After blowing up some tanks, you typically end up in your garage with a nice pile of credits. Is this historically accurate, you might ask? Turns out, it is!


“To tank crew #711, which destroyed one German tank on January 16th, 1944, near Greater Karlino:

Tank commander: 500 rubles
Mechanic-driver: 500 rubles
Gunner: 500 rubles
Radio operator: 200 rubles
Loader: 200 rubles
Total: 1900 rubles”

Shafting the radio man in terms of rewards is a time honoured tradition, it seems. In the event of a missing radio operator, such as in an IS tank, his reward is not given to anyone. Let’s see the full text of the order:

“1. For each tank destroyed or burned by an AT rifle squad:

  • AT rifle gunner: 500 rubles
  • AT rifle assistant: 250 rubles

2. For each destroyed or disabled enemy tank, to the commander, mechanic-driver, and gunner (turret commander), award 500 rubles each. To all other crew members, 200 rubles each.

3. For each tank destroyed by all types of artillery: to the commander and gunner award 500 rubles each, to the rest of the crew, 200 rubles each.

4. To each soldier or commander that personally destroys a tank one on one, award 1000 rubles. If a group of soldiers destroyed a tank, raise the award to 1500 rubles and divide it evenly among the tank hunter group. ”

A subsequent order later introduces another award: “An award of 1500 rubles is paid out to a team of sappers that controlled a mine field, in the event that the team detonated the mine field to destroy enemy tanks, regardless of how many tanks were destroyed.” That order specifically stated that drivers of AT gun batteries get no award (unless performing the function of another crew member), but that drivers of SPGs and tank destroyers get the same award as a tank driver would.

The order contains another useful tidbit: how to count a tank as “destroyed”: “A tank counts as destroyed, when, under the influence of artillery, tanks, AT rifles, or individual weapons:
a) the tank is disabled or burned on territory occupied by allied forces.
b) the tank remains on neutral territory, but is disabled, burned, immobilized, is incapable of firing, due to destroying the crew or forcing them from the tank.”


45 thoughts on “Rewards

  1. I guess penalty for quitting the battle while still alive was a bit harsher…

  2. I don’t know anything about russian tank crews, but does anyone know of some russian ace crews that had multiple tank kills. I’m curious about what some of them would have received.

    • Lots of Soviet tank crews had multiple kills. Aside from the financial reward, they would obviously be given medals. There are plenty of Heroes of the Soviet Union among WWII tankers, for instance, the highest achievable award.

      • Seems like those medals were growing on trees :-) Over 11 500 handed out during WW2. Most countries had at most couple of dozen or perhaps hundreds of highest medals awarded. Btw, those crews did have a name?

        • Yes they were given out more frequently to soviet soldiers than their western counterparts. But there where a LOT more soviet soldiers fighting and for a lot longer than other nations so you would expect more.

          Maybe not 11k mind you. :p

          • Well there were exactly 11 522 unique recipients during WW2 (out of an army of about 7 million). Americans, for example, awarded only 464 Medals of Honour (out of an army of 8 million). Other countries (British, Germany… awarded only a fraction of that number). Anyhow, I would love to hear a story about how some people got their Hero of Soviet Union medal multiple times :-)

            • Actually german and soviet counts are not that far – Knight’s Cross was awarded 7,365 times, Oak leaves 890 times, Swords 160 times and Diamonds 27 times – 11,635 Heroes of the Soviet Union, 101 twice Heroes, 3 three-time Heroes…

            • ^^
              They only had a *single* recipient of highest medal – Knight’s Cross in Gold…and it was awarded in wartime conditions (unlike some others).

          • Battle of Krasnogvardeysk

            “Although the Germans correctly guessed the direction of fire, they could only spot Lieutenant Kolobanov’s tank, and now attempted to engage an unseen enemy. German tanks moving off the road bogged down in the surrounding soft ground, becoming easy targets. 22 German tanks and 2 towed artillery pieces fell victim to Kolobanov’s No. 864 before it ran out of ammunition. Kolobanov ordered in another KV-1, and 21 more German tanks were destroyed before the half-hour battle ended. A total of 43 German tanks were destroyed by just five Soviet KV-1s (two more remained in reserve)”

            PS: the text is just a fragment from wikipedia

            PS2: there is a medal named after this guy in WoT

  3. interesting concept. Rewards such as this were not uncommon, the spoils of war were often split up amongst the warriors that dates back to the days of Alexander the Great.

  4. Hm, pretty meaningless info unless you know what they could buy for 500 rubles back then…

  5. Uhhh, poor Radioman allways get shafter, especially if he is stationed in a KV-5.

    • they got leveled up and for each lvl they a higher chance to attrack women with their war stories :D

    • Lol, you’re wrong.

      500 rubles today is only worth $15.

      In 1944 you would be sent to a gulag for being a capitalist spy. If you could actually buy something with it.

        • Forget about those kids, man. Instead do you think that Woras’ calculation is correct? I came with similar results but I’m not sure about the conversion rates that I found on the internet.

          • I was told by my grandma, that 50~60 years ago you could buy a new 2-story house for 20k rubles or smth like that, or a new car for 3-4k rubles. Go figure whats the reward for a tank kill

  6. While this might look like a good idea at first, I can just criticize this kind of award system.
    I mean, the Soviet command “pushed” their soldiers with this, so they would rather kill as much enemy targets as possible just having the money in mind instead of doing what soldiers are supposed to do, defending their homeland, supporting allies, etc.

