The first projects appeared armored cars, known under the names "Renault" Nekrasov-Bratolyubova and "Russo-Balt Type I". These machines were built on the basis of French and Russian chassis, were equipped with cannons and machine guns, and had different tasks. So, Russo-Balty was offered as armored cars for work on the front line, and the only Renault was planned to be used as a vehicle for escorting transport convoys. After the assembly of the first seven armored cars, Nekrasov, Durlyakher and Bratolyubov did not stop the design work, and in the autumn of 14, they completed the development of a new armored vehicle on the chassis of the Russian-Baltic car factory.
Back in August, the War Minister ordered the transfer of several cars to the designers, which should be used as the basis for a new armored vehicle. In total, until the end of the year, four Russo-Balt C 24 / 40 vehicles, six Russo-Balts type D and one Renault chassis were handed over. It should be noted that the Russo-Balt chassis of two types were used in the construction of armored cars of two different projects, which can lead to confusion. Some sources later armored cars Nekrasov-Bratolyubova on domestic chassis are designated as “Russo-Balt Type D”, but this name is not quite correct, since one of these machines was built on the basis of the machine type C. Thus, by analogy with the first project , newer armored vehicles should be called "Russo-Balt Type II". In this case, these armored vehicles can no longer be confused with other developments of Nekrasov and Bratolyubov or machines of other designers.
When creating a new project, engineers used the experience gained in the development of two previous armored vehicles. The result was several serious innovations that could significantly increase the combat effectiveness of the new machine. The most notable innovation of the project was a swivel tower with weapons, which made it possible to provide both sufficient firepower and fast retargeting. In addition, some other interesting ideas were proposed that could have a positive effect on the characteristics of the armored car.
The assembly of four Type II armored cars began in the autumn of 1914. As before, the final assembly of the machines and the installation of all the necessary units were carried out by the workshop workers A.A. Bratolyubova. Due to the lack of necessary production capacity, armor was ordered to the Obukhov Steel Foundry. The company was given a set of templates for the production of armor plates. The finished booking was brought to the Bratolyubov workshop, where it was mounted on machines.
As before, the armored hull was proposed to be assembled on the basis of a metal frame to which ready-made sheets of the desired configuration were fastened with bolts and rivets. Protection of the crew and the internal units of the machine was to consist of armor plates with a thickness from 3 to 5 mm. The vertical parts were thicker. Curved and oblique, in turn, were 3-4 mm thick. According to the calculations of the authors of the project, such armor allowed to protect people from rifle bullets when firing from a distance of at least 200-250 meters.
Apparently, in developing the Russo-Balt Type II project, the designers took into account their own and other people's experience, which resulted in the emergence of a completely new design of the armored hull formed by several main units. The authors of the project rethought the classic bonnet layout of the armored hull with a separate engine compartment and habitable compartment, which led to curious consequences.
The Russo-Balt chassis types C and D were used as the basis for the Type II armored cars. These vehicles had a similar architecture, but differed in some characteristics. In front of the rectangular frame, there was a petrol engine rated at 40 hp. and gearbox. The undercarriage with a wheel formula 4х2 had a dependent suspension on leaf springs. The gearbox and rear driving axle were linked by a chain drive. Chassis types C and D differed in some features. In fact, the Type D machine was an upgraded version of the Type C and differed from it in a set of reinforced parts. Due to some design improvements, the improved version of the chassis had a load capacity of 1,6 T - about half a ton more than the C car.
The armored car Russo-Balt Type II received an armored hull, divided into three main volumes. In front of it there was a engine compartment, closed by an armored hood, behind which there was a control compartment. The combat compartment was not separated from the driver’s and commander’s workplaces, but was not fully integrated with the command post.
The armored hood of a new car had a simple design and was a metal box with vertical sides and a front wall. To ensure ventilation in the front sheet of the case there was a large window covered with inclined doors. Engine maintenance was proposed to produce with the help of hatches in the upper hood.
Behind the armored battleship, the body of the combat vehicle expanded slightly, forming a control compartment. Front driver and commander defended the sloping armor plate with a large hatch to observe the road. In a combat situation, the hatch was closed with a lid that left a small viewing slot. Behind the sloping frontal sheet a horizontal roof was installed. From the side of the fire, the machine was protected by vertical pentagonal sides, assembled from several separate panels. In front of the sides, on the same level with the frontal hatch, there were small hatches with covers. In the middle of the sides provided the door for landing the driver and the commander.
