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Dmitry Yudo aka Overlord, jack of all trades
David Lister aka Listy, Freelancer and Volunteer

Monday, December 17, 2012

[WoT] Get Expert Opinion: Soviet Edition

UPDATED. December 27. Thread closed. Thank you for the questions.

Q&A sessions on German tanks with Mr. Hilary L. Doyle appeared to be rather popular. As a continuation of this good tradition now you have a chance to ask World of Tanks warfare expert Yuriy Pasholok who has got outstanding knowledge of tanks in general with his primary specialization being Soviet tanks. He is also the co-author of recently published Maus book.

Post your questions in comments to this post, I will shortlist everything with love and care and subsequently provide replies the way I did with Doyle's ones splitting them into bulletins. The deadline for your questions is December 23.

While considering what exactly to ask, keep in mind that Pasholok may not be familiar with advanced game concepts and game design issues, thus try to keep your queries more reality-related than WoT-related (Yuriy prefers 1:1 scale vehicles, if you know what I mean ;)).

PS: you can repost old Qs from this thread, since there were few of them on Soviet tanks.  

Ask away!


  1. This is spectacular that you are doing this for us Overlord! Thanks a tonne, and keep it up!!

    Mr. Pasholok,
    1) Much has been made of how advanced and technologically superior German armor was to everyone else of the time, especially against Russian armor. I loved reading the comparative armor reports on www.battlefield.ru, but are you able to give us anything more definitive about how armor quality changed over the years of the Great War? Especially of Russian armor, of course ;)

    2) The typical western thinking is that Russia used so much HE shells because their AP shell technology was inferior to the task. What is your insight on this, and as to how effective HE actually was against German tanks, especially in relation to the above question, as armor changed?

    3) Mr. Walter Christie appears to have had a great influence on Russian tank design beginning in the inter-war period, though not so much in his own country. How is he perceived from your perspective?

    4) Your favorite tank of all time?

    Thank you tremendously for your time and knowledge!

  2. Ok, here we go:

    Can You tell us more about characteristics of each tank in IS series? In-game they are pretty much mixed up, as IS-8 is considered weaker than IS-7, and IS-4 is far greater than IS-6. To sum up: they are in a very random order that does not match their real development. Is that because some versions were made from scratch, and not by further development of previous versions, or maybe these projects were just a bit to complicated and had to be "dumbed down" to simplify and reduce potential costs?

    We have alot of new Chinese tanks just on their way. We all know that most of them were licensed versions of soviet vehicles, so many parts of these tanks should be nearly the same. At the same time the Chinese had to make some changes to fit their own technology, and I suppose some things were kept secret at that moment, so they might have not gotten the entire vehicle technology, but some sort of "basic elements" that were lacking a finishing touch. What exactly were the nuances and tiny differences that make these machines different?

    Some tanks were designed for a totaly different kind of warfare after the second world war (like Object 279 that was focused on surviving a nublear blastwave), did this pursue of making them resistant to new kinds of weapons make them a bit more vounreable to the traditional armor piercing and high explosive rounds? These bizarre projects looks very much like a compromise, and it is clear that they had to be inferior in some categories to gain these totaly new atributes in other matters.

    Hopefully You will share Your knowledge with us! :)

    1. About JS tanks .
      JS-3 and JS-4 were developed in paralell .
      The JS-3 desing was succesful , but the drop in quality when it entered mass production add a major flaw , lower quality weldinig would rip apart if the point of the pike nose would be hit . It also had transmission problems .

      JS-4 was viewed as a placeholder . It was poorly protected against high velocity guns of 120+ mm caliber such as JagdTigers. It entered production with a mass produced gun that was weaker than proposed one C-34-2. It had transmission problems , ground pressure problems . It was the heaviest mass produced soviet tank , and showed that it was almost impossible to mass transport anything above 50 tonns on soviet infrastructure .

      The main enemy of JS-3 and JS-4 was supposed to be KWK43 and they were armored against it .

      JS-5 was a concept which was dropped early in development .

      JS-6 was a test for different trasmissions electric verses mechanical , and a prototype for JS-7 , it was supposed to use a new D-30T gun .

      JS-7 was built under a concept of a Heavy tank with Upper limit characteristics.
      It was designed to withstand anything at the time. But with weight of 68 tonnes
      (which the military demanded to have reduced) and a new concept of tank warfare in a nuclear conflict , which belived that about half the tanks would be lost in nuclear bombardment. Such a massive and complex to produce tank no place . And Khushovs dislike toward massive consumers of steel such as fleet and tank core played its role .

