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    [WWII] Soviet tank development

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    Shafster

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    [WWII] Soviet tank development

    Post  Shafster on Thu Dec 13, 2012 4:25 am

    Hello again, i have always found Soviet tank development in world war II a very interesting topic, as Engineers had to strike a hard balance between ease of mass production and technological advancements and innovations for survival.

    The soviets started the war (in my opinion) with some of the best tank guns available in mass production, the 76.2mm guns such as the T-34s F-34 and KV-1 ZIS-5 were among the best anti tank guns carried by a tank at the times, when you consider what rest of the world had in the form of 75mm low velocity guns (which mostly never fired Armour piercing ammunition until later on) on French CHAR b1 and the M3. However as the war went on, dew to the conditions the Soviets were in, implementing radical new technologies, especially new caliber guns with new ammunition was not as easy as many like to think, when they had to manage between resource and labor they had after the invasion in 1941 which took the country in a shock. In war time, and especially under the harsh conditions the soviets went through prior to the invasion, it was really hard to implement new and bold equipment. For example, the T-34s excellant 76.2mm gun did not get replaced until the 1944 with the 85mm (various calibers from 51 to 54 caliber barrels i think. There was a very long barreled hyper velocity flat trajectory 57mm gun developed for the T-34 to make it into a better anti tank platform, but however the STAVKA cancelled it probably because implementing such a gun could potentially delay production of existing tanks not to mention all the efforts of testing it and setting up new logistic chains etc.

    The 85mm gun on the T-34/85 was a very powerful gun, but many say its potential was not exploited due to poor ammunition. Again, this maybe because the STAVKA choose to mass manufacture millions of less sophisticated "cruder" ammo than say invest on few thousands of really fancy Sub caliber HVAP rounds (which soviets actually implemented though in few numbers later in the war. Soviet anti tank rounds in general had tendancy to shatter on impact, possibly dew to quite conservative design based on older designs of anti tank penetrators not able to keep up to date with advances in modern rolled homogeneous armour, usually caused by high stresses in the penetrator.

    The IS-2 tank was also considered to fit the excellent 100mm D-10 gun from the su-100 which had better ballistic performance than the D-25T 122mm gun on IS-2, but was droped in favour of the potential problem with logistics and offsetting production (as new machine tools had to be devised to manufacture 100mm guns and its ammunition, when it was far easier to use the machines used to manufacture the A-19 gun that has been produced for quite a long time.


    Also, i wonder how you guys rate soviet tank guns with German ones? Germans probably had the best ballistic performance guns in the war, like the Pak 43 l-71 which wouldnt have looked out of place in early cold war post war tanks with its unmatched accuracy and effective range and penetration. However, these guns were very "single purpose", they were only useful against armoured targets and possessed relitivly little HE frag power from its relativity puny 88mm shell if one compares them to the slower 122mm D-25 guns on IS-2 which were devastating against fortifications. Even in anti tank role, the heavy 25kg shells of IS-2 can seriously damage a tank without even penetrating its armor, and cause epic spalling inside. The americans and british also developed pinpoint accurate high velocity anti tank guns such as the american 76mm on later shermans and the british 17 pdr "firefly" gun. As i see it, soviets mainly focused on a versatile main gun balancing HE anti personal/fortification capability with decent anti tank capability than an anti tank bias. This could be possibly due to operational doctorin, as soviet tanks attacked mostly in the war, whereas Germans after kursk were in a retreat and naturally were on a defensive position, usually concealed firing at moving soviet tanks coming from the horizon.

    Does anyone know how good were late war soviet ammunition? I read somewhere that an improved BR-471(b variant?) could reliably penetrate panthers front armour at 2500meters!! If true, that is a phenomenal performance and is quite different from the popular myth that the Is-2s gun is some sort of a lazy inaccurate "derp" howitzer, when infact its accuracy was not far off to the TIGER i l-56 88mm gun (even though the muzzle velocity is much lower).
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    GarryB

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    Re: [WWII] Soviet tank development

    Post  GarryB on Fri Dec 14, 2012 8:55 am

    The soviets started the war (in my opinion) with some of the best tank guns available in mass production, the 76.2mm guns such as the T-34s F-34 and KV-1 ZIS-5 were among the best anti tank guns carried by a tank at the times, when you consider what rest of the world had in the form of 75mm low velocity guns (which mostly never fired Armour piercing ammunition until later on) on French CHAR b1 and the M3.

