Assembling the T-34 in the Krasnoy Sormov workshop. Source: rsormovo.nnov.ru
Translation of production tanks T-34 to evacuated enterprises in the first year of the war seriously affected the quality of armored vehicles produced. In 1942, a situation arose when tankers often simply refused to attack with extremely carelessly assembled tanks. For example, engineer-colonel G. I. Zukher from GABTU complained about the low production level of "thirty-fours" from Uralmash. In sea trials, out of 5 participating tanks, 2 armored vehicles were out of order, not having covered 15 kilometers. One T-34 traveled 130 kilometers, after which it was repaired, and the remaining vehicles coped with the mileage at the cost of many hours of downtime to eliminate minor malfunctions. Zuher writes:
"It is impossible to make marches on such tanks, and it is impossible to go into battle without the risk of loss of people and materiel."
This история illustrates the situation at the end of 1942. On the fronts, so many complaints about the quality of the T-34 were accumulated that Stalin personally drew attention to the problem. Among the instructions to the People's Commissariat of Tank Industry on June 5, 1942 from the Supreme Commander, there were demands to improve the quality of the tank in one and a half to two months, pay attention to the impossibility of long transitions without breakdowns, and also increase the reliability of the T-34 transmission. Stalin demanded that the tank be simple, rough, tough and suitable for a medium tanker. It came to the non-interchangeability of individual large units (for example, towers) on two tanks from different factories.
Modern view of "Krasny Sormov". Source: ru.wikipedia.org
While the situation with most of the tank enterprises in the industry was slowly changing, there were certain difficulties with tank assembly production at plant No. 112 "Krasnoe Sormovo". By the beginning of 1943, in the unofficial quality rating of T-34 tanks, plant No. 112 from the Gorky region occupied the last line - in the first place were vehicles from plant No. 183 in Nizhny Tagil. Stalin in one of his letters to Malyshev in the middle of 1943 writes about this:
"... and in conclusion, comrade Malyshev, I really want to hope that you will finally be able to do something with the" Sormovo freak ", which our tankers are afraid to fight on."
What was wrong with the T-34 tank, which came out of the gates of one of the country's oldest shipyards? A few excerpts from the archives:
“Tanks of plant No. 112 are notable for careless assembly ... Welded seams of various thicknesses, in some cases excessively lumpy, intermittent ... long marches in the fuel system of the tank may cause a leak of gasoline and its spontaneous combustion ... "
Yes, there is no mistake: until 1942, the tanks from Krasny Sormovo were equipped with M-17T and M-17F carburetor engines due to the lack of V-2 diesels.
The date of the beginning of the work of the Krasnoye Sormovo plant as a tank-building enterprise can be considered July 1, 1941, when the decree of the State Defense Committee (GKO) of the USSR No. 1ss was signed. In two months, the factory workers needed to rebuild the production line and give the country the first tanks on September 1. Looking ahead, let us mention that the plans were adjusted (GKO decree # 81ss), and tanks were expected from Krasny Sormov in August. As a result, the first T-34s appeared only in September in a scanty amount of 5 copies, and in total 161 gasoline tanks were assembled by the end of the year, while the plan required 710 vehicles. For comparison: in 1942, 465 T-34s were assembled with carburetor engines and 2115 with V-2 diesels.
T-34 from the "Red Sormov", knocked out near Moscow in late 1941. It is likely that they were equipped with an M-17 carburetor. Source: waralbum.ru
The armor for the tanks was to be supplied to the factory workers by the Kulebak Metallurgical Plant, and the carburetor M-17 by the Gorky Automobile. The Engine of the Revolution plant was responsible for the supply of gearboxes, the Gorky Milling Machine Plant produced rollers and polished gears for the checkpoint, main and side clutches. At the Gudok Oktyabrya plant, the tracks were processed and the tracks were assembled, and the Murom steam locomotive repair plant No. 176 was busy with the manufacture of front and support wheels, processing and assembly of sloths. And this is not a complete list of subcontractors, on which the intensity of the T-34 assembly process depended.
