SMK
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modified: Nov 10, 2012

SMK (Sergei Mironovitch Kirov) was a heavy tank prototype developed by the Soviet Union before the Second World War. The SMK was a fully tracked all-terrain heavy tank. It was designed by Lieutenant-Colonel Zh. Kotin's team at Kriovskiy Factory in competition with the T-100. The leading designer was engineer A.S. Jermolajev. The SMK hoped to take the place of the T-35 which was unreliable and expensive to produce.

The original specification called for an 'anti-tank gun destroyer' with five turrets and armor effective against a 37mm gun at any distance and a 76.2mm gun at distances over 1,200 meters. It was later lowered to three turrets since both teams protested. The T-100 and SMK models were presented to a special meeting of the Defense Council of the SNK in May 1938. The requirement was further modified to two turrets since Kotin criticized the three-turret plan.

The twin-turret T-100 and SMK designs were shown at a special meeting of the Central Committee of the Communist Party in August 1938 and both were approved. Kotin was granted permssion to work on a single-turreted version of the SMK called the KV Tank after Klimenti Voroshilov, the Defense Commissar at the time.

The SMK had a main turret with a 76.2mm gun and a smaller turret armed with a 45mm gun. The first SMK prototype was built in August 1939. Although the SMK was supposed to use the new V-2 diesel engines from Kharkov Diesel Works (Zavod Nr. 75), the AM aircraft engine was used due to shortages. It mounted a 76.2mm L-11 gun from Kirovskiy Works.

The SMK, T-100, and KV prototypes were all sent to NIIBT in September 1939 for display and trials. The KV outperformed both the SMK and T-100 in mobility. The protoypes were also tested in the Winter War. The KV was accepted as the new heavy tank of the Red Army. Therefore, the SMK was not put into mass production.

The Germans referred to the SMK as the T-35C.

Kotin was permitted to work on a modified version of the SMK, designated the SMK-2 but it was never completed.


References: OW, STCV