Ensign’s Q&A #14

Welcome to the 14th Q&A! A reminder as to how this works: send me questions about Soviet tanks and related topics, and I will answer them here (unless I forget, in which case you’re welcome to send them again).

Previous Q&A

Q: Were there any prototype or experimental tanks with double barreled guns?

A: Of course! A favourite of mine is the ST-II, with two 122 or 100 mm guns in one turret. Sadly, it was never built. Its half-assed implementation is currently present in the game. The extra loader is there, but the second gun is not, and the ROF has been drastically reduced. There was also the SU-2-122, which was a SU-122 with two guns instead of one, KV-7 (one version had 2 76 mm guns), and many double barreled SPG prototypes, currently terminating with the double barreled Russian Koalitsiya 152 mm SPG.

That’s just for tanks with two cannons of equal calibers. A great deal of tanks were equipped with dual machine guns, and with a smaller caliber gun or autocannon instead of a coaxial machinegun.

Q: What is the difference between the Soviet 122 mm guns (A-19, D-25T, D-30, D-25-44, D-2-5T)? How do they differ in performance?

A: The A-19 was a corps level artillery piece, with a screw breech and two-piece ammunition. The D-2 gun was an attempt to “tankify” the gun, by giving it a muzzle brake and other such features. The result was combined with the mount from the 85 mm D-5 gun to give us the famous D-25. The D-30 combined parts of the D-25 and D-10, combined with a fume extractor. The D-25-44 was a D-25 customized to fit into what the game calls “T-44-122″, but has a real mouthful of a full name: “T-44, first modification, with D-25-44 cannon”. Subsequent T-44 tanks did not use the D-25. The D-25 for the T-44 was slightly weaker than the rest of the guns (2-4% reduced propellant size) and used single piece shells. The rate of fire was only up to 3 RPM, as the shells were heavy and there was no room for the IS-2′s loading assist equipment in the smaller turret.

Q: Were any Sherman Fireflies sent to the Soviet Union under the Lend-Lease program?

A: No. The vast majority of Fireflies were built on M4A4 hulls, a tank the Soviets weren’t all that fond of.

Q: What can you tell us about how Russian armor improved over the course of the war?  And also the Russian thinking on plate vs cast armor?

A: Hardness changed in reaction to larger caliber shells. For example, IS tanks from late 1944 had much more resistant armour than ones from early 1944, not only due to the straightening of the upper glacis plate, but also due to the superior composition of the steel to counter higher velocity 88 mm shells from the Pak 43. Also, a great deal of care was put into improving the welding seams, resulting in armour of the same thickness and composition, but effectively additional strength.

The Soviets liked cast armour, and used it extensively when possible. Early T-34-76 turrets were welded, later ones were cast. IS-2 mod. 1944 hulls were also cast at all factories, except at UZTM, which was experiencing shortages.

Q: What are your thoughts on the accuracy of the “battlefield.ru” website?

A: As always, the articles are as good as their sources. Theirs appear to be pretty well done, largely from reputable literature and archive sources. The English version of the website is very limited, sadly.

That’s it for this round! Email me more questions at tankarchives@gmail.com.

38 thoughts on “Ensign’s Q&A #14

  1. I remember the old English version of the battlefield.ru site used to be a lot better. They had to change servers (hosts?) at one point, and most of the original translations were lost. The new ones are not really up to scratch and are only on certain articles. Quite a shame.

    • I never bothered with English version much. Google Chrome has had an auto-translate feature for many years now, and the only excuse I had for missing out on any of their website was not enough hours in a lifetime :(

      Thanks again Ensign, as always!!

      • It’s not a particularly large turret, just a small chassis. The turret itself is still smaller than T29/34 or M103 standards.

    • Not in one bank. And that engine must have run so smooth… You wouldn’t have noticed even a whole bank missing :P …

    • It depends. Inline 6′s have perfect balance, as do v12′s or other iterations of 6 inline pistons… W18, radial 30, etc…

  2. When i clicked on that KV-7 (one version had 2 76 mm guns) link…i saw near the bottom of the page the SU-203…………holy….crap. Mounting a 203mm howitzer in a SU body…damn. That’d make an interesting premium tank xD

      • Psh…who gives a hoot :P Hah though, it only carries 20 rounds of ammunition according to what i’ve read…but that oughta be plenty! Just imagine going through a town like Himmelsdorf…turning a corner…and finding that big gun pointed right at you. If that thing can fire HEAT shells (as i think it would be able to fire HE and HEAT)……you’re so screwed haha

      • You’re so fucking pathetic with everything you say on this blog. In my opinion this place would be better without your damn useless posts, and all that shitty russian adoring maaan. (btw ST-II and all that bullshit was posted not only once already ^^). The funny part is that if you write some shit back than you’ll come with me writing anonymously. :D

    • I imagine it would be as fun as using the 203mm on the S-51 in direct fire mode on Himmelsdorf used to be back in the day. Poor tank comes flying around the corner and gets whacked with WTF level damage through the side armor.

  3. Hi Ensign, first of all, thank you so much, for doing your thing.
    I jut wanted to say, that most of us are very grateful for your work.
    I know it’s hard to actually do the research, quote and use actual sources,
    just to be screamed at by some 12 year old kids, who saw a Top 10 tanks documentary
    on Discovery and listened to there drunken fathers in some retarded pub discussion.

    Again we know it’s annoying do actually do the work and then get flamed by “history noobs”,
    whose idea of sources is Wikipedia/Discovery.
    Thanks again for all your work and now go post some more articles on AA.

    P.S. Could you do some articles about T-34/85 production. I have no clue,
    how did the Soviets manage to produce and replace the T-34 in such a short period.

