Unusual tanks of Russia and the USSR. 1937 hovercraft tank

An attempt to translate into reality the idea of ​​creating a hovercraft for the first time in the USSR was undertaken in 1930 by engineer V. I. Levakov, the developer and creator of the A-series hovercraft. The Red Army's armored troops needed tanks and armored cars capable of moving in real combat, on any surface, be it solid ground, deep snow cover, water surface, or wetland. Tracked engines used at that time on tanks and armored vehicles had an extremely small operating life, no more than 100-150 km, after which the tracked tracks had to be replaced with new ones. In military conditions in field repair shops it was a difficult task considering that the tank can cover a distance in 100 km within 24 hours. In the 20-30 of the last century, tanks were just learning to swim, and the ability to navigate through wetlands seemed like a fantastic or unrealizable dream. Of course, all these reasons pushed Soviet tank builders to search for alternatives to tracked and wheeled vehicles.

Unusual tanks of Russia and the USSR. 1937 hovercraft tank



Engineer V.I. Levakov, one of the first in our country, decided to design and build a car devoid of the shortcomings inherent in tanks with a classic tracked vehicle. As conceived by the designer, the future machine was supposed to easily overcome obstacles, both water and swamps or the area covered with deep snow, and with the same speed. Considering that most of the territory of the Soviet Union did not have roads and was difficult to reach, hovercraft (SVP) could effortlessly transfer troops and various cargoes to the most distant and impassable areas for military operations. Also for this type of vehicles, minefields with anti-personnel or anti-tank mines are not an obstacle, since the specific pressure exerted by the air cushion on the ground is unusually low, the fuses installed in the mines are simply not designed for such a small pressure and do not work.

After the tests of the L-1934 and L-35 hovercraft, carried out in 1-5, V. I. Levakov already started working on a project called the “amphibious approaching tank” with the group of engineers of plant No. 1937 already in 84. The boat L-1934 created by him in 1 was adopted as the basis for the future car. In a short time, drawings and diagrams were made, as well as a model of an air-cushion tank of a quarter of the real size. According to the project, the armored hull of the machine was assembled from rolled armor with a sheet thickness from 8 to 13 mm, which were fastened with a large angle of inclination on the corners of steel by welding, that is, the body was not riveted, but welded. The smooth outlines of the armored hull machine were very similar to the boats of V. I. Levakov, L-1 and L-5. The thickness of the body's anti-bullet armor was: forehead - 13 mm, feed - 8 mm, tower -13 mm. In the head and tail of the machine were placed two nine-cylinder, star-shaped aircraft engine M-25, hp power 750. (analogue of the American engine Wright R-1820-F3 produced in the USSR under license, at the Perm plant number XXUMX). The design weight of the machine was 19 tons, based on the calculations that the air cushion pressure on the ground will be about 8,5-0,06 kg per square centimeter, then the total power of the two sustainer engines was able to lift the tank to a height of up to thirty centimeters and allowed it to reach a maximum speed of up to 0.07 km at one o'clock.

Movement control and maneuvering of the machine was carried out by changing the flow of the air jet by changing the angle of the louver shutters, as well as by decreasing or increasing the engine speed. In the middle part of the armored corps there was a combat compartment that contained two crew members, a driver and a commander of the vehicle, he was also a turret gunner. Armament of the tank was one 7,62 tank gun DT-29, installed in the tower of circular rotation, installed in the center, on the roof of the vehicle body. However, the project did not seem promising to the military department and was rejected as it was not representing military and technical value, just like another similar project of an air cushion by the engineer Grakhovsky, which was being worked on at the same time. More projects of tanks and armored cars on an air cushion in the USSR were not developed until the middle of the 20th century. However, foreign projects of air-cushion tanks developed in 30-ies, also failed, none of them was brought to completion, and many, like the project of the engineer V. I. Levakov, remained only on paper.
Author:
Max Belyaev
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