The fighting compartment, located behind the jobs of the driver and commander, received a cylindrical body. On the sides of this cylinder there were bevelled straight panels, which made it possible to do without wheel arches or other relatively complex parts. A small box was installed on the aft of the cylinder, in the back of which there was a door for access to the inside of the combat vehicle.
In the center of the fighting compartment was a pivot bearing for the tower, installed directly on the cylindrical part of the hull. The outer diameter of the tower was slightly larger than the diameter of the hull below it. The tower received a cylindrical side, as well as inclined frontal and stern sheets with embrasures for weapons. There was also a horizontal roof of a small size, located between the sloping sheets.
The crew of the armored vehicle "Russo-Balt Type II" consisted of 4-5 people: the driver, the commander and three shooters. The commander and the driver were located in the department of management, and the workplaces of the shooters were in a fairly spacious cylindrical fighting compartment. Office management had three hatches to monitor the surrounding space. Arrows for observation should use the sights of their weapons.
The armament of the built Type II armored cars consisted of three Maxim machine guns. Two of them were installed in the embrasures of the front sheet of the tower, another one - in the stern. The design of fasteners for machine guns allowed firing within wide sectors. In addition, using the mechanisms of rotation of the tower was provided by the rapid transfer of fire to another target. The presence of three machine guns, in turn, made it possible to control broad sectors in the front and rear hemispheres.
According to some reports, there was a version of the project, implying the use of cannon weapons. In this case, it was planned to mount two Maxim-Nordenfeld automatic guns of the 37 mm caliber in the front of the turret, and a machine gun in the stern gun. Information on the implementation of these plans is not available. All built Type II armored vehicles were armed only with machine guns.
Interior armored car. In the foreground a turntable of the tower
The development and construction of armored vehicles Nekrasov-Bratolyubov second model dragged on. Their assembly began only in the fall of 1915. There were only four Russo-Balt chassis of two types, on the basis of which new armored cars were built. Four cars got their own names. Thus, an armored vehicle based on the Russo-Balt Type C chassis was given the name "Victorious", and the rest were called "Oleg", "Svyatoslav" and "Yaroslav". The assembly of four cars continued until mid-February 1916.
February 12 Major General Sokolov arrived at the Bratolyubov workshop with a check. In his report, he noted that the four armored vehicles under construction need some modifications. So, the machines need to strengthen machine-gun installations, as well as to make some other improvements.
At the end of February, the Commission on armored cars got acquainted with the completed armored cars and made some conclusions. On March 11, the first tests of the victorious armored car took place, during which the experts revealed a whole range of serious flaws. Like the previous armored cars of Nekrasov-Bratolyubov, the Type II had a lot of problems.
It turned out that even on a good road, the maximum speed of the new machine does not exceed 23-28 miles per hour (24,5-29 km / h). When reversing, the maximum speed reached 12 versts per hour (12,7 km / h). The low ground clearance of the chassis (total 110 mm) degraded the mobility characteristics on dirt roads and rough terrain. Springs and the steering mechanism of the machine needed to be strengthened, and the lack of a starter made it difficult to start the engine.
The Commission also noted the problems of protecting and arming an armored car. The front hull sheet covering the driver was only 3 mm thick, which left the level of protection much to be desired. In addition, the windshield inspection slit was located too low, so that the driver had to keep the hatch open for normal observation of the road. March 17 launched ground test, during which the armor of the machine was fired from a Mosin rifle. Some sheets of the case could be pierced from a distance of about 150 m, which fully confirmed the preliminary conclusions about the insufficient level of protection.
Assembling armored "Victorious". The board has not yet been installed, the driver’s workplace is visible.
According to the results of tests of the “Victorious” and other machines of the project, the commission made disappointing conclusions. The armored cars were considered unsuitable for combat work at the front. Thus, all 11 armored vehicles built on the projects of Nekrasov and Bratolyubov, had various drawbacks and were unsuitable for use on the front edge. It took some time to decide the future fate of this technique.
At the end of 1916, the armored cars of the Type II were sent to Petrograd and transferred to the Strengthened rear automobile workshop. The workshop workers had to carry out the refinement of this technique, replacing defective armor plates and correcting other shortcomings. Work on improving the armored cars continued over the next few months. After repair and modernization of armored cars were supposed to be training.
