John Ham, chairman of MAFVA, returns with more fantastic photographs from his trip to Moscow for the 70th Year Victory Day commemoration.
As part of the 70th Year Victory Day commemoration, unusually, some of the tanks and AFVs from the Kubinka Tank Museum were brought into Moscow, and exhibited just outside the Kremlin for the weekend. At times, these areas were closed for visiting dignitaries, but for short periods they were available for inspection by the general public, arousing great interest. The vehicles were smartly restored, and selected to show to show the main vehicle types that took part in the Great Patriotic War. All are restored to running standards and looked very impressive, many being rarities.
Izhoskiy-Fiat Armoured Car of World War I. Before World War I, Russia did not have factories capable of producing armoured vehicles so imported foreign armoured cars were acquired for study. The Izhorskiy plant near St Petersburg had produced armour plate for Russian warships. It began to build armoured bodies on imported chassis, one of these being the Fiat 12PS Lorry. A feature of these early Russian armoured cars was twin machine gun turrets, off-set relative to each other, extending their arc of fire.
BA-3 Armoured Car. The BA-3 (BronieAvtomobil, Armoured Car) was part of a successful series of three axle heavy armoured cars first designed in the early 1930s. The BA-3 was fitted with the turret of the T-26 tank with a 45mm gun. Mounted over the rear wheel guards are the “overall” tracks for the rear wheels, improving cross-country mobility by effectively transforming the vehicle into a half-track.
T-27 Tankette was one of the earliest Russian tanks and based on the British Carden-Loyd Mk VI Tankette of 1930. Many were later converted to gun tractors with towing arrangements, and railing for gun crew seating. Some took part in the defence of Moscow in November 1941. A number were also converted to flamethrowers, and there was an air-portable version carried under TB-1 bombers. Behind is a T-37A amphibious tank.
T-26 was the most numerous Russian tank in the early years of WW2, and based on the British Vickers 6-ton tank. Like the Vickers, it was produced as a twin turret machine-gun armed version, and a single turret cannon armed type. This rare twin turret tank has the right hand turret MG replaced by a 37mm cannon.
T-26 Model 1939. This later model was of welded construction, unlike the earlier riveted twin turret T-26 to its right. Special purpose variants included flame throwers (also in the Kubinka display), bridge layers, self-propelled guns, and prime movers. T-26s were exported to China, Spain and Turkey.
T34/76 Model 1942. No display of Russian tanks is complete without a T34. The earlier 76mm gun armed tanks are seen much less frequently in collections than the 85mm gun types. To the right of this tank is a T44, an interim design replacing the T-34.
IS-2M. With its 122mm gun, the IS-2 was one of the Soviet big-hitters. Upgrading to the “M” version in the 1950s included hull side stowage boxes, side-skirts, and extra external fuel tanks.