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includes five BT-5 Fast Tanks.
The BT-5 fast tank was the first in the BT series of tanks to introduce a larger turret to accommodate the exceptional 45mm obr 1938 gun. This gun out-matched almost all of the Soviets enemy’s tanks guns, and when combined with the excellent manoeuvrability of the BT fast tank design it made for an effective weapon.
Once the Soviet infantry had broken through the enemy lines, deep operations began. These called for tank and cavalry forces to advance rapidly to take objectives up to a hundred kilometres (sixty miles) or more behind the front, surrounding the enemy and destroying them. For this role the Red Army looked at a tank designed by an American, Walter Christie, and like the T-26, built unlicensed copies in huge numbers as the BT series of fast tanks.
The thing that made the Christie design attractive for this role was its speed, both cross country and on roads. Its mobility came from a novel suspension system of large rubber-shod road wheels mounted on long coil springs. This allowed the wheels to absorb he shock of high-speed cross country travel, and when the tracks were removed, allowed the tank to drive at high speeds on roads. While an interesting idea, the impracticality of taking the tracks on and off the tanks in a combat situation meant that they never tried it in action.
One of the other implications of being a light, fast lank was the requirement to keep weight down and thus the armour light, lighter even than the T-26. One area the Red Army didn’t skimp though is the armament — the BT-5 mounted the same powerful 45mm gun and coaxial machine-gun as the T-26.
BT-5 fast tank
Armament: 45 mm obr 1932 gun
1 × 7.62 mm MG
Weight: 11.5 tonnes
Length: 5.76 m
Armour: 13 mm
Speed (Tracks): 52 km/h
Speed (Wheels): 72 km/h
Range: 200 km