BTR-60PA in Red Square
BTR-60 opened a new page in the creation of wheeled armored personnel carriers, becoming the world's first production four-axle combat vehicle in its class. Developed in 1956-1959, the BTR-60P became the progenitor of numerous military vehicles built on its basis, as well as further modifications of the BTR-70 and BTR-80, which are still in service with the Russian army and police. In total, during the serial production from 1960 to 1987, from various 10 to 25 thousands of armored personnel carriers-60 of all modifications were assembled in various plants for the year.
History of the BTR-60
In the 1950s, the main armored personnel carrier, which was in service with the Soviet Army, was the three-axle BTR-152, developed by the engineers of the ZIS plant on the basis of the chassis of the ZIS-151 off-road truck. The machine was highly reliable, but the military had a claim to it. This armored personnel carrier could not overcome wide trenches and ditches, and also was notable for insufficient cross-country ability, its ability to interact with tanks cross country were limited. One of the attempts to solve the problem was the work on improving the BTR-152, which was supposed to get a new chassis with a uniform arrangement of bridges, which was considered an effective way to increase cross-country ability. Such an APC was indeed created. Tests of the experimental machine, known under the designation BTR-E152V, took place at the beginning of 1957. The car really showed a noticeable increase in cross-country ability, but a new problem with handling came up.
In parallel, back in 1956, at the Gorky Automobile Plant, work began on the creation of a new armored personnel carrier. The car received the working designation BTRP - an armored floating vehicle. Creating a new model of wheeled armored vehicles, the developers expected to provide the car with high cross-country ability, as well as medium speed, which would allow to move along rough terrain together with tanks using the track laid by tanks. Based on these requirements, the appearance of a new armored personnel carrier was formed, which was supposed to have a high ground clearance, a tank track, and a high specific power of the engine. It was planned to create an armored personnel carrier with such clearance that the contact of the bottom of the vehicle with the ground was short-term and would not impede movement on the ground. At the same time, the designers expected to give the new BTR good amphibious properties: stability, speed, unsinkability and controllability in water bodies.
The first prototype of the new combat vehicle, created by the specialists of the design bureau of the GAZ plant, received the designation GAZ-49 and was ready by the middle of the 1958 of the year. Direct work on the new machine was led by Vladimir Alekseevich Dedkov, who had previously established himself as the creator of a whole line of Soviet armored vehicles: BTR-40, BRDM-1 and BRDM-2. The armored personnel carrier created in Gorky (today Nizhny Novgorod) met all the requirements of the military. The BTR was built on a completely original wheelbase with four bridges equally spaced across the base. At the same time, the designers turned to an unconventional layout for the BTR. In the front part there was a control compartment, followed by an amphibious compartment, and in the stern there was a motor-transmission compartment.
From the first production models of the future BTR-60, the prototype was distinguished by the installation of one GAZ-40P gasoline engine with a maximum power of only 90 hp. It was obvious to everyone that the engine power was clearly not enough for a machine with a combat weight of 10 tons. However, the attempt to replace the GAZ-40P carburetor engine with the YaAZ-206B diesel engine, which produced 205 hp, was unsuccessful - such a power plant came out too heavy, and the APC received a significant advantage in the stern. Since there were simply no other suitable domestic engines at the disposal of the designers, the way out of this situation was to install a twin of two GAZ-40P gasoline engines with their own transmissions. Each of the engines worked on two axles of a combat vehicle. Both engines were placed on a single frame, but not the motors themselves were blocked, but only their control drives.
The modified model of the armored personnel carrier with two GAZ-40P carburetor engines was fully ready by the fall of the 1959 year. It is worth noting here that at the same time in the Soviet Union other APCs were also being developed, the projects of which were offered by ZIL, Altai Tractor Plant, Mytishchi Machine-Building Plant, as well as SKB of the Kutaisi Automobile Plant. Of the variety of projects, the military chose GAZ-49, the model was considered the cheapest, simplest, reliable and most technologically advanced in production. BTR could easily be mass-produced in large quantities. It is curious that the military also liked the decision with the power plant, which the internal commission of the Minavtoprom openly called "illiterate" and "adventurous." But the military in the engine couple was pleased with the fact that when one of the engines failed, the armored personnel carrier retained the ability to move along the highway at a speed of up to 60 km / h. As a result, it was GAZ-49 that was adopted by the Soviet Army. The corresponding order of the Ministry of Defense was signed on November 13 of the 1959 of the year. The new combat vehicle was adopted under the designation BTR-60P, where the letter "P" meant "floating."
Technical features of the armored personnel carrier BTR-60P
The armored personnel carrier created on the original base became the world's first production armored personnel carrier on a four-axle chassis with the wheel formula 8x8 (all-wheel drive). A feature of the new Soviet combat vehicle was an uncharacteristic configuration for an armored personnel carrier with a front-mounted control compartment, a middle one - an airborne compartment, which, depending on the modification, could accommodate from 8 to 14 people, and an aft MTO arrangement. When overcoming small water obstacles on the armor, an armored personnel carrier could transport even before 10 fighters, there was enough buoyancy reserve. In all versions, the crew of the combat vehicle consisted of two people - the driver and the commander.
The BTR-60 power plant was a pair of GAZ-40P six-cylinder carburetor engines that produced a total power of 180 hp. The engines allowed the mechanical drive to disperse the armored personnel carrier with a combat mass of 10 tons to 80 km / h along the highway, afloat to 10 km / h. The engines were powered by B-70 gasoline, which was poured into two tanks with a total capacity of 290 liters. There was enough fuel supply to overcome on the highway to 500 km. The new chassis provided the machine with easy overcoming trenches and ditches up to two meters wide.
