Among the trophies of the initial period of the war, a large number of lungs were present tanks T-26 in two versions, characterized by turrets and weapons. Lean Germans adopted this technique under the name Panzerkampfwagen T26 737 (r) and quite actively used "on the sidelines". Until a certain time, captured tanks were relatively effective. weaponsHowever, in the future, their characteristics have ceased to meet the existing requirements. As a result, both sides began to remove the T-26 from active operation and replace them with newer machines. At the same time, the German side decided not to write off the outdated equipment, but to give it a second life.
Self-propelled gun of the "first option", without logging sides. Drawing Forums.airbase.ru
As a light tank, the T26 737 (r) could no longer solve existing combat missions, but a large number of vehicles of this type had not yet developed a resource and could be used by the troops. In addition, by the second half of 1943, the situation on the fronts had seriously changed. The Soviet Union recovered after the first blows and restored industry, thanks to which the Red Army began to win victory after victory and inflict serious damage on the enemy. The result of these processes was a proposal to re-equip existing obsolete tanks into self-propelled artillery installations, the author of which was the military personnel of one of the army units.
The basis for the artillery part of the new self-propelled gun was also to become a trophy. During the capture of Poland and France, German troops took several thousand 75-mm divisional guns as trophies as trophies. 1897, produced by the French company Schneider. Initially, this weaponry was used in its current form, but later it was decided to equip the captured guns with muzzle brakes, and also to install them on the carriage of the PaK 38 gun. Such an instrument, designated PaK 97 / 38, differed from the basic version with some positive features and was of greater interest to the troops.
Light tank T-26. Photo Pomnite-nas.ru
When a proposal was made to modify the T-26 tanks in an ACS, it was decided to equip such combat vehicles with PaK 97 / 38 guns. Apparently, the characteristics of the guns, as well as their availability, affected the appearance of this decision. Probably, if there are other guns with higher characteristics, the authors of a promising project would use them, and not outdated French-made weapons.
The implementation of the proposal to build self-propelled guns was taken up by one of the military workshops, whose specialists removed all unnecessary from the base tanks and installed new parts on them. According to the available data, no significant processing of the design of tanks and guns (except for changes in the fighting compartment and gun carriage) was undertaken. Thus, the T-26 in the original configuration, repulsed by the Red Army in 1941 or 1942, remained the basis for the promising SPG.
SAU 7,5cm PaK 97 / 38 (f) auf Pz. 740 (r) in motion. Photo Forums.airbase.ru
Recall, the T-26 was one of the most popular Soviet light tanks and, depending on the modification, had a combat mass at the level of 8-10 t. weapons and shrapnel artillery shells. A curious feature of the tank was the layout of the internal units, which distinguished it from a number of previous and all subsequent domestic cars of this class. The T-15 engine was located in the stern, and in the front of the hull there was a transmission compartment connected to the engine using a long drive shaft.
The first modifications of the T-26 tank, adopted in service in the early thirties, had two turrets with weapons. In separate towers were placed two machine guns (in the first modification) or a machine gun and an 37-mm cannon (in later). The crew of such a tank consisted of three people: a driver, a gunner commander, and a second gunner. Soon a new version of the tank appeared, equipped with only one tower of a relatively large size. She was able to equip 45-mm cannon and coaxial machine gun. In view of the advantages in the basic characteristics, a single-turret tank eventually replaced the two-turbo predecessor almost completely.
Machine with a sign. Photo Beutepanzer.ru
T-26 tanks of all modifications were equipped with 90 hp carburetor engines, which allowed them to reach speeds (on the highway) to 30 km / h. Power reserve was 120 km. The tracked undercarriage of the tank had eight track rollers on each side. The rollers were completed interlocked: on each trolley with springs there were four rollers. Large drive wheels were mounted in front of the hull, guides in the stern. Also in the chassis included supporting rollers.
The PaK 97 / 38 cannon, which was a retrofit of an old French model, was an 75-mm towed anti-tank gun on a wheeled drive. The gun with a total weight of 1270 kg had an 75-mm barrel with a length of 34 caliber. In the course of the German modernization, it received a developed muzzle brake, which reduced the powerful recoil impulse and unloaded the recoil devices. The gun rack of the PaK 38 allowed to direct the gun within the horizontal sector 60 ° wide and set the elevation angle from -6 ° to + 18 °.
Machine on the railway platform. Photo Forums.airbase.ru
Together with the captured guns, the Germans got the high-explosive and armor-piercing shells of several types. In addition, over time, German experts have proposed 75-mm cumulative projectile. When firing high-explosive ordnance there was a possibility of hitting the target at ranges up to 10 km. Armor-piercing shells, depending on the type of target and ammunition, could be used at distances of no more than 1-1,5 km.
The base tanks T26 737 (r) had to undergo some changes for mounting the captured gun. They should have been removed from the tower, as well as recycle the structure of the roof of the hull. To install the new parts had to cut most of the leaf sheet. Also, the roof of the hull was equipped with new parts, such as gun mounting systems, and other products, for example, boxes for projectiles. According to some information, instead of having a roof on a podshashennoy box mounted some kind of floor fighting compartment, located at the roof of the engine compartment, which led to the emergence of a relatively large area accessible to the crew.
