In the first years of its existence the USSR had
no tank industry of its own. Tanks were occasionally manufactured
and repaired at various Machine Building works of the country. At
the same time, defence needs of the country required equipping the
Red Army with fighting vehicles, including armoured ones.
An important event in the development of the
country's tank building was the creation on May 6, 1924 in Moscow, in
the system of the Central Administration of Defence Industry, a tank
bureau called in 1926-1929 the Head Design Bureau of
Ordnance-Arsenal Trust (GKB OAT). This bureau was charged with the
tasks of designing combat tracked vehicles and helping plants in
putting them into production. However, work of the GKB OAT was
greatly hampered due to the fact that this organisation had no
production facilities and necessary equipment of its own.
In this connection several Machine Building plants, including the Kharkiv
Locomotive Plant, were charged with the task of organising tank development and production facilities, and later on
with development of indigenous tanks. This decision was prompted by the availability of production facilities for
powerful Kommunar track-laying tractors established at the Kharkiv
Locomotive Plant in 1923, which was a good production basis for establishing tank production facilities at the plant.
The official document determining the beginning of tank production activities at the plant was the Resolution of
Permanent Mobilisation Council of December 1, 1927, when the Central Administration of metal industry with its letter
No. 1159/128 of January 7, 1928 ordered "... to urgently consider the issue of establishing tank and tractor
production facilities at the KhPZ..." (from materials of the State Archives of the Kharkiv
Region, File 93, Sheet 5).
Aleksandr A. Morozov