History of Soviet & Russian Tanks : How They Are Built Documentary

History of Soviet & Russian Tanks : How They Are Built Documentary


Every part of it contains strength, speed and power. Durable alloy of designers’ thoughts and experience of several generations of engineers gives birth to these fearsome machines. Worldwide known Russian tanks. This company has a totally peaceful name, but Russia is proud of its military purpose products. Tanks created here in Nizhny Tagil, at Ural Train-cars building Plant are acknowledged leaders of defense industry, and they accepted for service by Armies of several dozens of countries. The plant is located in the West of Sverdlovsk Oblast in Nizhny Tagil. It’s 146km away from Yekaterinburg, where the nearest airport can be found. And flight from Moscow to the central city of Urals takes a bit more than 2 hours. Industrial companies of Ural played the most important role in history of development of Russian Industry. Tank-building is one of the most complex and science-consuming sphere. It’s an index of country’s intellectual level and potential. And it’s exactly here, in Urals, where Russian tank-building industry’s heart beats and brains work. “If you want peace, then prepare for a war.” Following this advise people of UralVagonZavod maintain military power of the country without reducing rates of production of civil purpose products. Approach founded in this company since the first half of the previous century remains topical today as well. It’s an instantaneous transformer, where the production line of train-cars can become tank-building one and vice versa. In all times, railroad cargo containers and cisterns were a business card of one of the biggest scientific-manufacturing complexes in the World. More than a million of railroad cars of different purposes went our of the plant’s gates during its entire history. All workshops are located on a single industrial site and they are connected between each other. This giant and well thought through system allows maintaining high rates of production. Some massive parts are moved from one workshop to another by underground conveyor lines. This way the plant produces 72 railroad cars and 22 railroad platforms for cisterns every day. History of development of this Uralian heavy-lift champion starts from the 30s of the previous century and it is full of impressive numbers and facts till our days. The plant set an absolute World record in tank-building. It produced about 100.000 armored vehicles since the beginning of the World War II. Evolution of designers’ thoughts can be followed when visiting the museum. People of Nizhny Tagil are very proud of this museum just like they are proud about production workshops of the enterprise itself. Here they are – 13 combat vehicles comprising museum’s exposition. All of them are in working conditions and they still participate in field tests and in parades of military vehicles. Serial tanks and totally unique examples, which can be seen only in this museum, exist here. And of course, the most mass produced tank of the World War II – the legendary T-34. It’s one of the most important symbols of victory over fascism. On December 18th 1941, test-driver Fyodor Kharchenko drove the first T-34 out of assembly workshop’s gates. He drove around workers’ village marking the beginning of Tagil’s tank-building era. These vehicles were fighting at Stalingrad, Kursk’s Bulge, in Vienna and Prague. They were storming Berlin. Every second T-34, which participated in combat during World War II, was assembled in Nizhny Tagil. T-34-76. It was in production during 1941-1944. Weight – 30.9t. Crew – 4 men. Armament: 76.2mm gun and a coupled machine gun. Muzzle velocity of armor-piercing round – 662m/s. Rate of fire: about 1-2 rounds per minute. Engine power: 500HP. Max speed: 55km/h. This fearsome and highly mobile combat vehicleis rightfully acknowledged as the best tank of the World War II. T-34 had a huge influence on the outcome of the war and on further development of tank-building around the World. During creation process of this tank, designers managed to find an optimum combination of combat, tactical and technological properties. The first test batch of 10 tanks showed from the start that T-34 is the real boss on the battlefield. So, it must be introduced for mass production as fast as possible. Start of mass production became a final stage of 3-years long work of the Soviet tank-builders for creation of totally new combat vehicle. The motto of Head Designer of T-34 Mikhail Koshkin was “It’s very difficult to make it simple.” That’s why the simplicity and combat effectiveness became main merits of this machine. The crew could fix majority of malfunctions