Military Review

Multi-tower tanks of the USSR. Part of 1. Double Towed T-26

18
The USSR was essentially the only country in the world in which multi-tower turrets were adopted. Tanks various types. Not so long ago, restorers of the Central Museum of Armored Arms and Equipment of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation in Kubinka near Moscow completed the restoration of the heavy five-turret T-35A tank. This is the only example of such a machine that has reached us. The T-35 was the last multi-tower tank mass-produced in the USSR, and the first was the T-26 twin-turret, which was a direct descendant of one of the most common tanks of its time - the Vickers Mk.E, aka the Vickers 6-ton.

In the first half of the 1930-s, the design of multi-turbo combat vehicles in the USSR began. The impetus for the work in this direction was the purchase in the UK of 15 twin-turreted Vickers Mk tanks. E in 1930 year. It was a cheap tank of simple design, which attracted the Soviet military. Acquired tanks had only machine-gun armament - Vickers machine guns caliber 7,7 mm. The turret of the tanks were located in the center of the hull on the side of each other. They could fire to the left and right sides at the same time, while the disadvantage of this design was the inability to concentrate the fire of two existing machine guns on the same target.

Tanks Vickers Mk. E were also known as "six-wheeled car", the name of the car received because of its mass. The tank was equipped with a four-cylinder carburetor engine Armstrong-Vickers Puma, which has air cooling. This engine could develop power in 92 hp At the same time during operation the engine could overheat, and sometimes it became the cause of a fire. At the same time, the English car had a very good maneuverability, range and smoothness. The range of the life of the tracks was approximately 4,8 thousands of kilometers. This result significantly exceeded the similar indicator of the majority of tanks of those years. From the combination of the characteristics of the tank to create a positive impression in the Soviet Union and served as the basis for the development of the Soviet analogue - T-26.

Vickers Mk. E


13 February 1931 of the year issued a decree on the adoption of the Vickers E tank under the designation T-26 into service with the Red Army, and it was recommended to launch its mass production. The main platform for the production of these tanks was to be the Stalingrad Tractor Plant (STZ), where it was planned to produce 13 800 tanks each year. At the same time, such a release plan was initially utopian, and by that time the plant itself was not even put into operation. For this reason, it was decided to start production of the tank at the Bolshevik plant in Leningrad. Soon, the tank department of the plant was allocated to an independent plant number 174 Voroshilov.

All the first production T-26 tanks were double-turreted and differed little from their British prototypes. A total of 1931 1941 year in the USSR was created 23 modification of the tank and 3 modification of the engine used. At the same time, despite all the improvements on the engine, its power was raised only from 90 to 97 hp. The main designer and creator of most of the T-26 modification, which was responsible for the modernization of the tank, was the engineer S. A. Ginzburg.

The greatest difficulties in the USSR arose with the release of the engine for this tank. The level of marriage at the beginning of its release in Soviet factories reached 65%. For this reason, Izhora plant, which was engaged in the release of armor for the tank, was forced to switch to the release of 10-mm armor plates instead of the original 13 mm thick. This was done in order to reduce the overall weight of the vehicle and, accordingly, reduce the load on the engine of the tank. At the same time, the first armor plates did not differ in their special workmanship; for this reason, they were mounted on bolts and screws for quick replacement. The crew car consisted, as well as at Vickers Mk. E, from 3's people.



The first 15 tanks were assembled in August 1931 of the year, in the autumn of the same year, the first vehicles hit the combat units. The tanks received towers of slightly increased height with a viewing hatch, as well as slots in the upper part. Until the end of 1931, it was possible to assemble all the 120 serial tanks, while due to the marriage with the engines, most of them could not move independently. Later, the marriage was eliminated, but the military accepted only 85 tanks, of which 35 was conditional, since the armor installed on these tanks did not meet the stated requirements. In the future, due to the constant process of improving the design of machines, most of the shortcomings were corrected.

In the double-turbo version, the T-26 tank was produced before the 1933 year, after which the designers of the vehicle decided to finally move to the single-turret scheme. At the same time, by the end of production, double-turbo tanks received armor as thick as 15 mm, as well as mixed all-welded and riveted-welded hulls. Air-cooled engines moved closer to the tank aft, and new oil and fuel tanks appeared on the car, as well as a duct above the air inlet grille, which was supposed to protect the engine of the tank from various sediments. In total, for the time of release the army had tanks T-1627 26 in the two-tower design.

