The BT-7 was a fast tank used by the Red Army throughout World War II. It was based on the BT-2 and BT-5, which, in turn, had been developed from an American tank prototype designed by Walter Christie. The BT-7 entered service in late 1935 and was phased out in 1946, being massively manufactured, with approximately 2,000 tanks fielded on the Eastern Front. Equipped with the Christie torsion bars suspension system, it was fast and mechanically reliable, and the Russian crew liked it. It was powered by one M-17T, V12 gasoline engine, developing 500 horsepower, with a maximum road speed of 54 mph (86 km/h). However, its small cramped turret mounted an underpowered 45mm gun and it had limited armor protection; only 13mm-thick steel armor on the front and 6mm on the sides. As a result, the BT-7 was not fit for tank battles against the German armored vehicles. Thus, it was extensively used in the infantry fire support role.

Specifications

Type: light tank

Weight: 14 tons

Length: 18′ 6″ (5.6 m)

Width: 7′ 6″ (2.3 m)

Height: 7′ 11″ (2.4 m)

Crew: 3

bt-7

bt-7_tank

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