T-26S Model 1939 Light Tank

T-26S Model 1939 Light Tank


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Russian Tanks of World War II, Stalin's Armoured Might, Tim Bean and Will Fowler. A good overview of the development of Soviet Tanks from the early models based on British and American originals to the excellent Russian designed T-34 and the heavy IS tanks. Bean and Fowler also look at the development of Soviet tank doctrine, the impact of Stalin's purges on the tank forces, and their use in combat from the small-scale clashes in the Far East to the apocalyptic fighting on the Eastern Front between 1941-45. A little lacking on precise details of the sub-variants of some of the tanks, but otherwise very good.


Well Traveled – The Soviet T-26 Fought Nearly Everywhere – (25 PHOTOS)

This light tank became famous for being the most mass military produced machine of the Red Army before the Great Patriotic War. Over the years of production 1931-1941, more than 11,000 T-26 tanks were made. Despite numerous shortcomings, this tank continued to be used until 1960. Often, tactics and numerical superiority compensated for weak points.

The T-26 was based on the English tank Vickers Mk.E, which the USSR acquired in 1930. The main advantage of this tank was its low weight, ease of maintenance and cheapness in production. During the year, Soviet specialists developed the technology of production and in February 1931 began mass production.

1933 T-26 model at the museum “Breaching of the Leningrad Blockade” near Kirovsk, Leningrad Oblast. This tank was raised from a river bottom at Nevsky Pyatachok in May 2003.

During the existence of the T-26, many times it was changed and modified. As a result, several variants of this tank were created. The first tanks had two towers.

It should be noted that the two-tower version of the T-26 had a significant disadvantage. The fact is that during battle the barrels of the 37 mm cannon of the right tower and the machine gun DT-29 of the left towers often prevented each other from firing. This contributed to the appearance of single-tower modifications. In addition, the first modifications did not have a radio link. The basic means of external communication on the T-26 was flag signaling.

Before the Great Patriotic War, the T-26 was one of the main tanks of the Soviet Army. However, it became easy prey because of the lack of radio and slow speed.

A column of T-26 mod. 1939 and T-26 mod. 1933 light tanks from the 20th Tank Brigade move towards a front line. The Western Front, Battle of Moscow. December 1941.

After the appearance of anti-tank rifles, the thin armored T-26 completely lost its effectiveness. This contributed to the creation of the last version with additional armor. One of the small advantages of the T-26 was the rear location of the fuel tank and engine.

In 1936, 281 T-26 tanks were sent to Spain to participate in the civil war. However, the most intensive use of the T-26 occurred during the Soviet-Finnish war and at the very beginning of the Great Patriotic War. At that time, the T-26 was the most numerous tank of the Red Army.

A T-26 operated by Republican forces during the Battle of Brunete in 1937.

In 1941, the T-26 could effectively fight only with lightweight Wehrmacht tanks. Basically, this list included light tanks that did not have any serious weapons. In June 1941, the T-26 had excellent results in battles against tanks like the Pz.I, Pz.II, Pz.35 (t) and Pz.38 (t), as well as medium tanks Pz.III. Another minor advantage of the T-26 was its large storage of ammunition and provided decent infantry support.

Despite this, during the first months of the Great Patriotic War, many of these tanks were lost. In particular, this was due to the fact that most of the T-26s were in poor condition.

On October 28, 1941, at the disposal of the Red Army, there were only 50 serviceable T-26 tanks. Soon it was decided to replace it with modern tanks. The last time the T-26 was used was 1945 in Manchuria, against the Kwantung Army.

British soldiers curiously inspecting a T-26 battle tank of the Soviet occupation forces after their rendezvous in Iran. Sunday, August 31, 1941.

Finnish soldiers, some in snow camouflage, inspecting an abondoned Soviet T-26 tank after the Battle of Raate road during the Winter War.

Maintenance of the T-26 mod. 1931 (with riveted hull and turrets). This tank was produced in the first half of 1932—the exhaust silencer is mounted with two clamps and the cover over the air outlet window. The Moscow Military District. Mid-1934.

Soviet light infantry tank T-26 captured by German Wehrmacht.Photo BreTho CC BY-SA 4.0

Soviet produced T-26 light tank captured and used by the Finnish.Photo thy CC BY 2.0

Soviet T-26 light tanks and GAZ-A trucks of the Soviet 7th Army during its advance on the Karelian Isthmus, December 2, 1939.

Soviet T-26 model 1933 tank, in Finnish markings, displayed in Finnish Tank Museum.Photo Balcer CC BY 2.5

Soviet T-26 model 1933 tank.Photo Balcer CC BY 2.5

Soviet T-26 tank at Kollaanjoki in Winter War.

