B1 Intermediate US 686 Folder Collection
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Development of a large calibre assault gun took a bit of a pause after the aborted Object 704.
But the idea of something which was very heavily armed and armoured never really went away.
In 1953 a series of design studies was started to determine what could be made to carry another large calibre gun.
Five various design proposals were considered.
The final design, selected in about August of '53, was for a forward crew compartment, rear engine vehicle.
It was going to have a crew of five, with the intent of dropping it down to four once it got a proper automated loading system.
About the same time, development was going on in a factory in Perm of a new 152 millimetre gun called the M-64.
This was capable of hurling an AP round at about 700 metres a second.
Not Bad.
It was thus decided to take the M-64 gun, mate it to the chassis of the T-10, which was being produced in Leningrad.
The resulting vehicle was the SAU-152, also known as Object 268.
Now, what this all is, is a very long winded way of saying we're going to have a look at the 268 behind me.
The front of the vehicle is basically as you would expect, a T-10 with a big armoured casemate.
Armour on the front is 120 millimetres sloped at 60.
Up on the casemate it is about 187 sloped at 20.
That said, there is a small piece of absolutely vertical armour just to the left of the mantlet,
out of which you can also see the aperture for the optic.
Now I shoved a measuring tape in there and it actually turned out it was only about 11 or 12 centimetres.
That's a very small weak point though, I wouldn't be too worried about it.
The nose retains the traditional 'Pike' shape which was common to the Soviet heavies of the time
and you'll see here the various splash guards.
Apparently the Russian term was 'Catching Dolphins.'
So when you go down into water of course you get the big pool of water comes up and it makes the driver miserable and wet.
At the time they didn't seem to have rubber sealings around the drivers hatch,
but from personal experience, even though it was built with a rubber seal in an Abrams, doesn't mean that it works.
Other items on the front, of course you have a single headlight and a horn on the right-hand side.
You can see on the far wings, the fuel filler ports.
There are three internal tanks, two of 185 litres and one of 90.
The two of 185 are actually after the crew compartment
and of course, the mudguards will open upwards, once you release firstly the splash guard
and also there is a bolt on the side which you have to let go as well.
Two tow hooks, one on each side and that's it.
We're starting to see a common pattern here now with the suspension and running gear of these Soviet vehicles.
The traditional steel road wheels, again similar to the idlers.
Tracks; nice wide single pin, relatively short pitch, held in place by a simple clip.
Look inside, exactly the same method of track tension, large screw system simply crank left, crank right.
The torsion bar suspension, there are shock absorbers on the first, second and seventh road wheels
and, of course, every arm has a very large volute spring bump stop.
The hull shape is a flat bottom about 16 millimetres thick, then it angles upwards and outwards
and meet up more or less where the torsion bars will meet the hull.
At that point there's a new armour plate, 6 centimetres thick, goes straight up
and is then bent at the top to curve outwards where it meets up with the hull roof.
Come back a little more and we have the nice big armoured casemate.
Side armour is about 10 centimetres sloped at 20.
Move further down we start see all of the sponson boxes.
Now, allow me to introduce you to the most important part of any Soviet Tank:
this is the key to the tank.
Basically it is a square head on one end and a T hook on the other.
You use this to open everything, from Sponson boxes, fuel access ports.
With this end you can open up the crew compartment hatches
and of course you can leverage it to get the heavier hatches, such as the engine deck hatches open.
Two of these per vehicle, if you lose them, you're in serious trouble.
So opening them up, you can now see inside how the side armour is now angled up and outwards.
It offers a little bit more protection at the cost of taking up volume that you would otherwise have available to you.
Now the other thing I'm going to do while I'm here is I'm going to settle an old debate.
Many times it's questioned whether or not the Object 268 should be the same hull height as T-10/IS-8.
To do this, I have a measuring tape and I'm going to measure to the hull roof.
Place the tape on the floor.
More or less here, and as I bring it up it's about - well the tow rope is in the way - but it's about 147 to 148.
We'll bear this in mind, we'll come back to it in a minute.
By sheer coincidence directly opposite Object 268 in Kubinka is a T-10M, basically in World of Tanks an IS8.
Now if I was to measure this same point just in front of the engine, it comes out at 152/153.
Now another reason it looks a little bit different is that the armour plate on the T-10 extends upward a little bit beyond the roof.