The BTR-60P case was welded from armored plates with thicknesses from 5 to 9 mm, it provided the vehicle with a rather conventional bulletproof reservation, even though many armored plates were located at good angles to the vertical. The hull was load-bearing, its lower part was streamlined, and the bottom was flat. On the BTR-60P model, the hull was open at the top; on the march, to protect the crew and the landing from the weather, a tarpaulin awning could be pulled in, which was included in the laying of the armored personnel carrier. The landing was located on wooden transverse benches, to facilitate the exit of the combat vehicle in the upper parts of the side there were doors reclining towards the side. On the BTR-60PA version, two special rectangular manholes for landing, appeared on the roof, and on the BTR-60PB two side hatches were added to them. This landing option had obvious flaws. The soldiers had to leave the car through the sides, being at a height of two meters under enemy fire, on the BTR-60PA the situation was even worse, since there were only two hatches. At the same time, it was very difficult for wounded soldiers to get out of the APC, and with the roof over their heads the situation in this regard only worsened. At BTR-60PB, the problem was solved by placing side hatches, but only partially.
Soldiers firing at an aerial target from BTR-60P
The main armament of armored personnel carriers of the BTR-60P and BTR-60PA models was the 7,62-mm machine gun of the CBSS. The BTR-60P version had three swivel brackets designed for machine gun installation: a frontal (this is the main mounting option), two side (on the left and right side). The ammunition of the machine gun consisted of 1250 cartridges. Specifically, to increase the accuracy of fire, a shoulder rest was introduced in the construction of the CBSS. The paratroopers could also fire on the enemy over the sides of the hull from a personal weapons. Also, the RPG-7 grenade launcher, one AKM assault rifle, 9 F-1 hand grenades, and also a signal pistol were also included in the APC laying.
Three main modifications of the BTR-60
BTR-60 was mass-produced in the USSR from 1960 to 1987 year. From 1960 to 1976, the assembly was carried out in Gorky at the native plant, and from 1976 of the year armored personnel carriers were produced only in Kurgan at the facilities of KZKT - the Kurgan Wheel Tractor Plant (the transfer of part of the production to KZKT began already in 1967 year). Also, the mass production of the licensed version of the armored personnel carrier under the designation TAB-71 was carried out in Romania. The first version of the combat vehicle, designated BTR-60P, was produced in Gorky from 1960 to 1963 year. During this time, GAZ workers assembled 2626 vehicles. The main difference between these armored personnel carriers was the airborne compartment open on top, in which 14 motorized rifles could freely accommodate.
Quite quickly, the next modification of the BTR-60PA entered the scene, the main difference of which was the presence of a roof over the airborne compartment and a completely closed hull. This version was mass-produced at the GAZ plant from June 1963 to 1966, during which time the 2348 BTR-60PA came off the assembly line. At the same time, to maintain the combat mass of the armored personnel carrier at the same level, the number of troops dropped to 12 people. The military switched to the option with an armored roof under the influence of military events in Hungary in 1956, already then it was decided to release part of the armored personnel carrier with a closed airborne squad. But the main reason was the reorientation of ground forces in the early 1960-s to the possibility of action in the conditions of the use of tactical nuclear weapons by the enemy. In the context of the use of weapons of mass destruction, the actions of shooters who were in an open building were recognized impossible.
The most popular, recognizable and surviving version is the BTR-60PB, which, in addition to a completely enclosed building, was distinguished by the presence of an armored turret with powerful machine-gun weapons. The combat vehicle was created on the basis of the BTR-60PA in the period from 1962 to 1964 and was produced until the end of mass production, turning out to be the most successful representative of the series. BTR-60PB not only could carry the infantry squad, but also provide him with powerful fire support in battle. At the same time, the number of paratroopers transported has once again decreased, this time to 8 people, one of them played the role of a shooter. Due to the presence of a completely sealed enclosure and the installation of a special filter-ventilation unit, reliable protection of the crew and the landing against the damaging factors of WMD was provided.
BTR-60PB was distinguished from earlier models by improved protection (the forehead of the hull was holding an armor-piercing 7,62-mm B-32 bullet), the presence of a turret installation and more powerful weapons. In the tower, which was similar to the one that was mounted on the BRDM-2, a large-caliber 14,5-mm KPVT machine gun was mounted, paired with the 7,62-mm PC machine gun. The presence of an 14,5-mm machine gun allowed an armored personnel carrier to fire at targets at a distance of up to 2000 meters. At this distance, the 14,5-mm cartridge did not leave any chances for unarmored vehicles and some lightly armored vehicles, and also ensured the defeat of enemy soldiers and officers in any personal protective equipment, including those located behind light shelters.
The wheeled armored personnel carrier developed in Gorky was supposed to first supplement, and in the future, replace all first-generation Soviet armored personnel carriers created in our country in the post-war years. The BTR-60 did a good job of this. Unlike all its predecessors, the “Sixtieth” received a new original chassis with the wheel formula 8x8. The four-axle car was distinguished by high cross-country ability and dynamic qualities, good smoothness and quickly became very massive. Following the tanks, the APC could easily overcome trenches, rows of trenches, various ditches, as well as water barriers. The BTR-60 was actively exported, having managed to take part in the Arab-Israeli wars, the Iran-Iraq war and other conflicts of the second half of the 20th century. In dozens of countries, these armored personnel carriers are still in service with both the army and police forces.