right on the spot in combat conditions, for example to fix the broken engine, to replace the sights or to change a broken track, meanwhile the enemy had to evacuate his combat vehicles from the battlefield for similar tasks. New tasks were placed in front of engineers with the beginning of the World War II; to fold the production of all civil products, to start mobilization and to be ready to assist the plants, which will be switched for production of T-34. “In early stage of the war, the T-34 was superior to German tanks in armor protection, firepower and mobility. The protection was provided by 45mm thick rolled armor plates, which were invulnerable to German tanks at distances over 150m. The firepower of T-34 was ensured by 76mm gun, which could destroy a German tank from 2km away.” Despite that T-34 remains in service of some countries even in the 21st century, it is indisputable that first of all it plays a role of historical monument. Many of remained vehicles became memorials to heroes of the war. The last T-34 produced by UralVagonZavod in 1945 was placed at the entrance of the plant after appeal of its workers. Thirty six years later it moved all by itself to new pedestal here and after that it continued to participate in Victory parades. The tank-legend brought the fame to the plant, but this industrial giant was initially created as a peaceful one. Historical prerequisites existed for building one of the largest industrial companies in the World in Ural. On the eve of World War I, when the railroad network was forming in Russia, the country required products of transport industry, and first of all, railroad cars of course. It was exactly then, when first offers came for creation of new and modern railroad car plant here in Nizhny Tagil. Following the experience and traditions of its predecessors – the first metallurgical plants of Ural – the company chose the form of enterprise, which unites more than a hundred of different departments. The first cargo platform went off the plant’s production line on October 11 of 1936. 16.000 people were working 24hours in 3 shifts in this company at those days. It allowed them producing 54.000 train-carts per year. Another impressive fact is that every third railroad cart moving on country’s magistrals were built in Nizhny Tagil. The format of closed loop was allowing from the very beginning to pass from peacetime production to defense industry. And this feature was especially important in the beginning of alarming 20th century. In record braking period of time, in just 2 months, Nizhny Tagil transformed into a real tank-city. Without any exaggeration, this was a heroic feat of engineers and employees. The first in the World tank assembly line started operating in 1941. Ural Railroad-Car Plant had been chosen as a backup of Kharkov’s plant in late 30s in case of war. A decree was issued in August of 1941 for evacuation of 12 plants from Western parts of the country here, in order to increase the power of Uralian company. A stream of workers and their families flew to Nizhny Tagil – more than 70.000 people. The Historian Alla Pislegina was researching documents of those years and she has calculated that town’s population increased by almost four times in matter of few weeks. “Dozens of thousands of migrants from South-West regions of the country were arriving at construction site of UralVagonZavod. Even schools were opening here, where teaching was conducted in Tatar, Udmurt, Ukrainian languages.” The company was huge, but despite that they had to build another 4 workshop for installation of all evacuated machinery. Dedication of tank-builders amazes contemporary historians. They were mounting machinery tools first, in order to start production as fast as possible. They were working under open sky disregarding the freeze. They started building workshops themselves – the walls and the roof around production lines – later. Uralian city Nizhny Tagil was to become a stronghold of Russian tank-building industry. The Railroad-car building company became a leader in supplies of armored vehicles for the Soviet Army in incredibly short period of time, in just two months of 1941. Here was the production line, out of which 26.000 tanks went out during years of the World War II. The first in the world assembly flow production of the combat vehicle proved its effectiveness in full right during the first week of its operation. New tank was coming out of assembly line every hour. People were working in the plant all day and all night – in two 12hours shifts. The lowest age limit was for 14 years old teenagers. Also armored cabins of IL-2 airplanes, M-13 rockets for legendary Katyusha were also in production here, except of the