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Soviet Union's BT-5 Bystrochodnij Tankov (Fast Tank)

Design

It was found that the BT-2 wasn't adequate during the war with Finland so new requirements were devised for a vehicle with stronger armament, a single turret with the main gun and coaxial MG, space for a radio, and better mobility with an engine manufactured in the Soviet Union. The BT-5 was the design that was selected to meet those specifications.

It was the first main production model of the BT series.

When on wheels, steering was done by a steering wheel operating the front wheels. When on tracks, steering was done with the clutch and brake.

Turret

The turret was riveted with an extension to the rear to make room for the 45 mm model 1932 main gun and a 7.62 mm DT MG.

The 45 mm gun had a velocity of 2,350 ft/sec. The range it could fire was 4,800 meters. The velocity of an 1.43 kg shell was 760 m/sec. 42 mm of armor could be penetrated at 100 meters.

It had a larger turret, 2 rectangular escape hatches in the turret, new engine, and a stronger suspension.

The top of the turret a PTK panoramic scope.

Production

  • BT-5: 5,000
    • Production: 1932 - ?
    • Manufacturer: factory in Kharkov
  • BT-IS: 5
    • Production: 1937

Variants

  • BT-5:
  • BT-5AT, BT-5A: Artillery tank. Close support version with 76.2 mm howitzer. It's 6.2 kg shell could be fired 7,125 meters. Turret was from T-28.
  • BT-5TU(1934), BT-5(V), BT-5U, BT-5TU, BT-6: Commander's version. Carried only 72 shells to make room for the radio sets. The antenna was placed around the turret.
  • T-5Pch, BT-5PKh: Had a snorkel device attached so that it could go through water obstacles 5 meters deep. Able to ford water obstacles by going under water. Was tested by the 4th Don Cossack Division in 1936.
  • BT-IS: Five prototype vehicles that had improvements designed by N. F. Zygankovich. It had 3 pairs of road wheels to be driven on, and also had more angled hull armor.
  • BT-DT: Had smoke emitters.
  • BT-IT: Bridge layer.
  • BT-5-OT: Had flamethrower.

Usage

Spanish Civil War

About 50 / 64 fought in the Spanish Civil War on the Republican side.

Against Japan

The BT-5s saw action against the Japanese at Khalkin-Gol in July 1939.

Internal Action

The occupation of the western areas of White Russia & Ukraine in September 1939.

War with Finland

The BT-5 was used in the Winter War of 1939-1940 against Finland.

Defending the Motherland

The BT-5 were used against the invading Germans in 1941.

