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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. The head of the Red Army Military Technical Board, Innokenti Andreyevich Khalepsky, saw the articles and became very interested in the Christie design. Two Christie tanks were snuck out of the United States that became the basis for the BT series.

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

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

The construction was all riveted.

Prototype

The building of the prototype began in May 1931. Only one was produced.

Production

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

Variants

  • BT-1: Copied from the Christie.

Specifications

  BT-1
Crew 3
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 10 tons, 10.2 tons, 11 tons
10,200 kg
Length w/gun 18'
5.49 m
Length w/o gun 18'
Height 6.33', 6' 4", 7.25'
1.92 m, 1.93 m
Width 7.33', 7' 4"
2.23 m, 2.24 m
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance - wheels 9"
Ground clearance - tracks 10.5"
Ground contact length 10.66
Ground pressure 8.96 psi
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 1: 7.62 mm MG
2: MG
2: 7.62 mm MG, air cooled
Secondary 1: 7.62 mm DT MG
MG  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 4,000
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 0.24" - 0.51"
6 - 13, 13
Hull Front, Upper 13
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper 10 - 13
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear 10
Hull Top 6 - 10
Hull Bottom 6 - 10
Turret Front 13
Turret Sides 13
Turret Rear 13
Turret Top 10
Engine (Make / Model) Liberty
Liberty Aero
Bore / stroke  
Cooling Water
Cylinders V-12
Capacity  
Net HP 343 - 400, 350, 400
343 - 400@2,000 rpm
Power to weight ratio 36.4 hp / ton, 34.3 hp/ton
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type) Wheels: Chain drive
Tracks: Sliding gear
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type) Gasoline
Octane  
Quantity 88 gallons
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse 360°
Max speed 39 mph, 40 - 69 mph
Max speed - track 40 mph
65 kph
Max speed - wheel 65 mph, 69 mph
105 kph
Cross country speed - track 39 mph
Road radius - track 124 miles
200 km
Road radius - wheel 186 miles, 187 miles
300 km
Cross country radius - track 125 miles
Turning radius 40'
Elevation limits -10° to +10°
Fording depth 3.95'
Trench crossing 6.85'
Vertical obstacle - wheels 8"
Vertical obstacle - tracks 29.4"
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type) Christie
Christie independent type
Wheels each side 4
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width 2 x 3.95", 10.25"
Diameter 32.5"
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread 6.33'

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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