1941 was a year of great calamity for the Red Army and for the USSR. The war that broke out on June 22nd was not at all like the war that was predicted. The Germans and their allies tore deep into the USSR with the Red Army suffering defeat after defeat. However, through great effort, the flywheel of the Blitzkrieg lost momentum. The enemy continued to move forward, but not at the rate predicted by Plan Barbarossa. The Germans were supposed to have reached the Archangelsk-Astrakhan line by September-October of 1941 at the latest, but they were far from their goal at that point. They were so sure in their victory that they did not even prepare for the arrival of winter, which then turned into complaints about "General Frost". Soviet tank forces also played a big role in stopping the Germans. At the cost of heavy losses, they managed to stop the German divisions moving towards Moscow and allowed a counteroffensive to begin on December 5th, 1941. Tank brigades played a key role in these battles.
|One of the nine T-50 tanks delivered to Kubinka, fall 1941. It was used to test winter camouflage.
|Production tanks looked like this.
|The location of tools and observation devices changed compared to the prototypes.
By sheer coincidence, 50 T-50 tanks were finished in Leningrad. Most of them fought to defend the city. Only one shipment was made to the outside world. Train #20096 departed towards the NIBT Proving Grounds on August 13th, 1941. It carried 9 T-50 tanks. Before that, on August 10th, 1941, 8 T-26 tanks departed to Kubinka. Factory #174 didn't send any more tanks after that and prepared for evacuation.
|The identity of the tank was established by the serial number of the gun.
|Shipping manifest that includes T-50 tank K-11232. Almost all of them went to the 150th Tank Brigade.
|One of the four tanks from the brigade that were lost in battle between September 29th and October 3rd. This tank was hit in the rear.
|A brief report on the T-50's performance. This is one of the few known reports on the tank.
|Location of the 22nd Tank Brigade's tanks as of November 28th, 1941. The camouflaged T-50 will be destroyed a few days later.
|Half of the T-50 tanks from the 150th Tank Brigade survived Operation Typhoon. One of them ended up in Chelyabinsk.
|K-11232 as of 1943.
|The award order of the tank commander. He was born in the same city where factory #174 settled by 1942.
|The tank was already quite worn, especially when it comes to the fenders.
|The front and rear fenders were later replaced.
|Application of a turret number, March 2007.
|The tank looked like this until August of 2007.
The serial number of the gun was found during inventory carried out in 2011. This allowed us to more precisely determine the tank's origins. The T-50 remained outdoors until its turn for restoration finally came. The author has many questions about its details, for instance the toolbox that looks nothing like the original and the steel step instead of a rubber one in front of the driver's hatch. Nevertheless, it's better than nothing, and none of the changes are irreversible.
|August came and the T-50 "ripened". The tank was primed right over the existing paint. And then the army wonders why its tanks start peeling so quickly...
The T-50 was restored to running order in 2020 and took part in the Army-2020 international technical forum as a part of the "100 years of tank building" exhibition. After that, it was installed as an exhibit at pavillion #1 at Patriot Park in the Battle of Moscow sector. In August, a decision was made to liven it up a little bit.
|The tank as it stands today.
|The interior of the T-50 tank.