Armored cars "Russo-Balt Type II" Nekrasov-Bratolyubova

In 1914 and 1915, Guards Captain Nekrasov, Lieutenant General Durlyakher (Durlyakhov) and inventor A.A. Bratolyubov developed three projects of advanced armored vehicles. By order of the military department, they were engaged in the creation of new armored vehicles with cannon armament, which had to fight the infantry and enemy combat vehicles. To implement the project, specialists were handed over several cars of three types, which were planned to be used as the basis for armored cars.

The first projects of armored cars appeared, known under the names "Renault" Nekrasov-Bratolyubov and "Russo-Balt Type I". These vehicles were built on the basis of French and Russian-made chassis, were equipped with cannons and machine guns, and had different tasks. Thus, the Russo-Balts were 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 columns. After the assembly of the first seven armored cars began, Nekrasov, Durlyakher and Bratolyubov did not stop design work, and in the fall of the 14th they completed the development of a new armored car on the chassis of the Russian-Baltic Carriage Works.

Back in August, the Minister of War ordered that several cars be handed over to the designers, which should be used as the basis for new armored vehicles. In total, four Russo-Balt C 24/40 vehicles, six Russo-Balt D-types and one Renault chassis were handed over by the end of the year. It should be noted that two types of Russo-Balt chassis were used in the construction of armored cars of two different projects, which can lead to confusion. In some sources, the later Nekrasov-Bratolyubov armored cars on domestic chassis are referred to as "Russo-Balt Type D", but this name is not entirely correct, since one of these vehicles was built on the basis of a type C vehicle. Thus, by analogy with the first project , newer armored cars should be referred to as "Russo-Balt Type II". In this case, these armored vehicles can no longer be confused with other developments of Nekrasov and Bratolyubov or vehicles of other designers.

Armored "Victorious" on the chassis "Russo-Balt Type C"

When creating a new project, engineers used the experience gained during the development of the previous two armored cars. This resulted in several major innovations that could significantly increase the combat effectiveness of the new machine. The most notable innovation of the project was the turret with armament, which allowed for both sufficient firepower and rapid 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 workers of A.A. Brotherlyubova. Due to the lack of the necessary production capacity, the armor was ordered from the Obukhov steel plant. The company was given a set of templates, according to which armor plates were made. The finished booking was brought to Bratolyubov's workshop, where it was mounted on cars.

As before, it was proposed to assemble the armored hull on the basis of a metal frame, to which finished sheets of the desired configuration were attached with bolts and rivets. The protection of the crew and internal units of the vehicle was to consist of armor plates with a thickness of 3 to 5 mm. The vertical parts had a greater thickness. Curved and inclined, in turn, had a thickness of 3-4 mm. According to the calculations of the authors of the project, such armor made it possible to protect people from rifle bullets when firing from a distance of at least 200-250 meters.

Apparently, when developing the Russo-Balt Type II project, the designers took into account their own and other people's experience, which resulted in the appearance of a completely new armored hull design, 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 of types C and D were used as the basis for Type II armored cars. These vehicles had a similar architecture, but differed in some characteristics. A 40 hp gasoline engine was attached to the front of the rectangular frame. and gearbox. The chassis with a 4x2 wheel arrangement had a dependent suspension on leaf springs. The gearbox and the rear drive axle were connected by a chain drive. Chassis types C and D differed in some features. In fact, the Type D machine was a modernized version of the Type C and differed from it in a set of reinforced parts. Due to some design improvements, an improved version of the chassis had a load capacity of 1,6 tons - about half a ton more than the machine C.

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 hood, the body of the combat vehicle expanded slightly, forming a control compartment. In front, the driver and commander were protected by an inclined armor plate with a large hatch for observing the road. In a combat situation, the hatch was closed with a lid, which left a small viewing slot. A horizontal roof was installed behind the inclined front sheet. From the shelling from the side, the car was protected by vertical pentagonal sides, assembled from several separate panels. In front of the sides, on the same level as the frontal hatch, there were small hatches with covers. In the middle of the sides, doors were provided for the landing of the driver and commander.

Armored car and its creators. Right - A.A. Brotherly lovers

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 Russo-Balt Type II armored car consisted of 4-5 people: a driver, a commander and three shooters. The commander and driver were located in the control compartment, and the shooters' jobs were in a fairly spacious cylindrical fighting compartment. The control compartment had three hatches for monitoring the surrounding space. Shooters for observation should use the sights of their weapons.

