Military Review

Projects of tanks of Polish fantasy Stanislav Lem

A famous aphorism says: a talented person is talented in everything. This statement can be fully attributed to the famous Polish writer Stanislav Lem. His books have been read by millions of people around the world, including in our country. They were released in more than 30 million copies and translated into more than 40 languages. Stanislav Lem was not just a writer, but also a prominent philosopher, futurologist. He wrote the fundamental philosophical and futuristic work, Sum of Technologies. The work was published in 1964 and even then anticipated the creation of artificial intelligence, virtual reality and many other things. But the most amazing thing is that in 1944, Stanislav Lem proposed to the USSR People's Commissariat of Defense their own projects tanks, relevant documents were recently found in military archives.

Hard to believe, but two months after the liberation of Lviv by the Soviet troops in 1944, the future author of the famous novel Solaris, in which Andrei Tarkovsky shot the equally famous film with Donatas Banionis in the main role, offered the Soviet military in a voluminous letter in Polish his vision of the creation of new tanks. In this case, these tanks were diverse: from huge monsters, which he called "land armadillos" or "battleships", to small tankettes. Naturally, none of these projects was properly worked out; nevertheless, Lem did not have the appropriate education and experience, but in terms of stories These works of the future famous writer, of course, are of great interest.

Stanislav Lem was born on September 12 1921 of the year in Polish Lviv. He was born in the Jewish family of an otolaryngologist, a former doctor of the Austro-Hungarian army, Samuel Lem and Sabina Waller. In 1939, the future writer received a certificate of secondary education, in the same year Lviv became part of the Ukrainian SSR. At first, Stanislav Lem wanted to enter the Polytechnic Institute, but he was denied training because of his bourgeois origin. And only in the 1940 year, due to his father's connections, he managed to enter Lviv University in the department of medicine. Lem did not feel any enthusiasm about this, since at that time he was more interested in equipment and technology.

Projects of tanks of Polish fantasy Stanislav Lem

By the time the Great Patriotic War began, Lem was still studying medicine in Lviv, the occupation of the city by German troops had halted this process. Unlike many Lviv Jews, the writer's family managed to survive these terrible years. The family lived on forged documents and was able to avoid deportation to the ghetto, all other close relatives of the Lem family, who were in Poland, died during the Second World War. At the same time, during the war years, Stanislav Lem, along with his father, were members of the Resistance movement, while at that time he worked in a field that was far from medicine - a welder and an auto mechanic. In particular, he worked as a welder during the cutting of numerous damaged and destroyed armored vehicles, which remained after the fighting for the city in the summer of 1941.

With such uncomplicated methods, he learned the basics of tank construction, and only, perhaps, by observing numerous trains with German military equipment that went through the city further east, to the millstones of the front. Later, the future writer recalled: "Waiting for the liberation of the city from the Germans, I strained all my strength in one direction, in order to develop new or improve existing combat means based on the incomplete data and observations received by me."

The Red Army liberated Lviv from the Nazi invaders 27 July 1944 of the year. Two months after that, Stanislav Lem sent his views on the construction of various types of armored combat vehicles to the USSR Commissariat of Defense. These documents are preserved in the Central Archive of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. A letter from the then unknown 23-year-old Stanislav Lem from Lviv entered the State Defense Committee 17 in October 1944, it was written in Polish and was entitled “Projects of technical innovations in the defense industry”. In his message, Stanislav Lem described the horrors of the war that he had to endure and which he witnessed in Lviv occupied by the Germans. That is what prompted him to design new types of weapons to fight the enemy.

