Tanks with a trailer

Tanks with a trailer
The most famous photographtank with a trailer, perhaps this one: the Soviet T-26 in the Finnish war tows an armored drag with fighters

Because before the Hook
Mom drives two trailers.

S. Mikhalkov "What do you have?"

Tank freak show. Somehow, for a very long time we did not go to our “tank freak show”, and there are still a lot of interesting things there. In particular, having got there (if it existed in reality, in the manner of a tank museum), we could see a whole alley of tanks, which should have been viewed not from the front, but from behind. Because it was on the back of them that the most interesting thing would be, namely, tank trailers that actually existed, were used, but about which very little is known.

Tank T-26 with self-made armored vehicles

The appearance of trailers is primarily associated with the Soviet-Finnish conflict. A very serious problem then turned out to be the escort of attacking tanks by infantry. It was very difficult for infantrymen to run through deep snow, and often it was simply impossible. Even when skiing, the infantrymen quickly lagged behind the tanks, that is, it made no sense to send tanks with infantry in these conditions.

T-26 with transport trailer

The solution to the problem was the massive use of armored sleds designed by Sokolov. First of all, they were calculated to be transported after the tanks of the assault units. At first they were successful. But then the Finns thought of letting tanks with such sleds deep into the defense and shooting them from the rear, where there was no armor. Nevertheless, quite a lot of them were made - 300 pieces. Moreover, the idea of ​​an armored trailer continued to excite the minds of Soviet inventors during the Great Patriotic War. For 1941–1945 The department of inventions of the GABTU of the Red Army received more than two thousand proposals on this topic, but all of them were rejected due to the inappropriate use.

T-26 with MZP infantry transporter

T-34 with armored vehicles from T-60 hulls

However, already during the counter-offensive near Moscow, our army faced the same problem as during the war on the Karelian Isthmus. Because of the deep snow, the infantry quickly broke away from the tanks, and they lost their support.

T-34 with armored vehicles from T-60 hulls. Photos of the war years

From the very beginning, they came up with the idea of ​​​​carrying drags with high-explosive flamethrowers installed on them, which were installed on them up to 34 pieces, behind the T-20 tanks. The tank brought them closer to the enemy and ... A shower of fire fell on the enemy from the drag, something similar to our "Sunshine", only on a different principle of operation. But then they decided that infantry could also be carried on them. They began to make them from 6–8 mm steel, and to carry two such sleds at once behind the tank.

In the photo, the TD-200 infantry tracked transporter during testing

But the easiest way out was to use armored hulls from T-60 tanks, which were also towed two by two behind the T-34. Immediately, specialists from the Mytishchi Machine-Building Plant, who in December 1941 received an order from the People's Commissariat for Armaments to develop armored vehicles, also joined in the creation of armored sledges. And by the end of January 1942, they managed not only to develop them, but also to produce two truly monstrous samples under the B-65 index.

They were designed to carry 50 people, had a length of 6 m and anti-shell armor. That's just their weight was 20 tons, and so quite a working design. And even with double hatches on the sides and rear for landing. It is clear that such "sledges" were not accepted into service, just like the project to use T-34 hulls without a turret for transporting T-34 tanks behind tanks. In summer, the “transporter” moved behind the towing vehicle on tracks, and in winter they were removed, and it had to be transported on skids.

Figure TD-200

A more reasonable design turned out to be the "sleigh" BP-60, weighing 4 tons, from the hull of the T-60 tank. Three loopholes were arranged along the sides for firing from a personal weapons. At the back is a double door. Transported landing - 10 people. In total, they were released somewhere around 300 copies and sent to different sectors of the front as early as 1943.

KV-1E towing TD-200 during testing

Meanwhile, in February 1942, the project was no longer a sleigh, but a TD-200 tracked transporter on the chassis of the T-50 tank. It was sent by D. I. Chizhikov, deputy chief metallurgist of plant No. 78, in a letter addressed to Stalin. And since he had great opportunities, the car was built at the factory and began to be tested.