Specifications

  BT-5 (1933 Model)
Crew 3
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 11.3 tons, 11.31 tons, 11.5 tons, 11.52 tons
11,500 kg, 11,700 kg
25,350 lb
Length 18', 18.1', 19' 5.5"
5.48 m, 5.49 m, 5.76 m
Height 7' 3", 7.25', 7' 9.5"
2.21 m, 2.2 m, 2.25 m
Width 7' 4", 7.33', 7' 10.25"
2.15 m, 2.23 m, 2.24 m, 2.33 m
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance 9"
0.35 m
Ground clearance - wheels 9"
Ground clearance - tracks 10.5"
Ground contact length 12'
Ground pressure 9.3 psi
0.65 kp/cm2
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 1: 45 mm 1932 L/42 45 mm 1932
1: 45 mm
1: 45 mm M1932
1: 45 mm L/46
1: 45 mm L/46 A/TK
Secondary  
MG 1: MG
1: 7.62 mm DT MG
MG - coaxial 1 or 2: 7.62 mm DT
1: 7.62 mm MG
1: 7.62 mm DT MG
1: MG
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 72 - 115
With radio: 72
Without radio: 115
Secondary  
MG 2,394, 2,709
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 6 - 13, 13
Hull Front, Upper 13
Hull Front, Lower 13
Hull Sides, Upper 10 - 13, 13
Hull Sides, Lower 13
Hull Rear 10, 13
Hull Top 6 - 10, 10
Hull Bottom 6 - 10
Turret Front 10 - 13, 13
Turret Sides 13
Turret Rear 13
Turret Top 10
Engine (Make / Model) M-5 Liberty Aero
M-5
M-5 modified Aero
Liberty Aero
M-5 Aero
Bore / stroke 4 stroke
Cooling Water
Cylinders 12, V-12
Capacity  
Net HP 350, 400
350@2,300 rpm
Power to weight ratio 30.4 hp/ton
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type) 4 forward, 1 reverse
Wheels: Chain drive
Tracks: Sliding gear
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type) Gasoline
Octane  
Quantity 88 gallons, 105 gallons,
400 liters
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse 360°
Max speed 39 mph, 43 mph, 68.4 mph, 69 mph, 40 - 69 mph
70 kph
Max speed - tracks 40 mph
52 kph, 65 kph
Max speed - wheels 65 mph, 69 mph, 70 mph
72 kph, 105 kph, 112 kph
Speed - Cross Country 31 mph
Cross country speed - tracks 39 mph
Range - Road 55 miles, 124 miles, 186.4 miles
90 km, 200 km
Road radius - tracks 124 miles
200 km
Road radius - wheels 186 miles, 187 miles
300 km
Cross country radius - tracks 125 miles
Turning radius 40'
Elevation limits -4° to +40°
Fording depth 3.98', 4'
0.9 m
Trench crossing 8.85', 8' 9"
2 m
Vertical obstacle - wheels 8"
Vertical obstacle - tracks 29.8"
0.55 m
Climbing ability 37°
Suspension (Type) Christie independent type
Wheels each side 4
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width - tire 2 x 3.95
Width - track 10.25"
Diameter 32.5"
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread 6.33'
  BT-5A
Crew 3
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 11.7 tons
Length 18'
Height 7.25'
Width 7.33'
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance  
Ground clearance - wheels 9"
Ground clearance - tracks 10.5"
Ground contact length 12'
Ground pressure 9.3 psi
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 1: 76.2 mm L/16.5
1: 76.2 mm / 3" howitzer
Secondary  
MG 1: 7.62 mm DTMG
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 72, 72 - 115
Secondary  
MG 2,394
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm)  
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 10 - 13, 13
Turret Sides 13
Turret Rear 13
Turret Top 10
Engine (Make / Model) M-5 modified Aero
M-5 Aero
Bore / stroke  
Cooling Water
Cylinders 12, V-12
Capacity  
Net HP 350, 350@2,300 rpm
Power to weight ratio 30.4 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  
Max speed - tracks  
Max speed - wheels 69 mph
Speed - Cross Country  
Cross country speed - tracks 39 mph
Range - Road  
Road radius - tracks  
Road radius - wheels 187 miles
Cross country radius - tracks 125 miles
Turning radius 40'
Elevation limits -4° to +60°
Fording depth 3.98'
Trench crossing 8.85'
Vertical obstacle - wheels 8"
Vertical obstacle - tracks 29.8"
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type) Christie independent type
Wheels each side 4
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width - tire 2 x 3.95
Width - track 10.25"
Diameter 32.5"
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread 6.33'
  BT-DT
Crew 3
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 11.7 tons
Length 18'
Height 7.25'
Width 7.33'
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance  
Ground clearance - wheels 9"
Ground clearance - tracks 10.5"
Ground contact length 12'
Ground pressure 9.3 psi
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main  
Secondary  
MG 7.62 mm DTMG
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm)  
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) M-5 modified Aero
Bore / stroke  
Cooling Water
Cylinders V-12
Capacity  
Net HP 350@2,300 rpm
Power to weight ratio 30.4 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  
Max speed - tracks  
Max speed - wheels 69 mph
Speed - Cross Country  
Cross country speed - tracks 39 mph
Range - Road  
Road radius - tracks  
Road radius - wheels 187 miles
Cross country radius - tracks 125 miles
Turning radius 40'
Elevation limits  
Fording depth 3.98'
Trench crossing 8.83'
Vertical obstacle - wheels 8"
Vertical obstacle - tracks 29.8"
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type) Christie independent type
Wheels each side 4
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width - tire 2 x 3.95