Soviet-type T-26 lightweight tank.Photo FORTEPAN CC BY-SA 3.0

T-26 ‘3’ – Patriot Museum, Kubinka.Photo Alan Wilson CC BY-SA 2.0

T-26 mod. 1931 with riveted hull and turrets. Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War in Moscow, Russia.

T-26 mod. 1931 with the A-43 welded turret developed by N. Dyrenkov. The ball mount for the DT tank machine gun is visible. Leningrad, 1933.

T-26 mod. 1933. El Goloso Museum in Madrid, Spain. Photo Catalan CC BY 3.0

T-26 mod. 1933. Parola Tank Museum, Finland.Photo Balcer CC BY 2.5

T-26 tanks of Chinese Nationalist Army during WW2

Twin-turreted T-26 (with the 37 mm Hotchkiss gun (PS-1) in the right turret), equipped with the radio station No. 7N and the hand-rail frame antenna on the hull. Military exercises. 1934.

Twin-turreted T-26 mod. 1931 with riveted hull and turrets, armed with the 37 mm Hotchkiss gun (PS-1) in the right turret. Battle of Tolvajärvi. December 1939.

Finnish tank T-26 (in fact, a wartime modification of the Soviet flamethrowing tank KhT-26, with BT-5 tank turret, brought up to T-26 M.1933 standard), displayed in Finnish Tank Museum.Photo Balcer CC BY 2.5

Interior of T-26 mod. 1933 turret, looking forward at the 45 mm 20K tank gun breech. The TOP-1 telescopic sight is to the left, and the coaxial DT tank machine gun and PT-K commander panoramic sight is to the right.Photo Balcer CC BY 2.5

Interior of T-26 mod. 1933 turret. Ammunition stowage is on the left side. The side observation device is visible, as is the revolver porthole, which is closed with a plug. Parola Tank Museum in Finland.Photo Balcer CC BY 2.5


AFV PLANS / AFV Blueprints / Tank Plans / Tank Blueprints



These Scale Drawings are available at $2.00 each, with a minimum order of $10.00 (5 dwgs). Payment should be made out to George Bradford by personal check, money order, or cash, and must be in US or Canadian dollars (for those wishing to send other foreign currencies, please email me first) PLEASE NOTE: No Paypal

1:35 ROMANIAN AFV PLANS
Code & Vehicle Name
RO1 = Maresal M-05 (Hetzer type)
RO2 = TACAM R-2 Tank Hunter
RO3 = TACAM T-60A Tank Hunter
RO4 = R-2 Light Tank
RO5 = R-1 Tankette

1:35 AUSTRALIAN AFV PLANS
Code & Vehicle Name
AU1 = Sentinel AC1, Cruiser Tank
AU2 = Scorpion AC3, CS Tank
AU3 = AC4 prototype with 17pdr gun
AU4 = Carrier MG LP No. 2
AU5 = M113A1 MRV
AU6 = M113A1 LRV (Vietnam)
AU7 = M113A1 LRV (Somalia)
AU8 = "Dingo" Scout Car

1:35 NEW ZEALAND AFV PLANS
Code & Vehicle Name
NZ1 = M113A1 LRV uparmored (Bosnia)
NZ2 = Schofield Tank
NZ3 = Beaverette Mk.II
NZ4 = M3A1 Stuart Hybrid
NZ5 = NZ Pattern Wheeled Carrier
NZ6 = Bob Semple tank
NZ7 = Schofield Tank Mk.I

