Hello everyone, today, we are going to have a look at three vehicles, that have a relatively high chance of appearing in the European tank tree, because they formed the basis of the Czechoslovak medium tanks. Some of you might remember the Czechoslovak tank tree proposal I posted several months ago. This tree is based on Tuccy’s work – but this is one of the differences. He had these three tanks in the tree, I threw them out, since I wanted to streamline the proposal as much as possible – and small side-branches were never really that much popular. Plus, all three of these vehicles were simply… mediocre. In the game, these vehicles would probably fit in tier 3 (T-21/22) and tier 4 (T-23M). Just a technical note: some people actually confuse the T-23 with the American tank T23 (which was earlier in World of Tanks as tier 8, before it was replaced by the Pershing). These vehicles have obviously nothing in common. Well then, let’s get to it. Škoda T-21 Škoda T-21 (original designation was Škoda Š-IIc) was Škoda’s contribution to the IIc army category (medium tanks for general use) and a direct competitor to Praga V-8-H (the linked page, tier 4). Basically, what happened: in the early thirties, both Praga and Škoda (main competitiors for the Czechoslovak army contracts, but also when it came to export) had several unsuccessful designs, when it came to infantry support tanks. While the light tanks (LT-35, later the LT-38) were generally good, they just couldn’t get the infantry support right. Namely, the unsuccessful attempts where the Praga P-IIb and Škoda Š-IIb. After that, the both companies basically sat together and made a joint infantry tank project, designated ŠP-IIb. It was unsuccessful for various reasons (it might make a nice Czechoslovak lowtier premium tho, I might get to it at some point too), mostly because both companies weren’t too eager to cooperate with their main competitors. Also, both companies worked on their own private attempts to build a IIb/IIc category prototypes. These private attempts would later become the Praga V-8-H and Škoda T-21. The main design works on the T-21 began as early as September 1936. The first prototype was finished in May 1937 – and so began the long journey of this vehicle and its versions and derivates, that ended only after the war. The first variant from May 1937 was the original Š-IIc. It was supposed to be fitted with a new engine, built especially for it by the automobile factory branch of Škoda in Mladá Boleslav, but the engine development got delayed and the prototype was (in order to save time) fitted with a 190hp 13-liter V6, originally intended for the Š-III breakthrough tank prototype. The prototype was also fitted with a mock weaponry (representing a 47mm gun and 2 machineguns). Basically, it was a disaster. The engine was not powerful enough, overheated and ate a LOT of fuel (even for that time). In September 1937, the V6 engine was removed and the original Škoda engine intended for it. The vehicle however still didn’t do too well (the engine actually seized and had to be scrapped) and the tests were stopped in November, marking the end of the 1st development stage of T-21. By that time, the Ministry of Defence committee was looking for a suitable Czechoslovak medium tank for the army, but Š-IIc couldn’t make it to the tests – it was being rebuilt throughout the entire winter of 1937-1938, specifically by installing a new engine and real weaponry. Turret and hull were also refitted and modified. The engine was finally installed in March 1938 and the vehicle was sent in May 1938 for army tests in Milovice. This rebuilt prototype wasn’t actually half bad, it performed well – WHEN it was running (that wasn’t often, the vehicle was deemed very unreliable). In the end, there were so many issues with it that it was returned to the factory in Pilsen for yet another refit. In the meanwhile, the (hastily repaired) prototype was presented to the Soviet delegation, but its engine seized again (!) during the trials, causing the vehicle not to make the June 1938 army tests deadline – and that was the end of the T-21 as a potential Czechoslovak army medium tank. From June to November 1938, the prototype was modified further in Pilsen, thus creating a third (and final) variant of the original Š-IIc design (not counting the further modifications, made by Hungarians – the Turán tank is basically a Š-IIc copy, with partial improvements). This third variant had (apart from the fixed engine of the same type the 2nd variant had) better tracks, improved engine cooling, improved oil pump and modified steering mechanism. However, by that time, the Munich treason completely changed the Czechoslovak army’s priorities and selling the (improved) vehicle to the Czechoslovak army was no longer an option. Therefore, Škoda was trying to sell the design abroad. During factory trials, the third prototype performed reasonably well and was basically ready for export. After the occupation of Czechoslovakia, that was of course no longer possible – not without German consent at least. During the early months of occupation, German delegations did visit the Škoda factory and tests were performed with the Š-IIc prototype, which, at that point, on 22.5.1939, was – to fit the German nomenclature principles – renamed to Škoda T-21 (T = tank, 2 = medium, 1 = 1st variant). Germans didn’t show too much interest in it, they wanted to test in in Kummersdorf, but in the end, it was decided by the Germans to produce an improved version, which was named T-22. Since it was not successful in Czechoslovakia, Škoda offered this type for export, both pre-war and in the early war years (under German command). This vehicle was actually offered to Great Britain, Greece, Romania, Lithuania, Russia, Poland, Iran, Iraq, France, Egypt, Afghanistan and Bulgaria, but with little success. After the German occupation, Germans (logically) demanded the vehicle to be offered only to the German-friendly countries. T-21 was actually offered first to Romania, but the Romanians delayed the decision, until they found out the Hungarians (their historical enemies) would license-produce it as Turán I. After that (in January 1941) they quickly demanded 216 T-21 tanks, but the Germans blocked this, because they needed the Škoda capacities for their own vehicles. Hungary – as mentioned before – license-built the T-21. The first contact happened around late 1939. At first the Hungarians wanted to actually buy the Czech-produced vehicles, but Germans blocked that (just like with the Romanians), that’s why the Hungarian interest shifted towards the licensed production. In May 1940, Continue reading →

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