Home > Ftr news > Picture of the Day – 15.2.2017

SMK

This is the SMK experimental multi-turret heavy tank, captured by the Finns during the Winter War in Karelia. The SMK designation stands for “Sergey Mironovich Kirov” – the tank (as well as for example the famous Kirov tank factory in Leningrad) was named after one of the prominent Bolshevik leaders. A single prototype was built and was sent to take part in the Winter War as a part of a Special Tank Company of the 90th Battalion of the 20th Heavy Tank Brigade of the Red Army (along with another experimental heavy tank – the T-100 – and a KV-1).

Its first (and only) battle took place on 17.12.1939 in the Hottinen fortified area where it – leading a column of Soviet armor – ran on an improvized explosive mine. The explosion heavily damaged its suspension, blowing the idler wheel and track off. The T-100 that followed it pulled next to it and the crew spent several hours trying to fix the tank. This is the T-100:

T-100

Their efforts were unsuccessful and the SMK had to be abandoned. The crew was evacuated but the tank itself was stuck. General Dmitry Pavlov was furious at the loss of a precious prototype and on 20.12.1939 an issue was ordered to recover it at all costs. A task force consisting of two infantry companies (one of them combat engineers), seven guns and two T-28 tanks was created for that task. They managed to advance approximately 100-150 meters behind Finnish anti-tank obstacles but got pinned down by heavy machinegun and artillery fire – the force had to retreat with 47 soldiers dead or wounded.

The tank was only recovered two months later, on 26.2.1940, when the Soviet forces finally broke through the Mannerheim line. Six T-28 tanks had to be deployed to tow it away to a Red Army depot at Perk-Jarvi where it was dismantled and sent back to Leningrad. The tank was supposed to be repaired but the war interfered and it never happend. Its wreck stayed at the outskirts of the Kirov plant until the 1950s when it was scrapped. Ironically, it outlived its “savior” General Pavlov, who was executed in 1941 after receiving the blame (along with other commanders) for the early catastrophic losses of the Red Army.

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