The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW


T-38 floating tank

In 1936, at the factory number 37 named after Ordzhonikidze, under the leadership of the new chief designer N. A. Astrov, the floating tank T-38 was designed (in a number of sources it is called the wedge) . The design, if possible, took into account all the advantages and disadvantages of previous models. In the same year, its mass production began.

The tank had a partially welded, partially riveted body. Additional floats, as on the T-37A, were not provided. The T-38 turret was borrowed from the T-37A without significant changes and assembled on a similar body system of armor plates 4 and 8 mm thick. The turret had a cylindrical shape with a niche in the frontal part and was located on the left half of the control compartment. The vertical walls of the turret were assembled from 8 mm armor plates, while the horizontal surfaces were made from sheets of 4 mm thickness.

The main external difference between the T-37A and the T-38 is the location of the turret. Other layout (engine, transmission, tanks) left absolutely the same. However, the T-38 has changed (and greatly) in another. The tank became lower and wider, which should have increased its stability afloat. Changes in the hull have allowed to abandon the nadgusenichnye floats, however, the regiments are back. In addition, a few have changed the suspension, and it seems that the stroke became smoother and the speed slightly increased.

The T-38 was made with two types of turrets, which had minor differences in shape - the production of Izhora and Podolsk engineering plants. For landing and disembarking, the tank commander and driver-mechanic had their own hatches, in the turret's roof and cabin, respectively, the driver also had a viewing hatch in the frontal part of the wheelhouse. Several hatches in the roof of the control compartment and in the frontal and stern inclined sheets served to access the engine and transmission units.

Machine gun DT , the ammunition of which was increased by 10 disks, was installed in the ball valve. For firing the machine gun DT was equipped with a diopter sight. The commander of the tank was placed on the left in a motorcycle-type seat, height-adjustable, the driver was on the right. The engine from GAZ-AA was installed behind the axis of the tank. A power take-off reducer for a three-blade left-hand propeller was attached to the gearbox. Turning the tank when driving afloat was carried out by the wheel. The undercarriage of the tank as a whole was similar to the T-37A tank.

According to its main indicators tank T-38 The design was generally close to its predecessor, but replacing the differential with side clutches and power take-off with a propeller through a special gearbox significantly improved its maneuverability. The experimental procedure was built tank T-38 M1 with suspension light polubronirovannogo arttyagacha "Komsomolets" (about it - here ). But the variant T-38 M2 with the engine from the car GAZ-M1 with a power of 50 hp. produced serially. To enhance the armament of the tank, an attempt was made to install an automatic gun TNSh-20 of 20 mm caliber on it. However, the standard turret was too close for this artillery system.

On the basis of the T-38 units was built self-propelled artillery, armed with a 45-mm cannon. In addition to the plant named after S.Ordzhonikidze, the T-38 began to produce the Gorky Automobile Plant - in 1935 it manufactured 36 tanks of this type. The latter circumstance, apparently, pushed the gazovtsy to create their own amphibian - in peak T-38 . This idea was embodied in the TM tank ("Molotov Tank"), created on the basis of the T-37. It was significantly longer: instead of two trolleys of road wheels, three were installed. Its most significant feature was the presence of two GAZ-M1 engines installed in parallel. Since TM had no significant advantages over T-38 , it was not mass-produced.

Like the T-37, part of the "thirty-eighths" was equipped with a radio station 71-TK-1. In 1939, a radio control (radio-controlled) group of T-38 tanks , armed with machine guns and flamethrowers, was developed at SRI No. 20 . It consisted of the T-38 teletanka and the TU-38 control tank. The experiment has not received further development.

On the basis of the T-38, the Kompressor plant built an XT-38 flamethrower tank, which was not serially produced. In total, from 1936 to 1939, 1340 T-38 tanks were manufactured. In 1941, together with the T-37A, they were in service with the reconnaissance subunits of the tank divisions and were mainly used in battles of the initial period of the Great Patriotic War, when almost all were lost. A number of these machines were used in the rear for training purposes.

After adopting the T-38 into service, its creators expected a mass of laudatory feedback from the troops. But it was not there! Already in the course of the extensive maneuvers of the summer of 1937, it turned out that the new tank is practically (in combat terms) no different from the T-37, except for the cost, which, naturally, has become more. Small displacement did not allow even two infantrymen to transport on his armor through water obstacles. An overload of 120-150 kg led to the overwhelming of the incident wave in the hatches of the tank when performing any kind of maneuvers on the water. The outcome has always been the same. The tank was sinking. When driving on land, the tank also did not meet the increased requirements and on the march behaved no better than the "outdated" T-37 because of the greater inclination of the tracks to bend. As a result, by the fall of 1937 the tank was declared non-operationa, but it was still left in service.

The disappointing results of summer maneuvers led to the fact that in the fall of 1937 the tank was declared incompetent, its production was limited, and a special commission of the NKVD began working at the plant. At the same time, the design bureau of Plant No. 37 was assigned the task of completing the design of the tank in order to eliminate the defects noted and improve the combat capabilities.

