The T-33 amphibious tank was the first in a series of Soviet light amphibious tanks inspired by the Carden-Loyd amphibious tankette, but only reached the prototype stage.
In 1931 the USSR purchased a number of light tankettes from Carden-Loyd in Britain, including some A4E11 amphibious tankettes. These arrived just as the Soviet military decided that the T-27 tankette wasn’t a practical scouting vehicle, so an alternative was needed.
In 1931 the amphibian tanks were sent to Zavod Nr.37 at Moscow, where a team led by N. Kozyrev was given the job of preparing for licence production of the type. It was originally designated as the MT-33 (Maliy for Small), but soon became the T-33.
The T-33 closely resembled the A4E11. It had four road wheels on each side with a raised drive wheel at the front. Buoyancy came from two pontoons, one on either side. The turret had a circular plan with vertical sides, and a square box on the front to carry the single machine gun. The turret was mounted towards the rear of the tank, which had a long almost flat deck at the front. The driver sat just in front of the turret underneath a raised armoured cockpit roof. When in the water power was provided by a single propeller mounted between the rear of the tracks.
The same design team also produced their own design for an amphibious tank, the T-41, which had a larger hull and greater buoyancy (and a different buoyancy system). This was also produced in a non-amphibious version, as the T-34 (not to be confused with the famous medium tank). The T-34 was later modified to carry a 20mm cannon in its turret, but this version also failed to enter production.
Prototypes of all three designs were built and subjected to rigorous trials. However none of them proved to be satisfactory, and work moved onto a new project, which entered production as the T-37.
Hull Length: 396cm
Hull Width: 208cm
Weight: 3 tonnes
Engine: 60hp Meadows
Max Speed: 63 km/h
Max Range: 250km road, 130km off-road
Armament: 7.62mm DT machine gun