In the double-turret version, the tanks produced 2 of the year. They became known as the T-26 tanks of the 1931 model and the 1932 model. Later, single-tower T-26 with a cylindrical turret (samples of 1933-1937's) and single-tower T-26 with a conical tower (samples of 1938 and 1939's) were produced. In the double-turbo versions in each of the towers was a 1 crew member. At the same time, the towers could rotate independently of each other in the 270 ° sector. By the beginning of World War II, various versions of T-26 tanks, including twin-turreted vehicles, formed the basis of the USSR tank fleet — up to 9 thousands of such tanks were in service.



The armament of the two-tower T-26 consisted of two 7,62-mm machine guns DT-29 or 37-mm gun and one machine gun DT. In this case, initially tanks equipped with cannon armament, intended for platoon and company commanders. Therefore, some of the cannon samples received receiving and transmitting stations. The radioactive T-26 tanks could be easily distinguished by the characteristic handrail antenna located in the rear of the hull. The body of these versions of the tank was riveted and had a box section. On the lined box with a vertical frontal sheet on special ball bearings were placed two towers having a cylindrical shape. The tank driver was located in the front of the tank hull on the right side.

Attempts to equip the machine with cannon armament were made from the very moment of its adoption into service. Already in the spring of 1931, the chief designer of the tank, S. Ginzburg, proposed to put an 37-mm gun into one of the towers. However, in 1931, this solution failed to pass through all the necessary instances. The military believed that the two-tower scheme of the tank is more suitable for the use of machine guns, as it allows to carry out tasks for "cleaning the trenches." Indeed, the twin-turret T-26 machine-gun tank, having reached the line of defense of the enemy, could stop over the trench and, deploying the towers in different directions, carry out their “sweep”.

But already at the beginning of 1932, the issue of reinforcing the armament of the machine was resolved in a positive way. The machine gun T-26 was too limited in use, it could not hit enemy firing points at a great distance, and also effectively defend against the attacks of enemy tanks. Already in March, the X-NUMX of the T-1932 tank was delivered to the Artillery scientific test experimental ground, instead of the right machine-gun turret of which the small gun turret of the X-26-35 experimental tank T-1-2 was mounted.



This tower has been tested by running in and shooting and has shown generally satisfactory results. After completing the tests, the turret from the tank was dismantled and installed on the T-35-1. In April of the same year, the small gun turrets from the T-35-1 were tested on two more T-26 tanks. After the tests were completed, it was recommended to arm this way a number of T-26 tanks.

For those years, the PS-2 gun had quite good characteristics, but it was not adopted by the Red Army. For this reason, the Main Artillery Directorate recommended the use of another 26-mm gun, the B-37 (3K), which was created on the basis of the German Rhine Metal company, for armament of double-T-5 tanks. Compared with the PS-2 gun, the new one had smaller breech sizes and a smaller recoil, which made it possible to mount it into a full-time machine-gun turret of the T-26 tank, almost the meringue reworking of the latter.

But on this leapfrog with possible guns did not end. Plant №8 Kalinin was not able to organize production of guns B-3 in the required amounts. In addition, starting from the summer of 1932, all the B-3 cash cannons were used to arm the BT-2 wheeled / tracked tanks. Therefore, in the final version, PS-26 guns (or Hotchks-PS) guns were put on parts of T-1 two-turreted tanks, which were well mastered by Soviet industry. In this case, the guns of the B-3, standing on some twin-tower tanks, were dismantled.



There is no exact information on how much all the two-tower tanks with cannon armament were made. According to the plans for retooling 37-mm, it was planned to equip every fifth tank with a weapon. According to 1 on April 1933, the Red Army consisted of 1407 T-26 twin-turbo tanks, of which the 392 tank had gun armament. Considering the fact that 1931 T-1933 tanks with two turrets, as well as a number of PS-1627 cannons were launched from 26 to 1 years, we can assume that all guns received about 450 tanks.