    You have to be careful here my friend... at the start of the war tank armour was pretty thin and pretty much everyone had settled on two main tank calibres. The first was an anti armour calibre and started at 37mm as a common calibre and increased to 47mm and 50mm by the start of the war. The T-34 was considered revolutionary because the thickness of its armour together with its steep angling made it pretty much resistant to all "Anti tank" calibres. Calibres outside that range generally didn't have anti armour shells, so to reliably kill it you needed an extraordinary weapon... which was either a 105mm heavy artillery weapon or a high velocity anti aircraft weapon like the 88mm.
    The second calibre was anti personnel and was generally a very short stubby gun in the 3 inch calibre range.

    The Soviets were no different to anyone else in this regard, in fact their heavy tanks generally had a central 76.2mm main gun for anti personnel use and up to four 37mm and later 45mm guns in individual turrets around the main turret for anti tank use.

    The breakthrough of the 76.2mm gun of the T-34 was that it had a bit of extra barrel length to give it modest anti armour capability.

    The key here is that they had tanks for supporting infantry, which were armed with machine guns and 76.2mm short barreled guns with HE shells, and they had tanks for fighting other tanks armed with 45mm guns.

    In the T-34 they had a single gun with the HE power for supporting infantry and taking out enemy positions, that could also deal with most of the armoured vehicles it would come across too... a fully multi purpose gun.

    For example, the T-34s excellant 76.2mm gun did not get replaced until the 1944 with the 85mm (various calibers from 51 to 54 caliber barrels i think.

    That is true but the small numbers of German tanks that required an 85mm gun did not make such a change a priority. By 1944 it was necessary.

    It should be kept in mind that for every 85mm shell fired at a Tiger or Panther that same tank probably fired 100 or 500 HE shells at MG positions or concrete pill boxes, or other hard target or light armoured vehicle. If used correctly a T-34 wasn't supposed to find German tanks and take them on one on one. Its real job was to find a thin or weak point in the German line and punch through and attack rear units and HQs and take on vehicles in staging areas... or trucks taking fuel and munitions and food to the front.

    There was a very long barreled hyper velocity flat trajectory 57mm gun developed for the T-34 to make it into a better anti tank platform, but however the STAVKA cancelled it probably because implementing such a gun could potentially delay production of existing tanks not to mention all the efforts of testing it and setting up new logistic chains etc.

    Actually a few were made, but its HE shell was ineffective and its anti armour projectile used fairly exotic materials and was expensive... and meeting targets that required that sort of penetration performance was actually very rare, so they didn't make very many of them.

    The 85mm gun on the T-34/85 was a very powerful gun, but many say its potential was not exploited due to poor ammunition.

    That is rubbish. In direct comparison with the high velocity 75mm gun of the Panther it was almost as effective as an anti armour weapon without the over bore problems that led to short barrel lives for the German guns, while having a much more effective HE shell than the German weapon... which was much more useful.

    Soviet anti tank rounds in general had tendancy to shatter on impact, possibly dew to quite conservative design based on older designs of anti tank penetrators not able to keep up to date with advances in modern rolled homogeneous armour, usually caused by high stresses in the penetrator.

    There were lots of failings in ammo terms... German armour was often made too brittle and often shattered itself. Most of the Soviet anti tank ammo was capped with harder materials to improve penetration... which didn't always work.

    Needless to say conservative = T-34 which was produced in enormous numbers actually won the war. Having a more exotic design using expensive materials would probably have been pointless as basic ammo in the tank is better than expensive and exotic ammo they can't make to the standard required to make it effective. Considering they made less than 2,000 tigers and less than 6.5 thousand Panthers, yet made about 65,000 T-34s or more suggests to me who got it right.

