Developing effective ways to evacuate a crew from a damaged tank, the designers came to a paradoxical decision - the crew that is not in it can leave the wrecked tank the fastest. We are talking, of course, about remotely controlled combat vehicles.
In 30-s of the last century, such machines were called teletankov. Teletank is a radio controlled tank made on the basis of a serial light tank. The main teletankov in the Soviet Union were TT-18 and TT-26, based on T-18 and T-26, respectively.
For example, the 217-th separate tank battalion of the 30-th chemical tank brigade consisted of a pair of combat groups of T-26 tanks. In each pair there was a control tank, it was designated by the TU index, and the teletank itself was TT. In the tank TU in the crew was an operator who controlled the second car by radio. She could go a mile and a half ahead of the control tank and had a kind of weaponry. Such a tank could put a smoke screen - for this it was a special tank. The designers assumed that this tank could deliver closer to the enemy and spray chemical weaponwithout endangering the crew. A flamethrower was placed on it, which was also included by the team on the radio. There was a DT machine gun. And, finally, there was a special modification of the teletanka, which did not have a turret, but it had enhanced armor and a specially manufactured undercarriage, which was much more reliable than the serial T-26. With the help of such a tank to the enemy's bunker it was possible to deliver a special box protected by armor in millimeters 30. And in it - 500 kilograms of explosives. The team on the radio activated the bomb drop mechanism. From hitting the ground, the fuse was turned on with a delay of 15 minutes — during this time, the tank had to be moved backwards to a safe distance. The explosion of such a charge destroyed the most terrible reinforced concrete pillboxes on four floors down.
In the photo: tanker who fought on the TT-26 Viktor Scherbitsky next to the T-26 tank, on the basis of which the USSR created the teletanki.
Traction and levers of the tank were driven by pneumatics: the compressor worked, pumping air into a special cylinder, and from there compressed air was applied to the manipulators' pistons. The process was controlled by electromechanical relays switched on by radio commands. Receiving equipment allowed to control sixteen parameters. The operator worked from the console, which had about 20 buttons on the front panel, four in a row. The first button "Tovs" - preparation for the execution of one of the combat commands, the second button "Fire" - flamethrowing (or contamination of the area), the fourth button - "Smoke", setting the smoke screen. Further, in the second, third and fourth rows, buttons are located that control the TT tank. The first button is the engine start, the second is a small gear, from the third to the sixth - gears from first to fourth, the seventh is in reverse, the eighth is tower to the left, the ninth is tower to the right, the tenth is tank turn to the left, the eleventh button is to the right. To the right of the buttons on the front panel of the console was a red lamp - the control of switching on the console. At the same level, on the left in the corner - the switch to transfer work from one radio channel to another. At the same time, the tank could also be controlled by a regular driver, inside all the standard T-26 controls were kept. Externally, the teletanki differed from the serial ones by the presence of two armored glasses on the roof of the turret, which protected from destruction the conclusions of the pin antennas and their isolation when hit by fire from small arms.
In an effort to provide for everything, the designers have built into the control system even protection against "machine revolt." It was possible to catch the tank, open a special box at the back and shut off the engine using the usual method of shorting to ground. In the event that the TT exits the reach zone of the TU tank, the device of the “stop” command was automatically activated in the TTN in 30 seconds. The tank stopped and waited with the working engine of the next command from the TU, which by that time should approach the TT at a distance of stable radio channel activity (two channels — HF and VHF — were used between which it was possible to switch).
In the Soviet Union there were only two teletank battalions. One of them was located near Rivne, and the Germans bombed it in the first months of the war. The second was based near Yaroslavl. For some time they took care of it - the equipment was secret.
But during the battle for Moscow, the equipment was removed, the crews were imprisoned, and the former telethon women went into battle.
Teletank based experiments were carried out on the basis of BT-7.
Refueling a BT-7 tank.
In the Soviet-Finnish war 1939-40gg. for the first time in stories Soviet troops used radio-controlled tanks XTT-26 (chemical teletank) - 26, in some sources it is called OTT-26 (flame-thrower))
The second and, apparently, the last case of the use of teletank occurred in the 1942 year near Sevastopol. February 27 our troops used remote-controlled wedges. These were old T-27 type vehicles, withdrawn from the combat units by that time and remaining only in training units.
Armament from tankettes was removed, and instead they placed a powerful charge of TNT. Managed tanketki by wire. Remote control equipment was created in Moscow at the plant No. 627 of the People's Commissariat of the Electrical Industry under the guidance of military engineer 3, rank A. P. Kazantsev. Later Kazantsev became a famous science fiction writer. 6 of such tankettes was delivered to the Crimea. In the morning of February 27 wedges released on the German position. 2 wedges exploded in enemy positions, another 2 exploded before approaching the target, and 2 destroyed by German artillery fire.
More remote-controlled tanks were not used in World War II. After the war, the GBTU experimented with the T-34-85 remote-controlled tank, but they ended in complete failure. These experiments, as well as the use of radio-controlled tankettes by the Wehrmacht in 1942 – 1945, showed that the creation of a cyborg-tank was realistic, but at the same time the teletank lost orders of magnitude to the standard tank by the criterion of efficiency / cost. So, the use of cyborg tanks is possible only in special cases: for sabotage, demining, radiation reconnaissance in highly contaminated areas, etc.
Teletanki and on the basis of other machines were created - at the same time, perhaps the most impressive was the project of a telemechanical breakthrough tank based on a heavy five-towed T-35.
T-35 - failed teletank.
Similar developments were carried out in other countries. In Germany, as a "land torpedo" acted wedge with the loud name "Goliath", it is also a "special machine 303". The use of wire control made the machine unreliable. As a result, instead of using the “Goliath” for its intended purpose during the battles for Berlin, it was artworked and turned into a wedge heel.
Tank (self-propelled mine) in the Museum of armored vehicles in Kubinka.
In 1942 in England, they began to test their version of the "land torpedo". The machine, called the "Scorpion", had a remote control. She moved through eight wheels and, interestingly, was floating. However, further experiments then the British did not get it.
The concept of guided tanks was a product of positional warfare. However, the Second World War showed that modern military operations were rather maneuverable in nature, for which the reaction speed and capabilities of the teletank were insufficient. Up until the end of the 20th century, the Soviet lunar rovers were the only, although the most prominent representatives of the teletanks.