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The BTR-40 [Bronetransporty - literally "armored transporter"] is a 4-wheel drive command and reconnaissance vehicle built on the GAZ-63 chassis. The BTR-40 is an armored truck with a sloping front, flat rear, and a roofless rear troop-carrying compartment [some variants have an armored roof]. The BTR is a Soviet non-amphibious wheeled armored personnel carrier and reconnaissance vehicle. It is often referred to as Sorokovka in Soviet service. The vehicle can transport up to eight fully equipped soldiers or 1 ton of cargo.

The APC variant has no permanent armament but it has pintle mounts for three 7.62 mm SGMB medium machine guns, one on the front of the troop compartment and the other two on the sides. The vehicle also has two firing ports on both sides of the hull which allow up to four of transported soldiers to use their weapons while being protected by the APCs armor. BTR-40 armor is from 6 mm to 8 mm thick which gives it protection against small arms fire and shell splinters but doesnt protect it against modern artillery fragments and a .50-calibre machine gun fire which can penetrate BTR-40 maximum armor.

Prototypes of two-axle all-wheel drive armored cars LB-62 were built even before World War II. But the only appearance in the series production of GAZ-51 engine, transmission units and bridges GAZ-63 in the early postwar years, paving the way for the creation of a mature design of a small off-road vehicle with a light but durable hulls. In 1947, at the Gorky Automobile Plant (GAZ, plant = zavod) began work on a light armored personnel carrier BTR-40, which was the first armored car production in the Soviet Union. The appearance of the BTR-40 in the Soviet Union was a direct consequence of the influence exerted during the Second World War by the American-made M3 armored personnel carrier. Being in service with the Soviet armed forces, this machine was used in parallel with the heavier BTR-152. Unlike its heavy "relative", the BTR-40 is often used to transport personnel of motorized army units, as well as the commander, the communication, reconnaissance vehicle, or in the role of an army truck.

In KB Production Cars GAZ led by Lead Designer Vsevolod Konstantinovich Rubtsov designed the first Gorky APC. It was based on the sound idea that armored car does not need a frame design. Properly designed hulls can be the main carrier of the power element of the whole machine. Thereby significantly reduced weight and reduced overall height. For example, a heavy chassis makes it possible to apply a thick armored plates. Of course, the design has become an axiom of hulls typically have exterior, especially the frontal, hull plates are at an angle - so they can better deflect bullets and fragments.

The overall length of the BTR-40 was not much more than the "Volga", width like ZIM GAZ-12, the height is less than the UAZ-452. Armored combat weight of 5.3 tons was 150 kg higher than the total weight of the loaded flatbed truck GAZ-51. Armored personnel needed a more powerful engine than the truck. The six-cylinder gasoline engine GAZ-40 belonged to the same family as the basic engine GAZ-51, but equipped with the next node of the revving engine car GAZ-12 ZIM. As a result, he developed a power of 78 hp. Sometimes foreign armies converted the BTR-40 by equipping it with American or British diesels.

The base model BTR-40 armored hulls had no roof, but were covered with a canvas top. This followed the arrangement of the major US armored vehicles and armored personnel carriers during the Second World War. The open roof allowed a reduction in the metal content and weight of the car, and, most importantly, in a critical situation allowed the men to jump out quickly when they came under fire [or from a burning car]. However, after the military operation in Hungary in 1956, this principle was questioned. The open car was vulnerable in urban street fighting - the enemy was able to throw a grenade or Molotov cocktail inside the armored body, a catastrophic risk to the crew. And the crew was vulnerable to snipers on the upper floors of houses. Therefore, in 1958 the GAZ plant in Murom undertook a modification of the BTR-40B with enclosed hulls and hatches over the heads of the men, the number of seats for which dropped to 6.

The BTR-40 was successfully run on railroad tracks, were it travelled on flanged rollers. On the rails it can develop up to 65 km / h. Mass-produced modification for defense BTR-40A with anti-aircraft guns ZPTU-2 two twin machine guns kW PT caliber 14.5mm. Prototype BTR-40B were fitted with tire inflation system with external tubes and limited-slip differential.

Serial production of the BTR-40 armored personnel carriers was conducted at the Gorky Automobile Plant from 1950 to 1960 - during which time a total of about 8,500 machines went down the assembly line, in 2 basic versions: the basic multi-purpose armored personnel carrier and light machine-gun anti-aircraft gun. In the period from 1950 to 1960 the BTR-40 was adopted by parts of the Soviet Union's army, however, since 1958, it was supplanted by a more modern machine - teh BRDM, which was designed based on it. Be that as it may, the armored personnel carrier was finally removed from army units of the Russian Federation relatively recently in 1993.

It should be noted that in the 50 years of the twentieth century, the Soviet Union actively exported the BTR-40 - they were mostly friendly countries that were part of the socialist bloc states (Eastern Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia, Latin America). Despite the fact that it has been almost 65 years since the release of the first armored personnel carrier BTR-40,and it can still be seen in the armies of a number of individual countries of the world (Afghanistan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Yemen, North Korea, Cuba, Laos, Syria and other ). It is proven to be a machine of unpretentiousness and durability over the use of these machines for different purposes. In other countries, they have already written off, or a museum exhibit of military equipment.

Based on the BTR-40 series which went into production in 1951, the BRDM (1959) and redesigned BRDM-2 (1966) have been the scout car for the Warsaw Pact. Soviet praise for the BRDM series has mentioned that in addition to carrying specialized equipment, it met the requirements of speed and reliability. It has been reported in Western Europe that "The BRDM and BRDM-2 armored scout cars are the most commonly used vehicles for performing the patrolling and observation function." The BRDM series also comes in a CBR reconnaissance version (BRDM-2RKh) which contains the basic equipment necessary to make environmental surveys of a CBR nature and to mark areas of contamination.

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