Monday, May 2, 2022

Variety is the spice of life part 1

 I've been reading an Osprey book by Zaloga on lease-lend tanks in Soviet service in WW2. Quite "dry" in places but has a fair bit about how the various AFV's were used once you dig into it. This is of interest to wargamers who want a bit of variety in their Soviet armies. Some of its quite simple ie M4's for T34's but thats not the whole story. When did the 76mm version arrive etc. After a bit of thinking I decided that the easiest way to present the information is just do a list and deal with each vehicle one by one. I'll also split this into 2 parts and discuss the actual usage in the second part.

First up the US. According to the book everything as delivered in overall olive drab and seldom was repainted in Russian green

M4. The Soviets liked the M4, probably because they got the diesel version that didn't burn if you looked at it funny. Deliverys started in late 1942 but large numbers were not available untill early 1944. The 76mm version was not available until early 1945.

The M3 collection. Who would want to be a supply officer for this lot...

M3 medium tank. The Soviets were not so keen on this, however it was what they could get and it was far more reliable than the 1942 T34. First combat use in mid 1942 and was used on both the Northern and Southern fronts of the Kursk sailent. Again sub in for T34.

M3 light tank. From what I can tell it was generally used in units instead of the T series of light tanks. Again served from mid 1942 to Kursk.

M5/9 halftracks. Oddly enough only 850 or so were supplied so would not have been overly common in general company use. Maybe just useful for HQ stands?

M3 scout car. A real surprise in that 3000 were supplied. The Soviets liked these and issued them to recce units and as HQ runabouts. I would propose the real possibility of these being the "correct" M3 to use in the divisional recce battalions.

M10 tank destroyer. Only 50 supplied but equiped 2 SP artillery battalions in tank corps. Substitut for Su-76 in the 1944 list as the main gun is about the same size.

SU-57. Basically an American build of a 6 pdr on a halftrack. Like a few other items by the time they were in production the British didn't want them any more. The Soviets got 650  and used them in independent AT brigades and as fire support for recce battalions starting from late 1943. I would suggest it could be used to replace the 45mm AT gun in the divisional recce battalions.

M17: An M16 on a different halftrack base. 1000 were delivered and I'd propose being able to replace MG AA stands in Tank and Mechanised Corps with an M17 stand.

Then the British. The Russians regarded both the Matilda and Valentine as light/medium tanks. Initial shipments were painted in khaki, and from mid 1942 in British brown.

Matilda Mk2: Initial shipments were in time for the battles around Moscow in 1941/42. Some even managed to survive untill Kursk (and why wouldn't you want to be in a tank with a 2pdr against a Tiger 1...). Just under 1000 delivered (600 in 1942 alone) which seems to be more than ever served in the British tank units.

Valentine: Over 3000 supplied (about 1/3 from Canadian production) with 1/3 of those the later 6 pdr versions. Again the first shipment arrived in time for the battle of Moscow. Later deliverys replaced the T series light tanks and allowed the Soviets to concetrate on SU-76 production.

Churchill: the Soviets only recieved 240 Churchills with 6 pdr guns. These were issued to heavy tank regiments.

Bren Carrier: 2000 were delivered and were used like the M3 scout car in Recce units and in HQ's. I would use it in HQ stands as a marker vehicle and posibly as an artilelry spotter.

So this is a rough summary and its by no means compete. Stay tuned for the second part.

1 comment:

  1. Again, very interesting. The M3 Scout is referenced in the lists IIRC. The Valentines will be so useful.