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Author Topic: Ispitivanje tenka T-34  (Read 737 times)
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« on: September 02, 2019, 01:22:30 pm »

"Evaluation of tanks T-34 and KV by workers of the Aberdeen testing grounds of the U.S."
(from the Tanker's forum, posted by Misha Veksler)
(Footnote 1 -- reads, "The full name of the document is, "An Evaluation of the T-34 and KV tanks by workers of the Aberdeen Testing Grounds of the U.S., submitted by firms, officers and members of military commissions responsible for testing tanks." The tanks were given to the U.S. by the Soviets at the end of 1942 for familiarization.")

The condition of the tanks
The medium tank T-34, after driving 343 km, became disabled and could not be fixed. The reason: owing to the extremely poor air cleaner on the diesel, a large quantity of dirt got into the engine and a breakdown occurred, as a result of which the pistons and cylinders were damaged to such a degree that they were impossible to fix. The tank was withdrawn from tests and was to be shelled by the KV and its "Z/ 3" (?) -- by the cannon of the M-10 tank. After this it would be sent to Aberdeen, where it would be analyzed and kept as an exhibit.

The heavy tank KV is still functional. Tests are continuing, although it has many mechanical defects.

The silhouette/configuration of the tanks
Everyone, without exception, approves of the shape of the hull of our tanks. The T-34's is particularly good. All are of the opinion that the shape of the T-34's hull is better than that of any American tank. The KV's is worse than on any current American tank.

A chemical analysis of the armour showed that on both tanks the armour plating has a shallow surface tempering, whereas the main mass of the armoured plating is made of soft steel.

In this regard, the Americans consider that, by changing the technology used to temper the armoured plating, it would be possible to significantly reduce its thickness while preserving its protective capacities. As a result the weight of the tank could be decreased by 8-10%, with all the resulting benefits (an increase in speed, reduction in ground pressure, etc.)

The main deficiency is the permeability to water of the lower hull during water crossings, as well as the upper hull during rain. In heavy rain lots of water flows through chinks/ cracks, which leads to the disabling of the electrical equipment and even the ammunition.

The Americans liked how the ammunition is stowed.

Its main weakness is that it is very tight. The Americans could not understand how our tankers could fit inside during winter, when they wear sheepskin jackets. The electrical mechanism for turning the turret is very bad. The motor is weak, heavily overloaded and sparks horribly, as a result of which the device regulating the speed of the rotation burns out, and the teeth of the cogwheels break into pieces. They recommend redoing it as a hydraulic or simply manual system.

KV-1 heavy tank at Bovington Museum (England) (photo by [...])

The gun of the T-34 is very good. It is simple, dependable and easy to service. Its weakness is that the initial speed of the shell is significantly less than that of the American "Z/ 3" (3200 feet versus 5700 feet per second).

The general opinion: the best in the world. Incomparable with any existing (well-known here) tanks or any under development.

The Americans very much like the idea of steel tracks. But they believe that until they receive the results of the comparative performance of steel vs. rubber tracks on American tanks in Tunis and other active fronts, there is no basis for changing from the American solution of rubber bushings and pads.

The deficiencies in our tracks from their viewpoint results from the lightness of their construction. They can easily be damaged by small calibre shells and mortar bombs. The pins are extremely poorly tempered and made of poor steel. As a result they quickly wear and the track often breaks. The idea of having loose track pins that are held in place by a cam welded to the side of the hull, at first was greatly liked by the Americans. But when in use under certain operating conditions, the pins would become bent which often resulted in the track rupturing. The Americans consider that if the armour is reduced in thickness the resultant weight saving can be used to make the tracks heavier and more reliable.

On the T-34, it is poor. Suspension of the Christie type was tested long ago by the Americans, and unconditionally rejected. On our tanks, as a result of the poor steel on the springs, it very quickly (unclear word) and as a result clearance is noticeably reduced. On the KV the suspension is very good.

The diesel is good and light. The idea of using diesel engines on tanks is shared in full by American specialists and military personnel. Unfortunately, diesel engines produced in U.S. factories are used by the navy and therefore the army is deprived of the possibility of installing diesels in its tanks.

