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Soviet Union's Flag

Soviet Union's MS-1, MS-2, MS-3, and T-18 light infantry tanks

Design

After a special Tank Bureau was formed on May 6, 1924, a specification for a light tank was given. It was to weigh 3,000 kg, have a speed of 7.5 mph, 16 mm of armor, 37 mm gun, and with a crew of two. During early 1925 the Red Army staff reviewed the specification and increased it to 5,000 kg.

It used rubber tired bogies. The engine was mounted crosswise to save length and thus weight.

Communication was by flag.

Field Tests

During tests in 1929 it was found that the T-18 had difficulties crossing trenches. The commander of the Leningrad Region Armored Force had another tail added to the front of the T-18 which resulted in it receiving the nickname Nosorog (Rhinoceros).

Prototype

The first prototype was called the T-16 and was finished in May 1927. Improvements to the engine and the length were completed in November 1927 and this was designated the T-18. The Revolutionary Military Council accepted the T-18 as a standard on July 6, 1927, even before testing was completed. It was called the Maliy Soprovozdieniya - Small Accompanying - One (MS-1).

Production

An order for 108 T-18s was placed by the Red Army to be built from 1928 to 1929. The first 30 were available for the November 7, 1929, Revolution parade in Moscow and Leningrad. Ball bearings and carburetors had to be imported as there weren't Soviet factories to produce those components.

The MS-1 was produced at the Leningrad Bolshevik plant starting in 1928. This was the first Russian tank to be put into serial production.

  • T-18: 960, 989
    • Production: 1928 - 1931, 1928 - ?
  • MS-1: 960
    • Production: 1928 - 1931
    • Manufacturer: Leningrad Weapon Factory
  • MS-2:
  • MS-3:
    • Production: 1923

Variants

  • MS-1: Was to have a 37 mm gun and two 7.62 mm machines guns in the turret, but the turret was too cramped so only one machine gun was installed.
  • MS-2:
  • MS-3:
  • T-16: Prototype.
  • T-17 light tank: Had air cooled 2 cylinder engine (18 HP).
  • T-18:
  • T-19 light tank: Engine was improved and was 60 HP.
  • T-23 light tank: Had no turret and had a two man crew with a single 7.62 mm MG. The armor was 6 to 10 mm thick and protected the crew from small arms fire. Weighed 3.5 tons and could go 35 kph.

Usage

It was withdrawn from service in 1932 and given to the Ossoaviakhim, which as the military training organization.

After the Germans invaded Russia, approximately 200 MS-1s were converted into T-18Ms mounting 45 mm guns.

Against China

MS saw combat Kiev-Voronezh and Chinese Eastern Railway in 1929.

T-18s saw action against the Chinese in border clashes in 1929. In one particular action around Dzhalaynor Station, Russian infantry advanced behind T-18s with some success as the tanks were handled skillfully by their crews. A later attack wasn't as successful as the T-18s were unable to cross an anti-tank ditch.

Specifications

  MS-1
(T-18)
Crew 2
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 5.4 tons
6.3 tons
Length 11.8'
4.38 m
Height 6.9'
2.12 m
Width 5.75'
1.76 m
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 37 mm
Secondary  
MG MG
7.62 mm MG
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 250
Secondary  
MG 3,000
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 6 - 22, 8 - 16
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)  
Bore / stroke  
Cooling  
Cylinders Inline 4
Capacity 90 l
Net HP 35, 40
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type)  
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type) Gasoline
Octane  
Quantity 90 liters
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 10.6 mph
22 kph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 110 km
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth 0.7 m
Trench crossing 1.3 m
Vertical obstacle 0.6 m
Climbing ability 35°
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width  
Diameter  
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread  
  MS-1,
MS-2,
MS-3, MS-3A
Crew 2
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 5.4 - 6.7 tons
Length w/gun 11.8'
With tail: 14.3'
Length w/o gun 11.8'
With tail: 14.3'
Height 6.9'
Width 5.75'
Width over tracks 5.7'
Ground clearance 15.5'
Ground contact length 8'
Ground pressure 6.1 - 6.5 psi
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 37 mm Puteaux A/Tk
Secondary  
MG 1 or 2: 7.62 mm Hotchkiss MG
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 250
Secondary  
MG 3,000
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) Turret: 8 - 22
Hull Front, Upper 16
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper 8
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear 8
Hull Top 6
Hull Bottom 6
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) Fiat Transverse
Bore / stroke  
Cooling MS-1: Water
MS-2, MS-3, MS-3A: Air
Cylinders 4 or 6
Capacity  
Net HP 35 - 40@1,500 rpm
Power to weight ratio 6.5 - 6
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type) Sliding gear
4 forward, 1 reverse
Steering Simple differential, manual
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type)  
Octane  
Quantity 19.85 gallons
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse 360°
Speed - Road 10.6 - 14 mph
Speed - Cross Country 8 mph
Range - Road 37.5 - 68 miles
Range - Cross Country 20 - 40 miles
Turning radius Pivots
Elevation limits -10° to +30°
Fording depth 2.35'
Trench crossing 4.25'
Vertical obstacle 1.9'
Climbing ability 35°
Suspension (Type) Vertical helical springs
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type) Skeleton, cast double spud
Length  
Width 11.8"
Diameter  
Number of links 54
Pitch 5.9"
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread 4.7'
  MS-III, MS-3
Crew 2
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 5,410 kg, 5,500 kg
5.32 tons, 5.41 tons
Length 11' 6"
3.5 m
Height 6' 11"
2.12 m
Width 5' 9"
1.76 m
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 37 mm
37 mm Model 1916
Secondary  
MG 1: MG
2: MG
2: 7.62 mm Hotchkiss MG
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 6 - 22, 16
0.62"
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) Fiat
Bore / stroke  
Cooling  
Cylinders 6
Capacity  
Net HP 65
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type)  
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type)  
Octane  
Quantity  
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 9.9 mph, 10 mph
16 kph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 31 miles, 37.3 miles, 38 miles
50 km, 60 km
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical obstacle  
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width  
Diameter  
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread  
  T-18
Crew 2
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 5.9 tons
Length 4.38 m
Height  
Width  
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 37 mm M28
Secondary  
MG 1: 7.62 mm MG
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 6 - 16
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)  
Bore / stroke  
Cooling  
Cylinders  
Capacity  
Net HP  
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type)  
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type)  
Octane  
Quantity  
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 10 mph
16 kph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road  
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical obstacle  
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width  
Diameter  
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread  

Sources:

  1. The Encyclopedia of Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles - The Comprehensive Guide to Over 900 Armored Fighting Vehicles From 1915 to the Present Day, General Editor: Christopher F. Foss, 2002
  2. Tanks of the World, 1915-1945, Peter Chamberlain, Chris Ellis, 1972
  3. Russian Tanks 1900-1970, The Complete Illustrated History of Soviet Armoured Theory and Design, John Milsom, 1970
  4. Russian Tanks and Armored Vehicles 1917 - 1945, Wolfgang Fleischer, 1999
  5. Russian Tanks of World War II, Stalin's Armored Might, Tim Bean, Will Fowler, 2002
  6. Atlas of Tank Warfare From 1916 to the Present Day, Dr. Stephen Hart, 2012
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