The Red Army, Russian Tanks, German Tanks


US M3 Medium Tank

The M3 was built by several US companies, including Alсo, Baldwin, Detroit, Pressed Steel Car and Pullman-Standard, and it became the first US medium tank to go into volume production. Factories in Canada also built 1100 M3s. At first, the M3 had a seven-man crew, with a loader and gunner for each main weapon and a radio operator. This latter position was soon deleted and the radio given to the driver. The suspension inherited from the M2 turned out to be inadequate for the heavier M3, and was re-designed with heavier springs.

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Light Tank Tetrach, M2A1

Twenty British Tetrach (A 17) Light Tanks were also sent to the Soviet Union overland via Iran, but were not popular with their Russian crews. Privately developed by Vickers in 1937, the Tetrach, originally known by the company by the project name 'Purdah', was accepted for service by the British Army in 1938 as the Light Tank Mk VII. Production of the vehicle started in 1940, but this was soon haIred when it was realized that light tanks were becoming increasingly vulnerable on the modern battlefield.

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British Tank Matilda, Valentine

The USA, Britain and Canada supplied 22,800 armoured vehicles to the USSR during World War II. Of these, 1981 were lost at sea on the hazardous Arctic convoys to Murmansk. The shipments that did arrive were the equivalent of 16 percent of Soviet tank production, 12 percent of self-propelled gun production, and all of the armoured personnel carrier (APC) production. The first shipment in 1941 totalled 487 Matildas, Valentines and Tetrachs from Britain, and 182 M3A1 Light Tanks and M3 Medium Tanks from the USA. A year later, these figures had risen to 2487 from Britain and 3023 from the USA.

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Heavy Tank IS-2 IS-3

The need for a larger gun for the IS-1 had in fa ct been identified by Kotin's team and designers at Zavod Nr 9 in the wake of the Battle of Kursk in July 1943. This realization had two effects. First, production of the IS-1 with an 85mm (3.34 in) gun was restricted until it could be equipped with a more powerful gun. Second, the 100mm (3.93 in) BS-3 and 122mm (4.8 in) A-19 guns were adapted for the IS-1 and put through firing tests during November 1943.

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Heavy Tank IS-1 KV-85

Concurrent to the development or the new self-propelled gun series in 1943. Soviet design teams completed longer-term projects for a new generation of heavy tanks to replace the ageing KV-1 types. By the start of 1943, 21 heavy tank designs had been created, but at one point, work was threatened when Josef Stalin decided to cancel heavy tank production after scathing reports abour the poor mobility and armament of the KV-1 from experienced commanders such as General P. A. Rotmistrov. Fortunately Stalin relented under the combined impact of lobbying from the NKTP, and the more immediate need to counter new German medium and heavy tanks.

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