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Soviet Union's BT-1 Bystrochodnij Tankov (Fast Tank)

Design

C. C. Benson, a United States Cavalry officer, wrote in two military journals about the Christie Model 1940 vehicle.5 The head of the Red Army Military Technical Board, Innokenti Andreyevich Khalepsky, saw the articles and became very interested in the Christie design.5 Two Christie tanks were snuck out of the United States that became the basis for the BT series.5,6

The BT series were to be mechanized cavalry complementing the T-28s that would serve as infantry support.5

When on wheels, the steering wheel controlled the front pair of wheels.3 When on tracks, the steering was done by clutch and brake.3

The construction was all riveted.4,7

Prototype

The building of the prototype began in May 1931.2 Only one was produced.2

Production

  • BT-1: 12
    • Manufacturer: Kharkov Locomotive Works (KhPZ Nr 183)5

Variants

  • BT-1: Copied from the Christie.6

Specifications

  BT-1
Crew 31,2,3,4,5,7
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 10 tons4,5,7, 10.2 tons1,3, 11 tons2
10,200 kg4,5,7
Length w/gun 18'1,3,4,5,7
5.49 m4,5,7
Length w/o gun 18'3
Height 6.33'1, 6' 4"4,5,7, 7.25'3
1.92 m5, 1.93 m4,7
Width 7.33'1,3, 7' 4"4,5,7
2.23 m5, 2.24 m4,7
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance - wheels 9"3
Ground clearance - tracks 10.5"3
Ground contact length 10.663
Ground pressure 8.96 psi3
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 1: 7.62 mm MG1
2: MG2,4,5,7
2: 7.62 mm MG, air cooled3
Secondary 1: 7.62 mm DT MG4,7
MG  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 4,0003
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 0.24" - 0.51"5
6 - 131,5, 134,7
Hull Front, Upper 133
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper 10 - 133
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear 103
Hull Top 6 - 103
Hull Bottom 6 - 103
Turret Front 133
Turret Sides 133
Turret Rear 133
Turret Top 103
Engine (Make / Model) Liberty2,5
Liberty Aero3,4,7
Bore / stroke  
Cooling Water3
Cylinders V-123,4,5,7
Capacity  
Net HP 343 - 4001, 3505, 4002,4,7
343 - 400@2,000 rpm3
Power to weight ratio 36.4 hp / ton2, 34.3 hp/ton3
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type) Wheels: Chain drive3
Tracks: Sliding gear3
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type) Gasoline1,3,4,7
Octane  
Quantity 88 gallons3
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse 360°3
Max speed 39 mph2, 40 - 69 mph1
Max speed - track 40 mph4,5,7
65 kph4,5,7
Max speed - wheel 65 mph4,5,7, 69 mph3
105 kph4,5,7
Cross country speed - track 39 mph3
Road radius - track 124 miles4,7
200 km4,7
Road radius - wheel 186 miles4,7, 187 miles3
300 km4,7
Cross country radius - track 125 miles3
Turning radius 40'3
Elevation limits -10° to +10°3
Fording depth 3.95'3
Trench crossing 6.85'3
Vertical obstacle - wheels 8"3
Vertical obstacle - tracks 29.4"3
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type) Christie2
Christie independent type3
Wheels each side 42,3
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width 2 x 3.95"3, 10.25"3
Diameter 32.5"3
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread 6.33'3

Sources:

  1. Tanks of the World, 1915-1945, Peter Chamberlain, Chris Ellis, 1972
  2. Tanks of World War II, Duncan Crow, 1979
  3. Profile AFV Weapons 37 Russian BT Series, John F. Milsom, 1971
  4. The Illustrated Guide to Tanks of the World, George Forty, 2006
  5. Russian Tanks of World War II Stalin's Armored Might, by Tim Bean & Will Fowler, 2002
  6. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  7. World War I and II Tanks, George Forty, 2012
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