      JS-8 , JS-9 , T-10 - the failures of previous desings demanded a new tank , with strict weight limit. It had a tougth turret , new pike nose to avoid welding problems . T-10 had a new gun M-62 and later They recived stabilisation on 2 axis . It may be the most mass produced heavy tank in history .

  3. With the characteristic late war speed and low profile on most russian tanks they would obviously be hard to hit tank vs tank, however would it be realistic to believe those tanks on average could withstand more direct hits than a western tank of similar comparison before being reliably knocked out?

  4. it is widely known, that russian armor and the t34 in particular came as a shock to the germans, the germans thus learned from this and copied the ideas of sloped armor, wider tracks and better suspension (and maybe others wich i dont know yet) into there designs after the inviasion.

    But wich particular design concepts from the germans where learned from and coppied into russian design? Both before the war, during the war and imediatly afterwards.

    thx a lot and sry for bad english

    1. Exactly the question I wanted to ask.

    2. you can find answers to this in the think tank videos but I can summarise
      1.the Germans did not 'copy' sloped armour from the Russians, it was already known about by most tank producing nations, but deemed unnecessary by the Heer as current armour designs were deemed acceptable without the disadvantages of sloped plate (such as reduced crew and stowage space)
      2.the t34's main shock to the Germans was that the russians had a seemingly good tank (in truth like all tanks the t34 had its issues) which went against the whole propaganda doctrine of Russians being inferior Slavics who could only copy German weapons(again not true but that the 3rd reich for you)
      3.the Germans didn't copy the wider tracks from the t34 either the panzer III and IV only had narrow tracks because they weren't deemed heavy enough to need wide tracks unlike the panther and tiger which were deemed heavy enough to merit wide tracks. the lack of need for snow/mud capable tracks can be seen in plans for operation Barbarossa, which were drawn up specifically to take Moscow before the Russian winter set in.
      furthermore the Germans never copied the suspension of the t34, the t34 uses Christie type suspension while most German tanks (such as the tiger or panther) used Torsion bar suspension.

      granted there were some things the Germans copied or down right stole from the Russians (like the Pak36r) so if we could learn about those it would be great

  5. 1)Were there any vechicles based on IS-4 chassis?:) There should be some considering the fact that there were some on IS-7 chassis and this tanks was not mass produced.
    2)Were there any SPGs with turrets? I mean real one's. Not AT-SPGs with turrets like Taran or TD's used as SPG as ISU-152 etc.

    1. JS-4 was considered barely up to date when it entered production .

  6. A question for Mr Pasholok

    Some time ago in the past, I've worked with a variety of tanks. Including hte T-34/85. In my time it was a horribly unreliable sometimes going less than a few hundred meters before breaking down again, this plagued all or T-34/85's. Often the Gear box was blamed.
    Our collection of Shermans was vastly different never seeming to break down.

    Now in recent years there's been significant disagreement with my Freinds over this point, with them pointing towards stories of T-34 Reliability.
    Obvioously these news stories contradict with my own personel experince.

    Could you please shed some light on the subject? I only ask as I'm not that familiar with Soviet tanks in the kind of deatail I am with British armour.


    1. US had the luxury of not having to move its industry thousands of kilometers.
      The quality of war time T-34 was horrible

  7. 1)RBT-5 (some picture please ;) )
    A)Wich was the utility of its rockets?
    B)Can its rockets destroy tanks?
    C)More info about this tank, i don`t have enough.

    2)Captured tanks
    A)What can he say about captured tanks? It have differents guns?
    B)For example: I find that, Pz KV-1 756 ® have the gun 75 KWK 40 L/43. Is this true?
    C)What can he say about other captured tanks? like: Captured Panther, PzIV, Pz T34 747 ® and Pz BT 742 ®. What is differences between this captured tanks and the this normal tanks?

  8. What kind of effect, if any, did the Winter War have on subsequent Soviet tank design and tactics during the Second World War?

    1. You stole my question! Well doesn't matter, bump for this.

  9. First - thank you Overlord for allowing this opportunity, it is very much appreciated.

    A question for Mr. Pasholok then (not sure it's exactly his field, but he might now):

    I have recently read a bunch articles about the Soviet tankers who recieved the M4 Shermans via lend-lease that is. The articles described how they liked the tanks much more than their own T-34's. Was this a general sentiment in the Soviet army? Did they like lend-leased machines more than their own? Were there any lend-leased vehicles the Soviets disliked in particular?

  10. How come the Red Army briefly experimented with self propelled artillery (SU-5, SU-122) in WWII, but absolutely loved it afterwards?

    Do you think that the T-34-85 possessed enough firepower for the late war, or would the T-34-100 have performed much better? In the event that the T-34-100 was accepted after trials, what would have been the fate of SU-85/100 TDs? What gun would they receive?