Sketch of “Large-size tank” by Stanislav Lem, made by the author (TsAMO RF),

Lem offers very few people interested in Moscow. Before the start of the war, the USSR already had its own unsuccessful experience in creating multi-turreted “battleships”. From 1933 to 1939 years in the USSR produced five-turreted heavy tank T-35. At the time of its creation, it seemed to Soviet designers that a similar machine, firing in all directions from three guns and machine guns 5-7, could create around itself a sea of ​​fire. However, in practice, this over-heavy monster with huge dimensions and insufficient booking by the beginning of the war became an archaic and outdated machine, from which there was no benefit. Many T-35 tanks were abandoned in the very first days of the Great Patriotic War due to technical problems that arose with them and the impossibility of carrying out their evacuation. In any case, Stanislav Lem did not wait for an answer to his letter. And in 1946, he moved from Lviv to Krakow, leaving the USSR forever.

Brunettes of Stanislav Lem opened in his article for the site Yuri Bakhurin, who met with archival documents stored in TsAMO RF. There is nothing surprising in the fact that on the site of the most popular tank game in the world, tanks became interested in the projects of the famous Polish science fiction writer.

The very first project in the letter of Lem was the project of creating a “large-size tank”. It was a ten-meter land monster. The project surprised first of all with the running gear. Stanislav Lem believed that due to the presence of four independent tracked trucks, his combat vehicle would be able to move freely in any, even rugged terrain. Such a running device, in his opinion, should have allowed the tank to be shipped through the ramparts, the ruins of brick walls, and anti-tank ditches. The future writer described his creation as a “battleship” or “land armadillo”. He gave this name to his brainchild not by chance. The tank was multi-turreted. In addition to the front gun turret, he also had a smaller rear turret with a paired small-caliber automatic anti-aircraft gun. In the four corners of the tank there were additionally machine-gun turrets, the sectors of fire of which mutually overlapped. According to Lem, such a tank would be reliably protected from attacks from the ground and air. He would not be afraid of either infantry or enemy aircraft. Stanislav Lem did not specify the caliber of the main gun mounted on the tank, but it could be a very powerful system in caliber up to 155 mm.

"Land Armadillo" by Stanislav Lem. 3D reconstruction. The author of the model is Sergey Lebedev,

The combat mass of such a "land armadillo" was supposed to be about 220 tons. If someone now thinks that the future science fiction is completely insane, one can only say that in Hitler's Germany, much more technically educated and gifted designers suffered from gigantomania. At the same time, gigantic tanks in Nazi Germany were not only designed, they were built there. Lem himself did not paint the reservation of his brainchild, but described the concept of protecting his tank. In his opinion, the armor of the tank had to be adapted for the simplest mass production. “This would slightly increase the mass due to the worse quality compared to rolled armor, but it would allow producing armor in quarters or octopuses of the total volume, ensuring the absence of complicated installation,” wrote Stanislav Lem. Details of the armor of the tank had to be rounded, with cylindrical external contours in the frontal and side projections, as well as in the stern of the tank.

The inventor from Lviv sought to ensure maximum protection of his “battleship”, it should have been ensured not only by booking a tank, but also by “retinue” - small combat vehicles. Directly behind the "land armadillo" in the letter of Lem was a description of two projects of tankettes. The first project was called "Wedges A". It was a fighting machine with a length of 2 meters, a width of 1,3 meters and about the same height. The device tanketki was very simple. The reservation was to consist of one belt of rolled armor, which was bent and pressed as necessary. The front of the body "Tanketki A" was supposed to get a beveled shape that would provide maximum strength and stability of the armor. The gasoline engine had to set the wedge in motion. The crew consisted of only one Red Army man, who was located in a combat vehicle in a reclining position. He had to not only drive a car, but also be controlled with one large-caliber or two conventional machine guns mounted in a rotating turret. He had to conduct a review through the front and two side viewing slots.

