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modified: Nov 10, 2012

The T-60 was a Soviet scount tank produced from 1941 to 1942. It was intended to replace the T-38. It was designed at Moscow Factory No. 37 by N.A. Astrov's team. His team was assigned the task of designing both amphibious and non-amphibious tanks in 1938. The prototypes T-30A and T-30B were produced.

A non-amphibious version called T-40S (sukhoputniy: land version) was developed as an alternative to the T-30B. It had thicker armor and Taubin's 20mm ShVAK machine gun. However, the prototype was bulkier and complicated and it was dropped.

Attention reverted back to the original T-30B design which was cheaper than the T-40. It also had a smaller superstructure since it did not have to create buoyancy. Production began at Zavod Nr. 37 as the T-60 scout tank. The first batch were completed in July 1941. At first, the T-60 was intended to mount a 12.7mm machine gun. However, under the suggestion of V.A. Malyshev, Chairman of the Council of Ministers, it was upgraded to the 20mm TNSh cannon. After Zavod Nr. 37 was moved to the Urals, production of the T-60 was assigned to GAZ in Gorki and Zavod Nr. 38 in Kirov. Hulls for the T-60 were built at the Podolskiy Machine Factory (S. Ordzhonikidze).

Improvements were made in late 1942 resulting the T-60 Model 1942 (T-60A). The new version had solid disc wheels instead of spoked road wheels, and a more powerful GAZ-203 engine. The hulls and turrets of the last batches were also up-armored. Hull armor was increased to 35mm on the font and 25mm on the sides. The frontal turret armor was increased to 35mm. A total of 6,022 T-60s were built. Production stopped in September 1942 in favor of the T-70.

In 1942, there were efforts to arm the T-60 with the 37mm ZIS-19 cannon but the plan was cancelled due to the shortage of 37mm ammunition. The T-60 was used in designing the experimental T-90 anti-aircraft tank.

The chassis of the T-60 was used to mount Katyusha rocket launchers and as an artillery tractor to tow 57mm anti-tank guns.

References: OW, STCV, WP, WW2T