American roots on Ukrainian soil
In the previous part material about KrAZ-214 it was mentioned that the roots of the triaxial giant design are rooted in American Lendliz cars. In the comments of readers, one can find regret about the partial or even full borrowing of overseas engineering solutions. Indeed, before the winners of World War II lay the technological potential of half of Europe, Germany and Czechoslovakia alone could share almost the most advanced designs in the world. Czechs willingly shared with German industry at one time. Nevertheless, the choice of American approaches for the Soviet military (and not only) automobile industry is more than justified.
Firstly, the Soviet troops with the magnificent Studebaker and others like him forged a victory in the war. Cars were respected for reliability and unpretentiousness. Technical solutions of American wheeled vehicles were tested in the most severe front-line conditions. Secondly, the borrowing of German engineering ideas, with all their perfection and grace, would be a frank disregard for the opinion of the people who won the war. In addition, the high technical culture of production at factories, for example, Mercedes-Benz and Krupp, did not allow to quickly and painlessly master assembly in the USSR - the country was in ruins. And with all due respect to the German engineering school in the conditions of the Eastern Front, technology did not always show its best side - excessive complexity and high cost of solutions affected. Although the unpretentious German Opel Kadett K38 was nevertheless requisitioned, as a result of which the MZMA received an impulse for development for many years. Thirdly, the American auto industry had long-standing close ties with Soviet Russia - the giant plant in Gorky was built according to Ford's patterns, and this is far from the only example. And government limousines almost until the sunset of the Soviet Union were developed with an eye to overseas cars. That is why at the heart of many models of domestic army vehicles, we see echoes of American ideas. So it was with the ZIL-157, it happened with the KrAZ-214.
KrAZ, to which a semitrailer with steered wheels on a trolley is docked. Photo: autowp.ru
The all-wheel drive KrAZ was not the first-born of the Kremenchug Automobile Plant. On April 10, 1959, a dump truck with an index of 222 and the Dnepr own name came out of the gates of the enterprise. It was the first and last model among the heavy Ukrainian trucks, which was given a name at birth. In the future, KrAZ received exclusively national nicknames. The head of the assembly shop A. S. Danilenko characteristically talks about how they mastered the production of previously unusual products in Kremenchug (I recall that heavy trucks came to Ukraine from Yaroslavl):
“We get in under the car with the assembler and the shop manager, Comrade Goryainov, and try to connect the nodes. Either the nut does not fall into place, then the cotter pin does not go ... The engine was installed on the frame initially for a day and a half, and now we install in three minutes. ”
Over time, KrAZ switched from a slipway assembly to a conveyor assembly - for this a 260-meter production line was prepared.
Tanker AKTS-4-214 for the delivery and distribution of rocket fuel. Photo: autowp.ru
A feature of the army operation of KrAZ was the use of special units and platforms designed exclusively for these heavy vehicles - they simply could not fit into the rest. Actually, the appearance of the KrAZ-214 in the Soviet Army made it possible to create a class of heavy engineering vehicles - excavators, pontoon and heavy mechanized bridges. At the same time, for the entire time of the release of the 214th version, only two modifications managed to be issued - 214B and 214M. In the first case, it was a modernized car with a 24-volt on-board electrical system, a reinforced front axle and final drive, unified with both rear axles. KrAZ-214M was equipped with shielded equipment.
Machine engineers and pontoons
While still under the “brand” YaAZ-214, the hero of our stories tried on a rare carrier role weapons. The most famous was the 2K5 Korshun complex, which for some time was produced at the very beginning of the conveyor life of the machine. Behind the cockpit of the YaAZ (later KrAZ), there were six guides with ZR-7 missiles with a caliber of 250 mm with a firing range of 55 km. We can say that at that time it was the most difficult MLRS in the USSR, which, however, did not satisfy the military with low accuracy and was eventually withdrawn from service. One of the few surviving “Korshuns” is kept in the St. Petersburg Museum of Artillery, however, the weapon is already the late KrAZ-214. In the book of Evgeny Kochnev "Cars of the Soviet Army 1946-1991." data are provided that the Vikhr tactical missile systems (range up to 90 km) and even two 034 model ballistic missiles (range up to 60 km) were mounted on the base of the Yaroslavl machine. Experimental work was carried out to install the 2K6 Luna complex missile on the machine, but still such a massive structure was excessive even for the giant KrAZ, and he lost it to the four-axle ZIL-135B (ZIL-135L).
