TANK, WHO MET IN WARThe first meeting of these armored vehicles occurred in rebel Spain in 1936 to September this year, arrived at 41 German tank Pz-1. After a month on the boat “Komsomolets” was delivered 50 tanks T-26. In the first combat quarters revealed a considerable advantage of the Soviet machines. 45 mm gun 20K any range punched through Pz-1, which was the only spark 7.92-mm machine guns, dangerous for our machines – the T-26 was also more powerful.

In 1938, the Germans sent their new Pz-II, which had a 20-mm cannon and slightly increased armor. However, they are unable to fight with our tanks that hit them at ranges beyond one kilometer. Reply Pz-\ could only from a short distance, and with a successful hit.
By that time no other country had created a tank, is our T-26. “It was a great time for your tank: low silhouette, simple in manufacture and operation, for its size, well-armed and protected”, – noted in his “Encyclopedia of German tanks of the Second world war, 1933 – 1945” known military historian P. Chamberlain.
Light infantry tank T-26 was adopted in 1931, however, the serial production began only in 1933 work begins on this tank is the Decree of the Central Committee of the CPSU(b) “the state of defence of the USSR” of July 15, 1929, identified the need to develop new models of military equipment, including tanks. According to the plan of the revolutionary military Council of the army needed a tank that could “become the main striking force mobile units in terms of combat maneuver”. The armament of this tank was to provide him with “the superiority over all known combat vehicles of similar mass, and the reservation would protect from rifle and machine gun bullets at all distances, and at a distance of 1000 m from the fire 37-mm anti-tank guns”.
At that time, in the late 1920s – early 1930s, in the world there are two concepts of development tanks. So, the French gave preference to small low-speed support vehicles and heavy armored much needed to break through the defensive lines. At the same time, the British designed speed mainly light. They were ahead of the French in the reduction of the vulnerability of armored vehicles on the battlefield. In may 1930, the military experts of the office of mechanization and motorization of the red army, apparently believing the English concept more acceptable, has signed a contract with Vickers (“Vickers”) for the supply of 15 dwuhvalentnykh tanks “Vickers-6-ton”.
Two-towered T-26 early issues with a machine gun
Two-towered T-26 early issues with a machine gun
Tank T-26 with riveted hull and turret. Armed with 45 mm 20K gun and a 7.62 mm machine gun. Tank Museum, parola, Finland
Tank T-26 with riveted hull and turret. Armed with 45 mm 20K gun and a 7.62 mm machine gun. Tank Museum, parola, Finland
Cannon and machine-gun tank with a 37 mm cannon B-3 and 7.62-mm machine gun DT
Cannon and machine gun tank with a 37 mm cannon B-3 and 7.62-mm machine gun DT
These machines served as the prototype for the first versions of our tanks TMM-1 and TMM-2. The first tank of small capacity TMM-1 produced in 1931 as a modernized English version. He changed the hull design to accommodate a different engine American 6-cylinder Hercules (“Hercules”) with a capacity of 94 HP, He replaced English 4-cylinder 88-horsepower.
Except for the two tower 7,69-mm machine guns, “Vickers” (these were later replaced with 7.62-mm), in the hull right in a ball bearing mounted third 7.62-mm machine gun DT. Accordingly, the crew increased to four people.
Booking have increased, bringing the thickness of the frontal part of the body up to 20 mm, Board – up to 10 mm. as a result, the weight of the tank increased to 8 T.
Was made ten TMM-1.
TMM-2 were in one of the towers, the 37-mm gun, and the third a machine gun course was removed. Therefore, the crew was again reduced to three people.
The ARMOR piercing GUN B-3 (mm)
ARMOR piercing GUN B-3 (mm)
However, the conducted test tank did not show any advantages over the English “Wickersham”. On the contrary, revealed strong overheating of the American engine, which affected mobility and so over weighted machines, although reinforced armor not saved from artillery shells. Poorly working transmission and rotation mechanism. In September 1932 military experts refused to conduct further modernization of tanks TMM, sending production capacity by testing the tank under the T-26.