    • It wasn’t a very short period. The need for a tank with an 85 mm gun was identified around January of 1943, but the tanks themselves didn’t get built until the end of the same year, and didn’t start real mass production until the next one.

      I do have some interesting T-34-85 related materials though :)

      • I could have my dates mixed up, but from what I know, GAU (arty guys) told some design guys to
        develop 85mm gun for vehicles in January 1943.
        Petrov and I think Sergeyev has the prototypes ready in June 1943.
        Trials in July 1943.
        Turret is designe by I think Kerichev? in autumn 1943.
        Obiekt 135 in November 1943.
        Savin’s remix of the gun design (ZiS-S-53) proves to be less sucky December 1943.

        Now here comes the part I have problems understanding/researching:
        January 1944 to June 1944: 6000 85′s in service! Not produced, not planed, but fucking in service?!?!
        And apparently only 500-700 of those were equiped with the crappy D-5S (could have the gun models messed up, i’m actualy using WOT as a source:)

        Now if we just look at 6th Guards tank corps, they were already trolling with almost all the T-34 replaced with the 85 model during Bagration.
        How did they manage to retrain the crews (I know the first crews had 2 hours to “train”, but later the training was much better), educate the support guys and fix the logistic for 6k tanks and tank guns (parts/shells) in fucking 4 months?!

        Btw all the info I have is from Fowler/Bean and Zaloga.
        The numbers for tanks are from Mark Harrison: Accounting for War.

        P.S. Please if you are busy, have something better to do or just don’t feel like it, don’t even bother answering anything. I still need to read up on a bunch of staff before I can ask interesting questions.

  4. Just took some read on battlefield.ru, it´s a complete commie propaganda side, pretty much most there is not entirely correct, pushed up, a myth or just simply nonsense for people with a clear mind who are able to find more than 1 source. It´s mostly based on some soviet facts for the stupid masses and when they used non russian sources those ones were only guesses with no dept in it. I could disprove everything i´ve read there in less than 20 min on several trustworthy websides in several languages.
    HeilStalinthesaviorandsaintofmotherRussia.ru should be the side name, it´s just disgusting.
    The worst part is the clever russians who tell the truth or show real evidence and facts get down voted there because it shows the non soviet propaganda facts, it´s like a kindergaden.

    • God damn it man!
      This is just another fucking example of hating on shitty research,
      but not giving a single example.
      WTF man!

      If you can disprove everything, why not give us some examples?
      When we put crappy historiography + some CGI on TV, it’s called Discovery Channel.
      When Russians do it, it’s dirty commie propaganda?

      • Discovery Channel is the same propaganda garbage for uneducated and main stream people like the commie ones.

        People also have to understand even when a source comes from an archive it doesn´t mean it is correct, it could have been wrong measurement, wrong understanding or just poorly guessed back then, it wouldn´t be the first time this happened especially in cases from russia, which doesn´t mean US sources for example are any better most of the time.
        IF you want to find real facts and the truth you don´t watch TV in the first place nor do you read Wiki trash.

        If the truth was that easy to find everyone would be a genius already.

          • It´s not about to trust perfect detailed archive data like german ones but more about half informative data which russian archives often shows, their archive is a complete mess.
            just look at a soviet anti tank gun penetration table and look what shells were used for the guns, they don´t even mention it anywhere but they used wrong ammunition for non soviet guns maybe on purpose maybe they were dumb who knows. just not a trustworthy source if you know this.
            there is a reason not many people like you EE. not everyone in your world is a sheep even tho i´ve found one right now, hey ´´SI8´´.

            • Ah, so you are an expert in German archives, I gather? How fortunate for me! I have been looking for a similar document, but a German equivalent, perhaps you have seen one. It is certainly much better than the Soviet one, if all you say is true, and will definitely dispel all the myths of Soviet propaganda.

              Unless, of course, you have never seen a German archive document in your entire life, and are pulling your standards out of your ass.

              By the way, individual Soviet penetration tests include the blueprints of the shell in question, as well as its properties. The table that half of the internet is so butthurt about is a high level summary for engineers that have nothing to do with testing penetration. Why do they care about what type of shell is used? They care about how much penetration enemy guns are capable of, and the document provides them with this information.

            • Also, apparently he is an expert in sheep. As the descendent of a long line of sheepherders I resent that.
              Also, I don’t like EE. I loathe the very core of him actually. I have no idea who he is personally, and I enjoy his blog. Also the detailed and considerate responses he posts here. And I’m pretty sure he can mix a fair enough White Russian.

  5. They forgot to mention that the Maus is in-fact a dual-gunned tank, with the 128 mm main gun and a 75 mm gun that was most likely intended to be used for range-finding purposes but could possibly have been used to knock out light and medium tanks to allow them to save the 128 mm shells for any IS-2s or other heavy tanks it would have encountered. That being said, that doesn’t make it a good tank; on the contrary, it was horrendous irl, whereas in WoT it can at least drive somewhere without sinking up to the top of the turret in the mud.

    • “That’s just for tanks with two cannons of equal calibers. A great deal of tanks were equipped with dual machine guns, and with a smaller caliber gun or autocannon instead of a coaxial machinegun.”

      If I was going to talk about every tank with a coax cannon, we’d be here all day.

  6. Next Soviet heavy line will feature the Mammoth 1 from Red Alert 1 for a tier 9 and the Apocalypse 1 from Red Alert 2 for a Tier 10.

    In the meantime the EU tech tree gets the Mirage Tank as a premium light and the Prism Tank as a premium med.

    WHEN IS THE M56 SCORPION (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M56_Scorpion) COMING?

  7. Pingback: Ensign’s Q&A 15 | For The Record