“Doubts arise constantly. Contrary to all doubts of success, only those who are able to act in any conditions will achieve. Descendants are more likely to forgive erroneous actions than total inaction. ”
(G. Guderian. "Tanksforward! ” Translation from German. M., Military Publishing, 1957)
(G. Guderian. "Tanksforward! ” Translation from German. M., Military Publishing, 1957)
It turns out that on the eve of the beginning of the Second World War, the Germans had a complete qualitative superiority in arming their tanks over tanks of potential enemies and first of all the USSR, if we ignore the T-34 and KV tanks, which, however, had not yet been “brought to mind” and had many different flaws. Another important circumstance was the 30 mm armor, which was absent from the overwhelming majority of Soviet cars, and the relatively low quality of the shells and weapons of the production T-26 and BT. True, the Red Army command in 1938 tried to improve them and issued an order for a new 45-mm tank gun with improved ballistic characteristics for the new T-26 and BT-7 tanks. An armor-piercing projectile weighing in 1,42 kg should have a speed of 860 m / s and at a distance of 1000 m punch 40 mm armor at an angle of meeting 30 degrees. However, the work on it did not succeed.
"Matilda". The tank proved itself well near Moscow, but ... it had a poor cross-country ability in Russian ice! (Museum in Latrun)
In England, the development of effective tank guns began in the 1935 year, and in 1938, the two-pound high-speed gun OQF Mk 9 caliber 40-mm '(or rather 42-mm) was adopted. His armor-piercing projectile weighing 0,921 kg had an initial speed of 848 m / s and pierced an armor plate with a thickness of 450 mm when tilted at 57 m in 30 degrees, which was an excellent indicator at that time. But ... in the 1936 year in England, the entire 42 tank was produced, in the 1937 year - the 32, and the 1938 year - the 419, the majority with machine-gun armament. In the US, the 37-mm tank gun, capable of penetrating armor 457 mm thick at a distance of 48, was created in 1938. It exceeded the corresponding Czech and German guns by armor penetration, but was inferior to the British 40 tank gun. However, the first tanks on which it could be put appeared overseas only in 1939 year!
The first Soviet tank with anti-shell armor thickness 60 mm - T-46-5.
But the tact monsters with 152,107 and 45-mm cannons, as well as flamethrowers, fortunately, we only existed in the form of wooden layouts. Tank T-39 and its variants.
All this, however, was a weak consolation for Heinz Guderian, who was aware of the economic power of the opponents of Germany and knew that even if there were not enough tanks at the moment in the USA and England, this does not mean that they will always be missed , and that there may be a lot of them afterwards. At the same time, knowing well the economic possibilities of Germany itself, he understood that there would never be many tanks at his disposal, and he tried as much as possible to train the crews of the vehicles he had in stock. He personally developed the statute of armored forces, according to which tankers had to flawlessly control a tank, both day and night, shoot straight, be able to care for their car and maintain its mechanisms in working order with their own forces. First of all, tank drivers were selected and trained. If, after the first practical classes, instructors did not notice much progress among the cadets, they were immediately transferred to radio operators or loaders. Drivers were trained in the movement of the columns, for which multi-kilometer campaigns were organized during the 2-3 days along special routes.
Everything is like in war. Work on the model T-34 were in a cold barn!
The accuracy of the course they were following was monitored by specially assigned navigators from the kriegsmarine, and the instructors from the Luftwaffe, not sparing ammunition, taught the gunners to the art of shooting straight. The loaders were required to be able to meet a strict standard for charging a tank gun, which provides high rate of fire from a tank, and the gunners were also required to quickly and accurately open fire on the target that the commander pointed out to them. The cadets devoted their free time to caring for a tank, and also intensively engaged in physical training, which was considered very important for them, because by the nature of their service, tank crew had to deal with weight lifting all the time. The best cadets were encouraged, the worst were also regularly screened out.
The Soviet tankers later recalled: "If a German tank misses you with the first shot, then the second one never misses the second." Two factors: excellent optics and good proficiency gave German tankers real advantages in firing.
