Kubinka Tank Museum Hall N5 Guide and Virtual Tour

A brief history and virtual tour of Pavilion N 5 of the Patriot Park technical site of the former Kubinka Tank Museum according to the memoirs and archives of those who served here.

Kubinka tank museum British, American, Israel armored vehicles

Kubinka tank museum pavilion N 5 (2021 photo)

Freshly painted and recently renovated, the building looks like new. Beautiful doors at the entrance with a rain canopy and a color display providing important information to guests. A bright, spacious room with lamps, partially heated in winter and ventilated in summer. The exhibits are located at a distance from each other so that tourists can view them from different angles. Most of the exhibits have signs with descriptions in Russian, although sometimes with errors. Many exhibits have been restored and painted in authentic historical colors with tactical markings. Some of the armored vehicles, mostly supplied to the USSR under Lend-Lease, were transported to another location in Patriot Park. After the liquidation of Pavilion H7, some of the exhibits were transported to Pavilion N 5, which has now become hybrid by country. All this was done after the formation of Patriot Park in just a few years. But this situation was not always the case. Below we offer a virtual tour of the pavilion during the Cold War and the gangster era of the 90s in Russia. Our Time Machine will show what the pavilion looked like 10, 15, 20 years ago during the process of transformation.
After the Second World War, the location of armored vehicles to the left and right of the main alley was systematized according to the purpose of the exhibits. During the Cold War, NATO countries led by the USA and Great Britain were considered the main enemy. Soviet designers closely followed the development of Anglo-American armored vehicles, and special KGB teams carried out illegal operations to capture and deliver the latest models to the USSR for study. In all hot spots of the planet during wars and local conflicts, KGB officers and GRU officers tried to steal operational or damaged tanks and self-propelled guns of a potential enemy. In exchange for military assistance, the USSR received from its friends a lot of captured military vehicles such as M46 and M113 during the war in Korea and Vietnam. These are not only American tanks, but also amphibious armored personnel carriers. And although the history of receiving enemy armored vehicles was classified, and all documentation was destroyed in 1993*, thanks to the veterans of the test site, the history of some exhibits was preserved.
USA M41 Walker Bulldog Sweet tank. In 1961, the Bay of Pigs War began to overthrow Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. There were American military bases on the islands, and the rebels also received armored vehicles from the United States. According to the legend, based on the memories of veterans of the Kubinka test site, the receipt of the exhibit was as follows. The engine of the tank stalled and it was impossible to start it quickly. Time passed closer to lunch and the tank crew slowly departed for the military base. After lunch, the crew discovered that the tank had been stolen by unknown persons. Perhaps unknown specialists were able to start the engine or evacuate the tank with other armored vehicles. But how can it be taken to the USSR if the entire island is surrounded by American border and customs posts during the blockade? Cuba traditionally supplied sugar to the USSR and this was practically the only source of income for the revolutionary government of Fidel Castro. In 1962, a stolen tank was placed in the hold of a ship and covered with sugar. At American customs, sugar was indicated as cargo and the tank arrived in the USSR. For a long time, tank range officers cleaned the inside of the tank from sugar, but it was very difficult. The tank stood in the museum hangar H5 with leftover sugar and received the nickname “sweet”. We hope that in the future Cold War historians will infer the name and route of this ship.
One tank was donated to Kubinka by a great friend of the USSR, Saddam Hussein himself. The tank was in good working order, and as a bonus, Saddam Hussein handed over samples of ammunition, of course, for study and not for display to visitors.
Another Israeli tank was destroyed along with its crew. For a long time, the governments of the USSR and Russia hid this fact itself, but in the 2000s it became known to the general public and caused a great resonance in Israel. Where the Arabs and Soviet specialists distributed the corpses of the Jewish tank crews is still unknown. According to the memoirs of veterans of the tank training ground, inside the tank there was a persistent smell of a decomposed human body for a long time. From the surviving fragments it is possible to determine the DNA and names of the crew members, but in Russia no one will do this for sure. In Israel, the science of DNA determination is considered one of the best and best in the world. At the request of the relatives of the deceased members, the Israeli Government persistently asked that this tank be returned to the relatives, as the only surviving mass grave. As compensation, the Israeli Army donated the same tank, even with a rarer modification, to the Kubinka Tank Museum.
And another interesting story with an American tank and its dynamic protection. Dynamic protection was made in Soviet design bureaus and shown to the head of the Armored Forces, Marshal Babajanyan. According to the memoirs, a World War II veteran with a Caucasian mindset could not understand how it worked and protected the tank. Carry explosives on the armor of a tank turret? No, I don’t allow it.
During Soviet times, Jews in the USSR were persecuted, and Stalin generally wanted to deport them to a distant, cold, deserted area in Siberia called the “Jewish Autonomous Okrug.” Stalin’s death stopped the deportations, but persecution and persecution of Jews continued. The KGB at the state level caused hatred of Israel and supporters of Zionism. In Soviet times, Jews were considered an intelligent, brilliant nation, among whom there were many leading engineers in design bureaus. The Soviet government tried to re-educate them, make them forget their national authenticity and history, turn them into Soviet people. In response to this, Jews began to try to leave the USSR en masse and move to live in their historical homeland in Israel. Some of them, despite all the difficulties, succeeded. The USSR has always helped its Arab friends in the struggle for the destruction of Israel as a state. To save the lives of their tank crews, Jewish emigrants from Soviet design bureaus transferred all the dynamic protection technology to the United States. The United States not only made such protection called the Blazer, but also provided it to Israeli tanks for testing. During the constant Arab-Israeli wars, American defense performed well against the fire of Soviet T-54 tanks. Only based on the experience of the Arab-Israeli wars, the USSR also adopted the Soviet dynamic protection “Contact”.
How foreign armored vehicles were tested. At the test site there was a research and testing institute N38, where there was a department that dealt with foreign technology. Special laboratories studied the composition of armor, weapons and protection. The hardness of the steel was tested with a special set of drills of different strengths. The set of drills consisted of 8-10 of a certain diameter. The resulting metal chips were also studied. Even now, drilling holes can be found on some museum exhibits. Even the famous German super-heavy tank Maus has traces of this drilling. At the training ground, special officers and drivers of foreign armored vehicles studied driving performance on a special tank track with obstacles. To service the Institute, there was a special tank regiment consisting of soldiers and officers. Although all the results of tests and research went to the GRU (Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense), many officers of the Institute were on the staff of the 3rd KGB directorate for military counterintelligence. While serving in another department, such KGB officers wore the uniform of their tank units, where they were actually located. Thus, pavilion N5 of the tank museum was also a storage place for foreign armored vehicles for testing at the test site. At the beginning of the 2000s, the Museum became an independent organization, separating from the Polygon, the Institute and the tank regiment. Let’s mentally move back a quarter of a century and take a virtual tour of Pavilion N 5 in the late 90s and early 00s and show how the Pavilion changed over time.

