Flying tanks

Flying tanks

In fact, immediately after the occurrence on the battlefield of a new kind of weapon — tanks — was a question of increasing their "operational mobility." At first he tried to solve by means of motor vehicles — special trailers and bodies. Later combat vehicles are equipped with an additional driver of car types — so there were wheel-tracked tanks. But for all that was needed road. But if there are no roads, and the enemy is very necessary to get it? Military different states back in 1930 directed his own view on aviation. And tanks … flew.

By the end of the 1920s, the leading military power in the world already had aircraft carrying up to several tons, enable transport by air rather sized shipments. However, in the main on the outside of the suspension.

One of the first concept is that of "flying" tank suggested South American designer J. Walter Christie. His car was a rollicking M.1932 tank is made of steel and duralumin alloy (so-called duralumin), which weighed a total of 4 tons. At various demonstrations and displays of first 1930 this machine on wheels reached quite mind-boggling speed of 190 km / h — a real sports car! On tracks M.1932 also rolled quite rapidly — 90 km / h According to the views of Christie, this rate is allowed to install it on a tank of wings to fly over natural and man-made obstacles. In addition, you could drop tank from an aircraft flying at low level. But neither this nor the subsequent "flying" tank M.1933 air unit has not been developed. U.S. military to these machines were not enthusiastic. A standard tank was bought by Russian M.1932 Union, but Russian professionals motivate priemuschestvenno performance of wheel-track mover. In fact, for sea trials and all came down. Well, no particular need to borrow foreign experience was not as specific in the Soviet Union first of the 1930s came a massive deployment of airborne troops, accompanied by working off of different methods of delivery of military equipment by air.

Flying tanksWedgies T-27 on the suspension of PD-T under the bomber TB-3

Flying Platform

This issue has a special design bureau (Oskonbyuro) Air Force under the control of PI Grochowski. In 1932, it successfully tested the parachute system PD-O-relief 76 mm mountain gun mod. 1909 Cannon was suspended between the landing gear bomber TB-1, a parachute in a box mounted on a cylinder-shaped bomb racks under the fuselage. In the same year, the Air Force adopted a system of G-9: two bikes "Harley-Davidson" hung up on the bomb racks under the wings of a biplane R-5. Each bike was put in a special frame and secured with 2 parachutes that are linked through a hole in the center of the dome of the first and revealed one by one. Later in Oskonbyuro made suspension PD-M2 for 2-"Harley" with prams. It could carry under the fuselage bomber TB-1. Based on the same carrier designed parachute suspension PD-A for the car "Ford-A" (or GAZ-A). However, in Oskonbyuro pererablotali car in the pickup, which is mounted in the back of the dynamo-reactive (recoilless) gun ANC. In addition, the car was reinforced springs, caps on the wheels and the front of the radiator cowl. From bikes and cars ran over to the armored vehicles.

Also in 1932, without losing pace, made the standard of G-43 (PD-T) for relief from the British Parachute wedgies "Carden-Lloyd" or its variant of Russian T-27. Since the mass of wedgies significantly exceed the maximum load bombers TB-1, it made it easier for 334 pounds, took off all that may be, and even drain the water from the cooling system. The aircraft also had to ease. Namely, dismantled one of the rear turrets and all the guns, significantly reduced in store fuel. In December 1932, the system PD-T experienced in the Air Force Institute. It was the prototype of a huge number of similar devices created for the landing light tanks, armored vehicles and cars.

In 1935, the armament suspension was PG-12 (for landing troops) and PG-12P (for dropping parachute). For the first variant was fixed loading platform truss, which allows you to carry and parachute cars, armored vehicles, light tanks and artillery pieces weighing up to 3 tons. For example, it is possible to be fixed pick-up (based on GAZ-A or M-1), "lorry" GAZ-AA (with a cropped top of the cab) or outright four guns at once — two 76-mm regimental and two 45-mm with anti-limbers. The platform was suitable for the transport of small amphibious tank T-37A and light armored D-12.

