T-50 light tank

T-50 light tank

In the 1930s, the T-26 was the only infantry escort tank in service with the Red Army. Main, cannonball version of this tank, put into service and produced from 1933 year, at the end of the decade, it no longer fully corresponded to the level of tank development that had been fully achieved. The increased power of anti-tank artillery did not make, that the T-26 with 15 mm armor had no chance of surviving on the battlefield. The experience of the battles in Spain has clearly shown this. Twenty-sixth, which easily dealt with the weakly armed tanks of the rebels, have become equally easy prey for their anti-tank guns. However, at that time all Soviet (and not only soviet) tanks, that did not have counter-armor, found themselves in a similar situation. In the age-old battle between armor and missile, the latter has gained a temporary victory.

Light tank “SP” (object 126):
1 – nest; 2 – about; 3 – periscope sight; 4 – machine gun DT; 5 – 20K gun; 6 – clearance light; 7 – roof hatch; 8 – flag signal hatch; 9 – antenna input; 10 – fan guard; 11 – signal; 12 – footrest; 13 – reflector; 14 – observation device; 15 – tower hatch; 16 – armor of the observation device; 17 – gearbox access hatch; 18 – shooting gap for personal weapons; 19 – the stopper of the DS machine gun shooting range; 20 – hatch for dismantling weapons.

Because 7 of August 1938 r. The Defense Committee of the USSR adopted the decree "On the tank armament system", which included the requirement to develop new tank models, which in less than a year – to July 1939 r. – would meet the conditions of a future war in terms of armaments, armor and maneuverability. In line with these requirements, the development of new tanks has started at several design offices.

At the Leningrad Experimental Machine Building Plant no 185 named them. S.M. Kirov, a team of designers under the leadership of SA Ginzburg designed the "SP" light infantry escort tank. In the summer 1940 year this tank – Object 126 (or T-126SP, as it is often called in special literature) – was made of metal. In terms of armor, it was the equivalent of the T-34 medium tank – its hull was welded from thick armor plates 45 mm, except the bottom and the roof 20 mm. Front, the upper and aft hull plates had inclination angles 40-57 °.

There was a driver's hatch in the upper front sheet. An observation device is mounted in its cover. On the left side of the hatch in a ball holder there was a DS-39 machine gun cal. 7,62 mm, from which the radio operator fired. There was also a monitoring device opposite his workplace. Two more devices were mounted on the front cheekbones.

The welded faceted turret housed a 45-mm model gun 1934 and the DT machine gun connected to it 7,62 mm. There was a rectangular landing hatch in the tower roof, and in the aft wall there is a round hatch for dismantling the gun. In the cover of this hatch and in the walls of the tower, holes for firing personal weapons were cut, closed with pear-shaped plugs. Four observation devices were placed along the perimeter of the tower roof, and in the hatch cover a command panorama was mounted. So, in terms of visibility, the object 126 left far behind the T-34.

The tank was equipped with a V-3 engine – 6-cylinder version ("Half", as they sometimes say) diesel V-2. With power 250 KM allowed the 17-ton combat vehicle to reach speeds of up to 35 km / h. Fuel tanks capacity 340 liters provided coverage on the highway to 270 km.

The undercarriage of the tank consisted of six small diameter non-rubberized double road wheels on each side, three rubber-free support rollers, rear drive wheel and rubber-free guide wheel. The road wheels were internally amortized. Crawler chain – tiny links, pin engagement with an open hinge. A feature of the car's chassis was a torsion bar suspension.

In the hull of the tank, next to the gunner-radio operator's place, there was a 71-TK-3 radio with a whip antenna. The load of cannon and machine gun ammunition consisted of 150 cartridges and 4250 pieces of ammunition (the same rifle cartridges were used in DT and DS machine guns).

W 1940 Year, the tank performed well in factory and military trials. The state commission, however, proposed reducing the weight of the vehicle to 13 tons by reducing the thickness of the armor from 45 do 37 mm. There was also a shortage of jobs for crew members. They tried to eliminate the last drawback of the second tank sample – the DS-39 machine gun was withdrawn, and its shooting range was closed with an armored bolted cover. In addition, steps have been taken to reduce track wear, replacing non-rubber track rollers with rubber ones. Such a modified machine is sometimes referred to in the literature as T-127.

In the fall 1940 year object 126 was transferred to the Leningrad Machine-Building Plant no 174 im. K.E. Voroshilov, where on its basis in a short time – a month and a half – a group of designers under the general supervision of I.S. Bushneva and L.S. Troyanova developed a new version. light tank – object 135 (not to be confused with the T-34-85). S.A. Ginzburg i G.V. Gudkov took an active part in the project. According to other sources, the machine was developed in parallel with Object 126 and was preferred due to its better tactical and technical characteristics. In January 1941 of the year, the tank was made of metal. After successfully passing factory and state tests under the T-50 index in February 1941 r. He was adopted by the Red Army.

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