Military Review

Hungarian tank Turan. Magyar attempt to catch up with Soviet tank building

The phrase "Hungarian tank building" in itself causes a smile today. In fairness, it is worth noting that in the 1940s, not many European countries could afford to issue tanks. Despite all attempts, the Hungarian designers failed to create competitive combat vehicles, they always lagged behind the leading tank-building powers. The Hungarian tank Turan did not have a chance to catch the Soviet tanks in terms of security and firepower.

Medium Tank 41.M Turan II

For all their shortcomings, the Turan tanks took an active part in the hostilities on the Eastern Front, and Hungary itself was one of the most faithful allies of Nazi Germany. Hungarian troops fought on the side of the Nazis almost until the end of the war in Europe. In total, during the serial production from 1942 to 1944, in Hungary, according to various estimates, up to 459 Turan tanks of various modifications were assembled. The last combat operation of World War II, in which the Turan tanks took part, were the battles at Lake Balaton in March-April of 1945. It was in this area that the last battle-worthy Hungarian tanks were lost, and part of the vehicles was captured by Soviet troops.

Czechoslovak roots of the Hungarian tank Turan

Despite the fact that the Hungarian troops took an active part in the battles on the Eastern Front, they did not gain any fame in these battles with the Soviet troops, and the Hungarians did not have noticeable successes in the battle with the Red Army soldiers. The Hungarian units were most actively used in the southern direction of the Eastern Front, and the main theater of operations for the Hungarian army became the steppes, which best revealed the capabilities of motorized and tank units. But with the armored vehicles the Magyar units had serious problems, Hungarian armored vehicles simply could not withstand the Soviet T-34 medium tanks and heavy HF. This is not surprising, given that история Hungarian tank building originates only in the late 1930-ies.

Prior to this, the Hungarian government tried to conclude contracts for the supply of armored vehicles with several countries at once. So, in Sweden, the Toldi light tank was ordered, the main weapon of which was the 20-mm anti-tank gun. The mass of these combat vehicles did not exceed 8,5 tons, and the reservation of the first series was 13 mm. The tank was created on the basis of the Swedish Landsverk L-60, one copy and a production license of which were acquired by Hungary. Naturally, the Hungarian military dreamed of getting more advanced tanks with better weapons and security at their disposal. But attempts to negotiate with Germany on the purchase of tanks Pz.Kpfw. III and Pz.Kpfw. IV ended in nothing. The same fate awaited negotiations with Italy to transfer a license for the production of medium tanks M13 / 40, negotiations dragged on until the summer of 1940, when the need for Italian vehicles simply disappeared.

Hungarian tank Turan. Magyar attempt to catch up with Soviet tank building

The prototype of the Czechoslovak tank T-21

Czechoslovakia became the savior of the Hungarian armored forces, which was completely occupied by the Nazi forces in March 1939. In the hands of Germany was a well-developed industry of the country, as well as numerous military developments, among which was the S-II-c or T-21 tank, developed by the designers of the Skoda company. The combat vehicle was developed on the basis of the successful Czech tank LT vz.35, which was widely used in parts of the Wehrmacht. The Germans were not interested in the T-21, so they were not against the transfer of finished prototypes to Hungary. In turn, Hungarian experts considered the tanks to be the best among all available samples of medium tanks for the country. At the same time, the Hungarians could not place an order for the production of tanks at the Skoda plants, since they were fully loaded with German orders.

The first prototype of the future Turan tank arrived in Hungary in early June 1940. After testing and passing the 800 km without breakdowns, the car was recommended for use in July of that year after making a number of improvements and improvements to the design. Important changes included: the appearance of a commander’s turret; increase of frontal reservation to 50 mm; and an increase in the crew of the tank to five people, with the deployment of three people in the tower. An example for the Hungarians when making changes to the design of the tank were the Germans, who were considered recognized authorities in tank building and the use of tank troops.

The version of the tank modernized by the Hungarians was adopted by the 28 on November 1940 of the year under the designation 40.M, and the tank received its own name “Turan”. The delays in the transfer of technical documentation and the deployment of mass production of tanks, which until the end of the 1930s in Hungary simply did not exist, led to the fact that the first production tanks “Turan” did not enter the tank school in the Hungarian city of Esztergom only in May 1942.