Meanwhile, the Leningrad plant “Bolshevik” since 1931, he released a two-tower machine-gun tanks in English drawings. The only difference from the prototype was that they were meant to be weapons machine-guns in ball launchers. By the end of 1931 was made 120 cars, but because of the low quality of any of them to pass the military Department initially failed. Only after long negotiations was taken according to various sources, 88 or 100 tanks, and 35 of them conditionally, as their hulls were of steel Bronevoy. However, in September the same year, the defence Committee approved the 1932 program of the issue of 3,000 pieces of T-26, though most of the production was still far from ready.
Linear gun tank T-26 mod. 1933 with cylindrical turret with 45-mm cannon. Right from the gun - embrasure machine gun, a workplace of the driver is on the starboard side.
Linear cannon tank T-26 mod. 1933 with cylindrical turret with 45-mm cannon. Right from the gun – embrasure machine gun, a workplace of the driver is on the starboard side.
Tower tank mod. 1933 In center breech the 45-mm gun and its mechanisms of crosstalk, to the right is the gun sight TOP, left of the gun - sight PT-1
Tower tank mod. 1933 In center breech the 45-mm gun and its mechanisms of crosstalk, to the right is the gun sight TOP, left of the gun – sight PT-1
In 1932 all tank production and development engineering Department (okmo) was transformed into the Leningrad state factory No. 174 named after K. E. Voroshilov, who became a long-term supplier T-26 in the army. In October, the people’s Commissariat of heavy engineering was founded “Trust the special mechanical engineering for a better organization of tank production”. It includes about 15 companies-subcontractors. Their number includes, in addition to the factory No. 174, Izhora plant, which produces the tank’s hull and turret: “Red October” producing gear boxes and propeller shafts; “Red Putilovets”, responsible for the supply of suspension; the factory No. 37-supplying boiler and tin wares and other nodes. To the production of engines was planned to attract Nizhny Novgorod automobile plant (future GAS) and Joint stock Moscow society (AMO, future ZIL).
By March 1933 the factory No. 174 managed to collect 1441 tank T-26, 950 of which immediately went into army units (according to others, by August 1933 released 1626 dwuhvalentnykh tanks).
Since the first release, the design of the T-26 was constantly made changes. So, in the autumn of 1931, it is higher cylindrical machine-gun tower with a viewing window. Then pushed the engine 0.77 m aft to improve its working conditions. However, for this I had to lengthen the driveshaft, and modify the output and mount the muffler. In the beginning of next year, replaced oil and fuel tanks. Over blinds vozdukhovody placed the box, which prevents the engine from rain.
Initially, the tank hull rivet – blind rivet 6 – 13 mm sheets were produced on the frame. But in the beginning of 1932, managed to produce 22 cars with welded hulls, although further in parallel continued to produce zennolaene hull and turret.
Light tank T-26
Light tank T-26:
1 – driving wheel; 2 – supporting the roll; 3 – 45-mm gun; 4 – periscopic sight; 5 – anti-aircraft machine gun DT; 6 – us input rod antenna; 7 – feed machine gun DT; 8 – spare support roller; 9 – air hood; 10 – guide wheel; 11 – bogie suspension; 12-vent; of 13.24-sapper spade; 14-axe; 15 – cover of the hatch to the neck of the gas tank; 16 – a box of ZIP; 17 – Jack; 18 – cover, magneto and alternator; 19 – cover to the filler necks oil and gasoline tanks; 20 – spare tracks; 21 – replacement spring; 22 – a cover of the hatch access to the engine; 23 – scrap; 25 – saw; 26 – cover for access to onboard friction clutches and the gearbox; 27 – the double cover of the driver’s hatch; 28 alarm; 29 – headlight; 30 – muffler; 31 – tow chain; 32 – blinds

Cannon and machine gun T-26 OBR 1932
Cannon and machine gun T-26 OBR 1932
Radio T-26 mod. 1936 with cylindrical tower
Radio T-26 mod. 1936 with cylindrical tower
Radio tank T-26 with porucnika antenna shortwave radio station 71-TK-1
Radio tank T-26 with porucnika antenna shortwave radio station 71-TK-1
The layout of the tanks was a classic at that time: engine in the rear, the transmission is found. On the turret box housing were two towers, mounted on ball bearings. They can rotate independently from each other in the sector 240°, but so that in the front and rear sectors equal to 100°, the fire could lead to both towers, providing simultaneous shooting from both sides.
