Know your steel?

Hello everyone,

just a thought that came to me. So, I was checking by Facebook an hour or two ago and both Chieftain and Challenger linked to this article: Know Your Steel: KV-1 by Hunter1911. So I thought “this should be interesting” and went to check it out.

The post itself is… hmm… well, not very detailed, but it’s a forum post, not a book. However, what struck me as odd is this line in text:

“The main competition at entering mass production was the Czech model S-2 which was already being massively tested at army polygon of Kubinka with the aim of copying the good solutions.”

Uh…. what? What the hell is a S-2 tank? There was never such a thing as a Czech “S-2″ tank. So I guess the author means “Š-II”, right? I can understand how to a random person the S and Š or 2 and II might mix together, but given the fact it’s a “historically accurate” post I expected something more (Š referred of course to Škoda, while II referred to tank category: roman numbers served as identifiers thus: I – tankettes II – light/medium tanks, III – “breakthrough” tanks)

Right. So, it was the Š-II? No, it wasn’t. Hunter1911 later “explains”:

“Skoda S-II and its variants. They vere under developement from 1935-40. You may know some of them as Pz35(T).”

Alright, let’s take it step by step. There were four Š-II vehicles (well, it gets a bit more complicated later on, but lets stick to the basics): Š-II, Š-IIa, Š-IIb and Š-IIc. The names might suggest they are evolution steps of one vehicle, but it is not so, as Š-IIc and Š-IIb were built for different purpose than Š-IIa and Š-II. The Š-II (also known as Střední Útočný) was a 1934 light tank prototype. Š-IIa is the LT-35, that was lately modified to Panzer 35(t) (note that LT-35 and Panzer 35(t) are NOT identical, Panzer 35(t) was “germanized” and changes to compartment were made, there was a different radio etc.). Š-IIb was a failed prototype (somewhat bigger than Š-IIa, quite different) and Š-IIc was a medium (!) tank and was different altogether. Some of you might know it under a different name: T-21 or Turán I (which was in its first version basically just a T-21 copy with some improvements, such as the cooling mechanism and a different gun).

I find it very hard to believe that KV-1 was competing against any of these vehicles. Certainly not the early Š-II and the Š-IIb prototype. So which one was it?

Well, both the remaining tanks actually: Czechoslovaks tried to export the Š-IIa and Š-IIc to Soviet Union. In former case, no mass production was ever really intended: Soviets just wanted to have the prototype trialled so they could ehmmm… “borrow” some of the vehicle’s solution. I wrote more about that here, if you are interested. As for the Š-IIc, it was offered to Soviets actually, but they never intended for it to be mass-produced: no prototype was ever trialled in Soviet Union, only the project documentation was sent with no response.

So yes, the vehicle in question is the Š-IIa, or LT-35, but it surely was not tested for mass production. Why even compare it to KV is beyond me. Furthermore, the dates seem a bit off: Pejčoch (citing Karpenko and Magnuski) states that first prototypes were tested in September 1939, not February (page 36). In fact, the development itself began in February and I doubt it was possible to design and build a prototype within one month. This is how the first prototype looked:


Other Russian authors (Solyankin A.G., Pavlov M.V., Pavlov I.V., Zheltov I.G.: Sovetskiye tyazholye tanki 1917-1941 (Soviet Heavy tanks 1917-1941), Barjatinskij M.: Tyazholiy tank KV (Heavy tank KV)), claim this prototype KV was completed as late as on 1.10.1939.

Anyway, I expected a bit more from an historical article than messing up tank names and dates. Oh well. Of course, I could be wrong, although I cited my sources. Haven’t had time to verify eveything else in that post, but… *shrugs*

73 thoughts on “Know your steel?

  1. Don’t buy the Lowe, it sux!

    On topic, why did the Czechs even believe the Soviets would even possibly consider to buy their tanks given the fact that they were way ahead of them in tank develoment-wise?

      • Really ? I thought french were ahead with their little moving bunkers.

        I think you could do a little comparison in the future.

        Take a specific time period and compare what each country had in service. It seems to be not so obvious for pre 39′ period who was ahead. You could also comment on the doctrines associated with them.

        • well before the war czechoslovakia was among the biggest arms exporters in world so technology wasn’t problem. France tanks had lot of armor but they were slow and with worse equepment. if you look at pz35t or38 its chasis was platform for many german tanks even in 1945

        • The french tanks were rather advanced and well engineered for their time, yes, but at the same time they were ill suited to modern battlefields. French tactics at that time demanded slower vehicles with mostly infantry support weapons and thicker armor than most contemporaries. They also had other flaws like small fuel tanks, being mechanically complicated and thus hard to maintain and cramped interior (I remember reading about some french 1 man turret where the gun had to be elevated to the maximum so that the breech would reach into the hull, just to load the shell. The turret simply wasnt big enough to handle the (i think) 47mm shell while the gun was in a horizontal position.)