The armament of the Type II armored cars built consisted of three Maxim machine guns. Two of them were installed in the embrasures of the frontal sheet of the tower, one more - in the stern. The design of machine gun mounts made it possible to fire within wide sectors. In addition, with the help of the mechanisms for turning the tower, a quick transfer of fire to another target was ensured. The presence of three machine guns, in turn, made it possible to control wide 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.

Armored cars "Russo-Balt Type II" Nekrasov-Bratolyubova
Interior armored car. In the foreground a turntable of the tower

The development and construction of Nekrasov-Bratolyubov armored cars of the second model was delayed. Their assembly began only in the autumn of 1915. Only four Russo-Balt chassis of two types were available, on the basis of which new armored vehicles were built. Four cars received their own names. Thus, an armored car based on the Russo-Balt Type C chassis received the name Victorious, while the rest were named Oleg, Svyatoslav and Yaroslav. The assembly of four vehicles 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 car does not exceed 23-28 miles per hour (24,5-29 km/h). When reversing, the maximum speed reached 12 miles per hour (12,7 km / h). The low ground clearance of the chassis (only 110 mm) worsened the mobility characteristics on dirt roads and rough terrain. The springs and steering mechanism of the car 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 the armored car. The front hull sheet, which covered the driver, was only 3 mm thick, which is why the level of protection left much to be desired. In addition, the viewing slot of the front hatch was too low, as a result of which the driver had to keep the hatch open for normal observation of the road. On March 17, ground tests began, during which the armor of the vehicle was fired from a Mosin rifle. Some sheets of the hull could be penetrated 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.

Based on the test results of the Victorious and other machines of the project, the commission made disappointing conclusions. Armored cars were considered unsuitable for combat work at the front. Thus, all 11 armored vehicles built according to the designs of Nekrasov and Bratolyubov had various shortcomings and were unsuitable for use at the forefront. It took some time to decide the fate of this technique.

At the end of 1916, Type II armored cars were sent to Petrograd and handed over to the Reinforced Rear Automobile Workshop. The workshop workers had to finalize 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, the armored cars were supposed to become 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.

Various units of the army, including the Reinforced Rear Automobile Workshop, participated in the February Revolution of 1917. All four Russo-Balt vehicles 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 jurisdiction of the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies of the Petrograd side. Soon the armored car "Pobedonosets" received a new name and became known as "Rurik". In October 17th, the equipment was transferred to a detachment of armored cars that guarded 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 years, all Russo-Balt Type II armored cars were dismantled as unnecessary. Even after the repair and modernization of the 17th year, this technique did not differ in high performance, which made its operation look impractical. By 1920, all four cars had lost their armor and, apparently, were used for some time as vehicles for transporting passengers and goods until they ran out of service.

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, Nekrasov, Durlyakher and Bratolyubov developed three projects and built 11 armored cars according to them, none of which was accepted by the customer and sent to the front. Some information has been preserved that can, to a certain extent, reveal the reasons for such a failure. This data can present armored car projects in an interesting light, as well as cast a shadow on the main participants in their creation.

According to some information, Guards Captain Nekrasov did not involve Lieutenant General Durlyakher in the project. On the contrary, the general, using his connections in the military department, joined the project himself, and also “dragged” the inventor Bratolyubov into it. Coincidentally (or maliciously), the latter was the general's son-in-law. Moreover, the general and the inventor already had experience of working together, but their first project had nothing to do with military affairs - it was a propaganda steamer that was planned to be used in an 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.

From the end of the summer of 1915, when it became clear that the armored car building program had failed, the enthusiastic inventor Bratolyubov decided to start working in other areas. Until the very end of the war, he tried to offer the military department unique poisonous substances, flammable liquids, etc. dubious projections. 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 his father-in-law and other contacts, unsuccessfully tried to promote the searchlights for seaplanes and other equipment. Probably, remembering the experience of building armored cars and making incendiary liquid, the military department did not pay attention to the inventor's new proposals. The further fate of the projector-adventurer is unknown. Lieutenant General Durlyakhov, in turn, went over to the side of the Bolsheviks in 1917 and after the revolution continued to work on projects for artillery systems, gun carriages, etc.

Based on:
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
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  1. +1
    2 October 2015 12: 53
    At the beginning of the article it is written: "... The assembly of four Type II armored cars began in the fall of 1914.", and below: "... The development and construction of Nekrasov-Bratolyubov armored cars of the second model dragged on. Their assembly began only in the fall of 1915." What does it mean?
  2. 0
    2 October 2015 23: 03
    Somehow, after the failure with the armored car of Mr. Bratolyubov, the idea that in one fell swoop of all the beatings. Looks like he tore his engineering potential on an armored car.