Military Review

The era of import substitution. How the Soviet Union learned to do tanks

26

Bridging the gap


In the arsenal of the army of the Russian Empire during the First World War, there were a limited number of types of tractor equipment, among which one can distinguish the fully tracked heavy Holt-Caterpillar and the Allis-Chalmers semi-tracked tractor truck. These vehicles have largely become the prototypes of future self-propelled armored vehicles, but in Russia no steps have been taken to introduce the production of such equipment. Only on the Allis-Chalmers base were two armored tractors Ilya Muromets and Akhtyrets (later Red Petersburg) developed by the artillery colonel Gulkevich made. Half-tracked "Akhtyrets" and "Muromets", according to the historian of armored vehicles Mikhail Kolomiyets, can generally be considered the first Russian tanks, albeit on foreign units. At the same time, they even surpassed similar French-made cars in some parameters. Of course, it is impossible to talk about any kind of influence of two operating machines on the course of hostilities of the fronts of the First World War.



Holt-caterpillar


However, the tsarist government, to the best of its ability, nevertheless spent money on promising developments — we all remember Lebedenko’s wheel tank, terrifying in size, (Tsar Tank).

In the post-revolutionary time, in the turmoil of the Civil War, we managed to make only 15 copies of the “Russian Renault” (a copy of the French Renault FT) on our own - this was the first domestic tracked vehicle assembled from scratch. And only in 1926 was the first three-year plan for the development of tank construction in the USSR drawn up, one of the first products of which was the T-12 / T-24. This unsuccessful tank was released in a scanty circulation in the 24 instance and, according to some historians, was developed under the influence of the American T1E1. At the end of the 1920's, domestic designers made another attempt - they built two prototypes of light T-19 infantry support tanks. Among the novelties in the car, chemical protection was implemented weapons, the ability to overcome water barriers with pontoons, as well as a special way to overcome the moat with the help of a rigid coupler of cars. But it was not possible to bring the tank to readiness for mass production.

The era of import substitution. How the Soviet Union learned to do tanks
Allis-Chalmers



Allis-Chalmers, armored in the Russian Empire. The photo shows the post-revolutionary version of "Red Petersburg"


In February 1928, the Kremlin spent 70 thousand dollars on the German designer Joseph Volmer, who was supposed to develop a light tank project weighing up to 8 tons for the USSR. They asked Volmer for a reason - he was the one who was developing the famous German A-7V, as well as the kids Leichter Kampfwagen. The design proposed by the German engineer was not implemented, but served as the basis for Czech KH tanks, as well as the Swedish Landsverk-5 vehicle and the Landsverk La-30 tank. With a certain degree of certainty, we can say that Soviet dollars paid for the appearance of the tank industry in Sweden - Volmer later sold many of the developments in the USSR in a Scandinavian country.


T-12



Joseph Volmer


In parallel with the development of new equipment, in November 1929, the “Department of Mechanization and Motorization of the Red Army” was created under the leadership of Innokenty Khalepsky. In tsarist Russia, Halepsky worked as a telegraph operator, later led communications in the Red Army, and the peak of his career was the post of Commissar of Communications of the USSR. Convicted of conspiracy with the Nazis and shot in the 1937 year, rehabilitated in the 1956 year. And at the end of November of the 1929 of the year, Khalepsky made a landmark report at a meeting of the Board of the Main Directorate of the Military Industry, in which he raised the question of the serious lag of the domestic tank construction from the foreign one. Like, they themselves tried, but failed, it is time to turn to the West for help. Halepsky was then heard, and on December 5 of the 1929 of the year, the Politburo of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks decided to invite foreign designers, send their own engineers for an internship, purchase tanks and related licenses, and receive technical assistance from foreign companies.


Grosstraktor


Leichttraktor


At that time, the Soviet Union already had the first achievements in generalizing foreign experience. So, in the Soviet-German tank school "KAMA" (Kazan - Malbrandt) experienced tests were conducted by Grosstraktor and Leichttraktor, which Russian tankers also met. The developments on these machines were used by domestic designers to create the amphibious tank PT-1.

Halepsky buys tanks


December 30 1929 of the year Innokenty Khalepsky together with a team of engineers went on a “tour” with a visit to Germany, France, Czechoslovakia, Italy, the UK and the USA with the aim of purchasing samples of armored vehicles, as well as the possible placement of orders. After an unsuccessful visit to Germany, the delegation went to the British company Vickers, which at that time held the palm in the world tank building. Initially, the Halepsky team had a cunning plan for the purchase of four tanks in single copies with the provision of full technical documentation. It was supposed to buy from the British the Carden-Loyd wedge, the Vickers 6-ton light infantry support tank, the Vickers Medium Mark II medium 12 ton and the A1E1 Independent heavy. Of course, this did not suit the British, and the first stage of the negotiations ended in nothing. From the second call, our delegation already had a larger amount, and Vickers sold the USSR 20 tankettes, 15 light tanks and from 3 to 5 medium tanks (data vary). The A1E1 Independent, which at that time was in the status of an experimental car, the British refused to give (by the way, he didn’t go into series), and they proposed to build a “turnkey” new tank, but with the purchase condition, 40 Carden-Loyd and Vickers 6-ton. The Soviet side did not like this option with a heavy machine.


