|Manufacturer||Ordzhonikidze Ural Heavy Machine Building Plant, Yekaterinburg, Russia|
|Primary Role||Light Tank|
Contributor: Alan Chanter
ww2dbaseThe six-ton T-40 was a two-man light amphibious tank, intended to replace the earlier T-37 and T-38 tanks which had been in production since the 1930s and whose manifold deficiencies had become painfully apparent by 1938. This was a completely new design which incorporated independent torsion-bar suspension, welded and sloped armour and a sloped turret. However, traces of its predecessors, still remained, and to speed development, the design intentionally utilised as many standard automotive parts as possible.
ww2dbaseThe T-40 was powered by an 85bhp GAZ six-cylinder truck engine, located on the right-hand side of the hull behind the driver, which drove the front track sprockets. The turret, which was offset to the left-hand side of the hull carried a 12.7-mm heavy machine-gun as the main armament, with a 7.62-mm machine gun mounted coaxially (though the final deliveries were given a 20mm gun to improve their striking power instead of the heavy machine-gun). For propulsion in water, a single four-blade propeller and rudders was provided at the rear, the hull nose plate was inclined forwards and flotation tanks were built in the rear hull giving the whole vehicle a rather bulky appearance. A slightly modified model, the T-40A, differed from the standard T-40 chiefly in having a folding trim-vane (for use in water) fitted above the top of the nose plate.
ww2dbaseTaken into Red Army service in the reconnaissance units of the cavalry and armoured forces in 1941, the T-40 fared poorly and proved easy prey for German tanks and armoured cars due to its light armament and thin armour (kept down to a maximum of 14 mm only for amphibious use). With Soviet Union giving a low priority to the manufacture of light tanks, it was eventually decided to dispense with the amphibious characteristics, although this proved an impractical proposal, and subsequently the T-40 tank's employment of the battlefield was kept minimal. By the time that production was discontinued in 1942 only around 225 T-40 tanks had been built and the surviving machines were subsequently relocated along the Soviet Union's eastern border with China for frontier patrolling until about 1946.
Ian V. Hogg & John Weeks, The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Military Vehicles (Hamlyn, 1980).
Philip Trewhitt, Armoured Fighting Vehicles (Dempsey Parr, 1999).
B. T. White, Tanks and other Armoured Fighting Vehicles 1942-45 (Blandford Press, 1975).
Last Major Revision: Feb 2013
|Machinery||One GAZ-202 6-cyl water-cooled petrol engine rated at 85bhp at 3,600rpm|
|Armament||1x12.7mm (later 20mm) machine gun, 1x7.62mm coaxial machine gun|
|Armor||10mm tower, 13mm main body, 4-6mm bottom, 6mm top|
|Speed||20 km/h off-road; 45 km/h on-road|
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Winston Churchill, 1935