In the first delivery of the T-37A in the air bomber TB-3 was demonstrated in the so-called Huge Kiev maneuvers that took place in September 1935. When transporting the tank through the air the crew was on the plane. After landing a bomber navigator by simply clicking on the special pen, separated tank from the aircraft, tankers took their seats, and the car was ready for battle.

Flying tanksReset the water of small floating T-37A. Moscow, Bear Lake, October 1936

Hazardous splashdown

But simply "drop" the tank on the ground — that's not the problem, the problem will come. In October 1936, at Bear Lake near Moscow tested a system reset tanks for water. Designing suspension HPT-2 and the reset was carried out in the Design and Development sector of scientific test department of the Military Academy of Mechanization and Motorization of the Stalin under the control of the military engineer 3rd grade ZY Kotin. The T-37A dropped the lake from a height of 5-6 meters at a speed of 160 km / h After touching the water on the surface of the car jumped 25-30 feet, like a stone, which was started by aqua surface of a strong hand.

To protect the tank when they hit the water at the bottom of it were attached special shock-absorbing device. They were all most are ordinary: iron-bound wood beams under the bottom of the tank, a metal sheet (between him and the bottom paved spruce spruce branches) and, in the end, just a bunch of spruce branches. In the first case, the amphibious promyalo bottom and pulled out part of the rivets. About 20 minutes later, she was kept afloat, and later sank. In the 2nd and 3rd — the tanks began to sink immediately due to cracks in the hull. The idea felt hopeless, and work on the HPT-2 finished.

In December 1938, Capital Works "lift" made the first batch of new suspension DBT-2. To strengthen such suspension was easier than PG-12, and the load equipment took less time. The product range includes load tank T-38, BA-20 armored cars and FAI armored tracked tractor "Komsomolets", the mobile station is 5AK chassis truck GAZ-A. Brand new suspension allowed the airlift truck GAZ-A
A with common shower and even a three-axle GAZ-AAA. In 1939, DPT-2 have adopted.

Meanwhile, the ability to transport aircraft did not meet the rapid growth of the airborne troops. The basic rate as previously done on the TB-3 aircraft, which by that time obviously outdated. Yet nothing was not simple. Because in the last great pre-war maneuvers airborne troops in August 1940 was attended by all of the same TB-3. During exercises simulated airfield seizure Migalovo under Kalinin (now Tver). Initially, 26 TB-3 bombers dropped paratroopers battalion, then they got rid of loads with a 3-R-5. One TB-3 took off on the bike two parachutes. Paratroopers 'captured' airfield and began to take glider landing "Wings of the tank" design DC Antonov. 1942 year The project is a flying tank design AN Rafaelyantsa. 1933 British heavy landing glider "Hamilcar" landing. With nine aircraft unloaded the T-37A and batteries — 76 — and 45-mm cannons. All went well, but the backlog of our air transport has meant that, despite the accumulation of experience in the process of stateliness Russian War of the Red Army airborne forces landed occasionally, as well as heavy weapons are thrown through the air very often.

Flying tanks

The project is a flying tank design AN Rafaelyantsa. 1933

Own wings

But piloted different samples of this kind were made. Namely, did not go unnoticed and the idea of "flying" tank Christie. For example, January 19, 1933 Design Bureau under the control of AN Rafaelyantsa were given an assignment to develop a project of this flying tank. A month later, the project was ready. It consisted in the suspension wheel-track tank BT to non-powered aircraft. The propeller was rotated with a mechanical transmission from the engine of the tank. After landing, disconnect the tank from the aircraft without going out of the car crew. Apart from this project have been offered two more variants of flying tank — one engineers TSAGI AL Dobrovolsky and PD Samsonov, second — NI Kamov. First project was different from the design Rafaelyantsa presence of hydro-mechanical transmission of power to the propeller, the project also Kamov was a little tank autogyro. Woody layout, made on the first draft, March 31, 1933 have blown in the wind tunnel of TsAGI.