In the 1937-1938, all T-26 cannon double-turreted tanks were deemed not to meet the requirements of the Red Army. They were transferred to the category of training and combat vehicles, besides, shells to the 37-mm gun were not produced at that time. In April, 1940, the final decision was made on the removal of such tanks from armament and their subsequent conversion to repair vehicles, armored personnel carriers and tankers. However, beginning in 1940-1941 years of large-scale deployment of the mechanized corps are not allowed to carry out these plans.

At the same time, the T-26 tanks in double-turret performance almost did not participate in hostilities. Most often they were used in the role of commander or reconnaissance and patrol tanks. In August, 1938, such vehicles from the 2 th mechanized brigade and the 40 th rifle division took part in delivering a counterattack against Japanese troops in the Zaozernaya and Khamozyannaya hills in the battles of Lake Hassan in the Primorsky Territory. The tanks were used for stripping Japanese trenches, standing in front of them and firing machine guns on the left and right sides. At the same time, in the course of the hostilities, according to various data, from 9 to 17 T-26 tanks were lost.



A number of tanks took part in the Great Patriotic War. Of course, the double-tower cannon T-26 practically could not with the German tanks: the armor penetration capability of the PS-1 was very low, besides the projectiles to it were deficient. Often these tanks were forced to be used as machine guns. In addition, many cars were already very worn out and often failed due to technical malfunctions. Most of them were lost in the battles of 1941 of the year, although individual instances remained in the army in the spring and summer of 1942, some of which were subjected to serious alterations.

Only one sample of the T-26 two-turret tank, equipped with cannon-machine gun weapons, which can now be seen by visiting the famous Militaryhistorical Museum of armored vehicles and weapons in Kubinka.

Information sources:
http://lenta.ru/articles/2014/02/19/tanks
http://bronetehnika.narod.ru/t26/t26_1.html
http://easyget.narod.ru/tank/t_26.html
http://www.opoccuu.com/t-26.htm
Author:
18 comments
Ad

Subscribe to our Telegram channel, regularly additional information about the special operation in Ukraine, a large amount of information, videos, something that does not fall on the site: https://t.me/topwar_official

Information
Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must sign in.
  1. svp67
    svp67 17 September 2014 09: 33
    +6
    The USSR was essentially the only country in the world in which multi-tower tanks of various types were adopted.
    Dear author, are you reading yourself or are you out of order with logic? How can you say this and in a few lines to issue
    The design of multi-tower combat vehicles in the USSR began in the first half of the 1930s. The impetus for work in this direction was the purchase in the UK of 15 double-turret Vickers Mk tanks. E in 1930.

    A two-turret tank of this type was created according to the experience of the First World War and it was considered a "trench cleaner" or "trench brooms", since, in theory, such tanks should, moving in front of the infantry, crawl onto the enemy trench, stop and deploy the towers along the enemy a trench to "clear" it of enemy infantry, the theory is essentially correct, but here's the embodiment ... The very first battles of "purely machine-gun" tanks showed that their value on the battlefield is almost zero, the tank must have a cannon so that the tank could itself defend yourself from enemy tanks and ATT. As a result, they began to install a gun in one of the towers, but because of this, the meaning of such a spreading of weapons among the towers was immediately lost, since they created extensive "dead zones" relative to each other, it became more logical to use all weapons, in light vehicles, in one tower ...
    And now to the question of the uniqueness of the USSR in the production of light multi-tower tanks
    M2 (English light tank M2) - a light tank of the US Army of the 1930s. Limited Edition from 1935 to 1940
    Polish 7TP tanks demonstrate capabilities
    It’s just that England at that moment was a LEGISLATOR of MOD in tank construction ...
    1. Smirnov Vadim
      Smirnov Vadim 17 September 2014 09: 35
      +5
      Quote: svp67
      Dear author, are you reading yourself or are you out of order with logic? How can you say this and in a few lines to issue


      The main thing here is "different types".
      1. svp67
        svp67 17 September 2014 09: 56
        0
        Quote: Smirnov Vadim
        The main thing here is "different types".
        And with this thesis can be argued. Since in the 30s, in their beginning and in the middle, the USSR only copied tanks and ideas at its plants ...
        1. inkass_98
          inkass_98 17 September 2014 11: 20
          +2
          Quote: Smirnov Vadim
          The main thing here is "different types".

