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> What exactly is an LT vz 40 tank?
saudadesdefrancesinhas
Posted: September 08, 2006 12:15 pm
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I have been reading the book 'Axis Slovakia' by Mark Axworthy, and have seen references to an LT vz 40 tank in Slovak service. Is this like the 38 t, (or LT vz 38 I presume) or is it more like the original Czech version of the R1 tankette?

Were any LT vz 40s used by Romania?



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Ruy Aballe
Posted: September 08, 2006 04:45 pm
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Hello Saudadesdefrancesinhas,

I don't think the LT vz.40 was ever used by Romania. The vehicle was basically an export version of the LT vz.38, designed by CKD for Latvia. Any prospects of sale frustrated when the Soviets annexed the Baltic nation. The small production batch was taken over by the Slovak army, which used two main versions: an undergunned one, whose main turret armament was formed by a single ZB vz.37 machine-gun, and the final type, armed with a 37mm Skoda A 7 gun and a ZB vz. 37 machine-gun in the turret. Both had a hull machine-gun.
A good source on the vehicle is Vladimír Francev's article "Slovenský lehký tank vzor 40", published on issue 11/1992 of the Czech magazine HPM.
Hope this helps.
Cheers,

Ruy

This post has been edited by Ruy Aballe on September 08, 2006 07:16 pm
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miro
Posted: September 08, 2006 07:25 pm
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LT-40 was originally built as LLT for Lithuania (not Latvia). It was similar as LT-38 / PzKpfw. 38(t), but about one third smaller. It has nothing to do with R-1 tankette, which was in even lighter category. Almost same tank as LLT was built for Peru as LTP.
Only 21 LLT were built, originally with 20mm gun. When Baltic states were annexed by Soviet Union, these tanks were left in factory. Slovakia decided to buy them, but with the same 37mm gun as in LT-38. That´s why they were originally delivered only with machine gun in the turret - cannons and new turret front plates were not available immediately. LT-40´s were sent to Ukraine with Slovak forces in summer of 1941 armed still only with machine guns. After few months they were sent back home and rearmed. Only then they were officialy accepted into service - but they already fought in the war and one was even completely destroyed in town of Lipovets!
Later they served mainly for training. Some of these tanks were used in Slovak uprising against Germans in 1944.

length: 4.27 m
width: 1.98 m
height: 2.135 m
weight: 7.5 t
speed: 47 km/h
range: 200 km
armament: 1x37mm gun, 2x7.92mm MG
max. armor thickness: 25 mm
crew: 3

This post has been edited by miro on September 08, 2006 08:09 pm
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saudadesdefrancesinhas
Posted: September 09, 2006 11:30 am
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Thank you for you help.

These LT vz 40s must have been quite strange looking, if they were like a LT vz 38 but even smaller. I have read that the Germans found the crew compartment of the LT vz 38 cramped, they must never have been able to fit inside the LT vz 40.

There is a lot of detail about exactly what the Slovak LT vz 40s did in the war in Mark Axworthy's book, looks like it all comes from Slovak unit diaries it is so detailed.
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Ruy Aballe
Posted: September 09, 2006 01:54 pm
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QUOTE (miro @ September 08, 2006 07:25 pm)
LT-40 was originally built as LLT for Lithuania (not Latvia).

