Tank Chats #65 T-26 | The Tank Museum

I suppose someone knows what’s going on now we’re going to look at the t26 now
the t26 is a Russian tank this one actually came to us from Finland and
I’ll tell you about that a bit later but to begin with the t26 and all of its
sort of family if you like emanate from the British six Tonner the
vickers-armstrong Mark E and originally the Soviets in about 1930 tried to build
their own version of this and failed and their authorities told them to that they
get in the British tank and pay royalties on it and build on that and
they built actually some 5000 of these which is quite remarkable
they built more all together if you count all the other turrets but of the one
we’re looking at the 1933 model they built about 5000 of them which is
typical of the Russians to build them in huge numbers but that’s how this tank
looks on the outside from the turret downwards at least from there downwards
it looks like a six Tonner it’s got the same sort of four-cylinder air-cooled
engine driving into a five-speed transmission the front front drive
sprockets and a typical vickers-armstrongs suspension but the
real secret of the t26 is what goes on above that level they put in a new
turret and they added a 45 millimeter gun which gave it a much more powerful
anti-tank potential than anything that Vickers had produced and it was actually
quite a good tank in its day with plenty of them all too far as firings concerned
the only problem they had and they didn’t really find this out until the
fighting in Manchuria was that the armor was a bit thin it was the same with
their high speed their BT tanks the armor was a bit thin by sort of other
standards and they were tanks from being penetrated so what we’re looking at now
is a tank that actually fought in the Russo Finnish war of 1940
and it was captured by the Finns it is said now I mean the number of excuses
have been offered about the the freezing weather and the fact that it ruined a
lot of the fuel the Russians used but the main problem seems to have been the
lack of leadership from their officers they’d lost so many in Stalin’s purges
that the men who took over weren’t so efficient and the whole lot there was no
reason otherwise for the Finns to wipe them out but a large number of these
were taken into finished service afterwards after being captured and
after a while they they got a bit long in the tooth and they stripped them of
their internal fittings their engines transmissions and that sort of thing and
dug them in on their defensive positions and would just the turret showing and in
that condition they lasted for years well of course they do at least last in
that state and it meant that when they dug them up the Finns have quite a
number of t26 tanks as there and for a pre-war Russian tank that’s quite
remarkable and that’s how we got it when it arrived here it was in a terrible
state the armor was all broken and collapsing but it’s been restored quite
well externally and it really looks the part now but this particular tank was
used in a movie in Finland during the the the filming they had to do a bit
where they set it on fire so they set it to light and everyone
stood back and looked around and they really looked good but it meant that by
the time we got the tank not only was a lot of the armor plate damaged there
were signs of scorching and this sort of thing all over it and we had to do quite
a lot of work to get it back into a reasonable condition but at least we’ve
now got a t26 and this is the model 1933 which we can
show people it really is an effective little tank in its days much better than
the tank from which it was developed which is quite remarkable very efficient
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Dereck Turner

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