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

BTR-40 (Bronetransporter)

Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) / Armored Car

Soviet Union | 1950

"Some 8,500 BTR-40s were ultimately produced from 1950 to 1960."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 07/16/2023 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The Red Army learned much about mobility in its response to the German invasion of the Soviet Union during World War 2. As such, the proceeding years saw much development of wheeled and tracked armored systems capable of traversing water sources and all manner of terrain while hauling scores of Soviet infantry to the front. One such development proved to be the BTR-40, the "Bronetransporter", essentially a lightweight, four-wheeled armored vehicle which saw production reach into the thousands. The design was attributed to V.A. Dedkov and work progressed from 1947 into 1950. The vehicle was then produced from 1950 to 1960 and 8,500 examples entered circulation with dozens of global operators, making the BTR-40 something of a numerical post-war success despite inherent limitations in its base design. Soviet production was handled by Gorkovsky Avtomobilny Zavod.

During World War 2, the Red Army relied heavily on the nimble little BA-64 series armored car introduced during 1942. Over 9,000 of its kind were produced and these infiltrated all manner of countries during and after the war. However, the BA-64 was produced to specifications encountered in a hurried war initiative, essentially an armored car not intended for ferrying troops, and a modern successor with amphibious personnel-hauling capabilities was sought. The BTR-40, therefore, was born through this initiative which proved a further evolution of the "GAZ-63" 4x4 truck having entered service in 1946. After several attempts to finalize a design direction, two prototypes were eventually unveiled in 1950 - the optional armament "BTR-40" and similar "BTR-40A" mounting 2 x 14.5mm KPVT heavy machine guns in a traversing turret, intended for the anti-aircraft role.

Outwardly, the BTR-40 series certainly appeared the typical Soviet utilitarian vehicle of the 1950s. Angled armor facings were used where possible, primarily around the front engine installation and driving cabin, for basic ballistics protection. The front wheels were shrouded in multi-angled fenders. The hood was noticeably bulged and led up to the heavily-slanted front vision port, offering limited forward visibility over the engine. Automobile-style doors allowed for traditional entry-exit options for driver and passenger along the sides of the hull. The rear portion of the vehicle, intended for passengers or cargo, was surrounded by a boxy metal fixture offering basic protection. Headlamps straddled either side of the engine block for low-light/nighttime driving. Wheels were large and heavily treaded, intended to provide the vehicle with the required off-road maneuverability.

Dimensionally, the BTR-40 showcased a running length of 5 meters with a width of 1.9 meters and height of 1.83 meters. Overall operating weight was roughly six short tons. Armor protection ranged from 6mm to 8mm at critical faces which allowed for a counter to small arms fire and artillery spray but little else. Power was served through a GAZ-40 series 6-cylinder unit outputting 80 horsepower at 3,400rpm. The hull was suspended atop a 4x4 wheeled chassis with leaf spring suspension system. This configuration gave a ground clearance of 400mm. Operational range reached 430 kilometers across ideal terrain with speeds topping out at 80 kilometers per hour. A base crew involved two personnel (driver and commander) while six to eight passengers could be carried depending on production model.

Article Continues Below Advertisement...
Armament on the BTR-40 was considered largely optional and dependent upon the operator's mission requirements. Typically, a 7.62mm machine gun was affixed to the roof of the vehicle with over 1,000 rounds of ammunition on hand. An additional pair of machine guns could be fitted as required, essentially tripling the defensive capabilities of the vehicle and crew.

In practice, the BTR-40 revealed several deficiencies in her design, primarily in cross-country travel and its ability to traverse water sources - two key design ingredients sought by Soviet authorities. This led the Red Army in two directions that ultimately ended with the development of the successful "BRDM" 4x4 amphibious armored car and the 6x6 "BTR-152" non-amphibious armored personnel carrier. During its time as a frontline vehicle with the Red Army, the BTR-40 proved adequate for basic reconnaissance sorties, light troop-ferrying and service as a command vehicle outfitted with additional communications. The BTR-40 was utilized concurrently with the newer BTR-152 and BRDM series cars during its time with the Soviet military (the BTR-152 was its direct replacement). As the basic BTR-40 design lacked any protection against chemical attacks, the "BTR-40Kh" was developed with inherent Nuclear, Biological, Chemical (NBC) protection. The "BTR-40V" of 1956 introduced an integrated tire regulation system. The "BTR-40B" of 1957 was an improved BTR-40A complete with NBC protection and four roof access hatches for six passengers.