"Type A wedge, rather, even a mechanized machine-gun nest, has the following task: to cover a heavy type tank from frontal attack and destruction weapons in front (disc mines, anti-tank missiles, etc.), ”Stanislav Lem pointed out in his letter. At the same time, he provided for one more function for the type A tank shoes: setting smoke screens on the battlefield. Placing special tanks containing smoke-generating substances in tankettes, it would be possible to achieve reliable camouflage and cover of troops in certain sectors of the front. Finally, thanks to the presence of the support and handles that were located at the stern, the “Tanketka A” could take on the armor of one Red Army man. Several hundred of these light combat vehicles could quickly carry infantry in the amount of up to one battalion.

Sketch of the appearance of "Tanketki A" by Stanislav Lem, made by the author (TsAMO RF),

The type B wedge, proposed by Lem, was also single and equipped exclusively with machine guns. But in this case, the future writer focused on reducing the height of the combat vehicle, which should have made it difficult for enemies to aim at it. "Tanny B" had a spindle shape and a very low silhouette. Its height, according to the author, should not exceed 70 cm. The device of the track shoes allowed the machine not to cling to the hull for uneven ground, which increased maneuverability. “The shooter and the driver in one person, lies, or rather even hangs on the belts in a kind of steel“ coffin ”, watching the battlefield through periscope viewing instruments,” noted Stanislav Lem.

Inspection devices should be located in front of the fighter. He had to drive the "Wedge B" with the help of pedals located in the legs, as well as with the clutch and gear levers. The front part of the frame protruded forward, and a freely rotating guide roller of the tracks was located on it. Thanks to such a solution, the “Slipper B” could, according to the author’s plan, freely overcome craters and ditches. The type B wedge also relied on a gasoline powerplant, but with horizontally placed cylinders and air cooling due to the air being drawn in from below. The future science fiction writer emphasized that the “Tanketka B” must be very fire resistant, he could see resistance against enemy fire. If the combat vehicle could be set off, the fighter should have quickly removed the machine gun from it, left it and started fighting again, but already with an infantryman.

In addition to the project of a gigantic tank and two small tankettes, the letter contained other ideas of the author. In particular, he proposed to create a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun on the basis of a car with a low armored body. Then came the presentation of ideas to create a whole anti-tank missile system. He also indicated in the letter that he had ideas and sketches of assault guns, but these materials were no longer included in the letter.

Sketch of the appearance of “Tanketki B” by Stanislav Lem, made by the author (TsAMO RF),

Despite the naivety of work, it felt the desire of a person who survived the occupation, to somehow help in the fight against the enemy. And the flight of fantasy, which made Stanislav Lem a famous writer, whose books millions of people are reading today, has not disappeared anywhere from his first unpublished “fantastic work”.

Information sources:
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  1. Engineer
    Engineer 14 November 2016 15: 06
    Waiting from the author of the article about Zorich spacecraft
    1. Alexey RA
      Alexey RA 14 November 2016 15: 09
      Quote: Engineer
      Waiting from the author of the article about Zorich spacecraft

      And about Zorich’s tanks too. smile
      Multi-turret levitating tanks "Shamshir" were crawling on us.
      They are "flying pagodas".
      They are "land dreadnoughts".
      They are "propaganda tanks". They were "scared for chorugs". And many others.
      "Shamshirs" served both as "intimidation of the Drujwants", and "the crown of the national tank building", and "a milestone technological breakthrough", and "a powerful reserve for the future."
    2. KaPToC
      KaPToC 15 November 2016 00: 35
      The most powerful tank was in the hold of the Invincible.
      1. Alexey RA
        Alexey RA 15 November 2016 09: 59
        Uh-huh ... EMNIP, the Invincible had to spend so much energy to destroy it that it would have been enough to boil the sea.
        By the way, the situation on that planet was exactly the same as in "Weapon systems of the twenty-first century or Evolution upside down." - a swarm of primitive components one by one defeated the most perfect universal "dinosaurs".
  2. Ivan Tucha
    Ivan Tucha 14 November 2016 15: 21
    I can send my children's drawings. there are even more interesting options.
    1. engineer74
      engineer74 14 November 2016 16: 12
      Quote: Ivan Tucha
      I can send my children's drawings. there are even more interesting options.