Innocent of Halep


Simon Ginsburg


I must say that in the delegation of Halepsky as his deputy was Simon Ginsburg, a graduate of the Military Technical Academy. Dzerzhinsky, responsible for the technical side of the negotiations. In the future, he will become one of the leading designers of Soviet armored vehicles, and in 1943, he will be sent to the front in punishment for the unsatisfactory quality of the new SU-76 self-propelled guns, where he will die. And in the UK, in the Halepsky team, he tried himself as a scout. During the inspection of the equipment of interest at the Ginzburg training ground, I saw the latest 16-ton and three-tower Vickers Medium Mark III. Naturally, the engineer wished to get to know him better, but was refused, they say, the car is secret and all that. Semyon Ginzburg was not at a loss and, with a blue eye, reported to the unidentified British testers that the car had already been bought by the Soviet Union a long time ago and now all documents were being drawn up. We managed to inspect the car, fix all critical parameters and create the T-28 in the USSR “from memory”. By the way, the general concept of the A1E1 Independent, which was not sold at the time, was the basis of the heavy T-35. Vickers 6-ton became, as you know, T-26, and Carden-Loyd was reborn into T-27. Such is the "import substitution."


Vickers Medium Mark III


After Great Britain, the Halepsky delegation left for the United States to study the issue of purchasing a copy of the mentioned light tank T1E1 Cunningham, of course, with all the documentation. However, firstly, the car was not so good at work as the Americans advertised it, and secondly, the Yankees set up conditions that were very unfavorable for the USSR. The contract for the purchase of 50 tanks with a prepayment of half of the cars was immediately rejected, and Halepsky's eyes turned to the cars of John Walter Christie. The characteristics of the M1928 and M940 machines were striking - the then-fashionable wheeled-tracked track and the maximum speed of 100 km / h were ideal for the offensive war strategy that prevailed then in the Soviet Union. Christy in 1931 year for 164 thousand dollars sold, in fact, everything on this project - two copies of the tank with documentation, as well as the right to manufacture and operate the machine within the Soviet Union. Very successful for Walter Christie turned up negotiations with the Poles, also wanting to buy tanks. This made the Halepsky delegation much more accommodating - no one in the USSR wanted to give American cars to a potential enemy.


T1EX1 Cunningham at Aberdeen Proving Ground


Walter Christie Cars


After the USA, there was France and negotiations with Citroen on assistance in the production of a GAZ-AA truck with the Kegresse half-tracked engine - in the USSR there were problems with the development of such a complex unit. Khalepsky asked according to the old scheme to sell a couple of cars with a mover and a full set of documents, as well as help in organizing production. But the French agreed only on large deliveries of half-tracked vehicles, and refused to request a new tank. The delegation also expected the same outcome in Czechoslovakia - no one wanted to sell single cars together with a full package of documents. But in Italy, with the company Ansaldo-FIAT, the Halepsky team managed to find a common language and sign a protocol of intent in the joint construction of a heavy tank. I don’t know, fortunately or unfortunately, but this protocol remained the protocol - heavy tanks in the Soviet Union had to be developed independently.

To be continued ...
Author:
Photos used:
carakoom.com, yuripasholok.livejournal.com, bronetechnikamira.ru, ww2history.ru, warspot.ru, alternathistory.com
26 comments
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  1. rocket757
    rocket757 30 September 2019 18: 07
    +10
    Nice story. Learned and won.
    Do not lose competence no matter what!
    1. Machito
      Machito 30 September 2019 19: 13
      +7
      Thundering armor, sparkling with the brilliance of steel ....
      1. rocket757
        rocket757 30 September 2019 19: 27
        +4
        Why not. Glorious deeds, although times were archa difficult!
  2. gabonskijfront
    gabonskijfront 30 September 2019 18: 18
    +9
    Songs, books, films. The tank is our everything, there is no country where the tank would be loved so much. I think it's not fair that he was not born with us, the feeling after the article, as when I learned in childhood that Winnie the Pooh is not Russian, indignation and anger .
    1. Kuroneko
      Kuroneko 30 September 2019 18: 41
      +8
      Quote: gabonskijfront
      The tank is our everything, there is no country where the tank is so loved. I think it is not fair that it was not born with us

      Oh?
      I’m not talking about Mendeleev’s tank (it only remained a sketch, like Voltaire’s “tank”), but I don’t know about Porokhovshchikov’s All-terrain vehicle?