The deficiency of our diesels is the criminally poor air cleaners on the T-34. The Americans consider that only a saboteur could have constructed such a device. They also don't understand why in our manuals it is called oil-bath. Their tests in a laboratory showed that:

- the air cleaner doesn't clean at all the air which is drawn into the motor;
- its capacity does not allow for the flow of the necessary quantity of air, even when the motor is idling. As a result, the motor does not achieve its full capacity. Dirt getting into the cylinders leads them to quickly wear out, compression drops, and the engine loses even more power. In addition, the filter was manufactured, from a mechanical point of view, extremely primitively: in places the spot-welding of the electric welding has burned through the metal, leading to leakage of oil etc. On the KV the filter is better manufactured, but it does not secure the flow in sufficient quantity of normal cleaned air. On both motors the starters are poor, being weak and of unreliable construction.

Without doubt, poor. An interesting thing happened. Those working on the transmission of the KV were struck that it was very much like those transmissions on which they had worked 12-15 years ago. The firm was questioned. The firm sent the blueprints of their transmission type A-23. To everyone's surprise, the blueprints of our transmission turned out to be a copy of those sent (?). The Americans were surprised, not that we were copying their design, but that we were copying a design that they had rejected 15-20 years ago. The Americans consider that, from the point of view of the designer, installing such a transmission in the tank would create an inhuman harshness for the driver (hard to work). On the T-34 the transmission is also very poor. When it was being operated, the cogs completely fell to pieces (on all the cogwheels). A chemical analysis of the cogs on the cogwheels showed that their thermal treatment is very poor and does not in any way meet American standards for such mechanisms.

Rolling friction clutches
Without doubt, poor. In America, they rejected the installation of friction clutches, even on tractors (never mind tanks), several years ago. In addition to the fallaciousness of the very principle, our friction clutches are extremely carelessly machined from low-quality steel, which quickly causes wear and tear, accelerates the penetration of dirt into the drum and in no way ensures reliable functioning.

General comments
From the American point of view, our tanks are slow. Both our tanks can climb an incline better than any American tank. The welding of the armour plating is extremely crude and careless. The radio sets in laboratory tests turned out to be not bad. However, because of poor shielding and poor protection, after installation in the tanks the sets did not manage to establish normal communications at distances greater than 10 miles. The compactness of the radio sets and their intelligent placement in the tanks was pleasing. The machining of equipment components and parts was, with few exceptions, very poor. In particular the Americans were troubled by the disgraceful design and extremely poor work on the drive/ gear/ transmission links/ blocks (?) on the T-34. After much torment they made new ones and replaced ours. All the tanks' mechanisms demand very frequent adjustments/ fine-tuning.

Conclusions, suggestions
1. On both tanks, quickly replace the air cleaners with models with greater capacity capable of actually cleaning the air.

2. The technology for tempering the armour plating should be changed. This would increase the protectiveness of the armour, either by using an equivalent thickness or, by reducing the thickness, lowering the weight and, accordingly, the use of metal.

3. Make the tracks thicker.

4. Replace the existing transmission of outdated design with the American "Final Drive," which would significantly increase the tanks' manoeuvrability.

5. Abandon the use of friction clutches.

6. Simplify the construction of small components, increase their reliability and decrease to the maximum extent possible the need to constantly make adjustments.

7. Comparing American and Russian tanks, it is clear that driving Russian tanks is much harder. A virtuosity is demanded of Russian drivers in changing gear on the move, special experience in using friction clutches, great experience as a mechanic, and the ability to keep tanks in working condition (adjustments and repairs of components, which are constantly becoming disabled). This greatly complicates the training of tankers and drivers.

8. Judging by samples, Russians when producing tanks pay little attention to careful machining or the finishing and technology of small parts and components, which leads to the loss of the advantage what would otherwise accrue from what on the whole are well designed tanks.

9. Despite the advantages of the use of diesel, the good contours of the tanks, thick armour, good and reliable armaments, the successful design of the tracks etc., Russian tanks are significantly inferior to American tanks in their simplicity of driving, manoeuvrability, the strength of firing [reference to speed of shell], speed, the reliability of mechanical construction and the ease of keeping them running.