          The main advantage of the french tanks was simply their numbers. Thanks to an absurd number of obsolete Renault FT tanks that were still in service and used against germany, and also a lot of money pumped into the production of other tanks, they had the largest tanks fleet in the world before germany decided to drop in.

          The Czeck tanks such as the LT-35/Panzer 35(t) and LT-38/Panzer 38(t) on the other hand were known to be highly reliable, nimble and having very good cross country mobility due to very good suspension systems. They also had a good operational range, were very easy to maintain, comfortable to use and all that while still having very decent armament and reasonable armor.

          • “The main advantage of the french tanks was simply their numbers.(…) they had the largest tanks fleet in the world before germany decided to drop in.”

            Oh, wow… quite impressive… they beat russian production of BT-7 tanks? More than 6000 build?

            • Against any enemy. And i don’t know how the term “just modern tanks” and ” Renault FT” can be connected… And what is ‘modern tank’ (in 1940)? pz1 is modern and bt-7 not?

              What I mean is that statement “they had the largest tanks fleet in the world ” is sooo wrong that i cannot let it pass… just try to find how many tanks USSR lost in operation Barbarossa… more than combined tank forces of all world…

          • Right, because the little dedicated infantry-support tanks were the end-all be-all of French armour….

        • That might be a good idea for an article actually. A pre-war time period, a selection of French, Czech, German, Russian, British etc. tanks and compare them technically and by intended use (or doctrine).

        • The French “bunkers” of D1/D2 and the R39/40 and H35/38/39 and AMX 38 were all very good tanks but slow in comparison to the Czech light tanks and tended to be unreliable, unable to maintain their top speeds due to mechanical defects in their engines and transmissions. While they had the advantage in armor that was usually their only advantage apart from late French light tanks from the mid 30s of which some of the above designs were being re armed with better guns then which they were built. Also fuel consumption was high but didn’t usually matter as they tended to break down or need a full factory overhaul and rebuild after about 200km of driving on the roads as the tank shook itself apart(D1 and D2 did this a lot). Not actually kidding on any of this.


      • Frank, you need to take a breath, there’s a difference between “being the best” and “being considered the best”.
        I would say that they were on par with other countries and best/worst depends only on criteria you want to use. Tanks that time were still a new toy and somewhat top secret ;) – Czechs were the only ones that were openly selling their top quality product to everyone wishing to buy and had the industry to deliver, that’s where the opinion came from.

        • They actually were the best tanks that could be bought on the open market in terms of overall quality and design. IE balanced. The only thing that was more heavily exported world-wide at the time would have been the FT-17 of WW1.

          And ofc during WW1 there were better tanks made but none as successful in terms of over all design and post war retention.

          The Pz 35(t) and Pz 38(t) did both.

          • terrible irony of CZ arms production that would be used against it by its very own customers and neighbours.

          • What better tank than FT-17? As far as I know, all the armored vehicules that actually fought during WWI were crap and useless. Except for the AV7, who wasn’t as bad as the french and british “heavy” tanks.

  2. Is Škoda suppose to be pronounced Shkoda (and Š-II as Sha-2)? I always have trouble with them diactritical characters.

  3. That’s why being ignorant is nice. You’re not bothered when people gets things wrong. Like all these stupid videos on YT where people show Japanese Me 262 and insist it was a “secret weapon”.

    • That is because the “Japanese ME 262″ was not a copy of the german one, it was just inspired by it. Nakajima Ki-201 is almost half the weight of the ME 262, that is not a minor diffrence. So the stupid videos on YT was smarter then you.

      • Yep is bigger fail then article. USSR and Russia totaly different countries, its union with 15 countries LOL, its the same if you call CZ Europien Union LOL

    • Yeah but given the fact of how Soviet Union political and territorial system really worked, It’s not much of a difference if you say Russia or Soviet Union for this period.

      Still, it would be a case if we were talking about very beginning and very end of USSR. SSR’s were more-less independent in those specific periods.

      • The Soviets were led by a Georgian(Stalin) and two of the commander generals for the Soviets were Ukrainian(K. Voroshilov & Timoshenko) during the Winter War. I don’t think Russia and the Soviet Union are synonymous for referencing the Winter War.

        • Don’t forget to mention that majority of high ranking communists were kikes… At least until Stalin got rid of them, God bless him.

          • Honestly, SS, why on Earth do you allow retarded shitheads like Kellomies who do nothing more than bring racist, idiotic “trolling” to FTR?!

            • Hey, don’t go confusing me with this potty-mouthed knuckle-dragging imitator merely because I can’t be arsed to post actively for a few days.

