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Weapons of World War Two

7TP light tank

7TP light tank

In the 1930s Poland bought between 40 and 50 Vickers tanks of 6 tonnes. The later development of this model led to the construction of the 7TP light tank, which was in production from 1934 to 1939. The first version was fitted with two turrets, each equipped with a single machine gun, and it weighed about 9 tonnes. The engine was a Saurier of 110 horsepower. The subsequent version was fitted, on the contrary, with a Swedish turret armed with a Bofors 37-millimeter cannon and a coaxial 7.92-millimeter machine gun. Due to the supply difficulties of the Swedish turret, not many units were built of this model.

The final version (the improved 7TP) had a heavier armor, a new turret designed on purpose and a more powerful suspension. However, it did not reach production stage. The 7TP had to be replaced by the 10TP, whose first prototype was finished in 1937. It had a suspension of Christie type, and the engine was an American La France of twelve cylinders and 210 horsepower, which allowed the vehicle a top speed in road of 50 kilometers/hour. Like some American Christie tanks, the 10TP could also move on wheels, without using tracks. In such case, top speed reached 70 kilometers/hour. The 10TP had the same turret than the 7TP, but besides it was armed with a machine gun installed in the top.

The 14TP was a medium tank that had as well a suspension of Christie type, albeit this model could only move on its tracks. This tank reached a top speed in road of 50 kilometers/hour and it was moved by a German engine Maybach of twelve cylinders. Its combat weight was 14 tonnes. Like the 10TP, it was never produced. The Polish ordered two American Christie tanks in 1936, but since they never paid them, those were never delivered, and they ended being incorporated to the United States Armed Forces.

When the Germans invaded Poland in 1939, the Polish Army had an armored force of 169 tanks 7TP as well as 50 Vickers of 6 tonnes, 67 light tanks Renault FT-17 from the First World War, 53 French Renault R-35 (which withdrew to Romania and did not enter action), about 700 tankettes TK/TKS and a hundred of armored automobiles. This force, sent to fight against more than 3000 Germans tanks, was quickly destroyed or captured.

In service: 1934-1939

Weight: 11 tonnes

Length: 4.997 meters

Width: 2.413 meters

Height: 2.159 meters

Maximum armor: 40 millimeters

Engine: Diesel Saurer of 110 horsepower

Maximum speed on road: 32 kilometers/hour

Operational range: 160 kilometers

Crew: 3

Armament: One 37-millimeter cannon; one 7.92-millimeter coaxial machine gun

Maximum surmountable trench: 1.828 meters

Maximum surmountable step: 0.609 meters

Maximum surmountable slope: 60 percent

Also in Weapons of World War Two:

Ilyushin 2 SturmovikU-123 submarine (Type IX B)Type 97 Chi-Ha medium tank