But digging into stories, we very often find confirmation of this.
Today it will be mainly about the light D-8 armored car, created on the basis of the GAZ-A automobile.
But in fairness to begin the story follows about a man. About the designer of this armored car Nikolay Ivanovich Dyrenkov. The son of a peasant from the Yaroslavl Province, who graduated from a vocational school at the Mechanical-Technical School Komarov became one of the leading designers of the USSR automotive vehicles.
Probably, it is also natural that his life ended the same way as many extraordinary people of that time. October 13 1937, he was accused of participating in a sabotage and terrorist organization and shot at the Kommunarka training ground.
Yes, most of the projects of N. I. Dyrenkova remained in the drawings, in single prototypes, in several dozens of machines. More 50 units of automotive, railway and tracked armored vehicles. There is even a brand of armor "D"! The letter "D" in the name of this technology and became a monument to this designer ...
Nikolay Dyrenkov actively worked on the creation of armored vehicles. Under his leadership (1929-1932 years), the Experimental Design and Testing Bureau of the Office of Mechanization and Motorization of the Red Army developed a number of interesting machines.
The story of the armored car D-8 begin with a story in which the truth is hard to believe. However, some really serious researchers, like the author of the book “Cars of Russia and the USSR” L. M. Shugurov, tell exactly this version. And since Lev Mikhailovich was not seen in replicating rumors and lies, we allow ourselves to repeat after him.
"... During a visit to the plant of one of the deputies of the People's Commissar of Defense in 1931, he looked at the latest models of US armored cars in the Dyrenkov’s office, the American magazine Armi Ordnance, paid attention to the latest US armored car models. bullets.
Dyrenkov replied that he was already working on a similar model, and tomorrow he was ready to demonstrate it. After the guest left, Dyrenkov ordered to remove the passenger car body from his service car, called the carpenter, and by evening the plywood mock-up stood on the chassis with pencil marks that the ingenious engineer marked out patterns directly on the plywood sheets.
Then the model fitted on the chassis was disassembled and, using improvised plywood, the panels were cut out from the armor plates, the body was assembled from them, and it was installed on the chassis.
Drying an armored car painted with oil by means of soldering lamps turned out to be the most laborious. But by noon, Dyrenkov was able to present the D-8 case mounted on the GAZ-A chassis, ready for trial shooting, mounted on the GAZ-A chassis ... "
The version, of course, is interesting. Romantic. However, it's hard to believe in it. Army and military equipment - things are quite serious. And jokes in this environment are rare. Especially in those days. And the armored car is not a badge on a cap, but rather a complicated technique.
Much more reliable is the version of M. Kolomiytsa, presented in the book "Armor on Wheels. History of the Soviet Armored Car 1925-1945".
The understanding that the army needed light reconnaissance armored vehicles came back during the Civil War. Leading armies of the world were changing cars Tanks, conveyors of all types. The future war was drawn rather mobile, high-speed.
You can blame the same backwardness with the same Voroshilov and Budyonny for a long time, but the fact that the comrades were well aware of the usefulness of army mechanization is a fact that will be disputed by absolutely gentlemen who are not comrades to us.
But back to our ... Americans.
Having a sufficiently developed automotive industry, the Americans, naturally, began to develop armored cars on existing chassis. Army (any, not only American) were needed small, lightweight, but rather high-speed cars that could conduct reconnaissance and perform the functions of communication vehicles.
That is why already in the 1930 year, three light armored vehicles were developed at once. T-8 (Chevrolet), T-9 (Plymouth), T-10 (Overland-Whippet). The cars were actually twins, as the armored hull was standardized for all the chassis. However, the use of commercial vehicles had its drawbacks.
Bronelistov and weapons dramatically increased the weight of the car, and the use of the tower reduced stability. So, the driving performance of "Americans", to put it mildly, was mediocre.
The USSR could not boast of the presence of a large number of original chassis models. In fact, we produced the only passenger car GAZ-A, actually a copy of the Ford-A. Naturally, this car was decided to be used as a chassis for a Soviet light armored car.
So, already in August-September 1930, the head of the UMM RKKA Innokenty Andreevich Khalepsky several times discussed the idea of a Soviet light armored car with the head of the Experimental Design and Testing Bureau Dyrenkovym. The result of such discussions was the task of personally Dyrenkovu as soon as possible to prepare a draft in September 1930.
I. A. Khalepsky
The project of the new machine was ready in a month. Already in October, the OKBI presented ready drawings to Khalepsky. After reviewing the project, the head of UMM instructed (December 25) to produce two prototypes. Future armored cars differed armament.
The first was armed with one machine gun. The second was complemented by an anti-aircraft turret on the roof of the car.