The ball joints in the front of the towers housed a 7.62-mm machine gun DT-29. They had a maximum effective range of up to 1000 m at an effective range of 600 – 800 m; the combat firing rate was 100 RDS./min. machine Guns were filled disc shops with 63 bullets. Bullets in cartridges used armor-piercing, tracer, broadbandaccess. Ammunition – 6489 PCs 103 disks. Aiming guns carried quite simple – shoulder rest; the rotation of the tower was made of single-stage rotation mechanism.
Tower, the frontal part of the body, the sides had armor plates with a thickness of 13 mm, roof – 10 mm, bottom – 6 mm. In 1932 the thickness of armor increased to 15 mm. the weight of the tank reached 8.2 T.
The engine mounted T-26 – petrol 90-strong, 4-cylinder, air-cooling with a special fan, which allowed to develop the road speed to 32 km/h Specific power tank -11,2 HP/ton
The gas tank had a capacity of 182 litres of high-grade (at the time) of petrol at a cruising range of 140 km.
Power transmission consisted of single-disc main clutch of dry friction. Five-speed gearbox was placed in front of the tank – the propeller shaft from the engine passed through the housing; the shift lever was on the box itself.
Chassis had on Board two trucks, consisting of four dual rubber-covered rollers each. Truck is suspended on two chetvertellipticheskih leaf springs; rollers connected in pairs by the rocker. Drive wheels with removable crowns gear was the front. Track chain of hromonikelevoj steel or marginality – width 260 mm.
The crew of the machine gun T-26 consisted of three people: the driver, the arrow left of the tower and the commander, combining the functions of the arrow to the right tower.
In 1932, in parallel with machine-gun tanks began to produce two-tower machine-gun – now in the right tower installed gun “Guccis”; it was converted from a French naval gun model 1880 – option for the tank. Our artillery designer P. Syachentov perfected her shock and triggers: in this form it was adopted in 1920 under the index PS-1 (“Gun Syachentov-1”).
On the gun were the barrel is a monoblock with a length of 22,7 klb, vertical wedge bolt, spring lakatnik. In the vertical plane it suggests manually shoulder rest + within +30°, horizontal rotation of the tower.
The PERFORMANCE characteristics of the GUN 20K mod. 1934
The PERFORMANCE characteristics of the GUN 20K mod. 1934
Armor PENETRATION GUN 20K mod. 1934 SHELL BR-240СП (mm)
ARMOR piercing GUN 20K mod. 1934 SHELL BR-240СП (mm)
AMMUNITION GUN 20K mod. 1934
AMMUNITION GUN 20K mod. 1934
However, the gun had a low efficiency when firing as the infantry and armored targets – ammunition served solid cast-iron ordnance, iron and steel grenades and shrapnel. In 1932 its production was stopped.
In the same year, adopted under the name “37-mm anti-tank gun OBR. 1930,” index and factory 1 in adopted German gun 3,7-cm PaK 35/36. the company “Rheinmetall”. The same designer P. Syachentov developed the project of the installation of its suspension parts in the tank – get a tank gun PS-2. Based on was developed a new variant of the 37-mm gun, designated the B-3 (index – 5); it had less recoil and the size of nachalnika, allowing you to put it in a regular tower T-26.
Mass machine-gun of the tank has increased to 8.7 t at 15 mm frontal armor of the hull and sides. The ammunition rounds in this car was 113 units, 7.62 mm rounds – 3528 PCs
In may of 1932 to replace the 37-mm anti-tank gun took arms 45-mm gun mod. 1932 (index 20K), and later its upgraded version 20K. 1932/34 and armor penetration it had characteristics comparable to 37-mm and high-explosive shells 0-240 was much more powerful due to the increase of the explosive mass (22 g to 118 g). This allowed much more efficient to use the tank in combat manpower of the enemy, so – as cars and infantry support.
