The Red Army, Russian Tanks, German Tanks


The Warsaw Pact

When in 1955 West Germany, with its own independent army, joined NATO, Moscow countered by establishing the Warsaw Pact. This treaty group included the USSR, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland and Romania. The lines were now drawn for nearly 35 years of tension in Europe and plans for attack and defence. During this time, Warsaw Pact - or Soviet tanks and infantry were deployed, but to suppress outbreaks of anti-Russian nationalism in East Germany, Hungary in 1956, and Czechoslovakia in 1968.

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Soviet Forces

The climax of the Red Army's armoured campaigns in the west was the 1944 summer offensive, Operation 'Bagration'. Between 22 June and 31 August, the attacks destroyed Army Croup Centre and took the Soviet forces to the borders of the Third Reich and, in the south, the key Romanian oilfields of Ploesti. In this campaign, Hitler's intransigence caused German forces to be trapped in pockets all along the front; this was Deep Barrie with a vengeance.

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Soviet Tank, Deep Battle

It was not until 1933 that the USSR reached the stage where it could announce that it had embarked on a modern tank programme, building versions of British and US designs and improving on them constantly. It was this year that I. K Khalepsky - a Red Army officer who had been instrumental in acquiring the Christie vehicles and pushing for a modern tank arm - proposed that the army should not have just a tank brigade, but rather an independem mechanized corps, Tankovyy Korpus. It would have about 500 tanks and 200 armoured cars.

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Soviet Tank Arm

Prior to World War I, armour had virtually disappeared from the European battlefield. Some of the field guns were equipped with armoured shields, and the Belgians and British both equipped a few cars with steel or iron plates for reconnaissance. However, following World War I, all the participants began to develop tanks and to work on theories of armoured warfare. In the newly established Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), Red Army officers - most notably Boris Shaposhnikov, Y. K. Triandafillov and Mikhail Nikolaevich Tukachevsky - began to develop new tactics for a tank arm that, at the time, was virtually non-existent.

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M4 Sherman

Production was authorized when the T-6 was standardized as the M4 Medium Sherman in October 1941. Schedules called for 1000 deliveries per month during 1942, from no fewer than 11 car- and locomotive plants and engineering works. A second government tank arsenal, which was run by Fisher. was built at Grand Blanc, Michigan in 1942. The initial production models utilized a Wright radial engine, but the aircraft industry had a far greater demand for this engine and for the manufacturing plant's production capacity, and so alternate powerplants were sought. These included both the petrol and the diesel car/truck engines.

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