We are talking about allied wheeled, tracked and semi-tracked armored personnel carriers.
On September 15, a British reconnaissance aircraft flying to the rear of the 1916, flying around the Somme River, immediately got into the world press: "The tank is moving along the main street of the Fleur village, and the British soldiers are following him in a good mood." It was a tank MK-1.
32 his fellow attacked the Germans and managed to advance during the day into the depths of the German defense at 5 km, and the British losses were X times less than normal. So a new formidable appeared during the First World War. weapon. Its psychological effect was impossible to overestimate, but it soon became clear that the interaction of tanks with infantry suffered greatly. The infantrymen did not have time for the tanks on the ground pitted with craters, the infantry was cut off with machine gun and artillery fire, it suffered heavy losses.
The soldiers had to somehow cover with armor and "deliver" to the enemy trenches, where they would act independently, securing success and covering the tanks. Therefore, the command of the British tank corps after the battle of Cambrai in November 1917 ordered and a tank of a special design - the carrier of the infantry.
First in stories The armored personnel carrier was named MK-9. It was based on the design of the first tank MK-1, from which dismantled weapons and airborne sponsons. The body was slightly extended, having placed on each side two oval-shaped doors with hatches for rifle shooting. The machine could take on board up to 30 infantry or 10 tons of cargo. According to modern classification, it was a heavy armored personnel carrier, but with anti-bullet reservation. A total of about 35 of such machines were released, but they did not have time to take part in the hostilities before signing a truce.
The massive use of tanks led to the formation of armored weapons. During the largest tank battle of the First World, Amiens 1918 operation of the year, the Allies had already expanded the "assortment" and used transporters, radio tanks, bridge laying tanks, engineering fencing tanks, tanks - artillery guns.
The new model of the tank MK-5 due to its size has already allowed itself to take on board a small landing force. During the Amiens operation, the MK-5 tanks delivered two Lewis machine guns and two Hotchiss machine guns to the frontier boundaries, along with calculations that, after landing from the tank, reflected German counterattacks.
The tanks in this battle repeatedly had to return and clean up the enemy’s trenches again, dragging the infantry behind him. They radically changed the general character of the battle, provided that they were massive, they were suddenly used on a wide front with depth separation. But the tanks needed the support of artillery to suppress the fire of enemy guns and the fire of anti-tank guns; it was necessary to accompany the infantry, which would provide security and occupied the terrain; required sappers to overcome obstacles; necessary were motorized intelligence and service of the rear. It became obvious that all these units should be included in the composition of armored forces. But also other branches of the troops could not successfully interact with tanks without mechanized vehicles ...
The initiative to develop the mechanized forces in the 20 – 30's belonged to England. Supporters of mechanization in the British army, generals B. Liddel Garth, J. Martel, D. Fuller, proposed strengthening armor units with infantry and artillery on special armored vehicles and fully mechanizing the communications, rear, reconnaissance and sappers service. But opinions are divided. Some reputable military believed that large mixed compounds were needed, where tanks would operate with the support of other branches of the military, other equally authoritative experts insisted on complete mechanization, in which the connections would consist only of tanks and armored vehicles. Incidentally, the latter direction was adopted by the leadership of the Red Army.
In 1927, the first tactical alliance in history, using only internal combustion engines, is formed on the British military test site Salisbury Plain. It was called the experimental mechanized brigade. At the exercises, it soon became clear that wheeled vehicles could not accompany tanks on rough terrain. It was necessary to revise the requirements for auxiliary tracked vehicles, such as armored machine gun, armored gun transporter, armored supply conveyor and infantry.
And at the end of 1928, a car appeared that had a huge impact on the development of light armored vehicles around the world. This is a wedge of the British engineer D. Cardin and his partner in the company of V. Lloyd "Cardin-Lloyd MC-6", which has taken root in many countries and in many modifications. The experience of using tankettes allowed the designers of the Vickers-Armstrong company to start building conveyors for the new machine guns: the heavy Vickers and the light Bren, which did not go into the series of the Vickers-Cardin-Lloyd amphibious tank in 1936. The lightly armored car (10 mm) with a 3,7 tonne and 1,58 m height, which was open at the top, had a 8-cylinder carburetor engine with 60 – 85 hp, which allowed it to reach speeds of 48 – 180 kilometers. Her armament was 225 – 1 machine gun and 2-mm anti-tank gun “Boyce”, and the crew - depending on the modification of 14 – 2 man, landing - 3 – 3. Due to the low ground pressure of the order of 4 kg / cm0,45, the armored personnel carrier had a high maneuverability.