However, gun 20K had a relatively large size and would not fit in the existing towers T-26. This would introduce a balancing mechanism, the new linkage guidance, leaving the tower only one member of the crew. Therefore, in March 1933, the factory No. 174 on the housing of the T-26 set a new cylindrical tower with the outer diameter of 1320 mm with increased internal volume and feed niche formed by a continuation of the side sheets of the tower, as a counterweight; the niche was also used for stowage of ammunition.
In the roof of the tower there was a hatch for entry and exit of the crew in a recess of the hood to remove the gun.
Cannon, coaxial machine gun, placed on pins in the frontal part of the tower, with a massive mask. It had a barrel length of 46 klb (2070 mm) with a free replaceable pipe liner, vertical wedge bolt, protivootechnoy with the hydraulic brakes of the recoil spring recuperator. The length of the rollback was 245 – 275 mm.
Aiming the gun vertically was carried out sectoral mechanism with angles from -5° to +26° in the horizontal plane may be circular fire – turret rotation when a screw rotating mechanism. Gunner enjoyed a panoramic periscopic optical sight PT-1 arr. 1932 and a telescopic optical sight TOP arr., 1930 PT-1 had a reticle, designed to fire armor-piercing projectiles at ranges up to 3.6 km, high – to 2.3 km, coaxial machine gun – up to 1.6 km and TOP had the same grid, but is designed in the range of respectively up to 6.4 km, 3 km and 1 km Increase on both devices was 2.5 fold.
Gun 20K mod. 1932/34. the first series was semi – automatic only worked when firing armor-piercing projectiles. When firing high-explosive – was only automatically closing the breech after the insertion in the breech of the projectile, whereas the opening of the shutter and the extraction of the casings was done manually.
Unit T-26 before entering the staging area. Halkin-Gol, July 1939.
Unit T-26 before entering the staging area. Halkin-Gol, July 1939
A new semi-automatic inertial type and modified protivootecna-mi was able to establish only to 1935
Gun 20K of the T-26 was intended for firing at armored targets and artillery guns, the manpower of the enemy (the open and in shelters) as armor-piercing and high-explosive shells. She had a great on time performance characteristics. Thus, the maximum range of fire was 4200 m at a distance of direct shot 3600 m. armor-Piercing shell BR-240СП weight of 1.43 kg having an initial velocity of 760 m/s, at a distance of 500 m pierced the armor thickness of 45 mm, and 1500 m – 28 mm. the Rate of gun – 7 – 12 RDS./min.
Main ammo – armor-piercing: tracer BR-240, incendiary BRZ-240, caliber BR-240СП, as well as high-explosive and canister 0-240 U-240.
Ammunition of the tank consisted of 136 shots and 2898 machine-gun rounds in 46 stores. 84 shots were placed in the fighting compartment, 40 – were in a niche of the tower 12 directly in the tower by her sides. 40 gun shops housed in boxes on the hull floor, 6 on the right side of the tower in a special rack.
Case odnoletnego tanks differed little from the two-tower. Changed turret sheet on which was mounted offset to the left tower. The fighting compartment was supplied with a fan, putting it in the right part of the roof of the fighting compartment, because when shooting is unacceptable increased the concentration of carbon dioxide in the tank.
Since 1933 T-26 began to equip with radio 71-TK-1 (later – 71-TK-2, 71-TK-Z) with porucnika antenna. It’s a shortwave transmitter / receiver, telephone and Telegraph station, a receiver and a transmitter which is made in the form of separate blocks. To protect from shaking the transmitter and receiver were mounted on special racks with shock absorbers. The station allowed for joint work with tank intercom devices.
The range of communication by phone was 10 – 30 km on the move and up to 40 km in the Parking lot with the engine off. The transmitter was fed from the starter battery via umformer and could operate continuously for 30 minutes, after which was required a half-hour break for cooling. The receiver is operated from two dry-batteries, the anode voltage of 80 V each and alkaline batteries; the duration of work from one battery pack was 15 – 20 h Weight of radio – 60 kg.