Bundesarhiv: a photograph of a padded T-34. Summer 1942 of the year. The lack of rubber led to the appearance of such wheels. The roar of such tanks could be heard for several kilometers!
Another photo from the Bundesarchive. Wrecked T-34 on the streets of Stalingrad. Places of hit of shells are well visible. And there are several hits. Why is this? Is it really impossible to stop the tank with one hit? Obviously, if there are five of them!
But as was the case at the Red Army, we are looking at the order of NCO No. 0349 from 10 in December 1940, which, in order to save the material part of heavy and medium tanks (T-35, KV, T-28, T-34) and maintaining them in constant combat readiness with the maximum amount of motor resources ”for training personnel in driving and shooting, making tank units and formations, allowed to spend 30 hours per each combat training vehicle per year, 15 hours combat training *. All tactical exercises were prescribed to be carried out on T-27 tanks (two-seater wedges!); T-27 were excluded from the state of infantry military units and formations and transferred to the recruitment of tank divisions from the calculation of 10 tanks for each battalion. In essence, this is the same thing as learning to drive a bus or a heavy-load transporter behind the wheel of a small car like the modern Oka or Mathis.
T-34-76 manufactured by STZ. Remains of a train broken by a German aviation near Voronezh. 1942 year. (Bundesarchive)
To this should be added the numerous technical problems of Soviet armored vehicles. So, the T-34-76 tanks, produced in 1940-1942, with all their merits also had a huge number of very different defects, which they managed to cope with only by 1943-1944. The reliability of the "heart of the tank" - its engine was very low. Resource in 100 hours for diesel-2 on the stand was achieved only in 1943 year, whereas German-made Maybach gasoline engines easily worked out in a tank using 300-400 hours.
BA-6 V. Verevochkina even shoots!
Testing T-34 in the fall of 1940, the officers of the NIBTP (Research Armored Test Site) revealed to him a number of design flaws. In its report, the NIBTP Commission directly stated: “The T-34 tank does not meet modern requirements for this class of tanks for the following reasons: the tank’s firepower could not be fully utilized due to the unsuitability of observation devices, defects in the installation of weapons and optics, the cramped combat compartment and inconvenience of use ammunition; with a sufficient reserve of diesel power, maximum speeds, dynamic characteristics of the tank are chosen poorly, which reduces speed performance and tank permeability; tactical use of the tank in isolation from the repair bases is impossible due to the unreliability of the main components - the main clutch and running gear. The plant was asked to expand the dimensions of the tower and the fighting compartment, which would make it possible to eliminate the defects in the installation of weapons and optics; develop re-laying ammunition; replace existing surveillance devices with newer, more modern ones; rework the main clutch, fan, gearbox and running gear. To increase the warranty period of the B-2 diesel engine to at least 250 hours. ”But by the beginning of the war, all these shortcomings remained almost in full.
Just like the real looks and BT-7. Is that tracks caterpillars are not at all and the tracks of the tracks is different.
In addition, it should be noted that the four-speed gearbox T-34 was unsuccessful in design and easily broke down with speed change errors by an inexperienced driver-mechanic. To avoid breakdowns, skills were required that were developed to automatism, which was unattainable given the volume of hours that were given to driving by the order of NGOs. The design of friction clutches, which for this reason often failed, was also unsuccessful. Unreliable were fuel pumps. In general, the T-34 tank was very difficult to manage, demanded high training and physical endurance from the driver. During the long march, the driver lost weight kg 2-3 - so it was hard work. Often, the radio operator helped the driver to switch speeds. Such difficulties with the management of the German tanks were absent, and when the mechanic failed, almost any of the crew members could easily replace him.
Some 30 cars looked fantastic. For example, here is this Czechoslovak PA-III BA (1929)
The project armor motocycle R. Gorokhovsnogo.
"A hovercraft tank." Another pearl R. Gorokhovsky.
The T-34 observation devices consisted of mirror periscopes at the driver and in the tank turret. Such a periscope was a primitive box with angled mirrors at the top and bottom, but these mirrors were not made of glass, but ... of polished steel. Not surprisingly, the quality of the image they had was disgusting, especially in comparison with the German optics of the company "Carl-Zais-Jena". The same primitive mirrors were in periscopes and on the sides of the tower, which were one of the main means of observation of the tank commander. It turned out that it was extremely difficult to monitor the battlefield and carry out target designation.