Virtual tour of the Pavilion 25 years ago

Kubinka tank museum British, American, Israel armored vehicles

The gloomy, cold view of the British-American Pavilion 25 years ago

Virtual tour of the pavilion N5, as it was a museum from the foundation in 1972 to 2014
“Pavilion No. 5 welcomes you with armored weapons from the United Kingdom and the US Just ahead of you is the diamond-shaped bulk of the world’s first tank-building company – the English tank MK-5 (really a tank * in which you can be fooled by the rumble, stuffiness and burning).
It is never too late to thank the peoples who helped us during the war, all those who did, collected, delivered tanks, cars, food through the seas and oceans to distant Russia.
In particularly difficult periods, they withdrew various equipment from their own combat units for immediate dispatch to Russia. They gave us what they had …
In the Soviet Union, under the Lend-Lease program, England and the United States sent 21491 units of armored vehicles (England 7778 and the USA 13713 respectively), including:

  • table of deliveries of equipment by Lend-Lease

At the same time, during the wiring of the northern convoys, 1981 armored vehicles were lost (England 839 and US 1142).
In the years of the Second World War, the USSR received 19734 units of armored vehicles according to the lend-lease. This amounted to approximately 16% of tanks, 12% of ACS and 100% of armored vehicles.
Many opinions, talks about armored vehicles supplied to the Soviet Union during the Great Patriotic War by Britain and the USA in lend-lease: supplied little, worse than the Germans, worse than domestic equipment. But they gave what they fought for themselves! In addition, before making a decision on deliveries, we checked individual samples at the test site and in real Russian conditions, mudslides, frosty winters and lack of roads. Come, look, ask, listen, think and make up your own, your opinion. ” (colonel Boris Ozerov)
* – refers to the English “tank” (cistern…), where the name “tank”.
Tanks from the Golan Heights (Israel), a family of Lend-Lease armored vehicles, local wars ..
The first exhibit for this pavilion was captured in 1920 by the Red Army of Comrade Trotsky in the port of Novorossiysk, where British tanks Mk V (“Rombus”) or “Bolshie” were supplied for General Vladimir Denikin’s VSYUR by Soviet terminology, but he did not enter the museum until 1938 As removed from the Red Army. Obsolete and subject to installation on the monuments of the heroic struggle of the Red Army (Comrade Trotsky Stalin) against the AFWR General Denikin and the Russian Army General Wrangel.

The following exhibits of the museum were left after the purchase in the 30s in the UK of various tanks such as “Cardin-Loyd-Vickers” as samples for studying and manufacturing the first Soviet tanks.