1:35 RUSSIAN AFV PLANS
Code & Vehicle Name
R1 = T-26 Model 1931 Light Tank
R2 = OT-26 Flamethrower Tank
R3 = T-26 Model 1933 Light Tank
R4 = T-26TU Model 1933 Command Tank
R5 = T-26 Model 1933 Light Tank
R6 = T-26A Artillery Support Tank
R7 = OT-130 Flamethrower Tank (late version)
R8 = T-26S Model 1937 Light Tank
R9 = T-26S Model 1939 Light Tank
R10 = ASU-57, Airborne 57mm Assault Gun
R11 = ASU-85, Airborne 85mm Assault Gun
R12 = BA-64B, Model 1943 Light Armored Car
R13 = T-44 (Production Model)
R14 = BT-5, (Model 1934 Fast Tank)
R15 = BT-7, (Model 1937 Fast Tank)
R16 = SU-122 (Model 1943)
R17 = T-60 Light Tank
R18 = KV-1 s Ekranami
R19 = T-34 Model 1940 w. F-ll gun
R20 = KV-85 Heavy Tank
R21 = AMB-S tracked ambulance
R22 = KV-1s Heavy Tank
R23 = BA-20V Command A/Car (1935)
R24 = T-34/76 Model 1942/43 w. "hardedge" turret
R25 = T-34/76 Model 1943 w. ChKZ turret
R26 = IS-2 turret & glacis only
R27 = KV-2 early & late, turrets only
R28 = 2S1 (SO-122) "Gvosdika"
R29 = BA-6 Medium A/Car (1935)
R30 = T-40 Ampibious Light Tank (1940)
R31 = T-38 Amphibious Light Tank (1937)
R32 = BMP-1 IFV
R33 = BTR-40 Recon Scout Car
R34 = Komsomoletz
R35 = SU-76 SPG (early)
R36 = SU-76 SPG (late)
R37 = SU-76i SPG on Pz.III
R38 = ZIS-42 Half-Track
R39 = T-27A Tankette
R40 = T-24 Medium (1932)
R41 = FAI-M Armored Car
R42 = BT-2 (M1932) Fast Tank
R43 = T-50 Light Tank
R44 = BA-27 (1928) Armored Car
R45 = BA-27M (1931) Armored Car
R46 = BA-10M (1939) Armored Car
R47 = Benz-Mgebrov Armored Car
R48 = Garford-Putilov Armored Car
R49 = Austin-Putilov Armored Car
R50 = Austin-Kegresse Half-Track
R51 = KV-1 model 1941 (welded) Heavy Tank
R52 = KV-1 model 1941 (cast turret) Heavy Tank
R53 = KV-13 prototype
R54 = KV-8 Flamethrower tank
R55 = BMP-3 ICV
R56 = 2S9 SPH/Mortar
R57 = T-34/76 model 1943 with cupola
R58 = KV-1C model 1942 with cast turret
R59 = SU-101 SPG prototype
R60 = T-70 Light Tank

1:35 CZECH AFV PLANS
Code & Vehicle Name
CZ1 = LT vz. 34 (P-II-R) Light Tank
CZ2 = LT vz. 35 (T-11) Light Tank
CZ3 = LT vz. 38 (TNH-P) Light Tank
CZ4 = PA-3, OA vz.27 Armored Car
CZ5 = TNH n.A. Light Recon Tank
CZ6 = OT-810 halftrack APC

1:35 ISRAELI AFV PLANS
Code & Vehicle Name
IS1 = M51HV "Isherman"
IS2 = Upgraded Centurion "Sh'ot" (Mk 5 w. 105mm gun)
IS3 = M50 Mark II, "Super Sherman"
IS4 = Merkava Mk. 2
IS5 = PUMA Combat Engineer
IS6 = Achzarit Heavy APC

1:35 EGYPTIAN AFV PLANS
Code & Vehicle Name
EG1 = M4/FL10 (Sherman hybrid)
EG2 = T34/122
EG3 = Walid APC

1:35 SOUTH AFRICAN AFV PLANS
Code & Vehicle Name
SA1 = Eland-60 Armored Car
SA2 = Eland-90 Mk. 5 Armored Car
SA3 = Rooikat 76mm Armoured Car
SA4 = Rooikat 105mm Armoured Car
SA5 = Rooikat 35mm Armoured Car
SA6 = Marmon-Herrington Mk. II A/Car
SA7 = Marmon-H Mk. II A/Car fitted with 20mm Breda
SA8 = Marmon-Herrington Mk.IV A/Car
SA9 = Marmon-Herrington Mk.I A/Car
SA10 = Marmon-Herrington Mk.III A/Car
SA11 = Marmon-Herrington Mk.VI A/Car
SA12 = Mamba Mk.2 APC

1:35 BELGIAN AFV PLANS
Code & Vehicle Name
BE1 = JPK Jagdpanzerkanone 4-5 (Belgian variant)
BE2 = SP 47mm gun
BE3 = T13B3 SP 47mm gun
BE4 = T15 Light Tank

1:35 FINNISH AFV PLANS
Code & Vehicle Name
FN1 = BT-42/114 Assault Tank
FN2 = ITPSV/Landsverk 40 Anti II

1:35 SWEDISH AFV PLANS
Code & Vehicle Name
SW1 = Strv m/37 Tankette
SW2 = Strv m/41 Light Tank
SW3 = Sav m/43 Assault Gun
SW4 = Pbv 301 APC


HT-130 Chemical Tank

As T-26 production continued, avenues into improving the support vehicles of the Red Army were explored. When the T-26 Model 1933 was introduced, Factory 174 immediately started to explore new avenues on converting the tanks into chemical warfare tanks. A prototype T-26 Model 1933 was taken, its 45 mm (1.77 in) gun was removed and a KS-25 flamethrower was installed in its place in the mantlet, which itself was redesigned.

A HT-130’s turret mantlet. Notice the KS-25 flamethrower on the left hand of the mantlet, and a ball mounted DT-29 machine gun on the right. Also notice the armored caps for the refueling of the main weapon on the left hand of the tank’s hull.
On the left-hand side of the tank, two canisters with a combined capacity of 360L were situated, with a mixture of kerosene and oil, with two armored caps on the hull roof for refueling. The maximum range of this flame unit was reduced to 25 m. However, 40 shots could be fired in 5-second bursts.

