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The end of spring 1915 was a heavy time for the Russian empire and its army. Powerful offensive of the German-Austrian army, which began May 2, put the front and the whole territory of the Kingdom of Poland under threat.

May 4, 1915 in the office of Nicholas II received a surprising letter addressed personally to the king. Its author was listed some Ivan Fedorovich Semchishin – a resident of the city of Lviv, to September 1914 is located in a part of Russia. Not quite owning Russian language Semchishin fully compensated for this pomp syllable and scope of the inventive concept. His letter was titled “Project for the car to break the trenches and military fortresses” . It was immediately transferred to the examination of military specialists in the Technical Committee of the Main Military-Technical Management (GVTU). This organization is directly involved in the analysis of Russian military inventions and proposals, flocked to the War Office in 1914-1918, in large quantities.

Changing Landscape

military engineers was no stranger to avant-garde ideas, but the project Semchishin amazed even their imagination. The author wrote: “When we had some large, armored, inside the motor draws a barrel or a skating rink, which would povorotivalsya in selected nama directly – we could go to them for the enemy. Thinks like my project to unichtozhuvaniya fortified localities and a component of a mobile fortress, which is the machine will call here “Wallpapering” . (Hereinafter, style and original spelling retained. – Approx. Eds.)

321 km / h

This incredible speed had to develop a “Wallpapering”, according to the IG Semchishin

It was about an armored ellipsoid (in the terminology Semchishin – “epicycloid”) cyclopean: about 605 meters in height and 960 meters in width. Armor “wallpaper is”, according to the author of the project, had to confront the enemy as bullets and artillery fire or mine obstacles. It was planned two hatches on each vertex of the ellipsoid, closed strong lids. Height of about 300 meters to overcome them should have a rope ladder. There’s also housed the command post, projectors, wireless telegraph station.

still mistakenly believe that “Wallpapering” not equipped with weapons, but archival documents suggest otherwise . In the construction of this giant machine was given a place for heavy artillery guns.


Inside the case envisaged branched drainage, duct system and gas pipelines, as well as “electric wire, telephones, elevators, fans and the like.” . On multi-storey galleries, along with some giant engine had to be located accommodations, shops, shops. In essence, the proposed project Semchishin not even at home, and mobile city.

The wheels on the device “wallpaper is” absent: it was itself a wheel, or a monocyclic. The car was driven by a complex system of steam engines, pendulums and dynamos. This system would have been generated “spare energy, kinetic and potentsiyalnu.” Flywheel-eccentric transformed to a rotary motion into linear, providing rolling “ellipsoid”. Author of the project did not specify which engine power is required for this, but the lead up the estimated rate of “wallpaper is” visually stunning to 321 km / h.

However, the verdict was a brief military engineers and categorical: the proposed project is not feasible.

[1999012 ] Feasible? Possible? What if?


Military were right. But now, after a century of rapid technological progress, try to figure out why.

First of all, “Wallpapering” impossible to build. Assembly shop, a suitable size for such work, there is so far. Built supertank Semchishin would be above most modern skyscrapers. Buildings over 900 meters wide in the world, too, there is hardly much. Note, none of them has the ability to travel.

The car should build near the front line. Otherwise, moving to her, “Wallpapering” not only would run out of the service life of their colossal engines. He would irreversibly changed landscape of the area, pressing “all that is on his way; – Man, cattle, armored tinker, bridges, highways … “.

” When we construct the wallpaper is in the height hundreds meters, such kata fortress will be able to move to the valley and height. Perekatal through the hills, fishing lines, rivers, swamps, towns and villages … Wallpapering not be afraid of the down machine guns, rifle bullets, mines, trenches, pitfalls, barbed wire, bombs and incendiary materiyalov roasting, – squeeze each the current structure of military equipment “ (from the letter I. Semchishin)

The building even a prototype” oboya “Semchishin it would be unrealistic to hide from the enemy intelligence. And if disrupt work of this size and intensity could not have even a team of saboteurs before air strikes and bombardment he would be defenseless. At least it would take to organize a separate area of ​​air defense.

Even if find all this let easy, but still a matter of technique, it is already at the start of the car would be deformed and destroyed: the planned 100 mm armor crinkled would like foil under the monstrous weight “wallpaper is.”

A year later, another inventor suggested the idea of ​​the military department of a fundamentally new armor. From ring-spun rope diameter of about 1.9 cm were instructed to weave the cloth and then “thicken so much that would get the fossil.” the basis of tissue thickness of 71 cm had to be put on the steel of a thickness not less than 10 cm. However, even this proposal, ahead of the development of combined armor in the Soviet Union and the United States for decades, would not have saved the giant engineering from the fate of being crushed by its own weight.


After more than two decades, in July 1943, the idea of ​​such a war machine was reinvigorated in miniature. Mechanical Engineer AS Dashevskii offered his development of the “moving fortress” ellipsoid. The thickness of its armor was 200 mm, but the diameter – 2.5 meters and 5 meters high. Dashevskiy machine was like a dwarf “Oboem.”

In general, in the first half of the twentieth century and during the Great Patriotic War, offers a variety of projects tanks spherical shape. Today, they are becoming more widely known among fans of military history. In this series, “machine for the destruction of fortresses” Wallpapering “” remains the largest ever designed armored vehicles.

Lyricist – Yuri Bahurin

Yuri Bahurin – military historian. Author of several publications in the central and regional scientific journals: journals “Questions of History”, “Military History Journal,” “Military-Historical Archives”, “Motherland”, “Anthology of War” anthology “Reitar” and so on. D. Author «Panzerjäger Tiger (P)” Ferdinand “. Combat use. “

Sources and Literature:

  • Russian State Military Historical Archive (RGVIA). F. 803, Inv. 1 D. L. 123-134 1828.
  • RGVIA. F. 803, Inv. 1 D. L. 1816 104 104ob.
  • Pasholok YI Steel balls Stalin. – M .: Tactical Press, 2014 – S. 116-117.

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