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Russian Armoured Trains

 
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Geregistreerd op: 11-6-2007
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BerichtGeplaatst: 30 Aug 2010 18:12    Onderwerp: Russian Armoured Trains Reageer met quote

by
Pavel Voylov
Edited by Ben Turner and Jeremy Mac Donald
Prelude
As it is well known, the idea to create the first armed trains appeared in the middle of the XIX century. But the first practical steps were made only during the Anglo-Boar War, when British troops had to protect their railroads, which served as main transport and supply routes, from Boar diversions. First, these trains were just common locomotives towing flat cars with field guns placed on them. The Next step was made while increasing the survivability and firepower of the armed trains, hence common passenger or coal cars got covered with iron plates with openings made for small arms and coupled with armoured locomotive (usually protected with sand bags or chains). Such trains are usually called blinded trains (to differentiate them from typical special-built armoured trains). Finally, typical car armouring styles were developed, as well as armoured locomotives.
During World War I both sides used armoured trains sporadically in very limited numbers. Although they were very powerful instruments of war, they did not have much chance to show themselves due static nature of warfare and the serious air threat to railroads.
Russia began to build her first armoured cars in 1914 and armoured trains in 1915, when a special term bronevye chasti [armoured units] was created. Admittedly their combat effectiveness was not so convincing due the same static nature, the Eastern Front generally was more mobile than its Western counterpart and as a result, Russia slowly but constantly increased the number of her armoured vehicles, having by the middle of 1917 - 7 armoured trains and about 300 armoured cars of all types (from the impressive Hartford-Putilov heavy monsters to old-broken English and French ones). Despite quite large numbers of armoured units (7 armoured trains and 13 armoured car battalions), they rarely participated in battle and had quite low experience in combat. Questions of tactics and (using later terms) operational doctrines of their use werenít developed and discussed, and foreign experience was not collected. As a result, nobody clearly understood the purpose, features and drawbacks of armoured vehicles.

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