      And also a link to your works published in a circulation of 30 million copies ... wink
      1. Orionvit
        Orionvit 15 November 2016 10: 57
        And also a link to your works published in a circulation of 30 million copies.
        It turns out that world-famous science fiction writers can be fantasized, but should everyone else be denied this?
        1. engineer74
          engineer74 15 November 2016 12: 49
          Quote: Orionvit
          And also a link to your works published in a circulation of 30 million copies.
          It turns out that world-famous science fiction writers can be fantasized, but should everyone else be denied this?

          belay This is where I wrote this ??? As I understand it, do you suggest thoughtfully discussing all children's fantasies on this site? Um ... the idea, of course, is interesting and maybe useful, but I think not everyone will support it. hi
  3. guzik007
    guzik007 14 November 2016 16: 24
    If on the first project "we discard the rear turret, then we get ... the IS-7 experimental.
  4. uskrabut
    uskrabut 14 November 2016 16: 35
    It is good that Stanislav Lem became a writer, not a designer. You will really read books, in childhood you couldn’t drag on ears.
  5. albert
    albert 14 November 2016 17: 00
    Mammoth tanks again?
  6. Res_Ullus
    Res_Ullus 14 November 2016 18: 05
    - We keep only sepules with a whistle ... - So give me one ... - And where are you from? - Uh, umm ... I did not take with me ...

    And tanks are a pampering)))
    1. Alexey RA
      Alexey RA 14 November 2016 19: 03
      Quote: Res_Ullus
      And tanks are a pampering)))

      Double pampering:
      The morale of the population, especially in the "welfare states", evaporated like camphor. Such respectable ancient slogans as "dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" (sweet and honorable to die for the fatherland), the young conscripts considered complete idiocy. At the same time, new generations of weapons went up exponentially. The plane of the times of the First World War, consisting mainly of canvas, wooden slats, piano wire and several machine guns, cost, along with landing wheels, no more than a good car. A plane of the Second World War era was already worth thirty cars, and by the end of the century, the cost of a Stealth missile fighter-interceptor or a stealth bomber that was invisible to the radar reached hundreds of millions of dollars. Projected for 2000, rocket fighters were supposed to cost a billion dollars each. If this continued on, then eighty years later, each of the superpowers could afford no more than 20-25 aircraft. Tanks were a little cheaper. A nuclear carrier, defenseless against a single FiF type super-rocket (over the target, it fell into a whole fan of warheads, each of which hit one of the nerve nodes of this sea community), although it was, in fact, a kind of brontosaurus under artillery fire, worth billions.
      It happened at a time when the world gradually recovered after two difficult economic crises. The first of them was caused by the creation of the OPEC cartel and a sharp rise in oil prices, the second - by the collapse of the cartel and a sharp decline in oil prices. True, the first thermonuclear power plants appeared, but they were not suitable as a drive for land or air vehicles. Therefore, bulky weapons - armored personnel carriers, guns, missiles, tractors, tanks, land and underwater, and other newest, that is, heavy weapons that appeared at the end of the XNUMXth century - were still becoming more expensive, although the armored personnel carriers already had no one to transport, and soon it turned out to be the same that artillery will not shoot at anyone. This last stage of military armor-gigantomania exhausted itself in the middle of the century; the era of accelerated microminiaturization has begun, under the sign of artificial NON-INTELLIGENCE.
      © S. Lem. Weapon systems of the twenty-first century or Evolution upside down.
    2. voyaka uh
      voyaka uh 14 November 2016 19: 38
      Do you remember?
      ... And the passing fighters pulled on their beloved: "The old robot will rust ..." good
      1. Alexey RA
        Alexey RA 15 November 2016 09: 53
        Dear Advisor! In which case, remember the blue cogs.
        Yours faithfully Thrull.
    3. voyaka uh
      voyaka uh 15 November 2016 11: 58
      "whistling sepulki" ////