    The IS-2 tank was also considered to fit the excellent 100mm D-10 gun from the su-100 which had better ballistic performance than the D-25T 122mm gun on IS-2, but was droped in favour of the potential problem with logistics and offsetting production (as new machine tools had to be devised to manufacture 100mm guns and its ammunition, when it was far easier to use the machines used to manufacture the A-19 gun that has been produced for quite a long time.

    Not true. As you mention the 100mm gun was already in service on the Su-100... one of my favourite tank destroyers of the war... its nickname on both sides was "F@#$ end to everything"... which is a pretty cool nickname for a tank destroyer.
    The real factor was HE power. The 122mm shell had a much better HE shell because it was designed as artillery, while the 100mm gun was developed for velocity and penetration. The 122mm shell had less penetration than the 100mm gun but even when it didn't penetrate the target it could knock the turret off its bearings even if it didn't penetrate the armour.

    Very simply with just 8,000 odd German heavy tanks out there it made more sense to have a powerful HE shell than one that penetrated a lot of armour. That is not to say the 122mm was not a powerful long range tank killer...

    popular myth that the Is-2s gun is some sort of a lazy inaccurate "derp" howitzer

    Tanks don't spend all their time shooting at other tanks, and IS-2 tanks generally started firing on enemy tanks as soon as they saw them, which was as far away from them as they could.

    The German tanks generally had better optics, but by the end of the war most Soviet tanks were being taken out by Panzerfausts and similar weapons in urban combat.

    By that time German super tanks are better engaged with air power, or simply isolated and left to run out of fuel and ammo to be abandoned by their crews
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    Pugnax

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    soviet tank guns

    Post  Pugnax on Sat Dec 15, 2012 6:11 am

    The short lived t-34/57 was a tiger killer,something the t-34/76 could never do unless dropped from a height onto a tiger.The 57mm gun was abandoned though because it was to specific a mission.The 76mm gun was capable of most anti armour/personelle missions.Build a tank around an anti tank gun and you get a superior anti tank platform,the 57 mm gun wasnt great at anything else but punching nice holes.
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    GarryB

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    Re: [WWII] Soviet tank development

    Post  GarryB on Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:40 am

    Build a tank around an anti tank gun and you get a superior anti tank platform,the 57 mm gun wasnt great at anything else but punching nice holes.

    Exactly.

    And if you want to build thousands of T-34s with 57mm main guns you have to ask yourself how many Panthers and Tigers is it likely to meet in combat, because against most other armour the 76.2mm gun is actually more effective as the heavier shell, while penetrating less armour would actually do more damage after penetration.

    Equally against soft targets its HE shell would not be that effective.

    Having said that of course the Soviets had a 45mm towed anti tank gun that served throughout the war, though after about 1943 it was not effective against most enemy armour but had a useful HE shell and was retained for other targets.

    Much like the anti tank rifles like PTRD-41 and PTRS-41, which both lacked the penetration later in the war but was still useful against a range of targets like trucks and light armoured vehicles... and even shooting through walls at people.
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    nemrod

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    Soviet tank development in world war II

    Post  nemrod on Sun Jan 11, 2015 6:30 pm


    http://in.rbth.com/economics/2015/01/07/kv_one_of_the_most_powerful_tanks_of_its_time_40715.html

    I've never heard a such thing, in my mind, during summer 1941 I was taught that soviet soldiers fled as puppets.
    This story witnesses how was hard fights, moreover it was surprised, and coward attack against Soviet Union, where red army was unprepared, and suffered because many of its chiefs were either jailed or killed by Stalin policy.

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    GarryB

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    Re: [WWII] Soviet tank development

    Post  GarryB on Mon Jan 12, 2015 9:38 am

    There was a better write up in one of Steven J Zaloga's books on Soviet Tanks.

    The KV positioned itself in a fork in the road in an area of very soft ground. The Germans had no other choice but to go that way and the KV could see quite a distance so sneaking up was difficult. Their initial attacks were ineffectual... using 50mm guns barely scratched the surface of the tanks armour.