You can learn more about how the management process was organized at the enterprises of the defense industry in the historical series “Bulletin of Voronezh State University”. In one of the materials, the authors E.I. Podrepny and P.V. Pustyrev quote the words of veterans of the Vyksa plant of crushing and grinding equipment, which is engaged in processing the shoulder straps of the towers:
“At the beginning of July 1941 the Deputy People's Commissar of the Tank Industry came to the plant. Gathered all the plant managers in the director's office. He sat down at the director's table. He took a pistol out of his trouser pocket, put it on the table, and covered it with a sheet of paper. I read the decree of the State Defense Committee of 01.07.41/34/34 on organizing the production of T-28 tanks at the Krasnoe Sormovo plant and gave the task: to organize the serial production of turret shoulder straps for the T-450 tank, the term is a month for development. He warned that if during this time the task is not completed, then the leaders guilty of the disruption will be held accountable as for sabotage under the laws of wartime. The director of the plant, N. Ye. Volkov, immediately ordered all managers to put folding beds in their offices, and not a single manager had the right to leave the territory of the plant without the personal permission of the director of the plant. As a result of hard work on the 1942th day, the first set of shoulder straps was made, and by the end of the year 2140 shoulder straps were produced, and in XNUMX - XNUMX sets. "
Nevertheless, none of the suppliers of the Krasnoye Sormovo plant was able to cope with the assigned tasks - the parts were sent to the plant either at the wrong time or not in full.
Time of hard decisions
The Krasnoye Sormovo plant was not 100% a tank enterprise. In early July 1941, the plant was instructed to increase the number of submarines delivered (main production) to 23 units. The GKO decree of July 13, 1941 obliged plant No. 112 to organize the production of tools, forgings, finished products and assemblies for the 76-mm divisional gun and supply them to plant No. 92 "on time according to the schedule of plant No. 92", as well as transfer to the system The People's Commissariat of Armament is a new open-hearth shop. In general, with such a load on the enterprise, an understandable wide degree of tank cooperation with local factories in the Gorky Region becomes understandable: otherwise it was impossible to organize production.
The Krasnoye Sormovo plant until 1943 suffered from a shortage of almost all resources and raw materials. Suppliers and subcontractors treated the plant like an ugly duckling and chronically sent the company illiquid assets. The aforementioned "Gudok Oktyabrya" stopped the assembly of tanks several times, not delivering tracks on time. As a result, in November 1941, the Sormovites themselves began to cast track links, which were also in short supply. At one of the moments of the plant's work, a situation arose when seventy T-34s without tracks stood on the site of finished products. The situation was reversed only by organizing stamping production of track links following the example of the Stalingrad Tank Plant.
T-34 of the Polish Army with shielded armor. This technique was produced in small batches at Krasny Sormovo. Source: waralbum.ru
The real disaster was the lack of labor: by the end of 1941, an additional 2400 workers were required! Over the next six months, only 964 specialists were trained on their own on a very truncated program. The reaction of the People's Commissar of the Tank Industry VA Malyshev on February 1, 1942, who was indignant: "... in the People's Commissariat for Tank Industry, the cooperation of tank factories among themselves is unsatisfactory" is indicative. Interestingly, in order to solve this problem, V.A.Malyshev allowed to book 8 thousand tons of fuel oil and immediately organize the shipment of 1 sets of quilted trousers, quilted jackets and leather boots, 000 thousand packs of tobacco, 45 thousand packs of tobacco, 30 boxes of matches and 100 tons of soap for "Red Sormov". On February 25, 13, the Council of People's Commissars allowed to borrow from the mobilization reserve of plant number 1942 for the production of tanks 112 kg will be victorious with a return during 50.
Somewhat earlier, at the end of 1941, VA Malyshev resolved issues of the plant's lag behind plans in a completely different way. When the order of the People's Commissar of State Control No. 10ss "On the unsatisfactory state of production of T-708 tanks at the plant No. 34 of the Narkomtankoprom" was issued on October 112, Vyacheslav Aleksandrovich dismissed GI Kuzmin as chief engineer. Later, a military tribunal and imprisonment awaited the engineer. Plant director D. V. Mikhalev, due to the actual disruption of plans for the production of T-34, was also dismissed and tried. He was more fortunate - he did not receive a real term and remained at Krasny Sormovo as chief engineer. In May 1942, Efim Emmanuilovich Rubinchik became the director of Plant No. 112, whose name is associated with an increase in the production of T-34 tanks.
The ending should ...