How many tanks did Stalin have?
For many years, doing research of the initial period of the Great Patriotic War, I occasionally come across questions about how many armored vehicles there were in the USSR on 22 June 1941 of the year? How many tanks were in the mechanized corps of the border military districts on the eve of the attack of Germany and its allies on the USSR? What number of combat vehicles was efficient, and what - no? What was the ratio of our tank fleet and the similar fleet of enemy vehicles? There are quite comprehensive answers to the questions asked. But at the beginning, a little about the background to the study of the problem of the number of Soviet tanks on the eve of the Second World War.
Serial armored vehicles in the USSR began to be produced in the middle of the 20-s of the twentieth century. Already then, an understanding began all over the world that in the future "big war" tanks and other armored vehicles would play a decisive role in combat operations on land fronts. Initially, the use of tanks in various local conflicts in the period between the two world wars did not give an unequivocal answer to the question of the use of armored fighting vehicles in a large-scale war. And only the Second World War, which began in 1939, revealed to the world the “sword of the kladenets” of modern highly maneuverable military operations - large mechanized formations.
In the USSR, they independently came up with a similar concept of the use of tank forces, and also tried to take into account the experience of the use of the Wehrmacht in the Polish and Western campaigns of strike tank groups.
In 1940, in our country, mechanized corps were organized, uniting the vast majority of the Red Army armored vehicles. Mechanized corps were the main striking force of the ground forces and were very powerful units. The number of vehicles in them was a long time, as well, and the total number of tanks in the USSR on the 1941 year, "a terrible military secret." Soviet historians had a hard time recognizing that the Red Army, surpassing Germany and its allies in terms of the number of armored vehicles, about three and a half times, and twice in border districts, could not realize such a solid advantage, having lost almost all of them in border battles. all cash armored vehicles.
As a rule, the official point of view of Soviet historical science sounded like this: “Even before the start of World War II, Soviet designers developed a new model of an average T-34 tank and a heavy KV tank ... However, production of these tanks was started only at the end of 1940. , and therefore, by the beginning of the war with Nazi Germany, our tank forces had them in limited numbers. ” Or like this:“ Soviet designers created samples of first-class tanks (T-34 and KV), but their mass production was not yet expand chickens ".  Or even this:" Since the summer of 1940, new T-34 tanks began to arrive in the hull, which in 1940 produced 115 units, and from the beginning of 1941 - and KV tanks. But by the beginning of the war, there were still few tanks. ”
Even in the specialized literature at that time, neither the number of tanks in the army, nor, especially, their distribution among the mechanized corps was reported. For example, in the secret textbook of the Military Academy of Armored Forces "History of armored and mechanized troops of the Soviet Army "about the tank park of the USSR on the eve of the war only said:" By the summer of 1941, i.e. by the time of the perfidious attack of fascist Germany on the Soviet Union, our tank and motorized divisions and mechanized corps were not fully equipped with new military equipment, which undoubtedly had a negative impact on the course of military operations in the initial period of the Great Patriotic War ... our troops did not have enough tanks, especially medium and heavy, which at that time were just coming into service. "
In 60-s, the number of new types of tanks (meaning, of course, KV and T-34) became “well known”, probably from the six-volume encyclopedia of the history of the Second World War, the number “1861 new tank” began to migrate from book to book. So, for example, the book “50 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR” reports: “However, on the eve of the war, the plants managed to produce only 636 heavy KV tanks and 1225 medium T-34 tanks.”  Those. altogether, allegedly, before the outbreak of the war, the 1861 was released a new tank T-34 and KV. In the book of Marshal Zhukov, “Memories and Reflections,” this number is also given: “As for the KV and T-34, by the beginning of the war the plants had time to launch the 1861 tank. This, of course, was not enough. "
In fact this is not true. Back in 1960, in the first volume of the history of the Great Patriotic War, the entire production of new heavy and medium tanks was painted: “The machines of the new types, KB and T-34, which were significantly superior to the German ones, were not produced in 1939, but in 1940 They were released a little: 243 KB and 115 T-34. Only in the first half of 1941, the release of new tanks increased markedly. During these six months, the industry gave 393 tank KB and 1110 tanks T-34. ” That is, the 1861 tank of new types was released on 1 July 1941 of the year.