Hungarian medium tank 40.M Turan I with 40-mm gun

Tank late for war

For its time, Turan was not at all the worst combat vehicle in the world. It is important to understand that the first prototype of the future Hungarian tank was presented by Czechoslovak engineers back in the winter of the 1937 of the year. The tank was originally developed for export, it was planned that the armies of Italy, Romania and Hungary would become its buyers. In May 1939, the tank changed its designation to T-21, and under this index a year later it ended up in Hungary. For the end of the 1930's, the combat capabilities of the Czech tank were still good. Reinforced frontal armor up to 30 mm (compared to LT vz.35) and the presence of an 47 mm Skoda A11 gun made the car quite formidable weapons on the battlefield.

The main problem was that the tank developed at the end of the 1930's was late for the war for which it was created. The Hungarian adaptation, although it received frontal armor reinforced up to 50-60 mm (all armored plates were mounted vertically or with insignificant angles of inclination) and the commander’s turret, was distinguished by the installation of the 40-mm semi-automatic gun of its own production 41.M, created on the basis of the German anti-tank gun PaK 35 / 36. Despite the good barrel length in the 51 caliber, the gun could not boast of large armor penetration. At a distance of 300 meters at an angle of encounter with armor of 30 degrees, the armor-piercing projectile of this gun pierced only 42 mm of armor, at a distance of one kilometer - 30 mm. The capabilities of the 40-mm gun were more than enough to deal with the light Soviet T-26 and BT-7 tanks, which formed the basis of the Red Army tank fleet in the 1941 year, but could not withstand the new Soviet tanks T-34 and KV Turan.

Hungarian medium tank 40.M Turan I with 40-mm gun

The problem was aggravated by the fact that the first serial Hungarian tanks began to roll off the assembly line only in the 1942 year, they did not have time to take part in the attack on Stalingrad and the Caucasus. But this also saved them from the subsequent catastrophe, in which the 2-I Hungarian army, which fought on the Eastern Front, according to various estimates, lost up to 150 thousands of personnel, up to 70 percent of its material and all heavy weapons.

Assessment of the capabilities of the Turan tank

The full-fledged combat debut of the Turan tanks lasted for two years, they took part in battles with Soviet troops only in April 1944 of the year. By that time, tanks that were late for the war tried to modernize. Already in the 1942 year, in parallel with the “Turan I” in Hungary, they decided to begin assembling the “Turan II” tank, the main difference of which was the presence of an 75-mm short-barreled gun with a barrel length of 25 calibers. The mass of this version of the Hungarian tank increased from 18,2 to 19,2 tons. At the same time, the remaining 8-cylinder gasoline engine with 265 horsepower. I accelerated the car to 43 km / h while driving on the highway, with the option with the 40-mm cannon the performance was slightly better - 47 km / h. The updated modification was designated 41.M Turan II.

The attempts of the Hungarian military to present the second life to the tank project from the end of the 1930's should be recognized as unsuccessful. But they were unsuccessful precisely because of the time the tank appeared on the battlefields. Even in 1940 and 1941, the car would have looked advantageous compared to light tanks with bulletproof armor, which formed the basis of the armored forces of the Red Army. But in 1944, the main opponents of the Turan were the T-34 and T-34-85 medium tanks, which the Hungarian tankers simply could not fight against. The 40-mm cannon did not penetrate the T-34 frontal armor from any distance, at least somehow it was possible to penetrate effectively only the lower part of the onboard armor plates of the “thirty-four”. The transition to a short-barreled 75-mm gun did not significantly change the situation. In fact, in 1944, the Hungarian counterpart of the German Pz.Kpfw tank entered the battlefield. IV, with which Germany began the war against the USSR. As an infantry support tank, the 41.M Turan II could be called a good machine, the 75-mm shell had a good high-explosive fragmentation, but it was a very difficult task to fight modern Soviet armored vehicles and Lend-Lease “Sherman” for a Hungarian tank.

Medium tanks 41.M Turan II with 75-mm gun in the tank fleet

Bulletproof armor reservation in 50-60 mm frontal armor looked good at the beginning of the 1940's. This was enough to withstand most of the pre-war anti-tank guns up to and including 45 mm. In fact, the “Turans” were faced with the massive use by the Soviet troops of the 57-mm and 76-mm guns, which were guaranteed to penetrate their armor at a distance of up to 1000 meters, and the 85-mm gun of the updated “thirty-fours” left no chance for Hungarian tankers at all. The anti-cumulative screens that the Hungarians began to install on their armored vehicles in the 1944 year could not rectify the situation. At the same time, the outdated riveted design of the armor plate installation also did not increase the combat effectiveness and survivability of the vehicles. When the shell hit the armor, the rivets flew off and even if the armor was not broken, they could hit the equipment and crew of the combat vehicle. The triple tower with the commander’s turret did not save the situation, which allowed to relieve the commander, who was given the opportunity to lead the battle, without being distracted by other tasks.

