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Kirov Plant - Soviet Tanks

St. Petersburg's Kirov Factory was one of the true giants of Russian machine-building. Kirov Plant ceased producing tanks in November 1991. Other military products included PION self-propelled artillery gun, turbines for naval surface vessels and submarines, and silent reduction gears for submarines.

The Kirov Factory is famous for its long and remarkable history. It dates back to 1932 when a tank design bureau for development of the USSR's T-28 tank was established at the Leningrad-based Krasny Putilovets Plant (further renamed Kirov Plant). When the Kirov Factory was first constructed, new flats were built for workers to improve their lamentable living conditions. Some purpose-built apartments of the new type were built on Traktornaya Street, formerly Krylov Lane, renamed for the first Ford tractors built under licence at the nearby Krasny Putilov (Kirov) factory. On a narrow plot of land the first new apartments were constructed (1925-27), of fifteen three- and four-storey houses colored a soft red.

The Kirov factory, which previously had produced regimental guns and guns for fortified areas, began the output of naval guns. The production of regimental guns was transferred to Plant No. 7. But in view of its increased program for the output of 57.mm tank and antitank guns, the People's Commissariat for Armament, which was unable to perform two tasks simultaneously, soon completely ceased producing regimental guns. A similar situation also arose in respect to the 76mm divisional gun, which was manufactured at Plant No. 92; it was temporarily removed from production in May 1941 for the same reason.

Because the shops of Plants No. 66 and No. 2 were switched over to the production of aviation armament, their fulfilment of the previous program for the output of machineguns (light, medium tank, and heavy) and automatic weapons gradually began to break down. To restore the production of machineguns, a new shop was constructed at Plant No. 2, and was supposed to be put into operation no earlier than July 1941. The production of Shpagin design automatic weapon was projected for Plant No. 367, which was in the initial stage of construction.

The first serial heavy tank KV, one of the best tanks of the Great Patriotic War, was launched at the Kirov factory. The staff of the Kirov Plant made an important contribution to the development of all branches of engineering in the country. Prior to the Second World War of 1941-1945, production besides tractors produced steam turbines, locomotives and cars, engines for combine harvesters, locomotives, alloyed and stainless steel, hire of complex profiles, tunneling boards for the construction of the Moscow Metro, as well as military equipment. When the Germans struck on 22 June 1941, Leningrad was one of the German immediate objectives, and as a result on 24 June Stalin met with Zaltsman and Malyshev to discuss moving the Leningrad plant and its workers to Chelyabinsk in the Urals. This movement began on 23 July 1941. Some 15,000 workers and family members would eventually be moved to that city.

The transplantation of industry in the second half of 1941 and the beginning of 1942 and its relocation in the east must rank among the most stupendous organizational and human achievements of the Soviet Union during World War II. Equipment, workers and technical staff from the diesel department of the Kirov Plant in Leningrad were sent east.

The Leningrad Kirov Factory was colocated with the Chelyabinsk Tractor Factory, which was now ordered to cease production of tractors, switch to tanks, and complete production line expansion. On 06 October 1941, the factory had been renamed the Chelyabinsk Kirov Factory to show its new function.

Where, together with the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant and other evacuated enterprises, Tankograd was formed - the largest in the war years production of tanks, self-propelled guns and other armored vehicles and ammunition. In this connection, "Tankograd" was given the official name "Kirovsky Plant" of the People's Commissariat of the tank industry. In 1942, because most of the Russian tank production facilities had fallen to the German offensive, tank production was limited, and the number of T-34s and KV-1s remained relatively limited. This would change as factories relocated east of the Ural Mountains in 1942 began to turn out an immense wave of these tanks, improved by two years of battle experience, in 1943.

At the same time, the Kirov workers who remained in Leningrad supplied the Leningrad Front with military equipment and defended the city. Tens of thousands of workers volunteered for the front. Those who stayed had to live and work in the most difficult conditions. During the Blockade, the front line was only 4 km. from the territory of the plant. In the context of shelling of direct visibility here, work continued. Made ammunition and repaired tanks. The combat vehicles leaving the workshops went straight to the front. 4680 shells fell on the territory of the plant, 770 bombs, 139 people were killed by shrapnel, 788 were injured, more than 2500 people died from exhaustion.

For the repair of tanks in besieged Leningrad, the plant was awarded the Order of the Patriotic War of the 1st degree. In 1944, the evacuated production and design offices of the Kirov factory returned to Leningrad and continued to develop heavy tanks (T-10 and T-10 M), a PT-76 amphibious tank, an armored personnel carrier BTR-50 and other combat vehicles. The Kirov workers, in their turn, took an active part in the restoration of Leningrad after the Blockade and the War.

When the war ended in 1945, there were four main tank plants in the USSR: Leningrad Kirov works, Chelyabinsk, Nizhniy Tagil, and Kharkov. A fifth plant in Omsk was returned to the Leningrad group as an affiliate plant. This was staffed by personnel from Leningrad who had not been moved to Chelyabinsk, but this plant became controlled by Kotins bureau and had no basic offerings of its own until the late 1990s. The first fireworks came between Leningrad and Chelyabinsk before the war was even over, and the fight was over the IS-3 tank design.

In the 50s, the rapid development of rocket technology began. At this time, OKBT was developing tracked vehicle carriers for mobile missile systems as well as self-propelled tracked launch vehicles.

In 1976 the main battle tank T-80 was created with a gas turbine engine. And the 203 mm self-propelled artillery gun "Pion" and its modernization "Malka" 2S7 in 1983, surpassing all samples of artillery guns in the world in terms of range. For anti-aircraft missile complex S-300V. A unique tracked chassis was developed. For work in conditions of high radiation hazard, a highly protected vehicle Ladoga was actively developed and put into production in the liquidation of the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.




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Page last modified: 16-01-2019 13:13:10 ZULU