Armored vehicles have always played an important role in military affairs. During World War II, many German, American and even Soviet tanks began to be equipped with additional tracked vehicles. Why this was done — let’s talk in today’s material.
The military leadership of many countries made various attempts to improve the armor of tanks. Each armored vehicle had its own vulnerabilities, which required additional protection. The simplest and cheapest way to strengthen the armor was the suspension of additional tracked tracks. Sometimes it was several links, but it happened that the whole body was hung by them.
Caterpillars — one of the most affordable tools. They could be removed from broken tanks and installed on the hull in artisanal conditions. The Germans quickly mastered this method, since the Pz.I and PzII armor corny did not withstand the powerful attacks of Soviet tanks and artillery. This technique remained popular until the end of the war, and even the legendary «Tigers» did not escape a similar fate.
Trucks were installed both in front and on the sides of the car, and the tracks were not necessarily taken from German tanks. For example, trucks from the “Tigers” were not suitable for these purposes, as they were too wide. They were replaced by narrower tracks from Pz.IV or the Soviet T-34. Despite the simplicity, such armor was extremely effective. The tracks were made of durable steel and withstood even the most powerful frontal impacts. Over time, already on the factory models began to hang on two additional tracks.
However, the leaders of this «tuning» were the Americans, who had a sharp shortage of heavy tanks. “Shermans” literally from “to the head” were hung with caterpillars, except for the mask of a gun. Such tricks greatly saved American armored vehicles from constant German shelling.
In the Soviet Union, things were different. Additional tankers seldom hung trucks on their «T-34» and «KV-1». And even if this happened, they rather served as a backup propulsion. But on the other hand, the welding of screen armor was widespread.
So, in 1941, some copies of the KV-1 received an additional 30 mm of armor on the sides of the hull and 25 mm in the frontal part. Armored sheets were welded on top of the main armor. But, since the German tanks could not penetrate even the standard armor of the Soviet «KV-1», a similar method was soon considered inappropriate.