In fact, the TD-200 was a real tracked armored personnel carrier, only without an engine. The car had 10 loopholes for firing around the entire perimeter: 3 from the sides, 2 in front and 2 at the stern. All of them had armored flaps. Hatches were used for landing, and one was provided even in the bottom of the hull.

T-34-76 with BOT trailer

In total, three TD-200 machines were manufactured. They were tested, and in general the tests were successful. But the cost of all three of these armored trailers turned out to be equal to 126 rubles, that is, each vehicle cost 000. This price seemed to the GABTU not quite adequate, since the T-42 tank did not cost much more than this trailer, but it was still a tank, towed machine without engine.

The Germans had the same problems in winter and exactly the same solutions: Pzkfwg III FAMO with armored vehicles

Other models of sleds for transporting troops were also tested, and here it turned out that when driving through the snow and even along country roads, the tank and sled raise a cloud of snow dust, which makes firing from them impossible. So the idea "hung in the air." It seems that such machines were needed, but at the same time there were significant difficulties in their use, in addition to everything, their price was depressing, which is simply incomparable with their combat capabilities.

CV-35 "Ansaldo" in the flamethrower version

In other countries, they also dealt with tank trailers. So, flamethrower tanks were equipped with armored trailers as needed. For the first time, the Italian CV-35 Ansaldo flamethrower wedges were used during the war in Ethiopia in 1935. And then the Italians a year later sent them to Spain to help the rebellious Franco.

The Germans hitched similar fuel trailers to the Czechoslovak LT-38 tanks

But the French army was even armed with special 37L armored transporters with a trailer and without weapons, which served specifically for the transport of ammunition and equipment. They began to enter the army into service with tank units from the end of 1939. But after 1940, almost all of them fell into the hands of the Germans, who began to use them in a variety of ways. And some were even turned into self-propelled guns and vehicles for launching rockets.

Transporter 37L "Lorraine" with a trailer

The British had their own problems associated with the fact that in the British army the supply of tank units was carried out with the help of cars. And during the fighting in North Africa, one unpleasant thing came to light.

Despite the short range of British tanks, which did not exceed 250-270 km, fuel trucks, and vehicles with other cargoes, often did not keep up with them, which made it difficult to supply. They thought that "it's better to carry everything with you." And if so, then why not create a tank transporter that tanks could carry with them, and in it an additional supply of fuel, fresh water and ammunition. For example, the British did not inspire the French, and they did not want to use a special car with a driver for this. And they developed and built a device called the Rotatrailer.

Here it is, "Rotatrailer" in the photo

The Rotatrailer was arranged simply, but in an original way. The wheels served as fuel tanks, which were filled with 550 liters. The body of steel sheets with a thickness of 3,175 mm was divided into two compartments with separate covers. They loaded another ton of cargo. A “drawbar” was attached to it in front for towing, and a hook was provided at the back, which made it possible to assemble a whole “road train”.

The conveyor was tested simultaneously in England, the USA and Canada. The Americans did not like it, but in England they adopted it, the Canadians decided to import them from England. However, when they got to the front in North Africa, it turned out that the Rotatrailer had more shortcomings than advantages, so after the delivery of 200 trailers, the army stopped ordering them. Canada also refused to use them.

Tank "Churchill Crocodile"

That's just the very idea of ​​​​the conveyor after this failure did not die at all. The Churchill-crocodile tanks were equipped with an armored trailer for the fire mixture. Then the drag conveyor was attached to the Churchill AVRE tank, which carried fascines on them to fill the German anti-tank ditches with them.

"Churchill" AVRE - fascine transporter

An attempt was made to use the Bran Carrier tankettes with the engine removed from them, which were also supposed to be towed behind the Churchill AVRE tank, as a cargo transporter. It was even easier to equip this tank with the simplest drags and carry various cargoes on it.

