So what I found about Soviet medium armored cars:
During 1930s the Soviets developed and produced many quite similar models of medium armored cars, armed with tank guns. They were designed for infantry support, destroying enemy light fortifications and AFVs, also for the guard of communications. Those medium armored cars had almost the same armor and armament as light tanks; but was cheaper in production, more light and had better range. Nevertheless they had mediocre cross-country ability.
The first Soviet models of medium armored cars were BA-27 (4x2) and BA-27M (6x4), I mentioned above. Later Soviet engineers used only 6x4 chassis for medium armored cars.
In 1931 the small series (15 copies) of 6x4 D-13
was produced by Izhora factory (Leningrad). D-13 had the turret from MS-1 light tank, additional stern steering control (but reverse speed was only 9 km/h) and spare wheels, fixed on the sides and rotated freely, which helped to overcome obstacles (this idea was used in all further models).
Specifications of D-13
: Ford-Timken 6x4 chassis; weight 4,14 t; crew 3 men; armor 4-8 mm; armament 37mm Hotchkiss gun + 2x7,62mm DT MG + 1x7,62mm Maxim AA MG; ammunition 100 shells + 5040 MG shells; engine Ford-AA (GAZ-AA) 40 hp; speed 55 km/h; range 130 km.
In 1932 the new medium armored car BAI
(D-13 with new shape of the welded hull) was developed in Izhora and produced in 1933 (90 copies).
Specifications of BAI
: Ford-Timken 6x4 chassis (later models GAZ-AAA chassis); weight 5 t; crew 3 men; dimensions 4,775x2,016x2,350 m; armor 4-8 mm; armament 37mm Hotchkiss gun + 2x7,62mm DT MG; ammunition 34 shells + 3024 MG shells; engine Ford-AA (GAZ-AA) 40 hp; speed 48-63 km/h; range 150 km.
For better cross-country ability it was possible to use light removable (10-15 min) caterpillars on the back wheels (the same were used in all later models). Some BAI had radio stations with handrail antenna. Also the railway model was produced. In 1933 the experimental BAI with 37mm recoilless gun (20 shells) was built.
In 1934 BA-3
appeared as the modification of BAI, which had better armament (turret from the light tank T-26 with reduced armor). It was the first mass production medium armored car of the Red Army.
Specifications of BA-3
: Ford-Timken 6x4 chassis; weight 5,82 t; crew 4 men; dimensions 4,825x1,963x2,494 m; clearance 25 cm; armor 4-9 mm; armament 45mm gun 20K mod. 1932 + 2x7,62mm DT MG; ammunition 60 shells + 3402 MG shells; engine Ford-AA (GAZ-AA) 40 hp; speed 45-70 km/h; range 248 km.
But BA-3 was over weighted and had quite bad cross-country ability.
In 1935 BA-6
(modification of BA-3) was developed, using new native GAZ-AAA 6x4 chassis with strengthen suspension.
Specifications of BA-6
: GAZ-AAA 6x4 chassis; weight 5,12 t; dimensions 4,9x2,07x2,36 m; clearance 24 cm; crew 4 men; armor 4-8 mm; armament 45mm gun 20K mod. 1932 + 2x7,62mm DT MG; ammunition 60 shells + 3402 MG shells; engine GAZ-AA 40 hp; speed 43 km/h; range 140-265 km.
BA-6 had good shape of the hull (without the rear door) and the turret, and new bullet-proof tires GK from sponge rubber. In 1936 BA-6 was modernized (conic turret, more powerful 50 hp engine, 10mm armor, radio station) and called as BA-6M. Also the railway variant of BA-6zhd with removable steel railway wheels existed and used with armored trains (5,9 t; railway speed 55 km/h; range 150 km).
Specifications of BA-6M
: weight 4,8 t; ammunition 50 shells + 2520 MG shells; engine GAZ-M-1 50 hp; speed 52 km/h; range 170-287 km.
In 1934-1938 554 copies of BA-3/BA-6 were produced by Izhora and Vyksa factories: 168 BA-3 in 1934-1935 and 386 BA-6 in 1936-1938.
Also the experimental light-weight (4,5 t) and maneuverable (50 hp, 55 km/h, 230 km) BA-9 was built in 1936. It was similar to BA-3, but armed with 12,7 mm DK MG instead 45mm gun. Near 100 BA-9 was planned to produce for the cavalry units, but that plan was abandoned because of shortage of DK heavy MG.
But the most famous and successful of the Soviet medium armored cars was BA-10
(produced in 1938-1941 by Gorky factory, 3311 copies). BA-10 was the further development of BAI, BA-3 and BA-6 armored cars. BA-10 had strengthen suspension, engine with better cooling and conic turret. Many of BA-10 had radio station. Its cross-country ability was also better than of previous models, especially with removable caterpillars on the back wheels. Also the railway variant of BA-10zhd (5,8 t) with removable railway steel tires (for the 1st and 3rd axles) and hydraulic lifting jack in the bottom was produced for armored train units.