    Over night they sent in sappers who placed explosives on the tracks and the tracks were blown off as were the side mud guards but the tank itself was uneffected. One of the sappers went back and placed a charge on the main gun but again it had little effect.

    the second day they sent in lots of vehicles to distract the KV while they brought in some 105mm guns, but the KV crew saw the big guns and destroyed them and the trucks that brought them. Later they sent in light tanks to distract the KV while they brought up some 88mm guns, which opened fire and hit the KV a dozen times. As the German troops approached they were shocked to notice of the dozen direct hits by the powerful 88mm gun only two hits appeared to penetrate the armour and as they got to the vehicle the turret started to traverse and the machine guns started firing. One of the Germans quickly flipped open a hatch and threw in a grenade, whose detonation killed the remaining crew and ended the standoff.
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    George1

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    Re: [WWII] Soviet tank development

    Post  George1 on Thu May 10, 2018 12:25 am

    The Victory Parade in Verkhnyaya Pyshma was held with the participation of rare military equipment.


    Among them - the T-34 tank
    For the first time, viewers saw the M4 Sherman tank, which the Americans used during the Second World War. According to the Lend-Lease the USSR received more than 4 thousand "Sherman".
    In addition, the novelties of the parade were the heavy tank T-35 and flamethrower tank T-34-85.

    T-34





    T-34-85





    T-70 light tank







    T-35






    IS-2





    ISU-152 Anti-tank gun




    M4 Sherman







    https://bmpd.livejournal.com/3193076.html
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    nemrod

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    Terrifying Potential – Most Advanced Tank of WWII Never Saw Action

    Post  nemrod on Sun Oct 14, 2018 10:08 pm

    Most people used to think that soviet technology lagged far behind nazis's war machine. But they are wrong, Especially regarding tanks, guns, aircrafts -we will discuss about this last topic later-.
    Take a look here
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_encounter_of_Soviet_T-34_and_KV_tanks
    The IS-3 was the most incredible tank of the second world war, unfortunetely came too late. It could be considered as the equal as Tiger II, or King Tiger, meanwhile IS-2 was the response of the Tiger I.


    In anyway soviets were at least equal as german's military technology.




    It has been said that it’s not the size of the dog in the fight that counts, but rather the size of the fight in the dog that determines the outcome. If that is the case, then the Germans were no doubt relieved that the Soviets did not have access to their IS-3M Tank during World War II.

    The tank was displayed for the first time during the Allied Victory Parade in Berlin, in September 1945. It was such a leap forward in technology, size, and ammunition that its capabilities even gave the Allies pause to thank the heavens that the Russians were on their side – temporarily, at least.

    After the war, the tank was not on public view until the recent “Tank Fest,” a celebration of all things tank-related which was held over three days this summer in Great Britain. The Tank Museum obtained a loan of the vehicle from the Belgian Royal Military Museum in Brussels.

    During wartime, the Soviets rushed to get the IS-3 ready for battle, but its complicated design and many advances held up production, meaning that this tank saw no action during the war. Although similar to the IS-2 in that they share the Kharkiv V2-IS diesel engine and some other features, the striking difference of the IS-3 lay in its ammunition capabilities.

    Designers used an in-service artillery piece as its gun and, consequently, the IS-3 could fire ammo that not only rendered enemy armor useless but also got through a Tiger Tank from a distance of more than a mile (1.6 kilometers). It carried 28 rounds, usually a combination of 18-HE Frag and 10 A.P. Each individual in its four-man crew had separate tasks: commander, gunner, loader, and driver. It was a tight fit.

    Although the tank’s design made certain things harder, such as loading the ammunition, it was far sturdier than the IS-2. It weighed 46 tons, and its “pike nose” hull front was as much as 120 mm thick, while the turret-shaped front hit a maximum density of 240 mm. These factors increased the tank’s thickness even more and made its exterior virtually impossible for any German gun to pierce.

    These dual improvements in impenetrability and firepower made the tank highly sought after by the Red Army. Consequently, the tank was rushed into production, which led, perhaps inevitably, to problems left unsolved. By May 1945, only 29 had been made, and more than half failed the testing process.