tanks. Except that, the company was also making aviation bombs, gun carriages and legs for artillery guns. Design Bureau of UralVagonZavod was comprised of the best military and civil engineers of the country. All efforts had been thrown to military industry. Blueprints of absolutely every worldwide known Soviet tanks were made on such drawing boards. It was a hard and scrupulous job, because 17.000 blueprints were needed for production of T-34 alone. Early blueprints of combat vehicles were made on a cambric tracing paper. The thinnest fiber was ensuring long-term storage period for invaluable, secret materials. However, the difficulty was laying in fact that the draftsman hadn’t any right for a mistake. It is impossible to erase a wrong line off cambric, like it can be done on a regular paper. In case of the slightest error the entire work had to be started all over again. It is interesting even for people, who are far away from the sphere of defense industry, to follow how fundamentally new engineering ideas born with change of tactics on the battlefield. Every tank produced in Nizhny Tagil was irreplaceable exactly for its own time. However, the history of military industry shows, inevitably not only victories, but also disappointments were awaiting for predecessors of contemporary engineers on their way for creation of vehicles of new generation. Here is the oldest model of T-35 heavy tank, designed in mid-30s of the previous century. Using such models, the project’s authors could demonstrate visually proportions of the turret, transmission, armament, and principles of control of the future tank. And here comes a historical paradox. Creators of T-35 had to acknowledge their blunder very soon. The massive mechanism with huge crew of 12 men became an error of designers. Weak armor, huge dimensions and clumsiness were turning T-35 into a perfect target for enemy artillery. Tank was in production at the Kharkov plant. Only 61 serial vehicles were made. T-35 had become totally morally obsolete till the beginning of the war. This is a prototype of modern computer graphics 3D model. The album has 22 semi-transparent pages. And now watch… thanks to these pages the picture really becomes volumetric. Crews were using such albums as visual aids for service and everyday use of their tanks, because absolutely all parts, to the last bolt, are displayed here. Painting artists were even especially called off the Frontline in order to work on this project. Leadership of the country highly appreciated their craftsmanship. Authors of this unique album were rewarded with the 1st Degree Stalin’s Prize. The end of the World War II didn’t become an end of tank-building era for Nizhny Tagil. T-54 went to mass production in 1947 and later the T-55. This is a vehicle with an emphasis on anti-nuclear protection. It was a remarkable combat vehicle for its time. Tank models, which participated in battles all around the World proving their superiority over foe’s army, stand next to T-34. Modern Russian tanks retain combat traditions. Firepower, armor, maneuverability took shape in the most mass produced tank of the late period of the 20th century. T-72 became a backbone of Ground Forces of dozens of countries. And it is in Guinness Records as a tank with the heaviest armament in the World. T-72. It was in serial production in 1974-1979 time period. Weight – 41 tons. Crew – 3 men. Armament: 125mm gun, 7.62mm coaxial machine gun, anti-aircraft 12.7mm machine gun. It is protected from weapons of mass destruction. Engine’s power – 780HP. Max speed – 60 km/h. The shell of the frontal part and the turret are comprised by multilayer composite armor obstacles, which ensure invulnerability against majority of armor-piercing sub-caliber round and shaped charge rounds of tanks’ and anti-tank guns. Combat CV of this vehicle abounds with reports about modernizations. T-72A version was introduced into service in late 70s of the previous centuries. And T-72B came several years later. The workshop of final assembly appeared in the Uralian plant in late 70s of the previous century. It is the first and the only conveyor line for tank production in the World. It’s practically a full circle of production, from casting of large parts, till packing for delivery to the client. Contemporary designers of Armor for Russian Army also use conveyor principle. According to engineers’ opinions, specifically such a method allows achieving max rate, quality and volumes of production in so science-consuming industry. “Operator-specialist works on every position of the assembly line, who possesses bigger experience in particular operations than any versatile specialist. This feature provides mobility in execution of