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ChTZ Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant / Uraltrac / Tankograd

The Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant was once the largest such enterprise in the world. Chelyabinsk was called Tankograd during the war years. The Southern Urals gave 40% of all military products of the country; plants supplied 60% of medium and 100% heavy tanks. The city became the real center of the defense industry of the USSR: from 1941 to 1945, the People's Commissariat of the tank industry, ammunition, medium power plant engineering, and armaments were located in Chelyabinsk. The city became a symbol of the Ural fortitude, hope and bulwark of the whole country, which forged victory over the enemy.

In Chelyabinsk, there was also a design office that created new types of weapons. There were created 13 types of new tanks and self-propelled guns. From the production of heavy tanks KT ChTZ, which was launched at the beginning of the war, switched to the production of the famous T-34s, and later - the IS. It was in Chelyabinsk that the IS-2 was created, which was recognized as one of the strongest on the planet at that time. The IS tanks played a significant role in the battles of 1944-1945.

Another success of Chelyabinsk engineers is the creation of the world's first heavy tank conveyor. This made it possible to increase the pace of delivery of combat vehicles to the front and became an important factor in the victory over Nazi Germany. After the war, a huge number of Chelyabinsk-made tanks and tractors found shelter on pedestals in Russia, the CIS countries and Eastern Europe.

The tractor plant of Chelyabinsk is a big machinery company for engineering and production the industrial tractors and engines for them. It has a rich technological and industrial potential. High skilled specialists are able to resolve some complicated problems to construct, engineering. The plant produces some machines for the oil-natural gas, minerals, construction industry and etc. The ChTS production is today in great demand on the Russian and international market. The number of employees is more than 6,000 people.

The fate of the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant is inextricably linked with the history of the country. The 1930s was a priod in the history of the country a time of unprecedented industrial development. The creation of domestic tractor construction, of which ChTZ became the flagship, was of great importance for the country. Erected in record time and becoming a symbol of the labor enthusiasm of the first five years, the CTZ in the 1930s had no analogs in Europe or America.

During the Great Patriotic War, the CTZ was renamed into the Kirov Plant of the Narkomtankoprom in the city of Chelyabinsk and, together with seven enterprises partially or completely relocated to Chelyabinsk, was a tank factory, later called the people Tankograd. In unprecedented deadlines, the plant became one of the main arsenals of the front: 18 thousand tanks and self-propelled installations, 48.5 thousand tank diesel engines, 17.7 million ammunition preparations.

During the years of the Great Patriotic War, the labor prowess of the workers of Tankograd ensured the technical superiority of our tanks over the enemy’s combat vehicles. Without Chelyabinsk tractors it is impossible to imagine the post-war reconstruction of the country. Ural bogatyrs worked on all the major construction sites of the USSR. Powerful machines with the emblem of "ChTZ" can be found on all continents - from the deserts of Africa to the endless snows of Antarctica, and they always serve with honor.

The plant was rewarded with the Order of Lenin in 1971, the Order of the Labor Red Banner in 1983, the Order of Kutusov for the first degree in 1945, the order of the Red Star in 1944. The Test plant in 1944 and the design bureau for diesels in 1945 were rewarded with the Order of Lenin. 12 tractor - constructors became the title the Hero of Socialist Labor.


On May 29, 1929, the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR adopted a resolution “On the Attack to the Construction of a Tractor Plant in the Urals”. Chelyabinsk was not chosen by chance for its construction: Kopeysk coal mines could provide the future giant plant with cheap fuel, CHGRES with necessary energy, and the Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works, built at an unprecedented pace, with iron and coke. The location of the city on the Trans-Siberian Railway made it possible to significantly reduce transport costs when transporting tractors to the eastern regions of the country. Plus, the oldest industrial area - the Urals - is a skilled workforce.

In November 1929, an order of the USSR Supreme Economic Council approved that the future ChTZ should become the country's first factory for the large-scale production of tracked tractors and produce 40,000 machines a year. Neither in Europe nor in America was there a tractor production of such a level at that time.

By the spring of 1930, in a design bureau specially organized in Leningrad, they carried out a preliminary design of the enterprise. The country's leadership understood that the construction of an enterprise of such a level as ChTZ is possible only with the use of all the best practices accumulated by that time in the world of tractor construction.