"Churchill" AVRE wedge-transporter "Bran Carrier"

British engineering tank "Churchill" AVRE with a blade and drags for transporting various cargoes

Heavy infantry fighting vehicle "Ahzarit" with trailer "Urdan"

After the Second World War, a one-wheeled tank transporter was developed for the Centurion tank and was used with it for some time. There is a trailer "Urdan" and the Israeli heavy infantry fighting vehicle "Ahzarit". That is, the practice of using tank trailers continues, although there are no special innovations in this direction yet.

Drawings by A. Sheps
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  1. +3
    April 19 2023 06: 28
    As unnecessary to use for their intended purpose, they were used by anyone as convenient. They even plowed.
    1. +10
      April 19 2023 07: 20
      Thanks to the author for an interesting review and a wealth of illustrations! The author and illustrator keep the bar high!! 5+
      1. +6
        April 19 2023 08: 27
        Join good Olegovich pleasantly surprised me today! hi
  2. +4
    April 19 2023 06: 53
    The idea didn't come out of nowhere. The more fuel and ammunition a tank had, the deeper penetrations and envelopments could be, the less dependence on an extremely vulnerable supply transport. There were a lot of examples of abandoned tanks, due to the lack of fuel in World War II. Yes, and in modern times, the problem is relevant. I wonder if there were attempts to manufacture "trucks" based on tanks.
  3. +6
    April 19 2023 07: 56
    And some were even turned into self-propelled guns

    Moreover, several types.
    Tank destroyer - Panzerjäger Marder I "Marten" (7,5 cm Pak 40/1 on GW Lr.S. (f) / Sd.Kfz.135).

    Armament - 7,5 cm PaK 40/1 L46, ammunition - 40 rounds.

    10,5 cm leFH 18/4 on Gw Lr.S. (e). Armament - howitzer 10,5-cm-leichte Feldhaubitze 18.

    15-cm-sFH 13/1 (Sf) auf Gw Lr.S. (f). Armament - howitzer 15 cm schwere Feldhaubitze 18.
  4. +4
    April 19 2023 08: 54
    "Churchill" AVRE - fascine transporter

    In fact, the transportation of fascines is not the only function of this engineering tank (Armored Vehicle Royal Engineers - an armored vehicle of royal engineers). The standard armament of the Churchill III and IV AVRE tanks, the QF 6-pounder cannon, was replaced by the 290 mm Spigot Mortar mortar, designed to destroy engineering obstacles and firing points.
    1. +3
      April 19 2023 23: 12
      Curious, did not know about the "Churchills" with a 290-mm mortar
  5. +8
    April 19 2023 09: 10
    Check the captions for the photos, they have been swapped. Photo from L38 and illustration from 37L Lorraine.
    1. +2
      April 19 2023 11: 09
      Pzkfwg III FAMO

      Some signatures should be clarified, as in this case. FAMO is not a modification, but a PzKpfw III Ausf G tank produced by Fahrzeug- und Motoren-Werke.
    2. +5
      April 19 2023 11: 59
      Noticed, but too late. Just got back from the cottage. Write to the editor...
    3. 0
      1 June 2023 17: 56
      As of June 1, 2023, the captions for the pictures from L38 and from 37L Lorraine remained mixed up.
  6. +2
    April 19 2023 11: 04
    Under the USSR, there was another interesting vehicle - a flamethrower combat vehicle based on the T-72 tank without a turret.
    1. +2
      April 19 2023 12: 48
      Under the USSR, there was another interesting vehicle - a flamethrower combat vehicle based on the T-72 tank without a turret.

      This machine is called BMO-T and has nothing to do with the USSR. Adopted in Russia in 2001. In fact, a BMPT based on the T-72, into which, together with seven airborne fighters, 30 units of 93-mm RPO-A Shmel flamethrowers were loaded. They made no more than 10 units. They lit up at the parade in Yekaterinburg in 2015 and in Kyiv at the trophy exhibition in 2022. The fate of the rest is unknown.
      1. +1
        April 19 2023 18: 53
        and in Kyiv at the trophy exhibition in 2022.
        Court division donated?
  7. +2
    April 19 2023 11: 51
    the Canadians decided to import them from England.

