|This page is about the Soviet light tank T-26. For other uses, see T-26 (Family).|
- 1 Description
- 2 General info
- 3 Armaments
- 4 Usage in battles
- 5 History
- 6 Media
- 7 See also
- 8 External links
The T-26 mod. 1939 is a reserve rank I Soviet light tank with a battle rating of 1.0 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced during the Closed Beta Test for Ground Forces before Update 1.41. It is a tiny tank with rather thin armour, but with a heavy-hitting 45 mm cannon that can devastate most enemies at its battle rating.
This is one of the Soviet starter tanks. Unlike its German counterpart, the PzKpfw II Ausf.C, it has a single-shot cannon that makes it more suitable for ranged engagements. With its poor armour, it is recommended to stay at distance from autocannons and heavy machine guns (HMGs) since they can shred the T-26 pretty easily at any angle. With light armour, average mobility, and a good gun for its rank, the T-26 is frontline support. While these qualities may not be representative of later Soviet tanks, it is a good trainer nevertheless, given that it is forgiving and harder to play than later tanks.
Survivability and armour
This is definitively the worst characteristic of this vehicle; armour is flat and thin on all sides. Do not expose yourself to enemy fire. Crew placement is not lined up from the front, meaning up to 3 shots of shells without HE filler can be taken before being destroyed. Beware of HMGs and autocannons, since they will be able to penetrate your armour.
- Rolled homogeneous armour
|Hull|| 15 mm (22°) Front plate
7 mm (64-80°) Front glacis
15 mm (6-52°) Lower glacis
| 15 mm (21-23°) Top
15 mm (0°) Bottom
| 15 mm (0°) Top
15 mm (12°) Bottom
| 10 mm Hull |
6 mm Rear
|Turret|| 15 mm (13-15°) Turret front
15 mm (5-44°) Gun mantlet
|15 mm (17-19°)||15 mm (17°)||10 mm|
- Suspension wheel is 10 mm thick while tracks are 15 mm thick.
- Belly armour is 6 mm thick.
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
While being a light tank, its mobility is one of a medium/heavy tank. The top speed is very, very low for a light tank, combined with the low power to weight ratio given by its weak engine, the T-26 has poor acceleration and speed on most surfaces. It can reach around 30 km/h only on hard, flat surface, after a long, uninterrupted acceleration period. With even a small turn the speed will drop significantly. The narrow tracks significantly reduce its off-road mobility in muddy, sandy or snowy maps. Despite the tracks being short and far apart, the T-26 still has slow hull traverse and often needs a forward/backward jerk to start turning properly. Reverse speed is also very poor (-4 km/h), which cannot save you from most bad situations.
It will eventually take you where you want to be, provided that you are a very patient player, choose your route well and avoid too many tricky turns. For new tankers, it is advised to choose between the T-26 and BT-5 wisely, to try out two different playing styles (slow, patient hunting, and fast flanking).
Modifications and economy
The 20-K is the typical Soviet rank I gun. Players should get used to it since it will be your main armament up until rank II. The APHEBC round has a good amount of HE filler, meaning penetrating shells will do good damage, sometimes even one-shotting enemies. In longer ranges, shells begin to lose penetration and accuracy; it is not made for sniping. Try to bring ~10-15 BR-240SP (pure AP shells) for heavier targets. This gun is very forgiving to beginners, with its very fast reload speed and turret traverse.
|45 mm 20-K||Turret rotation speed (°/s)||Reloading rate (seconds)|
|Ammunition|| Type of
|Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)|
|10 m||100 m||500 m||1,000 m||1,500 m||2,000 m|
|Ammunition|| Type of
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive Mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
|205||202 (+3)||197 (+8)||187 (+18)||177 (+28)||167 (+38)||157 (+48)||139 (+66)||121 (+84)||103 (+102)||79 (+126)||61 (+144)||29 (+176)||1 (+204)||No|
Turret empty: 157 (+48)
|7.62 mm DT|
|Mount||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal|
Usage in battles
The T-26 is definitely best suited to a more support role, flanking the battlefield and finding a good position to support your teammates from, the 45 mm cannon has very good characteristics with its rounds (APHEBC, AP) being able to deal fair damage to enemy vehicles from short and long-range and the fast reload allowing for quick adjustment of aim between shots, this allows the T-26 to be a highly effective flanking vehicle if a good camping spot is found, however, the limited gun depression (-6°) will affect which positions are usable, keeping long-range is certainly an effective way to avoid taking damage. The T-26 is also usable at closer ranges for brawling with enemy vehicles, but it should be kept in mind that the thin armour on the T-26 (≤15 mm) will leave the vital modules of your vehicle such as your crew, gun & powerplant (engine & transmission) at risk of taking damage, the mobility of the T-26 is also lesser than many of its counterparts which could potentially put it at risk in a brawling scenario, on the other hand, the T-26's good reload (3.77 - 2.9s) will usually give it an upper hand if you can survive the first shots against an enemy vehicle.