    @Martingalindo: It's true, you can find images of captured KV-1s on Google. If you see a muzzle brake, that's an L/43.

  11. Dear Mr. Overlord,

    since I am not sure how exactly to contant You or who else to contact regarding this matter, I sent you a private message on the EU forum. If you'd have 5 spare minutes, I'd very much appretiate the help (you'll see what I mean)

    Thank you very much

  12. Dear Pasholok,

    i know that the russian crew didn't get as much training as the german ones, but how long did it take, and what did they left out? (I mean i.e. special tactics, or repairing, etc.)

  13. Here in the United States, we get many stories about T-34s rolling off of the assembly line with spare parts strapped to them, so that they would be handy when repairs were needed. Or of tanks being built very poorly, since they were not expected to last more than 1 week. Or needing a sledgehammer to shift gears. Or loaders being in danger of losing an arm to the feeding mechanism while reloading their guns.

    Were quality and conditions really this bad, or has cold war propaganda painted WWII Russian tanks in a poor light?

    1. well, as far as i heared, to add that maybe:

      Is it true the air inside the ww2 ussr-tanks can get toxic for the crew?

  14. my questions:

    - how was the russian training program for tankers? (Especially in WW2) Did it fit the human wave doctrine?

    - Why did the russians use the christie-suspension over other ones?

    - What happend that the russians didnt use other tanks than the T34 in massproduction? Why didnt they use lighttanks and Heavytanks just as the T34s?

    - What do you think was the main things germany adpoted from the T34 and vice versa the Russians from german tanks?
    so as: Why didnt they try to overcome the heavy penetration potential of the long 7,5 and 8,8 by changing their Tanks production to more heavy tanks?

    Thanks for the answers!

  15. What information is there on Soviet light tank development after the T-50 and T-50-2. This is specified towards the MT-25 and the Omsk Light Tank( http://img13.imageshost.ru/img/2012/08/17/image_502df276b9790.jpg). Any other designs or prototypes?

  16. Thank you for answering our questions mr. Yuriy Pasholok!

    I am curious to know more about the development of the object 416 and other Soviet tank designs that placed the entire crew including the driver inside the turret. What was the reason for this unusual design? How was the driver supposed to function while the turret rotated?

    1. http://topwar.ru/10984-esli-ne-tank-to-sau-obekt-416.html

      + google translate

  17. Is it true that you have been educated under the direction of famous russian tank-expert Basil Chobitok? What kind of relationship you have now linked? If you can ever reach his level? Thanks!

  18. 1.In WoT the soviet t-28 tank has 2 radio operators in the crew. is this correct to real life and if so why did the tank have 2 radiomen?

    2.Until the t34 and Kv-1 were deployed what were the main service tanks of the Red army? how capable were they against German armour?

    3.were the above mentioned tanks 'rushed' into service against the Germans, does this explain the stories of unreliable mechanisms ect?

    4.what was the emphasis in soviet tank doctrine during the second world war? could you explain it in terms of design, production and battlefield application

    5.its well known that the Kv series abruptly end after their patron falls out of grace with the party leadership, and the IS/JS series are all re-named after Stalin's death so how much did CCCP politics affect soviet tank designs? did they just cause name changes or were good designs dropped due to politics?

    6.how much did allied 'lend lease' tanks affect soviet success or failure on the battlefield. were soviet designs influenced by technology of the lend lease tanks?

    7.could the 122mm and 152mm guns match German 75mm and 88mm guns in terms of range and accuracy? why did the Russians chose such large calibre guns instead of the more prevalent 75-105 calibre guns of other nations?

    8.what was the preferred suspension type for Russian tanks? why did they favour this/these types of suspension over others?

    9. did the skirmishes with Japanese tanks along the Manchurian border early in the war affect soviet tank design or doctrine?

    10. what means did the Russians use to recover damaged tanks?

    11.to what extent did the red army train its tank crews? were Russian tanks really as 'idiot proof' as everyone seems to think?

    1. 2. T-26 and BT-5 BT-7 , T-28 , T-35

      5. KV series has only 4 massed produced tank KV-1 KV-2 KV-1s KV-85 ,there was little modification potential left in KV chassis . JS-1 and JS-2 have a lot in common with KV series didnt end .

      6. Tanks not much , USSR never recived large amounts lend lease tanks in comparison to own production .

      7. 122 has technically better accuracy than 88/71 . Soviet guns had lower pressure in average and lower projectile speed . F-22 was comparable to PAK-40 if used with better ammo . But need to mass produce in order to replace lost equipment meant that new simpler designs were needed . The 107mm guns were mass produced before the war (more than 1000 M-68 ), but only a single factory could produce barrels for those guns and it was evacuated and could not continue production. 152mm had the same use as 150mm in all other nations . 122 as 105 .
      76.2 as 75

      9. it affected Japanese to a great deal

  19. Is the fact true that the workers of factories that produced soviet tanks constituted the crew of these? Or is soviet propaganda?

