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As the T-60 light tank proved too weak when faced with German tanks, an improved design was needed. Based on a lengthened T-60 chassis, with the addition of a fifth roadwheel, the T-70 was designed as a better armed, armored, and more agile tank. It had thicker armor, and replaced the 20 mm gun main gun with a 45 mm one. To improve engine power, necessitated by the almost three ton increase in weight, a complex dual-engine design was built. Each track was powered by its own engine, which proved unreliable. The engine layout was later changed to a more conventional one, with the two engines powering both tracks together.

While an improvement over the T-60 design, the T-70 was already obsolete when production started in 1942. Its 45 mm gun was too weak to penetrate the armor of newer German tanks, and it suffered from the two-man crew layout of its predecessor. Production ended the following year, as focus shifted to the more powerful T-34 medium tank. The role as an infantry support tank was taken over by the SU-76 self-propelled gun. The SU-76 used a lengthened version of the T-70 chassis, and was eventually manufactured in greater numbers than the T-70 itself. A total of 8226 were built.

An experimental anti-aircraft tank, the T-90, was designed, armed with a dual 12.7 mm DShK heavy machine gun. A prototype was build, but as the more powerful ZSU-37, based on the SU-76, was designed, the T-90 was cancelled.

Technical Details

  • Commander/gunner/loader
  • Driver
Physical Characteristics
Weight 9.2 t
Length 4.29 m
Width 2.32 m
Height 2.04 m
Armour (range) 10-45 mm
Speed (max) 45 km/h
Primary weapon 45 mm Tank Gun Model 1932/38 (1)
Secondary weapon 7.62 mm DT (1)


Drawing of a T-70.
Frontal view,

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.
  2. FOSS, Christopher F. The Encyclopedia of Tanks and Armoured Fighting Vehicles : The Comprehensive Guide to Over 900 Armoured Fighting Vehicles From 1915 to the Present Day. Staplehurst : Spellmount, 2003. 544p. ISBN: 1-86277-188-7.