It was not possible to reach an agreement with the management of the American firm Caterpillar: the demands were made unacceptable, the negotiations were deadlocked. Then the Soviet representatives decided to create in Detroit a special design bureau, Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant, where 40 Soviet and 12 American specialists worked together on the ChTZ master plan. Considering the recent achievements in the field of tractor construction, significant changes were made to the initial draft project. We decided to create three buildings: mechanical, foundry and blacksmithing - instead of 20 separate workshops. Another important innovation is the replacement of reinforced concrete supporting structures of buildings with metal ones. Due to this, the spans in the hull were expanded, which allowed changing the production facilities if necessary.

June 7, 1930 ChTZ master plan was ready. And already on August 10 in the Chelyabinsk in a solemn atmosphere laid foundry, blacksmithing and mechanical assembly shops. The first builders of ChTZ faced very great difficulties: the lack of equipment, housing and qualified medical assistance. Provision of personnel in 1929-1930 - only 60 percent, a large turnover, lack of funds.

On April 30, 1931, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks) adopted a resolution on the construction of the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant. It said that "... the timely completion of the construction and commissioning of the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant is one of the most important tasks facing the national economy of the USSR." We outlined specific measures to ensure the construction of personnel and building materials. The resolution specifically noted that the work of all party, Soviet and trade union organizations of the Urals will be evaluated "... according to the degree of their active assistance in successfully completing the construction and launching of the CTZ." On May 11, 1931, the leaders of Chelyabtraktorostroy were taken by I.V. Stalin, who said that "... the Central Committee of the CPSU(b) in no case will not allow the disruption of the construction of the world giant."

At the ChTZ industrial site, there was a movement for the accelerated pace of work. If in 1931 the percussion workers at the construction site accounted for 57 percent of the total number of workers, then on the eve of the start-up of the plant — almost 90. The high rates of construction allowed, by 1932, to proceed to the full-scale installation of production equipment.

A total of 307 firms from Germany, USA, France and England took part in equipping ChTZ with equipment. More than 120 factories of the USSR manufactured machines and mechanisms for CTZ. The share of domestic equipment was more than 40 percent. "The entire working class of the USSR is responsible for the launch of ChTZ! .." - under this motto, an all-Union competition was launched for the early fulfillment of orders for the plant.

On May 31, 1933, at 15:40, under the exultant cries of thousands of those gathered, the first C-60 tractor assembled on the CTZ conveyor left the gates of the mechanical assembly building to the factory yard. The next day, June 1, 1933, a ceremonial launch of the Stalin's Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant was held. What was done in just three years was amazing. A bare field had become a growing city. Where, more recently, there was impassable mud, there were huge workshops, brick houses. In the factory neighborhood were built asphalt roads, factory-kitchen, cinema, club, training center.

By 1934, the Soviet Union had infact made a great leap forward concerning their industrial program. While at the Seventeenth Party Congress (only three years after the Sixteenth Party Congress when Stalin had set the initial goals), Stalin focused on the fact that industry had expanded greatly and was still growing. He announced proudly that thousands of new enterprises had been commissioned, including such gigantic projects as the Dnieper Hydroelectric project, the Magnitorsk and Kuznets sites, the Urals truckbuilding plant, the Chelyabinsk tractor plant, the Kramatorsk auto plant and so on. Nizhni Tagil, a town in the Urals which is 140 km from Yekaterinburg, formerly was off-limits to foreigners.

In 1936, seven Chelyabinsk heavy machines, which were operated by South Ural specialists, saved the whole city of Yakutsk from hunger. That year was especially frosty and three ships trying to deliver food and basic necessities to Yakutsk literally froze into the river. The South Urals machinery set off to save the Siberians. Seven Chelyabinsk tractors traveled almost 2,000 kilometers across the harsh Siberian land, reached the blocked ships and delivered food to a starving city on specially equipped sleighs.

In May 1937, the International Art and Technology of Modern Life exhibition opened in Paris. The ChTZ-S-60 tractors and the S-65 diesel tractors presented in the Soviet pavilion were awarded the Grand Prix, the highest award of the exhibition. March 30, 1940 - less than seven years after the start-up of the plant - the 100 thousandth tractor of the ChTZ brand rolled off the assembly line.

As early as the beginning of 1940, the plant was instructed to begin the development of the production of heavy KV tanks developed at the Leningrad Kirov Plant. All the preparatory work was then carried out, and on December 31, 1940, the first tank was assembled at ChTZ. Before the start of the war, 25 KV-1s were made.