Breathing in the fighting compartment after the shot is very difficult because of the smoke; the crew literally got hurt when firing because the fan in the tank was very weak. Hatches in the battle according to the regulations required to close. Many tankers did not close them, otherwise it was impossible to keep track of the dramatically changing situation. With the same purpose, it was necessary from time to time to stick your head out of the hatch. The driver also often left the hatch ajar on the palm.
Heinrich Himmler examines the T-34 SS divisions "Das Reich" near Kharkov (April 1943). (Bundesarhiv)
Approximately the same, that is, not in the best way, was the case with the KV tanks, which were also staffed with low-quality clutches and gearboxes. From hitting the projectile in the HF often jammed the tower, and the T-34 are often amazed through the driver's hatch, it is unclear why the armor case housed in the frontal plate. It is also not clear why on the KV tanks the designers put a broken front armor sheet, not a straight line, as on the T-34. He demanded more metal, and did not add any security to the machine.
Not only was the training of Soviet tankers at the lowest level, but there was also a catastrophic lack of command and technical personnel. Data for some compounds as of June 1941 of the city: in the 35 th TD of the 9 mechanic corps KOVO instead of 8 the tank battalion commanders had 3 (37% staffing), company commanders 13 instead of 24 (54,2%), platoon commanders XNXX. (6%). In the 74 MD 8, the MK KOVO lacked 215 battalion commanders, 22 company commanders, staffed with junior command personnel - 5%, technical staff - 13%.
Soviet T-34 in service in the German Wehrmacht. A commander's turret from German tanks is noticeable on the tanks. It seems to be a good idea, but ... the tower, as before, remained double. The tank commander - he is the gunner, was very overloaded with the maintenance of the gun. And why does he have a tower too? Similar towers were placed on the Soviet T-34 rev.1943, with the tower "nut". This tower was more spacious, but all the same - the tank commander could not use it. Could it be that the Germans did not understand that it was in vain work, to put such turrets on the narrow thirty-four tower. After all, the third tanker in the tower model 1941, was "not stuck" in any way!
The tank crews of the 2 20th SS Panzer Division Das Reich near their tank Pz.III near Kursk. A lot of hatches are good. It is convenient to leave a burning tank! (Bundesarhiv)
The personal impressions of the tanker Rem Ulanov, with whom I personally had the opportunity to meet and communicate when I was the editor of the Tankmaster magazine, are interesting: “During my military service I had a chance to deal with many tanks and self-propelled guns. I was a driver-mechanic, a car commander, a battery backup engineer, a company, a battalion, a tester in Kubinka and on the proving ground in Bobochino (Leningrad Region). Each tank has its own “temper” to control, to overcome obstacles, the specifics of cornering. In terms of ease of operation, I would put the German T-III and T-IV tanks in the first place ... I note that driving the Pz.IV was not exhausting due to the ease of operation of the levers; the seat with the backrest also turned out to be comfortable - in our tanks, the seats of the drivers did not have any backs. Only the howling of the gears of the gearbox and the warmth coming from it, which burned my right side, irritated. 300-strong engine “Maybach” was started easily and worked flawlessly. The Pz.IV was shaking, its suspension was tougher than that of the Pz.III, but softer than that of the T-34. In the German tank it was much more spacious than in our thirty-four. The successful location of the hatches, including on the sides of the turret, allowed the crew, if necessary, to quickly leave the tank ... "
* Today, those who learn to drive a car in category “B”, according to the program approved by the Ministry, should skate on a training car with an 56 instructor for hours on a machine with a manual transmission or 54 hours with an automatic transmission. For those who study truck driver (category “C”), the program provides 72 hours for mechanical and 70 for automatic transmissions. And this is for modern people living in the world of technology. For recruits of that time, and even planted in a tank, even 100 watches would be clearly not enough!
The material used color drawings A. Sheps.