In 1937, the car was named the “Universal-Carrier” and became the first and most popular lightweight multi-purpose tracked armored personnel carrier of the Second World War. He was the main armored personnel carrier of the British Commonwealth, by the year 1945 was released in England around 57 000 units, in Canada - 29 000 units, in Australia - approx. 5000 units, in New Zealand - about. 1300, in the USA - about. 20000 units. The number of its modifications was just as numerous. These include an armored personnel carrier of infantry units, a carrier of weapons, an ammunition carrier, an artillery tractor, a reconnaissance vehicle, a flamethrower, an ambulance car, etc.
The first of these machines in the English army were armed reconnaissance (former cavalry) regiments in which there were 28 light tanks and 44 armored personnel carriers. The British Expeditionary Force in France in May 1940 included 7 such regiments (308 units plus 31 units in tank units). But the British almost lost all of these machines mainly in the Dunkirk area.
These cars were the first to be sent under Lend-Lease to the USSR. 1941 units arrived in 330, 1942 in 903, 1943 in 408, 1944 in 351, 1945 units in 16 g. In total, the 2008 armored personnel carriers, both English and Canadian, were received during the war years.
“Poluutank” or “Russian type of tank” - this is how Austrian major Fritz Heigl put it in his very popular then reference book “Tanks” of the 1936 release of the half-tracked armored car of the First World War “Austin Kegres”.
The design of the propeller of an armored car was patented as early as 1914 by the head of the technical part of the imperial garage and at the same time the personal driver of Nicholas II, the French-Russian engineer Adolf Kegres. In cross-country and speed, this armored car even surpassed the first British and French tanks. After emigrating from Russia in 1917, Kegres sold his invention to the French company Citroën, and it quickly found its use in Europe.
The semi-tracked type of propulsion unit made it possible to get rid of the high cost and low-speed nature of the tracked propulsion unit and at the same time gave the wheeled vehicle a good throughput. The constructive simplicity was also important, because in the wheeled car only the rear axle was replaced with a tracked propulsion unit.
Germany, who had experience of using them in the First World War, showed a keen interest in this type of machine. Under the Versailles Treaty, Germany was forbidden to have combat armored tracked vehicles, so the Germans focused on the problem of the future motorization of the army. Thanks to experimental experiments in the middle of 20-s, they came to the conclusion that it was necessary to adopt a system of half-track tractors with a pull force of 1, 3, 5, 8, 12, 18. With 1934, this program began to be implemented. From that time until 1945, more than 50 thousand tractors of all types were produced in Germany.
Influenced by the works of the tank war theorists L. Eymansberger and G. Guderian, “Tank War” (1934) and “Attention, Tanks!” (1937), a program was developed in the country to create a universal medium armored personnel carrier for the transportation of an infantry unit and a lighter half of the unit. These are armored personnel carriers of the Sd.Kfz family. 251 and Sd.Kfz.250, for the production of which were used bases of semi-tracked tractor: the three-ton Sd.Kfz.11 (firm "Hanomag") and one-color Sd.Kfz.10 (firm "Demag"). It was these machines that became the hallmark of the German Panzergrenadiers in World War II, more than 22 thousand units were produced and more than 40 modifications. The first one was launched into production in 1938, the second in the fall of 1940.
The Germans began the war in Poland, having only 68 Sd.Kfz.251, and during the occupation of France - no more than 300. Later they tried to equip one battalion in a tank division with armored personnel carriers, less often a regiment. Note that by state in the 1935 in the German tank division it was necessary to have an 421 armored personnel carrier, although such was not even created on paper !!!
"Arsenal of democracy"
The success of the blitzkrieg in the summer of 1940, the advantage in mobility and security of the Wehrmacht's motorized infantry forced the military across the ocean to think seriously. The rudimentary American tank forces demanded urgent modernization ... and motorization. The main autospring of the world should decide what type of armored vehicles to equip their army and what types to launch into production in order to truly become an “arsenal of democracy”.