Hello Miro,

Are you sure that the LTL light tank was indeed intended for Lithuania? Yesterday, I quoted information from memory, but today I took the trouble of both checking the article mentioned and the tome by authors Charles Kliment and Vladimír Francev " Czechoslovak Armoured Fighting Vehicles 1918-1948" (Schiffer, Atglen, 1997 - ISBN: 0-7643-0141-1), namely its fourth chapter - "Export of Czech Armored Fighting Vehicles" (pg. 109). The authors provide a detailed account of the negotiations with the Latvian government (pages 120 - 123). Two prototypes (an LTH and an LTL) were actually sent to Latvia for testing on January, 1939, covering "(...) more than 1500 km each without any problems". The LTL prototype was accepted by the Latvian war department, due to better internal arrangement and superior mechanical features. The decision was made official on March, 1939.
After the Soviet annexation of Latvia an year later, CKD was left with the 21 completed tanks (by then, the vehicles had been given the manufacturer's designation LLT). The Swedes and the new independent Slovak state showed immediate interest and CKD took good advantage of the fact, by raising the unit price to almost the double of the original value! The Slovaks accepted, but they required the vehicles to be armed with 37mm Skoda A 7 gun, as in the LT vz.38. This upgunning surgery (the original vehiceles were designed to use a 20mm Oerlikon gun and two MGs) and the need to install adequate equipment proved to be an expensive move, both in terms of time and money. As an aside comment, a few LT vz.40 were used by the Slovak army in anti-partisan operation in Ukraine in the summer of 1942.

The LTL (LT vz.40) wasn't one third smaller than the LT vz.38, just a tad only, as the later tank was 4,60m long, 2,12m wide and 2,40m high. According to the afore-mentioned work, the LT vz.38 weight in fully loaded configuration was 9,4 tons. As in the LT vz.40, the front plates of the hull and the turret had a thickness of 25mm.

As for the LTP built for Peru (where it was known as Tanque 38/39), it was the lightest of all vehicles of the TNH family. It was designed to be used in moutain areas well up to 4500m to met the Peruvian specifications.

Cheers,

Ruy

This post has been edited by Ruy Aballe on September 11, 2006 02:17 am
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miro
Posted: September 09, 2006 04:59 pm
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Hello Ruy!

Yes, it was my mistake with the size of LT vz. 40. I wrote first part of my post from my memory, which is not so good as some years ago. :( I just wanted to emphasize, that it was smaller and I didn´t check the size of LT vz.38. I am sorry!

As for Latvia / Lithuania: I always had problems to distinguish between them, so I always check them. According to Czech books about Czechoslovak tanks, LTL / LTL-H / LLT were ordered by Lithuania (with capital Vilnius) not Latvia (with capital Riga). Maybe there is mistake somewhere, but I wrote it according to book Obrnena technika 6 by I. Pejcoch and O. Pejs.



Hello saudadesdefrancesinhas!

I need to find Mark Axworthy's book somewher for sure. It seems like very interesting reading. Aside for LT vz. 40 service in Slovak army, there are some interesting informations in Tomas Jakl´s book May 1945 in Czech Lands. At least two LT-40 were captured by Germans after Slovak uprising. They were later handed over to new Slovak collaborant Home defence and finally captured by Soviet army in 1945 near Prague. There are photos of these tanks in Tomas Jakl´s book.
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Ruy Aballe
Posted: September 09, 2006 10:49 pm
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QUOTE (miro @ September 09, 2006 04:59 pm)
According to Czech books about Czechoslovak tanks, LTL / LTL-H / LLT were ordered by Lithuania (with capital Vilnius) not Latvia (with capital Riga). Maybe there is mistake somewhere, but I wrote it according to book Obrnena technika 6 by I. Pejcoch and O. Pejs.

Hello Miro,

I see. I suppose the book you mention is the one published in Slovakia by Magnet Press. Am I right?

As for the information in my last post, I quoted two respected Czech experts on Czechoslovak armour, Vladimír Francev and Charles Kliment. They also wrote the standard monographs on the LT vz.35 and LT vz. 38 light tanks and, with Mr. M. Kopecký, an excellent work on the Jagdpanzer 38 Hetzer, all published by MBI.
Incidentally, Mr. Francev is also the author of "Exportní tančíky Praga", another MBI edition.

