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Soviet Union's BA-20 armored car

Design

Development of the BA-20 started in 1934 at the GAZ factory.

There was an escape hatch installed in the floor of the BA-20 which was a first for a Soviet armored car.

Crew

The driver of the BA-20's vision block had bullet proof glass.

Chassis

The GAZ M1 chassis was used for the BA-20. The chassis was modified to handle the weight of the BA-20. The rear axle was new and the suspension was improved. A new differential was installed as well.

Wheels

The wheels were bullet proof.

Turret

The turret had a domed cupola.

Prototype

The BA-20 prototype went under trials in 1935.

Production

Full production of the BA-20 started in 1935.

The chassis of the BA-20 (a GAM M1 chassis) was produced at the Novgorod factory. The body, and final assembly, was built at Vyksinskiy.

  • BA-20: 4,800

Variants

  • BA-20:
  • BA-20M: All welded. Aerial on left side of hull. Thicker armor. Turret improved.
  • BA-20V: Aerial frame around hull.
  • BA-20 Sh.d (Shelesnaya Doroga): Modified to run on railways.
  • BA-20 ZhD Drezine: Wheels could be changed to run on rails. A tow link could be fitted to the spare wheel holder to allow for a train to tow the BA-20 ZhD.

Usage

The BA-20's performance cross country was very good and it could handle marshy ground well.

From 1936 to 1942 the BA-20 was in use. The BA-20M was used from 1938 to 1942.

Khalkhin Gol

The first combat for the BA-20 was against the Japanese at the Battle of Khalkhin Gol in 1939.

Invasion of Poland

BA-20s were used in the invasion of Poland.

Russian-Finnish War

BA-20s were used against the Finns in the Russian-Finnish war. The Finns captured some of the BA-20s used against them.

German Use

The Germans used many of the BA-20 ZhDs for patrolling the rail lines and anti-partisan duties.

Specifications

  BA-20
Crew Commander, driver
2
Command version: 3
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 7,168 lb
2.3 tons, 3.2 tons
Length 12.2', 12' 2.5", 13' 5"
4.1 m
Height 6.33', 6' 4", 7' 6"
2.3 m
Width 5.49', 5' 6", 5' 9"
1.8 m
Ground clearance 5"
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 0.3" MG
1: 7.62 mm MG
1: 7.62 mm DTMG
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms Gas mines, Machine pistols
Quantity  
Main 1,386
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms Gas mines: 12
Armor Thickness (mm) 6, 9 - 10
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) GAZ M1
Cylinders 4
Cooling Water
Net HP 50, 50@2,800 rpm
Transmission  
Fuel Gasoline
Octane  
Capacity 51 gallons
Performance  
Traverse 360°
Speed - Road 47 mph, 56 mph
90 kph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 208 miles, 220 miles, 280 miles
350 km
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical Obstacle  
Suspension (Type)  
Tires 4 solid
  BA-20M
Crew 2, 3
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 5,600 lb
2.5 tons
Length 14' 1.5", 14.11'
Height 7', 7' 1"
Width 5.74', 5' 9"
Ground clearance 9.5"
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 1: 7.62 mm DTMG
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms Gas mines, Machine pistols
Quantity  
Main 1,386
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms Gas mines: 12
Armor Thickness (mm) 9 - 10
Hull Front, Upper 10
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom 9
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) GAZ M1
Cylinders 4
Cooling Water
Net HP 50@2,800 rpm
Transmission  
Fuel  
Octane  
Capacity 51 gallons
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 55 mph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 212 miles, 280 miles
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical Obstacle  
Suspension (Type)  
Tires 4 pneumatic

Sources:

  1. Profile AFV Weapons #60, Russian Armoured Cars (to 1945), John F. Milsom, 1973
  2. World Encyclopedia of Armored Fighting Vehicles, Jack Livesey, 2006
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site