Dyrenkov’s inexhaustible energy allowed him to produce prototype machines in the shortest possible time. Already 9 February 1931, the machines were ready "in metal". They also received the names from Dyrenkov personally: the first version of the D-8р, the second - the D-12р.
Here it is necessary to quote, which probably completely "kills" the romantic version of the creation of these armored vehicles:
“Based on the task received from you, I have developed and constructed the following reservation samples:
1. On the passenger chassis "Ford-A" reconnaissance double armored vehicle with one machine gun in effect, one spare and four firing points. Designation D-8p.
2. On the same chassis with the same armament, but with a slightly elongated body and an added installation of a standard anti-aircraft airborne. The designation D-12p.
Structurally, both modifications were very similar. Prototype shells were assembled from non-hardened armor steel from 3 to 7 mm in thickness. Trying to increase the body bulletproofness, Dyrenkov established frontal and aft armor plates at high angles of inclination.
On each side there were doors for landing a crew of two people (driver and commander). A hatch was made in the roof for observation.
The armament of the armored vehicle consisted of one 7,62-mm DT machine gun, which could be fired through four ball mounts in the front, aft and side plates of the hull. The ammunition consisted of 43 stores (2709 cartridges), laid on the sides.
The chassis of the D-8p, together with the engine, transmission and other elements, completely shifted from the Ford-A truck. The wheels did not have any protection, and the tires were ordinary, pneumatic.
In general, if you look closely at these armored cars, you get the feeling that you are looking at a mechanical, lightly armored carriage. It is difficult to imagine D-8 or D-12 firing in an offensive. But fleeing from the pursuing enemy and firing from a machine gun - easily.
Or standing armored car on the flank of the defense and firing the attacking enemy as a mobile machine-gun point. Quite a normal tactical decision.
What is it? Experience of civil war or requirements of the top of the Red Army, which by that time consisted of "cavalry"? There is no answer to this question. Only conjectures and opinions ...
In the spring of 1931, D-8р and D-12р, after some modifications, were presented for testing. The report from 27 of May compiled by the committee of the UMM RKKA NTC said the following:
“1. Ford A (D-8, D-12). Available on the machine installation for DT are located without taking into account the possibility of firing from them fire. Installing a machine gun at the driver due to the impossibility of bringing the machine gun to a horizontal position, since the arrowhead rests on the roof and the absence of a descent angle allows the machine gun fire only on high targets.
Shooting from side installations is also impossible due to the difficulty of adjusting the shooter to these installations. If to shoot from the left installation, then the back wall of the car and a back of the driver hinders. When shooting from the right setting, you can shoot straight ahead. In this case, the arrow has to be squeezed between the driver and the rear wall of the case.
The firing sectors when firing from the right and left installations are completely absent. The same situation when shooting from the rear installation, which has the same drawbacks as the airborne ones.
Installing the turret on the D-12 does not justify its purpose, as it has an insufficient angle of elevation and does not protect the shooter from air damage (aircraft-type turret).
Rearranging a machine gun from one nest to another in combat on the move is absolutely impossible, since the machine gun after firing overheats and it is absolutely impossible to take it with your bare hands.
If you have not one, but 2-3 machine guns installed in existing installations, they make it impossible to fire from a car due to the constraint of the shooter. The observation conditions for the commander of the vehicle (he is the gunner) do not at all meet the tactical requirements.
So, judging by the recall of the commission, the cars "did not work." Moreover, "to bring them to mind" was quite difficult. But neither the automotive industry nor the design bureau of Dyrenkov could offer something more suitable. Khalepsky was forced to order the adoption of light armored vehicles for service. Serial machines were simply called D-8 and D-12.
Talk about the operation of these machines in the army for a long time. The first vehicles were sent to intelligence units. However, already the first months of operation revealed many shortcomings of these cars. From cars began to refuse. By hook or by crook, they were handed over to training units.
In the same way, the airborne service did not work for the D-8. For a number of reasons, lightweight, lack of alternative equipment, structural strength, D-8 decided to enter into the composition of the airborne units. True to the release of a parachute method, it did not come down. The machines were supposed to be landed by landing method.
Under the fuselage of the heavy bomber TB-3 was suspended D-8. The landing was even shown to foreign military advisers on the 1935 Kiev Grand Maneuvers. But even this use of the D-8 did not save the car from being sent to training units ...
In order to understand the claims of the military, it is necessary to return to the 1931 year. In the journal NTK UMM №26 from 27 June 1931, there is the following entry. It is clear that it does not include all the claims of the military to this car, but it looks quite serious:
“... 2. Experienced armored vehicles D-8 and D-12. Recognize that the D-8 and the D-12 do not meet the requirements for light reconnaissance vehicles due to the inconvenience of using weapons, poor visibility for the driver and overloading the front axle (300 kg). The following changes and additions must be made:
1. Saving the reservation of the engine booth to the front wall of the armored corps;
2. To improve the visibility of the driver, move the front wall of the armored car back;
3. To improve the observation when turning, cut off the protruding cape of the front wall of the car;
4. All ball installations abolish;
5. Install weapons in one machine gun DT, machine-gun installation should provide all-round shelling on top of the body, both on the ground and on air targets;
6. Configuration change in accordance with paragraph 5;
7. Cut through the rear hatch for observation when reversing. "
Our task is not to evaluate the car, but to get acquainted with its device.
