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38M Toldi Light Tank (1940)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 7/1/2014

Only 202 of the Hungarian 38M Toldi Light Tanks were produced and many saw failed action against Soviet T-34s in the latter war years.

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The Hungarian Toldi Light Tank was born from the Swedish AB Landsverk L-60 Light Tank, a tracked, turreted, armored fighting vehicle appearing with Swedish military forces beginning in 1934. The type was also operated under the Irish Army banner for a time. The L-60 appeared in four major production marks (L-60A, L-60B, L-60C and L-60D) for the Swedes of which the Toldi was based on the L-60B model. For the Hungarians, the L-60B was licensed-produced as the "38M Toldi" and informally (and simply) recognized as the "Toldi Tank". State facilities produced the Toldi from 1939 into 1942 and these tanks saw combat action for the Hungarian Army during its willing participation as an arm of the Axis powers.

The Toldi tank was produced in a handful of variants beginning with the initial Toldi I (A20). These were completed with a 20mm main armament and 80 of its kind were ultimately produced. Following this production mark was the Toldi II (B20) which brought with it an increase in frontal armor protection (up to 35mm from 20mm). Some 110 of this mark were completed. The next production mark - more precisely a standardization of previous production variants - was the Toldi IIa (B40) which incorporated a 40mm main gun into its design and first appeared in 1942. At least 80 existing Toldi tanks were brought up to this wartime standard. The Toldi III (C40) was the last notable Toldi production variant and appeared as an "improved" form of the line, though in just 12 total examples. All told, the Toldi existed in 202 production examples during her operational tenure.

Toldi Light Tanks appeared very similar to their original Swedish L-60 forms. The design was rather conventional in nature and consisted mainly of a tracked hull with a traversing turret emplacement. The hull contained the engine, driver compartment, fighting compartment fuel and ammunition stores and sat atop a suspended wheeled tracked system. There were five road wheels to a track side with the drive sprocket at the front and the track idler at the rear - the track supported along the top by two return rollers. There was a short and shallow glacis plate ahead of the driver's position which was to the front left of the vehicle. A short superstructure was designed under the turret to provide for the necessary internal volume needed for the crew, systems and ammunition storage. The Toldi was crewed by three personnel made up of the driver, commander and gunner - the commander doubling as the loader for the main gun. Armor protection ranged from 20mm in thickness on the Toldi I production mark to 35mm in thickness for the Toldi II production mark and beyond.


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Specifications for the
38M Toldi
Light Tank


Country of Origin: Hungary
Manufacturer: AB Landsverk - Sweden / State Factories - Hungary
Initial Year of Service: 1940
Production: 202


Focus Model: 38M Toldi
Crew: 3


Overall Length: 15.58ft (4.75m)
Width: 7.02ft (2.14m)
Height: 6.14ft (1.87m)
Weight: 9.6 US Short Tons (8,700kg; 19,180lbs)


Powerplant: 1 x Bussing-Nag L-8-V/36TR 8-cylinder gasoline engine developing 155 horsepower.


Maximum Speed: 29mph (47 km/h)
Maximum Range: 124 miles (200 km)


NBC Protection: None
Nightvision: None


Armament:
Toldi I:
1 x 20mm 36M main gun
1 x 8mm 34/37 coaxial machine gun

Toldi IIa / Toldi III:
1 x 40mm main gun
1 x 8mm 34/37 coaxial machine gun


Ammunition:
Not Available.


Variants:
28M Toldi - Base Series Designation


38M Toldi I (A20) - Initial Production Variant; fitting 20mm main gun; 80 examples produced.

38M Toldi II (B20) - Improved armor protection (frontal); 110 examples produced.

38M Toldi IIa (B40) - Upgraded form appearing in 1942; armed with 40mm main gun; standardization of earlier production models.

38M Toldi III (C40) - Improved Mark; 12 examples produced.


Operators:
Hungary