Monday, 5 March 2018

Street Fighter

"March 21st, 1937
To the chief of the ABTU, Divisional Commander Bokis

Chief of Armament of the Red Army, Army Commander 2nd Class, comrade Khalepskiy
Chief of the General Staff, Marshal of the Soviet Union, comrade Yegorov

Experience in using the T-26 tank demonstrated its poor suitability for fighting in cities, where the tanks took heavy losses. There is no reason to assume that other types of tanks will perform any better. We much have tanks that are especially designed for successful street fighting, not only in small settlements, but in large cities, where the enemy will have the ability to attack our tanks from above.

Discuss this issue (invite Arman and Krivoshein) with specialists: engineers and designers. Report to me in 20 days regarding your ideas for a tank that is designed for street battles.

Consider the following:
  1. The tank should, in my opinion, possess considerable penetration. It should be able to destroy not only barricades of all types, but also stone obstacles: walls, houses, etc, which means that the front part of the tank should be reinforced and shaped like a battering ram. Think this idea over.
  2. It must be possible to fire machineguns, or, more desirably, cannons up at an angle of 60-70 degrees to hit the enemy on top floors of houses. This requires good visibility upwards and to the sides.
  3. The tank crew must be protected from incendiary fluid.
  4. Speed can be sacrificed for improved armour, especially in the front, but not agility.
  5. The rear of the tank must be covered by fire.
  6. It is desirable to have a BT-IS-like Tsyganov convertible drive.
  7. It is desirable to protect the tracks from hand grenade bundles.
These are the requirements, in very general terms, for a tank designed for street (city) fighting. Report your ideas on the topic and on timelines for designing an experimental prototype, if you consider this tank necessary at all.

K. Voroshilov."


  1. Why the #6 request for convertible drive?

  2. Well, if the tracks would be blown off, the tank could retreat on its wheels…
    Thus, it would not matter if the tank got ‘tracked’, just change from tracks to wheels and drive away…

    Quoting from the MT-25 article:
    “Existing tank designs largely consist of tracked tanks, where the drive sprockets are elevated and the road wheels are not powered. The drawback of this design is that if the tracks are destroyed, the tank loses the ability to more, even though its internal mechanisms remain undamaged. In battle, an immobilized tank is as good as a destroyed tank.
    The new type of combat vehicle that we propose, the mototank, is free of the aforementioned drawback. The mototank is a wheeled, and if necessary, tracked, fighting vehicle, where all the road wheels are powered. If the track or a portion of the wheels are destroyed, the tank does not lose its ability to move and can still fight the enemy or, if necessary, evacuate on its own power. The vulnerability of the suspension of the new vehicle is drastically reduced. It can live and fight for as long as the engine runs.
    Existing designs of tracked armoured vehicles are limited in speed to 50 kph, and only convertible drive tanks can reach a speed of 70-75 kph.
    The mototank retains a valuable quality of wheeled vehicles: high speed of movement and maneuver. When driving on wheels, the mototank can reach a speed of up to 100 kph, or 40-45 kph on average.”

    It is a different system, but the idea is the same… (not all roadwheels are powered and the Tsyfanov system was not very reliable, they tried to solve that with the MT-25)
    Hope this answers your question!

    1. Or just sheds a track on rubble or whatever, yeah. This is in the context of mid-Thirties tech after all - like much other automotive engineering of tanks the track designs still had a long way to go.

    2. Both your points are valid.

  3. My favorite is: 5. The rear of the tank must be covered by fire.

    You see comrade, the germans cant set your tank on fire if it already is!