Signed -- The head of the 2nd Department of the Main Intelligence Department of the Red Army, General Major of Tank Armies, Khlopo... (end missing: Khlopov?)
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« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2019, 01:24:45 pm »

German evaluation of captured Soviet tanks
During WWII the German armed forces were always short of equipment, especially trucks and combat vehicles. In order to deal with this problem they made extensive use of captured French, Italian, Soviet and British vehicles.

Foreign tracked vehicles and tanks were refurbished, brought up to German standards when possible (for example by installing a commander’s cupola in tanks) and used mainly in auxiliary roles by security divisions or as tank tractors by combat units.

My source on the German use of captured Soviet tanks and their technical evaluation is ‘Panzer tracts no. 19-2: Beute-panzerkampfwagen’ by Thomas Jentz and Werner Regenberg.

T-26 and BT tanks in German service

The success of operation Barbarossa led to the encirclement of many Soviet formations and huge numbers of Soviet tanks were left abandoned in the fields. The Germans made a serious effort to collect some of them and put them to use.

Just after the start of ‘Barbarossa’ the Army High Command – OKH ordered that the supply staffs (Feld-zeugstaebe) were to be reinforced for the purpose of seizing enemy tanks. The following Kommandos were created: Ob.Pz.Stab Nord in Insterburg, Ob.Pz.Stab Mitte in Warsaw, Ob.Pz.Stab Sud in Cracow and Ob.Pz.Stab Rumanien in Bucharest. At the same time the Sicherungs-Divisionen (rear area security divisions) were ordered to organize captured tank platoons.

By September 1941 some vehicles were sent to security divisions, including 10-12t ‘Christie’ and amphibious ‘schwimmpanzer’.

The reliability of the T-26 tanks was not satisfactory. Security Division 221 reported in October ’41: ‘The Pz.Kpfw.Zug created by the division is no longer operational. One Panzer is completely burnt out due to an engine fire. Both of the other Panzers have engine and transmission problems. Repetitive repairs were unsuccessful. The Panzers always broke down after being driven several hundred meters on good roads. As reported by technical personnel, both of the engines in the Panzers are unusable because they were incorrectly run in.’

The commander of the Panzersug.Sich Regt 3 in Army Group North noted: ‘The Russ.kampfwagen completed at the Waffenwerkstatt (Arsenal) Riga all broke down due to mechanical failures.’

The BT tank also came under criticism: ‘B. T. (Christi): The main cause of failure is a transmission that is too weak in combination with a strong engine that should provide the tank with high speed, but is over-stressed when driven off road where the lower gears must be used for longer periods. In addition, as in the T 26, problems continuously arise that are due to entire design and poor materials, such as failure of the electrical system, stoppages in fuel delivery, breaks in the oil circulation lines, etc.’

One T-34 worth 40 bottles of alcohol

On 30 July 1943 the OKH/GenStdh/GenQu/Abt.III/Gr.V communicated a program for the retrieval of enemy vehicles.

Units that retrieved a fully operational T-34 would get as reward two self propelled A/T guns or if the units was up to strength three ‘maultier’ trucks. Infantry and assault units would receive two 75mm Pak 40 guns with towing vehicles.

The simple infantryman had other reasons to risk his life for a T-34. As the report said: ‘OKH also has established special distribution of market wares as a premium for recovering a non-operational Pz.Kpfw. T-34 (40 bottles of alcohol), for a complete engine, transmission, gun sight, or radio set (6 bottles), and for a complete gun, radiator, starter etc. (1 to 3 bottles).’

KV tanks in Tiger units

The Kliment Voroshilov (KV) tank was used by the Soviets in limited numbers but its heavy armor and 76mm gun commanded respect in the battlefield.

Its German equivalent was the famous Tiger tank. These two enemies actually joined forces. The Germans used captured KV tanks for towing their Tigers since the KV was one of the few vehicles that could tow the heavy Tigers.

A German report of September 1943 says: ‘Based on previous experience in recovering Panzers, OKH has decided that Beute-Pz.Kpfw. KW I are to be used as Bergepanzer. When still present the weapons, the turret, and the gun are to be left on to increase the traction weight and also to be used in defense of the Berge/commando. Use of these KW I as Bergepanzer is decisive because of the shortage of equally heavy and suitable German towing vehicles for recovering heavy Panzers. Also, it is forbidden to divert armed KW I issued as Bergepanzer to combat tasks.’

