Last time I wrote about how a potential tech tree of Hungarian vehicles should look like. I have devoted my time in the past weeks working on the medium line. This time I will be talking about that, from the Straussler V-4 to post-war autoloading plans.
I will include a section of development history and historical statistics for each vehicle, and how could their characteristics be represented in the game. I’d also like to mention how much Karika helped me with his remarkably comprehensive and trustworthy writings on Tank Encyclopedia, For the Record, or Wotinfo, but you can find everything in the sources. I highly recommend checking it out.
Tier I: Straussler V-4 (Light Tank V4)
In the interwar period, Hungarian engineer Miklós Straussler (Nicholas Straussler) was working on a tank design, which meets the requirements of the Ministry of Defence to be amphibious, well-protected, and have an excellent armament. As the vehicle would have had poor maneuverability, Straussler’s idea was to make the vehicle able to travel both on wheels and tracks.
His development led to the construction of a prototype in 1933, simply called Vontató-3 (Wrecker-3) for a pseudonym. His second, much-improved model, named Vontató-4, was completed by 1936. The V-4 was protected by a 26 mm strong armor and was armed with a 37 mm anti-tank gun and two machine guns.
The trials started in the same year and the vehicle was tested by the UK and Italy. The V-4 seemed to be relatively fast, but the tank could tip over easily, and the driving performance was quite bumpy.
A year later, the prototype’s weapon was changed to the 37M 40 mm L/46 (Bofors licensed) gun, and it was returned to Hungary for army trials. The V-4 went into service in 1937, but later, when it was compared with the Panzerkampfwagen I and the Landsverk L-60, the latter one won the trials. A small number of vehicles were built.
By the end of the year 1937, the Italian CV tankettes, and the V-4 tanks were unreliable and fairly obsolete as fighting vehicles. For this reason, the Hungarians tried to find a more modern type of tank, as developing a completely new design would have taken too much time.
They managed to buy a single Swedish L-60 light tank in the same year. After a series of test trials, in 1938, the Magyar Állami Vas, Acél, és Gépgyárak (MÁVAG, Hungarian State Iron, Steel, and Machine Factory) started developing and mass-producing their variant. Later, due to production problems, the Ganz factory was also included in the Toldi’s production.
Initially, it was armed with a 20 mm Solothurn anti-tank gun and a 34/37M machine gun, but 37 or 40 mm caliber were considered as well, and later mounted (Toldi A40). The armor was 23 mm thick and riveted, instead of the original 13 mm thick welded construction of the L-60, and was sloped to increase its effectivity. The suspension however was the most significant improvement, as it used torsion bars, not the old leaf spring systems. A total number of 190 38M Toldi’s were produced.
In 1941, another production order for 110 more vehicles marked as Toldi B20 was placed. These were completed from May 1941 to December 1942. 68 of which were made by Ganz and 42 by MÁVAG.
As the 20 mm main weapon was toothless by this time of war, it was replaced with the 36M 40 mm L/60 (Bofors licensed) gun, with a redesigned turret (Toldi B40). Its shell could penetrate 64-74 mm of 30° sloped armor at 100 m, and 30 mm in 1000 m (same slope).
The armor was increased to 35 mm at the thickest part, but the engine remained the same, resulting in a maximum speed of only 47 km/h. After the war was over, the Soviets captured the few remaining Toldi’s and took them to Kubinka for testing. One of them remains there to this day.
A Toldi II in Russia
Captured Toldi B40
Late-war Toldi II with spaced armor
The last surviving Toldi in the Kubinka Tank Museum
In 1937, Škoda began work on a new medium tank loosely based on the LT vzor 35. This led to the assembly of two prototypes, designated as the Š-II-c. After the German occupation, work was resumed, and a new prototype referred to as T-21, was given to Hungary in 1940. The new design was yet unfinished, nonetheless, the Hungarian delegation decided to buy the license of the medium tank.
Engineers started developing a new variant with a re-arranged 3-man turret on German recommendation. The armor was revised and new plates were bolted-on, giving a total thickness of 50 mm instead of the T-21’s original 30 mm, equivalent to the latest upgraded versions of the Panzerkapfwagen III and IV. While the weight rose to 18,2 tons, the original Škoda engine was replaced with a more powerful WM V-8H gasoline motor.
