Aviation & Aerospace - Airpower 2024 - Aircraft by Country - Aircraft Manufacturers Vehicles & Artillery - Armor 2024 - Armor by Country - Armor Manufacturers Infantry Small Arms - Warfighter 2024 - Small Arms by Country - Arms Manufacturers Warships & Submarines - Navies 2024 - Ships by Country - Shipbuilders U.S. Military Pay 2024 Military Ranks Special Forces by Country


Amphibious Light Tank

Soviet Union | 1941

"Losses of T-40 Amphibious Light Tanks were high during the initial German invasion of the Soviet Union during Operation Barbarossa."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 10/20/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
In the period following World War 1, there came a global military movement centering on more cost-effective, light-class combat tanks. For the Soviet Union, established in 1922 after a lengthy and bloody civil war, there proved an additional quality of its light tanks that was sought - amphibious capability - and from this came the T-37 and T-38 series of light tanks appearing during the early- and mid-1930s. In 1938, Plant No 37 of Moscow began design of a 6.5-ton light scout tank to eventually replace the limited-capability T-37/38 series in the same role. Work proceeded on three pilot vehicles, one fitting a torsion bar suspension system and the other two with spring suspension, and these vehicles were made ready for testing in 1939.

During evaluations, the tanks underwent consistent changes to help improve their design. The torsion bar model became the favorite design and, by the end of it all, had received notable modifications to its hull shape, suspension system and powerplant. From this, the vehicle was showcased to Red Army authorities and promptly adopted for service as the "T-40" on December 19th, 1939. Plant No 37 was charged with its production which began in 1940 and ran until 1941. 151 had been produced by the time of the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June of 1941 and a further 41 were added to stocks in that month alone. However, only about 18 of the vehicles were actually deemed ready for combat service in a frontline capacity. Post-June models were then stripped of their amphibious capability to reduce manufacture times and these carried the designation of "T-40S" to signify their difference - July through September production netted 136 of these "land-only" tanks.

The T-40 was crewed by two personnel, a driver and the vehicle commander (who doubled as the gunner). Primary armament was a 12.7mm DShK Mod. 1938 heavy machine gun supplemented by a 7.62mm DT machine gun installation in a coaxial arrangement. The machine guns were fitted side-by-side in the front turret facing, the heavy gun to the right and the medium gun to the left. 500 rounds of 12.7mm ammunition were carried for the DShK and 2,060 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition were carried for the DT. The vehicle measured a length of 4.1 meters with a width of 2.3 meters and a height of 1.9 meters. Conditions were expectedly cramped internally but nonetheless suitable for its crewmembers who could readily switch positions if called to. The fighting compartment was set at the center of the hull and slightly offset from centerline to the left. The powerpack took up the right side of the hull. Water capabilities were accomplished through natural buoyancy of the hull for the upper half of the vehicle was purposely designed larger than the lower. An integrated propeller drive allowed for forward movement in water and dual rudders were applied for control. The turret was granted a circular access hatch along its roof while the driver was given a rectangular hatch above his position. The turret allowed for a full 360-degree traversal and limited engagement elevation from -8 to +25 degrees.

Outwardly, the T-40 exhibited a rather stout and squat appearance. It did continue the growing Soviet understanding of sloped, rolled armor plating to provide for basic ballistics protection. Final construction of these plates included both welding and riveting and some surface plates were removable for maintenance/repair access to key components (such as the engine compartment). Armor protection ranged from 4mm to 13mm, the thickest values across the more vulnerable, usually combat-facing surfaces.

Article Continues Below Advertisement...
The T-40 was powered by a GAZ-202 liquid-cooled engine of 85 horsepower output which allowed the vehicle a maximum road speed of 28 miles per hour (45 kph) and an operational road range of 186 miles (300 km). The engine was mated to a four-speed transmission system. The T-40's hull lacked any method of shock absorption which made for relatively uncomfortable riding. Running gear included four rubber-tired road wheels to a track side with three track return rollers governing the upper track portions. The drive sprocket was located at the front of the hull with the track idler at the rear. The tracks were unprotected across all of their surfaces (i.e. o side skirt armor or fenders were issued).