Tank itself was somewhat different from the serial BT-2 form of the hull and armament. The tank is planned to install a 20-mm automatic cannon with 500 rounds ammunition or gun DT. The crew — two people. The armor protection — Bulletproof, from 4 to 8 mm. The design of the housing provided for the introduction of light alloys and special steels. In the rear of the machine was installed a 12-cylinder petrol engine M-17 capacity of 650 liters. with., which provided the tank in the air speed of 160 km / h

By the end of May 1933, after an analysis of the project, conducted by the Institute of Air Force, it became quite clear that the engine power will not be enough, so much as a tank, or acceptable flew. In addition, the severe discrepancy would-tank and training pilots. For subsequent work on this project finished.

But first Lofty Russian war, the idea has come up again. In autumn 1941, the designer of light aircraft DC Antonov offered to build a lightweight glider towed by a single implementation, in which the fuselage was used as a body of the T-60, and its running gear — as the chassis. The plan designer glider designed for the transportation of light tanks in the assault in the enemy rear, also to supply the large guerrilla groups. It was assumed that such a combination can be towed glider bomber TB-3 or DB-FS to Fri destination, and then reset the towline itself sits on a platform of limited size, the wings will fold with the tail and the move will go into battle.

The task for a similar aircraft, which was not unique in history, Anthony was at the end of 1941. Machine designed for just two weeks, and by the summer of 1942 glider built by the factory in the city of Tyumen. She received the title of the CT ("Wings of the tank"), also denotes the index of A-T, the AT-1 or A-40 airframe.

Flying tanks

Glider "Wings of the tank" design DC Antonov. 1942

Wings with a span of 18 meters and a twin-boom empennage were made by biplane scheme to reduce the size of the airframe. Its length was only 12.06 meters. Cable control brought to the place of the driver of the tank, it is additionally equipped with side mirrors and rearview camera. The machine itself as eased (to a weight of 5800 kg) by removing weapons, ammunition, headlights, fenders and draining almost all the fuel. Flight weight of the tank, the glider was 7804 pounds.

The only test flight of a glider CT in the fall of 1942. Aeropoezd in the aircraft-towing TB-3 (commander Yeremeev PA) and airframe CT (glider, he's a driver — test pilot SN Anokhin) successfully took off. But because of the huge drag glider towing was conducted at close to maximum capacity engines with a speed of 130 km / h Despite this, the rate of rise aeropoezda proved insufficient, and he almost headed for a height of 40 meters. Not give a good result and an attempt to increase speed of 140 km / h, because with all this aeropoezd began to fall with a vertical speed of 0.5 m / s.

In addition, the temperature began to rise in the cooling water system of engines, which could result in overheating. The glider had to unhook the emergency order. He, by the way, surprisingly successfully sat on the hummock field in Ramenskoye airfield, causing panic in the middle of the harsh anti-aircraft gunners and warned about what was happening battalion command airfield services. Throwing wings, T-60 under its own power returned safely to base in Monino.

There are, however, different and a little description of the landing. Know what they were, landing, Anokhin, started the engine and the tank without dropping wings, slowly but surely moved to the command Fri airfield. Not being notified of a forced landing extraordinary machine, managing airport operations on combat alert lifted calculation anti-aircraft battery. When the test pilot climbed out of the car, he was detained by the Red Army. The incident was closed with the arrival of rescue teams Flight Test Institute (LII). The tank under its own power delivered to the village Stakhanova (now the town of Zhukovsky) to the airfield FRI.

Because of the lack of other suitable for this purpose bombers, the best of which would be the Pe-8, this fascinating work did not continue. In the distant aviation acts were only about 40 of these machines and use them as a tug nobody would have allowed. All the same test flight showed that the idea of flying a light tank completely feasible.