    After the war, in 1946, 2,000 tanks had been built, but the design still needed work. Adjustments were made to the hull roof, mounting brackets, clutch, gearbox, and even the radio.

    Although the IS-3 did not get used in World War II, it has been used in other conflicts. Russia used it to quell the Hungarian Uprising in 1956. Only one IS-3 was damaged, though 2,500 Hungarians lost their lives. Egypt has used it too, in 1967, when engaged in conflict with the Israelis during the Six-Day War.

    The history of the tank that was on display in Great Britain is not clear, but one aspect of the IS-3 Tank is: it was an advanced piece of military equipment in 1945, one that many thought capable of massive destruction.

    In the end, however, it was its predecessor, the IS-2, that proved itself built to last. The Russians stopped building the IS-3s in the late 1950s, and any remaining ones were put into storage. Although the tanks were at first thought to be a remarkable addition to the Soviet arsenal, it couldn’t live up to its promise.

    https://www.warhistoryonline.com/history/most-advanced-tank-wwii.html

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    starman

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    Re: [WWII] Soviet tank development

    Post  starman on Wed Oct 17, 2018 3:20 pm

    nemrod wrote:
    Egypt has used it too, in 1967, when engaged in conflict with the Israelis during the Six-Day War.

    I once wrote something about that:
    http://starvisions.blogspot.com/2012/05/old-egyptian-tank.html
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    George1

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    Re: [WWII] Soviet tank development

    Post  George1 on Thu Oct 18, 2018 1:30 am



    Egyptian IS-3
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    GarryB

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    Re: [WWII] Soviet tank development

    Post  GarryB Yesterday at 2:15 pm

    Most people used to think that soviet technology lagged far behind nazis's war machine. But they are wrong, Especially regarding tanks, guns, aircrafts -we will discuss about this last topic later-.

    Well yes and no.

    In terms of lessons learned the Soviets learned a lot from the war in Spain and other conflicts, but their designs still had flaws...

    For instance their T-34/76 had a four man crew but two in the turret and two in the hull... so the commander also had to load the gun...

    They fixed that when they redesigned the turret for the T-34/85, but it was internal design that let them down along with some of their tactics.

    And it wasn't just the Soviets... the other allies had to learn the same lessons too.

    The sophisticated inter-weaved wheels on some German tanks was a good way of spreading the heavy weight of their vehicles without needing enormous tracks... but in the winter in the soviet union the smaller tracks were not an advantage and mud got between the wheels and froze so the vehicle was immobile in the morning...

    The 75mm high velocity gun of the Panther was excellent for penetrating armour but the HE round was not so effective and the barrels didn't last very long either.

    The Tiger was exquisitely designed... a total waste of energy and material and time for a weapon sent into a war zone... it could not fire while moving either.
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    Walther von Oldenburg

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    Re: [WWII] Soviet tank development

    Post  Walther von Oldenburg Yesterday at 10:28 pm

    Decision to keep T-34/76 in production for so long was made fully consciously. So was the decision to keep producing T-34/85

    The reasoning was to keep production rates high rather than switch to entirely new unproven design.
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    GarryB

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    Re: [WWII] Soviet tank development

    Post  GarryB Today at 8:35 am

    Indeed... many German officers speculated that the interruption of production of the Panzer 4s to make Panthers and Tigers was a mistake... they basically stopped production of the Panzer 4s that were in desperate need to produce the Panthers and Tigers... but that production took a while to get underway so in the mean time they got nothing but promises of new tanks...

    Late model Panzer 4s had a reasonable gun and OK armour but their layout was excellent, as was their optics and communications.

    An amusing aspect largely ignored in the west.... look at the side profile of a Panther tank next to the side profile of a T-34... they are very similar except the angle of the rear deck on the T-34 slopes downwards, while the Panther has the opposite angle slope.

    The Panther was a German T-34, but with a gun that was optimised for anti armour use over general usefulness against a variety of targets (ie good armour penetration, not so good HE round)... but for the Germans that made sense because they had 30 thousand T-34s and a similar number of Shermans to deal with... with more on the way.

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