Monday 7 November 2016

Swamp Tracks

Aside from endless fascines, Soviet tank designers tried more conventional ways to improve the ground pressure of their tanks.

Photo #1: T-26 additional track (from the top).
Photo #2: T-26 additional track (from the bottom).
Photo #3: The additional track carrier burst during trials.

Photo #4: T-26 additional track from the bottom.
Photo #5: T-26 additional track from the top.
Photo #6: T-26 additional track from the side.

102 additional track links were installed. The installation took 2.5 hours.

Swamp tracks for the T-26


Based on conducted trials, the following conclusions can be made.

Additional track links for the T-26 significantly increase the performance of the T-26 in swamps, especially on mossy terrain. The design of the additional track links is simple and can be built in any battalion workshop. Additional track links can be carried on the front armour, which requires special clips. In addition to their advantages, the swamp tracks have the following drawbacks:
  1. Installation takes a long time (2.5 hours for a crew of 3).
  2. Movement of the tank with additional track links is only possible on soft terrain.
  3. It is necessary to increase the robustness of the material of the tracks in order to prevent the possibility of cracks when hitting hard terrain.
Description of the "B-T" additional tracks

The additional track consists of a metal plate, 20 by 24 cm, and 3 mm thick. The plate is riveted with three rivets to a carrier. The thickness of the carrier is 10 mm. The end of the carrier has a hook to attack to a track link. The attachment of a track link is done in the following way: the hook end is inserted in the existing opening of the track link from the top. A 17 mm bolt is inserted into the opening from the other end. 

Ground pressure decreases to 0.27 kg/cm² from 0.5-0.6 kg/cm² (stock T-26). Installation of track links does not require separate instruments and takes 2.5 hours (3-5 minutes per track link). Removal is faster, and can be completed by the crew in 45-50 minutes.

Process of trials

The trials were performed on swamps #1 and #2

Swamp #1 was traversed without additional track links. Swamp #2 was traversed without additional track links, but only through mossy areas, and in a slow gear. Areas covered in reeds and thick sedge were not traversed. After additional track links were added, the tank easily traversed all parts of swamp #2 in 1st gear and could make turns 10-15 meters in radius.
Trials were performed in the following way:
  1. Tanks drove to their destination without additional track links.
  2. Trial areas were chosen inside the swamp, and the direction of movement was marked with posts.
  3. A tractor with a winch was used to evacuate stuck tanks.
  4. The tank without additional track links was hooked up to the winch (the cable was extended) in the chosen direction until the tracks started slipping and the tank became bogged down. The tank was dragged out of the swamp by the winch.
  5. Additional tracks were installed, and the tank moved out along the old trail (without the winch).
Description of the swampy terrain

Trials were performed in a wet peat bog near Paletskiy lake (eastern part). The characteristics of the terrain were as follows:
  • Swamp #1: peat bog, covered in moss and rare sedge. During movement, the upper layer sends waves 1.5-2 meters in diameter. A metal rod 24 mm in diameter and 2.2 meters in length that falls freely from a height of 0.5 meters descends to a depth of 30-40 cm. With effort from one hand, the rod descends to a depth of 0.8-1.0 meters. The swamp has "windows" of water. For a human, the swamp is passable in all directions, with sinking to a depth of 0.3 to 0.4 meters.
  • Swamp #2: covered in thick reeds and sedge. A human sinks to a depth of 0.4-0.5 meters. The surface has a 400-500 mm layer of water. There are no mounds or trees. 60-70 meters from the shore, the reeds vanish, and the upper layer becomes green moss with cranberries. There is no water on the surface. A human does not sink, but his movement creates a wave 2-2.5 meters in diameter. A metallic rod falling freely from a height of 0.5 meters descends to 60-80 cm and sinks completely (2.2 meters) from the effort of one hand."
Provided by Aleksei Yegorov (

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