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Soviet Union's A-20 medium tank

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A-20 medium tank:
Soviet Union's A-20 medium tank
A-20 (1938) medium tank7:
Soviet Union's A-20 medium tank
Soldat und Tecnik
A-20 medium tank:
Soviet Union's A-20 medium tank

Design

Once it was realized that the BT tanks didn't have sufficient armor or armament a new design was developed to be fast medium tank.3,6 In 1937 the Kharkov factory was ordered to design a new tank and the design work started in November 1937.4 The chief designer was Mikhail Koshkin and his deputy Alexsandr Morozov.5,6

The A-20 had sloping sides and an angular turret that was small.2,3,4

Chassis

Tracks could be removed and could be run on just the wheels.2,4

The chassis for the A-20 was based on the BT-7M.6

Engine

Alexsandr Morosov was the designer of the V-2 diesel engine.6

Suspension

Nikolai Kucherenko and P. Vssihev designed the suspension for the A-20.6 The three rear pairs of wheels provided the drive for the A-20.7

Larger Gun

In 1939 a 76.2 mm gun was installed and it became the A-30.3,4 This was the same gun that was installed in the BT-7.3

Turret

The A-20's turret was made from 25 mm / 1" thick rolled armor plate.6

There was an attempt to place a short barrel 76.2 mm gun in the A-20's turret but it just didn't work as the turret ring couldn't absorb the recoil.6

Hull

The hull had a V-shaped glacis plate and was angled at 60°.6 The A-20's hull also overhung the tracks with the sides angled at 25°.6

Prototype

In May 1938 a wooden model of the A-20 was shown to the Defense Council of the Soviet People's Commissars (Soviet Narodnykh Komissarov, or SNAKE).6 Some didn't like the wheel / tracks feature carried over from the BT series and Koshkin said it added weight that just wasn't necessary.6 The design had a 45 mm gun which Koshkin said should be replaced by a 76.2 mm gun as it was inadequate.6 Stalin was at this presentation and ordered that the Kharkov factory build not only a full size prototype of the A-20 but also make the requested design changes and build a prototype that would be designated the A-30.6

In August 1938 the High War Council, let by People's Commissar for Defense, K. J. Voroshilov, discussed the A-20 and T-32.5 Many on the Council disliked the T-32. In July 1939, the Kharkov Locomotive Factory had completed the prototypes for the A-20 and T-32.5 They were both then tested and it was decided to go with the T-32.5 On December 19, 1939, the People's Commissariat for Defense released the T-32 to the Red Army.5 It was soon designated the T-34.5

In 1939 tests were conducted with the T-32 and A-20 and the T-32 was selected as it had better fire power and armor.3,7

Variants

  • A-20: Ran on wheels or tracks.7
  • A-30: Ran on wheels or tracks.7 Thicker armor.6,7
  • A-32, T-32: Only ran on tracks.6,7

Specifications

  A-20
Crew 41,5,6
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 18 tons2,3,5,7, 19.8 tons1,6
18,000 kg6
Length 17.85'1, 18' 7"6
5.7 m6
Height 7' 8"6, 7.85'1
2.4 m6
Width 8' 8"6, 8.85'1
2.7 m6
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 45 mm1,2,3,5,6,7
Secondary  
MG 2: MG1
2: 7.62 mm MG5
MG - coaxial 1: MG2,3,7
1: 7.62 mm DT MG6
MG - hull 1: MG2,3,7
1: 7.62 mm DT MG6
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 206, 252,3,7, 15 - 601
Hull Front, Upper 205
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) V-26
Cylinders  
Net HP 4501,2,3,7, 5006
Transmission  
Fuel type Diesel1,2,6,7
Octane  
Capacity  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 40 mph1,6, 50 mph2,3,7
65 kph5,6
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road  
Turning Radius  
Elevation Limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical Obstacle  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side 4 pairs3,6,7
Return rollers each side  
Track length  
Tires  
Track width  
Track centers/tread  
  A-30
Crew  
Physical Characteristics  
Weight  
Length  
Height  
Width  
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 76.2 mm6,7
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm)  
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model)  
Cylinders  
Net HP  
Transmission  
Fuel type  
Octane  
Capacity  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road  
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road  
Turning Radius  
Elevation Limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical Obstacle  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Track length  
Tires  
Track width  
Track centers/tread  
  A-32, T-32
Crew  
Physical Characteristics  
Weight  
Length  
Height  
Width  
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 76.2 mm7
Secondary  
MG 2: MG7
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 457
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model)  
Cylinders  
Net HP  
Transmission  
Fuel type  
Octane  
Capacity  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road  
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road  
Turning Radius  
Elevation Limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical Obstacle  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side 5 pairs7
Return rollers each side  
Track length  
Tires  
Track width  
Track centers/tread  

Sources:

  1. Tanks of the World, 1915-1945, Peter Chamberlain, Chris Ellis, 1972
  2. Tanks of World War II, Duncan Crow, 1979
  3. Armour in Profile #9: T-34/76, J. M. Brereton, ?
  4. Airfix Magazine Guide 22 Russian Tanks of World War 2, John Milsom and Steve Zaloga, 1977
  5. Russian Tanks and Armored Vehicles 1917-1945, by Wolfgang Fleischer, 1999
  6. Russian Tanks of World War II, Stalin's Armored Might, Tim Bean, Will Fowler, 2002
  7. Profile AFV Weapons, #47, Russian T34, by J. M. Brereton, Major Michael Norman, RTR, 1972
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