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BT tank file photo [8452]

Bystrokhodny

CountryRussia
ManufacturerKharkov Komintern Locomotive Factory, Ukraine
Primary RoleCruiser Tank

Contributor:

ww2dbaseThe Soviet Bystrokhodny tanks, or BT tanks, were light cavalry tanks based upon designs by J. Walter Christie, re-engineered from examples purchased from the United States under the guise of agricultural tractors. The first prototype was built at the Kharkov Komintern Locomotive Factory in Ukraine in Oct 1931, and mass production began in the following year. The early BT-2 tanks were equipped with 37-millimeter guns (some were built with only machine guns), while the BT-4 and later variants carried the larger 45-millimeter guns. They were of an innovative design which allowed the tracks to be taken off in about 30 minute's time, converting the tanks into road vehicles; however, general lack of paved roads in the 1930s Soviet Union meant this innovation was very infrequently used; later designs saw this feature removed.

ww2dbaseBT tanks first saw combat in the Spanish Civil War in 1937, in the form of a battalion of BT-5 tanks fighting on the side of the Spanish Republicans; these tanks' 45-millimeter guns acted as effective weapons against lightly armored German and Italian tanks. To the east, BT-5 and BT-7 tanks contributed in the victory over the Japanese Army at the Battle of Khalkhin Gol. During the Winter War between the Soviet Union and Finland, BT-2 and BT-5 tanks fought ineffectively against Finnish defensive positions. During the opening chapter of the European War, BT-5 and BT-7 tanks were among the Soviet vehicles that invaded Poland from the east. When Germany and Finland attacked the Soviet Union in mid-1941, large numbers of BT tanks were destroyed or captured by the invading forces. The BT design remained in production until late 1941 when more modern tanks replaced them on the front lines. By 1942, very few BT tanks were in use in the European War. During the design's production life, somewhere between 8,000 and 10,000 vehicles were built.

ww2dbaseMany of the BT tanks captured by the Finnish Forces were pressed into Finnish Army service. A small number of which were converted into other uses. 18 examples had their Soviet weaponry replaced with British QF 4.5-inch Mk II (Finnish designation: 114 Psv.H/18) light howitzers, converting them into what the Finnish Army designated as BT-42 self-propelled guns. BT-42 self-propelled guns entered service in 1943 and first saw action along the Svir River in Leningrad Oblast, Russia, enjoying little praise as the crews were fearful that the high profile made them easy targets. BT-42 self-propelled guns were removed from the front lines BT-42 assault guns were removed from the front lines as soon as enough German StuG III assault guns were made available for the Finnish Army. One single captured BT tank was converted into a prototype armored personnel carrier; it was not considered successful thus no more examples were made, but the prototype would remain in rear area service for several years.

ww2dbaseAt the very end of the war in Asia, a large number of BT-7 tanks were used during the Soviet invasion of Japanese-occupied northeastern China. This action in Aug 1945 was the final combat action for the BT design.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Jan 2013

SPECIFICATIONS

BT-2
MachineryOne US-built Liberty gasoline engine rated at 400hp
SuspensionChristie suspension
Armament1x37mm Model 30 gun (96 rounds), 1x7.62mm DT machine gun
Armor6-13mm
Crew3
Length5.58 m
Width2.23 m
Height2.20 m
Weight10.0 t
Speed100 km/h
Range300 km

BT-5
MachineryOne M-5 gasoline engine (US Libery-clone) rated at 400hp
SuspensionChristie suspension
Armament1x45mm Model 32 gun (115 rounds), 1x7.62mm DT machine gun
Armor6-13mm
Crew3
Length5.58 m
Width2.23 m
Height2.25 m
Weight11.0 t
Speed72 km/h
Range200 km

BT-7
MachineryOne M-17T gasoline engine (German BMS-clone) rated at 500hp
SuspensionChristie suspension
Armament1x45mm Model 35 gun (146 rounds), 1x7.62mm DT machine gun
Armor6-13mm
Crew3
Length5.66 m
Width2.29 m
Height2.42 m
Weight14.0 t
Speed86 km/h
Range250 km

BT-7A
MachineryOne M-17T gasoline engine (German BMS-clone) rated at 500hp
SuspensionChristie suspension
Armament1x76.2mm Model 27/32 gun (50 rounds), 2x7.62mm DT machine guns
Armor6-13mm
Crew3
Length5.66 m
Width2.29 m
Height2.52 m
Weight14.0 t
Speed86 km/h
Range250 km

BT-8
MachineryOne V-2 diesel engine rated at 450hp
SuspensionChristie suspension
Armament1x45mm Model 38 gun (146 rounds), 3x7.62mm DT machine guns
Armor6-22mm
Crew3
Length5.66 m
Width2.29 m
Height2.42 m
Weight14.0 t
Speed86 km/h
Range700 km

BT-43
MachineryOne Mikulin M-17T engine rated at 500hp
SuspensionChristie
ArmamentNone; capacity for 20 troops
Armor6-13mm
Crew2
Length5.70 m
Width2.10 m
Height2.20 m
Weight11.0 t
Speed53 km/h
Range375 km

BT-42
MachineryOne Mikulin M-17T engine rated at 500hp
SuspensionChristie
Armament1x114 mm QF 4.5-inch howitzer
Armor613mm
Crew3
Length5.70 m
Width2.10 m
Height2.20 m
Weight15.0 t
Speed53 km/h
Range375 km

Photographs

BT-2 machine gun tank in exercise, circa early- or mid-1930sBT-2 tank with 35mm gun at rest, circa 1930s; note Polikarpov R-5 reconnaissance aircraft in background
See all 11 photographs of Bystrokhodny Cruiser Tank



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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. chris says:
22 Mar 2011 11:12:34 AM

i love this cite

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Bystrokhodny Cruiser Tank Photo Gallery
BT-2 machine gun tank in exercise, circa early- or mid-1930sBT-2 tank with 35mm gun at rest, circa 1930s; note Polikarpov R-5 reconnaissance aircraft in background
See all 11 photographs of Bystrokhodny Cruiser Tank


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