Hello everyone, following is the account of all we know about the Czechoslovak hightier TVP project, at least the rough outline. It is clear that proper research into this will take more time, but we’ll get there. Summary The development of post-war Czechoslovak tanks started very soon – by the end of 1945, where VTÚ (Vojenský Technický Ústav – Military Technical Institute) filed a report to MNO (Ministry of National Defense) and to the local Red Army committee on the state of current tanks and other armored vehicles development. This led to series of proposals I will deal with later, culminating with the TVP project (Tank Všeobecného Použití – Tank for General Use). TVP was heavily influenced by both Soviet (cast turret) and German development (gun mount, welded turret version, mantlet) and drew from the best of both worlds. 1945-1946 specifications and first Škoda proposal Based on the abovementioned report, on 17.10.1945, the 1st Department of Army HQ submitted its ideas about the new medium tank to VTU. The requirements included: - 30-33 ton weight - 5 man crew - 8,5 to 10,5 cm gun with 80 shells and with a coaxial Vz.37 or BESA heavy machinegun, with another MG of the same type used as bow machinegun (3600 rounds for both MG’s) - armor plates – RHA plates of following thicknesses: 65mm, 40mm, 30mm and 20mm - 450mm clearance - ground pressure of 0,5kg/cm3 - a diesel engine - road speed of 50 km/h Interesting fact is that the vehicle design itself was to be selected only after selecting the gun itself (the tank was supposed to be “built around the gun”), based on comparison trials of all the guns available. In December 1945 to February 1946 (Dubánek here mixes the dates, an obvious typo – I fixed it), the VTU representatives considered the 88mm German AA gun (the AA role is specifically mentioned, but it’s possible the author has the KwK 43 L/71 in mind – in post-war Czechoslovakia, the PaK 43 and 41/43 were adopted due to the lack of native or Soviet AT guns as PTK vz.43 (protitankový kanon – AT gun, vz.43 – 1943 pattern) with shell velocity of 1000 m/s or a 105mm gun (900 m/s) to be viable, as during tests, both were able to penetrate 100mm of armor at 3000 meters (60 deg – means 30 deg using German angle methodology, at that point Czechoslovak army was using the German trial methods, unlike the pre-war ones, that were very obscure). Second department of III.section of VTU introduced on 1.3.1946 their preliminary project of a medium tank with a model of 1:50 scale, called the TVP (Tank Všeobecného Použití). It was a classic Czechoslovak tank school concept. The hull shape resembled the one of LT-38 and it still had leaf springs. The mantlet shape was influenced by German tanks, the driver and radioman hatches were actually inspired by British designs. The Soviet inspiration was in the electrical propulsion of the turret rotator. This first version also had a hull flamethrower, linked to the bow machinegun (Vz.37 or BESA). It was considered to implement an automatic loading mechanism by Škoda (37mm, 47mm and 57mm versions existed), but at that point it was decided semi-automatic breech would be sufficient. The coaxial machinegun was to be linked to the gun within the gun mount in order to save space in the turret. Commander’s copula was recommended to be made fully traversable with 5 episcopes attached to the traversing ceiling, along with commander’s binoculars or artillery binocular sights and was to be equipped with holes for emeregency signal flags. The turret was also proposed to be equipped with a roof-mounted grenade launcher/mortar for close defense (5-20 meters). The bow machinegun (and the flamer) were capable of -10 to +25 elevation thanks to the mount, similiar to the LT-38 tank. The flamethrower was to be fuelled by a 100 liter napalm tank (not technically napalm, Czechoslovaks developed their own flamethrower fuel of excellent properties, might get into that if necessery) – this tank would prolong the hull only by cca 25 cm. The vehicle was to be equipped with a smoking device and by additional side armor (“Schurzen style” – another German lesson) consisting of steel mesh, fixed at 20 cm from the main hull. This mesh armor was trialed as early as 1945. The mobility was to be ensured by an unspecified diesel air-cooled engine, providing the vehicle with power-to-weight ratio of 20 horsepower/ton (interestingly, the ratio was specified, not engine type or horsepower, given the fact the tank was proposed to weight 33 tons, the engine would have to have 660 horsepower). Ground pressure was not to exceed 0,5 kg/cm3. The design counted on leaf springs for suspension, which was clearly a weakness the designers realized. The commander of VTU, Col. Ing. Josef Trejbal proposed at least two prototypes to be built by each of the design competitiors (realistically, only Škoda and Praga were available). Each of the prototypes was to be built without the gun first. Škoda reacted on these VTU demands first with its proposal from 8.12.1946 (archive drawing designation Am 39-P), which was considered to be the “factory” version of the theoretical VTU TVP design. Between 1947 and 1948, the conditions of the project were being “chiseled”, including the final version of army demands (that were always in the flux). There is very little known about the TVP project from this era. Czech historian Oto Holub (Československé tanky a tankisté, 1980) claims that in 1948, Škoda was working on a “medium TVP tank” weighing 16 tons with a 75mm gun, powered by a Škoda 147,2kW (197hp) engine with Praga Wilson transmission and 3-man crew, but it is widely believed (Dubánek et. al.) that Holub simply mixed up the Škoda T-17 light tank project with TVP. Holub also mentions a “heavy” version of TVP tank (which most likely would be the TVP we are talking about) of following parameters: 30 tons, 75mm frontal armor (40mm sides), armed with a (German) 105mm gun (900 m/s), powered by an unspecified Škoda 454 kW engine (609 hp), Praga Wilson transmission and 50km/h maximum speed. As for the guns used for this early project, two are mentioned. First is the 105mm gun (apparently of German origin) with 900 m/s velocity, which would correspond to the German 105mm FlaK 38/39 (881 m/s) of which 200 or so were made and some where most certainly left on Czech territory after the war was over. The Czechoslovak army officially adopted the type into service after the war with the designation of 105 mm PLK vz.39N (PLK = Protiletadlový Kanon, AA gun – Continue reading →

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