T-60 tank

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T-60 scout tank
T-60 Kubinka.jpg
T-60 at the Kubinka Tank Museum
Type Light tank
Place of origin Soviet Union
Service history
In service 1941–45
Used by Soviet Union
Wars World War II
Production history
Designer Nicholas Astrov
Designed 1938–41
Manufacturer Factory 37, Moscow, GAZ, Gorkiy, Factory 38, Kirov
Produced 1941–42
Number built 6,292
Specifications ([1])
Weight 5.8 tonnes
Length 4.10 m
Width 2.30 m
Height 1.75 m
Crew 2

Armor 7–20 mm
Main
armament
20 mm TNSh cannon (750 rds.)
Secondary
armament
7.62 mm coax DT machine gun
Engine GAZ-202 6-cylinder
70 hp (52 kW)
Power/weight 12 hp/tonne
Suspension torsion bar
Fuel capacity 320 l
Operational
range
450 km
Speed 44 km/h

The T-60 scout tank was a light tank produced by the Soviet Union from 1941 to 1942. In this time over 6,292 were built. The tank was designed to replace the obsolete T-38 amphibious scout tank.

Design[edit]

Nicholas Astrov's design team at Moscow Factory No. 37 was assigned the task of designing amphibious and non-amphibious scout tanks in 1938. They produced the T-30A and T-30B prototypes. The former was to be manufactured as the T-40 amphibious tank starting in 1940. It also led to the T-40S (sukhoputniy, "dry-land" version), a heavier tank prototype which was considered too complex to manufacture. The T-30B prototype, sharing the T-40's chassis but simpler in construction and with heavier armour, was accepted as the T-60 scout tank, and began production in July 1941, just after the German invasion.

Although at first intended to carry a 12.7 mm machine gun like the T-40, the armament was later upgraded to the 20 mm TNSh cannon, a tank version of the ShVAK, on the advisement of the People's Commissar for Tank Industry, Vyacheslav Malyshev. This weapon could penetrate 15 mm of perpendicular armour at 500 m range which proved inadequate against the newer up-armored German tank designs thus attempts were made in 1942 to re-arm the T-60 with the 37 mm ZIS-19 cannon, but were abandoned due to the Soviet Union's shortage of 37 mm ammunition. Due to this a new project started as to house the standard 45mm tank gun on a modified turret. That became impossible, and a new turret designed and tested successfully in the summer 1942. The new turret had the gun moved to its right side as to make more room for the crew member and a co-axial machine gun added. At the end the project terminated when STAVKA choose T-70 as the new standard light tank which had matured earlier that year.

The T-60 was also used in the design of the experimental T-90 antiaircraft tank.

Gliding tank[edit]

Further information: Antonov A-40

One T-60 was converted into a glider in 1942 and was designed to be towed by a Petlyakov Pe-8 or Tupolev TB-3 bomber and was to be used to provide partisan forces with light armour. The tank was lightened for air use by removing armament, ammunition, headlights and leaving a very limited amount of fuel. Even with the modifications the TB-3 bomber had to ditch the glider due to the T-60's poor aerodynamics during its only flight to avoid crashing. The T-60 landed on a field near the aerodrome and after dropping the glider wings and tail returned to its base. Due to lack of sufficiently powerful aircraft to tow it the project was canceled and never resumed.

Romanian TACAM and Mareşal tank destroyers[edit]

The Romanians modified 34 captured T-60s into TACAM T-60 tank destroyers in 1943. It had a captured Soviet F-22 76.2 mm gun housed in a light armoured superstructure open in its top and back, a typical configuration in the tank destroyers at the time. All surviving vehicles were confiscated by the Soviets after Romania defected to the Allies in August 1944.

The Romanians also developed a very modern for its time low height full armoured tank destroyer also based on T-60 chassis, the Mareşal M05. Its shape and size was very similar to the famous Hetzer German tank destroyer (in fact Romanians started developing it well before Hetzer giving rise to the theory that Hetzer itself was possibly inspired from Mareşal). It mounted a Romanian 75mm anti-tank gun and used armour plates from salvaged Soviet BT tanks and a Hotchkiss petrol engine. Both prototypes and the first unfinished batch of pre-production vehicles had been confiscated by the Soviets and no further work allowed after Romania shifted sides.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Zaloga 1984, p 116.
  • Miller, Steven (2000). Tanks of the World: From World War I to the Present Day. Osceola, WI: MBI Publishing. ISBN 0-7603-0892-6. 
  • Zaloga, Steven J.; James Grandsen (1984). Soviet Tanks and Combat Vehicles of World War Two. London: Arms and Armour Press. ISBN 0-85368-606-8. 

External links[edit]