According to known data, P.P. Osokin made his proposal in the field of promising armored vehicles in the early summer of 1942. At that time, he served in one of the units of the Ural Military District, and therefore began to “promote” his own idea there. On June 11, the inventor introduced his project “tankcruisers ”a number of military commanders of the UVO. He reported on the new development to the head of the department of armored forces of the district, Colonel Evdokimov, other employees of the department, as well as to the deputy commander of the Air Force of the UVO, Major General Sokolov. The command of the military district, in general, approved P.P. Osokina, but made some comments.
As the designer-enthusiast, Colonel Evdokimov, who soon had to go to Moscow, wrote later, he promised to inform the higher command about the new development. In addition, he could contribute to the transfer of Osokina to the capital for further work on the project. However, even after a few weeks, the lieutenant colonel was never called to Moscow, and therefore he was forced to write to higher authorities.
The letter “up” was sent to the specialists of the Main Automobile and Armored Directorate, who were to study the original proposal and give it a corresponding assessment. Work on the study of the submitted documents began no later than the end of July 1942. Already in the first days of August the first conclusion was prepared, which predetermined the future fate of the project. Later came the official response from the Armored Directorate. Looking ahead, it should be said that Osokin’s “tank cruiser” did not receive the approval of GABTU specialists.
The proposed model of armored vehicles had a lot of problems and was not of practical value, and therefore the army was not interested in them. However, the original project may be of some interest in terms of stories and technology. Consider the "tank cruiser" and find out that it did not like the military.
According to the preserved schemes, the project of P.P. Osokina proposed the construction of a rather complex armored car of a characteristic appearance. A large sample was supposed to have an articulated circuit and be assembled from a number of separate elements-modules. Some components were intended for the movement of the machine, while the largest element was a kind of fighting compartment. Judging by the well-known schemes, the "tank cruiser" could have a certain unification with existing samples. In particular, the hull of the "running modules" resembled in a noticeable way the corresponding unit of the medium T-34 tank.
In the front and rear parts of the "cruiser" it was planned to place four modules responsible for mobility. Each of them was actually an independent medium tank with its own power plant, armored hull and undercarriage. Externally, such products should have been similar to the serial T-34 and, probably, equipped with a similar body. However, the most significant differences were foreseen.
Between the two "running modules" of the same side it was proposed to place an additional body of considerable length. With other buildings it should be connected with the help of hinged devices. On each side of such a hull, it was necessary to install six support rollers borrowed from the tank. Three were in the front and were covered by a caterpillar of the front case. The other three were actually part of the chassis back case. Also provided for the use of its own drive wheels. Between the central support rollers that worked with the tracks, Osokin placed a pair of carts with two rollers each. The latter lay right on the ground.
It was proposed to equip the central side hulls of the "cruiser tank" with its own engines. Each of them could be completed with a pair aviation diesel engines M-30 or M-40, which made it possible to obtain a total machine power of 6000 hp. All four engines were proposed to be connected to a manual transmission. The latter was supposed to provide rotation of the central drive wheels, borrowed from the serial T-34.
The hull, unified with the T-34, was to be equipped with a standard turret with weapons. Thus, in the corners of the “cruiser” assembly there were four full-turn turrets with 76-mm guns and rifle-caliber machine guns. Also saved frontal machine gun body.
Central side hulls PP Osokin proposed to carry out at the same time with the largest unit of the combat vehicle on which it was planned to place its main armament. The central building was distinguished by its great length and enhanced protection. Some of his armor plates should have a thickness of 125 mm. Such a body had sloping front sheets, vertical sides and a horizontal roof. On the sides provided large shelves, in fact, were the roof of the onboard hulls. The layout of the central building was quite simple. All its volumes were either fighting compartment, or compartments for ammunition.
In front of the central building it was proposed to place the workplaces of two crew members. One could follow the road and the situation, and the second was a shooter. Behind them was a shoulder strap for a large tower with two guns of caliber 152 mm. The central compartment of the case was a large volume for storing ammunition. Behind him, it was proposed to equip an open area for 76-mm anti-aircraft guns. At the rear of the hull, the designer placed a swivel turret with a pair of 23-mm anti-aircraft guns. One open installation with twin machine guns was planned to be placed in the center of both side shelves of the hull. In the central onboard cases it was provided on two machine-gun installations for firing in a lateral hemisphere.
According to the calculations of Lieutenant Colonel Osokina, "tank-cruiser" could have more than a large ammunition. The presence of significant free volumes ensured the transportation of 200 mm caliber rounds, 152-580 projectiles for 600-mm guns and 76 projectiles of 1200 mm caliber to 23. Heavy machine guns received ammunition in 4550 cartridges, rifle caliber systems - almost 26,5 thousand cartridges.
