Good day everyone,
Here we have a brief LiveJournal post from one of WarGaming’s resident historians, Yuri Pasholok, covering the recently announced Soviet premium, the STG:
Since World of Tanks will be receiving a new vehicle with little known about it, thus leading to certain questions about its authenticity, I think it’s time to discuss it a bit. As well as generally going over the development of Soviet tanks with rear turret placements.
The first time the idea of a rear placed fighting compartment appeared was in the several projects for the KV-4 heavy tank. Engineers KI Kuzmin, PS Tarapanin and VI Tarotko chose this concept themselves, and took the second place in the competition. A similar scheme was adopted by other engineers, for example, K. Buganov. They later returned to this concept several times. In the spring of 1944 N.F. Shashmurin proposed a modernization project for the IS-2. This version of the tank had 5 crew members, two of them were in front, in the driving compartment, and three in the turret. The turret was placed in the stern of the hull, and a engine compartment was located in the center. A very similar scheme was designed for the heavy tank Object 705A, the competitor of Object 260. The layout of having the turret in the rear of the hull became a common concept among Soviet tank engineers. Another thing was that these never reached any further development beyond design sketches.
A new stage in the development of the rear placed fighting compartment occurred in 1949. On February 18, the Council of Ministers of the USSR issued resolution No. 701-270ss, according to which the development and production of heavy tanks with a mass of more than 50 tons would be ceased. Instead, SKB-2 ChKZ and the branch of pilot plant No. 100 (Chelyabinsk) were given the task to develop a heavy tank with a combat mass of no more than 50 tons. As a result, there was the heavy tank Object 730, adopted for service as T-10. A much less well-known fact is that this machine had a competitor. He became a heavy tank K-91, developed in OKB IC IW under the leadership of AF. Kravtseva.
The second variant of K-91 in this case is of special interest. Kravtsev went further than his predecessors and placed the entire crew in the turret. He did not know about the Chrysler K project, though the idea was worked out by many tank engineers. As you can see, the driver’s place was a turning point. K-91 did not advance much further in the design process, but the general concept was adopted by several KBs. This is especially true of the turning point of the driver.
In October 1949, the design bureau of the plant number 75 under the direction of P.P. Vasilieva began work on the draft sketch of a self-propelled artillery installation. It was introduced in March 1950. The project, which received the designation Object 416, was very similar to K-91. The general layout repeated the heavy tank, including the driver’s mobile seat. With the relatively small angles of rotation of the turret, the mechanic-driver remained directly at the rate of movement of the machine. Unlike the K-91, the self-propelled gun was given a green light. First there was a full-size mock-up, and later, in March 1952, they began assembling the first prototype.
Success in the work on Object 416 gave the design bureau of plant number 75 a foundation for further work on a similar arrangement, this time for the Object 430 medium-tank project. The preliminary design of the tank was prepared in 1953, and in two versions. The first version was made with a classic layout – the engine with the rear transmission, the turret in front, the driver-mechanic in the bow of the hull. The second variant strongly resembled SAU Object 416: the crew was located in the turret, which was located in the stern of the hull, the engine was located in front. As a result, the green light was given to a more conservative version of the tank. As for the option with the stern location of the fighting compartment, this formed the basis of the tank Object 430 Option 2, which is implemented in World of Tanks.
In June 1953, a preliminary design of the tank appeared, which is the focus of this material. Little is known about it, only the author (Gremyanin). This is not a department of the invention, the tank was worked out as one of the promising developments. Its general concept was fully repeated what the teams of OKB IC and KB Design Bureau No. 75 had previously designed. In armament and armor, this vehicle is closer to heavy tanks, but closer to mediums in volume. As for the armament, the D-25T gun was supposed, but the weapon here is more a conceptual solution. If implemented, the tank would have received the M-62 gun. Like the K-91 and Object 416, the driver-mechanic would sit in the turret on a special swivel system. In a scheme similar to the ideological predecessors, ammunition was located in the turret rear. Since there was no real designation for the tank, in the game it carries the conventional STG index (Gremyakin’s average tank).
The concept of the deployment of the entire crew in a turret became Object 416. During the tests it became clear that the concept has its advantages, but the disadvantages still outweighed them. On the one hand, placing the entire crew in the tower allowed a much more rational placement of units around the hull. At the same time overall length was reduced. On the other hand, the placement of the driver-mechanic in the turret significantly affected the ability to maneuver while firing. The amount of turret traverse which allowed the driver to be in some alignment with the vehicle’s movement turned out to be extremely limited. The Soviet military did not agree on these limitations. Based on the results of the tests of Object 416, which ended in December 1953, the program was closed. The same fate awaited other rear turreted tanks being developed. In fairness, the same problems were later found by foreign developments, including AMX ELC and MBT-70. Nevertheless, to the idea of placing the entire crew in the tower, Soviet engineers later returned, for example, to the Object 775 tank.