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Following is a video compilation on tank startups and other noteworthy events of a mechanical and historical nature...

Tiger II tank startup by Frenchmen working the inertia starter:

and Enghlishmen on Tiger I:

the pre-selective gearbox throwing a slight tantrum there when upshifting into 2nd gear ...

... and competent Englishmen, explaining the process in detail:

T34 ... remarkably quiet actually !

T34 startup ... you hear the oil pump priming first. Starting could be done by electric starter, or in case of dead battery, by compressed air stored in a reservoir while the tank was previously running. No need to disembark the tank for emergency starting into the cold ... from minute 0:38

This concept was pioneered by American diesel engine manufacturer Waukesha and adapted by the Soviets in 1930s - as were many things in the course of the lucrative and lively trade relationship between US and USSR in that time. The T34 was developed from the original Christie design. – which the US army did not want. But Soviet generals and designers had seen the potential of a fast lighter tank ... putting the idea into practice while great strategists like Guderian were still thinking about it (?)

The Christie design was the BT-5, one being salvaged here:

The T34 was a diesel, as were all LendLease Shermans "ordered" by Stalin (he insisted on this and they were made special order for him with a diesel engine) ... while all other Shermans, as in fact most other tanks at the time, had petrol/gasoline engines – including, of course the Tiger. Which was complete lunacy, on all fronts. Stalin's engineers had figured that out and despite the cold-starting issues that diesel engines by design will have, settled on diesel rather than petrol.

Arguably the worst tank design was the most inappropriately named "Sturmgeschütz" called again, rather inappropriately "Elefant" ... because the real animal is far more nimble than this machine. Built from unfinished not-to-be Tiger chassis after Porsche lost the contract to build the Tiger tank they were converted for use on this behemoth with a top speed of a reported 20 km/h – via 2 Maybach petrol engines driving generators which in turn powered electric wheel motors ... a kind of WWII "hybrid" - this design being favored by Porsche since he first used the concept for an artillery tractor in WWI. Real life progress on terrain may have been more like 9.5 km/h. Some storm unleashed there ...

Most "Elefant", officially named "Ferdinand" (for Ferdinand Porsche, Hilter's darling designer) were lost due to a.) breakdowns, b.) a Red Army soldier, or partisan for that matter, throwing a hand grenade (while walking at a rather leisurely pace following the hind quarter of the vehicle) into that stylish air exhaust shroud you see on the back of the tank during this walkaround at minute 0:12 – 0:19

... the crew – all 6 of them - never had a chance. Someone forgot that tanks - originally designed to break infantry lines - actually need protection against infantry: the machine gun had been omitted entirely, and was only retrofitted after the first battles by "Inst" crews at workshops behind the front line who could not help but see the obvious, and were probably harangued by desperate Elefant crews if they did not.

This is what happens when people in charge of decision-making are not selected based on merit or expertise ... *)

*) That problem has not been rooted out in our modern times, in any of the past fronts' hinterlands, as anyone who has ever had a taste of working in the "corporate world" will know.

Very impressive, and of historic interest this T34 captured and used by German troops (or was it ?), pulled out from the swamps in year 2000:

Just as impressive the ease by which Russian engineering moves under adverse ground conditions (or was that a Liebherr or Caterpillar ?) ... some specimen of the K700 agricultural tractor pulling the lowboy at the very end were powered by the same engine used in the T34. Seen in some spectacular action here:

Yes, it is an agricultural tractor ...

War, as they say, is the father of many a good thing ... or is it ?


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