A worthy answer to the Soviet T-34 tanks could be the third version of the modernization of the “Turan”, which received the designation 43.M Turan III. But this tank, armed with a long-barrel 75-mm cannon (barrel length of 43 caliber), with frontal armor reinforced up to 75-mm, was presented only by a couple of prototypes, it was never produced in series. In reality, when meeting with Soviet armored vehicles, which was presented in 1944 not only with the new T-34-85 and IS-2, but also with various self-propelled artillery, the Turan Hungarian tanks quickly moved from the category of combat vehicles to the category of scrap metal and fraternal graves for a crew of five.

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  1. Theodore
    Theodore 12 August 2019 18: 10
    But Fritz now, a good crossover with the same name is released!
    1. Yuriy_999
      Yuriy_999 12 August 2019 20: 21
      one letter is unnecessary in fols :)
      1. Ingvar 72
        Ingvar 72 13 August 2019 07: 35
        Quote: Yuri_999
        good crossover

  2. polpot
    polpot 12 August 2019 18: 21
    Thank you good article
  3. donavi49
    donavi49 12 August 2019 18: 45
    Well, Horthy maintained and developed the industry. Comparing Tyuran and the possibilities of Hungary with the USSR / USA and even Britain / Italy is simply stupid. Although if you compare the Italian and Hungarian tanks, then everything will be very smooth and sometimes in favor of the Hungarians.

    When compared with other countries, Hungary had a much stronger industry and patterns than in Romania, for example, either Turkey or Yugoslavia for the 40 year.

    And by the way, an interesting point. Without Horthy, everyone quickly collapsed. Hungary had a negligible share of the manufactured equipment and components in the eastern bloc, even compared to Poland and Czechoslovakia. I am already silent about Romania - where the United States, Europe and the USSR tried to milk at the same time, creating a strong military-industrial complex based on purchased technologies without any restrictions.

    The result - over the years of the USSR, the military-industrial complex was teased significantly, but in the 90-e-00-e, the last enterprises died:
    The arsenal is still fluttering, but you will not go far for repairs with the modernization of Cubes and Os.
    Kurrus - degraded from tanks and infantry fighting vehicles to buses.

    FEG - generally bent, despite deliveries to the US civilian market AK. It is necessary to have talent so that releasing AK, PMs, Browning clones, HiPower will go bankrupt. am Now it has come to the point that CZ Bren 2 has to be purchased - for the old AKs are running out and even bringing to the level of which AK-63M with a bar and other things is nowhere corny.
    Slave - she almost died, she got shrunk to 1000 employees who repair old Slaves and collect new ones on the basis of DAF machine kits.

    They do not even have their own MCI or even a la Dozor / Tiger.

    As a result, 44 Leopold2, BTR-80 for the replacement of which there is no money, yes 24 PantserGaubits2000 = Hungarian army. 14 Grippenov, 8 Crocodiles (which will be partially replaced by H145M with drum kits) and 14 Mi-8 which are replaced by 16 H225M (this is the one with a story when two commercial EC-225 transmissions fell apart in the air).
    Even Ukraine is not impressed by this in order to bite off originally Hungarian territory.
    1. maximghost
      maximghost 12 August 2019 19: 15
      Well, under socialism they at least had their own BRDM and armored personnel carriers based on it.
    2. Elturisto
      Elturisto 12 August 2019 22: 22
      Tie nonsense ... Hungarians during the CMEA period rose well in industrial terms - they produced their own BRDM, Chepel Trucks, Ikarus buses with their units, accessories for AvtoVAZ, made excellent shoes, not to mention GLOBUS and other groceries.
      1. donavi49
        donavi49 13 August 2019 08: 29
        Shoes = MIC? Peas Bonduel - MIC?

        If we compare the military-industrial complex of Romania (poorer by the way) with its IAR-93 aircraft, with French helicopters manufactured under license in Brasov, which the Romanians themselves have modernized, and have grown to their version of Cobra (IAR-317). Their tanks, which were developed by the FMGS design bureau and are produced (like today) at Uzina Mecanica Bucuresti. Its BMP and armored personnel carriers (ABC-79M, MLI-84). Their ships. A huge range of licensed, stolen or slightly sawn weapons of various types. They even mastered the AK-230, and then remade it and started shoving it onto the same APCs, again they mastered the Baby, and then they screwed the warhead from Milan and Baby 2TM came out. Well, the mass of everything.