Another attempt the creation of such a device made residents of the country of the rising sun. In 1945, they built a model of the tank-glider "Ku-ro." It was a very a narrow (in the full sense of the word) machine. The crew was p
laced in tandem: a driver (also a pilot) on the bridge, the commander behind him in single tower. Along the edges of the tank were attached to the body of carrier planes, and behind — a farm with a single vertical tail. In a metal, this tank was not built.

Flying tanks

The project suspension "flying" tank Christie M.1933 under the plane. Early 1930's

Glider pilots heavyweights

As for the other Member States the second world war, they are focusing on the development of traditional gliders and transport aircraft capable of carrying armored vehicles. So, for example, in Germany, on the basis of languid glider Me 321 was created shestimotorny military transport aircraft Me 323 "Giant". Huge and slow-moving machines of this type were used in the main for the delivery of goods for the army "Africa" in the fall of 1942 — spring 1943. "Giants" were driven around in Tunisia is not only commonplace to transport long loads (fuel, spare parts, food, ammunition), and light armored vehicles, artillery systems are also different, including 150-mm howitzers. Brought back empty drums of fuel, spent cartridges and the wounded. Usually, the planes were flying low, singly or in small groups. For example, the crew chief lieutenant Peter E. Nov. 26, 1942 moved to Me 323D from Naples to Bizerte 11-ton self-propelled Marder. The flight took almost two hours. To unload, and then, having taken on board the 4 tons of empty drums, the plane went into a revolving way. But the wide distribution in the Luftwaffe "giants" have not received priemuschestvenno because of their own enormous size and low speed. Adopted as the German airborne troops armored vehicles has been received. Except, apparently, in those cases where the latter used as a regular infantry. In the other was the case with the Western Allies.

By creating airborne troops in England proceeded under the impression successful actions of German paratroopers in Norway and the Netherlands. For use as an airborne tank was elected "Tetrarch". For its transportation company General Aircraft Ltd. made a 16-ton glider "Hamilcar," which had a hinged nose and lip. The crews were inside tanks (each glider on one tank), and after landing combat vehicles immediately left the gliders. "Hamilcar" usually towed bomber "Halifax".

The biggest battle episode in the life of "the Tetrarch" refers to the days of the "D" — days of the Allied landing in Normandy on June 6, 1944. They were part of the 6th Airborne Reconnaissance Regiment air 6th British Airborne Division. Eight tanks were included in the second wave of troops and had to storm the bridge over the River Orne. During a flight over the English Channel nose of the 1st of gliders opened and the tank together with the crew fell into the water, so it got to the point of destination, only seven military vehicles. Most of the tanks after landing entangled in their parachutes tracks, scattered on the ground, and did not participate in the battle (on the night of June 6, 1944 in Normandy airlifted about 12,000 paratroopers parachute so that the earth was in surplus). Another eight tanks landed from the sea. Soon almost all the tanks "Tetrarch" demonstrated poor performance in Normandy, have been changed in the 6th Airborne Division, medium tanks, "Cromwell".

Flying tanks

British heavy landing glider "Hamilcar"

Flying without a tower

In February 1941, the Americans have also begun to deploy its airborne troops. To ensure their own paratroopers support of armored vehicles, it was decided to create a light tank weighing less than 7.5 tons, which can be transported by air. For a role in the competition were invited to "General Motors", recognizable designer George W. Christie and the company "MarmonHerrington." The project is the latest seemed more appropriate, and in May 1941, she ordered the layout of the tank itself. Immediately began the development of this aircraft capable of accommodating this fighting machine.

