In the thirties, Soviet engineers worked through the direction of the chemical tanks. In the framework of an extensive program was developed several variants of this technique on the basis of the BT series tanks. The earliest examples of this kind carried smoke equipment or flamethrowers that allow them to solve different problems. Then set up the tank KHBT-7, and is capable of performing gametangia, and smoke.
On a common platform
BT series tanks were the basis for the chemical machinery in the mid-thirties. The first such projects involved the installation of a flamethrower or a tank with a smoke equipment. So, light chemical tanks KHBT-2 and KHBT-5 could hit targets with a jet of a burning liquid or machine-gun fire. At the same time was created another tank called KHBT-5 on a similar basis. Using the standard device of TDP-3, he could put smoke screens, and for self-defense used a machine gun.
Processing of BT tanks in chemical machinery provided for the removal of the aggregates, the main armament and ammunition with the subsequent installation of new devices. The resulting machine can retain the resemblance with the base model had similar performance characteristics. Remained a certain amount to upgrade.
A logical continuation of the already implemented ideas was the unification of the smoke and flame-throwing equipment on a single chassis. This pattern was developed in 1936 in the SKB factory “Compressor”, has had great experience in the development of armored vehicles and chemical systems for it. The new tank was based on the design of the BT-7, whereby the received index KHBT-7. It is also known the designation of KHBT-III indicating the ordinal number such developments.
In the course of developing a new project base BT-7 retained the building, tower, power plant and suspension. In this case I had to remove the 45-mm gun and its ammunition, as well as radio. The project involved the use of the fenders for installation of new units. For this reason, the photographed caterpillar was proposed to carry on the shelves, and under them.
Inside and outside of the hull and turret are mounted the various instruments and devices of chemical systems CS-40 development of SKB “Compressor”.
In the tower are preserved a regular 7.62-mm machine gun DT. Gun mount used for mounting a flame thrower. The hose of the flamethrower equipped with a shutter casing-mask. He was fitted with a cut-off valve type “Pitot” with pneumatic actuator. Ignition was performed by two candles with a battery-powered tank.
On the roof of the engine compartment was placed a couple of nozzles for spraying a chemical agent, decontamination or smoke mixture. Piping to nozzles located near the exhaust manifolds, which provides heating of chemicals and allow for their effective sputtering at any temperature of atmospheric air.
Liquid payload is carried in two tanks with a capacity of 300 l. They are placed on shelves within only covers from the 10-mm armor and was connected into the overall system through pipelines. The flow of liquids to the nozzle or nozzles is carried out by means of a pump and other devices. KHBT-7 could take on Board only one type of liquid chemicals to solve a particular problem. The tank could either attack the enemy agneses, or treating the area with chemicals.
Flamethrower KS-40 was provided by the ejection of burning mixture at a distance of 70 m. the stock of liquid is enough for a few dozen shots. 600 l of a smoke mixture was allowed to put the veil over 40 min. For contamination or degassing area was used forage sprayers. When the optimum speed at the level of 12-15 km/h tank could handle BOV strip width up to 25 m. the Degassing was carried out in a strip 8 m.
Removal of the factory equipment to facilitate the basic chassis, but the new hardware fully utilized this reserve capacity and even went beyond it. The original BT-7 weighed 13.7 tons, while the chemical version – 15 T. the increasing mass of the struck mobility. The average speed on the tracks was reduced to 16.5 km/h on wheels – up to 21 km/h.
In 1396 a “Compressor” has prepared a prototype of KHBT-7 and brought it to the test. It was found that the resulting vehicle is able to solve tasks, but its performance is far from ideal. There were a lot of problems of different kinds, which hinders the operation of or impair the overall potential.
One of the main problems of KHBT-7 was overweight. The power plant is still coping with loads, but the speed and maneuverability on the ground fell. Also increased the load on the chassis, and its maintenance and adjustment has now been hampered.
Chemical equipment, in turn, showed high performance. The flamethrower allowed you to hit targets at the required ranges, and a spray device provided effective treatment area. However, the apparent lack of integrity of pipelines that could lead to leakage of dangerous fluids that threatened the safety of the crew.
Tanks KHBT-7 at the same time can make the liquid only one type and, accordingly, the tank could solve only one combat mission. To the other was required to drain the liquid load, process tanks and fill again, which took considerable time. Thus, formally, the universal chemical tank is not distinguished by flexibility and simplicity of operation.
There are problems with weapons for self-defense. Processing of tower weapons led to the fact that the DT machine gun has lost the possibility of aimed fire.
The second prototype
The results of tests of chemical tank KHBT-7 has been criticized and has not received recommendations for adopting. At the same time, built a prototype handed over to the army for trial operation. With it, troops were to gain experience for future development, the expected production vehicles.
Already in 1937 the factory “Compressor” developed an improved version of chemical equipment called cs-50. The main feature of this project was the rejection of the pump driven by the engine, which is now used pneumatic pressurization system based on compressed gas cylinders. In addition, a small alteration has been tanks. Their total capacity increased by 50 L.
Soon there were experienced KHBT-7 with the instrument KS-50. It was built on a new chassis serial Assembly of the first prototype are not altered. Tests showed that the system CS-50 easier to operate and much more effective than the previous KS-40. For the same level of performance upgraded KHBT-7 was easier and more reliable. However, no problems have been solved with a mass of armored vehicles, and loads on the chassis.
The rejection of the project
Testing of two prototypes, KHBT-7 showed the fundamental possibility of building a chemical tank with a flamethrower and spray equipment. At the same time, they showed insufficient characteristics of the chassis BT-7. Based on the results of the project KHBT-7 / KHBT-III and other developments have yielded important insights.
The development of the project KHBT-7 decided to stop due to the impossibility of obtaining the desired results by using the available components. It was also decided to abandon the idea of universal chemical tank, carrying a flamethrower and smoke devices. As a result, KHBT-7 was the first and last Soviet sample of this kind. In addition, refused to continue work on specialized tanks with equipment smoke – these funds were supposed to be mounted on linear tanks.
Two built chemical tank based on the BT-7 with the instrument KS-40 and KS-50 was transferred into pilot operation in one part of the red Army. The development of this technology and the accumulation of the necessary experience lasted for several years. The last mention of two chemical tanks refer to the end of 1940 did experienced KHBT-7 to remain in service until the beginning of the great Patriotic war and participate in the fighting is unknown. However, limited technical and operational characteristics would not allow them to fully realize their potential.
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