KV-8 “Object 228”
According to the pre-war Soviet tactical doctrine, flamethrower tanks were considered an integral part of the tank forces. The light tank T-26 was used as a chassis for flamethrowing tanks, on the basis of which the OT-26, OT-130 and OT-133 were created. The experience of using these tanks in the Winter War showed that flamethrower tanks are becoming the number one target for enemy artillery. With this in mind, the idea of creating a flamethrower tank on the basis of a more protected machine arose, and the war that started immediately demanded the appearance of flamethrower tanks on the base of KV and T-34 tanks.
The forced interruption caused by the evacuation of factories to the Urals, allowed returning to the topic of flamethrower tanks only in November 1941. Therefore, in November 1941, work began on the creation of a flamethrower tank based on the KV-1 in Chelyabinsk. During the work on the flamethrower version of the KV, it was decided to use the ATO-41 flamethrower and place it in the turret instead of the coaxial machine gun, while in the T-34 flamethrower a similar flamethrower was installed instead of the exchange gun.
The design team of ChKZ, which included engineers AK Malinin, G.A.Manilov, and S.V.Fedorenko, developed a somewhat lighter version of the tank with flame-throwing weapons, designated as “Object 228” and later KV-8. As in the case of the KV-6, the installation of full-fledged chemical weapons was not intended, but the ZIS-5 76.2-mm cannon was also abandoned.
As with the KV-6, the ATO-41 flamethrower unit was installed in a turret, in a built-in unit with a DT machine gun and a 45mm 20K gun. The stern DT machine gun in the turret remained. These measures markedly reduced the effectiveness of the fight against enemy armored vehicles (primarily with medium tanks of the Pz.III and Pz.IV type), but allowed conducting flame throwing not only in the “straight ahead” direction, but also in the circular sector.
With the explosion of the cartridge under the action of powder gases, the fire mixture was thrown out by a piston. The recharge and feed of the next cartridge occurred automatically, under the influence of the hydraulic head of the fire mixture. The pressure was created in the tank with compressed air (pressure 4.0-4.5 kg / cmg). which came from a special balloon. The ignition of the fire mixture was made with a gasoline torch, and he, in turn, was ignited with a spark-plug. The speed of the flamethrower - 3 shots in 10 seconds, the consumption of fire mixture per shot - Yu l.
The range depended on the composition of the fire mixture: when firing a standard mixture consisting of 60% fuel oil and 40% kerosene, the range was 60–65 m. And the viscous mixture of kerosene and oil was 90–100 m. The capacity of KV-8 tanks with fire mixture was five times more than OT-34.
Externally, the flame-throwing tank did not differ from the other KV variants, the 45-mm cannon outside was covered with a massive camouflage cover, thus creating the illusion of tank arming with a standard 76.2-mm gun. There were three tanks with fire mixture: one in a 450-liter reservoir and two in tanks of 120 liters each. The rest of the ammunition was 116 shells and 2442 rounds. The rest of the KV-8 did not differ from the serial tank KV-1.
The first prototype of the flamethrower KV, together with the prototype attack tank KV-7, at the end of December 1941 was sent to Moscow. In general, the KV-8 made a favorable impression, but the military commissions noted weak cannon armament for a heavy tank, heavy weight, and an overloaded transmission. However, most of these shortcomings were inherent in the KV-1, therefore, the weapons of VPK No. 1110ss of January 6, 1942 adopted the KVKA tank with the subsequent development of serial production at ChKZ.
For the first time, the KV-8 was built on the basis of the KV-1 tank, but since September 1942 it was replaced by a lightweight version of the KV-1s, which was distinguished by a smaller weight, thinner armor (forehead - 82 mm, side - 40 mm , feed - 75 mm) and an F-34 gun with ammunition increased to 114 shells. Subsequently, the KV-1s began to use a new turret more streamlined shape. All these changes are reflected in the appearance and design of a flamethrower tank, called KV-8s ( “Object 235”). The improved version still retained the ATO-41 flame-thrower, but with a fire tank reduced to 600 liters, which allowed it to make 60 shots. Some machines were also equipped with anti-aircraft installations on the turret hatch with a DT machine gun.
In the process of launching the KV-8s, it turned out that the number of new type turrets was not enough, so for some time the hybrid version with a lightweight hull from the KV-1s and a welded angular turret from the KV-1 was mass-produced. A total of 25 tanks of this modification were manufactured, followed by the order of the State Defense Committee No. 2316 to discontinue the production of “hybrid” KV-8s.
The reasons indicated the following circumstances: “A) From October 1 of this year. to ensure the release of flamethrowing tanks KV-8S with a lightweight hull and turret, having the following characteristics: 1. The tank weight is 42.5 tons. 2. The number of flamethrowing shots of at least 40. 3. The volume of one shot at least 10 liters. b) By October 1 of this year. produce a prototype of the KV-8S tank and submit it together with the drawings to the NKTP and GABTU KA for approval, for which, on September 24, transfer to the factory No. 200 the model and drawings for the manufacture of new parts of the KV-8S turret”.
However, it was not possible to adjust the mass production of KV-8s with the new turret. At the end of 1942 and the beginning of 1943 only 10 vehicles were produced, equipped with the ATO-42 advanced flamethrower, after which the assembly of tanks on the KV chassis (with the exception of the KV-85) was discontinued.
In total, the Chelyabinsk plant manufactured 137 KB-8 flame-throwing tanks.
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