Floating Like a Butterfly, Stinging Like a Bee? – Soviet T-70 Tank of WWII in 20 Photos

 
 

The Soviet T-70 tank was a product of the modernization of its predecessor, the light tank T-60. Works on the creation and improvement of the T-70 tank were carried out at the Gorky Automobile Plant, and the project manager was engineer Nikolai Astrov. One of the features of this tank was the equipping of two carburetor engines GAZ-202. In addition, the tank was equipped with improved weapons.

Initially, a hexagonal tower with riveted armor was installed on the armored hull having a thickness of 6 to 45mm. The forehead of the body had armor of 35-45mm, and the tower 35mm. The sides of the tank were a weak point and had a thickness of only 15mm of armor. However in 1943, a casted tower was installed on the tank improving its defense. The weight of the T-70 when loaded was 9.2 tons.

T-70 Tank.Photo Vitaly V. Kuzmin CC BY-SA 4.0

T-70 Tank.Photo Vitaly V. Kuzmin CC BY-SA 4.0

The main advantage of the tank was its mobility. The range was 400-450 km, and the maximum speed reached 45 km/h on the highway and 25 km/h on rough terrain. Both GAZ-202 automobile engines provided the T-70 with a total output of 140 hp.

Much more things that are complicated were with the production of a double tower. At the stage of the advance design, the developers realized that this tower would significantly increase the weight of the tank to 10.5-11.5 tons.

Further tests with 11.5 tons of the T-70 tank revealed a large number of shortcomings. First, during operation, the chassis experienced overloads and failed. Further tests to improve the running gear didn’t yield results. Therefore, the double tower was not installed in mass production.

The T-70 was mass produced at several enterprises. Together with the Gorky Automobile Plant, the tank was assembled at  plant No. 38 in Kirov. In total, from March 1942 to October 1943, Soviet plants produced 8,231 T-70 tanks.

Polish T-70 tank from Armoured Warfare Museum in Poznań, shown at MSPO 2015 fair in Kielce.Photo Pibwl CC BY-SA 3.0

Polish T-70 tank from Armoured Warfare Museum in Poznań, shown at MSPO 2015 fair in Kielce.Photo Pibwl CC BY-SA 3.0

Most of the light T-70 tanks took part in defensive battles on the Soviet-German front in 1942-1943. In addition, a significant number of these tanks took part in the battles at Kursk.

During the first battles, some weaknesses emerged. In particular, the T-70’s weapons allowed them to fight only with light tanks. The share of light tanks in the Wehrmacht at that time was declining. In addition, the crew consisting of two people, one of which was constantly overloaded with duties led to increased losses. The lack of radio communication aggravated this problem further.

 

T-70 light tank next to the Diorama Building in Karla Marksa Prospect, Dnepropetrovsk.Photo Rowland Goodman CC BY 3.0

T-70 light tank next to the Diorama Building in Karla Marksa Prospect, Dnepropetrovsk.Photo Rowland Goodman CC BY 3.0

In 1943, the T-70’s insignificant merits were well noted. In particular, in the opinion of tank commanders, the T-70 performed excellently the role of harassing the retreating enemy, but was impractical in most other roles.

After the Battle of Kursk, the Soviet leadership decided to cease production of the T-70. In October 1943, production was officially completed. Despite this, the T-70 served as the basis for self-propelled artillery and antiaircraft guns. On its chassis, a self-propelled artillery unit SU-76 was created, which was produced before the end of the WWII.

German prisoners and ex-german T-70 near Kiev August 16, 1944

German prisoners and ex-german T-70 near Kiev August 16, 1944

 

German T-70

German T-70

 

Polish T-70 tank from Armoured Warfare Museum in Poznań, shown at MSPO 2015 fair in Kielce.Photo Pibwl CC BY-SA 3.0

Polish T-70 tank from Armoured Warfare Museum in Poznań, shown at MSPO 2015 fair in Kielce.Photo Pibwl CC BY-SA 3.0

 

Prototype of T-70- GAZ-70, 1942

Prototype of T-70- GAZ-70, 1942

 

Reconstruction of the Battle of Poznań.Photo Niziol CC BY-SA 3.0

Reconstruction of the Battle of Poznań.Photo Niziol CC BY-SA 3.0

 

Russian troops riding on the T-70 tank, 1942

Russian troops riding on the T-70 tank, 1942

 

T-70 in Velikiy Novgorod, parked near the World War II peace monument.

T-70 in Velikiy Novgorod, parked near the World War II peace monument.

 

T-70 light tank next to the Diorama Building in Karla Marksa Prospect 16, Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine.Photo Ferran Cornellà CC BY-SA 3.0

T-70 light tank next to the Diorama Building in Karla Marksa Prospect 16, Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine.Photo Ferran Cornellà CC BY-SA 3.0

 

T-70 light tank next to the Diorama Building in Karla Marksa Prospect, Dnepropetrovsk.Photo Rowland Goodman CC BY 3.0

T-70 light tank next to the Diorama Building in Karla Marksa Prospect, Dnepropetrovsk.Photo Rowland Goodman CC BY 3.0

 

T-70 loaded onto a rail car for transport.

T-70 loaded onto a rail car for transport.

 

T-70 tank in Velikiy Novgorod.Photo Quinn Dombrowski CC BY-SA 2.0

T-70 tank in Velikiy Novgorod.Photo Quinn Dombrowski CC BY-SA 2.0

 

T-70 tank soviet light tank

T-70 tank soviet light tank

 

The T-70 was a light tank used by the Red Army during World War II.Photo Vitaly V. Kuzmin CC BY-SA 4.0

The T-70 was a light tank used by the Red Army during World War II.Photo Vitaly V. Kuzmin CC BY-SA 4.0

 

Tank crew sleep near their T-70

Tank crew sleep near their T-70

Read another story from us: A Lone T-34 and 2 Tankers that Wouldn’t Give Up

 

Tank T-70 (100 1810)

Tank T-70 (100 1810)

 

 
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