In 70-80-ies. Of the twentieth century, the “whistle-dance” with the number of T-34 and KV continued: some authors indicated the almost canonized “1861 new tank”, others continued to confuse the first half of the year and the whole period before the start of the Great Patriotic War, i.e. 1 July and 22 June 1941 dates, and sometimes 1 June: “By June 1941, the Soviet Armed Forces numbered 5373 thousand people, over 67 thousand guns and mortars, 1861 tank, over 2700 combat aircraft of new types.” [ 8] Moreover, they were confused even when the source wrote in black and white “in the first half of the year” (as is known, the first half of the year ends with June 31, and not 22 at all).
The official public (and erroneous!) Version was presented by the Soviet Military Encyclopedia, which indicated that on the eve of World War II there was an 1861 tank KV and T-34 in the army, of which 1475 was in the western border districts. 
But if with tanks of new types everything was more or less clear, then with the amount of the rest of the armored vehicles there was a complete mess. Soviet historians, pointing out the number of new KV and T-34 tanks, did not “modestly” explain how much all types of tanks were in the army. As a result, all other tanks (except KV and T-34) became impersonal as “tanks of outdated designs” and “with light weapons” or simply “light and outdated”. This definition, in general, was very crafty, the number of these "obsolete" tanks was not cited anyway, which allowed later writers like V. Rezun or V. Beshanov to get a little carnage and make fun of Soviet historians and memoirs.
There were a lot of reasons for such classification (and intentional silence), and some were completely objective, but the main among them, I think, were the fears of the political leadership. After all, the average reader, who had no idea about the size of the Soviet tank park and brought up on another version of the beginning of the war, such revelations could cause sharply anti-Soviet sentiment, ultimately affecting not only the position of party historians, but also the state itself. What actually happened later in the restructuring. One of the tools for the destruction of the Soviet Union was a change in the mass consciousness of the population, in which all sorts of disclosures of secrets of party and state power, hidden from the people until the end of 80, played an important role. For the Soviet people who were unprepared for such revelations, such publications caused a shock first, and then a reaction that most accurately characterized the slogan “We were all lied to!” and, as a consequence, total stifling of any Soviet source and, at the same time, blind trust in any work and her and the author who argued with Soviet sources (especially if this controversy was “revealing”).
It is quite clear that Soviet historians did wrong, hushing up information about the actual state of the army for 22 June 1941, including its tank forces. But the complexity of the situation in which the leadership fell into was in the fact that, having widely announced such statistics, it would have to face new problems. After all, having received information about the number of tanks, the average reader is from the question "how many tanks were there in the USSR?" moved automatically to the question "how, having such a number of tanks, we managed to suffer such a crushing defeat at the beginning of the war?" What would the party ideologues have to do, considering that the answer to the question they had long given, and on the false assertion that the enemy was superior to us (including in the number of tank forces)? And this was only part of the general problem of misinterpreting the causes of the 1941 disaster of the year. Fearing a revision of the “approved” official version of the reasons for our defeat in 1941, the Soviet leadership chose to pretend that there was no problem, manically silencing and classifying everything that could become the basis for doubt, including statistics on the state of the army and its armored forces. .
However, the mechanism of silence about the present state of the Red Army in the 1941 year was faltering. So, in the 1964 year, in the multi-volume “History of Russian Artillery” - a book that was publicly available in libraries - the number of Soviet tanks in the spring of 1941 was indicated! By the number of tanks in the Red Army, information was given by year, starting with 1933 (4906 tanks and 244 armored vehicles) and ending with two dates - 15.09.40 (23364 units, 27 T-3) , and 34 BA) and 4034 g. (1.04.41 tanks, including 23815 KV and 364 T-537, and 34 BA) 
Unfortunately, the figures given in this book were practically not noticed by professional historians, or by amateurs of military history.
