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Old January 14th, 2022, 03:47 AM

Charles M Charles M is offline
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Default Soviet smoke dischargers

In ASL, Bob McNamara gave T-34/85 tanks the option of two smoke generators mounted on the rear hull, whereas in WinSPWW2 there is no such capability.

Having researched the subject and examined the hundreds of photos in my library, I have found that some, but by no means all, of wartime T-34/85s had two SDs mounted on the rear hull above the tracks. These were about half the length but somewhat larger in diameter to the traditional auxiliary fuel tanks mounted on the hull sides, although it should be borne inmind that fuel tanks of a similar size and shape to the SDs were sometimes also mounted on the hull rear. However, it is possible to distinguish an SD from a fuel tank. Steve Zaloga states on p. 17 of his book on the T-34/85 that these SDs were fitted from late spring 1944 onwards, whereas on pp. 20-21 he is a bit more vague and gives the date as late. However, this is contradicted by his description on pp. 11-13 of the celebrated encounter between Lt. Oskin's single T-34/8 of 53rd Guards Tank Brigade and three King Tigers of sPz Abt 501 at Ogledow in Poland on 12th August 1944. In destroying all thee King Tigers Oskin used his tank's smoke dischargers to provide cover while pursuing the last victim. Note that Shaun Carter and I produced an ASL scenario for this encounter (albeit with somewhat limited replay options), published in an American ASL-themed fringe magazine, but with a photo of a shot-up T-34/85, for some strange reason unknown to us.

After studying photos I can conclude:

Some T-34/85 and later OT- 34 flame throwers (both 76 and 85 versions, the latter correctly termed the TO-34) were fitted with SDs. These included T-34/85s issued to the Polish units raised by the Soviets, from photos studied;
Many T-34/85s had neither SDs nor the wiring conduits (coming out of the upper hull rear) to ignite any SDs.
Other T-34/85s had the conduits for the wiring, but no wires or SDs fitted; and
One photo shows a T-34/85 with only a single SD mounted.

I therefore recommend that players be given the option to purchase a limited numbers of SD-equipped T-34/85s or late-production OT-34s, from August 1944 onwards. Postwar T-34/85s should have them at no cost since by then they were standard. These were one-time use smoke dischargers.

The affected T-34/85 units are Nos. 014, 128, 167 (the OT-43 flame thrower), 531 and 825, and the OT-34 flame thrower, Unit No. 286.

Note that two photographs need transposing; the photo for Unit No. 303 supposedly showing the early version with the D-5T gun is actually a M1944 with the ZiS-S-53 gun, while the photo for Unit No. 531 is of the early version, the M1943 with the distinctive collar around the D-5T. Simply swap over the photos.

Please note that David R. Higgins, Jagdpanther vs SU-100: Eastern Front 1945, p. 30, alleges that SU-100s had two smoke dischargers fitted at the rear but although photos show the metal conduits on the hull rear I have yet to see any wiring or smoke dischargers in photos taken during world war two. The relevant unit in WinSPWW2 would be number 034.

Sources:

Tim Bean & Will Fowler, Russian Tanks of World War Two: Stalin's Armoured Might, Ian Allen Publishing, Hersham, 2002

David R. Higgins, Jagdpanther vs SU-100: Eastern Front 1945, Duel # 58, Osprey Publishing, Oxford, 2014

Dr. Matthew Hughes & Dr Chris Mann, The T-34 Tank, Spellmount Limited, Staplehurst, 1999

S.L. Mayer (Ed), The Russian War Machine 1917-1945, Arms & Armour Press, London, 1977

Robert Michulec & Miroslaw Zientarzewski, T-34 Mythical Weapon, Airconnection, Mississauga, 2006 (?)

Martin J. Miller Jnr, Red Armor in Combat, Grenadier Books, Canoga Park, 1969

Douglas Orgill, T-34: Russian Armour, Macdonald & Co edition, London, 1971

David Porter, Soviet Tank Units 1939-45, Amber Books Ltd, London, 2020

Steven Zaloga & James Grandsen, T-34 in Action, Squadron Signal Publications, Carrollton, 1981

Ibid, The T-34 Tank, Osprey Vanguard # 14, Osprey Publishing Ltd, London, 1980

Ibid, T-34/85 Medium Tank 1944-94, New Vanguard # 20, Osprey Publishing Ltd, Oxford 1996

Steven J. Zaloga, Jim Kinnear, Andrey Aksenov & Aleksandr Koshchavtsev, Soviet Tanks in Combat 1941-1945, Concord Publications Company, Hong Kong, 1997
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