        And I'm talking about:
        for the 45 year, Hungary had a powerful military-industrial complex capable of producing advanced equipment of its time (Me-210, Me-410, Me-109Г10 / 14, Turans, Toldi, Zrinyi, Tosh in the final stage - and this is a la panther). Romanians had a modest defense industry and relied on procurement. All they could by the end of the war was to rattle the IAR-80 / 81, give birth to various ersatz à la chassis T-60 / French trophy + ZiS / PAK40 = TAKAM cannon. Yes, finalized their Hetzer, but did not manage to fix the release.

        As a result, Romania began to actively develop the military-industrial complex and achieved certain successes in this, while the Hungarians scored big and thick on the army, focusing on the purchase of finished tanks / planes / guns in the USSR. All that has been done is Kurrus - but today he produces only buses = that is, he has degraded. FEG - but releasing Browning, PM and AK pistols and selling it in the USA without any sanctions, they managed to go bankrupt in 2003. Slave - it’s understandable, but today it’s in fact an assembly workshop. Arsenal is an enterprise created for servicing, monitoring, checking and introducing innovations in air defense systems, which is perhaps the only one that is still alive today.
        1. dzvero
          dzvero 13 August 2019 12: 21
          Everything is correct, but it should be noted that in the framework of the SEV and ATS there were no self-sufficient defense industries outside the USSR. And as soon as perestroika won, he ordered all former members of the military-industrial complex to live long.
          About the Romanians (as well as the Yugoslavs) there is a special conversation - Ceausescu tried to play "independence" and the West played along with him. True, he did not dare to go to "independent voyage" like Tito.
          1. maximghost
            maximghost 13 August 2019 15: 10
            Yeah, and played out before his own execution. Well, there is no story more peculiar in the world than the story of the frigate Marasest.
          2. Monar
            Monar 13 August 2019 19: 38
            Correctly. The customer was. And then who needed them to become? The same Europe-USA have their own tanks, aircraft, which must be sold. Yes, even the NATO standard.
            "The student is not needed" became. With all due respect to the industry of Romania and Yugoslavia.
  4. maximghost
    maximghost 12 August 2019 19: 20
    In general, for a country like Hungary, Turan is not even bad. In 44 in the Red Army there were still comparable to him t-70. In theory, even for toldi and chabo there were goals. Zrinyi on the basis of the same turin were very good (and if they had time to put a gun from T-4 on them, they would even be good) as well as nimrods.
    Tosh was developed - a sort of Hungarian analogue of the panther, but could not.

    By the way, Turan 2 cumulative and could penetrate 34-76 in the forehead.
    1. Elturisto
      Elturisto 12 August 2019 22: 24
      Do you understand what you’re writing about? T-70 Erzats.war, at automobile units, for a country whose industry is 50% destroyed by the war. Do you understand the difference between the complexity of welding and riveted joints?
      1. maximghost
        maximghost 13 August 2019 00: 25
        I understand perfectly. But the scientific and industrial potential of that country, which was destroyed by 50% of the country, could only dream of then.
        In addition, cars similar to the t-70s in terms of characteristics were then in the armies of all the warring parties (Stuart m3 and m5 among the Americans, British, Canadians and French resistance; lokast among the Americans and the British, tetrarch among the British, later versions pz 1 and 2 , as well as reconnaissance of the Czech version of the Germans, about the tank industry of Italy and Japan, I do not even stutter). Yes, almost all of the named vehicles were far from in the lead roles in their armies (reconnaissance, infantry support, glider landings), but also the countries that created them greatly outstripped the Hungarians in terms of scientific and industrial potential. And in the case of Italy and Japan, the BTT of the Hungarians was not very narrow and lagged behind.
        If we compare the Hungarian BTT with crafts, let’s say Romania (as stryny with more or less equal potential, then the comparison will not be in favor of the latter).

        Well, at the expense of rivets, there were riveted versions of the stewards. Only the M3A3 was able to completely get rid of zelepoks, and this is the beginning of production - September 42, with which for some time riveted versions were produced in parallel.
        Total: for the Hungarians, Turan is a very good result. Without it, they would have only outdated French tanks.
  5. Solo2503
    Solo2503 12 August 2019 21: 29
    People, who will tell you what is with Ikarus?
    1. Elturisto
      Elturisto 12 August 2019 22: 25
      Kirdyk ... sold Renault, with a predictable result ... AvtoVAZ is waiting for the same ...
      1. Prokhorov
        Prokhorov 13 August 2019 00: 14
        AvtoVAZ has long been owned by Renault, and stamps Logans ...
    2. Proctologist
      Proctologist 13 August 2019 00: 31
      In the 90s I was impressed by the corruption scandal with the sale of "Ikarus" ... Taiwan! Whatever you say, they knew how to work - they faked the test results and the bus "passed" all environmental requirements. They gave bribes to the locals and sold a mediocre bus for real money! As well as "Zhiguli" during the CMEA era, they were exported all over the world - from Singapore to Switzerland.
  6. Prokhorov
    Prokhorov 13 August 2019 00: 13
    The idea of ​​"The best anti-tank weapon is just a tank" is not the smartest in the world, and was born by American generals.
    The Arab-Israeli wars showed her doubtfulness.
    The tank has its own goals - enemy infantry, field fortification, air defense, conventional artillery, supply lines, headquarters, etc. weakly protected objects.
    And specially trained people, not tankers, are fighting tanks.
    The right tanker does not go into a duel if he does not.
    1. hohol95
      hohol95 13 August 2019 00: 31
      The idea of ​​"The best anti-tank weapon is just a tank" is not the smartest in the world, and was born by American generals.