However, in the works labeled "secret" or DSP, the situation was somewhat different. Regarding the number of armored troops of the Red Army in the prewar period in such works no special secrets were made. So, back in 1960, Lieutenant Colonel M.P. Dorofeev in a brochure published by the Military Academy of Armored Forces cited data on the number of personnel, tanks, armored cars, guns and mortars, cars, tractors and motorcycles in the mechanized corps of the western border districts, though from his calculations, somehow 16- MK. But without the 16 of the MK, according to MP Dorofeev in 19-mechanized corps of border western districts, there were 11 000 combat vehicles :
|District||Housing||Number of tanks||Artillery||Mortars|
On the other hand, the actual number of armored vehicles in the Red Army before the war was a kind of “open secret”, and was quite calculated by an attentive reader, even from open sources. For example, according to the memoirs of G.K. Zhukov:
"The production of tanks grew rapidly. During the first five-year plan, 5 thousands were produced, by the end of the second army there are already 15 thousands tanks and tankettes ...
The annual production of 740 tanks in 1930-1931 reached 1938 in 2271 year ...
From January 1939 to 22 June 1941, the Red Army received more than seven thousand tanks, in 1941, the industry could produce about 5,5 thousands of tanks of all types ... "
Taking the calculator in hand, according to the above quotes from the book of Georgy Konstantinovich, the total number of tanks in the USSR by June 1941 of the year can be estimated in 24 000 units.
But with the beginning of “plasticity” and “restructuring,” the situation radically changed. In 1988, an article by V.V. appeared in the magazine “International Affairs”. Shlykova “And our tanks are fast”, where the author multiplied the regular number of armored vehicles in the Red Army Tank Divisions by the number of divisions, getting the upper limit on the number of 22 875 combat vehicles, but the lower limit of his calculations gave the number of 20 700 tanks and tankettes. However, despite the approximately correct result (± 1 500 units), Shlykov’s calculation method was incorrect, because not one of the Red Army's tank and motorized divisions had a regular number of tank fleets. Despite this, the article caused a huge resonance, forcing the official historical science to still get out of "hibernation".
Soon the article of the editor on the history of strategy and operational art of the Military-Historical Journal Colonel V.P. Krikunov “Simple arithmetic V.V. Shlykova ”, where, in addition to criticizing the Shlykov method, Colonel Krikunov cites archival data on the presence and distribution of tanks in the mechanized corps of the pre-war Red Army :
|District||Housing||Number of tanks||Of these, HF and T-34|
|Lvo *||1 and 10 MK||1506||15|
|Pribovo||3 and 12 MK||1393||109|
|MBO *||7 and 21 micron, 51 reject||1134||9|
|HVO *||25 μ||300||20|
|ZabVO *||5 MK, 57 and 61 TD, 82 MD||2602||-|
|DVF *||30 micron, 59 td, 69 md||2969||-|
The number of tanks was given by V. Krikunov, taking into account the existing ones in military formations, military schools, courses, training centers, civilian higher educational institutions.
At about the same time as pseudo-historical studies of amateurs from history and falsifiers like V. Rezun poured from the cornucopia (pseudonym - V. Suvorov). It is with the article of Shlykov that the chapter “Which tanks should be considered light?” Echoes his books “The Last Republic”. V. Rezun was not alone in his revelations; one way or another, the question of the number of tanks in the Soviet Union before the Great Patriotic War concerned almost all modern pseudo-historians - V. Beshanov, B. Sokolov, I. Bunich and others, but the author of the Icebreaker is among Of course, they are the most famous and readable. However, they all used either Krikunov’s data or Dorofeev’s data, and didn’t bring anything new to the study of the number of Soviet armored vehicles.
