BT-7 mod. 1937

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Arcade Realistic Simulator

Arcade Realistic Simulator

Arcade Realistic Simulator

General info

BT-7 in the Garage.

The BT-7 mod. 1937 is a Rank I Soviet light tank with a battle rating of 1.3. It was introduced in during the Closed Beta Test for Ground Forces before Update 1.41. Like the BT-5, but with improved front armour, it is fast and has an adequate 45 mm cannon able to destroy opposing tanks.

The main purpose, usage and tactics recommendations

General play style

The BT-7 was the last of the BT series of Soviet cavalry tanks that were produced in large numbers between 1935 and 1940. They were lightly armoured, but reasonably well-armed for their time, and had much better mobility than other contemporary tank designs. The BT tanks were known by the nickname Betka from the acronym, or its diminutive, Betushka.

The BT-7 Tank's successor would be the famous T-34 medium tank, introduced in 1940, which would replace all of the Soviet fast tanks, infantry tanks, and medium tanks then in service.

Vehicle characteristics

The BT-7 is a fast tank with relatively thin armour. It can be useful to flank and hit the side armour of enemy tanks, taking advantage of it's very high top speed. The armour is very well angled at certain points, however being as thin as it is, don't count on it to protect you very well; your speed can be your best defense, so move fast and try to zig-zag a bit to make yourself a more difficult target for tanks farther away (not too much though, or you'll bleed off too much speed).

The BT-7 surprises with its Christie suspension. Closer to a race-car than a tank, this lightning on tracks is fun to drive, but not particular easy. With its high top speed and light weight, this tank will drift in turns. For maximum control in turns, reduce throttle beforehand and only tip/nudge the turn key. It needs some time to get used to, however it does prepare you for the T-34s break-turns.

Off road behaviour is good and the aforementioned drifts aren't as extreme as on city-roads. Top speed is not really reduced as well, making the BT-7 one of the fastest early tanks due its very wide tracks, something both the Light tank M2 and Panzer II miss.

The crew compartment is very small and only inhabited by the driver and the commander. The latter has to perform the tasks of the gunner and radio-man. If a single crew member dies, the BT-7 is "combat ineffective" and then destroyed. "Not getting shot at" is the best advise for the crew to survive.

Tactics

Specific enemies worth noting

Counter-tactics

Unless you get unlucky, any center-of-mass shot on a BT-7 will kill it. The main thing to watch out for is for it's flanking moves. However, as it is at such a low rank, many people will not be the best tacticians and will likely not be flanking. No matter what, always watch out, as if the BT-7 gets behind any tank at its rank, it is a sure kill.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Very fast and nimble
  • Excellent offroad capability
  • Powerful engine and wide tracks makes the BT-7 a good climber.
  • Good cannon with good rate of fire
  • Often used as a rusher/scout in higher rank matches. It can get to capture points more quickly than most tanks.

Cons:

  • Exposed tracks and suspensions are prone to be damaged
  • Whole tank is basically ammo rack and fuel tank on tracks
  • Very large and difficult to hide
  • Difficult to drive with precision - can slew on turns and bounces a lot after braking.
  • Very weak armour all around, more flat unangled areas than BT-5
  • Vulnerable to heavy machine gun fire
  • Worse gun depression than BT-5 (below average now)

Specifications

Arcade Realistic Simulator

Arcade Realistic Simulator

Arcade Realistic Simulator

Armaments

1 x 45 mm 20-K cannon (188 Rounds)
1 x 7.62 mm DT machine gun (1,890 Rounds)