The engineering career of YaAZ and later KrAZ in the Soviet Army began in 1957, when a military excavator crane E-305 was built at the Kalinin Excavator Plant, and two years later a wheeled evacuation conveyor TK-38 with the PS-1 semi-trailer was developed, intended for transportation of damaged equipment weighing up to 1 tons. An excavator-crane based on an all-wheel drive machine was a long-awaited machine for the army and the national economy, which had no analogues before - all previous vehicles were notable for low mobility and cross-country ability.
Medium wheeled evacuation tractor, mod. TK1: 1 - winch; 2 - antisplash wing; 3 - box; 4 - a saddle device; 5 - guide. Photo: gruzovikpress.ru
Semi-trailer, mod. PS1: 1 - spare tire; 2, 3 - boxes for property; 4 - ramp in the stowed position; 5, 8, 9 - horizontal rollers; 6, 7 - vertical rollers. Photo: gruzovikpress.ru
Troop excavator crane E-305. Photo: autowp.ru
Initially, the E-305 was equipped with a “direct” or “backhoe” with a capacity of 0,3 m3 and with a loading capacity of 400 kg, and also a ten-meter trellised arrow in a configuration of the crane. However, the very first tests showed that with such a long boom one would have to wait - outriggers were not provided on the machine and, at maximum load on the boom, the wheels with low pressure were deformed, the body rolled and was ready to roll over at any moment. In addition, it was inconvenient to carry such long arrow trusses by car, and the idea was abandoned. We also had to abandon the clamshell equipment, which allows us to make the E-305 a truly universal machine. As a result, a crane with a lifting capacity of 5 tons was still left in the structure - for this they used full-time excavator mechanics. For the drive of excavating and crane equipment, a 48 L diesel engine UMZ was installed behind the operator's cab. from. This was enough to dig 1-4 shelters for military equipment or 5 pit of 4-meter depth in 305 hour. The E excavator was adopted not only by engineering, but also by other branches of the army, as well as parts of the Naval fleet USSR (order of the Minister of Defense No. 24 of February 20, 1960). In the future, the evolution of KrAZ excavation equipment was already connected with the new model with the index 255B and the transition from a cable drive units to hydraulic.
The transportation of acid melange for missiles was one of the possible options for using the remarkable potential of KrAZ-214 in military operation. For this purpose, a special tank AKTS-4-214M for 4000 liters served, and for especially large batches of rocket fuel, a truck tractor with a huge tanker TZ-16 worked.
The real visiting card of the military KrAZ trucks was pontoon bridge parks (PMP) and heavy mechanized bridges (TMM). The legendary PMP, which has become the object of unscrupulous copying for many foreign countries, first took up combat duty on the basis of the KrAZ-214. A unit of military pontooner engineers, armed with 36 KrAZ trucks, over the course of half an hour threw a 227-meter bridge designed for 60-ton cars over the water barrier. TMM was the first of its kind in the Soviet Army and was intended for the installation of a double-track bridge, also designed for 60 tons of load. The bridge consisted of four spans (in the longest version) and allowed to overcome obstacles up to 40 meters wide.
Car number 253
With all due respect to the KrAZ production of the initial period, it should be noted that the entire production line by the beginning of the 60s was obsolete both morally and technically. At that time, the KrAZ-214 all-wheel drive, the KrAZ-222 Dnepr dump truck, the KrAZ-219 onboard and the KrAZ-221 truck tractor came out of the gates of the Kremenchug plant. All these machines, to one degree or another, became legendary in their niche simply because they had no analogues in the Soviet Union, but urgently required, if not replacement, then at least modernization. Naturally, the interests of the Ministry of Defense were first to be taken into account in this queue, which already in 1961 formulated requirements for a new family of cars, consisting of two variations: an onboard 8-ton truck 6x6 and a road train with a carrying capacity of 15 tons with an 8x8 wheel arrangement and an active semi-trailer.