The next major step in researching the state of the Red Army Tank Forces at the beginning of World War II was the analytical work "1992 Year - Lessons and Conclusions" published in 1941 under the signature of the DSP. The number of new tanks at the beginning of the war in it is given approximately - "only about 1800 units", but there is a total number of combat vehicles: "over 23 thousand units." The book also contains the distribution of tanks in the mechanized corps of the western border districts "to the beginning of the war", including the 16 Mechanized Corps  “forgotten” by Lieutenant Colonel Dorofeev:
|District||Housing||Number of tanks||Of these, HF and T-34|
|20 Mechanical Corps total||-||11029||1306|
From the above tables it can be seen that the number of tanks in the mechanized corps of the Red Army from different authors does not coincide with each other.
The article by N.P.Zolotov and S.I.Isayeva in due time delivered a peculiar feature in the disputes about the number of Soviet armored vehicles for June 1941. They gave not only the distribution of tanks by districts on June 1, but also showed for the first time the qualitative condition of the fleet of combat vehicles using the standard for reporting the time scheme of division by categories :
|District||Total tanks and ACS||Including by category|
|1 category||2 category||3 category||4 category|
|Total in the Red Army||23106||2611||16080||2157||2258|
Finally, in the 1994, a truly “bible” of historians dealing with the problems of the initial period of the Great Patriotic War is published; d) ". True, the circulation of this edition is fascinating - as many as 1941 copies! The collection turned out to be a unique work, nothing like this has been published either before or after its publication. Specifically, the tank fleet provided information on the distribution of tanks by type (including a breakdown into radio and linear, chemical and artillery, etc.) and by districts, as well as by categories on 1945 June 1 and supplies of equipment in June 22 g . :
|District||HF||T-35||T-34||T-28||T-26||BT||T-37, T-38, T-40||Chem. tanks||SAA||Bronir tank-based vehicles (sapper, transport)||T-27 *||Total armored units|
|"South" (ZakVO and SAVO)||-||-||-||-||854||160||91||135||-||3||23||1266|
|Vostok (ZabVO and DVF)||-||-||-||-||2735||1770||894||287||11||66||427||6190|
|Rembazy and warehouses||-||-||-||39||294||138||145||77||-||19||188||900|
|Including 1 category||420||-||845||-||951||53||330||12||-||1||-||2612|
* - including T-27 chemical and engineering.
The statistical compendium became, without doubt, the most complete and reliable source for the number of armored vehicles in the Red Army on the eve of the Second World War for a long time.
In 2000, M. Meltyukhov published his book "Lost Chance of Stalin". In several chapters, the author on a documentary basis describes in detail the process of the pre-war construction of the Red Army and naturally cannot bypass the question of the state of its tank forces. The author focuses primarily on organizational events held in 1939-41. in ABTV, however, statistics are not forgotten either. Thus, in the annexes for the RGASPI materials, tables of tank presence in the Red Army were compiled by type and district on 15.09.40, 1.01.41, 1.04.41 and 1.06.41, the production of armored vehicles in the USSR in 1930-44 was highlighted. In addition, information is given on tanks available in the Red Army by type for different dates, starting on 1 in January 1934. Unfortunately, by the beginning of the war, the complete set of mechanized corps at M. Meltyuhova is secondary and repeats the data of Colonel V.Krikunov 1989 year
Maxim Kolomiets and Yevgeny Drig, who in their works look at the quantitative and qualitative composition of almost every mechanized corps of the pre-war Red Army in their works, demonstrate a serious approach to studying the problem of the number of armored troops of the Red Army in 1941. Maxim Kolomiets gives the following figures for the presence of armored vehicles in two PribOVO  mechanized corps:
|mk.||3 Mechanic Corps||12 Mechanic Corps|
|T-26 of all types||53||497|
|Other foreign tanks||-||59 *|
* - from the composition of the former armies of the Baltic states
A unique collection of documents on tank forces was released in 2004, it is called "Main Armored Directorate". Several interesting documents were published in it, incl. report of the head of GABTU, Lieutenant-General Fedorenko, who gave the total number of tanks in mechanized corps and separate divisions on 1 June 1941.
