Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture


I begin a series of articles on the projects, that were proposed by people throughout Soviet Union during the Great Patriotic War as their efforts to maximize the power of Red Army in order to defeat Nazi invaders. Most of these are stored in the Russian Ministry of Defence Central Archives, so my creativity will be limited by authentic information. Many thanks and credits go to Yuri Pasholok, who in fact had discovered (and continue to do so) all the projects, about which I will try to inform the worldwide dieselpunk community. Some projects will be described in text, some with pictures and some with both. So, I begin.


November 20th, 1941

A proposal came from the city of Ufa. Main Idea: the author believed, that the very effective means of killing german panzer crews during their attacks on our defence is an electrical current of 380-500 volts. Current of such voltage, according to the Ohm's law  I=U/R (where I is the current through the conductor, V is voltage, and R is the resistance of the conductor) on its passage through the tank hull, because of low resistance (R) will get high rate of flow of electric charge (I) and result in immediate death of the people onboard.

The delivery of current of necessary voltage on 100-200 meters is seen as a trivial problem and may be made employing harpoon cannon principle. In this case, a harpoon will be a shell that resembles a landmine, cast from a magnetized metal and carrying contacts as a corbelled buttons. The shell is launched from the defence position with a russian 3-line rifle (Mosin-Nagant) using the principle of rifle grenade. The shell is connected to the coil with an insulated cable, that also serves for returning the shell. The coils are assembled in mounts, connected to the portable power station, that are carried on trucks. The power stations are most important and vulnerable elemets, so they must be camouflaged and kept on some distance from the defence position. 
Such "electro-battery" was proposed to consist of 1 station, 2-3 mounts connected simultaneously, 6-9 coils with shells and some extra shells; it was to be operated by 3 people - first arms the rifle, aims and shoots; second puts the coil in a mount, turns the current on during the shot, observes the hit and turns the current of after hit; third gets the cable back on coil. 

The "electro-batteries" may operate on different distances. The other "pros" are moral effect on the infantry that follows charging tanks, no consumption of explosives and immediate operations of looted tanks against the enemy.
It was obvious, that the successful operations of "electro-batteries" were to be temporary, because after the enemy find out about them, it would be easy to employ simple and effectiv counter-measures, that are insulation of tank hull parts ore insulated uniform for tank crews.

But considering necessary secrecy, lack of insulating materials in Germany and large amount of time for "insulative measures" with all german tanks in still may be a success.

The resolution from State Defence Committee was as follows:

Please inform comrade I., that tank crew is unaffected by high voltage currents.


July 14th, 1942

This one arrived form Electrostal', Moscow Region, from an engineer. The concept of the Rotary Tank was to have the armoured protection by means of armoured "cap", covering the tank and rotating on vertical axis with great velocity. Rotation and form of the cap results in very high level of armoured protection, that may lead to 3-4 times decrease in armour weight. The observation from the tank is based on the stroboscope principle via windows. The fire from muchine-guns and cannons is synchronised with the armour rotation via same windows. Rotary armour is equipped with a disc saw, that allows to heavily damage enemy tanks, cut trees and destroy infantry.

Main advantages: high armoured protection wirh relatively low weight, absolute protection from grenades and incindiary weapons, good observatiom, gyroscopic effects, ability to ram even more heavy tanks, rotary saw and its effects. Disadvantages are the complexity of the construction and weapons insatllation.

Such tank may be used as a light 2-man tan (10-15 tons) as a hunter-killer on a moderately rugged terrain.

And here comes the picture - 

Unfortunately, we do not know the resolution from the high offcicials. However, that one may have been of some help for the Allies to cut bocage in Normandy.

Winter screw

August 29th, 1942

The next one came from the engineer of People's Commissariat of ammunition special exeprimental-construction bureau.

The basic idea was to use auger as a chassis of the tank for harsh winter conditions. No more details, unfortunately, but there is a picture (updated in 1944).

