The Finest Half Hour: Gates of Moscow


The sixteenth episode of our WWII podcast series, "The Finest Half Hour," is now available!

German armies are within striking distance of Moscow—but Winter is coming. The plan is to encircle the Soviet capital and knock Russia out of the war. German forces fight their way closer and closer to the city. But amidst blizzards and freezing temperatures, the Red army has brought in troops from Siberia and the Far East, in preparation for a counterattack. Will German forces capture the capital or suffer the same fate as Napoleon’s Grand Armee?

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To help tell the story, we’ve partnered up with The Tank Museum, Bovington to showcase the Soviet T-26. Though nearly obsolete, the T-26 constituted the bulk of Red Army tanks at the start of Operation Barbarossa. The tank had a 3-man crew and a 45 mm gun. The T-26 was a match for the Panzer Is and IIs but was outclassed by the Panzer III and IVs. The T-26 fought the Germans during the Battle of Moscow in 1941-42, the Battle of Stalingrad and the Battle of the Caucasus in 1942-1943. Its numbers dwindled through attrition and the tanks were gradually replaced by the vastly superior T-34.

The Museum’s T-26 was used by the Soviets against Finland in the Winter War of 1940-41. Captured by the Finns, it was pressed into service by them. It continued in use during the Continuation War until it was knocked out in 1944. Finnish use of the swastika was not connected to its use by the Nazis.

The Tank Museum’s T-26. The tank fought in the Russo-Finnish War in 1940. The tank was captured by the Finns and pressed into service.
(Photo: The Tank Museum, Bovington)

Column of T-26s (various models) on the approaches to Moscow, 1941.
(Photo: Public domain)

The Finest Half Hour is a podcast series that dives into the history and stories of World War II. It is brought to you by Wargaming and narrated by British Army veteran, and armored warfare instructor, Richard Cutland.

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Close the hatch, brace yourself, and prepare for the Finest Half Hour!

Richard "The Challenger" Cutland