At the same time, the most complete data is contained in E. Drig in his book “The Mechanized Corps of the Red Army in Battle” released in the “Unknown Wars” series by AST in 2005. Yevgeny Drig used all available sources, including the appendix to the report of the head of GABTU, Lieutenant General Fedorenko. Naturally, we are primarily interested in the mechanized corps of the border districts. So let's start from north to south.
1 th mechanized corps, district subordination. The Pskov Corps Department, 31348 personnel, or 87% of the state. Armored vehicles fully equipped. On 22 June, there are no new types of tanks in the corps. On 22.06.41 tanks available:
|1-I TD||370||89||176||265||18 + 50 XT-26||-||38||53|
|3-I TD||338||-||232||232||68 (70)||-||38 (40)||74|
10 th mechanized corps, 23 th army. Management of the corps, the New Peterhof, 26065 personnel, or 72% of the state On 22.06.41 tanks available:
|21-I TD||201 (217)||-||-||177||9||38||-||-||41|
1-th MK was one of the most powerful mobile connections of the Red Army. In addition, it was a “exemplary” mechanized corps, which has always been the focus of attention of the leadership. The two mechanized corps of the Leningrad Military District numbered about 1540 tanks.
3 th mechanized corps, 11 th army. The Vilnius Corps Administration, 31975 personnel, or 87% of the state. On 20.06.41 tanks are available:
12 th mechanized corps, 8 th army. The Siauliai Corps Administration (with 18.06.41), 29998 personnel, or 83% of the state. On 22.06.41 tanks are available:
|Total||BT-7||T-26||Fiat xnumx||Renault FT-17||Wedges||HT||T-26 tractor||Vikkers||BA-10||BA-20|
Thus, in the two mechanized corps of Pribovo there were 1475 tanks available (without tankettes and BA).
6 th mechanized corps, 10 th army. The management of the corps of Bialystok, 24005 personnel, or 67% of the state. On 22.06.41 tanks available:
|Total||T-26||BT-2||BT-5||BT-5 / 7||T-34||HF||HT||other|
|Mehkorpus||1021 (1031)||126||30||37||416||238 (239)||113 (114)||44||127|
|4-I TD||ND *||nd||nd||nd||nd||88||63||nd||nd|
*- no data
According to some data in the case there were also T-28 tanks (included in the number of T-34) and KV-2 (included in the number of KV).
11 th mechanized corps, 3 th army. Management Corps Volkovysk, personnel 21605, or 60% of the state. On 22.06.41 tanks available:
13 th mechanized corps, 10 th army. The Office of the Corps of Biala Podlaski, 17809 personnel, or 49% of the state. On 22.06.41 tanks available:
|Total||BT||T-26||T-26 double-tower||HT||T-37 / 38 / 40||T-26 tractor||BA-10||BA-20|
14 th mechanized corps, 4 th army. Management Corps Kobrin, 15550 personnel, or 43% of the state.
|Total||T-26||HT||BT||T-37 / 38 / 40|
|Mehkorpus||534||528 (of which 14 tractors)||25||6||10|
17 th mechanized corps, district subordination. Management Corps Baranavichy, 16578 personnel, or 46% of the state. On 22.06.41 tanks available:
|Total||BT||T-26||HT||T-37 / 38 / 40|
20 th mechanized corps, district subordination. The Borisov Corps Department, 20389 personnel, or 57% of the state. On 22.06.41 tanks available:
Thus, there were 2220 tanks in six ZAPOV mechanized corps. And only one of the six mechanized corps had a regular number of tank fleet, namely the 6-th MK of the 10-th army. 17-th and 20-th mechanized corps are generally difficult to consider as units of tank forces. Rather, it is educational units. Not much better things were in 13-m and 11-m MK. Both the one and the other were from the strength of a tank division. Tanks of new types in a significant amount were also received only in the 6-th MK, the material part of the other buildings consisted mainly of tanks T-26 and BT various modifications.
