking.

Q: Do you have any information on the upcoming Soviet tier 7 medium?
A: The T-44A (Object 136) was based on the second T-44 prototype, and was armed with the 85 mm ZiS-S-53 gun, and had a 500 hp engine, which was capable of accelerating the tank to 60.5 kph. So it's a stock T-44 that goes slightly faster (although good luck getting to that full 60). It will be a pretty lackluster tier 7 premium. I hope you enjoy firing gold and running three engine boosting consumables.

Keep sending in your questions to tankarchives@gmail.com! If you already have, and I haven't answered it yet, don't worry, I'm getting there. :)

Previous Q&A.

21 comments:

  1. Thanks for another interesting article :) Regarding the mentioned gun nomenclature:

    D-10T vs D-10S, do I get it right that D-10T was a "tankovaja" (tank) gun and D-10S "samochodnaja" (self propelled)? Or does the S mean "stabilizirovana" (stabilizied)? I thought the first was true, but there was a Russian guy convincing me otherwise.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Samohodnaya. The stabilized versions of the D-10 gun were D-10TG (vertically stabilized) and D-10T2S (two-plane stabilized).

      Delete
  2. Captured Panzer V "Panther" usually be a "reward" tank to the tank crew that make a good progress or rewarded for some action during the war in Eastern Front

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  3. Only_Slightly_BentMay 22, 2013, 3:15:00 PM

    "America gifted Russia
    An M3 medium
    It's loud, but pointless,
    and as tall as the sky"

    The Lee also earned the nickname "Certain Death" and "Mass Grave".

    lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I heard about "Grave for 6 brothers" nickname too.

      Delete
  4. Did the Soviets only send the Chinese T-34s, T-34/85s and IS-2s before and during the Korean War? Were any other, different tanks sent over as well?

    Okinoshima

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. SU-100s, as well. I don't know about any other vehicles sent to China, it's a bit outside my area of expertise.

      Delete
  5. "Due to the use of ethylated gasoline, which many Soviet tankers never encountered, the Lee ended up killing its crew members by poisoning them before even leaving for battle." They tried drinking it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gasoline will kill you anyway if you drink it, ethyls or not. Regular gasoline is an effective way to clean tar off your hands.

      Delete
    2. Ethylated might mean gas, Tetraethyllead (TEL) gasoline, although unless used stupidly it wont kill you quickly.(NEMO: more then a few percent of this stuff in the fuel makes its highly dangerous as well as poisonous. Fuel was not premixed and had to be done in advance because the TEL was very corrosive which limited the storage time of unused fuel not to mention that the ate the rubber connectors. Even the aircraft manuals say not to let it sit int he tanks any longer then necessary and for long periods (a week) of time to drain the tanks. Upon contact with the skin it is absorbed through the skin and into the body. And had to be washed off immediately for safety reasons. However because it stuck to clothing ect... it was all over the family home when the clothes were washed.) Basically it was serious shit. 1.5% and higher per gallon of fuel just ate the crap out of the fittings.

      However ethylene itself is an anesthetic and can asphyxiate people in a closed environment.An example of a niche use is as an anesthetic agent (in an 85% ethylene/15% oxygen ratio). (NEMO: If the ratio is higher it will kill you because you will not have enough oxygen to live.)

      NEMO

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  6. These posts are amazingly interesting, liked the Lee-facts and more. Please keep them coming, thumbs up sir

    ReplyDelete
  7. Is A-44 that tank with rear mounted turret? And if so do we have any chance of it appearing in soviet tree?(with other rear turreted tanks)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, yes it is. It is already modeled (SS probably has the screenshots), so I expect it will come to the game sooner or later.

      Delete
  8. Premium Soviet Tiger I with 100 mm D-10T gun anyone?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Or Premium Soviet Panther with 85 mm gun (ZiS-S-53 I think)?

      Delete
    2. Or Premium Soviet Pzkpfw IV with 76 mm F-34 gun?

      Delete
  9. As a note on the premium tier 7 for USSR, the devs said the name not being T-44A, but t-44-85. In other words, it might have the better 85mm which should be workable in my opinion.

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  10. I wonder why Panther was deemed inferior to PzIV by Red Army. Something to do with mechanical complication of the Panther?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Complicated, unreliable, gas-guzzling.

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    2. I'd imagine the metallurgy issue didn't help, since it rather hobbled the Panther's big selling point. The gun tubes also wore out fast (as with all HV guns) and the gun's performance, while good, tends to be overstated. The long barrel also meant the Panther was a liability in forested or urban areas.

      The one area I have seen the tank consistently praised by historians, German tankers, and their Allied counterparts alike is mobility. For its size it could move quite nimbly and it could easily cross terrain impassable to Shermans (though Soviet armour was similarly capable). Tank flotation was excellent (this means it didn't bob or jolt as much on the move, it had a very good suspension with a huge amount of travel).

      Of course, you couldn't reverse and turn in thick mud or undergrowth, or you'd break the final drives. Oops.

      Delete
  11. What about captured Pz 759 (KV-1)??

    ReplyDelete

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