Main armament

1 x 45 mm 20-K cannon
  • Ammunition Capacity: 188 Shells
  • Gun Depression: -6°
  • Gun Elevation: 25°
  • Turret Rotation Speed: 9.5°/s (Stock), 13.2°/s (Upgraded), __._°/s (Prior + Full Crew), __._°/s (Prior + Expert Qualif.), __._°/s (Prior + Ace Qualif.)
  • Reloading Rate: 3.8s (Stock), __._s (Full Crew), __._s (Prior + Expert Qualif.), __._s (Prior + Ace Qualif.)
1 x 45 mm 20-K cannon
  • Ammunition Capacity: 188 Shells
  • Gun Depression: -6°
  • Gun Elevation: 25°
  • Turret Rotation Speed: 9.5°/s (Stock), 11.2°/s (Upgraded), __._°/s (Prior + Full Crew), __._°/s (Prior + Expert Qualif.), __._°/s (Prior + Ace Qualif.)
  • Reloading Rate: 3.8s (Stock), __._s (Full Crew), __._s (Prior + Expert Qualif.), __._s (Prior + Ace Qualif.)
1 x 45 mm 20-K cannon
  • Ammunition Capacity: 188 Shells
  • Gun Depression: -6°
  • Gun Elevation: 25°
  • Turret Rotation Speed: 9.5°/s (Stock), 11.2°/s (Upgraded), __._°/s (Prior + Full Crew), __._°/s (Prior + Expert Qualif.), __._°/s (Prior + Ace Qualif.)
  • Reloading Rate: 3.8s (Stock), __._s (Full Crew), __._s (Prior + Expert Qualif.), __._s (Prior + Ace Qualif.)
Ammunition
Ammunition Penetration in mm @ 90° Type of
warhead
Velocity
in m/s
Projectile
Mass in kg
Fuse delay
in m:
Fuse sensitivity
in mm:
Explosive Mass in
TNT equivalent
in g:
Normalization At 30°
from horizontal:
Ricochet:
10m 100m 500m 1000m 1500m 2000m 0% 50% 100%
BR-240 62 59 45 35 29 26 APHEBC 760 1.4 1.2 15 32.3 +4° 48° 63° 71°
BR-240SP 73 68 51 35 25 17 AP 757 1.4 N/A N/A N/A -1° 47° 60° 65°
Ammo racks
Ammo racks of the BT-7.
Full
ammo
1st
rack empty
2nd
rack empty
3rd
rack empty
4th
rack empty
5th
rack empty
6th
rack empty
Recommendations Visual
discrepancy
146 122 (+24) 97 (+49) 73 (+73) 49 (+97) 24 (+122) 1 (+145) Turret empty: 97 (+49) Yes

Secondary armament

1 x 7.62 mm DT machine gun (coaxial)

Crew

  • Commander/Gunner
  • Loader
  • Driver

Total: 3 Crew members

Armour

Armour type:

  • Rolled homogeneous armour
Armour Front Sides Rear Roof
Hull 15 mm (62°) Front glacis
20 mm (19°) Driver's hatch
20 mm (5-52°) Lower hull
20 mm Front
15 mm Rear
10 mm (55°) Top
13 mm (16-58°) Bottom
10 mm
Turret 15 mm (7-53°) Gun mantlet
15 mm (13-14°) Turret front
15 mm (13°) Front
13 mm (10°) Rear
13 mm (15°) 10 mm

Notes

  • Tracks and suspension wheel are both 15 mm thick.

Engine & mobility

Weight: 13.7 ton

Max Speed: 60 km/h
Stock

  • Engine Power: 620 hp @ 1650 rpm
  • Power-to-Weight Ratio: 45.25 hp/ton
  • Maximum Inclination: 38°

Upgraded

  • Engine Power: 763 hp @ 1650 rpm
  • Power-to-Weight Ratio: 55.69 hp/ton
  • Maximum Inclination: 43°
Weight: 13.7 ton

Max Speed: 54 km/h
Stock

  • Engine Power: 354 hp @ 1650 rpm
  • Power-to-Weight Ratio: 25.84 hp/ton
  • Maximum Inclination: 40°

Upgraded

  • Engine Power: 400 hp @ 1650 rpm
  • Power-to-Weight Ratio: 29.20 hp/ton
  • Maximum Inclination: 41°
Weight: 13.7 ton

Max Speed: 54 km/h
Stock

  • Engine Power: 354 hp @ 1650 rpm
  • Power-to-Weight Ratio: 25.84 hp/ton
  • Maximum Inclination: 40°

Upgraded

  • Engine Power: 400 hp @ 1650 rpm
  • Power-to-Weight Ratio: 29.20 hp/ton
  • Maximum Inclination: 41°

Modules and improvements

Tier Mobility Protection Firepower
I Tracks Parts Horizontal drive, BR-240SP
II Suspension, Brake system FPE Adjustment of fire
III Filters Crew replenishment Elevation mechanism
IV Transmission, Engine Artillery support

Recommendations: As usual for all tanks "Fire prevention system" and "Tools" should be unlocked first. The BT-7 relies on flanking to engage enemy vehicles, so avoiding gun upgrades (right side) first and focusing on performance upgrades (left side) is a good idea. If possible the first tier IV unlock should be the "Artillery support" to increase the combat effectiveness.

History of creation and combat usage

Development

The success of the BT light tanks in Soviet service prompted additional upgrades and other developmental projects done on the design to increase its service life. The development led to the final model of the BT light tank series, the BT-7. The tank differed from the older BT-5 tank with a welded hull, redesigned hull front, and a new engine in the Model 1935 version. The Model 1937 version of the BT-7 added a redesigned turret that featured sloping armour.