In the book I consulted, authors Francev and Kliment provide us with minute details on the Swiss, Swedish, Peruvian and, yes, Latvian contracts for light tanks of the TNH series. The section on the Latvian early contacts, negotiations, discussions on technical issues, tests and final commercial and bureaucratic procedings, occupies four pages and leaves no margin for doubt as to whom ordered the LTL/LLT.
Maybe Lithuania also showed some interest on the vehicle, but it was actually the Latvian government who evaluated and ordered the light tank from CKD. It must be added that many European nations were interested in Czechoslovak tanks (eg. Portugal and Spain, just to name two). But of course, this does not mean that such interests were continued into serious talks with the manufacturers. We must remind that Czechoslovakia was a big player in the lucrative field of international arms trade during the 30's, and as such their products were widely known and studied. The Baltic nations, together with Finland, were regular customers of the major Czechoslavak aircraft manufacturers like Aero and Letov.
Just my two cents.
Cheers,

Ruy
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saudadesdefrancesinhas
Posted: September 10, 2006 11:44 am
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Miro,
I would recommend Mark Axworthy's book, it is very readable and seems well researched. The only bad thing about it is that there is no bibliography or any indication of the sources used to write it at all, so it is difficult to tell for certain.

I am interested by the information that Portugal was interested in buying Czech weapons in the 1930s. Is there any more detail on that in the sources? I have been reading a very interesting book following the politics of Portuguese rearmament called 'Salazar debaixo de fogo'.

I would guess from these posts that you both speak Czech, is there a lot of good books dealing with military stuff available in Czech? If you know Czech is it possible to read Slovak also? I want to learn a Slavonic language but I can't decide between Bulgarian and Czech. Bulgarian looks easier to pick up the basics, and would be helpful with Serbo-Croat, but I wouldn't mind being able to read more about the Slovaks, and Jaroslav Hasek's book the Good Soldier Svejk either.
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Ruy Aballe
Posted: September 10, 2006 01:42 pm
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Saudadesdefrancesinhas,

This is off-topic, but having in mind that the book you mention is, I suppose, the "Debaixo de fogo! Salazar e as Forças Armadas (1935-1941)" by Telmo Faria (Ed. Cosmos/Instituto da Defesa Nacional, Lisboa, 2000), I would like to add some comments.
I do have this book, and while it provides a clear view of the sometimes difficult relationship between the Estado Novo and the military, with insights on the regime's attempts to postpone and subject the rearmament drive until the army was considered 100% reliable from a political standpoint and so on, it should have included more details on the intricate arms "sympathies" shown by different army factions and the related negotiations with manufacturers. For sheer completeness sake, the starting year should have been set at least in 1931. Such an alternative chronological setting could have facilitated the inclusion of some very important, yet frustrated plans and discussions with Belgian, French, Italian and Polish firms, at least in what concerns the military aviation field.
On the other hand, an earlier start date could have been useful also in what regards the ambitions of the Navy vs. the government stance: in 1930, the Magalhães Correia naval plan (aimed at expanding the navy to an unprecedented size) was launched. However, it soon fell short of initial expectations because of the government unwillingness to spend the huge sums needed to build, for instance, the planned cruisers. And so on. Personally, and this conclusion is drawn from my own forays into the archives, I don't think Salazar had really managed to tame his generals to the point of complete submission. Otherwise, how can we explain the completion of the ambitious - and expensive... - army procurement plan of 1941!? The huge expenditure of money in field artillery, AA artillery and machinery could have been used in a more sensible way to expand the aircraft manufacturing capability (or to buy licences or aircraft abroad), or in the navy.

It should be stressed that from 1936 onwards, the Portuguese interest in Czech weapons was of an academic sort, for it had became impossible to pursue any dealings with the Czechoslovak arms manufactures after Lisbon cut off all diplomatic and commercial relations with Prague, by playing the offended virgin after the Czechoslovak government uncovered a Portuguese covert scheme aimed at buying substantial numbers of vz.30 LMGs - officially, the weapons were due to re-equip the Portuguese army - whose real destination were the Spanish Nationalists. Nevertheless, after the German annexation of the Czech lands, the Portuguese military renovated contacts, under German patronage, with the arms manufacturers of what had became, by then, the Protectorate of Bohemia-Moravia. One weapon that attracted the attention of the Portuguese missions was the 47mm A 5 vz.36 anti-tank gun, as it could serve to counter Spanish tanks in the eventuality of an invasion.