Onboard KrAZ-E253B of the first modification with a cabin from MAZ-500. 1962 year. Photo: autoreview.ru
This promising family was planned to be actively involved in working with strategic weapons, air defense systems and other important government tasks, so all the developments on the program were strictly secret. In 1962, two special design bureaus were created in Kremenchug at once - the first was engaged in the refinement of serial machines, and in the second they set about implementing new ideas of the military. As we understand, the most famous KrAZ-255B was born from the first SKB in the future, which also became the most massive. But if the achievements of SKB No. 2 would be embodied in a series, then trucks without a hood layout would become KrAZ customary for us. Work on the new machine at SKB No. 2 went quickly and at first did not even have time to create their own cabin located above the engine - they borrowed it from the Minsk MAZ-500. The design, which was proposed in Kremenchug, is respected even now. The cabless layout allowed to free up a lot of space for the cargo compartment, which favorably distinguished the car, which received the name KrAZ-E253B, from its nosy serial counterparts.
A prototype KrAZ-E259B road train with a MAZ cab and an active KrAZ-E834B semi-trailer with a carrying capacity of 15 tons. 1962 year. Photo: autoreview.ru
As the engine, the latest Yaroslavl 240-horsepower four-stroke YaMZ-238 diesel engine was used, and the gearbox was generally an automatic 5-speed. The car accelerated to 60 km / h and spent up to 45 liters of diesel per 100 km of track. In accordance with the assignment of the Ministry of Defense, work was underway on a machine with an active semi-trailer - the road train was named KrAZ-E259B and could take on board up to 15 tons of cargo. Progress on the project reached the top by 1964, when the onboard KrAZ-E253 and four-wheel drive five-axle active road train with the long name KrAZ-E259-E834 were created. A new angular cabin, centralized pumping of wheels, a YaMZ-238N turbodiesel with a capacity of 310 liters appeared. from. and more reliable 8-speed manual transmission. Important was the emergence of a hydraulic booster instead of an archaic pneumatic. The update allowed to raise the maximum carrying capacity of the on-board vehicle to 9 tons, and the top speed - to 71 km / h.
Cars of the second generation differed, including the design of the cab of their own design. Photo: autoreview.ru
Within eight months, both experimental trucks passed about 64 thousand kilometers as part of the tests. In many ways, they turned out to be successful machines. After a number of improvements, they returned to the tests in 1967, while the KrAZ-214B, the newly appeared experimental KrAZ-255B and the Miass car class lower than the Ural-375D, were chosen as sparring partners. The beskapotny KrAZ with a margin went around everyone on the ground and on hard pavement, and the State Commission concluded:
“The KrAZ-E253 car, in comparison with the serial KrAZ-214B and the prototype KrAZ-255B, has higher traction and dynamic characteristics, better cross-country ability, high fuel efficiency and in its parameters is at the level of the best army vehicles of foreign countries.”
But in 1967, the KrAZ-255B, which in many ways was only an improved version of the 214th machine, got on the conveyor in Kremenchug and lived on in production until 1993. In 1968, SKB-2 made its last attempt and provided the final iteration of the cabless KrAZ, the cabin of which now resembled a GAZ-66. The onboard truck received the name KrAZ-2E253, the road train - KrAZ-2E259-2E834. In many ways, the breakthrough project was closed with the wording of the State Committee for Defense Technology:
“Stop all work on the KrAZ-253. Seal the design documentation and deposit ”.
Ruts of a dirt road during the spring off-road after passing through it experienced pilotless KrAZ trucks. Source: "KrAZ. People. Plant. Cars"
The reason was simple: the cost of the car was 60% higher than the usual KrAZ bonnet hood, and the production of many truck components would have to be mastered with great difficulties - subcontractors were often not ready for this.
Be that as it may, the work on the 253rd machine was the first of its kind for the Kremenchug plant, they allowed the formation of the design headquarters, to prove engineering independence, and many years later to use the developments in the Otkrytie family. True, it also ended in nothing.