4 th mechanized corps, 6 th army. The Lviv Corps Administration, 28097 personnel, or 78% of the state. The corps attracts attention primarily because of its commander, the notorious General Vlasov. However, in reality, the 4-th MK is interesting to others: the corps was QUALITATIVELY the most powerful mobile unit of the Red Army for June 1941. Although quantitative estimates of the tank corps of the corps and do not match in different sources. On 22.06.41 tanks available:
|Total||T-40||T-26||HT||T-27||BT-7||Total BT||T-28||T-34||HF||Total T-34 and KV|
|Mekhkorpus *||892, (950), (979)||13||103||23||38||62||290||75||313 (327)||89 (101)||414|
* Total number of tanks in the hull: 892 according to A. Isaev, 950 according to the Kiev Museum of the Second World War, 979 according to the book "1941 Year - Lessons and Conclusions". - M .: Military Publishing, 1992.
8 th mechanized corps, 26 th army. The Drohobych Corps Department, 31927 personnel, or 89% of the state. A very powerful compound is the hero of the counterstroke on Dubno. On 22 June available tanks:
|Mehkorpus||858 * (899) (932)||50||2||14||109||100||48||71 (69 HF-1 and 2 HF-2)||344|
|34-I TD||-||-||2||-||-||-||48||6 HF-2 (?)||-|
* Total number of tanks in the hull: 858 according to A. Isaev, 899 according to the book "1941 year - lessons and conclusions." - M .: Voenizdat, 1992, 932, according to the memoirs of l. DI. Ryabyshev.
9 th mechanized corps of district subordination. Office Corps Novograd-Volynsk, 26833 personnel, or 74% of the state. On 22 June available tanks:
|20-I TD||36||-||3||3||30 BT-5|
15 th mechanized corps, 6 th army. The Office of the Brody Corps, 33935 personnel, or 94% of the state. On 22 June available tanks:
16 th mechanized corps, 12 th army. The head office of the Kamenetz-Podolsk Corps, 26380 personnel, or 73% of the state. On 22 June available tanks:
|Mehkorpus||680 (608)||75||360||214||31 (32)|
19 th mechanized corps of district subordination. Management of the corps of Berdichev, 22654 personnel, or 63% of the state. On 22 June available tanks:
|Total||T-26||HT||T-34||HF||KV and T-34||other|
|Mehkorpus||280 (453)||291||47||2 (9)||5||7 (14)||152|
|43-I TD||-||-||-||> = 5||-||-||-|
22 th mechanized corps, 5 th army. Management Corps, Exactly, 24087 personnel, or 67% of the state. On 22 June available tanks:
24 th mechanized corps of district subordination. The Office of the Corps, Proskurov, 21556 personnel, or 60% of the state. On 22 June available tanks:
|Total body||222 *||4 XT|
* On 30.06.41 available: BT-7 glad. - 10, T-26 pleased. - 52, T-26 ling. - 70, T-26 dvuhbash. - 43, XT - 3, T-27 - 7. Total 185 tanks and tank shoes.
Thus, in eight mechanized KOVO hulls on 22 June from 4672 tanks to 4950 tanks according to different sources. Moreover, two of the five most powerful mechanized corps are deployed precisely in KOVO.
2 th mechanized corps, 9 th army. The Tiraspol Corps Department, 32396 personnel, or 90% of the state. On 22 June available tanks:
18 th mechanized corps, 9 th army. The Akkerman Corps Administration, 26879 personnel, or 75% of the state. On 22 June available tanks:
|Total||BT||T-26||T-37 / 38||HT|
|Mehkorpus||282 (280)||106 (BT-5 - 14)||150 (153)||14 (29)||12|
Therefore, in two mechanized corps of OdVO in the presence of the entire 732 tank. That given the minority of the county is not surprising.
In all the mechanized corps of border districts from 10639 to 10917 combat vehicles (although of these, the 3 tank belonged to the 4 and 2232 category). And this is only in mechanized buildings, without taking into account other parts and formations that were armed with tanks.
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