    • It is only a label. Doesn’t matter too much as most people when told a word “russian” imagine Soviet Union anyway. Same with Czechoslovakia which ceased to exist on 1992/12/31. Couple years back I watched a Canadian soldier talk about czechoslovakian medics in Afghanistan. That was the Afgan war during the rule of Bush Junior. The world is changing too fast for people. Making new books is too expensive nowdays and using the Internet hurts them brains.

      • Yeah but Czechoslovakia despite being non-existent still describes some union of cultures. I mean both Czechs and Slovaks have very similar culture and they get along with each other better than with any other nation.

        I mean, you could say there is something like common Czechoslovak culture for both nations.

    • honestly blame the czech education system… in primary schools we don’t learn the difference between Russia and Soviet Union. For Czechs they was never something as Soviet Union, we called it always Russia. I don’t even think I ever learned the term “Winter War” elsewhere than at the university. But that’s probably changed now and today’s kids probably know it was “Winter War”.

  4. well the saying History is dictated by the winners holds true but, your mind naturally travels to the strongest or largest power in the Union, in the case of USSR it was Russia and in America when you talk about the Allies it’s America and Axis it’s Germany. Tho we are informed about the other participants your mind immediately just registers the most common references.

    Besides I mean if the British didn’t bamboozle America with misinformation it probably would of never gotten involved with that side of the world to begin with.

    • The US was already in the war before Pearl Harbour it just did not know it. Japan beleived it had to knock the US out of play in order to establish an empire and get the resources it neaded to continue its military domination of the regon. As far as Japan was concerned the US embargo on oil was the tipping point and from their point of view war was a inevitable and the only advantage that Japan had was when and were to start hostilities.
      Americans (the US ones that is) tend to forget (if they ever knew) that it was Germany who declaired war on the US on the 11th December 1941.

      The victors write the history but if they are not self critical and robust in in their analysis they will not learn enough not to repeat the mistakes of the past. Which is why we keep repeating many of the mistakes of the past.

      • We knew we might be at war at some point.

        We had file cabinets full of “War Plans” much like everyone else. When it came we just dusted them off and made edits as need and tossed a bunch of them.

        I think dropping bombs or invading another country is declaration enough. Also Hitler was an idiot to declare war. But because of the pact he made he had few excuses not to declare war. The US was rather self critical in their after reports but nobody ever seems to read them.

        • Plus IIRC from his perspective the US was already practically a participant, given the amount of fire being exchanged between Kriegsmarine raiders and USN escorts on an almost daily basis – “Undeclared War” I’ve seen it called. The Nazi dogma of grand international Jewish conspiracies might of been relevant – I understand in their world-explanation Roosevelt had managed to attain a status rather analogous to the Antichrist already well before the war.
          ‘Course, by that time Hitler was also still convinced victory in the East could be accomplished within reasonable timeframe and probably figured he had time to finish off the Soviets before open US participation became practically relevant…

  5. Few years ago we changed our licence plates here in Serbia. Our mega intelligent designers decided to use our characters like: šđčćž, so nobody from normal countries couldn’t read them. Furthermore to make it more shitty, they added a two character city code, both in Latin and Cyrillic characters, so today we have something like: BG БГ 123ŽĐ and I would really love to here some of you dirty Europeans reading this shit aloud :) :) :) This is done so we could join EU, so that all of you dirty Europeans can’t give us poor Serbs, tickets and make us cry :) :) :)

    Anyhow, to explain what SS wrote, Š is for Škoda as it is for the Šit or Šhit :) :) :)

    • ” Šit or Šhit ”

      now that I can understand…

      btw.. we would just give you a ticket for “unreadable registration plate” …. job done.. ;)

    • Inconsistency and randomness, just like his moderation on the forum.
      IMO a moderator like him is actually harming the company. His random moderation is of such low quality, that several of my experienced clan members have given up helping new players on the forum.

      If I moderated the forums I work for, with the same randomness as his, I would be kicked.

      • I agree that Hunter1911 is one of the worst dickheads in wg moderators. Once tryed to talk that guy and wont make that mistake anothertime. Good we have this so dont need to use Wg forums ever again.

  6. I always understood that the war between Russia and Finland was known as the Continuation War.

  7. I rather read articles about tanks here then through the main portal or on the official forums. And this yet again proves why you need to do your homework properly before trying to look like some kind of tank expert.

    The thing that just makes me cringe is the way he is demeaning towards other people like he is some all knowing god while this little piece already proves otherwise.

    • SS usually shits on him self. Maybe SS is even more than one person, maybe some of them are gods, but some are good, and in the end, it might be one person having mental illness of split personality…

  8. WG is failing about everything nowadays. Comparing Pz. 35(t)’s with KV-1′s, mass-nerfing Marder II (it was a proper Beta-test monster), etc. I mean, WTF is going on? I know that they’re considering us as idiots, but come on… They CANNOT be this crap.

  9. So what’s your problem with WoT EU team SS?Because you act like they beat you in a dark alley on a friday night.

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