orders.” The plant’s mechanism, tuned by many years of engineers’ experience, works like a clock. However, there are some operations even in modern tank-building business, which cannot be trusted to robots. While moving on assembly line from one team of specialists to another, the tank’s complex metallic mechanism gets filled with vital organs, which turn it into an ideal, practically invulnerable weapon. Here is one of the most responsible phases of tank’s assembly – installation of the engine. The experts manually install some systems onboard then, which ensure trouble-proof operations of fearsome vehicle’s heart in all kind of climatic conditions, with temperatures from -50 to +50, either in harsh Far North, either in hot desert. Era of domestic tank-building industry counts almost 100 years. The first Russian vehicle, which got the name “Comrade Lenin Fighter for Freedom”, went off slips of “Krasnoye Sormovo” plant in Nizhny Novgorod in 1920. One century later, already about a dozen models of armored vehicles are in production in Ural. All modern and worldwide known Russian military technology is in production in these workshops. Meanwhile those are not legendary tanks only, but vehicles of combat and technical support as well. However, before the final layer of paint will be applied on the surface, each one of them passes several tests. Controllers check all electronic and mechanical systems in period of 2-3 days. That happens before the just assembled vehicle will go out to the test range. The pride of contemporary Uralian designers is being tested in this part of the workshop – a multirole, highly protected, tracked Fire Support Vehicle. Underlining its combat properties, the designers named it “Terminator”. Combat Vehicle for Fire Support for Tanks – it’s an unique project of UralVagonZavod Corporation and it hasn’t analogues around the World. The vehicle has a large specter of use. It can escort columns or deliver firepower on the battlefield. It has capabilities to fight enemy Infantry and armored vehicles and aerial targets. Weight – 48 tons. Crew – 5 men. Armament: 2 x 30mm autocannons with rate of fire 600 rounds per minute. “Ataka” guided anti-tank missiles. 1 machine gun and 1 automatic grenade launcher. Speed – 60km/h. Here it is, a driving force of modern Army – a powerful armament, up to date Fire Control System and high mobility. Designers managed to create a totally new mechanism against enemy personnel, helicopters and low flying targets. T-90 is acknowledged as one of the best tank of our days in combination of main parameters as combat properties, speed of production and cost effectiveness. This tank is equipped with an automatic protection system against high-precision weapons like missiles and rounds with automatic guidance warheads. T-90S. It is in production since 2001. Weight – 46,5 tons. Crew – 3 men. Armament: 125mm gun, a coaxial machinegun, an anti-aircraft machine gun. Guided missile system with laser-guidance. Max range for missiles – 5.000m. Engine’s power – 1000HP. Max speed – 65km/h. Depth of underwater driving – 5m. While presenting the latest modification of the legendary T-72 family, the T-90 embodied practically all the best of what was created by the domestic tank-building industry to the beginning of the 21st century. What’s the plant’s rate of production? How many employees work here? How many experts work for one tank? All these are secret information. The legendary Uralian Railroad-car Building Plant is a leader in production of armored vehicles in Russia of the 21st century. Being built initially for civil production, the Uralian plant became a legend of military industry. UralVagonZavod earned its place in history first of all as creator of the famous T-34, which played a key-factor in many battles of the WW II. Many years passed since then, but even today, this enterprise is a leader in deliveries of military vehicles.

8 Comments on "History of Soviet & Russian Tanks : How They Are Built Documentary"


  1. Could you please dub these in english so that one who donot understand russian may get it please.

    Reply

  2. I think that these tanks are too small, you need to design a mega tank, 80 feet tall and the length of a oil tanker ship!! That would be awesome and scary at the same time!!!

    Reply

  3. M1A2 SEP V2 vs T-90S (or I dunno maybe T-14)

    BIGGEST BATTLE TOPIC FOR COMMENT SECTIONS IN VIDEOS ABOUT TANKS OF EITHER SIDE

    Reply

  4. Russia took the next revolutionary step…manless turret and separate safer cabin for the crew in the thickest part of the vehicle. Next step: Drone Tanks. Completely manless….operator is 2000 Km away in a office.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *