The T-40 amphibious tank was produced in small numbers in 1940-41, but was replaced by the non-amphibious T-60 after the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941.
In 1938 the Red Army gave N.Astro’s Moscow design team the task of producing a replacement for the T-37 and T-38 amphibious tanks. They were also asked to produce a non-amphibious version of the same tank. The amphibious version was designated as the T-30A and the non-amphibious as the T-30B.
The prototype of the T-30A was completed in 1939 and on 19 December 1939 was accepted for production, as the T-40 amphibious tank.
The new tank differed from the earlier models in several ways. The older tanks used coiled spring suspension and gained buoyancy from pontoons carried above the tracks. The T-40 had torsion bar suspension with four pairs of road wheels, and the flotation chambers were carrying in a bulky superstructure at the rear of the tank. It had a welded conical turret that gave better protection than on the earlier tanks, but the 20mm cannon of the prototype was replaced with a 12.7mm machine gun. It also carried a single 7.62mm machine gun, also in the turret. As with the earlier versions the armour was too thin. The turret was offset to the left, with the driver’s position in front of it in the fuselage. It has a propeller and single rudder at the rear.
The most detailed breakdown of production figures has 41 completed in 1940 and 181 before the outbreak of war in 1941, for a total of 221. In September 1941 it was decided to end production, and only 230 were completed. Early production vehicles had a blunt nose that was poorly designed for swimming, but this was soon replaced with a streamlined nose. The last batch was converted into Katyusha multiple rocket launchers, with a BM-8-24 rocket rack replacing the turret.
The T-40 was a great disappointment in combat. Its armour proved to be too thin in the Winter War and the few that had been built were soon destroyed during the fighting of 1941.
Work began on a non-amphibious version, the T-40S (Sukhoputniy for land version), which would have had thicker armour and carried a 20mm gun. However after the German invasion it was decided that this was too complex and would have needed more production facilities, so the earlier T-30B was revived and placed into production as the T-60 scout tank. This was cheaper to build than either the T-40 or T-40S, but still suffered from thin armour.
Hull Length: 13ft 5.9in
Hull Width: 7ft 7.7in
Height: 6ft 4.8in
Weight: 5.90 tonnes
Engine: 70hp GAZ-202 petrol engine
Max Speed: 27.3mph
Max Range: 223.7 miles (road)
Armament: One 12.7mm/ 0.5in machine gun and one 7.62mm/0.3in machine gun