The T-38 amphibious scout tank
was a Soviet amphibious light tank
that saw service in World War II
Designed in 1934–36 by N. Astrov's bureau at Factory No. 37 in Moscow, the T-38 was a development of the earlier T-37
, based in turn on the French AMR 33
light reconnaissance tank. The tank was powered by a standard GAZ
(Ford) engine and was cheap to produce. Buoyancy was achieved by the large-volume hull and large fenders. In water, the vehicle was propelled by a small three-bladed propeller mounted at the rear.
The tanks were intended for use for reconnaissance and infantry support. As a scout tank the T-38 had the advantages of very low silhouette and good mobility through its ability to swim. The T-38 was also intended to be air-portable; during the Kiev
maneuvers in 1936, the tanks were transported by Tupolev TB-3
bombers, mounted under the fuselage. Infantry battalions were each issued 38 T-38s, with 50 being designated for each airborne armored battalions. However, the thin armor
and single machinegun armament made the tank of only limited use in combat while the lack of radios in most T-38s was a serious limitation in a reconnaissance vehicle. The T-38's limitations were recognized, and it would have been replaced by the T-40
, but the outbreak of the Second World War
meant that only a few T-40s were produced.
Around 1,500 T-38s were built, illustrating the importance of amphibious scout tanks to the Red Army. Some... Read More