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"WWII Russian tank info" Topic

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World War Two on the Land

634 hits since 4 Nov 2018
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Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP04 Nov 2018 10:10 p.m. PST

I've been corresponding with some workers at the Russian tank museum in Kubinka. Here is some feedback from my questions to a driver/mechanic who also does recovery work:

I'm afraid i do not have actual reaction times you are asking for (as i am more engaged in recovery and restoration, not archives)

From my side, i could only give you few practical advices:

1) By Soviet rules, observing battlefield for threats\targets is responsibility not only of tank commander, but of all crew members (even gun loader is supposed to be looking into his observation device all the time he is not loading the gun or doing other things)

2) Limiting gun re-directing to turret rotation is not correct – sometimes it is much quicker and convenient to turn entire tank to face the target. On T-70 mod.1942, i was never able to rotate the turret fast enough to compensate tank turns (there is now power traverse on this tank). In early WWII, Soviet tank commanders were sometimes taking tank driver seat as it allow them immediate reaction to threats (and better observation with open hatch).

3)Not all T-34-76 were equipped with turret rotation motor – at least some of STZ tanks produced in 1942 were not having it, like one we have recovered from Don two years ago. So for them traversing was limited to manual rotation of the handle and turning entire tank.


Some new and interesting info about the T-70 and T-34.


Fred Cartwright05 Nov 2018 2:53 a.m. PST

That is interesting. I have heard people go on about the slow turret rotation of the later German tanks, but not heard of similar isssues with Soviet tanks.

Andy ONeill05 Nov 2018 5:11 a.m. PST

German sources certainly describe a relatively slow response to new targets.
The ergonomics would impact rate of fire.
As to exact numbers for either, i dunno.

Mobius05 Nov 2018 7:07 a.m. PST

You might ask them about the early T-34s. Were all the T-34s armed with the L-11 gun given the Model 1940 gun mantlet or did they get the Model 41 gun mantlet in 1941?

Achtung Minen05 Nov 2018 7:28 a.m. PST

You might ask them about the early T-34s. Were all the T-34s armed with the L-11 gun given the Model 1940 gun mantlet or did they get the Model 41 gun mantlet in 1941?

The Model 1940 gun mantlet is specifically for the L-11 gun. The L-11 wouldn't fit in the M1941's gun mantlet and the F-34 gun wouldn't fit in the M1940's gun mantlet. That said, the M1941 gun mantlet could accomodate, with adjustment, the F-32, the F-34 and the Zis-4.

goragrad05 Nov 2018 8:18 a.m. PST

And so back to the discussion topic some time ago of whether a tank could still fire at a target if its turret was jammed – turning the tank might not be the best way to track a moving target, but bringing a the gun to bear on stationary target in particular would be quite feasible.

More so with a tank capable of contra-rotating the tracks.

Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP05 Nov 2018 9:06 a.m. PST

More so with a tank capable of contra-rotating the tracks.

When I was in Armor Officer Basic back in the early 1970s, we called that a pivot steer. With the M60, it was easy, put the gear box in neutral and "jam" over the T-bar steering.


Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP05 Nov 2018 11:55 a.m. PST

I think the steering type you are talking about is normally called "neutral steering" which used a double or triple differential transmission.

The German Tigers and Panther could neutral turn as did the British Churchill and a few others. The advantage is you did not lose speed when turning as with a clutch/brake steering. Each gear had a fixed turning radius (Tiger and Panther two radii), the faster you went the larger your turn radius. German tanks could also use the clutch/brake system too.

Neutral turns put tremendous pressure on the ends of the track and could pop them off. It also pushed dirt onto the top of the tread which could jam the drive sprocket when moving forward. It involved very high engine revs which the German Maybach engines did not like. It also put tremendous pressure on the final drives which already had problems. Driver expertise mattered a lot when attempting this. For that reason, I don't think it was used very often and probably only on hard ground. I've read one account of a Tiger I using neutral turning but that was on a street in a town.

From a few videos I've watched a German tank performing a neutral turn rate was about 10 degrees per second but I'm not sure if that was the maximum rate.

I know a guy that drove a Panther and I'll check with him.

A tank using neutral steering with a jammed turret should be able to shoot at a target but probably only at very close ranges, maybe no more than 500m. Hand traverse was about 1/2 degree per turn of the traversing wheel.


Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP05 Nov 2018 12:00 p.m. PST

Depends upon the crew, I guess.

Wittmann's crew started out in Stugs, and then graduated to the Tiger I, later.

I suspect part of their effectiveness in racking up kills was in having learned to turn the entire vehicle very quickly to get the gun on the target.

If they can get on target with a Stug, then doing so, even with the slow rotation of the Tiger's turret would seem easy by comparison.

Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP05 Nov 2018 2:46 p.m. PST

What was your experience as an armor officer regarding target engagement? Under what conditions would it be better to engage by traversing the turret and when would it be quicker to turn the entire vehicle? Was there a problem coordinating turning the entire tank with the gunner and driver getting target ID?


Legion 406 Nov 2018 8:38 a.m. PST

we called that a pivot steer.
Yep, we called it the same '79-'90 when I was a Mech Grunt.

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