The tank initially had a canted-ellipse shaped turret mounting the main gun and coaxial machine guns with the focus of allowing the tank to mount different tanks without changing the whole design, which led to the development of two main kinds of BT-7s, the normal variant with a 45 mm 20K gun for anti-armour and a artillery variant called the BT-7A which mounted a 76.2 mm KT-26 howitzer for anti-infantry. The tank was redesigned before it entered production by using the BT-5 turret instead with the main gun and coaxial machine gun still attached, though the concept of swapping to different guns was still in development for the tank. A radio was also installed on the turret as well. The tank had a three-man crew, the commander/gunner and loader in the turret, and the driver in the front. Production started in 1935, but was redesigned in 1937 with a new conical turret that allowed more ammunition to be stored and a machine gun on the rear of the turret. The BT-7 mod. 1937 also had improvements on the drive wheels, gearbox, and tracks by 1938. The BT-7 went on to be produced from 1935 to 1940 for a total unit production of between 2,700 to 5,300 tanks.

Combat usage

The BT-7 served alongside its older counterpart BT-5 tanks. The BT light tanks were meant to be a cavalry tank, and at the time of their introduction they were considered some of the finest tanks against other countries' tanks. They had great mobility of all available tanks, and its 45 mm gun could perform very well in combat. The only drawbacks of the design was its light armour and its gasoline engine, which caused the design to be rather flammable to improvised incendiary weapons. The BT-7's most notable combat service came against the Japanese at Khalkhin Gol. The tactics of Soviet Marshal Georgi Zhukov and the performance of his BT-5 and BT-7 tanks led to a decisive victory. It was during this battle that the BT tanks tendency to catch fire was found, but its performance was positive against the inferior Japanese armoured forces.

The BT-7 next combat use was during the opening stages of Operation Barbarossa when Nazi Germany invades the Soviet Union. The superior German tanks Panzer III and Panzer IV were able to easily take out these lightly armoured tanks. Reports note that about 2,000 BT-7 tanks were lost in the first 12 months alone against the German forces, with hundreds broken down from low maintenance and were abandoned. Despite their inferiority, the Soviets continued to produce and field them among armour and mechanized units to boost their operational capacity, though most were kept away from the front lines due to their inadequacy. The BT-7 would finally see its service again in Soviet invasion of Japanese-controlled Manchuria. The Soviets fielded the BT-7 and other tanks in its inventory against the inferior Japanese forces in Manchuria, where it proved very effective against the more lightly armoured Japanese tanks employed. The BT series were all retired after the end of World War II due to their obsolete design as a inter-war period tank design.

Legacy

Perhaps the most important impact the BT light tanks series was that it kick-started the development of the T-34 medium tank, which would go on as the most produced tank of World War II. A new design team was formed in 1937 at the KhPZ factory, where they built prototypes utilizing the more armour and a heavier gun onto the design, which was called the A-32 and was approved for production as the T-34 tank. The BT tanks also serve as the basis of support vehicles such as the BT-7A artillery tan, BT-7TU command tank, OP-7 flamethrower tank, and even the TT-BT-7 remote-controlled tank. An attempt in 1940 also had the BT-7 up-armoured with hinged homogeneous armour, which added five tons to the design weight. These vehicles are not known to have seen service in combat units.

Screenshots and fan art

Skins and camouflages for the BT-7 from live.warthunder

Additional information (links)

References


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ussr_bt_7_1937.png

Icon-country-sov.png BT-7
Nation USSR
Type Light tank
Rank 1
Battle Rating
1.3
1.3
1.3

   Metric✓       Imperial   

   Metric       Imperial✓   

Characteristics
Weight
13,700 kg
30,203 lb
Number of Crew 3
Hull armour thickness
20/15/13/10 mm
0.79/0.59/0.51/0.39 inches
Statistics
Engine power (stock)
620 hp
354 hp
354 hp
Engine power (upgraded)
763 hp
400 hp
400 hp
HP/ton ratio (stock)
45.25
45.98
25.84
26.25
25.84
26.25
HP/ton ratio (Upgraded)
55.69
56.59
29.20
29.66
29.20
29.66
Max speed
60 km/h
37 mph
54 km/h
33 mph
54 km/h
33 mph
Main Weapon
1 x 45 mm 20-K Cannon
Ammo stowage 188 rounds
Vertical guidance -6°/25°
Secondary Weapon
1 x 7.62 mm DT Machine gun
Ammo stowage 1,890 rounds
Mount Coaxial
Economy
Required RP 2,900 RP
Vehicle cost 700 SL
Crew training cost 200 SL
Max repair cost*
70 SL
110 SL
120 SL
Free repair time (Stock)
14m
28m
28m
Free repair time (Upgraded)
4m
9m
9m
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