First layout T9 weighed 8 tons, which, in general, do not bother control of the U.S. Army Air Corps (aviation in the United States became an independent arm of much later), and the British, interested South American project. Fixing nodes allowed to suspend the tank to a transport aircraft C-54, with all this, but was required to remove from the tank turret and load it on the plane. In April 1942, 500 were ordered by superior tanks T9E1, although the tests have not even started yet. Because of the various problems encountered in the production process, and endless configurations moved into the initial design of the planned 1,900 cars were made only 830, after the establishment was closed. The army was never satisfied with the design of the tank. Recent tests conducted in September 1943 showed that the tank is unreliable and has limited mobility, not armed and armored. The military pulled standardization (in other words, the assumption of weapons), and in August 1944 received T9E1 army designation M22. In general, both the American and the British Army, this car was very well known by the title of "Locust" ("Locust").

In August 1943, at Fort Knox was formed 151st Airborne Tank Company, and in December of the same year was followed for the 28th Airborne Tank Battalion. In general, the euphoria surrounding the formation of the first tank units of airborne troops swiftly passed. Military disappointed in the "Locust". The latter, being a tank, by definition, had to connect voedinyzhdy inside the big firepower, reliable armor protection and mobility. In practice, in most cases it turns out that 1-deficiency is compensated by the surplus of other. Failure was that "Locust" was stripped of 3 fundamental properties. Since the Yankees failed to build a plane or glider, capable of transporting "Locust" without preliminary removal of the tower, low weight and compact dimensions of the tank to be finished and benefits. What's all the same security concerns, the combat vehicle armor was so thin that made its way even with armor-piercing bullets of 12.7 mm. And in the end, to 1944 horsepower tank was very small, well its 37 mm gun did not hold water.

Because as part of the U.S. Army "Locusta" in fighting the second world war did not take part, and after its completion were swiftly written off. The only battle scene with their role is associated with the British Army. The British got the Lend-Lease 260 tanks of this type. But in the 6th Airborne Reconnaissance Regiment tank included only 17 machines. By March 1944 of 38 gliders languid "Hamilcar", intended for the transport of tanks 6th Regiment, 23 have been adapted to accommodate them, "Locust". Combat debut of these tanks was held March 24, 1945 during the crossing of the Rhine. Polueskad ron — eight cars — was parachuted with gliders "Ham
ilcar" on the right bank of the river. In the battle, but not all took part. One tank supported by paratroopers of the 17th U.S. Airborne Division, by mistake slip through their landing zone. Four more "Locust" acted together with the 12th Infantry Battalion Devonshire Regiment and the paratroopers of the 6th British Airborne Division. No more details about the episode in the foreign press, the first British is not provided.

Tanks, paratroopers

Based on the experience of the second world war, the West came to the conclusion not appropriate the upcoming deployment of airborne troops. Everywhere they were either greatly reduced or, as in the United States, have kept the same number as in the war years. In another case in the Soviet Union — then began the overall deployment of airborne troops, conducted intense development of equipment for them and the means of their delivery.

About dropping combat vehicles by parachute it did not go yet — there was none of the respective aircraft or landing systems. Delivery vehicles could only be gliders, design of which was carried out in parallel. In the late 1940s — early 1950s in the Soviet Union was created a few samples of lung airborne self-propelled units. More successful were the ASU-76 and ASU-57. However, over the first one in August 1953, the work done because of the unwillingness of IL-32 airframe and towing. The second was fielded in 1951 and launched a series. In each anti-tank company of the Parachute Regiment was to nine units. For landing ASU-57 containers were first used P-90 (two of these containers were hung under the wings of bombers Tu-4) gliders and Yak-14. After the rise in military transport aircraft AN-8 and AN-12 landing ASU-57 was used mnogokupolnye parachute and parachute system platform PP-128-5000. On arms was airborne for a long time and more than languid and powerful aviatransportabelnaya ACS ACS-85. According to the staff at each Airborne Division had one battalion of the 31 ASU-85. They parachuted into the main landing technique at least — with a parachute platform P-16.

Flying tanksReset the tank "Sheridan" from the transport plane C-130 via the exhaust system LAPES

What's all the same for other armored vehicles, at the end of the 1950s adopted Airborne did BRDM armored reconnaissance vehicles, and later BRDM-2, also self-propelled anti-tank missile systems on their basis. All these war machines parachuted planting method.

