What is left for a man who had taken everything from him by the war, and has no possibility of revenge? The inventor in this story embodied his grief and anger in a project of an unbeliavable revenge machine.
His name was Michail Vasilyevich Bojko, occupation: repairman. His parents, sisters and children died in Kharkov captured by the Germans. Bojko was located at an evacuation hospital in Sochi, being cured from a heart disease. There, he began the work on his creation: “I fixed on the idea of creating powerful armament for the Red Army, to destroy the fascist pack with the sharpest weapons possible” – Bojko wrote to the people’s commissariat of Defense in the beginning of 1944. His’ furious minds’ creation was called the “Armor flame carrier” with the mysterious index “AN”.
In steel scales
The short description of the project read as: “In the shape of a flaming tornado, the armored flame carrier “AN” burns everything in its’ way – destroys, explodes, kills, does moral damage, causes trauma and affects the psyche. “AN” destroys everything in its’ path – living or dead”. Bojko’s letter kept such tone from the first to the last line.
The author didn’t invent just any flame throwing tank. It’s chassis should consist of three pairs of tracked movement parts. Bojko’s idea was that the vehicle could move from the spot in any direction, however he did not state how exactly this should happen.
Furthermore, Bojko proposed to install a “minecatching air-compressed electronet”. This name described an early attempt at dynamic tank protection. It should prevent minefields from doing damage to the tank.
But even in the case of failure of the “electronet”, the crew needn’t worry, since after that came the vehicle’s armor. Bojko seemed to have the image of some kind of dragon in his head: the machine’s protection didn’t consist of armor screens or plates, but of movable “armor scales”. It should be covered with a special fire-resistant coating, not specified by the author, and have up to 490mm of thickness. The author’s focus was on such kind of a composite armor. Overall, the “carrier”s protection seemed ideal. It could probably withstand shells and even aviation bombs up to 860kg and also external fires.
Carrying the flames
Continuing the dragon analogy: the vehicle did not only had scales, but also flame breath.
“Armed with 22 barrels – fog nozzles and sprayers. Output of liquid explosive gas per hour would be 45.000 cubic decimetres”. The armament didn’t end at that. Bojko proposed the installation of four 6-barreled torpedo launchers and greande launchers, capable of launching 480 torpedoes and grenades per hour. On this scale, the 14 machineguns are but a minor detail.
Such a tank would probably shock the enemy by its looks alone. “…equipped with four buz sirens and whistles… Does not only represent a fire weapon, but also a psychological one, causing trauma and affecting the psyche, demoralizing the enemy”.
The crew consisted of some 40 men. In Bojko’s opinion, they should be able to handle the steering, all of the armament and other functions. The inventor elaborated: “…a microphone communication, radio station, 4 projector lights, 4 signal rocket launchers”.
Th size of the machine was not disclosed. He only estimated the mass by some 30000 tonnes and the speed of 120km/h, achieved by four engines, 6600HP each. However in his letter, Bojko underlined that his calculations are primitive and in need of refinement.
Machine of “scorched earth”
The combat use was described by the inventor in an epic scale: “…invulnerable, does not know any barriers – neither pitfalls nor minefields, fire, water, dugouts, ditches, pillboxes, trenches. “AN” kills everything, burns everything, explodes, turns everything in its way over and causes massive psychological damage. “AN” operates in front of all forces, acting as a vanguard and having the Air Force as his support… It moves like an flaming tornado!”
Bojko’s estimations showed that one single “carrier” could “clean” a strip with the width of 0.5km and length of up to 12km! Ten such tanks, acting together and moving slowly, could burn about 30 square kilometres of enemy territory. The author was convinced that not only the enemy would fall back from Soviet land, but couldn’t even save himself in flight. He compared the future crushing of the aggressors with Alexander Nevsky’s victory in the Battle of the Ice.
Bojko, however, realized through his fury that his drawings and estimations are far from precise. He expected that proffesionals would find his idea interesting: “As a worker who invested his energy in creating hsi constructions, i require governmental help – the help of intelligent people, constructors, in the task of improving my ideas. Only your help could it would be easy to implement such an incredible weapon to destroy the enemies”. If the “carrier” had received a “yes”, its’ implementation would be only a matter of mechanics, the author assumed.
Of course, this project was more than utopic. Several characteristics would prevent its’ implementation in 1944 as well as today. First and foremost, a tank of such mass couldn’t be delivered to the front lines. Secondly, it’s dimensions would be gigantic, which turned the “carrier” into an easy target for enemy artillery and aircraft. And it would probably not be saved by the “electronet” and the armor scales. And taking into account how much inflammable material the tank carried, it would probably disappear in a fireball after the first penetration.
The “armor flame carrier” disappeared in the archives for decades to appear before the reader not just as a fantasy born in despair and pain, but as a memorial to the Great Patriotic War and the will and belief in victory in spite of losses and disruptions.
(Seb: The article comes from worldoftanks.ru. The Soviets still took a huge chunk of Romanian land, hard to me to forgive them for that)
Author – Yuri Bachurin
Source: Central archive of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation (ZAMO RF)