Odessa NI


The NI tank was an improvised Soviet armoured fighting vehicle, based on an STZ-3 agricultural tractor, manufactured in Odessa during the Siege of Odessa. At the beginning of the war between the Axis and the Soviet Union, a majority of the factories were evacuated, including most of the equipment from the January Uprising Factory. There was machinery left and it was decided that it would be used to service battle-damaged tanks arriving from the front. When the army fighting on the outskirts of Odessa (the city defences held out for seventy-two days before the army pulled back) started experiencing shortages in tanks, the workers from the factory decided to build a fighting vehicle of their own design. Aided by the workers from other factories, January Uprising workers built a large metal box and put it on the tractor. Also added was a traversable turret with either a mountain gun or a large-calibre machine gun. The armour was a sandwich of thin naval steel or boiler plate and wood or rubber sheeting to improve protection against small arms. The resulting machine was unlike any other fighting vehicle of the time and made a loud noise when it moved. Designer M Bergman