During the Great Patriotic War, the United Kingdom and the United States supplied Stalin with armor to protect the socialist homeland. These tanks, bridge bridges, armored personnel carriers were tested at the Kubinka to decide whether to receive it or not. The instruction for the crews in Russian was also developed. The collection of the pavilion presents both received by Lend-Lease, and not approved by Soviet specialists.

Fascist Germany captured some samples of British equipment for its study at the Koumensdorf training ground. Such “trophies” also went to the Red Army.

At the height of the Cold War, the USSR friends in the socialist camp or countries that had embarked on the path of “anti-imperialist development” supplied the Kubinka, at the request of the GRU, with various samples of foreign military equipment from zones of armed conflict. The war in Korea, Vietnam, the Arab-Israeli wars helped to get the basic samples of US and British armored vehicles, including Israeli modifications, for study. One tank of the “Cuban brothers” was stolen at an American military base, covered with sugar and smuggled in the ship’s hold in the USSR.
One American tank was presented personally by Saddam Hussein to Kubinka.
After the fall of the Soviet Union for a while, the museum in Kubinka established inter-museum relations with colleagues in Bovington and we received several interesting samples of British tanks of the Cold War era as an exchange. Found on the ground fighting military equipment Lend-Lisa passing Kubinka went to the Museum of the Great Patriotic War on Poklonnaya Hill.
For the summer of 2016 part of the pavilion’s technique moved to a new location, closer to the Patriot Park.

Official catalogue of Hall N5 British / USA / Canada vehicles

Exhibits list at 1994 with additions and changes, prepared by Mikhail Blinov.
N — Model ———— Object———Year of Issue———Class—-Factory Type.

Great Britain (UK) armored vehicles:
1. tank  Mk V                              1917     middle tank         serial
2.  “Vickers-Carden-Loyd”                 1931  light amphibious   ? bought in 1931
3. “Vickers-Armstrong ”                   1937  light tank
4.  Mk VII “Tetrarch” (А17Е2)             1938   ***
5.   Mk II a “Matilda III” (? Mk III C.S. “Matilda”) 1940  infantry tank
6.  Mk III “Valentine II”                  1940    infantry tank
7. “Valentine – Scissors”                  1941   bridge-laying machine
8.  Mk VII “Churchill-Crocodile”         1943    flamethrower tank
9. “Wasp Mk II”                          1944      flamethrower tankette  Universal Carrier
10.  Mk VIII “Cromwell  IV” (А27М)   1943     cruiser tank
11.   “Comet Комета” (А-34)            1944     cruiser tank
12.  Mk3  “Centurion”                   1948        medium tank
13.  Mk 10  FV4017                      1960               ***
14.  Mk 13 “Centurion” “Ben-Gurion”   1972  heavy tank  (Israel modernization)
15.  “Conqueror 1”                      1954               ***
16. “Chieftain Mk-5”                    1975      heavy main battlefield tank
17. “Scorpion” F.V.101                  1972     light tank
18.   AEC Mk II                         1942    armored car
19.  “Daimler”  Mk II                   1942   armored car
20. “Saracen ” Mk I F.V.603A           1953   armored carrier
21. “Ferret”  Mk 2 Mk 1/1 F.V.70191954    reconnaissance car

USA armored vehicles:
1. М3  “Stuart”                      1940 light tank
2. М5А1 “Stuart”                     1942  ***
3. М24  “Chaffy”                      1944 **
4. AG М19А1                          1944   anti-aircraft assault gun
5. М41 “Walker Bulldog”               1950 light tank
6. М3  “General Lee” (? “general Grant“) 1939  medium tank
7. М4А4 “Sherman”                     1942    ***
8. М4А2  “Sherman”                    1944   ***
9. М51HV “Super-Sherman”              1962  ***
10. М46 “Patton 1” (?Pershing)        1948 ***
11. М48А3                             1964
12. М48А5 “Marax”                     1975 Israel modernization
13. М60А1                             1962 main battle tank
14. М18  “Hellcat”                    1942  self-propelled gun
15. armored carrier М39             1944  tracked carrier
16. armored carrier М2А1             1941 half-tracked carrier
17. AG  М17                          1943 anti-aircraft assault gun
18. AG Т-48 (SU-57)                  1943 half-tracked armored carrier M2 with 57 mm. cannon
19. М113А1                          1964 amphibious tracked carrier
20. М113 ACAV                        1964 ***
21. М125 А1                    1975   amphibious tracked carrier (81 mm. mine-thrower)

Canada  (as catalogue in Hall N7, but long time was in N5)
15 (N7) snowmobile B-3, 1944, tracked carrier, serial
16 (N7) snowmobile В-8 (?В-2), 1937, half-tracked carrier, serial

to be continued…