T-40 amphibious scout tank

A T-40 in the Kubinka Tank Museum.
Type Amphibious light tank
Place of origin Soviet Union
Service history
In service 1941–46
Used by Soviet Union
Wars World War II
Production history
Produced 1940–41
Number built 222
Variants BM-8-24 Katyusha, T-30 light tank
Specifications ([1][2][3])
Weight 5.9 t (6.5 short tons)
Length 4.10 m (13.5 ft)
Width 2.33 m (7.6 ft)
Height 1.90 m (6.2 ft)
Crew 2

Armour 4–13 mm (0.16–0.51 in)
12.7 mm (0.50 in) DShK machine gun
7.62 mm (0.300 in) DT machine gun
Engine GAZ-202
85 hp (63 kW)
Power/weight 12 hp/tonne
Suspension torsion bar
450 km (280 mi)
Speed 45 km/h (28 mph)

The T-40 amphibious scout tank was an amphibious light tank used by the Soviet Union during World War II. It was armed with one 12.7 mm (0.5 in) DShK machine gun. It was one of the few tanks that could ford a river without a bridge.

It was primarily intended to equip reconnaissance units. A land-based version of the T-40, the T-40S, was produced, although was later redesignated the T-60. The T-60 was cheaper, simpler, better-armed, and could fulfill most of the same roles, so T-40 production was halted.

The vehicle served mainly in Operation Barbarossa and the defense of Moscow, and it was rarely seen after that point, although it was used in Soviet training schools until 1946. A total 44 examples of the type were later fitted with Katyusha rocket launchers, firing 82 mm unguided rockets from a 24-rail launcher.


Amphibious capability was important to the Red Army, as evidenced by the production of over 1,500 amphibious tanks in the 1930s. The T-40 was intended to replace the aging T-37 and T-38 tank light amphibians. It was a superior design, but due to the pressures of war the Soviets favored the production of simpler tank designs, so only a small number of T-40s were built.[4][5][6]


The T-40 was an improvement over the T-37 and T-38 in several respects. The coil-spring suspension of the T-38 was replaced by a modern torsion-bar suspension with four pairs of road wheels. The boat-shaped hull was entirely welded, in contrast to the riveted hulls of the T-37 and T-38.[7][8] The welded, conical turret shape improved protection, although the armor was still very thin. The vehicle's armament consisted of a single 12.7 mm DShK heavy machine gun, which was a much more potent weapon than the 7.62 mm DT machine gun mounted on the T-37 and the T-38.[5][9][10]

Water propulsion was achieved via a small propeller mounted at the rear of the hull. The propeller was set into an indent in the hull rear, and was thus better protected than the exposed propeller of the T-38. Buoyancy was provided by the large boat-shaped hull.[11][12]


The T-40 entered production just prior to the outbreak of war, and was intended to equip reconnaissance units. As the need for large numbers of tanks became critical, a secondary non-amphibious variant was designed on the T-40 chassis. This design became the T-60. The T-60 was simpler, cheaper, better armed, and could fulfill most of the same roles. Under the stress of war, production of the T-40 was halted in favor of the T-60. Thus only 222 T-40s were issued, compared to over 6,000 T-60s.[13][14][15][16]

The last batch of T-40s were produced with BM-8-24 Katyusha rocket racks mounted instead of a turret. This version provided a mobile mount for a 24-rail multiple-launch rocket system, firing 82 mm unguided rockets.[13][17] A total of 44 T-40s were converted into this model in autumn 1941.[18][19]

There was also the T30A and the T30B light tanks, which were the prototypes of the T-40 and T-60 respectively. Both of them were armed with a 20 mm cannon with a DT machine gun. These prototypes were preserved in the Kubinka Tank Museum.[20]

The T-40 was widely photographed at the time of Operation Barbarossa and also during the defence of Moscow. Many were knocked out during the fighting. The type was very rarely seen after the end of 1941, although some T-40s remained in service as late 1946 in some school units.[19][21][22]

Romanian forces captured one T-40 as of 1 November 1942.[23]


  1. Ness, p. 161.
  2. Tank Data, p. 124.
  3. Ford, p. 33.
  4. Zaloga & Grandsen, p. 29
  5. 1 2 Gudgin, p. 108.
  6. Crow, p. 52.
  7. Suruov (2013)
  8. Carruthers, p. 102.
  9. Milsom, p. 92.
  10. Zabecki, p. 1116.
  11. Green (2013)
  12. Hogg, p. 94.
  13. 1 2 Bishop, p. 36.
  14. Ness, p. 155.
  15. Hogg, p. 95.
  16. Zaloga (2015), p. 99.
  17. Milsom, p. 113.
  18. Porter, p. 51.
  19. 1 2 Zaloga & Grandsen, p. 30.
  20. Milsom, pp. 90–91
  21. Jackson, p. 43.
  22. Milsom, p. 114.
  23. Mark Axworthy, Cornel I. Scafeș, Cristian Crăciunoiu, Third Axis, Fourth Ally: Romanian Armed Forces in the European War, 1941-1945, p. 220


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