On repair. Photo Beutepanzer.ru
It is known that during the restructuring of the T-26 tanks in the ACS, two conditional projects were used, differing from each other in the design of the additional equipment of the base machine. The first option implied minimal modifications of tanks and cannons, while the second provided for the creation of a new original cabin for the placement of the instrument and its calculation. The self-propelled gun of both variants, on the whole, retained the details of the available turret box, which, however, was deprived of almost the entire roof and forage sheet.
In the first version of the modernization in the front of the fighting compartment housed a relatively high pedestal, used as the basis for the gun installation. On it, in turn, mounted a slightly modified gun carriage PaK 97 / 38. A gun-shaped shield was attached to the gun carriage. This detail was developed for the PaK 38, and during the modernization of the captured guns of the French production, it passed to them, having undergone some changes. Now, without any significant modifications, the shield has become an element of booking a new ACS.
Self-propelled gun 7,5cm PaK 97 / 38 (f) auf Pz. 740 (r) in one line with another technique. Photo Beutepanzer.ru
On the carriage, which retained the existing angles of vertical guidance (the horizontal sector was reduced), the 75-mm gun was located. Existing sights and guidance mechanisms were retained. In this way. when mounted on a self-propelled chassis, the mast parts in contact with devices for mounting were subjected to the biggest changes. Ammunition in the form of unitary shells of 75 caliber mm of various types was placed in the structures of the fighting compartment of the chassis.
The second version of the self-propelled gun was distinguished by the presence of almost full armored felling. As in the first version, the tank received a tumbovic installation of the gun, equipped with its own broneshmit. At the same time, two relatively high pentagonal armor plates with a beveled front edge were built up on the sides of the tank case. The height of such sides coincided with the height of the shield of the gun. Thus, on the chassis body there appeared a kind of cabin of conventional ACS, open from above and behind. In addition, depending on the angle of the horizontal focus, in this "wheelhouse" gaps could appear between the shield and the sides.
The T-26 tank modernization project was the initiative to develop one of the Wehrmacht units, which affected the production of new equipment. By the efforts of one of the military workshops, by the end of 1943, only 10 self-propelled guns based on T26 737 (r) and PaK 97 / 38 were built. All of these vehicles were transferred to the 3 th company of the 563 th anti-tank division, where it was operated for several months. In accordance with the German nomenclature of armaments and equipment, new self-propelled guns received the symbol 7,5cm PaK 97 / 38 (f) auf Pz. 740 (r) - 7,5-cm gun PaK 97 / 38 (French) based on the tank Pz. 740 (Russian).
The Red Army soldiers near the battered SPG on Fr. Saaremaa. Photo Beutepanzer.ru
Most sources mention that the new type of self-propelled guns were used only by the 3-th company of the 563-division and served only for several months. Already 1 March 1944, the 3-I company officially switched to Marder III combat vehicles. Nevertheless, according to some data, the self-propelled guns based on captured tanks still managed to take part in battles, although only one case of using such equipment in battles is known.
At the end of September 1944, the operation began to free the Moonsund Archipelago, successfully completed in late November. On the night of October 8 and 9, near the village of Tehumardi, the 307 th separate tank fighter division of the 249 Estonian Rifle Division encountered the 2 battalion of the 67 Potsdam Grenadier Regiment. During this battle, both sides suffered significant losses in manpower and equipment. In particular, the Soviet anti-tankists shot down one of the enemy self-propelled guns. Upon further study, it was established that it was an SAU based on a T-26 tank with a French-made gun. Thus, the fate of at least one self-propelled gun 7,5cm PaK 97 / 38 (f) auf Pz. 740 (r) can be traced clearly and clearly: she remained in service until the autumn of 1944, when she was fatally damaged and made further exploitation impossible.
A padded car from a different angle. Photo Forums.airbase.ru
The fate of nine other German-built self-propelled guns is unknown. According to the most common version, they were removed from service in early March 1944, after which there is no information about them. Judging by the chronicles of the battle on the Moonsund archipelago and the death of one of the self-propelled guns under Tehumardi, this technique could well be used in various battles and die in battle. However, it cannot be excluded that some part of 7,5cm is PaK 97 / 38 (f) auf Pz. 740 (r) was written off as unnecessary and went to the smelter. Anyway, information about self-propelled guns, preserved until the end of the war, is missing.
The self-propelled gun project based on the T-26 tank and the PaK 97 / 38 cannon was created on the initiative of army gunners, which led to some specific consequences. For example, build machines 7,5cm PaK 97 / 38 (f) auf Pz. 740 (r) accounted for in the existing army workshops, because of what managed to collect only ten self-propelled guns. At the same time, the initiative project demonstrated an important feature of the German production of military equipment: the combatant units did not always have enough production vehicles, which forced them to search for any available exits. Naturally, ten semi-hand-made self-propelled guns could not change the outcome of the war, but the full-scale mass production of other equipment, in view of the mass of accumulated problems, also could not save Nazi Germany from defeat.
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