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Source: http://worldoftanks.ru/ru/news/pc-browser/12/tanks_of_anonymous_designers/

Hello everyone,

Russian server has this pretty interesting article (linked above) about two “designs” submitted by Russian people for military consideration. As in other countries, this “people’s creativity” was actually seriously reviewed and considered by military expert, who then (if possible) wrote polite letters, usually rejeting the outrageous ideas people with no clue about engineering came up with. Sometimes, the proposals were submitted even without any sort of name or return address and two of those are mentioned in the Russian post.

Armored Bus of the Grateful Old Men

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On 5.11.1915, a letter without any sort of return address arrived at the office of Inventions Department of the Central Military-Industrial Committee of the Russian Empire. Apart from the letter itself, the envelope contained several drawings on a tissue paper and only a cryptic interesting signature: “Grateful Old Men”

Most of the letter contained advice from the “old men” to tsar Nikolai II. – specifically to strenghten the Balkan front and to support the alliance with Japan. Apart from that, the authors submitted the aforementioned design of an armored car, capable of carrying 36 infantrymen with aides, two machineguns and two mountain guns. Upon further development, the authors also proposed two more machineguns, so that the vehicle could fire to all four sides.

The vehicle was basically a gigantic double-decker bus, equipped with machineguns (presumably the Maxim MG, Model 1910, those were the standard equipment of the Russian army in WW1). The mountain guns mentioned were probably the Schneider 76,2mm Model 1909 mountain guns. The driver was to be situated in the front of the vehicle, with ammo rack installed directly above him.

The identity of the “old men” (whoever that was) remained a mystery, but the committee actually did consider the vehicle. The conclusion was that the project has no advantages over existing armored cars and it was scrapped. Strangely enough, the “old men” also predicted quite accurately the war end date, but by the time the war really ended for Russia with the Soviet revolution, noone remembered them anymore.

Starshina and his tank

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This “design” comes from the WW2 era – it was submitted in April 1944 anonymously by someone, who called himself “Starshina”. The word has several meanings – the most general one is “someone, who is senior”, or a “foreman”, but it also represents a Soviet military rank, somewhat equivalent to sargeant-major. In any case, the vehicle proposal was of about the same sophistication as the “old men” battle bus. Starshina proposed 180-200mm armor on all four sides (frontal armor up to 250mm) with the forward armament consisting of a machinegun, a 76mm gun and a nozzle for smoke dispenser. It is not known, why the author wanted such a thick armor while equipping his “tank” with a 76mm T-34 gun (F-34) only and he does not go into details on that.

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The side armor was supposed to be also fitted with flamethrowers and more smoke dischargers and the author also recommended using toxic gas instead of smoke. The “turret” was supposed to be non-rotating (immobile) and apart from the gun, it was supposed to be armed with one more rear-facing machinegun. Oh yes and one more flamethrower was supposed to be at the bottom of the tank in order to kill enemies in trenches the tank is going over. The author thought of everything: the engine compartment and exhausts were to be covered by armor in order not to be knocked out by molotovs and such and all windows and ports were to be secure against liquids as well. The tracks were to be protected by a layer of armor also.

The weight of the tank was supposed to be 65 tons, 700kg of which was allocated to the engine, the gun and “everything else”. The author was also a bit paranoid and did not want to disclose or discuss anything else without a personal meeting. At least he was honest and when he put the drawings on a lined paper, he added “I don’t know, if you will be able to tell anything from the drawings or not…”

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