For the Record: On Tank Dimensions
Hello everyone, this is something I actually wanted to post for a while, but it’s quite a long topic, so I wasn’t sure how to tackle it. We will be talking about tank dimensions. You know, when I started out reading on tanks, I always took the drawings in books as… I don’t know… granted – there is a schematic drawing for example (in German case, it’s usually copied from Panzer Tracts or some other work of H.Doyle and T.Jentz) and it doesn’t occur to you that it might be actually wrong. But it can be. Maybe it won’t come as a shock to you, but even respected historians (or authors at least) can get drawings wrong. I must say this is another point I didn’t know about, before Yuri Pasholok started posting about it and initially, it came to me as a surprise. This might seem an insignificant thing to most of you (so a picture in a book gets something wrong, who the hell cares), but this has strong impact on World of Tanks models. You see, contrary to popular belief, World of Tanks models aren’t all made by people, who run around tanks and measure them with a tape. In some cases this actually might have happened, but WoT is full of tanks, that existed only in blueprints or Wargaming simply doesn’t have access to them and that’s where drawings from books come into play. Sometimes, even vehicles, that exist in real life, are modelled after drawings, because for one, it’s easier (you have the dimensions and everything laid down) and often more accurate (in case you use accurate sources). For example – we remember the IS-3 turret armor changes, right? These (along with the shape and dimension changes) happened, after Wargaming got their hands on real assembly blueprints, which were different from what was written in some books on the IS-3. Another case could be the IS-4 – a known Russian author, M.Svirin, created a projection of the IS-4. Yuri Pasholok took it and compared it to the real vehicle: As you can see, Svirin’s projection is clearly wrong. It’s not the only case of course. Two prominent examples, concerning World of Tanks, came up lately. First is Yuri Pasholok’s measurements of the Hummel. It’s a long post, but the point of it is that not always do the drawings correspond to the “canonical numbers” (of course, there is the part where Polish “Militaria” publishing company gets bashed, apparently, they got the Hummel drawing completely wrong). Another case would be the T-54 and its shape in 9.0. Basically, what happened – there was a rather long-ish argument on Russian forums and in LJ communities about the dimensions of the T-54 tank – some feel that they are incorrect in 9.0 as well. This is to be quite honest of little interest to me, but the result of the discussion was the fact that in this article, the original factory drawings for the T-54 got posted: Generally speaking, the factory drawings themselves are the best source for tank modelling – better than measuring real life vehicles even! Why? Because during the assembly, there can be mistakes, there can even be tollerances (in case of some Russian and German wartime tanks, VERY large tollerances), various “unhistorical” (one-time only) armor can be used (like the 5mm thicker lower frontal plate on some Panthers) or the shame might simply be different (for example, the IS-3, that can be found in Lešany (CZ) looks quite different from one other from Russia, so one of them is “wrong”). In the end though, the decision which sources to use for modelling WoT vehicles is sort-of arbitrary. Sometimes, there is exactly one book that deals with some vehicles and when you don’t have access to that particular archive, you have to trust it. Or you don’t. But the fact that Wargaming actually TRIES to bring the vehicles to their historical dimensions is quite positive.