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ZIS-5, Take One

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"May 30th, 1941
To the Central Committee of the VKP(b)
Comrade Zhdanov

According to USSR SNK and Central Committee Decree #1216-502 issued on May 5th, 1941, two experimental T-44 tanks built by factory #183 are supporsed to be armed with the 76 mm ZIS-5 or 57 mm ZIS-4 gun. The main characteristics of these guns is shown in the following table:

Gun model

Caliber in mm

Muzzle velocity, m/s

Shell mass, kg

Penetrates armour

At 0 degrees

At 30 degrees

Thickness in mm

Distance in m

Thickness in mm

Distance in m

F-34

76.2

662

6.3

60

Up to 1000

50

Up to 1000

ZIS-5

76.2

813

6.5

90

Up to 1000

70

Up to 1000

ZIS-4

57

992

3.14

90

Up to 1000

70

Up to 1000


The penetration of the ZIS-5 and ZIS-4 is equivalent. Since the ZIS-5 HE shell weighs more than the ZIS-4 shell, its explosive action is significantly better. The F-34 gun's HE shell is equivalent to the ZIS-5, but the F-34 has lower penetration.

Despite this, arming the T-44 with the ZIS-5 76 mm gun is unreasonable because:
  1. The ZIS-5 is not in production. Factory #95 built one prototype to install in the KV tank.
  2. The 76 mm ZIS-5 gun was designed to use the shells of the 76 mm 3-K gun. The 76 mm 3-K gun has been out of production since July of 1940 and is still only used at the corps level.
    As such, supplying T-44 tanks with ammunition would be very difficult, as supplies would have to go from the corps.
  3. Various types of guns (F-34, ZIS-4, ZIS-5) will make it difficult to train crewmen, and supply the guns with parts, tools, and ammunition.
Keeping this in mind, I report that the decree of the USSR SNK and Central Committee regarding the armament of the T-44 must be altered in the following manner:

"Arm one experimental prototype of the T-44 with the 57 mm ZIS-4 tank gun, and one prototype with the 76 mm F-34 tank gun".

The machineguns and ammunition must be left as they were.

Marshall of the Soviet Union, Kulik
GABTU Chief, Lieutenant-General of the Tank Forces, Fedorenko"


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