According to some data, it was originally planned that the workshop of A.A. Bratolyubova. However, by the middle of 1916, this company ceased to exist, which was why the repair of the machines had to be entrusted to the army workshop.
The February Revolution 1917 was attended by various units of the army, including the Strengthened rear automobile workshop. All four Russo-Balt cars of the second type took to the streets of Petrograd and were used for various purposes. After the February Revolution, the machines came under the authority of the Council of Workers 'and Soldiers' Deputies of the Petrograd Side. Soon the armored car “Victorious” got a new name and began to be called “Rurik”. In October, the 17-th vehicle was transferred to a squad of armored vehicles guarding the Smolny.
In the future, armored vehicles "Type II" were used sparingly and almost never left Petrograd. However, just once leaving the city, the armored cars were able to take part in the battles for the first time. In 1919, this vehicle arrived in the area of Pulkovo, where it was used in battles with the troops of General Yudenich. After completion of the fighting armored cars returned to base.
Cars (from left to right) "Oleg", "Yaroslav" and "Svyatoslav" with crews
At the end of the tenth year, all Russo-Balt Type II armored cars were dismantled as superfluous. Even after repairing and upgrading the 17 of the year, this technique was not distinguished by high performance, which made its operation impractical. By 1920, all four cars lost their reservations and, apparently, were used as vehicles for the transportation of passengers and goods for some time, until they had a longer life.
Russo-Balt Type II was the last project created by staff captain Nekrasov, Lieutenant General Durlyakhov and inventor Bratolyubov. In 1915-16 their triumvirate fell apart. Nekrasov transferred to the military Aviation, where he became the artillery officer of the Ilya Muromets airplane No. 4. Durlyakhov continued to work in the field of artillery and auxiliary equipment, and Bratolyubov took up other projects of weapons and military equipment.
From 1914 to 1916 years, Nekrasov, Durlecher and Bratolyubov developed three projects and built 11 armored cars for them, none of which was received by the customer and sent to the front. Some information has been preserved that may to some extent reveal the reasons for such a failure. These data can present projects of armored cars in an interesting light, as well as cast a shadow on the main participants in their creation.
According to some reports, the guard headquarters Nekrasov did not involve Lieutenant General Durlecher in the project. On the contrary, the general, using his connections in the military department, himself joined the project, and also “dragged” inventor Bratolyubov into it. By coincidence (or by malicious intent), the latter was the son-in-law of the general. Moreover, the general and the inventor already had experience of working together, but their first draft did not relate to military affairs in any way - it was a campaign ship that was planned to be used in the anti-alcohol campaign.
Kinship with a senior military official allowed A.A. Bratolyubov receive funding for the construction of its own private workshop, in which it was proposed to build new armored cars. Relatives-engineers had no experience with armored vehicles, but they took the lead in the project, pushing Nekrasov back. The result was the emergence of three not very successful projects.
Since the end of the summer of 1915, when it became clear that the program for the construction of armored vehicles had failed, the inventor-enthusiast Bratolyubov decided to start work in other areas. Until the very end of the war, he tried to offer the military department unique toxic substances, flammable liquids, etc. doubtful spotlights. The responsible persons checked the proposals of the inventor and, as expected, refused him. Nevertheless, in search of support and, as a result, funding, Bratolyubov continued his attempts to establish contacts with high-ranking officials.
In search of support for the project of a universal flammable liquid, Bratolyubov managed to reach Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich, who in turn interested Nicholas II. The inventor was able to obtain permission to finance the project, but in the spring of 1916, military officials were able to recognize the fraud and ceased support of a deliberately impossible project.
In the future, Bratolyubov, using the support of the test and other contacts, unsuccessfully tried to promote the projects of seaplanes and other equipment. Probably, remembering the experience of building armored cars and making incendiary liquids, the military department did not pay attention to the new proposals of the inventor. The fate of the search-adventurer adventurer unknown. Lieutenant-General Durlyakhov, in turn, in the 1917 year, went over to the side of the Bolsheviks and, after the revolution, continued to work on projects of artillery systems, gun carriages, etc.
Solyankin A. G., Pavlov M. V., Pavlov I. V., Zheltov I. G. Domestic armored vehicles. XX century. - M .: Exprint, 2002. - T. 1. 1905 – 1941
Baryatinsky MB, Kolomiets M.V. Armored cars of the Russian army 1906 – 1917 - M .: Technics-youth, 2000