A combat photograph of a HT-130 discharging a wall of flame. This is likely a propaganda photograph, and not likely to be a picture of a HT-130 in combat.
HT-130 production began in 1936 and ended in 1939 after 401 units were manufactured. Radio controlled versions of these tanks were experimentally tested during the late 1930s that culminated in live fire trials of radio controlled HT-130 tanks engaging Finnish forces during the Winter War.
At least one example of a standard T-26 upgraded to HT-130 standard exists. The tank in question was a Model 1935 with softer edges on the gun mantlet. The tank evidently was used in the radio controlled experiments, as it has two radio ports in the turret. The 45 mm gun was removed from the turret, leaving just the external gun sleeve. In its place, a KS-24 from an HT-26 was placed in the turret. This tank was lost in Ukraine along with other radio controlled tanks.

The T-26 in the foreground had, in fact, been upgraded to the HT-130 standard by removing the 45 mm gun and putting the KS-24 flamethrower in its place. Notice that all of these tanks have two radio antenna ports for radio controlled tanks. These tanks are a mixture of HT-130s and T-26s.


Soviet-Japanese border wars 1938-1939 [ edit | edit source ]

The first military operation of the RKKA in which T-26 light tanks participated was the Soviet-Japanese border conflict, the Battle of Lake Khasan in July 1938. The Soviet tank force consisted of the 2nd Mechanized Brigade and two separate tank battalions (the 32nd and the 40th). These included 257 T-26 tanks (with 10 KhT-26 flame-throwing tanks), 3 ST-26 bridge-laying tanks, 81 BT-7 light tanks, and 13 SU-5-2 self-propelled guns. The 2nd Mechanized Brigade had new command staff as 99% of its previous command staff (including brigade commander A.P. Panfilov) were arrested as "enemies of the nation" three days before marching off. That had an adverse effect on brigade actions during the conflict (for example, its tanks spent 11 hours to finish 45-km march because of ignorance of the route). During the assault of the Japanese-held Bezymyannaya and Zaozernaya bald mountains, Soviet tanks met with a well organized antitank defense. As a result, 76 T-26 tanks were damaged and 9 burnt. After the end of combat operations, 39 of these tanks were restored in tank units and others were repaired in workshop conditions. ⎞] There were only 33 T-26s, 18 KhT-26 flame-throwing tanks and 6 T-26T artillery tractors in tank units of the 57th Special Corps on 1 February 1939. For comparison, the corps had 219 BT tanks. The situation with the T-26 remained as before in July 1939: the 1st Army Group, which participated in the Battle of Khalkhin Gol in Mongolia, had only 14 T-26s (in the 82nd Rifle Division) and 10 KhT-26 flame-throwing tanks (in the 11th Tank Brigade). The amount of T-26 tanks (flame-throwing variants mainly) increased somewhat in time for combat actions in August, but they always remained a small fraction of all tanks that participated in the conflict. Nevertheless, the T-26s were used extensively in action. The T-26 proved to be a very good tank during the Battle of Khalkhin Gol according to army reports: its cross-country capability in desert conditions was excellent and, despite thin armour (which was easily penetrated by Japanese 37 mm guns ⎟] ), the T-26 exhibited high survivability. Some T-26 tanks continued to fight after several 37 mm hits and did not catch fire, as happened more frequently with BT tanks. ⎠]


T-26 Model 1939 Light Tank

T-26 Model 1939 Light Tank

Very fine resin WW II military vehicle kit, in 1/56 scale (28mm). Needs to be assembled and painted. Crew figure and stowage included.

The T-26 tank was a Soviet light infantr.

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T-26 Model 1939 Light Tank

Very fine resin WW II military vehicle kit, in 1/56 scale (28mm). Needs to be assembled and painted. Crew figure and stowage included.

The T-26 tank was a Soviet light infantry tank used during many conflicts of the 1930s and in World War II. It was a development of the British Vickers 6-Ton tank and was one of the most successful tank designs of the 1930s until its light armour became vulnerable to newer anti-tank guns. It was produced in greater numbers than any other tank of the period, with more than 11,000 manufactured. During the 1930s, the USSR developed 53 variants of the T-26, including flame-throwing tanks, combat engineer vehicles, remotely controlled tanks, self-propelled guns, artillery tractors, and armoured carriers. Twenty-three of these were series-produced, others were experimental models.

The T-26 model 1939 (T-26-1) has underturret box with sloped armoured plates, rear machine gun removed on some tanks, 97 hp engine. Tanks built after 1940 were equipped with an underturret box made from 20 mm homogeneous armour, a unified observation device, and a new turret ring. Some tanks were equipped with armoured screens. About 1,975 T-26 tanks with a conical turret (T-26 mod. 1938, T-26 mod. 1939) were produced.


