"To the Chief of the Red Army GABTU, Lieutenant-General of the Tank Forces, comrade Fedorenko
Conclusions: in addition to Committee of Defense decree #428, I deem it necessary to approach the Committee of Defense with the proposal to produce two improved T-34 prototypes at factory #183 by April 1st, 1941, with the following changes:
- Widening of the turret ring and the turret, installation of a commander's cupola with all-round vision.
- A torsion bar suspension.
- Increased ammunition capacity.
- Stronger transmission.
- Increased top speed to 70 kph.
- Improve the crew conditions, providing them with more comfortable positions and better vision.
Perform trials in April-May.
In June, improve the design based on the trials results.
In August and September the technological process will be refined. Mass production of the improved T-34 can start in October.
This allows us to introduce all improvements without rushing, check them with trials, and painlessly move to the production of an even higher quality vehicle.
Factory #183 is gladly cooperating with this work and considers these improvement processes correct.
Production of T-34s should be done with the existing turret, without any kind of halfway changes, and the existing suspension, keeping the interchangeability of internal components. We must concentrate our attention on the new vehicle.
Order factory #183 to improve the following items in accordance with decree #428:
- Main clutch.
- Ammunition rack.
I consider it necessary to arm the T-34 tank with 76 and 45 mm guns in one turret, with the following in mind:
Two companies of tanks per battalion with 45 mm guns and coaxial DT machineguns and one company per battalion with a 76 mm gun and a DT machinegun
One platoon per company with tanks armed with 45 mm guns and one with 76 mm guns.
What will this give? Tanks armed with 45 mm guns will store 250 rounds (expanded turret) or 200 (existing turret), twice as much as the existing 76 mm gun. The rate of fire of the 45 mm gun, considering the mass of the shell, is nearly twice as high, which will give no less of an effect against enemy fortifications (machinegun nests, anti-tank gun) and lightly armoured tanks.
Upon encountering obstacles that demand more powerful fire, the company or battalion commander will have the means in his possession and can therefore form his troops as necessary.
I ask you to give the required orders.
Lead Engineer-Colonel Panov
December 13th, 1940"