Komsomolets armored tractor
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2008)|
Finnish T-20 artillery tractor
|Place of origin||Soviet Union|
|Used by|| Soviet Union
|Wars||World War II|
|7.62mm DT machine gun|
50 hp (37 kW)
T-20 armored tractor Komsomolets (Russian: Bronirovannyy gusenichnyy tyagach Komsomolets T-20, armored continuous track tractor T-20) was a prime mover vehicle used by the Soviet Union during the Winter War and World War II.
The tractor was designed to tow light artillery pieces such as the 45mm anti-tank gun and the 120mm heavy mortar. The tractor could tow the weapons themselves plus a small quantity of ammunition, usually towed in a limber, along with up to six crewmen. Occasionally, two limbers were towed to increase the ammunition supply.
The forward compartment provided space for the driver and vehicle commander. It was fully armored and had a ball-mounted DT machinegun. The rear compartment held the gun crews, seated back-to-back in outward-facing bench seats. A canvas top could be erected for protection in poor weather.
Approximately 4401 T-20 tractors were built between 1937 and 1941.
The T-20 tractor was used by the Red Army during the Winter War and during World War II. During Operation Barbarossa, some T-20 tractors were used as armored fighting vehicles, though after 1941 they were used only as artillery tractors.
Both Finland and Nazi Germany used captured vehicles. In the spring and summer of 1943, Romania refurbished 34 captured T-20 armored tractors, officially known as "Șenileta Ford rusesc de captură" (captured Soviet Ford small armoured vehicle) at Rogifer Factory (formerly known as Malaxa). Because the T-20 used a Ford motor built under license and Romania had a Ford truck plant in Bucharest, the overhaul and maintenance were simple tasks. The tractors were used to tow the German 50 mm PaK 38 antitank gun. The 5th and 14th Infantry Divisions received twelve units each, the 2nd Armoured Regiment received six tractors and the 5th Cavalry Division received four units in August 1944. All vehicles were lost in combat or confiscated by the Red Army after King Michael's Coup.
An expedient variant was built in 1941, the ZiS-30, mounting the ZIS-2 57mm anti-tank gun.
The Germans also modified some captured examples by mounting a 3.7 cm Pak 36 anti-tank gun on top.
- Zaloga, p.103
- Axworthy, p. 221
- Бронеколлекция" no. 3, (2002)
- Mark Axworthy, Cornel Scafeș, Cristian Crãciunoiu,Third Axis. Fourth Ally. Romanian Armed Forces in the European War, 1941-1945, Arms and Armour, London, 1995. ISBN 1-85409-267-7
- Scafes, Cornel I; Scafes, Ioan I; Serbanescu, Horia Vl (2005). Trupele Blindate din Armata Romana 1919-1947. Bucuresti: Editura Oscar Print.
- 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
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