      PS And Winnie the Pooh, Pinocchio and the Wizard of the Emerald City - it is rather arrangements, and although they have a lot in common with the originals, they are independent works. Especially the Wizard, who after the first book completely moved away from the original source - "The Land of Oz".
      1. Alexander Efremov_2
        Alexander Efremov_2 6 October 2019 04: 56
        0
        there is no prophet in his own country. and what hasn’t changed, what used to be that now we are looking abroad and we cannot see what is next.
  3. Kuroneko
    Kuroneko 30 September 2019 18: 27
    +6
    The contract for the purchase of 50 tanks with a prepayment of half of the cars was immediately rejected, and Halepsky's eyes turned to the cars of John Walter Christie. The characteristics of the M1928 and M940 machines were astounding - the then-wheeled caterpillar track and a top speed of 100 km / h were ideal for the offensive war strategy that prevailed then in the Soviet Union. Christie in 1931 sold for 164 thousand dollars, in fact, everything on this project - two copies of the tank with documentation, as well as the right to manufacture and operate the machine within the Soviet Union. Very successful for Walter Christie turned up negotiations with the Poles, also wanting to buy tanks. This made the Halepsky delegation much more accommodating - no one in the USSR wanted to give American cars to a potential enemy.

    Everything was somewhat wrong. More details in my second part of the article on Christie's tanks:
    http://forum.wotblitz.ru/index.php?/topic/3435-журнал-молния-шестой-выпуск/page__pid__60649#entry60649
    1. vladcub
      vladcub 30 September 2019 19: 59
      +3
      Interestingly, can you find the full version of your article on the net?
      1. Kuroneko
        Kuroneko 30 September 2019 20: 12
        +3
        This is difficult because wrote them for the forum magazine VG (photos in the article, by the way, have already been loved). the problem is more that the devil pulled me in parallel to touch the "sacred" - the Victory Banner (I debunked the myth of Yegorov and Kantaria, wrote about the real flame-bearer Grigory Bulatov and about the machinations, lies, fairy tales and attempts to appropriate someone else's glory to Berest and Neustroev). So the admins tried to wipe out a lot of things. But in general - if you take only Christie and his tanks - then here's the first part for you (it even with all the photos, because they still managed to make it in the format of an electronic magazine):
        https://en.calameo.com/read/0035708796cf11f4fedec
        Well, I gave the link to the second part above, but I will repeat it again: http://forum.wotblitz.ru/index.php?/topic/3435-log- lightning- sixth- issue/page__pid__60649#entry60649
        If you are interested in the Victory Banner - knock on the PM. 2 parts out of three remained only in the global Internet archive of the Wayback Machine (it is a pity that the second, most important, about Berest and Neustroev was lost entirely).
        According to Christie, the third part was never completed due to personal circumstances. But it is already to our reader and not so interesting, because it would have talk about British Christie tanks.
        PS If you are interested in the Banner - knock on the PM. I still remember links to non-deleted versions in the Weybek Machine. And, I also remembered that for some reason the administrators also deleted the tank article "Trophies in the Service of Victory", which dealt with the use of German tanks in the Red Army. I do not know why. Someone somehow denigrates?
        1. ser56
          ser56 1 October 2019 16: 19
          +1
          Thanks for the links!
  4. Lexus
    Lexus 30 September 2019 18: 40
    -2
    Then the situation on the exchanges did not focus. It is necessary - it means it is necessary!
  5. Undecim
    Undecim 30 September 2019 19: 02
    +5
    In February 1928, the Kremlin spent 70 thousand dollars on the German designer Joseph Volmer, who was supposed to develop a light tank project weighing up to 8 tons for the USSR. They asked Volmer for a reason - he was the one who was developing the famous German A-7V, as well as the kids Leichter Kampfwagen. The design proposed by the German engineer was not implemented, but served as the basis for Czech KH tanks, as well as the Swedish Landsverk-5 vehicle and the Landsverk La-30 tank. With a certain degree of certainty, we can say that Soviet dollars paid for the appearance of the tank industry in Sweden - Volmer later sold many of the developments in the USSR in a Scandinavian country.
    The history of Soviet tank building seems to have been disassembled and studied to the smallest detail, nevertheless, the author managed to create another Internet legend about the "Swedish tank industry paid for with Soviet dollars"
    For the author’s information, the creation of the Swedish Landsverk-5 and Landsverk La-30 tanks. Volmer has no relation whatsoever. They were developed by another German designer, Otto Merker. From 1929 to 1936, Merker worked at the Swedish company Landsverk, where he headed the development department.
    As for Volmer, he never worked in the USSR and no one personally spent money on him. The money was spent in 1927 on two KH.60 tanks from Skoda. These tanks were developed with the participation of Volmer.
    1. Evgeny Fedorov
      30 September 2019 19: 08
      +4
      Source - "Tanks of the Kaiser" Fedoseev S. Magazine "Bronekollektsiya" 1996 №6
      1. Undecim
        Undecim 30 September 2019 20: 15
        +7
        Fedoseev was mistaken. First, Ernst Wendeler and Bohuslav Dorn of Hanomag developed this wheel-track system in 1920. Volmer improved it and already in 1923 the Czechoslovak Ministry of Defense bought him a project for 1,3 million kroons, and in 1924 two KH-50s were already built.
        Czechoslovak armored fighting vehicles 1918-1945, Bellona Publishing, by Charles K. Kliment and Hilary Louis Doyle, 1979.
        Zincke, Gisela; Peter L. Albrecht (2003). Joseph Vollmer - Designer and Pioneer. Gaggenau: Buch & Bild Helma Wessel. (English Edition)
        1. Catfish
          Catfish 1 October 2019 16: 33
          +1
          Good afternoon, Vic Nikolaitch. To Syom Fedoseyev, more precisely to what he writes, you need to be treated with some caution. He never had a specialized education on any topic for which he undertook, and he did not serve anywhere, and until the mid-nineties he did not hold weapons in his hands, everything was only in magazines and books.
          1. Undecim
            Undecim 1 October 2019 17: 23
            0
            Yes, it's too late, already went for a walk "nonsense in the village." Already below, someone ser56 admires the article, finding in it "a lot of new things".
            Such "writers" who write about everything in a row are in the majority today, and thanks to such "scribes" as on the website, all this is spreading.
        2. Castro Ruiz
          Castro Ruiz 4 October 2019 14: 46
          0
          KH eto Kolohousenka.
      2. BAI
        BAI 30 September 2019 23: 12
        +1
        The designer is really a Merker. You hurried to replicate the article on other resources. By the way, the name Landsverk is often found L-30, not Landsverk La.
  6. Krasnoyarsk
    Krasnoyarsk 30 September 2019 19: 24
    +3
    And why the article does not mention MS-1 at all? Although a copy of the Frenchman, but still his product.
    1. Kote Pan Kokhanka
      Kote Pan Kokhanka 30 September 2019 21: 39
      +1
      However, like the TG-1 - Grotesque?
      1. Undecim
        Undecim 30 September 2019 22: 03
        +4
        The author has not reached the TG tank yet. Grotte has not yet arrived in the USSR.
  7. parusnik
    parusnik 30 September 2019 19: 58
    +4
    the tsarist government, to the best of its ability, nevertheless spent money on promising developments — we all remember Lebedenko’s wheel tank, terrifying in size, (Tsar Tank).
    ... is it with Maybach engines, from a downed German airship?
    1. Amurets
      Amurets 30 September 2019 23: 51
      +6
      Quote: parusnik
      .This is with Maybach engines, from a downed German airship?

