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The T-26 mod. 1939 is a Soviet reserve light tank with a battle rating of 1.0. It was introduced in 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 the Soviet starter tank, 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 autocanons and 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 a frontline support. This is definitively not representative of later Soviet tanks but is a good trainer since it is forgiving and harder to play than later tanks.
While being a light tank, its mobility is one of a medium. It will carry you where you want to be, provided you choose your route well and avoid tricky manoeuvres. Reverse speed, while not great (-6 km/h), can save you from some bad situations, provided cover is not too far behind.
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 shells without HE filler can take up to 3 shots before being destroyed. Beware HMG and autocannons.
The 20-K is the typical Soviet rank 1 gun, players should get used to it since it will be your main armament up until rank 2. This gun has a good amount of HE filler, meaning penetrating shells will do good damage, sometimes even one-shot 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 since it has very fast reload speed and turret traverse.
Survivability and 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 are 10 mm thick while tracks are 15 mm thick.
- Belly armour is 6 mm thick
|Weight (tons)|| Add-on Armor
|Max speed (km/h)|
|Engine power (horsepower)|
|Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
|45 mm 20-K|
|Turret rotation speed (°/s)|
|Mode||Stock||Upgraded||Prior + Full crew||Prior + Expert qualif.||Prior + Ace qualif.|
|Reloading rate (seconds)|
|Stock||Prior + Full crew||Prior + Expert qualif.||Prior + Ace qualif.|
|Ammunition|| Type of
|Penetration in mm @ 90°|
|Ammunition|| Type of
Mass in kg
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive Mass in g
| Normalization At 30°
|205||165 (+40)||124 (+81)||83 (+122)||42 (+163)||1 (+204)||Yes|
Turret empty: 124 (+81)
|7.62 mm DT|
|Capacity (Belt capacity)|| Fire rate
| Horizontal |
Usage in the battles
Pros and cons
- Good penetration even at distance.
- Post penetration damage is excellent.
- Decent reload time.
- Fast turret rotation speed.
- Good gun depression.
- The ammo rack is difficult to destroy.
- Can carry huge amount of ammo.
- Free repairs and main ammo, allows for mistakes
- Awful maneuverability.
- Sometimes the gun is inaccurate.
- Exposed driver, prone to be injured.
- Thin armour compared to the PzKpfw II Ausf.C.
- Tall profile compared to the PzKpfw II Ausf.C.
- Very weak roof armour, vulnerable to machine gun fire from airplanes.
- Poor top speed, woeful reverse.
- .50 cal is enough to kill this vehicle.
- Very slow at scaling hills due to weak engine power.
- Only 3 crew members.
- One shot from the front or side will kill all the crew.
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.
An excellent addition to the article will be video guides, as well as screenshots from the game and photos.
Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example,
- reference to the series of the vehicles;
- links to approximate analogues of other nations and research trees.
Paste links to sources and external resources, such as:
- topic on the official game forum;
- other literature.
|USSR light tanks|
|T-60 · T-70 · T-80 · T-50 · T-126(SP)|
|T-26||T-26 mod. 1939 · T-26 (1st Gv.T.Br.) · T-26E · T-26-4|
|BT||BT-5 mod. 1933 · RBT-5 · BT-7 mod. 1937|
|Floating||PT-76B · Object 906 · BMP-1 · BMP-2|