Pedal Locust

March 1st, 1944

Red army lieutenant sent in a project of "armoured cycle" as a solution to reduce the casualties during offenses. It was proposed to create an offensive weapon with great maneuverability and firepower. Massive usage of such may destroy the advantages of the defending powers. 

...and the lost one for today (and the most impressive, I believe)

Tank Battleship

July 27th, 1942

This one was created by the colonel-engineer of the Air Force and was presented in great detail, even with dashboard schemes. I will just go through basic specifications:

Battle weight: 270 tons

Armaments: 2 x 152 mm cannons, 5 x 76 mm cannons, 2 x 23 mm cannons, 3 x 12,7 mm machine guns, 14 x 7,62 mm machine guns

Armour: 40-125 mm

Engine: aviation diesel M-30 or M-40, total 4000-6000 hp

Power/weight: 13,3/22 hp

Speed: 4,2 - 40 km/h

Fuel capacity: 8400 kg

Operational range: 600 km

Crew: 30

Landing party: 50

So, that's all for today. Feedback most welcome. 

Next time the treats will be: armoured bikes, evil spheres and apocalyptic death machines...and many more! Stay tuned(c)

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Comment by Komissar Hass on February 3, 2012 at 5:34am

Anyway, EnglishRussia can help inciting interest. 

Comment by lord_k on February 3, 2012 at 2:30am

To Jeffrey:

EnglishRussia is good for visuals but if you really want to know what you see you (in most cases) have to use other sources.

Comment by Komissar Hass on February 1, 2012 at 12:12am

Elvisrocks, at least such "creative" projects never came to life and never took out essential  resources from the reality-bound production of warmachines. And no russian will ever say a bad word about "Valentines", "Matildas" and "Churchills", because at the first stage of War any armour was most welcome, and while these very types lacked HE capability, they were rather reliable and well-protected.

JSWhite, thank you, it is a nice site.

Comment by BandNerd 51 on January 31, 2012 at 6:22pm

I have found a publication for all things currant and historical in Russia. It's called EnglishRussia and is at the following address. http://englishrussia.com



Comment by Elvisrocks59 on January 31, 2012 at 4:08pm

Excellent read,nice to see that the Russians was as barking as the British during wartime.

Comment by Komissar Hass on January 31, 2012 at 11:19am

Twizard, you are right, P1000 "Ratte" is definitely one of the biggest inspirations for all schizomilitary dieselpunks. one russian author once wrote a short story about Ratte actually built and used by Herr Goering to go hunting, eventually ending up on the Pacific coast of the Russian Far East without fuel and all crew eaten.

But nevertheless, in fact the French actually had a sufficient number of Land Battleships, I mean the marvelous FCM 2C.

And speaking about Soviet side, T-100 and T-35 are good examples. And your point about design - I'm not sure where have you seen SU-152 on the scheme? At the same time, I'd like to draw your attention to IS-2-like turrets of the "auger tank" mentioned above. And in the first "concept" provided by the author, there were T-26-like turrets.

Comment by Timothy W. Nieberding on January 31, 2012 at 9:53am

Typical of Soviet design, the "battleship" builds very heavily and conservatively on existing designs.  This looks like a fusion of the T-34/76, the KV series and the SU-152.

Comment by Timothy W. Nieberding on January 31, 2012 at 9:50am

The tank-battleship idea was also on the boards with the Nazis.

Comment by Komissar Hass on January 30, 2012 at 9:04am
Thank you Bryan, I am very glad that my efforts are welcome and will try my best not to disappoint anyone.
Comment by Bryan D. Amage on January 30, 2012 at 8:58am

I certainly think this will be a great series that will inspire a lot of people!

'Red Alert' alwas has been one of my favorite pc game series and that was the first thing i thought when i read it. One thing that i find so fascinating in the designing of militairy appliances is the psychological factor; A weaponsystem that might not look very practical from a technical point of view kan still have a devastating effect on the morale of the enemy. In other words: If it's stupid but it works, it isn't stupid.. 

Thank you for taking the time and effort to shar it, i look forward to see more.

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