T-46 Light Tank

The T-46 Light Tank was developed in an attempt to improve the mobility of the T-26, the most numerous Soviet tank from the mid 1930s until the German invasion of 1941.

The T-26 suspension consisted of eight small road wheels carried in pairs on small bogies. The bogies were supported in pairs by leaf springs.  This was less effective than the Christie suspension used on the BT series of fast tanks, and so in 1935 S. Ginzburg of the OKMO team at Zavod No.185 was ordered to produce a new version of the T-26 using the Christie suspension. A small production run of seventy tanks was planned.

The project was abandoned after the production of a number of prototypes (or possibly of all seventy tanks from the first production run). The T-46 proved to be too complex to mass produce (a flaw that would also cause the failure of the T-25). It also offered little or no benefit over the BT series tanks. Ginzburg and his team were ordered to concentrate on improving the design of the T-26, and produced the T-26S Model 1937. One brigade is known to have used some of the existing T-46s during the fighting in Finland in 1940, where the Red Army suffered a humiliating setback.

Russian Tanks of World War II, Stalin's Armoured Might, Tim Bean and Will Fowler. A good overview of the development of Soviet Tanks from the early models based on British and American originals to the excellent Russian designed T-34 and the heavy IS tanks. Bean and Fowler also look at the development of Soviet tank doctrine, the impact of Stalin's purges on the tank forces, and their use in combat from the small-scale clashes in the Far East to the apocalyptic fighting on the Eastern Front between 1941-45. A little lacking on precise details of the sub-variants of some of the tanks, but otherwise very good.
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (11 September 2008), T-46 Light Tank , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_t-46_light_tank.html

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