In one of the schemes prepared by the enthusiastic designer, the angles of shelling of all available weapons were cited. The Tank Cruiser, carrying 9 guns and 14 machine guns, could fire in any direction, both ground and air targets. The presence of a number of rotary towers and turrets ensured simultaneous shelling of the same objects from several systems. An important feature of the project was the availability of advanced anti-aircraft weapons. A large tank with outstanding firepower risked becoming a priority target for enemy aircraft, and to combat it, he received a separate set of guns and machine guns.
However, they had to pay for high combat qualities with unacceptable dimensions and weight. The length of the entire "cruiser tank" assembled was 21,5 m. Width - 9,7 m. The height of the upper devices of the main caliber tower is as much as 4,3 m. The combat weight, according to the designer, reached 270 t. . per ton, which allowed us to hope for obtaining acceptable mobility.
The presence of several separate hulls and a large number of gun turrets led to a corresponding increase in crew numbers. Drive the machine and her weapons should have been 30 tankers right away. It is curious that the presence of large free volumes inside the hull allowed the tank to take on board the landing of several dozen people. At the same time, unlike other combat vehicles of its time, the "tank cruiser" could transport them under the protection of armor.
As planned by a lieutenant colonel, a promising super-heavy tank could solve a fairly wide range of tasks on the battlefield. The targets for his guns could be armored vehicles and enemy fortifications, manpower and unprotected equipment. A developed set of weapons, including barrel-mounted systems of different calibers and different capacities, provided considerable flexibility for combat work in certain conditions.
From a certain point of view, the project PP. Osokina looked interesting and promising. According to its author, the technical proposal should be taken into development and the re-equipment of the Red Army should begin. However, the specialists of the State Academic Technical Institute did not share his optimism. Quickly enough, they studied the submitted project and made a logical decision. The place of the “tank cruiser” was on paper and in the archive, but not in the assembly shops or on the battlefields.
In October, an official document appeared on 1942, summarizing the study of the proposal by P.P. Osokina. Experts have noted that the "tank cruiser" has a number of fundamentally unavoidable shortcomings, and therefore can not find places in mass production and the army. Further elaboration of the project did not make sense, and it could be abandoned.
Because of their large size and combat mass, the cruiser was recognized as bulky and insufficiently manoeuvrable. Unacceptable dimensions also made the tank too noticeable on the battlefield, and in addition, facilitated the work of artillery or enemy aircraft. The car turned out to be an overly easy target. This problem was exacerbated by inadequate booking. Finally, the project was unsuccessful in terms of logistics. To be transported by rail, the “tank cruiser” needed to be disassembled into separate components. Before being sent to battle, reassembly was required. In this case, the car could not pass under all existing bridges.
Production issues in the conclusion of the GABTU were not considered, but in this respect the project of P.P. Osokina did not have any particular prospects. The composition of the units shows that instead of one super-heavy tank, the industry could build several combat vehicles of the middle or heavy class. With a similar amount of time, effort, or money, the army would receive more combat vehicles with acceptable characteristics and capabilities. Naturally, for some indicators or serial T-34 or other tanks could be inferior to the "cruiser" Osokin, but in general they turned out to be much more profitable acquisition.
The Tank Cruiser had some positive features, but the characteristic cons completely outweighed them. A significant increase in the firepower of a separate combat unit capable of replacing several armored vehicles of various types was associated with the extreme complexity of production, transportation and operation. In addition, inadequate protection led to serious risks: just a pair of shells or a bomb that was accurately dropped could cause damage similar to the loss of a whole tank unit.
Such a combat armored vehicle was not of interest to the Red Army. In the autumn of 1942 of the year, the Main Armored Directorate Directorate made its decision, and at this the history of the project P.P. Osokina is over. Documents received from the inventor, as well as papers with expert estimates, went to the archive. They were there for several decades, not having a single chance to return to consideration.
Historians have recently discovered them. However, this time the project was not remembered for the purpose of launching design work. "Tank-cruiser" engineer lieutenant colonel PP Osokina became the subject of various publications and notes in the profile literature, and only because of this he received the fame due to him. Naturally, an interesting proposal from an enthusiastic designer who tried to help his army, now often becomes the object of ridicule.
During the Great Patriotic War, everyone tried to make their contribution to the overall victory. Some enterprising citizens and military personnel tried to propose certain ideas that could affect the Red Army’s combat capability, improve its fleet of vehicles, etc. Such proposals were considered by experts and sometimes accepted for implementation. Nevertheless, some too bold and unjustified ideas were naturally sent to the archive. They were based on a noble desire to help the country, but this desire could not always overpower the harsh demands of reality.
Shpakovsky V.O. The most famous tanks of the world. - M .: AST, 2017.