As for your last question, the answer is yes, there is a good deal of books on military matters available in Czech. More than in Bulgarian imho. Besides, knowledge of Czech can be helpful with Polish, as Russian can be useful with Serbo-Croat (I learned Russian for several years, and this is my own personal experience but I think Bulgarian may work in a similar way towards Serbo-Croat).
Cheers,

Ruy

This post has been edited by Ruy Aballe on September 10, 2006 06:42 pm
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miro
Posted: September 10, 2006 04:56 pm
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QUOTE (Ruy Aballe @ September 09, 2006 10:49 pm)
I see. I suppose the book you mention is the one published in Slovakia by Magnet Press. Am I right?

As for the information in my last post, I quoted two respected Czech experts on Czechoslovak armour, Vladimír Francev and Charles Kliment.

Hello Ruy,

Obrnena technika (Armored vehicles) is Czech series of books published by Ares, but in Slovakia it is available mainly through the Magnet Press, so probably we are speaking about the same book.

As for Mr. Francev and Mr. Kliment: I have all the books published by MBI You have mentioned and yes, they are one of the best available. Both authors are undoubtely respected. What is really funny, is the fact, that in book Ceskoslovenska obrnena vozidla 1918-1948 (Czechoslovak armored vehicles) written also by Charles Kliment and Vladimir Francev is clearly stated, that LLT was made for Lithuania (Litva in Czech language. I am really confused. :unsure: But nevermind, anyone ordered these tanks, they all ended up in Slovakia.
(Maybe there is somewhere mistake in translation, as I already discussed with one Polish guy at another forum - there were small differencies in the same topic in two articles written by Mr. Francev - one in Polish and one in Czech language)


Hello Saudadesdefrancesinhas,

Yes, I would recommend the Czech language, as there is really a lot of things to read - several magazines and a lot of books (althought many of them have English version recently). My native language is Slovak and after small practising, I am able to read in Czech and Polish languages, too.
However, I cannot give You any hints about the Bulgarian language.

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Ruy Aballe
Posted: September 10, 2006 06:22 pm
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Hello Miro,

You are absolutely right about the book. It is indeed published by Ares.
The book "Československá obrněná vozidla 1918-1948" is in fact a latter version of the work I have, published in English language by Schiffer almost ten years ago.
The covers of the two editions:

(IMG:http://img61.imageshack.us/img61/6429/ceskoslovenskaobrnenavozidlajt2.th.jpg)

(IMG:http://img104.imageshack.us/img104/3723/cafvcoverdj8.th.jpg)

Regarding the Latvian vs. Lithuanian issue, as you, I was inclined to think that the mention about a Lithuanian order in the Czech book must have been a consequence of some sort of translation mistake, albeit a gross one... I know that Litva means Lithuania in Czech, hence LTL must stands for lehký tank litevský or something like that. So... I checked the English language title again, just to discover that someone messed the Latvian/Lithuanian identification completely:angry: (maybe the publisher!? Possibly because of a passing resemblance between Latvia and Litva...) - so, the Czech version is the one to be trusted!

I was fooled myself, and must apologize for not taking the time to check the geographical details, as I was mainly interested in the technical data. An example of what I am saying (from page 123):
"The final decision was made by the Latvian War Council on March 10. The Council surprisingly chose the LTH type, because it felt it to be too risky to order the tanks based on one prototype with a new and unproven engine. Both prototypes were also supposed to be shown in Riga (Lithuania) and Tallin (Estonia), but instead returned to Prague shortly after the German occupation".
A clear case of confused identities! Everybody knows that Riga is the capital and biggest town of Latvia, not Lithuania... Kaunas, a Lithuanian town is also re-located to Latvia (page 121):
"In November 1936 ČKD sent to Kaunas its chief tank designer, Alexander Surin, to support Mr. Sliesoraitis in dealings with the Latvian army." Kaunas is misidentified as a Latvian town in another instance in the text. Finally, there is still the monetary proof, so to say (also on page 121):
"ČKD was informed not only about its competition's proposals, but also that the Latvian army had in its 1937-1940 budget 3,520,000 Litas (...) for purchase of heavier tanks (...)." Lita is the name of the Lithuanian currency, still used today (Lat is the Latvian one).
Well, that's it Miro. It is indeed a mistake, but the other way around...
Cheers,

