St vz 39

ST vz 39

Type Medium tank
Place of origin  Czechoslovakia
Production history
Designer ČKD
Manufacturer ČKD
Produced 1937—40
Number built 2 prototypes
Weight 16.20 t (15.94 long tons; 17.86 short tons)
Length 5.35 m (17 ft 7 in)
Width 2.27 m (7 ft 5 in)
Height 2.34 m (7 ft 8 in) overall
Crew 4

Armor 12-32 mm
1x Škoda 47 mm A11
2x 7.92 mm ZB-53 machine gun
Engine Praga water-cooled 8-cylinder gasoline engine
192.2 kW (257.7 hp)
Transmission 4 speed
Suspension leaf spring
Fuel capacity 260 l
150 km (93 mi)
Speed 43.5 km/h (27.0 mph)

ST vz. 39, also known as V-8-H, was a Czechoslovak medium tank developed by ČKD in the late 1930s. Only two prototypes were ever built.

Design and development

In the fall of 1937 the Czechoslovak armed forces launched a contest for new medium tank; Škoda, ČKD and Tatra competed. Most interesting was ČKD prototype V-8-H (later ST vz. 39). The first prototype had 143 errors of which only 16 were the most serious. The tanks mostly had to replace the engine, the army was at least somewhat satisfied.

Due to the worsening international situation, the army decided to order 300 tanks and, later, a further 150 more but the order was canceled after the Munich Agreement of 1938 gave the Sudetenland area of Czechoslovakia to Germany. After the occupation of the remainder of Czechoslovakia on March 15, 1939, representatives of the German armaments office selected the V-8-H for testing by the Army at Eisenach. As a result of a fortnight's testing, an order was issued in November 1939 for production of another prototype. This was to be delivered without turret and armament, with a concrete block to simulate the load. This marked a prototype V-8-HII (second option), or V-8-Hz (trial) in the second half of 1940, underwent tests in Germany at Kummersdorf. There was no production order as the V-8-H specification were similar to the already mass-produced Panzer III. After the occupation, the company tried to break through with a tank on the international market. Romania is the first reported, as requested by the former Czechoslovak prototypes of the T-21, V-8-H, R-2a. All tanks passed the tests in Romania successfully. Reluctant to choose a tank design, it considered first the R-2a, then the V-8-H, but later opted for a T-21, of which 216 were ordered. The company tried to offer the tank to Sweden, China, USSR, and Italy. The last attempt was with Turkey which would have used the Skoda A7 gun of the LT vz 38 but no order was placed.

Both prototypes survived war, but were scrapped soon afterward.


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