      Many consider this idea to be German!
      And it was expressed in the creation of the "cat family" of the German "panzer".
      1. Catfish
        Catfish 13 August 2019 01: 00
        Hi Aleksey hi , I agree with you. I also read that this is a purely German saying, and it was born even when the American generals were still dragging their cavalry breeches. No wonder the Tiger is considered the best anti-tank self-propelled gun.
      2. Prokhorov
        Prokhorov 21 August 2019 01: 27
        And the Germans quite successfully implemented this idea in practice.
        Frankly weak German tanks reached the Volga, and the world's best T-34s were destroyed by crowds using anti-tank artillery
        1. hohol95
          hohol95 21 August 2019 08: 08
          You are like the German tankmen who wrote their memoirs - the crowd of T-34! And this was in 1941 and 1942! You probably forgot about the "indestructible locust" T-60 and T-70 based on similar books.
  7. Doliva63
    Doliva63 13 August 2019 17: 27
    "The last combat operation of the Second World War, in which Turan tanks took part, was the battles near Lake Balaton in March-April 1945. It was in this area that the last combat-ready Hungarian tanks were lost, and some of the vehicles were captured by Soviet troops."
    About the collision with the Turans on Balaton, my father told something like this: night, fog, the roar of engines from the other side, someone decided that it was the Germans on the Tigers, they even gave the command - to remove the sights and locks from the guns (45-mm), prepare for leaving. By morning the fog had cleared, it became clear that they were Hungarians on Turany. Oh, you fucking fuck! We almost embarrassed ourselves, like. All returned to their positions, personal belongings - to their place and - "... in this area were lost the last combat-ready Hungarian tanks ...". Not literally, but somehow so. drinks
    1. hohol95
      hohol95 14 August 2019 17: 22
      In the spring of 1945, the 5th Guards Tank Brigade, which fought as part of the 18th Army in Czechoslovakia, captured the T-34-85 medium tank from the Germans. It is interesting to note that at that time the material part of the brigade consisted of light tanks T-70, medium T-34 and a battalion of captured Hungarian tanks. The captured machine became the first T-34-85 tank in this brigade.

      Baryatinsky Mikhail Borisovich
      Soviet tanks in battle. From T-26 to IS-2.
  8. Catfish
    Catfish 13 August 2019 23: 12

    Hungarians in Kubinka.
    1. hohol95
      hohol95 14 August 2019 17: 15
      Tank Turan 2; Self-propelled guns Zrinyi 2 with 105 mm howitzer; Toldy's tank.
      Not enough armored vehicle "Chabo"
      1. Catfish
        Catfish 14 August 2019 20: 24
        Hi Aleksey. I’ll rummage, if I find it, I’ll insert it. hi
        1. hohol95
          hohol95 14 August 2019 22: 01
          Do not scamper Konstantin!
          However, the latest models 39M and 40M were used until April 1945, when the Hungarian armored units subordinate to the German command were completely destroyed. In these battles, the remaining “Csaba” died, so to this day not a single car has survived, even in disassembled form.

          Their remains have long been melted into ORAL!
          1. Catfish
            Catfish 14 August 2019 22: 04
            Yes, I, in general, do not fuss.
            1. hohol95
              hohol95 14 August 2019 22: 09
              I apologize for the "STE word"!
              Check out the article about "forty-five"!
              It is very interesting there!
              1. Catfish
                Catfish 14 August 2019 22: 10
                Thank you, I’ll stop by. hi
  9. Basarev
    Basarev 29 September 2019 15: 15
    Wouldn't it be better for the Hungarians to give up right away? They would have avoided a bloody and devastating war. Obviously losing - neither good equipment, nor aviation, and the infantry is very cowardly.