    1. As far as I am aware .
      Stalingrad , the last tanks to leave the production line when whermacht was at the gates of the factory.
      Often part of the crew of prototype tanks where workers from plant that designed the vehicle. (Winter war)

  20. Thanks for this opportunity Overlord!

    My Question:

    Hello Mr. Pasholok, both sides (ger and ru) used Anti-Tank-Rifles during the war. But only the Germans developed (and copied) things like the Panzerfausts (and Panzerschreck).

    Why didn´t the Russians develop better anti-tank-weapons for their infantry? Were the anti-tank-rifles good enough against mid-/late-war german tanks? Or was there simply no need to have anti-tank-infantry (maybe because of the small numbers of german tanks?)
    Seeing how effective those panzerfausts were, one should think they would at least copy them like the germans did with the bazooka.

    Thanks for your answer

  21. I. What were the first T-34s to see action against the Germans equipped with in terms of engine and transmission? Specifically, Aberdeen tested a T-34 Model 1940 that had been captured by the Germans and re-captured in France, and they thought it had a very primitive engine and transmission, near-copies of US models from the '20s. Given that (I think) the BT series of tanks actually does have a transmission and engine based on the original 1920s Christie designs, could this T-34 have been equipped with a BT transmission and engine? If so, was this typical of T-34s of the period?(I did not confirm all my sources in the above paragraph, so some details could be gooned up.)

    II. I have seen several pictures of captured Panthers being operated by Soviet forces. Was this common? Were they used "seriously" (operationally, and in earnest in combat as real combat assets), in the manner of Soviet test vehicles like the KV-13 and KV-3 (used operationally, but for test purposes), or only tested at Soviet proving grounds?

    III. Were IS-3s ever deployed at the end of WWII? Is there any chance that the type saw combat, perhaps in Manchuria?

    IV. The Soviets stuck with the same basic medium-velocity 122mm gun from the IS-2 for a very long time. Since there were several more powerful guns tested, which could penetrate heavier German armor (and later American and British armor), why was that 122mm retained for so long?

    V. How consistent was the quality of Russian armor plate and castings, and armor piercing shells? Were there only a few bad apples, or were lemons very common?Was the Russian "frying pan" turret an effort to reduce the complexity and "finickiness" of the castings?

    VI. Were T-44s ever used operationally?

    VII. What was the Russian rationale for neglecting gun depression?

    VIII. It is often repeated in Western literature that the Russians had "abandoned" the heavy tank by 1960. In my somewhat limited research, this does not appear to be the case, as the various heavy tanks in service with Russia were well-maintained and upgraded into the '70s and '80s. It seems to me that less the heavy tank was abandoned as a concept, as the Kotin design bureau/Kirov plant had fallen out of favor. Confirm/Deny/Clarify?

    IX. What guns was the KV-1 armored to protect against? 8.8cm AT guns?

    X. When did Russian doctrine change from the "infantry tank/fast tank" mix to "jack-of-all-trades tank and bunker buster heavy tank" mix?

    XI. Why did the KV/IS roadwheels undergo so many morphological changes during wartime? Didn't this interrupt production?

    XII. Why wasn't the T-34 armor ever significantly thickened in the front hull? This sounds like it would be a matter of adjusting the welding fixtures, and would not greatly impact production time.

    XIII. Why wasn't the T-34 hull machine gun ever deleted? Surely this would have cut production times (extra cut in front plate not needed), increased the strength of the front plate, and not significantly affected the combat performance of the tank.

    XIV. How was the Maus transported to Kubinka? Surely the specialized rail didn't run that far.

  22. Is it true that the
    js series of tanks had to point thier gun towards the ground in
    order to get a round in the breach?

  23. Hi,

    i'm sorry about the offtopic but, after all this time, are you seeing what is on top of the list of MOST POPULAR RECENT STUFF!?
    When will we have again info about a tech tree change in such advance?

    1. Such massive changes are not planned in the foreseeable future. And that post was really epic.

  24. Extra question:

    Could you go into detail as to what the problems with the L-11 gun were, and why it was abandoned?

  25. Is D-54TS gun as found on T-62A in game a smoothbore gun?

  26. Mr. Hilary L. Doyle ! Do you can tell any infos form the waffentrager e100?
    Do u can show any image?

  27. Thread closed. Thank you for your questions.