Tank Competency Center
38th Scientific Research Test Order of the October Revolution Red Banner Institute Marshal of the armored forces Fedorenko, or simply the NIBT Polygon, was transferred from Kubinka, Moscow Region, to Kazan in the autumn of 1941. The capital of the Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was, as you know, long involved in the work on tank subject. So the evacuated institute was placed in the buildings of the former "Technical Courses of Osoaviahim", or the Kama school, which has been training tankers since the beginning of the 20s. By the beginning of the war, the largest tank school in the country already existed in Kazan, which was further supplemented by a training center for crews of British tanks Valentine and Matilda. The list of tank assets does not end there: rembase No. 8 was transferred from Kiev, which later became a factory for the restoration of captured equipment. Until mid-1944, the tank repair plant restored about 640 enemy tanks, and in 1943, 349 armored vehicles at once. At this enterprise, over time, they mastered the restoration of the damaged Tigers and Panthers.
Test report of imported and captured tanks. [/ Size
Test report of imported and captured tanks. [/ Size
The first comparative study of armored vehicles by NIBT specialists was the sea trials of the T-34, Pz.Kpfw.III, Matilda III and Valentine II. At the new site, the investigation was only possible on January 27, 1942, although the corresponding directive of the General Staff came back in December. The German side in this armored four was represented by a tank lost by the Wehrmacht back in July 1941 (then the 18th Panzer Division left the equipment on the battlefield). In the course of the tests, the T-34 proved its superiority in cross-country ability both in virgin snow and in overcoming anti-tank ditches.
By the summer of 1942, the Main Armored Directorate of the Red Army instructed to conduct special tests of imported and captured tanks, which will be discussed in this article.
The report, signed by Colonel Engineer Alexander Maksimovich Sych, Head of Division 1 of the Polygon, at the end of July, shows the following tanks (in parentheses from the original from 1942): Medium Tank M3 1941 (American M-3 medium tank), Light Tank M3 1941 (American M-3 light tank), Valentine VII of 1942 (Canadian Mk-III Valentine VII), Pz.Kpfw.III of 1940 (German T-III) and Pz.Kpfw. 38 (t) Ausf. E 1939 (Czechoslovak tank "Prague" TNG-S "38t). The last armored car fell into the hands of the Red Army in August 1941 in the battle for Krapivino. Trophy tanks before the tests were repaired in the workshops of the institute. There was another idea to test the British Mk-III Valentine tanks with the AEC A190 engine and the Mk-IIa with the Leyland engine, but there were no serviceable vehicles at the training ground.
Who is the best?
The test program had a mandatory mileage of at least 1000 kilometers by each tank under various road conditions. In the process, the maximum speed, fuel consumption, geometric cross-country ability and ability to overcome the swamp and water obstacle were determined. The tanks were supposed to ply along the highway on the Kazan - Laishevo section, along country roads, as well as plowing, meadows, and wet sand. The most interesting thing is that only imported tanks were able to fulfill the mileage standard and even surpass it, with the Light Tank M3 being 2020 kilometers. Wehrmacht cars fled much earlier due to breakdowns.
Separately regulated fuel quality. Since the Canadian Valentine VII was in Kazan with a GMC 6-71 two-stroke diesel engine, the only diesel fuel prescribed to him. And with the "Americans" there were difficulties. High-octane gasoline was not available, so B-70 was used, and tetraethyl lead or TPP additive had to deal with inevitable detonation. 3 cm was added to the Light Tank M1 gas tank for every kilogram of fuel3 additives, and for the Medium Tank M3, the same weight of TPP gasoline already required three times more. Additives were not supposed to be captured tanks, and they ran on a standard B-70. In principle, the technical operating conditions allowed the use of Wehrmacht machines with an octane rating of 72-74, while the "Americans" demanded 80th gasoline.
The lightest American tank (250 hp. At 12,7 tons), which on the cobblestone and gravel road was able to reach 60 km / h, turned out to be the fastest. Canadian Valentine VII with its 180 l. from. weighing 17 tons failed the test - the maximum speed is only 26 km / h. There was no worse result. It is noteworthy that the testers, despite the frank low-speed tank, curtsy in his direction, noting a relatively high average speed. The explanation is simple: good engine throttle response and well-selected gears in the gearbox. I surprised everyone with the T-III, which accelerated to 45 km / h, which exceeded the passport data.