The design work carried out led to the appearance in the spring of 1938 of two samples of the T-38M tank (T-38M-1 and T-38M-2). The tanks differed from their predecessors in the installation of the GAZ M-1 engine with a power of 50 hp. instead of GAZ AA with 40 hp; transmission from the tracked tractor "Komsomolets" (except airborne gears). From the "Komsomoltsa" borrowed also drive wheel with 8-12 holes in the disk (in 1937, most of the produced T-38 had a drive wheel with 4 holes) and suspension carts. Further, the section of the air vents was increased, metal wings were installed instead of wooden ones, and a new track chain with a raised pen and a reinforced finger was introduced. The introduction of a second command post by the tank commander was also very useful, as it helped to remove the tank from the battle in the event of the drivers death.

The T-38 received baptism of fire in 1939 during the Polish company. Floating tanks were more widely used in the Soviet-Finnish war then even battalions of amphibious tanks were created from the T-37A and T-38. Many tanks were lost during the war because of very thin armor - they were undermined even by infantry mines.

By the Great Patriotic War, the Red Army had 1143 T-38s, of which 214 were in need of major repairs. At the beginning of the war, they were mainly used to support infantry, but for these purposes the machines did not fit at all - they were easily penetrated by anti-tank guns, which led to heavy losses.

The tank quickly became "outdated", which in principle was not an exaggeration. As of September 15, 1940, about 40% of the T-38 tanks required medium and capital repairs, but due to the lack of spare parts and frank reluctance to re-commission the outdated equipment, they preferred to be kept in warehouses or in training units. The result was that a number of mechanized corps and rifle divisions had floating tanks only on paper.

However, successful cases of using amphibious tanks are also known. For example, in June 1941 the reconnaissance platoon of these tanks under the command of Zhigarev in the area with. Bayuns collided with the German infantry and tanks and successfully carried out the attack, destroying one German wedge and turning the second one.

By the spring of 1942, very few of the T-38 remained at the front, and cases of their use became sporadic. It is known that they fought on the South-Western, Karelian and Leningrad fronts, and they were mainly used to protect important objects.

In September 1942, the tanks attempted to be used as intended, to force the Neva. Unfortunately, only three of the tanks managed to reach the enemy shore, which were immediately destroyed.

The last case of the combat use of the T-38 refers to 1944, when one battalion of these vehicles, together with the battalion of floating cars, the Ford GPA, took part in forcing the Svir River.

No matter how funny it sounds, the T-38 had practically no analog in the tank world of that time due to the absence of amphibious tanks in other countries at that time. These vehicles allowed to test the very idea of enhancing the combat power of airborne and water landing forces. Lightly armed, due to the specifics of the use, the amphibious troops always needed mobile armored fire support when they captured and held their positions. It was the T-37A and T-38, despite all their shortcomings, were the first machines that could be quite successfully used in this role. They could swim and navigate through the air using a TB-3 carrier aircraft. Armored self-propelled machine gun for landing.

Something with the T-38 obviously went wrong. It clearly turned out worse than its predecessor, the T-37A.

Classification Small/floating tank
Combat weight3.3 tons
Crew2 persons
number issued1340 pieces
Body length3780 mm
Body width2330 mm
Height1630 mm
Clearance 300 mm
Type of armorsteel rolled homogeneous
Hull forehead (top)9/10 mm/deg
Hull forehead (middle)6/80 mm/deg
Hull forehead (bottom)9/20 mm/deg
Hull9/0 mm/deg
Body Feed (top)6/80 mm/deg
Body Feed (middle)9/20 mm/deg
Body feed (bottom)9/60 mm/deg
Bottom4/80-90 mm/deg
roof of the hull 4 mm
forehead of the turret 8/0 mm/deg
Board of the turret 8/0 mm/deg
Feed turret8/0 mm/deg
roof of the turret4 mm
Machine gun7.62,-mm dt
Engine Typerow 4 carburetor liquid cooling
Engine power40 hp
Speed on the highway40 km/h
Speed across the terrain15-20 km/h
Speed Afloat6 km/h
power reserve on the highway 250 km
Suspension typeinterlocked in pairs, on horizontal springs
Specific pressure on the ground0.45 kg/cm
Overcoming ascent 33 degrees
wall to be overcome 0.5 m
moat being overcome 1.6 m
Modifications T-38
  • T-38 - a small amphibious tank (1936, 1937, 1939);
  • T-38 M - Advanced T-38. Also had a number of defects and shortcomings, but in general was much better than his predecessor. Never went into the series because it was decided to throw all the effort on the project of another small floating tank.
  • SU-45 - self-propelled artillery installation (prototype, 1936);
  • T-38RT - tank with radio station 71-TK-1 (1937);
  • OT-38 - chemical (flame-thrower) tank (prototypes, 1935-1936);
  • T-38-TT is a telemechanical group of tanks (1939-1940).
  • T-38 floating tank T-38 floating tank T-38 floating tank T-38 floating tank T-38 floating tank T-38 floating tank T-38 floating tank T-38 floating tank T-38 floating tank T-38 floating tank

    T-38 floating tank

    T-38 floating tank

    Join the mailing list

    Page last modified: 10-04-2019 10:17:09 ZULU