Great Patriotic War

Tankograd is a city that was not on the map of the Socialist Motherland. This unofficial name Chelyabinsk received during the Great Patriotic War, when the plants began to produce tanks instead of tractors. A major production site of Soviet KV and T-34 tanks, the town of Cheliabinsk in the Urals was nicknamed 'Tankograd', its civilian machine-building factories swiftly converted to arms production. Chelyabinsk introduced the proud name “Tankograd” to the history of the Great Patriotic War. Day after day, in Tankograd, the difficult price was forging the Victory. It was here that the most powerful tanks and shells were created, and the city itself became a symbol of the unity of the front and rear, the unity of the people who stood up against the fascist invaders.

The 1,750 kilometere of Soviet territory between Chelyabinsk and Moscow ensured the future of one of the Soviet Union’s key armaments centers. The city was far from the encroaching German forces, safe from the ravages of the Luftwaffe and protected by unimaginable stretches of the Russian Steppes, raging rivers and the looming Ural Mountains.

Whole factories and industrial districts were relocated – Leningrad’s S.M. Kirov Factory no. 185 was sent east before German forces reached the city. What wasn’t relocated was built from scratch – the vast Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant and Chelyabinsk Metallurgical Plant would soon be put to war work.

Already on July 1, 1941, the workshops and sections of the plant, which were engaged in the manufacture of parts for HF, went to work in two shifts of 11 hours each. All regular and additional holidays were canceled. If from the beginning of the year until July 1, 1941, the share of military products in the ChTZ production program was only 13.1 percent, then from July 1 to October 1 it rose to 42.8 percent, and from October 1941 it rose to 92.7 percent. The plant was to master the large-scale production of tanks and tank engines.

The situation on the fronts deteriorated. On October 6, 1941, by the order of the People’s Commissar of the USSR Tank Industry, the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant named after Stalin was renamed the “Kirov Plant of the Narkom-Tankoproma in the city of Chelyabinsk”.

In September - October 1941, the evacuation of two huge enterprises began in Chelyabinsk - the Kirov Plant from Leningrad and the Kharkov Diesel-Motor Plant No. 75 from Ukraine. There was no precedent in domestic or international practice, when such giant plants with their thousands of teams were “removed from the foundation” in a matter of days, loaded into trains, and after a short time they started production almost thousands of kilometers from the wheels. end of a huge country.

The Kharkov Motor Plant No. 75 managed to evacuate under the bombing of fascist aviation just a week before German tanks entered the city. The evacuation of the Kirov factory was carried out in an even more complicated situation. In October-November 1941, all the seats on airplanes leaving from Leningrad surrounded by the Nazis to the mainland were given to workers and specialists of Kirov, who were then sent by train to Chelyabinsk urgently. Over 15 thousand factory workers and their families were transferred to the Urals. The main composition of the leading tank workshops created at ChTZ was staffed by workers and specialists of the Kirov factory.

By January 1942, 29,850 people had arrived at the plant. Of thesed, 8 thousand of them were placed in the city, 17 thousand - in factory buildings, 3,800 people - at evacuation centers - in the trade school, factory club and school No. 52 (now No. 48). Living conditions were incredibly difficult. But all domestic problems in those days faded into the background. The main concern of all those who worked in the factory were tanks. The front demanded: "Give the tanks! Rather! Immediately!".

During 1941, the production of heavy tanks KV increased 5.5 times. This was achieved due to an increase in the average monthly output per worker, since even after the arrival in Chelyabinsk of specialists from Leningrad and Kharkov, there was a catastrophic lack of labor. According to the plan for the first quarter of 1942, about 40 thousand people were supposed to work in the workshops of the plant, but in reality there were only 27,321 of them. To fill the personnel shortage, women and teenage children were involved in the plant.

In mid-November 1941, a special decree of the State Defense Committee (GKO), the factory stopped production of tractors, artillery tractors, shells, mines and bombs. From now on, all workshops, thousands of people, equipment - had to switch only to the production of heavy tanks. Thus was born the legendary Tankograd.

On July 4, 1942, an extremely urgent task was assigned to the Kirovsky plant in Chelyabinsk: simultaneously with the release of heavy KV tanks, to organize the mass production of medium-sized T-34 tanks. Production capacity of the plant has not expanded. On the same equipment, in the same shops had to do two completely different combat vehicles. From August 1942, the monthly production of KV was determined to be 150 pieces, and the production of T-34s had to constantly grow: 100 pieces in August, 300 - in September, and in October - already 350. The plant was divided into two independent productions. There should have been independent workshops for the production of heavy vehicles and separately for medium tanks, and in some workshops had to organize mixed production.

