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In the second half of 1936 the Kharkiv Komintern Locomotive Plant was re-named to become Plant No. 183. Numerical indexing of plant departments was also introduced inside the plant, and the T2K Tank Design Bureau was renamed into the KB-190 ('KB' standing for 'design bureau').

On December 28, 1936, G.K. Ordzhonikidze, People's Commissar of heavy industry, appointed by his order Mikhail I. Koshkin as the Chief Designer instead of A.O. Firsov, who had been 'purged' on accusation of creating a bad design of the gear-box, although numerous failures of this assembly were caused by improper handling and 'passion' for jumps of tanks of the BT series. Under the leadership of Mikhail I. Koshkin the BT-7 tank was upgraded and fitted with a new V-2 diesel engine, which had been created at the factory by that time. It was the first tank in the world to be fitted with a diesel engine. The upgraded vehicle was designated the A-8 according to the drawings and technical documentation of the plant, and it was delivered to the army under the designation of the BT-7M.

Small quantities of the tank with a larger calibre gun (76.2 mm) were manufactured. This vehicle was designated the BT-7A and was intended to increase the firepower of armoured formations.

Along with the BT series tanks, Plant No. 183 manufactured in very small quantities the T-35 heavy five-turret tanks designed by the design bureau of the Leningrad Kirov Experimental Plant. A separate design bureau (called the KB-35) was created at the plant for servicing the series production of this tank and improving its design. This bureau was headed by I.S. Ber.



I.S. Ber

Expansion of Work

Mikhail I.Koshkin
Chief Desidner or the Tank Design Bureau of Plant No. 183 in 1936-1940

Tests of the BT-7. Overcoming a trench



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