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T-26 mod. 1933 at Kirovsk, Leningrad Oblast
TypeLight infantry tank
Place of origin Soviet Union
Service history
In service1931–1945 in USSR
1936–1953 in Spain
1940–1961 in Finland
WarsSpanish Civil War
Second Sino-Japanese War
Soviet–Japanese Border Wars
World War II Chinese Civil War
Production history
DesignerVickers-Armstrongs, OKMO of Bolshevik Plant in Leningrad
ManufacturerFactory No. 174 named after K.E. Voroshilov in Leningrad, Stalingrad Tractor Factory
No. built10,300 tanks and 1,701 other vehicles[1]
Specifications (T-26 mod. 1933[2])
Mass9.6 tonnes (10.6 short tons)
Length4.65 m (15 ft 3 in)
Width2.44 m (8 ft)
Height2.24 m (7 ft 4 in)
Crew3 (commander, gunner, driver)

ArmourBottom: 6 mm (0.24 in)
Roof: 6–10 mm (0.24–0.39 in)
Hull and Turret: 15 mm (0.59 in) (front, rear, sides)
45 mm 20K mod. 1932/34 tank gun (122 rds.)
7.62 mm DT tank machine gun (2,961 rds.)
Engine4-cylinder gasoline flat air-cooled T-26 (Armstrong Siddeley type); engine volume 6,600 cc
90 hp (67 kW) at 2,100 rpm
Power/weight9.38 hp/t
Transmissionsingle-disk main dry clutch, drive shaft, gearbox with five gears, steering clutches, final drives
Suspensionleaf quarter-elliptic springs
Ground clearance380 mm (1 ft 3 in)
Fuel capacity290 L (64 imp gal; 77 U.S. gal) [with additional 110-L fuel tank]
Road: 220–240 km (140–150 mi)
Off-road: 130–140 km (81–87 mi)
Maximum speed Paved: 31.1 km/h (19.3 mph)
Gravel: 22 km/h (14 mph)
Off-road: 16 km/h (9.9 mph)

The T-26 tank was a Soviet light infantry tank used during many wars of the 1930s as well as during World War II. It was an improved version of the British Vickers 6-Ton tank. It was one of the best and last tank designs of the 1920s. The tank started to have problems when new anti-tank guns were invented. The tank had thin armor which the new guns could fire holes in.[3]

More T-26s were produced than any other tank of the period. More than 11,000 were manufactured.[4] During the 1930s, the USSR made 53 different types of T-26.[5]

The T-26 together with the BT was the main tank of the Red Army in the 1930s. Even though it was no longer good enough to be used in battles at the beginning of World War II, the T-26 was the most important tank of the Spanish Civil War. It was also used during the Battle of Lake Khasan in 1938 and in the Winter War in 1939–40. The Red Army mostly had T-26s during the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941.[6] The T-26 was used against the Germans in the Battle of Moscow in winter 1941/1942, the Battle of Stalingrad and the Battle of the Caucasus in 1942–1943. Some tank units of the Leningrad Front used their T-26s until 1944. The Soviet T-26 light tanks were last used in August 1945, during the defeat of the Japanese in Manchuria.[7]

The T-26 was sold to Spain, China and Turkey. In addition, captured T-26 light tanks were used by the Finnish, German, Romanian and Hungarian armies.[8]

The T-26 was reliable and simple to maintain Its design was improved between 1931 and 1941. However, no new models of the T-26 were made after 1940.

References[change | change source]

  1. Kolomiets, Maxim (2007). T-26. Tyazhelaya sud'ba legkogo tanka (T-26. The Heavy Fate of the Light Tank) (in Russian). Moscow: Yauza, Strategiya KM, EKSMO. p. 125. ISBN 978-5-699-21871-4.
  2. Kolomiets, Maxim (2007). T-26. Tyazhelaya sud'ba legkogo tanka (T-26. The Heavy Fate of the Light Tank) (in Russian). Moscow: Yauza, Strategiya KM, EKSMO. p. 124. ISBN 978-5-699-21871-4.
  3. Franco, Lucas M. (2006). "El Tanque de la Guerra Civil Española". Historia de la Iberia Vieja (in Spanish) (13): 74. ISSN 1699-7913.
  4. Candil, Antonio J. (1 March 1999). "Aid Mission to the Republicans Tested Doctrine and Equipment". Armor. Fort Knox, KY: US Army Armor Center: 34. ISSN 0004-2420.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  5. Svirin, Mikhail; Kolomiets Maxim (2000). Legkiy tank T-26 (Light Tank T-26) ARMADA No. 20 (in Russian). Moscow: Exprint. p. 4. ISBN 5-94038-003-4.
  6. * Baryatinskiy, Mikhail (2003). Legkiy tank T-26 (Light Tank T-26). Modelist-Konstruktor. Special Issue No. 2 (in Russian). Moscow: Modelist-Konstruktor. p. 34-35.
  7. Baryatinskiy, Mikhail (2006). Sovetskie tanki v boyu. Ot T-26 do IS-2 (Soviet tanks in action. From T-26 to IS-2) (in Russian). Moscow: YAUZA, EKSMO. p. 44-57. ISBN 5-699-18740-5.
  8. Kolomiets, Maxim (2007). T-26. Tyazhelaya sud'ba legkogo tanka (T-26. The Heavy Fate of the Light Tank) (in Russian). Moscow: Yauza, Strategiya KM, EKSMO. p. 5. ISBN 978-5-699-21871-4.