Porucnika antenna was a loop of metal tube fixed around the tower on insulating brackets. However, as it turned out, in combat conditions the antenna unmasked ratifitsirovala command, and the enemy concentrated the fire of anti-tank weapons. In the course of further upgrades from this type of antenna was abandoned in favor of the male.
In 1935 the plant was entirely on the welded hull and turret, the gun mask were made by punching. In the same year at the rear of the tower for additional ball mount placed second machine gun DT. At the same time the ammunition was reduced to 102 shots.
Next year, the tanks got anti-aircraft DT machine gun in turret P-40 mounted on the turret roof. The mask was placed two powerful lights-spotlights “fighting the world”, intended for combat operations at night. Crossed the engine maximum power increased to 95 HP
In 1938, as a result of another modification of the tank appeared conical tower welded from rolled armor plates with a thickness of 15 mm it has set a 45-mm gun mod. 1938 with electronetwork allowed to fire ammunition with electrocapillary sleeve. The gun was supplied with a telescopic sight TOS, stabilized in the vertical plane. Put two fuel tanks with a total capacity of 290 litres, raising power reserve up to 240 km. In the bottom of the tank appeared in the escape hatch.
In 1939 he produced a turret box with sloped sheets, put new blinds with enhanced protection. Now have seized the tower aft machine gun, returned to the rear recess with the laying of shots. The engine is brought up to the power of 97 HP
1940 – last year, the 23rd modifications of T-26. This time tanks appeared 30 to 40 mm protective screens. They could withstand shells of 45-mm guns at a distance of 400 – 500 m. the thickness of the sheets turret boxes was increased to 20 mm, put in a new tower shoulder straps.
In all the years of serial production of tanks T-26 of various modifications were produced 11,218 units. In addition, produced on the same chassis FROM flamethrower tanks, armored personnel carriers TR, ST vehicle launched bridges, Shuttle conveyors TB, attachi T artillery self-propelled installation of the SU and at. As it turned out, the chassis was unified for the whole family of combat vehicles.
In the red Army T-26 participated in the operation to repel the attack of Japanese troops on the territory of the USSR near lake Khasan in July – August 1938, which operated more than 250 of these tanks.
The crew of T-26: left in the turret - the commander of the tank, right gunner, open the hatch - the driver. On the mask gun mounted lights spotlights for combat actions during the night
The crew of T-26: left in the turret – the commander of the tank, right gunner, open the hatch – the driver. On the mask gun mounted lights-floodlights for combat operations at night
In may – September 1939 T-26 was used in the resolution of the military conflict on the river Halkin-Gol. So, in a tank battalion of the 36th infantry division consisted of 50 cars. The 11th tank brigade was flame tank OT-26, in a separate tank company flamethrower tank – tanks-130.
In 1940 each infantry division were tank battalions with 54 cars T-26 (of them 15 – flamethrower). Each rifle regiment had a tank company with 17 tanks T-26. There was also legkodymova brigade, vooruzhenie which was BT or T-26. Tanks T-26 had 17 teams for 267 units. Was formed seven tank regiments with the T-26 for 164 machines each, which consisted of some motorized rifle and motorized divisions.
The composition of these parts of the T-26 tanks massively participated in the Soviet-Finnish war 1939 – 1940, showing good fighting qualities.
According to the publication “Strategic collection of number 1. The combat and numerical composition of the Armed Forces of the USSR during the great Patriotic war”, published in 1994, on June 1, 1941 in the red Army were more than 9998 tanks T-26 of all modifications (about 40% of the tank fleet of the army) of them serviceable – 8423 units with BT, they were the main tanks, resisted the advancing units of the German army in the initial period of the war, especially in battles near Moscow. And here, as in Spain, the German Pz-I and Pz-II, issue-even in recent years, could not match the level of our machines.
He graduated from his military service the T-26 in the Soviet Army. In the army units guarding in the war, our border with Japanese-occupied Manchuria, there are a lot of tanks T-26 and BT. These machines and participated in combat operations to defeat the Kwantung army of Japan in 1945
T-26 is quite consistent with its purpose. Its armament, maneuverability, the quality, the permeability of the fully conform to the current requirements for light infantry tanks. Anything equal, or even close, in any other country then was not.

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