The 47 mm Škoda A9 vzor 38 was replaced with although a little smaller 40 mm Škoda A17 gun, but it had much higher shell velocity and was way faster to reload. Later it was locally produced as the 41M 40 mm L/51. The mass-production started in October 1940, and over 230 vehicles were produced.
Over time, the standard 40 mm L/51 gun was completely inefficient against the most advanced Soviet tanks like the T-34 and the KV-1. Thanks to this, the Hungarian Military Leaderboard changed the order of the second series of Turáns.
55 Turán I with the old 40 mm gun and another 205 Turán II with a new 75 mm anti-tank gun were ordered, capable of penetrating 75 mm armor at 100 m. The turret was enlarged to house the massive breech-loading system and a special armored recoil piston was adapted to the gun.
The driver’s hatch was replaced with a simple door instead of the double door, and the armor reached 60 mm at the front. Although the engine remained the same, and the new Turán became less maneuverable. Until the end of the war, over 222 41M Turán’s saw combat.
The Turán III was the last version, equipped with a 43M 75 mm L/43 gun, similar to the German 7,5 cm KwK 40/42 used on the Panzer IV, and a revised turret for the new gun. It integrated large side covers around the elevated commander cupola, so the commander could command the vehicle while he’s standing.
It was designed to receive side skirts from the start, and the armor was increased to 80 mm (some sources mention 95 mm). It was required to increase the engine performance, but it wasn’t possible as there were no other alternatives for the WM V-8H.
The first prototype turret was finished in 1943, and a second variant was ready in February 1944, with the only ever built complete hull. Development was ended with the Soviet occupation of Hungary.
By 1943, the leaders of the Royal Hungarian Army realized, that the Hungarian armor had become seriously outdated. As Hungary’s attempts to acquire Panthers and Tigers failed, the Ministry of Defence commissioned the Weiss Manfréd Acél, és Fémművek (WM Steel and Metalworks) to design a replacement for the obsolete Turán’s.
In April, Hungarian engineers had been allowed to inspect and study the Panzerkapfwagen V and VI in Kummersdorf. The preliminary blueprints of the Tas prototypes were ready in record time, by the end of August.
The design of the Tas closely resembled the technology-based solutions featured in the Panzer V and the T-34. It had the thickest armor out of the tree, as the T-34/76 would be incapable of penetrating it frontally.
The Tas’s armament was originally planned to be the same 7.5 cm KwK 42 L/70 as the Panther, however, it was later changed to the 29/44M 80 mm L/58 gun. The prototype of the latter one was finished in October, but the trials showed some serious flaws, so it had to be replaced temporarily with the 43M 75 mm L/43 gun used in the Turán III.
Although the biggest problem was the engine. By the time, there were no engines available for such a heavy (37 ton) construction. The delegation wanted to buy the licence of the Maybach HL230 used in the Panther, but the Germans rejected it. Later, at the start of the development, engineers from the WM wanted to create a new V12 engine, but as they didn’t have enough time, simply two connected V-8H engines were put in the vehicle.
After the baseline of the Tas was accepted, the Ministry of Defence ordered a prototype for further experiments and a service-ready vehicle. The assembling started in May 1944, and the vehicles were finished in July. Just before the turrets could be fitted, an American bomber raided the factory and destroyed both along with other combat vehicles.
The Tas compared to the T-34 and the Panther
The original factory mockup of the Tas from different angles
The 1:10 model of the 44M Tas compared to the 41M Turán
In the post-war communist era, it wasn’t really allowed to publicly talk about any military developments from the condemned interwar period. Hence, the engineers who were working on the Tas had to choose to be speechless, and its history soon faded away. Nobody bothered to research the Hungarian tank development until the ’70s, however, by this time, the key people involved in it had already passed away.
It was in the late ’70s when the son of János Korbuly (former chief engineer of the WM), Pál Korbuly started collecting information about the completely forgotten 44M Tas. He recreated a mockup of the Tas based on oral sources, the memories of the workers who were involved in the development.