History did not know such examples, so that in the course of just one month the entire production cycle of an enterprise would be rebuilt with a new machine. It was believed that this is technically impossible. But it was necessary for the Victory, and the tankers did. The plant was faced with the largest reconstruction. A new machine shop was created to provide heavy and medium tanks with parts and chassis components. On the site of the former main assembly line of the tractor assembly, a workshop for the assembly of medium tanks was organized — the SB-34 workshop. From small-scale technology, still preserved in some areas, should go to the technology of mass production. In a matter of days, it was necessary to install 1,200 additional machines and move about 700 from the workshop to the workshop. It was necessary to design and manufacture several thousand names of stamps, models, devices, tools, to train thousands of people to work on a new machine. Already on July 22, 1942, the designers gave out working drawings of the T-34 parts, and four days later each workshop received specific tasks on the nomenclature of parts that it should produce. On August 22, 1942, the first Chelyabinsk "thirty-four" came out of the assembly building.

In mid-September 1943, the State Defense Committee set the plant a task: without reducing the achieved volume of assembly of combat vehicles, to launch the production of completely new heavy duty IS tanks. These machines, developed in the Tankograd design bureau, harmoniously combined armor, speed and weaponry. The ISs were almost 10 tons lighter than German heavy tanks, while having thicker armor and a more powerful gun, had better maneuverability, flexibility and adaptability to field repairs. Without stopping production, the factory reconstructed many workshops by organizing new sections and lines.

More than 600 engineers and technicians developed the technology of the new machine, people almost never left their jobs. And the impossible became possible again: on the night of October 31, 1943, the serial production of IS tanks began ahead of schedule. In August 1944, for the first time in the world, a conveyor assembly line for heavy tanks was launched at ChTZ.

The Ural tanks won in a duel with the tanks of fascist Germany thanks to the bold thought of the designers, the dedicated work of the workers, the engineering skills of the technologists of Tankograd. By their heroic efforts, the plant in the shortest possible time reached an unprecedented rate of production of combat vehicles. During the war in Chelyabinsk, thirteen models of tanks and self-propelled artillery systems were produced. A total of 18,000 combat vehicles, 48,500 tank engines, 85,000 sets of fuel equipment, 17.5 million ammunition preparations, and many other defense orders were completed.

Cold War

In 1943, they thought about the peaceful production in Tankograd. There were stubborn battles on the fronts, and in Chelyabinsk, a group of designers, on their own initiative, had already worked on the concept of a promising machine. On May 15, 1944, Order No. 320 of the People's Commissar of the Tank Industry officially ordered the plant to develop an 80 hp agricultural tractor.

The first post-war tractor S-80 was assembled at ChTZ in January 1946, eight months after the end of the war. The transfer of the tank factory to the production of tractors again demanded a serious reconstruction of the enterprise, the first stage of which was completed only by 1948. ChTZ was to provide an annual supply of more than 10 thousand C-80 tractors to the national economy. By the end of 1948, on average, 20 to 25 tractors per day began to roll off the main assembly line of the plant.

After the war, deliveries of Chelyabinsk machines began abroad. In 1949, the first 194 tractors were shipped to Poland, Czechoslovakia and other countries. By the mid-50s, the CTZ equipment was already sold to all countries of the socialist camp, as well as to Finland, Sweden, Austria, India, Burma, Syria, Egypt, Afghanistan, Brazil.

On April 30, 1956, the first sample of the DET-250 diesel-electric tractor that had no world analogs was assembled. On May 1, he was shown on Revolution Square during a festive demonstration in Chelyabinsk. The modernized DET is still being produced; it has been and remains the fastest bulldozer in the world. June 20, 1958 the historic name of the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant was returned to the plant.

In the late 1960s - early 1980s, the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant experienced a rebirth: it was radically reconstructed with the aim of putting the T-130 type industrial tractors into production. In 1984, assembled millionth tractor brand "CTZ". The peak of production of industrial tractors was reached in 1988, when 31,700 machines rolled off the assembly line.

The new time, the countdown of which began after the perestroika, announced in 1985, set for ChTZ tasks that it had not yet had to solve. It was about whether the plant will be able to survive in market realities. In the late 1980s, the plant experienced conversion, the tank production was completely curtailed. Mastering the production of mini-tractors and consumer goods could not compensate for the lost volumes.