Width - track 10.25"
Diameter 32.5"
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread 6.33'
  BT-5PK
Crew 3
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 11.7 tons
Length 18'
Height 7.25'
Width 7.33'
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance  
Ground clearance - wheels 9"
Ground clearance - tracks 10.5"
Ground contact length 12'
Ground pressure 9.3 psi
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 45 mm L/46
Secondary  
MG 7.62 mm DTMG
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 72
Secondary  
MG 2,394
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm)  
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) M-5 modified Aero
Bore / stroke  
Cooling Water
Cylinders V-12
Capacity  
Net HP 350@2,300 rpm
Power to weight ratio 30.4 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  
Max speed - tracks  
Max speed - wheels 69 mph
Speed - Cross Country  
Cross country speed - tracks 39 mph
Range - Road  
Road radius - tracks  
Road radius - wheels 187 miles
Cross country radius - tracks 125 miles
Turning radius 40'
Elevation limits -4° to +60°
Fording depth 3.98'
Trench crossing 8.85'
Vertical obstacle - wheels 8"
Vertical obstacle - tracks 29.8"
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type) Christie independent type
Wheels each side 4
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width - tire 2 x 3.95
Width - track 10.25"
Diameter 32.5"
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread 6.33'
  BT-IT
Crew 1
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 12.7 tons
Length With bridge: 21.33'
Height 7.25'
Width 7.33'
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance  
Ground clearance - wheels 9"
Ground clearance - tracks 10.5"
Ground contact length 12'
Ground pressure 10.4 psi
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main  
Secondary  
MG 7.62 mm DTMG
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG 2,394
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm)  
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  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) M-5 modified Aero
Bore / stroke  
Cooling Water
Cylinders V-12
Capacity  
Net HP 350@2,300 rpm
Power to weight ratio 30.4 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 -5° to +5°
Max speed  
Max speed - tracks  
Max speed - wheels 69 mph
Speed - Cross Country  
Cross country speed - tracks 5 mph
Range - Road  
Road radius - tracks  
Road radius - wheels 187 miles
Cross country radius - tracks 125 miles
Turning radius 40'
Elevation limits -5° to +5°
Fording depth 3.98'
Trench crossing 20'
Vertical obstacle - wheels 8"
Vertical obstacle - tracks 30"
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type) Christie independent type
Wheels each side 4
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width - tire 2 x 3.95
Width - track 10.25"
Diameter 32.5"
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread 6.33'
  BT-5-OT
Crew 2
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 11.6 tons
Length 18'
Height 7.25'
Width 7.33'
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance  
Ground clearance - wheels 9"
Ground clearance - tracks 10.5"
Ground contact length 12'
Ground pressure 9.3 psi
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main OT-130 Flame Gun
Secondary  
MG 7.62 mm DTMG
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 28.6 gallons
Secondary  
MG 2,394
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm)  
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) M-5 modified Aero
Bore / stroke  
Cooling Water
Cylinders V-12
Capacity  
Net HP 350@2,300 rpm
Power to weight ratio 30.4 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  
Max speed - tracks  
Max speed - wheels 69 mph
Speed - Cross Country  
Cross country speed - tracks 39 mph
Range - Road  
Road radius - tracks  
Road radius - wheels 187 miles
Cross country radius - tracks 125 miles
Turning radius 40'
Elevation limits -10° to +40°
Fording depth 3.98'
Trench crossing 6.85'
Vertical obstacle - wheels 8"
Vertical obstacle - tracks 30"
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type) Christie independent type
Wheels each side 4
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width - tire 2 x 3.95
Width - track 10.25"
Diameter 32.5"
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread 6.33'

Sources:

  1. Russian Tanks of World War II Stalin's Armored Might, by Tim Bean & Will Fowler, 2002
  2. Russian Tanks and Armored Vehicles 1917-1945, by Wolfgang Fleischer, 1999
  3. 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
  4. Tanks of the World, 1915-1945, Peter Chamberlain, Chris Ellis, 1972
  5. Airfix Magazine Guide 22 Russian Tanks of World War 2, John Milsom and Steve Zaloga, 1977
  6. Tanks of World War II, Duncan Crow, 1979
  7. Profile AFV Weapons 37 Russian BT Series, John F. Milsom, 1971
  8. The Illustrated Guide to Tanks of the World, George Forty, 2006
  9. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  10. Profile AFV Weapons, #47, Russian T34, by J. M. Brereton, Major Michael Norman, RTR, 1972
  11. Atlas of Tank Warfare From 1916 to the Present Day, Dr. Stephen Hart, 2012
  12. World War I and II Tanks, George Forty, 2012
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