In the middle of the 1950s aerotransportabelnym easy to get a tank and decided to Americans. The reason for the development was the experience of the Korean War, which has revealed the urgent need for the creation of the deployment of forces frisky. The formation of these forces in the United States dragged on for decades, but the process has been started here then. In general, and the development of such a tank stretched for 10 years with excessive. M551 machine "General Sheridan" had adopted only in 1966.

The design of the housing 16-ton tank was used extensively Duralumin alloy. In the metal tower was installed main armament — 152mm gun / missile launcher, which apart from ordinary artvystrelov could carry fire anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) MGM51A «Shilleyla."

As part of the U.S. Army armored cavalry units were the tanks of the war in Vietnam, where it is not used very popular among the crew, because they were very vulnerable. As for the airborne troops, then, strictly speaking, with the parachutes did not flush the tanks. Used for landing a special exhaust system LAPES. With soaring at low altitude on a small vehicle speed S-130 parachutes stretched platform mounted on it, "Sheridan". Energy hitting the ground extinguished cushioning system platform. The crew parachuted separately from their own war machine.

In 1978 he began a general withdrawal "Sheridan" with the arms of the Army. They were only in the 82nd and 101st Airborne divisions, as no other tank, which could throw off the parachute, the U.S. was not.

Maybe work on the Yankees 'Sheridan' in a degree become a prerequisite for the deployment of such work in the USSR. In the middle 1970s, intrigued by her in quite well armed and protected floating combat vehicle expressed marines and airborne troops. In this case, the added buoyancy of demand and requirement aerotransportabelnosti. Apparently, the airborne troops, animated developing in those years, both quantitatively and qualitatively, and became the principal designer of the tactical and technical requirements.

In accordance with them in 1975 at the Volgograd Tractor Plant running head designer AV Shabalin was designed and made by the most experienced airborne standard light amphibious tank "to 934". Its welded hull and turret are made of duralumin alloy provides protection against armor piercing projectiles caliber 23 mm at a distance of 500 meters. In front of the tower mounted iron lining. Combat weight was 17.5 tons, the crew had three people.

The tower was located in a stable 2-planes guidance lightweight 100-mm rifled gun 2A48, curb dual chamber muzzle brake, an ejection device for purging the barrel and loading mechanism. Ammunition consisted of 40 artvystrelov (19 of them — in the loading mechanism) and 2000 rounds of PKT coaxial machine gun. Inside the tank was laid portable air defense system "Strela-3" and four missiles to it. In the engine-transmission compartment was installed multi-fuel diesel four-2B-06 turbo and cooling of air in a heat exchanger. Engine power — 400 hp. s. Box — a manual transmission with double-flow mechanism and turns. Pneumatic-hydraulic suspension provides a variable clearance in the range from 120 to 530 mm. For the motion of the water was used water jet.

Installation of a massive engine (power density — 22.8 hp.. Ton) and modern boxes provide the highest speed on land 70 km / h, and on the water — 10 km / h In store ride over land reached 600 km. The design of the tank was adapted to aviadesantirovaniyu by parachute from aircraft AN-22 and IL-76.

Along with the "object 934" on the same terms of reference in 1975 to Kurganmashzavod running head designer AA Blagonravova designed and made most experienced airborne standard light amphibious tank "to 685". The tank had a weight of 16.5 tons of metal welded hull and turret of a titanium alloy. According to the level of armor and weapons it was comparable to "object 934." Properties mobility also were similar Volgograd car.

Both tanks have been tested, but were not taken into service in the creation of a batch do not start. They were, in fact, representatives of the group of combat vehicles for the so-called forces of frisky response and as anticipated the emergence of such tanks in the West as the South American M8 and "Stingray". But in the past similar to the Russian military machine armed with a similar weight and can not swim.

Illustrations Misha Dmitriev

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