The T-26 Model 1939

The Model 1939 was the last main production series of the T-26, with some 1,300 vehicles manufactured until 1940.

During the course of the war in Finland, it quickly became apparent that the T-26 was too thinly armored to resist contemporary anti-tank guns, or even modern anti-tank rifles.

The model retails for $25.00   CAD , and comes with a crew figure and an assortment of stowage. It is available through the JTFM Enterprises/Die Waffenkammer webstore.

There will be a further seven new models added to the Die Waffenkammer early-war Russian line-up.

Stay Tuned!

Text edited by Editor Hebber
Graphics edited by Editor Hebber
Scheduled by Editor in Chief Bill


Layout

The layout of the Panzer 39 was like that of many other tanks of the time, with the engine being in a separate compartment to the rear and the crew compartment ahead of it, with a rotating turret on top of the vehicle.

The armor was 32 mm on the front of the hull and turret, with 15 mm on the sides and 8 mm on the rear of the tank.

The crew consisted of 3 men, a driver, a gunner for the main gun as well as the coaxial 7.5 mm LMG 1925 located on the left of the main gun. He was also, presumably, meant to load the main gun. Lastly, there was the tank commander whose job was to not only command the vehicle but also operate the radio and man the commander’s MG, a model 1938 7.5 mm Panzerwagen Maschinengewehr which was located on the right-hand side of the main gun in an independent ball mount.

Close up of the front of a Panzer 39. The two Pzw Mg 38s in the hull and next to the 24 mm Pzw K 38 main gun are visible. Source: Author’s own

Who would have operated the hull-mounted Pzw Mg 38 is not known, although it can be assumed that the gunner could also get into the MG position next to the driver if the need occurred.

Typical to CKD tanks of the time, the Panzer 39 had 4 large road wheels on each side, connected in pairs to a leaf-spring suspension. The drive wheel and transmission were in the front of the vehicle.

It could reach a top speed of 45 km/h on-road with a range of 200 km and 20 km/h off-road with a range of 120 km.

Close-ups of the suspension and engine deck. Source: Author’s own. Rear of the turret. The distinctive CH designation which has been added to every Panzer 39 since 1941 is visible. – source: Author

The main gun was derived from the 24 mm Tankbüchse 41 manufactured by W+F Bern. It had a clip size of 6 rounds and was a single-shot weapon. It could penetrate 43 mm of armor at a range of 150 meters with an initial shell velocity of 900 m/s for the armor-piercing shell. It could fire Armor Piercing (AP) rounds, as well as High-Explosive (HE) rounds, Tracer rounds, Training rounds with or without Tracer as well as Dummy rounds.

The 24 mm Tb. 41 and its muzzle. Source: Team-Pak.ch & Author


World War II Database


ww2dbase The T-26 light tanks were developed by the OKMO of Bolshevik Factory in Leningrad, Russia based on the British firm Vickers-Armstrongs' Mk. E 6-ton light tank design, purchased by Russia in 1930. Production began on 26 Jan 1931, and the first examples entered service on 13 Feb. As time went on in the 1930s, the T-26 design slowly grew apart from the original British design. In 1931, the machine gun turrets' firing ports were converted from their original circular shape to a rectangular shape in order to better accommodate Degtyarev machine guns. In Mar 1932, air intake systems were upgraded to deal with snow. In 1933, the T-26 Model 1933 variant design was unveiled, which upgraded the design's primary weapon from two machine guns to a single 37-millimeter cannon or, more commonly, a single 45-millimeter cannon. Through the 1930s, T-26 tanks received armor upgrades.

ww2dbase On 15 Oct 1936, 50 T-26 Model 1933 light tanks arrived in Spain to aid the Republic forces in the Spanish Civil War this was the first of many shipments of T-26 tanks that eventually total 281 vehicles. In response, Germany delivered tanks to the Spanish Nationalists weeks later. T-26 tanks first saw combat in Spain on 29 Oct 1936. These tanks were found to be far superior to German and Italian light tanks used by the Nationalists, but they were still vulnerable to infantry and towed anti-tank guns. Experiences acquired by the Russians during the Spanish Civil War contributed greatly to the improvement of Russian tank warfore doctrine in the late 1930s.

ww2dbase In Nov 1937, Chinese delegate to Russia Ji Yang negotiated a deal in which Russia would sell 88 T-26 Model 1933 light tanks and 20 BT-5 or BA combat vehicles to China, plus a generous credit line for various supplies. The vehicles arrived in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China in spring 1938, and were assigned shortly after to the Nationalist Chinese 200th Infantry Division. These Chinese T-26 light tanks would later participate in the Battle of Lanfeng in 1938, the Battle of Kunlun Pass in 1939, and the Battle of Yunnan-Burma Road in the Burma campaign in 1942.