And although the Americans were working on semi-tracked machines, or, as they called them, “half-trucks” since 1932, when they acquired the French chassis Citroen Kegres С417, first of all, the mass production of 1941 was launched wheeled armored reconnaissance company "White" M3 A1 "scout", manufactured in small lots with 1937 of machine weight 5,62 out with straight-six engine power carbureted 110 hp and wheel formula 4 h4 developed speed freeway 81 km / h with a margin travel up to 400 km. Equipped with armor in 12 mm and armed with one 12,7-mm and one 7,7-mm Browning machine guns, it had one-person crew and troops from 5 – 7. The machine was used as a reconnaissance patrol, command and staff, sanitary, carrier mortar, light armored personnel carrier and light gun tractor.
Scouts from 1942 were in service with reconnaissance battalions of infantry, tank divisions and armored cavalry units. Total 1941 – 1944 20994 scouts were released. These armored personnel carriers were actively supplied under Lend-Lease (11 thousand units). Starting in 1942, the Soviet Union received 3034 machines.
Diamond T Motor Company, using the hood and driver’s cab of the M3 A1 Scout armored personnel carrier, the units from the Ford v 8 truck with the 4 x2 wheel formula and the Timken rubber-track caterpillar, which has become a bulky, half-glazed, white, black and white color piece, and has a piece of black and white color, one of the white, lightly, and the black, one of the white, lightly and the black, lightly-colored and the black, lightly colored letter, is one of the kindy and the black, one of the kind of white and the black, you can get a piece of the black and the black letter, and the one in black and the black, is the year one's black and the same year's body of the black and the black letter, and the black and white letter and the black letter. truck car "and armored semi-tracked armored vehicle M2" Half-truck Personel Carrier ". Machines of the same type did not significantly differ in weight (М3 – 2 –8 t; М98 – 3 t), length (М9,06 was 3 mm longer), crew (М250 – 2 people, М2 – 3 people), landing party (MXNXX people), landing party (MXNXX people, М3 – 2 people), landing party (MXNXX people, М7 – 3 people), landing party (MXNXX people) ., М10 – 3 people.), And М13 had a stern hatch for the landing of troops. Otherwise, they had the same armor (1 mm), armament (12,7 x1 and 7,7 x147-mm machine guns), both axles, six-cylinder carburetor engine power 72 l / s with a power reserve of 321 km .
In the autumn of 1940, both cars were put into service and launched into the series. Total 1941 – 1945 The M2 was released in all versions of more than 13 thousand units, and the M3 and its more improved version of the M5 and М9 in all versions - more than 31 thousand units, becoming the most massive semi-tracked armored personnel carriers of the Second World War.
In all parts of the American tank division, there must have been as many 733 “half-tracks” (!). “Half-trucks” were also supplied under Lend-Lease to various countries, including the USSR, but not so many: 1158 machines in total, including МХNUMX – 2, М342 – 3, М2 A – 5, М401– 9 units. True, several types of self-propelled artillery systems based on half-tracks were delivered to the Soviet Union. These were the 413-mm anti-tank ACS based on the M57-T3, which received the designation SU-48 (57 units) in the Red Army; 650-mm anti-aircraft gun based on the M37-m3 (15 units); 100-mm quadruple machine-gun anti-aircraft SAU based on the M12,7-m5 (17 units.)
Red Army. Own way
Having joined the "Tank Club" later than its other participants, the USSR began to quickly catch up. The forced industrialization of the country allowed the creation of a powerful tank industry.
It was a qualitative leap in tank building that pushed a group of Soviet military theorists V. K. Triandafilova, K. B. Kalinovsky, S. N. Ammosova to develop the concept of “deep offensive operation”, which envisaged the massive use of mechanized troops in critical areas. Already in 1932, the first mechanized corps was formed, which included about 500 tanks and 200 vehicles. Without a doubt, in the period from 1933 to 1937, the Red Army, on the initiative of Marshal M.N. Tukhachevsky and his associates, was in the wake of the issues of theory and combat use of tank forces, as well as operational and tactical use of the armed forces as a whole. This is confirmed by the large-scale maneuvers of the Red Army in 1935 in Ukraine and 1936 in Belarus.
By the end of the 1937, the Red Army had 4 tank corps, 24 separate light and 4 separate heavy tank brigades and 3 separate armored brigades. Alas, the huge armada in 17 thousand tanks and armored vehicles did not have a single armored personnel carrier. This was caused by the presence of a serious cavalry lobby, relying on the experience of the Civil War and advocating the use of horse-mechanized groups (by the way, they justified themselves during the Second World War). Of course, the repressions that practically destroyed the leadership of the armored forces, as well as the erroneous conclusions from the war in Spain, played their negative role. And besides, clearly the developers of domestic armored personnel carriers could not boast of success.
