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"HPZs Unlucky First" Topic


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©1994-2024 Bill Armintrout
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Tango0104 Jul 2023 4:39 p.m. PST

"August 20th, 1920, can be considered the starting point for Soviet tank building. It progressed pretty quickly. By 1921, the Red Army already had classifications for its new tanks. Captured British Mark V tanks were assigned to category B, or breakthrough tanks. Mk.A Whippet and Mk.B Hornet tanks were assigned to category S, manoeuvre tanks. Finally French Renault FT tanks and the Russian Renault were assigned to category M, support tanks. For obvious reasons, development of category B tanks was not expected until the future. They were too heavy and complicated for the nascent Soviet industry. A decision was made to focus on manoeuvre and support tanks. Work was conducted by the GUVP (Main Directorate of Military Industry) headed by Senior Engineer Shukalov as of August 1921. Until 1924, this department largely stood idle, since no decision was reached on who would build these tanks and how. There were various ideas discussed, including letting factories design their own tanks. There was already one such instance, although the development of the Teplokhod AN at the Izhora factory was never completed.

A technical tank bureau was formed on May 6th, 1924. Essentially, the Technical Department of the GUVP was reorganised. Shukalov led the new bureau and V.I. Zaslavskiy became his deputy. Two projects were launched at the same time: a 3 ton regimental support tank that later grew into the T-18 (MS-1) and a 15.7 ton maneuer tank armed with a short 76 mm gun and 3 Fedorov machine guns. The 150 hp Ricardo engine would give it a top speed of 20 kph. The armour was just 13 mm thick. Further developments showed that these estimates were quite optimistic and the mass grew to 18 tons. The project went through several iterations, at the end of which it weighed 16 tons and had a 45 mm gun as main armament, a second machine gun turret in the back, and a completely reworked lowered hull with 22 mm thick armour. By this time it was clear that development hit a dead end. There was also a lot of new experience from the T-18 tank that was accepted into service with the Red Army on July 6th, 1927…"


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