ww2dbase In 1938, the T-26 Model 1937 was introduced with thicker frontal armor. In 1939, the T-26S variant design was introduced, replaceing riveted armor with welded armor to provide better armor protection.

ww2dbase T-26 light tanks played important roles during the Battle of Khalkhin Gol in 1939, where General Georgi Zhukov effectively deployed T-26 light tanks and infantry in cooperation and defeated the Japanese.

ww2dbase In Sep 1939, Russia jointly invaded Poland with Germany during the opening chapter of the European War. At this time, the Russian Army had about 8,500 T-26 light tanks in service, which represented the majority of the entire Russian Army armored force 878 T-26 tanks crossed into Poland from Belorussia and 797 crossed from Ukraine. Only 15 tanks were lost during the Polish campaign, but 302 were put out of commission due to mechanical failures.

ww2dbase During the Winter War with Finland in 1939-1940, the Russian Army fielded over 6,000 tanks, a large number of which were T-26 light tanks. They performed poorly against Finnish Army infantry this was largely attributed to poor tank-infantry coordination. Many tanks, including T-26 tanks, were captured by Finnish forces and pressed into service.

ww2dbase In Jun 1941, when Germany invaded Russia, the Russian Army had 10,268 T-26 light tanks. By this time, the T-26 design was becoming obsolete in the face of more modern German Panzer III and Panzer IV tanks. By the end of 1941, a great number of T-26 tanks were captured or destroyed. The captured examples were put back into German service in the roles of artillery tractors, self-propelled guns, and infantry support very few of the captured T-26 tanks were used as front line battle tanks.

ww2dbase 1,272 T-26 light tanks participated in Operation August Storm at the end of the war in Asia, which saw Russian forces attacking Japanese positions in the Manchurian region of Northeast China.

ww2dbase Production of T-26 light tanks ceased in 1941. By that time, 10,300 tanks were built.

ww2dbase After WW2, the Nationalist Chinese T-26 light tanks saw action in the Chinese Civil War many of them were destroyed, but a few were captured by the Communists in 1949. In Finland, T-26 light tanks captured by Finnish forces during the Winter War and Continuation War remained in service until 1961. The Spanish inventory of over 100 captured Republican T-26 light tanks were in service until 1954. Turkey purchased 63 T-26 light tanks from Russia in 1935, but had already retired them from service in 1942.

ww2dbase Source: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Sep 2009

26 Jan 1931 Production of T-26 light tanks began in Bolshevik Factory in Leningrad, Russia.
13 Feb 1931 The first T-26 light tanks entered Soviet military service.
15 Oct 1936 50 Soviet T-26 Model 1933 light tanks arrived in Spain to aid the Republic forces in the Spanish Civil War.
29 Oct 1936 T-26 tanks saw their first combat action in Spain.

T-26 Model 1933

MachineryOne 6,600cc 4-cylinder air-cooled T-26 engine rated at 90hp
SuspensionLeaf quarter-elliptic springs
Armament1x45mm 20K mod. 1932/34 tank gun (122 rounds), 1x7.62mm DT machine gun
Armor6mm bottom, 6-10mm top, 15mm hull, 15mm turret
Crew3
Length4.65 m
Width2.44 m
Height2.24 m
Weight9.6 t
Speed16 km/h off-road 31 km/h on-road
Range130 km off-road 240 km on-road

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Bill says:
8 Aug 2010 09:32:01 AM

The T-26 Light Infantry Tank, was developed
in the 1930's, from the British Vickers Design.
More than 11,000 were built, and was exported
to many countries. At the start of the German
invasion, June 22,1941 the T-26 suffered heavy losses against German armor.

The tank was phased out of front-line service and replace by newer designs. However, some T-26 tanks were still in service with Soviet forces in Manchuria in
1945.
The survivors were passed on to the Communist Chinese.
Few T-26 Tanks survive today, but a few are
in Museums in Russia, Finland and Spain.

2. Bill says:
17 Nov 2010 12:16:08 PM

The T-26A Model 1931 Light Tank had two
turrets and was limited for up-gunning the
the design.
T-26 Model 1933 carried a much larger turret
armed with a 1x45mm gun, and 1x7.62mm machine
gun. Carried a three man crew. Was powered
by a GAZ 8 cylinder gas engine of 91hp with
a range of 200km/124miles.

3. Alan Chanter says:
28 May 2014 09:13:24 AM

During the Spanish Civil War the 65 T26Bs proved so succesful when pitted against the Nationalist's Panzer Is and CV33s, being invulnerable to their machine-guns, that the Condor Legion offered rewards for the capture of T26 tanks for their own use.