      My stepfather (a man with humor) in the 70s wrote a letter to Lem in Poland:
      "What is a sepulka after all?"
      Received a neat reply letter: "See sepulcarium" smile
      The response letter was kept as a relic.
  7. Type 63
    Type 63 14 November 2016 19: 33
    The article is interesting, I would never have thought that Lem also dabbled in tanks. Live and learn.
    1. tomket
      tomket 16 November 2016 00: 33
      Quote: Type 63
      The article is interesting, I would never have thought that Lem also dabbled in tanks. Live and learn.

      Stanislov Lem has a little-known story "KV-1". When I came across I was a lot surprised. Trurl, Klapaucius and KV-1.
  8. igordok
    igordok 14 November 2016 19: 59
    The rocket launcher shown in the first photo was in my childhood. Shot plenty. By practical shooting, I calculated that the maximum range at an elevation angle of half from the vertical (I did not know about degrees before school). The "ballistic tip" was rubber, but when it was missing or destroyed, the rocket launcher became dangerous (smashed several glass objects) and the parents carried out "disarmament".
    1. CONTROL
      CONTROL 15 November 2016 10: 28
      the greatest range at an elevation angle of half from the vertical (I did not know about degrees before school). The "ballistic tip" was rubber, but when it was missing or destroyed, the rocket launcher became dangerous (smashed several glass objects) and the parents carried out "disarmament".

      ... a hooter!
      ... A correction for the crosswind? and to exceed the target over the gun? ...
      Since the minuses have been canceled, why not introduce "additional pluses" instead ?! it's worth it ... And then - "you have already rated ... Ok!" ... Boring!
  9. Fidel
    Fidel 14 November 2016 23: 23
    Nothing at all. Such "projects" can be combed in batches by any student. And the books are really powerful. There really is a flight of fantasy, and maybe even foresight.
  10. Jubilee
    Jubilee 15 November 2016 10: 40
    It’s better for the writer not to get into technology, laughter - and only
    1. nachtRitter
      nachtRitter 17 November 2016 17: 35
      Sketches, of course, are technically naive. But similar ideas roamed in the minds of designers before the Second World War. Only real battles showed the imperfection of such machines and the need to change the tactical paradigm.
      Actually, people who do not have statistics from the General Staff, technical and military education, who have seen huge colossus that shoot in all directions can be so mistaken.
      "Bigger is better"

      Despite the naivety of the work, it felt the desire of a person who survived the occupation to somehow help in the fight against the enemy.
    2. Sergey-8848
      Sergey-8848 20 November 2016 15: 35
      It would be okay - technical construction is a completely harmless task, but when Stanislav started politics, he suffered such a thing that the current head of the Polish Ministry of Defense does not suit him. Alas...
  11. Razvedka_Boem
    Razvedka_Boem 15 November 2016 16: 58
    The journey of Iyon the Pacific to the moon, in order to understand what is happening at the training ground, is very interesting to read. Moreover, I believe that the author anticipated the future of weapons.
  12. GTYCBJYTH2021
    GTYCBJYTH2021 15 November 2016 18: 06
    Lema read, do not respect yourself ..... In the 20th century, there were many, even a lot of science fiction writers, all sorts of nonsense, sniffing cocaine, they wrote ..... That Green and Assol, Belyaeva, however, for "Man -... . "and" The head of the professor ..... "I respect ...... But the People's Commissar was after all .........
    1. kalibr
      kalibr 20 November 2016 12: 38
      Was Belyaev the People's Commissar? What?
      1. mult-65
        mult-65 16 March 2017 12: 01
        He does not mean the people's commissar, but narik.
  13. kalibr
    kalibr 20 November 2016 12: 37
    Sergey, congratulations. Digging it up is great!
  14. sxfRipper
    sxfRipper 31 January 2017 08: 26
    Smiled! Thanks to the author!