Due to the top speed of the T-26 being less than many other vehicles at its BR (30 km/h), it will usually arrive at the battlefield after the fighting has already begun, this has the advantage of arriving after your team has already identified many targets, and also meaning that you will not be in the front line of attack, this will usually allow for you to last a bit longer than players who rushed the centre of the battlefield, alternatively, it is also less likely that you will reach capture points before they are capped by your faster teammates although there are cases where you can help capture a contested point.
The lack of armour is really something to be kept in mind, even some machine guns (8 mm, 12.7 mm) will be able to go through you thickest pieces of armour (15 mm), due to this you want to be trying your best to avoid enemy vehicles getting the first shot, driving undercover is advisable to avoid being spotted and if you spot an enemy vehicle it would be best to engage and destroy them as soon as possible to avoid them becoming a threat, due to the lack of effective armour, aircraft can also be a risk, again, staying in cover will make it more difficult for enemy vehicles to spot and engage your T-26.
In terms of the T-26's gun, there are 2 round options, the APHEBC round has 70 mm best effective penetration as well as 29.26 g of TNT equivalent explosive, this will allow for this round to penetrate most armour at this BR and also have good post pen damage if the fuse is set off. Second round type is an AP round, this has 73mm best effective penetration but lacks any explosive filler, this makes its post pen damage less effective than the APHEBC round. More info on both these rounds can be found in the "ammunition" section above.
It is also worth keeping in mind that the reverse speed is only 3 km/h, so you will have to be careful when driving out into the potential enemy fire.
Pros and cons
- Great firepower; the stock shell has 69 mm maximum penetration and 32 g TNT which can frontally penetrate many tanks
- Even in an up-tier situation it can still effectively penetrate tanks like the B1
- Massive ammo capacity and fast reload time is good for new players who are learning to aim
- Premium bonuses thanks to its premium status
- Very low survivability; the armour is thin, not angled and is only 15 mm max. Can get frontally penetrated by anything like the Pz.II, Pz.III and even heavy MG.
- The three crew members are packed tightly together significantly reduces survivability
- Poor mobility overall; has low top speed limited manoeuvrability around the battlefield, the weak engine doesn't allow it to climb hills
- The narrow tracks slow it in desert maps like Sinai or snowy maps like Frozen Pass
- The slow reverse speed of only -3 km/h is very fatal as it cannot back away from danger in time
- Average turret rotation combined with the sluggish hull traverse prevents it from responding to flanks quickly
- Average -5° gun depression limits its potential in hilly terrains
- Some ammo is stored inside turret which tends to explode when hit
The T-26 light tank design is derived from the British Vickers 6-ton tank. In early 1930s, a Soviet buying committee traveled to Britain and purchased tanks, tractors, and cars for use in the Soviet Union, of which the Vickers tank was chosen. Fifteen Twin-turreted Vickers tank arrived into the Soviet Union in May 1930, equipped with only machine guns. Four more Vickers were delivered at the end of 1930, these being the single-turret variants with a 47 mm gun, and the deliveries were finished by 1932. The Vickers-produced tanks were designated as the V-26.
The Vickers 6-ton tank competed with several Soviet designs for the "most suitable" tank design for Soviet use. One such competitor was the Soviet T-19 light tank, which had advantages over the Vickers design, but also disadvantages. The T-19 designer, S. Ginzburg, suggested for a "hybrid" tank to be built off the features of the T-19 and the Vickers tank. But in January 1931, intelligence picked up that Poland bought up many foreign tanks from Britain and France with license to mass-produce them. This information pressured the Soviet military council to adopt the foreign tanks into Soviet usage, thus the Vickers 6-ton tank, under the designation as the T-26, was accepted into service in February 13, 1931 as the main-stay of the Red Army's armoured forces.