          This is a multi-tower construction, as I understand it (even if a sponson was used instead of a tower), it just didn’t work out very well ...
          1. Maki Avellevich
            Maki Avellevich 17 September 2014 19: 23
            +1
            Quote: inkass_98
            it’s just that the performance was not very ...


            Char b1 / 2 ...
            Even if we do not talk about the engine, altitude, maneuverability, etc. then what is the main tool alone?
            For horizontal angle adjustment it was necessary to deploy the entire tank !!!

            Toto the Germans probably could not get enough fighting at these trophies.
          2. Spitfire
            Spitfire 18 September 2014 09: 32
            +1
            By the way, there is a 1995 film "Sahara" with James Belushi in the title role. More precisely, the main role is played by the "beauty" - just such a two-turret tank. In my opinion, the film is good.
      2. The comment was deleted.
  2. rennim
    rennim 17 September 2014 09: 34
    +4
    T-26 is the most massive and warring machine of the Red Army of the 30s and the beginning of the 40s. A low bow and gratitude to her.
    1. Serg 122
      Serg 122 17 September 2014 13: 10
      +2
      T-26 the most massive and warring machine of the Red Army of the 30s and early 40s

      At the same time, it is the most multi-modification one. For example: OT-26 - flamethrower tank
      1. Serg 122
        Serg 122 17 September 2014 13: 12
        +1
        Or another option: T-26T - tractor
      2. Serg 122
        Serg 122 17 September 2014 16: 44
        +1
        And also: self-propelled guns SU-5
        1. Serg 122
          Serg 122 17 September 2014 16: 47
          +1
          SU-6 - 76-mm self-propelled artillery mount
        2. Serg 122
          Serg 122 17 September 2014 16: 49
          0
          And finally: the AT-1 artillery tank
  3. avt
    avt 17 September 2014 09: 54
    +2
    ,,. The military believed that the two-turret scheme of the tank is more suitable for the use of machine guns, as it allows you to perform tasks of "clearing trenches." Indeed, the T-26 two-turret machine-gun tank, having reached the enemy's defensive line, could stop over the trench and, turning the turrets in different directions, carry out their "cleaning". "---- Well, the author would write quite frankly to himself that" the military "is Tukhachevsky, it was he who enthusiastically told that the T-26 would mow through the trenches to the right and to the left. ,,. Already in the spring of 1931, the chief designer of the tank, S. Ginzburg, came up with a proposal to put a 37-mm gun in one of the turrets. However, in 1931, this decision could not go through all the necessary instances. "---- all the same, Ginzburg managed to do it.
  4. Alf
    Alf 17 September 2014 10: 49
    +4
    Two- and multi-tower schemes died out not at all because the concept of a multi-tower tank was wrong, but because it became impossible with the advent of anti-tank artillery to provide reliable protection of the tank due to a sharp increase in the weight of the tank. A return to the multi-tower scheme is yet to come, the scheme has not outlived itself at all. In the battle in the city (and military operations are now more and more tied to cities, because no one will fight for the field) such a scheme is a tanker's dream, moving in one direction, fire in different directions. Only the execution will be different. Instead of several towers, several remotely controlled turrets will be installed.
    1. tolancop
      tolancop 17 September 2014 13: 53
      +2
      From my point of view, the transition to a single-tower scheme occurred not only and not so much because of the increased weight. Problems, I think, have arisen with how to manage all of these firing points in a multi-tower structure. And the single-tower design is the optimum that has come over decades of tank standing.
      About the return to the multi-tower scheme with the aim of fighting in the cities - I’m generally silent.
      Instead of towers, installing remotely controlled turrets, I think, is not a problem, but again the question arises who will manage all this economy. And a multi-tower (multi-turret) design will burn no worse than a single-tower one.
      1. Alf
        Alf 17 September 2014 19: 16
        0
        Quote: tolancop
        From my point of view, the transition to a single-tower scheme occurred not only and not so much because of the increased weight. Problems, I think, have arisen with how to manage all of these firing points in a multi-tower structure. And the single-tower design is the optimum that has come over decades of tank standing.
        About the return to the multi-tower scheme with the aim of fighting in the cities - I’m generally silent.
        Instead of towers, installing remotely controlled turrets, I think, is not a problem, but again the question arises who will manage all this economy. And a multi-tower (multi-turret) design will burn no worse than a single-tower one.