T-34 and SU-85 in German service

Small numbers of T-34 tanks were used by several security and field units. These were used for anti-partisan operations or as tank destroyers.

The SS Panzer-grenadier Division ‘Das Reich’ used the T-34 in combat in 1943. This unit received in May 1943 25 T-34’s in need of repairs. These were overhauled at the ‘SS T-34 Instandsetzungsbetrieb Tuebke’ locomotive plant.

The strength reports show that in 11th May  there was only 1 T-34 operational but in July 1st 16 out of 25 were operational.

Another unit that used the T-34 model 1943 (hexagonal turret and commander’s cupola) and Su-85 was the 2 Kompanie/Panzerjaeger-Abteilung-128. Their report of June ’44 has interesting information on the strengths and weaknesses of these vehicles.

Apparently automotive performance was poor:
‘Regardless of our limited experience, it can be stated that the Russian tanks are not suitable for long road marches and high speeds. It has turned out that the highest speed that can be achieved is 10 to 12 km/hr. It is also necessary on marches to halt every half hour for at least 15 to 20 minutes to let the machine cool down. Difficulties and breakdowns of the steering clutches have occurred with all the new Beute-Panzer. In difficult terrain, on the march, and during the attack, in which the Panzer must be frequently steered and turned, within a short time the steering clutches overheat and are coated with oil. The result is that the clutches don't grip and the Panzer is no longer manoeuvrable. After they have cooled, the clutches must be rinsed with a lot of fuel.’

And as in all T-34’s visibility was a problem:

 ‘The gun sights in Russian tanks are far behind the German designs. The German gunners need to be thoroughly accustomed to the Russian telescopic gunsights. The ability to spot a hit through the gunsight is very limited.’

‘In a Russian tank it is difficult to command a Panzer or a unit and at the same time serve as the gunner Therefore fire direction for the entire Kompanie is hardly possible, and the concentrated effect of the unit’s firepower is lost. The commander's cupola on the T 43 makes it easier to command and fire at the same time; however; vision is very limited to five very small and narrow slits.’

‘Safe driving and sure command of both the T 43 and SU 85 can't be achieved with the hatches closed. We base this statement on our experience that on the first day in combat in the Jassy bridgehead, four Beute-Panzer got stuck in the trench system and couldn't get free with their own power, resulting in the destruction of German defensive weapons during the attempt to retrieve them. The same thing happened on the second day.’

However the gun was considered good and the unit could operate well in a tank destroyer role:

‘Our experience is that the capabilities of the 7.62 cm Kw.K. are good. Thorough adjustment of the weapons and careful aiming ensure high accuracy even at long ranges. With their low rate of fire, the weapons are accurate and have few stoppages.’

‘Based on all these facts, the Kompanie concludes that the success of using captured tanks as a Panzer is questionable. The results of the last days in combat in the Jassy bridgehead have shown that their employment as a Panzerjaeger appears suitable.’

Soviet lack of reliability or German bias?

The German reports presented so far point to significant reliability problems for the Soviet vehicles. The comments on the T-26 and BT are overwhelmingly negative. Even the mythic T-34 comes under criticism. Are these statements credible or are they a result of German bias?

First of all we need to remember that the vehicles used by the Germans were retrieved from the battlefield so they would not be in pristine condition. Moreover the Germans were not trained in servicing them nor did they have a source for spare parts.

The units that operated these vehicles were also not first rate and inexperienced drivers could damage the vehicles.

Still the problems mentioned in German reports match those described in American evaluations of the T-34 (problems with transmission, electrical system, engine etc).

If these problems affected the majority of Soviet vehicles then the German victories in the East are easier to explain…
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« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2019, 11:53:20 pm »

Prevedi ovo, ako hoćeš, na hrvatski da čitamo k'o ljudi.
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« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2019, 05:26:05 am »

U redu ali tribace mi par dana jer sam kratak sa vrimenom
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« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2019, 02:33:07 pm »

   Članci su odlični i pokazuju američko interesovanje za dostignuća sovjetskih konstruktora koji sve rešavaju na svoj način. Malo je teže kada se čita na Engleskom pa vredi prevesti.

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