Tank Development in USSR

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As in many other countries, various projects for fully tracked armored vehicles were worked out in 1915-16. An early design was Mendeleev's "Armored land cruiser" finished in 1915. However, it never left drawing board. Mendeleev was a naval architect who proposed to use a submarine engine and naval gun on tractor chassis. In the summer of 1914, an engineer called Porokovskikov designed a smaller tracked vehicle with Pedrail-type tracks and small jockey wheels to assist steering. This was named "Vezdekhod" (Go anywhere), and was intended to be a infantry assault vehicle for crossing ground under fire. Fitted with a machinegun-turret, it performed well during trials in 1915. However, it was not accepted for production, partly due to the limited industrial capacities. A Tsar-tank was built as prototype in 1915, and is probably the largest tank that have ever existed. With one extremely big wheel on each side, and two support wheels in the rear. A promising design of 1916 was the Reno-Russkie, this vehicle resembled the French Schneider tank. It was designed in Moscow, but never entered production. After the successful use of the British tanks on the Western front, the Russian War Department made an attempt to sponsor an official tank design, and therefore an improved Vezdekhod was designed. One prototype was built, but no production was undertaken. It was first in 1918 as Russia got their first tanks; 32 Mk V and Medium Mk C tanks purchased from Great Britain and 100 FT-18s purchased from the French. Many of these had been captured by the Bolsheviks in 1919 and they later acquired even more tanks when the British Expeditionary Force withdrew from Russian in 1919, leaving all tanks behind. In late 1919 the Soviet War Council decided to build a tank for the newly established Red Army (RKKA, Krasnoi Armi, Armia Czerwonej). This tank was based on the French FT tank, and it resulted in the KS-1 (Krasno-Sormova) which was almost identical to the FT tank. The only difference was that the KS-1 used different mechanical parts. A further 14 KS tanks were built to supplement the 100 existing tanks in the Red Army. The order was completed in 1922. The KS tanks prepared the way and set the pattern for coming Soviet tank designs over the next 15 years. To reduce production time, extremely small designs were undertaken. One of those were the incredibly small Zhitonoski tank which only measured 7 feet in length, having room for one man. Armed with a machine-gun, the crewmen drove in the prone position. 

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