Ruy

This post has been edited by Ruy Aballe on September 10, 2006 09:27 pm
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miro
Posted: September 10, 2006 06:48 pm
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Thank You for clearing it. I was really confused for a while. Now I fully understand the phrase Lost in translation :)
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Ruy Aballe
Posted: September 10, 2006 07:32 pm
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Yes, very true! In this case, I think we can say "messed in translation"... :D
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saudadesdefrancesinhas
Posted: September 10, 2006 09:36 pm
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Ruy,

Thank you for your help on the Lt vz 40. I am glad you and Miro also sorted out who the tanks were originally built for.

Your comments on Portuguese rearmament and Salzar were very interesting. I have been thinking of applying to study an MA in History here in the UK, and I think I will be trying to study a Portuguese topic, either something related to the Portuguese Army in the First World War, or a little later during the Military Dictatorship and the rise of Salazar.

I only, however, have a couple of books on this subject ('Debaixo de Fogo' being one), that I bought when I was living in Portugal. Can you recommend any other titles dealing with the Portuguese Armed Forces 1910-1933? A big problem I have is that I see a title, but I have no way of telling if it is really worth buying and ordering from Portugal, because it is hard to have a look through before I buy.

Any tips about studying in Portuguese archives? I talked to some academics here a while ago who study Portuguese History (but not military themes) and they are quite vague as far as practicalities go, though eager to get you to sign up for an MA with their department.

I have just bought a book called 'Teach Yourself Czech' today, I will have a read and compare it to Bulgarian. Another really useful book I found is called 'A Guide to the Slavonic Languages' by (I think) F.A. de Bray. This guide discusses all the Slavonic languages in turn, and compares and contrasts the grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary etc. showing what each language has in common with the others and what is different. This could be useful if you were familiar with one or two Slavonic languages and wanted to learn others. It has certainly got me interested.

Miro,
If you find a copy of the Mark Axworthy book on Slovakia could you do a little review and say what you think of it as a Slovak? I have no knowledge of Slovakia to compare what is in the book with. Also are there many books about the Rapid Division and the Slovak armed forces in Slovakia?

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miro
Posted: September 12, 2006 08:09 pm
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QUOTE (saudadesdefrancesinhas @ September 10, 2006 09:36 pm)
Miro,
If you find a copy of the Mark Axworthy book on Slovakia could you do a little review and say what you think of it as a Slovak? I have no knowledge of Slovakia to compare what is in the book with. Also are there many books about the Rapid Division and the Slovak armed forces in Slovakia?

Unfortunately, there is no detailed book about Slovak armed forces in WWII. Charles Kliment wrote one book, but it was first published some 10 years ago and there are new informations now. While the book is not bad, it is also quite general with many details missing. There are only few detailed articles in military magazines dealing with some particular events or machines - but not enough right now.

However, if You are interested in Sloval Air Force in WWII, there is more than a dozen of new books. Many of them are published by HT Model in particular. I only hope, that at least one of their future releases will be devoted also to Army and AFV´s.

I was lucky to speak with three veterans from Slovak Rapid division and Security division. One of them was even a driver of Skoda LT vz. 35 tank. But their memory is failing and what is more important, for 40 years they were allowed to speak only about their service alongside Soviet Red Army (which was quite interesting, too) and they forgot a lot about service in Slovak Army.
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