4. Bill says:
27 Oct 2015 02:20:54 PM

Another Soviet tank not described here, is the BT
Series of Fast Tanks. BT tank production started in 1935 this vehicle used engineering design and plans based on the American engineer Walter Christie. One of its more advanced features for the tank, the crew could remove the tracks and drive at speed on its road wheels on paved roads

In 1930 Soviet agents in New York were able to get the plans along with two (2) Christie M1931 tank chassis without turrets and ship them back to the USSR. Shipping documents described them as agricultural tractors, arrived in the USSR and were shipped to the KhPZ Factory in Kharkov production started in 1932.

Armament was 1 x 45mm main gun w/146 rds. of ammo. Secondary armament was 2 x 7.62mm DT machine guns w/2,394 rounds, not counting the crews personal weapons.

The BT was powered by model M-5, 400hp engine
w/speed of 44mph/72Km/h. During the German invasion of the USSR in June 1941 the Red Army suffered heavy losses in the field against German armor many were lost due to enemy action or mechanical brake downs. By 1942 many BT's were withdrawn from front-line service.

All visitor submitted comments are opinions of those making the submissions and do not reflect views of WW2DB.


Japanese tanks of WW2

The Japanese tank design never really evolved out of the 1930s. If you look at the tanks they had in the mid-thirties they were not too far off the pace compared to many other countries. However, by the mid-forties they were clearly well behind the pace.

They largely got away with it because so much of their army was focused on fighting China - this led to a mentality in army thinking that was dominated by the goal of "what do we need to do to beat the Chinese". The Chinese had a major deficiency in tanks for much of the war and those that they did have were often very poorly maintained and usually outnumbered by the Japanese.

The British, Americans, Russians and Germans in the European theatre fought each other in what became a tanks arms race of sorts. The Germans developing Panthers and Tigers in response to the soviet T34 and KV1, which in turn led to the British and Americans looking to develop better armour to counter the Tigers and Panthers.

But what did the Japanese primarily face - a few broken down T26s in China and small penny packets of hand-me-down tanks used by the British in the early stages of the SE Asian campaign etc (often used in terrain where tanks found it difficult to operate). Hardly made the development of better armour a priority for them. It wasn't really until 1944/45 that they started encountering larger numbers of more modern British, American (and eventually Russian) tanks. By that time it was too late to do much about it.

Leftyhunter

The Japanese tank design never really evolved out of the 1930s. If you look at the tanks they had in the mid-thirties they were not too far off the pace compared to many other countries. However, by the mid-forties they were clearly well behind the pace.

They largely got away with it because so much of their army was focused on fighting China - this led to a mentality in army thinking that was dominated by the goal of "what do we need to do to beat the Chinese". The Chinese had a major deficiency in tanks for much of the war and those that they did have were often very poorly maintained and usually outnumbered by the Japanese.

The British, Americans, Russians and Germans in the European theatre fought each other in what became a tanks arms race of sorts. The Germans developing Panthers and Tigers in response to the soviet T34 and KV1, which in turn led to the British and Americans looking to develop better armour to counter the Tigers and Panthers.

But what did the Japanese primarily face - a few broken down T26s in China and small penny packets of hand-me-down tanks used by the British in the early stages of the SE Asian campaign etc (often used in terrain where tanks found it difficult to operate). Hardly made the development of better armour a priority for them. It wasn't really until 1944/45 that they started encountering larger numbers of more modern British, American (and eventually Russian) tanks. By that time it was too late to do much about it.

Pruitt

The Japanese steel industry did not have the capacity to make the amount of steel to make a number of Tigers. There were several other Tank Prototypes they could have made like the Cho-Ro.

Leftyhunter

The Japanese steel industry did not have the capacity to make the amount of steel to make a number of Tigers. There were several other Tank Prototypes they could have made like the Cho-Ro.

Sparky

China had some tanks too which were very useful , but without good air superiority tanks are vulnerable
most of their early tanks were destroyed or captured in the early battles
the tanks were British Vickers 6 t , germans PZKW I , some Italian tankette even some hoary Renault FT
after 1939 , the best of the lot were some Soviet T-26
basically the Vickers model which had been extensively modified over the years until it became a pretty good tank
the equal or even superior to Japanese tanks , but the mechanics are only part of a tank usage , maintenance , supply and doctrine matter as much

"In Nov 1937, Chinese delegate to Russia Ji Yang negotiated a deal in which Russia would sell 88 T-26 Model 1933 light tanks and 20 BT-5 or BA combat vehicles to China, plus a generous credit line for various supplies.
The vehicles arrived in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China in spring 1938, and were assigned shortly after to the Nationalist Chinese 200th Infantry Division.
These Chinese T-26 light tanks would later participate in the Battle of Lanfeng in 1938, the Battle of Kunlun Pass in 1939, and the Battle of Yunnan-Burma Road in the Burma campaign in 1942.
the T-26 Model 1937 was introduced with thicker frontal armor.
In 1939, the T-26S variant design was introduced, replacing riveted armor with welded armor to provide better armor protection."

