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BT-2 Light Tank

First production wheeled-tracked tank was named BT-2 and differed from the American prototype by numerous design features. First of all tank had the turret (designed by the A.A.Maloshtanov), also it was equipped with more light road wheels.

The tank interior was redesigned and some new devices were added. The certain problem was presented with the tank armament. It was supposed to mount a 37 mm gun and one machine-gun, but because of lack of guns all tanks of the first series were armed with two machine guns only. The 37 mm tank gun (with barrel length 60 calibres) was adopted from the 37 mm AT-gun model 1930.

The tank's variant of this gun has been finished only by summer 1933. The first Government order was about the manufacturing of the first party of 350 pieces of the 37 mm tank guns. This plan was assigned to Artillery Factory #8. In that time however, a new 45 mm 20K tank gun was developed and tested, and the further production of 37 mm guns was canceled.

At least four different modifications of BT-2 tank were developed (distinguished by armament):
- The BT-2 tank with one machine-gun;
- The BT-2 tank with three machine-guns;
- The BT-2 tank with 37 mm gun only;
- The BT-2 tank with 37 mm gun and one machine-gun.

The other problem was to choose a proper engine. It is known that the licence on "Liberty" engine wasn't bought. Instead of it, the 2000 engines were bought and shipped to the USSR. When all those engines were out, in USSR was organized the production of similar M-5 engine.

BT tank could moved up to 52 km/h on tracks, and 72 km/h on wheels. Tank could moved on a wheels only on a road with a firm coverage. This was the quite good tank, however some lacks of design: the weak armament, absence of a communication devices, too little room for the crew. The M-5 engine was capricious, and too complex in operation. Some problems were with fuel system as well.

In 1939, BT-2 tanks took part in campaign in Western Ukraine, and at the beginning of the Great Patriotic War.

Sources: "Bronekollektsiya" #1 1996
"BT tanks. Part One", Armada 1998
M.Baryatinsky, M.Kolomiets "The BT-2 and BT-5 light tanks", 1996


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