So that's the other reason it might look a bit different.
So with that dealt with, let's get back to 268.
Now, fortunately this vehicle is in a running condition.
They had it moving around a couple of weeks ago so they never actually bolted everything back in.
So, all fifteen of the bolts have been removed and we're in a happy position where we can open up the back deck.
It is on a torsion bar spring, so it actually can be done.
I have another chap here off camera helping me here.
Now we'll leave it be.
Now you can see, very clearly, the large transmission and steering system and two huge brakes on each side.
One would be for steering and the other as an actual service brake.
At least that's how it usually works.
It isn't a clutch brake system, there actually is power going to the inside track.
So steering is not affected purely by the brake, but it is helped.
An interesting feature I note here is that there is a dome light on each side on the rear of the compartment here,
very useful for doing maintenance at night
and Light Discipline isn't such of a worry if you're in a position where you can unbolt the tank and open it up,
the enemy probably isn't anywhere nearby, so that's a neat feature I can appreciate.
I'm sure the mechanics do as well.
Not much room for working in here, it's quite compact, but then again, I guess it doesn't really need to be roomy.
It's so rare that you get to see the inside of one of these Soviet Vehicles,
simply because you have to have to go through the hassle of unbolting everything.
So, a nice treat.
You come around to the back and again it's pretty similar to the T-10s and it makes sense.
Again no access ports, top or bottom for anything behind here, if you want to access the transmission, steering gear, brakes and etcetera,
undo all fifteen bolts and then swing it back.
These are mounting points for barrels, they would be about maybe yea big, and they're for the smoke generation system.
And the fuel tanks are now semi-permanently affixed.
They're about 150 litres per side and you can get rid of them, you pull out a couple of quick release pins, then you detach the piping system.
But basically speaking, they're conformal, they're almost never removed.
Nothing else of significance to note, simply two tow hooks and some mounting points for maybe a few more tracks.
That's it.
Next you go back up onto the engine deck.
Coming up to the back deck again, similar to the T-10/T-10M.
First thing you note, you've got the mounting points for the crossbeam, it's the log we all know and love.
Access points for all of the lubricants, so coolant, the various oils
and further you can open up one of these hatches back here, this gives you access to both the engine and transmission oil, also the starter motor.
The other Engine Deck compartment that we can easily open, is the one for the engine itself.
I say easy, it's a relative term.
So the engine under here is the V-12-5.
It's a twelve cylinder diesel.
It cranks out 700 horsepower at about 2100 RPM.
That's enough to get this 50 ton vehicle clanking along at a reasonable 48 kilometres an hour.
Nice big coolant reservoir, lots of cables, not much else.
If you look at the casemate, the back of it, 5 centimetres thick.
Now this was a pre-production vehicle.
The idea behind this was that they were going to leave the back bolted instead of welded to allow easy access inside
and if they decided they wanted to change the cannon out to a different kind for the purpose of the experiment
it would be relatively easy to do so.
Not much else back here.
We move forward.
As you get up onto the turret roof, it's quite sparse, but there are a couple of interesting features.
First we have the Commander's Hatch which as you can see has an incorporated range-finder.
This is one of the first Soviet Vehicles to have one.
So you have your two lenses, one on each side.
One lens is fixed the other one will rotate, and you simply use a triangulation system to figure out how far away your target is.
It was expected that you were going to get first round hits on a two metre target at about 900 metres.
The Loader's hatch had a mounting point, during testing it was mounted, for a 14.5mm KPV-T machine gun.
Now you will see that it does have a hand crank on it,
with a gun on the end as well it's going to be quite heavy.
But without the gun, you could still manually traverse it round if you felt the need.
There's a third hatch, front left, for the gunner
and the last thing you'll see here is that you get a great view of the massive 152 with the double baffle muzzle break and the fume extractor.
Again, one of the first Soviet Vehicles to have a fume extractor fitted.
As I'm sitting here looking forward I'm just imagining driving through open fields, crushing all before me.
This is one of those tanks that I get the feeling you would have just really enjoyed riding around in.
You just get this feeling of being awesome person on the planet.
Guess points for psychology there.
Anyway, that's the end of the outside tour.
So for part 2, we go inside.
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Inside the Chieftain's Hatch Object 268 part 1 [World of Tanks]

686 Folder Collection
raychen0918 published on March 10, 2019
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