In the middle of 30's. On the basis of the serial light tank T-26, prototype TR-26 and TP-4 vehicles were built on the paratroopers 14 and 15, respectively. Machines were weighted and extremely uncomfortable for the landing. As a result, they were not adopted. Also unsuccessful was the design of the wheeled sanitary transport armored personnel carrier B-22 to the Gaz-AAA base, created in 1938.
A more successful step in the development of light armored vehicles in the pre-war years was the Komsomolets armored artillery tracked T-1937 tracked in 20, which was produced before the 1941 in 7780 machines. This vehicle, based on the T-38 tank, weighing 3,5 tons, had armor in 10 mm, was armed with a DT machine gun and developed speed in 50 km / h with a power reserve of 250 km, could carry 6 crew members and two crew members. Komsomolets tractors allowed for the most part to motorize anti-tank, battalion and regimental artillery. But the Red Army entered the war without having its own armored personnel carrier, and this made it necessary to massively use a tank landing force on armor ...
With a red star on the armor
The first Lend-Lease armored personnel carriers began to arrive in the USSR in the autumn of 1941, the English, and from 1942, American vehicles passed through the armored vehicles acceptance departments, first in Arkhangelsk and Murmansk, then in Baku and Vladivostok, and by the end of the war and in Odessa. In March, the 1942-th separate training tank regiment for training crews of armored personnel carriers of all types was created in Uryupinsk in March, which was later transferred to Ryazan. The 20-e Saratov school of armored vehicles and armored personnel carriers was focused on training the command and technical staff. Crews for SAU T3, М48, М15 passed special training. The armored personnel carriers were repaired mainly at the repair base No. 17 in Moscow.
The first armored personnel carriers (British "Universals") got into combat units before the beginning of the counteroffensive near Moscow. As a rule, they entered service with the reconnaissance companies of tank brigades using 3 – 10 machines. Later, they were in service with the reconnaissance and motorcycle battalions of tank and mechanized corps, and in some cases, individual motorcycle regiments of tank armies (5 units).
By May 1945, as part of the Red Army, there were 11 separate regiments and a 41 motorcycle battalion, in varying degrees staffed with imported armored personnel carriers. For example, the 91 separate motorcycle battalion of the 19 of the Perekop Tank Corps included the Valentine 2, 10 BA-64 and 10 armored vehicles of the Universal Carrier armored personnel carriers.
The armored personnel carrier won the respect of Soviet soldiers for reliability, maneuverability and maneuverability. Often Soviet weapons were installed on these vehicles: DT, DShK machine guns, anti-tank guns and anti-tank guns.
The most famous case of the combat use of "universals" occurred at the end of 1943 in Tavria in the Perekop region. The reconnaissance group of the 19 tank corps of the 51 Army of the 4 Ukrainian Front, commanded by Lieutenant Galyamov as part of the two "generalists", tracked the movement of the retreating German units. Having received information about the location of the headquarters column from the prisoner, the reconnaissance group in 10 km south of the village of Novosychevka managed to capture the deputy commander of the mountain rifle division, the chief of staff and the head of the sanitary service ...
But the M3 A1 Scout became the most massive model supplied in the USSR. It turned out unpretentious and did not cause complaints. In the Red Army, scouts entered the arsenal of reconnaissance units and were also used as staff vehicles. The reconnaissance of the tank brigade received 3 – 4 Scout, the corps reconnaissance 6 – 8, and the motorcycle regiment of the tank army 13 – 16 machines.
In 1944, reconnaissance of tank and mechanized brigades began to form as part of 6 “scouts” and 4 SU 57 (T 48). The reconnaissance of tank units was always on the point of the main attack, the first to rush into the cities, capture bridges and crossings, take prisoners. The Soviet intelligence officer on the Scout became a symbol of the liberator-warrior not only in our country, but also in Eastern Europe.
25 April 1945 of the reconnaissance company of Senior Lieutenant I. Matushkina from the 4 Guards Mechanized Brigade of the 2 Guards Mechanized Corps first broke into the eastern edge of the Czech city of Brno. The “scout” of Sergeant B. Bayaziev, having overcome the obstacles and the strong fire of the enemy, broke away from his own. Suddenly, the sergeant noticed the PTO gun, which the calculation was deployed to the position. A quick maneuver, and then a queue from a machine gun, the calculation was destroyed. The scouts advanced further, and the main forces of the 4 mechanized brigade were able to enter the city.
