Although many will argue crucial element that brought Soviet Union its famed triumph in World War 2 wasn’t any weapon, but a common Russian soldier and civilian, effectiveness and simple genius of Soviet weapons can’t be denied or overlooked. Designed as simple and cheap to assemble, yet resistant to cold and harsh conditions, it gave Soviets an ultimate advantage over Germans, whose equipment wasn’t nearly as winter-proof.
With many combat vehicles being produced east of Ural Mountains, factories which made famous Soviet tanks were put completely out of German reach. While each piece had its own purpose and role in the war, some stood out more than others and made themselves immortal in the process.
Praised by German officers during first years of WW2, T-34 was said to be “the finest tank in the world”, far beyond anything Germans have produced until that point. Despite the fact final years of war produced far better tanks, T-34 remained the most produced and famed tank of WW2. What made T-34 stand out from other tanks at the time was its unprecedented firepower and protectiveness, while easy and cheap production made it perfect for mass multiplication. Produced in multiple iterations, T-34 became more effective and fatal, yet easier to make over the years between 1941. and 1945. While Soviet industry made over 80,000 T-34 tanks, more than half of them were destroyed in combat during WW2, yet many still remain in usage in developing countries.
Also known as Shpagin machine pistol, PPSh-41 was created by famed Russian weapons designer Georgy Shpagin in September 1940. Just like all Soviet weapons, it was reliable, yet not costly or complicated to assemble, and could work perfectly even under extreme conditions. Since its predecessor PPD-40 had significant flaws, development of PPSh-41 quickly led to its replacement with newer, improved and simplified version. With more than six million guns produced during the war, it is widely regarded as one of the most used and most efficient submachine guns ever designed. Made of resistant and sturdy materials such as stamped sheet metal and wood, it had one of the most impressive rates of fire at the time. However, it is still quite present today as a weapon of choice for many non standard armies worldwide, and has been used in many civil wars since WW2 ended.
Second model from the famed IS series of elite tanks, IS-2 was first introduced in combat in April 1944. Named after Joseph Stalin (Russian:Ио́сиф Ста́лин, Iosif Stalin), the IS tank family’s most famous member is certainly IS-2, which was directly used in the final moments of Battle of Berlin. The entire family was supposed to be named after its designer Marshal Kliment Voroshilov, but as his relations with Stalin turned sour by the time tanks were made, his creation was given another name. Known as the new and improved version of IS-1, IS-2 had characteristic white stripes so Soviet soldiers and tanks could quickly notice it on the battlefield among other tanks. Appearing in units of 10 or 21 tanks, IS-2 was mostly used as breakthrough weapon. While it had some minor lacks, IS-2 was largely praised for its thick, impenetrable armor, something that was a large issue in the previous version of IS tank. Photographed in an iconic moment of passing through the Brandenburg Gate, IS-2 became one of the best known symbols of Red Army’s majestic triumph.
Feared among German soldiers, ‘’Stalin’s organ’’ was a consistent and highly important presence all through 1941. to 1945. With more than 10, 000 rocket launchers made, its unique howling sound when the rockets were being fired earned it its nickname. Originally designed for warplanes, Katyusha was later adapted for army purposes. Not very accurate at first, Katyusha rocket launcher had more than one flaw that caused problems on the battlefield. It was reported an entire team of soldiers would spend up to an hour to fill the launcher, which meant a lot of valuable combat time was wasted. Yet, they were far less expensive to make than a regular artillery gun, but could cause far greater damage when fired. A top secret during the first years of war, only a handful of chosen army members were trained to operate it in the beginning, but it quickly entered mass usage by various Red Army troops as one of the most frequently used weapons in combat. Easily assembled, its production didn’t require large factories, but could be made in a light industry facility. Design of Katyusha undoubtedly influenced further development of rocket artillery, but was replaced in the decades after WW2 ended with more sophisticated and precise systems. Yet, it remains one of Red Army’s most legendary weapons, fully deserving of its widespread glory.