While not a total success with the Red Army, the BTR-40 went on to see extensive service in the hands of overseas parties - mainly Soviet-allied nations and satellite states. China even took to local production of the type as the "Type 55". The BTR-40 was recognized as the SPW-40 in East German Army service and 300 units were received. Thousands were ordered overseas including 670 for Yemen, 350 for Egypt, 200 for Mongolia, 200 for Albania and 100 for North Korea. Poland operated 400 of the type whilst Hungary managed some 200. Many have since been withdrawn by more modern military powers.

The BTR-40 was first used in combat during the Korean War (1950-1953) and later in the Vietnam War (1955-1975). It made many appearances in other contained regional conflicts about the globe and, amazingly, continues in service with more than a dozen operators today (2013).

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 BTR-40 (Bronetransporter) Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) / Armored Car.
1 x GAZ-40 6-cylinder engine delivering 80 horsepower at 3,400rpm.
Installed Power
50 mph
80 kph
Road Speed
267 miles
430 km
The physical qualities of the BTR-40 (Bronetransporter) Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) / Armored Car.
16.4 ft
5 meters
O/A Length
6.2 ft
1.9 meters
O/A Width
7.2 ft
2.2 meters
O/A Height
12,879 lb
5,842 kg | 6.4 tons
Armament & Ammunition
Available supported armament, ammunition, and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the BTR-40 (Bronetransporter) Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) / Armored Car.
1 to 3 x 7.62mm SGMB general purpose machine guns (BTR-40).
2 x 14.5mm ZPTU-2 heavy machine guns (BTR-40A)
1,250 x 7.62mm ammunition (per SGMB fitting)
Nightvision - NONE.
Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Protection (CBRN) - OPTIONAL.
Notable series variants as part of the BTR-40 (Bronetransporter) family line.
BTR-141 - Original Prototype Designation of 1947
BTR-40 - Base Series Designation; base transport model with optional machine gun armament; seating for eight passengers; appearing in 1950.
BTR-40A - Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Artillery variant with 2 x 14.5mm ZPTU-2 heavy machine guns; appearing in 1950.
BTR-40B - Improved BTR-40 of 1957; 4 x roof hatches; integrated NBC system; seating for six passengers.
BTR-40Kh - NBC Vehicle
BTR-40V - Integrated tire regulation system; appearing in 1956.
BTR-40ZhD - Rail wheels for special service; appearing in 1959.
Type 55 - Chinese Copy of BTR-40
SPW-40 - East German designation of BTR-40
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the BTR-40 (Bronetransporter). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national land systems listing.

Total Production: 8,500 Units

Contractor(s): Gorkovsky Avtomobilny Zavod - Soviet Union
National flag of Afghanistan National flag of Albania National flag of Algeria National flag of Angola National flag of Bulgaria National flag of China National flag of Cuba National flag of Egypt National flag of Ethiopia National flag of modern Germany National flag of East Germany National flag of Guinea National flag of Hungary National flag of Indonesia National flag of Iran National flag of Israel National flag of Mongolia National flag of Nicaragua National flag of North Korea National flag of Poland National flag of the Soviet Union National flag of Sudan National flag of Somalia National flag of Syria National flag of Tanzania National flag of Uganda National flag of Vietnam National flag of Yemen National flag of Yugoslavia

[ Afghanistan; Albania; Algeria; Angola; Bulgaria; Burundi; Cambodia; China; Cuba; East Germany; Egypt; Ethiopia; Germany; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Hungary; Indonesia; Iran; Israel; North Korea; Laos; Mali; Mongolia; Nicaragua; North Yemen; North Vietnam; Palestinian Liberation Organization; Poland; Somalia; South Yemen; Soviet Union; Sudan; Syria; Tanzania; Uganda; Vietnam; Yemen; Yugoslavia ]
1 / 1
Image of the BTR-40 (Bronetransporter)
Front left side view of the BTR-40 armored car

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 BTR-40 (Bronetransporter) Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) / Armored Car 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)