What the test tanks could not be reproached for was their modest appetite for fuel. The 27-ton Medium Tank M3 off-road (arable land, meadows and wet sand) showed an astounding 570 liters per 100 kilometers! And this is the consumption of high-octane for those times, almost aviation gasoline. Naturally, the cruising range of the tank under these conditions was scanty - only 117 kilometers. The diesel “Canadian” spent the least of all under such conditions - only 190 liters of cheap diesel fuel, but due to the 180-liter tank, the cruising range did not exceed 95 kilometers. A German tank had a similar range on arable land, but gasoline consumption already amounted to 335 liters per 100 km. Czech “Prague” in this sense was easier to fight: fuel consumption of 185 l / 100 km and a range of 108 km.
Kazan Agricultural Institute has become a testing ground for tanks to overcome elevations and lateral rolls. This once again says that the Polygon did not have a specially prepared site for full-fledged research of armored vehicles. Nevertheless, the engineers managed to identify the geometric parameters of the cross-country ability of imported and captured tanks. Briefly about the conditions of the experiment. On natural slopes, the soil was covered with turf, tanks entered it from a place without acceleration and in first gear. The test for the critical roll of the machine was not static, but in motion. It turned out that the T-III (the steepness of the climb is 35 degrees) is climbing the best, and the worst are the “Americans” and the Czech Pz.Kpfw.38 (t) (30 degrees each). Valentine VII was in the middle and was able to overcome the 32-degree rise. The limiting factor in all cases was the low adhesion of the tracks to the ground: the capabilities of the motor and transmission made it possible to take large slopes. Tanks crawled at critical angles, while track rollers ran onto the crests of the tracks. With the light American M3, I had to conjure a bit during the tests: 15 special spurs were attached to the tracks. However, this did not lead to anything, but only caused the rear part of the tank to be buried in the ground. By the way, the light tank from the USA, the only one of the subjects, with a lateral roll did not drop the tracks during the movement, but intended to roll over. As a result, the best roll result is 35 degrees, the rest (except for the T-III) got rid of the tracks already at a 25-26-degree slope. The German tank held up to 32 degrees.
Water and Swamp Tests
There was no special water ford in Kazan for tank patency tests. Largely due to the unpreparedness of the Kazan site, the NIBT Polygon moved back to Kubinka in 1943. But in the summer of 1942, tanks crossed the Mesha River in the vicinity of the village of Sokury. The river was 1,4 meters deep; cars crossed it on the move at maximum engine speeds. The Medium Tank M3 was the first to go wrong when it dashingly passed the river, but at the exit from it it flooded the engine compartment and took a sip of water with an air intake located vertically in the aft sheet. The light tank from the USA managed to do everything much better than the elder brother - he got ashore himself (although from the second attempt), and also did not get water into the engine. In light M3, air intake is carried out in a vertical aft sheet, which saves when going ashore. Canadian Valentine VII crossed the 1,4-meter river easily, but could not climb the muddy shore. The driver drove back, and river water flooded the engine compartment of the tank above the level of the air cleaner. They pulled out the tank with the Voroshilovets tractor. Despite the failure, the engineers again praised the tank for its high speed in the river due to the throttle response of a diesel engine. When it came to the trophy T-III and Prague, they didn’t even get to the shore: at a depth of 1,3 meters, water flooded the motors. You can only sympathize with the testers. Filled tanks had to be evacuated, the engine disassembled, the water poured from the air cleaner, intake manifold and cylinders, the electrical equipment dried, the engine oil changed and the chassis lubricated.
Testers had to look for a swamp for tanks in the area of the villages of Boriskovo and Bolshoy Otary. It turned out to be the old riverbed 100 meters long and 1,2 meters deep, which, however, was quite passable for humans. They guessed very well with the weather - it rained for 27 hours before the races. Tanks crossed the obstacle in a straight line there and back without shifting gears. The 3-ton medium M30 got stuck after 3 meters, they tried to extract it using a log, but they broke the track and pulled it out already with two tractors. The light M50 turned out to be great and in a fresh place overcame the swamp back and forth, but when the testers drove it into the swamp in its own tracks, it got stuck. Valentine VII successfully completed the task, but stumbled on its own, but crawled out of the swamp with a log. T-III walked 38 meters and was hopelessly bogged down, unlike the fellow Pz.Kpfw.XNUMX (t), who ran the swamp back and forth.
In the final comparison, the testers noted the inconsistency of the parameters of the presented tanks, but they especially highlighted the American cars for high reliability and the ability of the average M3 to transport 10 fighters with machine guns. The trophy cars, on the other hand, did not show themselves in anything special, while they openly failed the water procedures and finally failed even before overcoming 1000 kilometers.