      Yes, Russia has always had problems with engine building. Even the fact that the production of R.Diesel diesel engines for the first time was mastered in Russia did not move the motor industry in Russia much. For reference: R. Diesel created an engine of the so-called compressor type, in which fuel was supplied to the cylinders by air compressed under high pressure. In fact, the version of ICE that is being used now is the Trinkler cycle. By the way, in Wiki, however much we like to refer to it, this is described quite accessible.
      But in general, at that time, the beginning of the twentieth century, there was no motor construction in the Republic of Ingushetia, or rather it was not.
      And further. The first production light tanks T-18 or MS-1 were used in the conflict on the CER. It was possible to break through the strip of the fortified area without too much loss only with the help of armored vehicles. Soviet tanks were represented by vehicles of the MS-1 brand, which were mass-produced in the USSR. They put forward this armored vehicle secretly, without disclosure in the troops. In total, the Red Army men had one company MS-1.
      Source: https://armflot.ru/kampanii/272-sovetskie-tanki-v-konflikte-na-kvzhd
  8. tank-master
    tank-master 30 September 2019 21: 30
    +5
    You read and understand ... that the grief of the scribbler, he writes without knowing the topic ... about the T-18 he forgot to write at all, about the T-12 and T-24 .. they were different tanks, the first experimental, the second series ... but they were the first medium tanks in the USSR.
  9. ser56
    ser56 1 October 2019 16: 16
    +1
    Thanks for the article, there are quite a lot of new things for me and for the photo!
  10. John22
    John22 1 October 2019 21: 01
    +1
    Yes, inaccuracies and completeness of information are present. But maybe a grain of truth will still appear.