The M2, М3, М5, М9 armored personnel carriers were mainly used as artillery tractors in anti-tank artillery. 118 vehicles were used as staff ones. In particular, in December, a member of the military council of the 1943 Guards Tank Army Major General N. K. Popel moved on 2 X on an armored personnel carrier. More actively used self-propelled artillery on their base. The 1 ACS (T57) was in service with the 48, 16, 19 and self-propelled artillery brigades (22 – 60 SAU in the brigade) attached to the 65 and 3 and 1-th guards tank armor From 4 July to 15 August 31, the 1944-I Sabr destroyed 19 machine guns, 18 guns, 16 mortar, 4 tanks, 36 armored vehicles, 13 vehicles and 33 soldiers. But in essence, 230's SU was an armored personnel carrier with reinforced armament, so the rest of the vehicles received reconnaissance units. Thus, in the reconnaissance of a tank brigade, it was supposed to have a battery (57 SAU), and a separate motorcycle regiment or battalion division (4 SAU).
The vehicles, as a rule, were re-equipped with a DT machine gun and three PPShs and were successfully used as part of reconnaissance groups. 14 January 1945, in the area of crossing the Odzhuvol River in Poland, the reconnaissance group of the 6 separate motorcycle regiment of the 1 Guards Tank Army of the 1 of the Belorussian Front under the command of Major Ivanov caught up with the outgoing enemy column, and the reconnaissance group of six Valente tanks 8 SU 57 with the assault of machine gunners on board bypassed the column from the flank, unexpectedly captured the bridge and opened fire on the enemy. As a result, a convoy stretching for 5 km was destroyed ...
The antiaircraft artillery guns of the M15 and the M17 entered the Red Army into service of anti-aircraft artillery regiments of mechanized and tank corps or anti-aircraft artillery divisions of tank armies. The 7 Guards Tank Corps had 10 ZSU M17, and the 8 Guards Mechanized Corps 19 ZSU M 17. The high rate of fire to 2000 V / m made it possible to effectively cover the advancing troops, and often to support them with fire. Very often, the ZSU was included in the forward detachments of tank units.
2 in May 1945 The battery of Senior Lieutenant Surkov from the 359 Guards anti-aircraft artillery regiment of the 4 Guards Tank Army was attacked by a large group of Germans on the outskirts of Berlin. The squadron of the ZNU М17 that came to the rescue in time by heavy fire of the four large-caliber machine guns saved the situation. Only the killed Germans lost 138 soldiers and officers, and 76 immediately surrendered.
Not to mention the supply of floating cars in the USSR. During the war years, we received from the USA 3500 floating cars - the 0,25-ton Ford GPA and 586 3,5-ton DUKW 353 6 x6, which entered service for individual motorized special purpose battalions. They were especially useful when crossing the rivers in Eastern Europe and Manchuria.
Of course, 6442 armored personnel carriers and 1802 SAUs based on them, lend-leased to us, do not look very convincing compared to 90 thousand British, 41 thousand American and 22 thousand German armored carriers released during the war. But they allowed the creation of mobile reconnaissance units of tank forces, so necessary for an offensive in the second half of the war, served as an impetus for the development of this type of armored vehicles in their own country.
Already at the beginning of 1943, a model of an armored personnel carrier TB 42 was built on the basis of the half-track vehicle ZiS 42 at the Moscow plant “ZiS”, but because of the unreliability of the undercarriage, the work was stopped. In 1944, the ZiS designers created an experimental semi-tracked model B-3 based on the ZiS 5 truck and the T 70 T with a landing party made from 10 people, but due to low speed and unreliability, it was also not adopted.
The experience of using the M3 A1 “Scout” armored personnel carrier led to the creation of the first Soviet serial BTR-1947 armored personnel carrier on the basis of the Gaz-63 truck after the war in 40. Even externally, the influence of the American counterpart was clearly traced in it. It was the birth of this machine that served as the basis for the creation of such machines as the BRDM-1, —2 and BTR-60 in the future. From this point on, the wheel propulsion became the main one and turned into a national feature of Soviet and Russian armored personnel carriers.