Nick the Noodle

SilasMarner

In essence the Japanese army was not called upon to face significant numbers of higher quality tanks until fairly late in the war.

In China, the best their enemies had to offer for a long time was the T26 - a soviet light tank that was ultimately in a similar class to their own tanks at the time. Certainly not markedly superior.

In Burma all the British had were Stuart light tanks in 41/42. They performed well but not so well as to seriously worry the Japanese. Again they were of a similar class to tanks the Japanese had. In 1943 in Burma I think the British used tanks once - 3 Valentines in a failed assault on entrenched Japanese positions. Again, nothing to worry about there.

The first time the Japanese encountered anything from the British that genuinely outclassed their armour was in February 1944 when the British deployed some Lee tanks.

Early encounters with American armour (such as at Guadalcanal) was again only with small numbers of tanks and in the case of Guadalcanal only Stuarts were used in anger. I don't think the Japanese encountered anything like a Sherman until December 1943/January 1944.

Philliposeur

In essence the Japanese army was not called upon to face significant numbers of higher quality tanks until fairly late in the war.

In China, the best their enemies had to offer for a long time was the T26 - a soviet light tank that was ultimately in a similar class to their own tanks at the time. Certainly not markedly superior.

In Burma all the British had were Stuart light tanks in 41/42. They performed well but not so well as to seriously worry the Japanese. Again they were of a similar class to tanks the Japanese had. In 1943 in Burma I think the British used tanks once - 3 Valentines in a failed assault on entrenched Japanese positions. Again, nothing to worry about there.

The first time the Japanese encountered anything from the British that genuinely outclassed their armour was in February 1944 when the British deployed some Lee tanks.

Early encounters with American armour (such as at Guadalcanal) was again only with small numbers of tanks and in the case of Guadalcanal only Stuarts were used in anger. I don't think the Japanese encountered anything like a Sherman until December 1943/January 1944.

Regarding the use of Valentines in 1943, they were brought in to try and overcome bunkers at Donbaik which were holding up infantry during the Arakan offensive. In his 'Defeat into Victory' Slim wrote:

"To overcome the bunker difficulty, 15 Corps was ordered to send one troop of Valentine tanks to Arakan. The tank brigade commander protested against such a small detachment and I supported him, as it was against all my experience in the Middle East and Burma. ‘The more you use, the fewer you lose.’ I argued that a regiment could be deployed and used in depth even on the narrow front chosen for attack. We were overruled on the grounds that more than a troop could not be deployed and that the delay in getting in a larger number across the chaungs was more than could be accepted. Reluctantly we sent the troop, and the secret of its move was admirably kept. This and the gallantry of the crews were the only admirable things about the episode.
The third assault on Donbaik went in, but the handful of tanks was knocked out almost at once, and the attack again failed. After a pause to bring up fresh troops a fourth attack on the same frontal model, but now without tanks, was made on 18 February. By sheer gallantry, Punjabi troops penetrated to the bunkers, but were eventually thrown back after suffering very heavily. The Japanese technique was, when our troops reached the enemy positions, to bring down the heaviest possible artillery, mortar, and machine-gun concentrations on them, irrespective of any damage they might inflict on their own men. Actually, as the Japanese defenders were mostly in bunkers they suffered little, while our troops, completely in the open, had no protection from this rain of projectiles
."

Although Slim stated they were knocked out, I think they might actually have got stuck in a ditch. There are a few online sources stating that they were found in 1945 and had been immune to Japanese AT weapons. There is also some dispute over the actual number sent. Quoting Louis Allen's 'Burma: The Longest War' wiki says that 8 were used with some being stuck in ditches while others were knocked out by shellfire. I do have Allen's book, somewhere, but I don't know where it is at the moment so cannot check to see what he actually wrote.

Despite their misuse on this occasion, if they had been used against Japanese tanks they would certainly have outclassed the Type 95. It looks more even with the Type 97 they were still much better armoured but the Type 97 had a more powerful gun than the 2 pdr, the 47mm Type 1, although it would still have problems taking on a Valentine from the front. I think the two would have largely cancelled each other out in most situations though. Although the M3 Lee was superior in many respects, its frontal armour was thinner than the Valentine's which was also much lower in height so the Type 97's gun would have been able to take them out if they were ever to meet.

Regarding the last point, the Japanese met American Lees earlier than the Sherman as some were deployed in the Gilberts Islands in November 1943. I don't know what, if any, tanks the Japanese had there though.


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