Praga T-33 on a Czech military base (around 1935)
|Armor and armament|
|Main armament||2 × 7.92 mm MG|
|drive||Praga 4-cylinder petrol engine
31 HP (23 kW)
|Top speed||35 km / h (road)|
|Power / weight|
The Praga T-33 Tankette was a Czechoslovak armored vehicle of the Second World War . Although it was not convincing in the troop trials with the Czechoslovak army , it was nevertheless put into service. However, this weapon system never took part in combat, but was later used by the Wehrmacht as a transport tank.
The then young Czechoslovak state realized very early that the establishment of an efficient arms industry was necessary in order to remain viable. One of the largest and most important machine manufacturers was the merger-based Prague company ČKD . A number of well-known vehicles came from Czechoslovak production, such as B. the Panzerkampfwagen 35 (t) and the Panzerkampfwagen 38 (t) . In 1940/41 two thirds of all light tanks used by the German armed forces were produced in Czechoslovakia. The tankette T-33 was not one of them, however, as it was only used as a support vehicle. Like most Tanketten based the T-33 on the British Carden Loyd Mark I . The vehicle had two pairs of rollers with torsion springs. The engine was located in the front. Behind it rose the rigid box-shaped structure with the crew compartment. The armor consisted of riveted steel plates. Armored aprons for the landing gear were not provided. After the occupation of Czechoslovakia, the German Wehrmacht captured these tankettes and later used them as supply vehicles and tugs on the Eastern Front . Here the massive deficiencies of the tankette were revealed.
Even the crews of the test vehicles completely refused to use the tankette on the first trips. Nevertheless, it was produced in series. The main flaws were in the chain system and the under-motorization of the vehicle. Even with the relatively low weight of 2.4 t, the 31 hp engine was hopelessly overwhelmed. Especially when driving in difficult terrain, the tankette was hardly faster than the tanks of the First World War . If the ground was also soft and muddy, the vehicle sank to the point of immobility because the tracks were too narrow. Even deep snow hindered mobility enormously. This is precisely what the Wehrmacht had to experience painfully on the Eastern Front in the first winter of 1941/42. In addition, the armor was only suitable for protection against fire from light hand weapons. As soon as the enemy had an armor-piercing hand weapon, such as the Soviet PTRS or PTRD , the tankette was in enormous danger.
- Robert Jackson: tanks - models from around the world from 1915 to today . Paraagon Books, Cologne, ISBN 978-1-4075-0670-8 .
- Tančík vz. 33 (Czech)