Authors: SovietTenkDestroyer with help from Seb
Translators: Seb and Luke
Hello! I’m back with a third Romanian Tank Destroyers in WoT article. This article will feature a T-26 modification. I haven’t seen this T-26 modification talked about anywhere else and I’m probably the first one to do so. Part IV will follow soon. It will be infinitely more interesting than this one. This article primarily used a source written by the University of Pitești and released by the Romanian Ministry of Defense. The source uses archive material.
The Kingdom of Romania throughout World War II seized various tanks from the Soviet Union, Germany, and Hungary. Most of their captured tanks came from the Soviet Union however. These armored vehicles were either used in combat or scrapped for the production of domestic armored vehicles and for spare parts.
In early 1942, the Romanian 2nd Armored Regiment captured twenty-eight Soviet tanks and ninety-one Soviet tanks were being gathered. The Romanian Technical Directive proposed to restore some of the captured vehicles and scrap the others for materials to use in the production of domestic Romanian armored vehicles, upgrade existing captured tanks, and spare parts.
The “Commission of Captured Equipment” was formed with Ghiulai, Iosif Nițescu, and other unnamed companies and people to sort out captured equipment from the useful and the useless. The 2nd Armored Regiment also found more abandoned tanks that could be recovered in Transnistria and Bessarabia in March, 1942. The armored regiment sent sixty or so men to recover the wrecks. In May, 1942, the Commission of Captured Equipment salvaged engine and transmission parts, tracks, etc that were in good, okay, and bad condition and sent them to the 2nd Armored Regiment as spare parts.
The 2nd Armored Regiment restored seventy-three of their tanks, but twenty-two were not salvageable with the parts they were given. In order to fix this deficit, they tried to use their captured Soviet T-26 tanks which were on par or even better than their R-35 and R-2 tanks (Pz. 35t/LT vz. 35). They concluded that the T-26 was a great infantry tank that can replace their missing tanks.
T-26 variants that the Romanian Army captured
- Five T-26 Model A (early T-26 variant with twin turrets)
- Four T-26 Model B (mid-variant with one cylindrical turret)
- Eight T-26 Model C (Late variant with one semi-conical turret)
T-26 with Czech Armaments
Even though they had a sufficient amount of ammunition for the 45mm 20K on the T-26, they felt the need to “unify” their guns. They proposed a “Skoda” gun and a “ZB” machine gun. They weren’t discrete about which type of Skoda and ZB machine gun they were proposing. However, Romania only owned large caliber artillery guns made by Skoda. Which is impossible to mount inside a T-26 turret. Especially, with a coaxial machine gun. The only field gun made by Skoda and owned by Romanian is the 3,7cm A3 that is mounted on R-2 tanks. It’s possible that they could’ve ripped the 3,7cm gun from destroyed R-2 tanks.
The ZB machine gun is most likely the Czechoslovakian 7.92mm ZB-53 machine gun which has been mounted on some Maresal tank destroyers prototypes and proposed for the Vanatorul De Care R-35. This 7.92mm ZB-53 machine gun was suppose to replace the T-26’s coaxial 7.62mm DT machine gun. This proposal never materialized. It was most likely found useless and abandoned. The T-26s were either used in combat or scrapped for the production of TACAM tank destroyers.
However, this proposal never went into action because they either thought it was unnecessary or most captured T-26s were lost or unavailable. No blueprints are available as it was simply a proposal.
The 3,7cm A3 is weaker, but this T-26 variant would most likely hold more ammunition than the 45mm 20K. The Vanatorul De Care R-35 with a 45mm 20K received a mantlet that is possibly thicker. The same could happen if this T-26 conversion ever occurred.
In World of Tanks
This T-26 variant isn’t that interesting, but it can serve as a tier 1 for the Romanian tech tree instead of the millionth copy paste Renault FT. Alternatively, it can be used as a tier 2 light tank premium or a free light tank that no one will care about. It won’t be a regular tier 2 light since the Vânătorul De Care R-35 has already taken this spot.
Gameplay-wise, it will be a decent tank with slightly lower alpha and penetration than the 45mm 20K. If it does enter the game, hopefully, it will receive better RoF and DPM. The Model B or C can be used as the in-game model. It’s a standard T-26 with a different gun.
“Armata Română Şi Evoluția Armei Tancuri. Documente (1919-1945)” by Commander Dr. Marian Moșneagu, Dr. Iulian-Stelian Boțoghină, Prof. Mariana-Daniela Manolescu, Dr. Leontin-Vasile Stoica, and Prof. Mihai-Cosmin Şoitariu
“165 Ani De Existență a Artileriei Române Moderne” by a ton of Romanian colonels