After the German invasion, the Red Army was throttled backwards to Moscow, having lost tons of armor and material in addition to aircraft and manpower in the process. Stalin's officer purge leading up to the war did not help the situation for many experienced top ranking personnel were cut out of circulation at a most critical time. Some T-40S units were shipped to Moscow factories to have their turrets removed and rocket projectors installed atop their hulls. The reworked vehicles fielded BM-8-24 Katyusha rocket launchers with each launcher mounting 24 x 82mm high-explosive rockets. Other T-40 tanks were then given armor thickness of 15mm and designated as T-30S. Early T-30S tanks retained their original machine gun-only armament while later versions formally adopted a more potent 20mm TNSh autocannon with 7.62mm coaxial machine gun (750 projectiles for the main gun and 1,500 rounds for the machine gun). T-30 production resulted in 335 vehicles between August and October of 1941. A command vehicle (CV) variant of the T-40 was also developed, this as the "C2V". C2V models included 71-TK-3 series radio sets and were easily identified by their antenna stalks.

In combat, T-40s did not respond well to the pressing German strategy and many were lost in just the first few weeks of fighting. Less than a handful of T-40s remained into July of 1941 with low numbers surviving the war, seeing their last days in 1946 as trainer vehicles.

In the end, the T-40 certainly improved upon the qualities of the preceding T-37 and T-38 models but appeared during a time when less-complicated tank systems were being sought by the Soviet government. The German invasion undoubtedly signaled the beginning of the end for this compact tank offering which was eventually overshadowed by the famous T-34 Medium Tank, fully entrenched as the armored spearhead of the Red Army's march into Berlin. The related T-60, a dedicated non-amphibious light tank design (detailed elsewhere on this site), overtook T-40 production and saw nearly 6,300 units produced in comparison to the 663 T-40s built (including variants).

Perhaps the one claim to fame for the T-40 was its use of an independent torsion bar suspension system - the first Red Army tank to feature this.

Content ©MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one land system design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the T-40 Amphibious Light Tank.
1 x GAZ-202 engine delivering 70 horsepower.
Installed Power
27 mph
44 kph
Road Speed
280 miles
450 km
The physical qualities of the T-40 Amphibious Light Tank.
13.5 ft
4.11 meters
O/A Length
7.6 ft
2.33 meters
O/A Width
6.4 ft
1.95 meters
O/A Height
14,339 lb
6,504 kg | 7.2 tons
Armament & Ammunition
Available supported armament, ammunition, and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the T-40 Amphibious Light Tank.
1 x 12.7mm DShK heavy machine gun
1 x 7.62mm DT coaxial machine gun

1 x 20mm TNSh cannon
1 x 7.62mm DT coaxial machine gun
(T-40/T-40S): 500 x 12.7mm ammunition with 2,060 x 7.62mm ammunition; (T-30S) 750 x 20mm projectiles with 1,500 x 7.62mm ammunition.
Nightvision - NONE.
Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Protection (CBRN) - NONE.
Notable series variants as part of the T-40 family line.
T-40 - Base Amphibious Tank; 191 examples produced.
T-40S - Non-Amphibious, Land-Only Variant of the T-40; 136 examples produced.
T-40 C2V - Command Vehicle with 71-TK-3 radio sets; communications antenna.
T-30S - Up-armored T-40 with 15mm armor protection; early forms with base T-40 machine gun armament; later production with 1 x 20mm TNSh cannon and 1 x 7.62mm machine gun; 335 examples produced.
T-40 "Katyusha" - T-40S variant with turret removed and mounting BM-8-24 series 24 x 82mm unguided rocket launchers; 44 conversions of existing T-40S hulls.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the T-40. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national land systems listing.

Total Production: 663 Units

Contractor(s): State Factories - Soviet Union
National flag of the Soviet Union

[ Soviet Union ]
1 / 1
Image of the T-40
Image from the Public Domain.

Design Qualities
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to battlefield requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The T-40 Amphibious Light Tank appears in the following collections:
Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies

2024 Military Pay Scale Military Ranks U.S. DoD Dictionary Conversion Calculators Military Alphabet Code Military Map Symbols US 5-Star Generals WW2 Weapons by Country

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com. No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.

Part of a network of sites that includes Global Firepower, WDMMA.org, WDMMW.org, and World War Next.

©2024 www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-2024 (21yrs)