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In 1939, in response to the poor cross-country performance of the T-26 light tank and BT-2, BT-5, and BT-7 fast tanks, design work began on the T-50 light tank. The resulting design had significantly thicker armor than the T-26 and BT series, with a tracked speed almost equal to that of the BT series.

The T-50 was a modern tank design, featuring sloped, welded armor, torsion bar suspension, and a powerful diesel engine. Due to the outbreak of the war, however, only 69 T-50's were made between April 1941 and January 1942. By then, the T-60 light tank had already entered mass production. Further, T-34's were much more capable at providing infantry support, and Lend-Lease Valentine and Light Tank, M3 proved more capable as reconnaissance tanks.

The T-50 only saw limited combat, in Leningrad and in Finland.

Technical Details

Crew 4
Physical Characteristics
Weight 13.7 t
Length 5.18 m
Width 2.48 m
Height 2.16 m
Armour (range) 12-37 mm
Speed (max) 60 km/h
Primary weapon 45 mm Tank Gun Model 1932/38 (1)
Secondary weapon 7.62 mm DT (1)

Further Reading


  1. BEAN, Tim & FOWLER, Will. Russian Tanks of World War II : Stalin's Armoured Might. Surrey : Amber Books Ltd, 2002. 176 p. ISBN: 0-7110-2898-2.