Although outclassed later in the war, it was considered one of the more successful and widely produced tank model in the 1930s. It, along with the BT light tanks, composed of the majority of Russia's armoured forces in late 1930s. It weighed just a little under 10 tons, had 15 mm thick armour in front, with a 45 mm 20K gun, and had a crew of three people. The Bolshevik Factory in Leningrad was the first factory to start producing the T-26 from June 1931, and production of the tank lasted from then until 1941.
During its production life, many variants of it was made for different purposes, up to 53 different ones to fit different roles, though only 23 would see service in production. Such designs included changes like a twin-turreted version (some with only machine guns and some with cannons), command tanks, added armour, artillery tanks (such as the T-26-4), flamethrower tanks, remote-controlled tanks, or just armoured carriers to tow artillery and such. Others were simply modified variants of the normal variants such as the T-26E, which was the base single-turreted T-26 design with 30-40 mm applique armour made during the Winter War, which made them more resilient to the Finnish anti-tank weapons.
All these tanks produced in the span of 1931 to 1941 made up a total 10,300 tanks, and 1,701 other variants of it, for a total of 12,001 units produced.
The T-26 first saw combat in the Spanish Civil War, where it showed its superiority over the current tanks of the period fielded by Italy and Germany. Then it saw combat against the Japanese in the Soviet-Japanese border conflicts at Lake Khasan and Khalkhin Gol, which exposed some of the design defects such as poor armour welding and the disadvantages of riveted constructions (the rivet would break off and could harm the crew inside). After that, the T-26 saw service in the Invasion of Poland and the Winter War against Finland. The Winter War effectively showed the Soviets that the T-26 was obsolete, as the 37 mm guns and anti-tank rifles and Finnish have could penetrate the light armour of the T-26. When World War II for Russia finally broke out in Operation Barbarossa, the T-26 proved inferior to the German's Panzer IIIs and Panzer IVs, plus the air supremacy of the Luftwaffe ensured many tanks were lost in the opening stages of Barbarossa.
The T-26 at this point also were breaking down and the lack of spare parts made repairs hard, resulting in multiple T-26 units also being knocked out for being irrecoverable. The T-26 was gradually phased from service by the new, venerable T-34 medium tanks, which gave Germany a run for their money. The T-26 still saw service in the war as a second-line unit, as it was still fighting in the Battle of Moscow of 1941, Stalingrad of 1942, and in Manchuria in 1945.
A number of survivors exist today in different museums, about 45 of them are still intact. A majority of them are in Russia, Spain, and Finland, where they saw most of their services.
In 1940, the T-26 light tank was modernised for the last time. The vehicle's underturret box was equipped with homogenous armour with sloping plates and its thickness was increased to 15 mm. The frontal section of the turret was welded. A distinctive feature of the tank was the special defensive cover over its radiator grille. An extra DT machine gun was mounted on the turret's roof and was used as an anti-aircraft gun.
All these changes led to the T-26's mass exceeding 10 tonnes. In spite of its strengthened construction, its undercarriage was pushed to the limit. Often, particularly when turning, the tank started losing its tracks. Test results showed that the tank's armour did not meet modern requirements, and there was no weight allowance for increasing its armament. Other flaws in the tank's design included its low speed, poor weight distribution and low reliability.
However, the tank was easy to control, simple to service and did not require much effort in the field. Although the tank had an engine with horizontally placed cylinders, the tank's profile remained low, which made it harder to hit. Many technical solutions applied to the T-26 were used later on other tanks. When used correctly and in the hands of an experienced crew, the light tank could cause serious damage to the enemy forces. The T-26 made a significant contribution to routing the enemy at Moscow, and took part in practically all combat operations right up to 1944.
A significant number of these tanks, after being captured and modified in various ways, served in the German and Finnish armies. Some of them were used by Finland until the beginning of the 50s.
- Vehicles equipped with the same chassis
- Vehicles equipped with the same gun
|USSR light tanks|
|T-26||T-26 · T-26 (1st Gv.T.Br.) · T-26E · T-26-4|
|BT||BT-5 · RBT-5 · BT-7 · BT-7 TD · BT-7 (F-32) · BT-7M|
|BMP||BMP-1 · BMP-2 · BMP-2M · BMP-3|
|Other||T-50 · T-60 · T-70 · T-80 · T-126|
|BA-11 · PT-76B · Object 685 · Object 906|