Specifications of BA-10
: short-cut GAZ-AAA 6x4 chassis; weight 5,12 t; dimensions 4,655x2,070x2,190m; clearance 22,5 cm; armor 6-10 mm; crew 4 men; armament 45mm gun 20K mod. 1934 + 2x7,62mm DT MG; ammunition 49 shells + 2079 MG shells; engine GAZ M-1 50-52hp; speed 53 km/h; range 260-305 km.
Since 1939 the modernized BA-10M (5,36 t) was produced with better steering control, additional front armor, external fuel tanks and the new radio station 71-TK-3.
BA-3. BA-6 and BA-10 were used during the Soviet-Japanese military conflicts (7, 8, 9th Soviet motorized armor brigades were armed with those armed cars), “liberation” of Poland in 1939, Winter War and the WWII (BA-3/BA-6 were used till the end of 1942, BA-10 - till 1944-1945). They were used mainly in reconnaissance units of tank, cavalry and infantry regiments and divisions, in mechanized regiments.
In 1935 60 BA-6 were sold to Turkey, also some were sold to Mongolia (used by 6th and 8th cavalry divisions during the Soviet-Japanese conflicts), China and Afghanistan. Near 100 BAI/BA-3/BA-6 were used in Spain during the Civil War, especially during the battle for Madrid against light tanks, several BA-6 were used by Spanish Army till 1950s.
In June 1941 the Red Army had: 9 D-13, 83 BAI, 144 BA-3, 190 BA-6 + 58 BA-6 with radio station, 1407 BA-10 + 1203 BA-10 with radio station, 15 BA-11.
During WWII BA-10s were used as scout cars, for close support of infantry and cavalry, safeguarding and very often – as armored troop carriers. In 1944 Finnish Army had 1 trophy BA-3 (was used till 1954), 10 trophy BA-6 (were used till 1956) and 13-24 trophy BA-10 (also were used till 1950s). Finns reequipped BA-10 with more powerful Ford V8 85 hp engines. Three BA-10 were sold to Sweden (m/31F). Germans used trophy BA-10 (BAF 203r) for infantry and military police support.
Battalions of BA-10 were used very successfully against German defense in January 1943 during the running the blockade of Leningrad by attacking Soviet troops.
There were many mentions in the literature that BA-10s with experienced crews were used quite successfully even in the combats with German tanks, especially in 1941-1942. Thus one BA-10 from the 1st Guard tank brigade destroyed three tanks in one combat during the battle for Moscow in 1941. In 1939-1941 BA-3/BA-6/BA-10 were the most well armed medium armored cars in the world, but their cross-country ability and armor was not sufficient for the offensive battles.
Several BA-3/BA-6/BA-10 are preserved in Russian and Finnish museums.
P.S. Soviets built also experimental BA-5
heavy armored car in 1935 (ZiS-6 6x4 chassis; 8 t; crew 5-6 men; 4-9 mm armor; 45mm gun + 3 MG; 114 shells + 3000 MG shells; ZiS-6 engine 73 hp; 50 km/h; 260 km). It should be mentioned also the Soviet heavy armored car BA-11
based on strengthens ZIS-6k 6x4 chassis (1940-1941, 16-18 copies). It had the similar design as medium armored cars, conic turret, radio station and stern steering control. BA-11 intended for the support of attacking infantry, cavalry and medium armored cars. BA-11 had better armor, armament, speed and range than the light tanks T-26 and BT! But it was over weighted. BA-11s were used during 1941-1942 on the Leningrad Front.
Specifications of BA-11
: ZiS-6k 6x4 chassis; weight 8,13-8,6 t; crew 4 men; dimensions 5,295x2,490x2,390m; clearance 26,5 cm; armor 8-13 mm; armament 45mm gun 20K mod. 1934 + 2x7,62mm DT MG; ammunition 104-114 shells + 3014-3087 MG shells; engine ZiS-16 93 hp (one BA-11 had diesel ZiS-D-7 99 hp); speed 64 km/h; range 178-316 km (420 km with diesel).
Pictures of D-13:
Photos and pictures of BAI:
(military parade in Moscow, 1934)
(good colour picture)
(BAI and FAI armored cars)
Photos and pictures of BA-3:
(good colour picture)
(preserved in Russia, Kubinka)
To be continued...........
Photo of the Soviet medium armored car BA-10 (1938-1941, 3311 copies)
is from http://www.smallafv.nn.ru/pics/museum_ba10_slide09.jpg
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