    Subsequently, the decision was "overruled", since Britain could not provide the required quantity, therefore, from April 1943, the Rota-trailer began to be produced in Canada.

    Rota-trailer made in Canada.

    The idea, by the way, was not new. Trailers - sleds were used in the First World War.

    At the same time, Ruston, Proctor and Company proposed the Rota-trailer design.

    The prototype was tested in Bovington. At that time, she did not cause delight among the military due to the inconvenience of loading and unloading.
  8. +7
    April 19 2023 12: 42
    [quote] There is an Urdan trailer and the Israeli heavy Akhzarit infantry fighting vehicle [quote].
    The pragmatism of the Israel Defense Forces, in terms of obtaining the greatest effect at the lowest cost, has always been at a high level.
    Manufactured by Urdan Metal & Casting Industries Ltd. (Netanya, Israel) universal trailer for caterpillar vehicles has steerable wheels and an original hitch, which allows it to be docked to any caterpillar vehicle.
    It provides a continuous supply - including fuel, water, weapons, etc. - to forces fighting in remote and hard-to-reach places. Transporting flammables and explosives in a separate trailer also improves safety by preventing explosions that can occur while being transported in the cockpit.
    The trailer has a load capacity of up to 8 tons, is equipped with swivel caster wheels and can be used as:
    - fuel module with a capacity of 6000 liters with an autonomous tanker;

    - armored ammunition delivery module for tanks and self-propelled guns;

    - general use module (grenades, mortar shells, spare parts, food, camp equipment, etc.).

    To replenish supplies, the module can be towed to the rear by a car.

    In Soviet times, trailers for caterpillar vehicles were designed to transport fuel, but they never entered the troops, since they did not fit into the doctrine of the mass use of tanks.

    The experience of the SVO clearly shows that such trailers are in great demand for forces fighting in remote and hard-to-reach places, during the actions of self-propelled guns and tanks during the assault on settlements in conditions of total air and space surveillance.
  9. 0
    April 19 2023 22: 39
    drove fascines on them to cover the German anti-tank ditches with them

    And what, these fascines then withstood the weight of the tanks?
    1. +3
      April 19 2023 23: 21
      And what, these fascines then withstood the weight of the tanks?

      Of course they survived.

      In fact, it is a stack of logs about 2,5 meters in diameter.
  10. The comment was deleted.
  11. 0
    18 March 2024 10: 10
    Thanks for the publication, Vyacheslav.

    The ideal End Result (IFR) (to my fevered brain) seems to be a set (at least four pieces) of autonomous unmanned wheeled Modules-Shops (MM) for each Combat Vehicle (BM).

    Characteristics (main):
    1. The ability to automatically rigidly dock/undock to/from the BM body and use the BM cargo instantly after docking without overloading the payload. In this configuration, the BM and MM will be a wheeled and tracked BM.
    2. The ability of the MM to move autonomously from the BM to the Warehouse and back. 4 things. MM: 1st docked with BM; 2nd on the way to the Warehouse; 3rd is loaded at the warehouse; 4th on the way to BM. The different distances of the BM from the warehouse are solved by a set of additional MMs “on the way”.
    3. The ability of the MM to carry an auxiliary Combat Module (a means of combating UAVs, Flamethrower, etc.).
    4. (Ideally No. 1) The ability of MMs to be rigidly docked with each other and serve as a kind of mobilizer for evacuating BMs and/or transporting BMs in the rear between positions (= tank trailer with tractor).
    5. (ideally No. 2) The ability of the MM to provide an individual means of overcoming water obstacles for the BM “on the fly.”

    Thank you for your constructive criticism.