Post Cold War

The USSR collapsed and market reforms began in Russia. ChTZ was among the first large machine-building enterprises to become a joint-stock company. In 1992, the state enterprise Production Association ChTZ named after VI Lenin was transformed into a joint stock company. But the tractor builders hopes for a quick prosperity did not come true. The sharp decline in production and work for traditional consumers of Chelyabinsk machinery - builders, land reclamation, in the mining and other sectors of the former Soviet Union caused a collapse in tractor output. And not only at ChTZ: all domestic engineering industry experienced difficult years. The crisis of the mid-1990s for the tractor giant turned bankrupt, the very existence of the CTZ was questionable.

The Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant was declared bankrupt in February 1998. The design capacity is 60,000 tractors a year. As of Dec. 22, 1998, accounts payable topped 3.7 billion rubles. The biggest creditors are the government, which is due 1.4 billion rubles, the Chelyabenergo power utility, due 143 million rubles, and Uraltransgaz, which the plant owes 16.5 million rubles. In April 2001 the Chelyabinsk tractor plant stopped production for two weeks because the demand on tractors had fallen in the domestic market. The bankrupt Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant, in consultation with its committee of creditors, began unloading assets via a series of public auctions in mid-2002.

Without any exaggeration, the arrival of a team of managers under the direction of the bankruptcy trustee, with General Director Valery Platonov, became a new starting point in the history of the Chelyabinsk Tractor. For several years, a great work has been done to revive the CTZ. The team of V. Platonov managed not only to preserve the legendary plant, not to destroy the integrity of the production complex, but to actually turn it into an effective business, to create conditions for the dynamic development of an already new enterprise - LLC ChTZ-Uraltrak.

Over the past few years, a whole series of new models and modifications of engineering machines of the CTZ brand have been created. Factory designers and marketers are trying to respond quickly to changing market demands. The serial production of tractors B-10M2 with a modular gearbox, extended bogie axle and hydromechanical transmission was started. The new, more powerful bulldozer B-12 of traction class of 15 tons is in great demand of consumers. The B-11 tractor was created with a modern design, improved cab ergonomics and lining made of composite materials. At the plant of powerful tractors, a new diesel electric bulldozer DET-320, as well as a self-propelled repair module based on the Uralets small-sized tractor, are also produced. The production of wheeled vehicles - front loaders of the family Proffi, started two years ago, is actively developing.

The production of diesel engines for armored vehicles is growing at the engine plant. The Uralvagonzavod contract with India for the supply of 300 T-90 tanks was made only thanks to the 1000 hp V-92 engine created at ChTZ. New diesel engines for Chelyabinsk and Nizhny Tagil tractors were prepared for serial production.

Today ChTZ - Uraltrak is no longer just a tractor plant, but an industrial association for the production of a wide range of road-building equipment, engines, spare parts and other high-tech products. For the first time in modern history, work has begun on the technical re-equipment of production, the development of flexible technologies, and new modern equipment is being acquired. The CTZ property complex includes 160 enterprises, including more than 20 subsidiaries operating in a single technological cycle with the parent company. In total, more than 20 thousand people work here. The CTZ complex of enterprises has demonstrated a steady growth trend. If in 2005 the volume of sales of products (including VAT) amounted to 8.76 billion rubles, in 2006 - 11.66 billion, by the end of 2007 - more than 16.8 billion rubles (44 percent higher than the 2006 level).

The stable growth of production volumes and, as a result, the improvement of the financial state of ChTZ in 2007 provided a twofold increase in tax payments to budgets of all levels (1.9 billion rubles). A total of 3160 engineering machines (tractors, bulldozers , pipelayers , loaders ) under the CTZ trademark were sold in 2007 - 1.55 times more than in 2006. The sales figure was the best in five years.

ChTZ again supplies equipment to foreign countries, including the countries of Eastern Europe, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Mongolia, the United Arab Emirates and others. Tractor builders managed to return their products to all the republics of the former Union: the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation named ChTZ the winner of the contest "The Best Exporter of Russia to the CIS Countries".

On June 1, 2008, the Chelyabinsk Tractor celebrateed its 75th anniversary. The anniversary year the enterprise team meets with good results, clear prospects and confidence that the modern generation of Chelyabinsk tractor-builders will succeed in being worthy of the glorious name of ChTZ.

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Page last modified: 10-04-2019 10:17:00 ZULU