.: Bob Williams' Tamiya BT-7 Russian Light Tank 1935

Brand:
Tamiya
Scale:
1/35th
Modelling Time:
~ hrs
PE/Resin Detail:
none
Comments:

"Another excellent Tamiya kit, from 2010, with some useful extras, such as etched metal exhaust and vent covers (with a handy jig to form the exhaust cover), a length of chain etc. This tank was of Italian design origin."

This model commissioned by Rob McCallum

BT-7

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"BT-8" redirects here. For the first aircraft designed and built by the Seversky Aircraft Corporation, see Seversky SEV-3.
BT-7, BT-7M
Soviet cavalry tank BT-7m.jpg
BT-7M, 1940, with tracks removed from the wheels and carried on the hull
Type Light cavalry tank
Place of origin  Soviet Union
Service history
In service 1935–45
Wars Soviet–Japanese Border Wars, World War II, Winter War
Production history
Designer Morozov
Designed 1935[1]
Manufacturer KhPZ
Produced 1935–40
Number built 2700[1] - 5300[citation needed]
Variants BT-7-1, BT-7-1V, BT-7-2, BT-7A, BT-7M (BT-8), BT-IS[1]
Specifications (variant BT-7-2[1])
Weight 13.9 tonnes (13.7 long tons; 15.3 short tons)
Length 5.66 m (18 ft 7 in)
Width 2.29 m (7 ft 6 in)
Height 2.42 m (7 ft 11 in)
Crew 3

Armour Hull: 6-20 mm
Turret: 10-15 mm
Main
armament
45 mm L/46
Secondary
armament
2 x 7.62 mm DT machine gun
Engine Mikulin M-17T (V-12) gasoline
450 hp (at 1,750 rpm)
Power/weight 32.37 hp/tonne
Transmission Chain drive (tracks: sliding gear)
Suspension Christie
Ground clearance 0.305 m (1 ft)
Fuel capacity 360 litres (95 US gal)
Operational
range
Road: 430 km (270 mi)
Off-road: 360 km (220 mi)
Speed Road: 72 km/h (45 mph)
Off-road: 50 km/h (31 mph)
Steering
system
steering stick

The BT-7 [note 1] was the last of the BT series of Soviet cavalry tanks that were produced in large numbers between 1935 and 1940. They were lightly armoured, but reasonably well-armed for their time, and had much better mobility than other contemporary tank designs. The BT tanks were known by the nickname Betka from the acronym, or its diminutive Betushka.[2]

The successor of the BT-7 Tank would be the famous T-34 medium tank, introduced in 1940, which would replace all of the Soviet fast tanks, infantry tanks, and medium tanks then in service.

Development

BT-7 tanks on parade

The first prototypes of the BT-7 had a distinctive canted-ellipse shaped turret mounting both the main gun and a coaxial machine-gun. The specification also called for the project to allow for installation without any significant change to the framework of new guns: the 76 mm KT-26 or PS-3 main gun (a short-barreled howitzer) and the 45 mm 20K model 1932/38, a long-barreled, high-velocity gun useful against tanks, but less effective than the 76 mm gun against infantry.

In the rear of the turret there was housed a rotating drum-type magazine for 18 76 mm shells or a radio station. The prototype underwent an extensive testing program in the summer and autumn of 1934. As a result of this testing, it was felt that a machine-gun was unnecessary on a tank with a 3-man crew, especially as it made the assembly of the turret more complicated.

Therefore, in early 1935, the tank went into production with a simpler design, incorporating the turret from the BT-5. (However, the idea of wheeled/tracked vehicle with a 76 mm cannon was not abandoned and the plant was commissioned to develop a new BT-7 turret from the turret of the T-26-4.) In the production model, a cylindrical turret housed a 45 mm 20K gun with a DT-model machine-gun. On some of the tanks, a model 71-TC radio with frame antenna was installed.

The crew consisted of three men: the commander (who also served as the gunner); the loader and the driver. In 1937 the company launched production of the BT-7 with a conical turret. Main armament remained the same, but the ammunition was increased to 44 rounds. All serving tanks now installed the DT machine gun in the rear niche. For the firing of the gun and coaxial machine gun at night, the tank was equipped with two special projector-type headlamps, and a mask placed on the gun. Subsequently, these lights were retrofitted to earlier models of the tank. Improvements were also made to the drive wheels, caterpillar tracks and gearbox by 1938.

In parallel with the main modification, 154 BT-7A artillery tanks were produced between 1936 and 1938, fitted with a larger turret and a 76 mm KT-type gun, 50 rounds of ammunition (40 in a tank with a portable radio).

In 1938, four experimental BT-8 tanks mounted with V-2 diesel engines were produced. After comparative tests of the BT-7 and BT-8, the diesel tanks were put into production in 1940 (under the designation BT-7M) with the powerplants being produced in a separate plant of the Voroshilovets factory to ensure supply. From December 1939, the BT-7A went into production with some minor modifications - additional bracing for rigidity, a manhole underneath, and a smaller air filter. The diesel tanks showed much-reduced fuel costs, and the petrol-powered tanks were soon placed into reserve.

Several experimental tanks were conceived based on the BT series, for example the wheeled BT-IS, designed by N.F. Tsyganov, a platoon commander in the 4th Armoured Regiment of the Ukraine Military District and self-taught designer. The type successfully passed field tests but was not ordered in bulk. Another Tsyganov design was the S-2 "Cherepaha" (turtle, черепаха), with a new design of hull and turret. There was also the command tank KBT-7 with a fixed turret, the OT-7 mounting a flamethrower, the KhBT-7 designed to protect from toxic contamination and lay smokescreens, the SBT bridgelayer and the TTBT-7 and Thubten-7 radio-controlled tanks (known at the time as Teletanks). Finland converted 18 captured tanks into BT-42 assault guns.[3]

Shortly before Operation Barbarossa, the BT-7 underwent an up-armour programme. In 1940, Mariupol Ilyich Iron and Steel Works produced 50 sets of hinged homogeneous armor for the BT-7M, which increased the weight of the test tank to 18 tons. On the installation of these kits to military units, unfortunately, nothing is known. Between 1935 and 1940, between 2700[1] and 5,328[citation needed] BT-7 tanks of all modifications (except BT-7A) were built.

 

Please go to Wikipedia, if you want any further information

Thanks Wikipedia!

 

Box art:

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