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modified: Nov 10, 2012

A-20 was a Soviet medium cruiser tank prototype. It was developed at KhPZ to replace the BT fast tanks. The program was designated Izdeliye 135.

In early 1937, A. Firsov, the head of the BT design team, and many of his colleagues were arrested as a result of the purges. Mikhail Koshkin was transferred to KhPZ in 1937 to lead a new design team. The team included A. Morozov (power-train) who was connected to the V-2 diesel engine. N. Kucherenko and P. Vasiliev (suspension) had worked on the T-29-4 examining the application of the Christie suspension on medium tanks. M. Tarshinov (armor layout) has worked with the BT-IS and BT-SV/2 test tanks which were completed in 1937. The BT-SV/2 had 25mm armor and used heavily sloped side and turret armor.

The specifications called for 20mm armor, a 45mm gun and a wheel-and-track suspension that allowed the tank crew to remove the track and operate the tank on wheels during long transits along roads. The A-20 stowed 152 rounds of 45mm ammunition.

The A-20 featured the development of a diesel engine with sufficient power. A militarized version of the BD engine was completed by I. Trashutin's team in 1937 under the designation V-2. However, the leadership of the design team was arrested later in 1937, delaying final work on the powerplant. Therefore, mass production of the engine did not begin until the end of 1938.

A wooden prototype of the A-20 was completed by May 1938. Stalin gave permission for the A-20 prototype to be built, as well as a heavier version suggested by Koshkin, the T-32.

Both prototypes were completed in July 1939. The prototypes were sent to NIIBT for trials. Both prototypes showed similar automotive performance but the T-32 had thicker armor and superior firepower. There was no agreement about which prototype to produce. Therefore, a meeting of the Defense Committee of the SNK was held on December 19, 1939 to reach a consensus. Koshkin persuaded the committee members to select the T-32. As a result, the A-20 was abandoned.

References: STCV, T34MT
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