        Each tower has one person. In each tower spark machine gun + AGS. I do not suggest sticking an Octopus into each tower. The biggest danger for a tank in the city is the anti-tank vehicles, and for them just the PKT + AGS is quite enough.
        About fire control in the city. Everything is very simple - left arrow - left side of the street, right - right. And the commander has a central control system, like on the IS-3. That is, when he sees a particularly dangerous or "fat" target, the commander takes over control of all the towers.
        And here with
        And a multi-tower (multi-turret) design will burn no worse than a single-tower one.
        I do not quite understand. If we follow this logic, then there is no sense in building multi-seat combat aircraft either, they are also shot down.
        Incidentally, the concept of a multi-tower vehicle is implemented in the BMP and the APC, where the landing force also fires, independently of each other. Yes, getting out of such loopholes is difficult, but very often it’s not enough to hit, but to suppress the enemy’s firing point.
        This concept is already being implemented at BMPT Terminator.
    2. avt
      avt 17 September 2014 15: 16
      0
      Quote: Alf
      . A return to the multi-tower scheme is yet to come, the scheme has not outlived itself at all

      Holy, holy, holy! laughing God save and save!
      Quote: Alf
      .In place of several towers will be installed several remotely controlled turrets.

      Quote: tolancop
      Instead of towers, installing remotely controlled turrets, I think, is not a problem, but again the question arises who will manage all this economy.
      And they will be controlled by several different crews remotely, like on drones, and each will solve his combat task in his own direction, different from the others wassat I propose to make such a crew collapsible, well, in case they disagree - where to go then. Type so as not to argue.
    3. tovarisch
      tovarisch 17 September 2014 15: 44
      +1
      I support. Imagine the BTR-80 with two towers (one aft).
      1. Massik
        Massik 17 September 2014 20: 08
        0
        There is a water basin with two towers, 2 PKT or PKT + AGS. The task of the second tower is usually to observe the rear or flank, if the wise command left it open.
    4. voyaka uh
      voyaka uh 17 September 2014 16: 16
      0
      I agree with you. Today, automation allows for the main
      mount a tower with 2 remotely controlled turrets.
      All 3 "towers" can rotate and fire without interfering (without knocking down aiming)
      each other.
  5. wild_boar
    wild_boar 17 September 2014 12: 59
    +1
    http://topwar.ru/uploads/images/2014/794/bell257.jpg
  6. wild_boar
    wild_boar 17 September 2014 13: 05
    +1
    http://topwar.ru/uploads/images/2014/025/ceae186.jpg
  7. wild_boar
    wild_boar 17 September 2014 13: 17
    0
    http://topwar.ru/uploads/images/2014/556/cvya608.jpg
  8. Maksus
    Maksus 17 September 2014 14: 31
    +2
    Colleagues, well, it is clearly written - "The USSR was in fact the only country in the world in which multi-turret tanks of various types were adopted."

    From T-26, T-28, T-35. They were armed, in considerable quantities. This is not counting the experimental machines - QMS, T-100. But they also managed to fight.
  9. Sergey-8848
    Sergey-8848 17 September 2014 16: 20
    +1
    The article is quite normal, the only one, as has already been correctly noted, may be. It was worth starting with a historical excursion back to World War I.
  10. svp67
    svp67 17 September 2014 17: 03
    0
    Well, if you follow this logic, then here is the same "two-turret tank"
  11. xomaNN
    xomaNN 17 September 2014 18: 08
    0
    It is good that even with the beginning of the Second World War, production of the T-34 and KV-1 has already begun. It is painful to look at the German pictures of the summer of 1941 with dozens of our burnt and abandoned T-26s and BTs. sad
  12. La-5
    La-5 17 September 2014 22: 32
    +2
    French tank ... and this is not a model, but a very real prototype. Not only ours made monsters like t-35.