The fully welded, fully enclosed, armored vehicle body was made of 4-7-mm sheets of rolled steel that provided anti-bullet protection - the reservation withstood conventional bullets fired from a distance of 80-100 m.
Bronelists were welded to the frame with rational angles of inclination, the magnitude of which was particularly significant in the front and aft parts of the hull. Even the hull roof, equipped with a hatch through which it was possible to observe the terrain and, if necessary, leave the car, was located at an angle.
For the landing of the crew, which consisted of two people, in the sides of the hull there were rectangular doors with small windows covered with armored hulls with viewing slots. The doors were mounted on the outer hinges and opened forward, in the direction of motion.
Spare wheels were attached to the sides of the hull on special brackets in front of the doors.
On the left, in the control unit, combined with the combat, the driver was located, on the right — the commander of the armored vehicle who performed the machine gunner’s duties — he had to service an 7,62-mm DT machine gun mounted in a ball mount in the front housing sheet.
From the spare machine gun it was possible to fire through one of the two embrasures, symmetrically located in the rear wall of the hull.
Overview driver and the commander provided front windows, equipped with armor with viewing slits and viewing slits in the side doors.
In the engine compartment, located in the front of the hull, an 29,4-kilowatt (40 hp) four-cylinder liquid-cooled carburetor engine “GAZ-A” was installed, which allowed the one-and-a-half armored car to develop a maximum speed of 85 km / h on roads with hard surface. At full refueling, the D-8's power reserve was 190 km.
In the undercarriage with suspension on semi-elliptic leaf springs, single-wheel spokes with bullet-resistant tires were used. Above the front and rear wheels there were wings of a streamlined shape, which merged below with the steps, forming a single whole with them. Headlights in hemispherical housings were installed on the front wings to ensure movement in the dark.
It seems that, with all the shortcomings of this armored car, talking about some kind of military fate is stupid. Nobody will use obviously bad cars in battle. This is of course logical. But there is another logic. A bad car, with a bunch of flaws is still better than the complete absence of armored vehicles ...
It is for this banal reason that D-8 participated in the Winter War. Let few, literally piece copies were part of the 9 army in Karelia, in the 177 reconnaissance of the 163 rifle division, in 114 the reconnaissance of the 84 SD.
The fate of most cars was tragic. They were either lost as a result of fights, or as a result of breakdowns. Except, perhaps, the D-8 114 Battalion.
The same can be said about the use of D-8 during the Great Patriotic War. The few surviving D-8 were at the front. They worked as communication machines. At least until the end of 1942.
The tragedy of these cars is also that during the retreat in 1941, even those few cars that were in parts of the western districts (according to some sources, the beginning of the war 45 units, 19 of which required repair) were simply thrown back.
Performance characteristics of D-8:
Combat weight: 1,6 t.
Crew - 2 person.
length - 3500 mm;
width - 1700 mm;
height - 1600 mm;
clearance - 224 mm.
Armament: two 7,62-mm machine gun DT (ammunition - 2079 cartridges).
Armor thickness: 3-7 mm.
Engine: Ford. Type - 4-x carburetor cylinder, power - hp 40
Maximum travel speed: 85 km / h.
Cruising on the highway: 225 km.
wall - 0,15 m;
Ditch - 0,7 m.
In 1933, light armor cars were created on the basis of D-8. With the help of a special jack, the D-8 was converted into a rail version. When installing an armored car on the rails with the help of bandages at the exit, a car was produced that can accelerate to a speed of 100 km / h.
The transition to the rails by the crew took no more than 10 min. Armored rail cars were generally appreciated, but did not go into mass production.
How bad was this pancake? Let's just say that everything was taken from the capabilities of Soviet engineering and industry at that time. But these cars are only the beginning of a long journey.
In general, when we look at the professional suitability of a particular technology, we judge by how it was used by our enemies. This is the best indicator.
Finnish troops captured several armored cars and, treating any captured equipment, very carefully, repaired and continued to use for a long time up to the 1943 year.
In general, we can say this: the thought of Soviet designers often outstripped the possibilities of industry, which gave rise to several dubious projects.
However, this was only the beginning, we repeat, the beginning of a long journey, the outcome of which was the Soviet defense industry, which we use to this day.
The same indisputable fact, as well as the fact that D-8 has become a brick in the wall, which until now no one has broken through.