    This makes war into game, where everyone wants to get the highest “score” possible.

    • Man, are you serious? Considering the living conditions of the Soviet Union at the time, earning 500 rubles would be a god-send to someone, who could then feed their family or get them a better blanket to sleep in during the cold Russian winter. These men aren’t driven by the money so that they can buy an iPhone 7S, but so that they could improve the livelihoods of themselves and their families.

    • Having read quite a bit about a guy who won the VC back in WW1 in one book, I’d point out the rather symbolic medals and whatnots tended to (and presumably still do) motivate quite a few people to engage in rather reckless heroics specifically in order to earn them. The accompanying cash rewards ofc didn’t hurt as they could be quite considerable by the standards of poor working-class stiffs…

      Nothing new about this kind of thing, of course. It was realised *very* early on that concrete and symbolic incentives alike did *wonders* to help warriors and soldiers overcome their natural reluctance to engage in all manner of high-risk behaviour, such as being the first to meet the enemy in combat or reach the top of the wall or enter the breach or whatever. Similarly “Forlorn Hopes” and similar near-suicidal ersatz shock units attracted volunteers in no small part by the very high wages any survivors were paid (though the attraction of martial glory should ofc not be underestimated either).
      Something similar was doubtless routinely employed to help flesh out any number of sacrificial rearguard forces…

  7. Son of a….. I was a sapper and got sweet FA for destroying 2 Iraqi Tanks in the gulf wars!!!! seems communism pays after all :P

  8. Well, I heard Soviet ppl usualy didint take these rewards. As USSR did need these money, and it was duty and honor to protect their motherland.

  9. A T-34 tank cost 270000 and later 142000 roubles in war times, IS-3 cost 350000 roubles in 1946. You can estimate how much money 500 roubles was if you compare it to cost of modern tanks.
    For example, if IS-3 is taken as a late 40′s T-90, which costs about 100 million roubles now, then 500 1940′s-roubles would equal 143000 2010-roubles (3400 eur, 4400 usd) now. The true value was probably less back then, I guess it was about equal to a 1-2 month’s wage .
    All data is from wikipedia.

  10. Ignorant capitalists.

    US just came out of Great Depression and ruble was trading (whenever it was) favorably against a US dollar. 3:1 4:1 from what my grandfather (who was a lt.colonel in government security detachment of RKKA) said some time long ago.

  11. This sounds like a terrible idea if you value your life differently than your fellow tankers… I can imagine sitting in a T-34 and my “40%” comrade tankers saying, “There’s a tiger tank over there! Imagine the money we can make!”. As I abruptly attempt to get out of the tank.

    • …because anyone in their right minds was obviously EAGER to try taking on a heavy tank with a medium. *eyeroll*

      By the by, abject cowardice in face of the enemy got guns pointed at you and court-martials even in the armies of the Democracies…

  12. Well, my girlfriend’s grandma says that for 500 rubles she could provide herself and 3 orther people with enough of everything to survive 2 months with ease (she was 8 when the war ended)
    So … these tankers were given good motivation, basically if they managed to destroy ~5-6 tanks they could feed their families for a year, not counting some “extra” money from their monthly wages

  13. May 7, 1942 was set monetary reward: for each tank was evacuated from the territory occupied by the enemy, or of the neutral zone, in the amount of:
    for tank KB – 5000 rubles,
    T-34-2000 rubles,
    T-70-500 rubles.
    For the evacuation of tanks other brands premiums is set accordingly:
    for heavy tank – 5000 rubles,
    for medium tank – 2000 rubles,
    for a light tank – 500 rubles.
    These awards relied crews of tanks and recovery groups.

    Drivers tanks pay monthly extra fee:
    Master of driving – 150 rubles.;
    driver class 1 – 80 rub.;
    driver class 2-50 rubles ”

    To pay – so all pilots
    - For scoring a 5 sorties to the destruction of the enemy fighter pilot received a cash prize of 1500 rubles;
    - For carrying out 15 sorties fighter pilot was presented to the government award and received a cash prize of 2000 rubles?
    - For carrying out 25 missions fighter pilot was presented to the second government award and received a cash prize of 3000 rubles;
    - For carrying out 40 sorties fighter pilot was presented to the highest state award – the title of Hero of the Soviet Union and received a cash prize 5,000 rubles. [8]
    From the presentation to the title of Hero of the 40 combat missions quickly had to give – too many heroes would have to reward.
    - For the destruction of enemy aircraft on the ground prized fighter pilots and presented to the government award:
    - For the successful implementation of four combat missions to destroy enemy aircraft at airfields his fighter pilot received a cash prize of 1500 rubles;
    - For the successful implementation of 10 combat missions during the day or night sorties 5 fighter pilot was presented to the government award and received a cash prize of 2000 rubles;
    - For the successful implementation of 20 combat missions during the day and 10 at night departures fighter pilots were presented to the second government award and received cash prize of 3000 rubles;
    - For the successful implementation of 35 combat missions during the day and 20 at night departures person crews were presented to the highest state award – the title of Hero of the Soviet Union and received a monetary award 5000 rubles.
    To understand this better pilots were ordered: “In order to promote the combat of fighter pilots set from June 20. The monetary awards in the following amounts:
    - For each downed enemy bomber to pay 2,000 rubles;
    - For each downed enemy transport plane to pay 1,500 rubles;
    - For each downed enemy fighter aircraft to pay 1000 rubles.

    Five thousand for the family of the deceased

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