His reconstruction featured an expanded turret for the originally planned 80 mm gun, but as the 41M 8.8 cm L/71 gun (KwK 36/43, PaK version) was available for Hungary, it could be fitted into the enlarged turret.
Unfortunately, Korbuly’s variant can be deemed outdated by now as we have pictures of the original factory mockup of the Tas. On the other hand, that mockup only represents the model mounted with the 75 mm gun, and reliable sources mention that extra hatches were added to the sides of the turret after the dummy model was already completed. This suggests, that the turret was extended, as originally there would have been no space for a full manhole.
The first post-war Tas reconstruction by Pál Korbuly in the ’70s
The same mockup from the rear
The 44M Tas from István Poór’s book, published in 1980
Tier IX: Projekt 88 (88 mm Mad’arský Projekt Středního Tanku)
My knowledge about this project is strongly incomplete. What I can currently declare for sure is the blueprint above isn’t an original engineering drawing, but probably just a recreation from most likely one of Martin Dubánek’s books (it is unknown yet), for illustrative purposes only.
According to the descriptions, it was a post-war medium tank project from around 1948. It also mentions that perhaps a model was built, but it was likely a non-functioning wooden mockup. No pictures have been found yet.
Two guns were planned to be mounted, an 85 or 88 mm, and 100 mm, both autoloaders. The problem with that is Hungary didn’t even have any autoloaders by that time, and it is unlikely that the Czechs would have sold any blueprints.
There was a larger scan found as well, illustrating detailed drawings of the turret by D. Kozár. It shows that the thickness of the armor was at least 200 mm, and how the shells could have been stored. Note that Kozár’s name is only mentioned on the bottom sketch. The turret shape had to be entirely round (something like the T-55), as the rotating system is at the very rear of the turret ring, so it wouldn’t be able to traverse if it had an oval shape like on the illustration at the top.
So most likely D. Kozár’s turret drawings are original, but the upper illustration just not representing it correctly, and it probably isn’t by Kozár. Anyway, there are way more fictional vehicles in the game, so this design is just as fine as the T 51, or the E-50. Work on the project stopped as the USSR forced the Ministry of Defence to halt any further developments.
The turret of the first variant mounting the 85/88 mm gun, with the rotating system at the rear
This is how the turret had to look like if it was meant to be rotatable
Tier X: Projekt 100 (100 mm Mad’arský Projekt Středního Tanku)
Information about this design is lacking as well, as the vehicle didn’t pass the designing phase. It is the same post-war autoloading project mentioned previously that was found in the Czech archives.
Improvements were made to the development, as the turret was redesigned and enlarged. The armor was thickened a bit too, as the armor scheme illustrates, although the hull remained identical. The unknown 85 or 88 mm gun was replaced with a 100 mm one, with presumably higher ammo-capacity in the drum, and a touch better vertical gun depression. As for the autoloader mechanics, it isn’t going to be something ordinary like the regular ones (Czech or French tanks), or the autoreloaders (Italians), but more on that later.
Overall, that would be the top configuration of the tank. Unfortunately, not much known about it, but I believe I discussed everything. To be fair, still a way better choice than something fictional, or another Soviet clone (as the T-55AMH was the most probable candidate for top-tier), and at least it gives some kind of uniqueness to the branch.
There are one or two components that weren’t actually planned to be mounted, or we have no information about them being used in the specific vehicle, but almost the entire configuration of modules is factual.
Possible In-game Characteristics
The new autoloading mechanics
Not official gameplay
The brand-new loading system would be available exclusively for Hungarian tanks, such as the autoreloading for Italian mediums. The footage above demonstrates how the mechanics would work with the characteristics of the Projekt 88.
In the example, the vehicle has a 4 round magazine with 5-second autoreload on each, but it won’t start reloading until the full drum is empty. Shooting during reload won’t break it, as it would happen in the Progetto. To start loading a new magazine, you have to wait 5 seconds of lock time.
The whole point of the system is the rate of fire, in the example, it was 9.6/minute, resulting in a DMP of 2688/minute, third-best in tier/class. To prevent too aggressive playstyle, the intra-clip reload is increased to 4 seconds, the worst in any kind of autoloader.
Note, that the models may have been inaccurate, as they are only for exemplifying.