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TK-3 / TKS
TKS P1010141 2.jpg
TKS tankette
Place of originPoland
Production history
ManufacturerFabryka Samochodów PZInż.
No. built575
Mass2.43 / 2.6 tonnes (2.39 / 2.56 long tons; 2.68 / 2.87 short tons)
Length2.58 metres (8 ft 6 in)
Width1.78 metres (5 ft 10 in)
Height1.32 metres (4 ft 4 in)
Crew2 (commander, driver)

Armor4–10 mm (0.16–0.39 in)
7.92 mm Ckm wz.25 (Hotchkiss) machine gun
2000 rounds
EngineFord A / Polski FIAT-122 petrol engine
40 / 46 hp (30 / 34 kW)
Power/weight17 / 18 hp/tonne (13 / 13 kW/tonne)
SuspensionBogie suspension
Fuel capacity70+8 l
200 km (120 mi) (roads),
100 km (62 mi) (cross-country)
Maximum speed 40–46 km/h (25–29 mph)

The TK (TK-3) and TKS were Polish tankettes developed during the 1930s and used in the Second World War.

Design and development[edit]

The TK (also known as the TK-3) tankette was a Polish design produced from 1931 based on the chassis of the British Carden Loyd tankette, with an improved hull and more powerful engine, and armour up to 8 mm (0.31 in) thick (10 mm or 0.39 in on the TKS). In 1939, up-arming of the tankettes with Nkm wz.38 FK 20 mm (0.79 in) machine guns began, but only 24 of these were completed before the outbreak of World War II.

On 6 November 1934 Estonia purchased 6 vehicles from Poland, with the contract deal worth over 180,000 krones. The deal also included one additional tracked-lorry, and a motorcycle was given free as a bonus.[1] After the Soviet Union occupied Estonia, these vehicles were put into service with the Red Army.[citation needed]

Combat history[edit]

575 TK/TKS tankettes formed the bulk of the Polish armoured forces before the outbreak of war. They suffered heavy losses during the invasion of Poland, often being the only armoured fighting vehicles available. Their small size suited them for reconnaissance and infantry support, but with their light armament of a single machine gun they stood no chance in combat against German tanks, except against the Panzer I.

Officer cadet Edmund Roman Orlik and his driver, Bronisław Zakrzewski, near their TKS tankette

The handful of tankettes armed with 20 mm guns were more effective against enemy tanks; in one instance on 18 September 1939 a 20 mm gunned TKS commanded by Podchorazy[2] (Officer Candidate SFC) Roman Orlik destroyed two German Panzerkampfwagen 35(t) tanks and a Panzer IV B tank which was commanded by Victor IV Albrecht von Ratibor.[3][4]

After the conquest of Poland, captured tankettes were used by the German army in various support roles, mostly for training, security duties or as artillery tractors. Many captured tankettes were also used by the Luftwaffe for airfield security and snowplowing.[5] Some were later sold to the puppet state of Croatia. In spring 1941, the National Police received 18 TK-3 tankettes, some with the 20mm gun, while in summer 1941 the Army received 18 TKS, 4 of them being sent to the Ustashe Militia.[6]


TK-3 tankette
  • TK (TK-3) - from 1931, about 280 built (Ford A engine)
  • TKF - TK tankette with 46 hp (34 kW) Polski Fiat engine and new (TKS-type) suspension, about 18 built
  • TKS - improved model of 1933, about 260 built (new hull, suspension, Polski Fiat engine)
  • TKS with Nkm wz.38 FK - 20 mm gun - about 24 TKS fitted with 20 mm gun in 1939.
  • C2P - unarmoured light artillery tractor, about 200 built.

Experimental models:

  • TK-1, TK-2 - first prototypes
  • TKD - light self propelled gun with 47 mm gun, four made.
  • TKW - light reconnaissance tank with turret, one prototype made.
  • TK-3 with 20 mm gun - only one prototype with a modified hull was completed.
  • TKS-D - light tank destroyer with 37 mm Bofors anti-tank gun, two made


Surviving TK-series tankettes[edit]

TKS tankette in the Polish Army Museum
TKS tankette in Kubinka Tank Museum

There are only two fully operational TKS tankettes and one TK-3 surviving. All of them were reconstructed from wrecks in the first decade of 21st century, using non-original parts.

  • 1 x TKS - One of the TKS tankettes was donated to Poland by the Swedish Axvall Tank Museum and since 2008 it is on exhibition in the Museum of the Polish Army. The Swedish TKS survived the post-war period in Norway, where it was operated by a local farmer as a tractor.
  • 1 x TKS - Private collection.
  • 1 x TK-3 - Private collection.

The other survivors are not in working order.


Comparable vehicles[edit]


  1. ^ Eesti soomusmasinad : soomusautod ja tankid 1918-1940 / Tiit Noormets, Mati Õun Tallinn : Tammiskilp, 1999 Page 52 ISBN 9985-60-692-2
  2. ^ Podchorazy can be also translated as Sub--Warrant Officer
  4. ^ Janusz Magnuski: Orlik hits the first in "Za Wolność i Lud" No. 20/1978, p. 15
  5. ^ Panzers in Finland - Kari Kuusala
  6. ^ Mahé, Yann (April 2011). "Le Blindorama : La Croatie, 1941 - 1945". Batailles & Blindés (in French). No. 42. Caraktère. pp. 4–7. ISSN 1765-0828.
  7. ^ Axworthy, p. 33
  • Adam Jońca, Rajmund Szubański, Jan Tarczyński Wrzesień 1939 Pojazdy Wojska Polskiego wyd. WKiŁ Warszawa 1990 ISBN 83-206-0847-3
  • Magnuski Janusz "Czołg rozpoznawczy TK (TKS)" seria TBiU-Typy broni i uzbrojenia (tom: 36), MON 1975


  • Janusz Magnuski, "Karaluchy przeciw panzerom"; Pelta; Warsaw 1995
  • Leszek Komuda, "Przeciwpancerne tankietki" in: "Militaria" Year 1 Nr. 3 and Nr. 4.
  • Adam Jońca, Rajmund Szubański, Jan Tarczyński, "Wrzesień 1939 - Pojazdy Wojska Polskiego - Barwa i broń"; WKL; Warsaw 1990.
  • Jan Tarczyński, K. Barbarski, A. Jońca, "Pojazdy w Wojsku Polskim - Polish Army Vehicles - 1918-1939"; Ajaks; Pruszków 1995.
  • "Czołg rozpoznawczy TK-S", Militaria i Fakty nr. 31 (6/2005)
  • Janusz Magnuski, "Czołg rozpoznawczy TKS (TK)"; TBiU nr. 36; Wydawnictwo MON; Warsaw 1975
  • Zbigniew Lalak, "Czołg rozpoznawczy TK3 / Reconnaissance tank TK3" in Z. Lalak, T. Basarabowicz, R. Sawicki, M. Skotnicki, P. Żurkowski "Pojazdy II wojny swiatowej (tom 2) / Military Vehicles of WW2, part 2", Warsaw 2004, ISBN 83-920361-0-7
  • Eesti soomusmasinad : soomusautod ja tankid 1918-1940 / Tiit Noormets, Mati Õun Tallinn : Tammiskilp, 1999 Page 52 ISBN 9985-60-692-2

External links[edit]