Komsomolets artillery tractor was designed in 1936 following the chassis of T-38 amphibious tank, and 7,780 pieces were built until 1941. There were two variants of Komsomolets: one for towing pieces of artillery and one for carrying ammunition and materials. In the front part of the vehicle was located the armored cabin of crew, accommodating the driver and the assistant, the later operating a 7.62mm DT machine-gun. The engine was located behind the cabin, also protected by armor, and on top of it there was the space either for gunners or for ammunition. On top, a metallic frame allowed the mounting of a tarpaulin. Thickness of armor varried from 7 to 10 mm. Komsomolets artillery tractor was employed in the Finnish campaign (December 1939 – March 1940) and it was revealed that its armor was not thick enough to offer protection from infantry weapons, therefor armor was consolidated after the end of campaign. After the opening of operation Barbarossa on 22 June 1941, Komsomolets was used for towing artillery pieces, but also as light tank, in infantry support role.
Romanian Army captured during the campaigns of 1941-1942 several dozens of Komsomolets artillery tractors. Like most of the captured vehicles, their engine was stripped before their abandonment. Captured tractors were carried in Romania, where solutions to their restoration have been searched. Since the engine of Komsomolets was build under Ford license, spare parts could be furnished by Fabrica de autocamioane Ford-Romana (Romanian-Ford Trucks Factory) of Bucharest, and 34 tractors were refurbished from spring to autumn of 1943. Repairings took place at Rogifer Factory in Bucharest, followed by the mounting of hooks for towing the German 50mm PaK 38 antitank guns, at Parvan Marian Works. In the service of Romanian Army, Komsomolets artillery tractor received the designation: Ford rusesc de captura (Russian Ford of capture).
By decision of Motomechanized Troops Headquarters, in the summer of 1944, the following regiments received six tractors each: 7th, 24th, 28th and 29th Artillery and 2nd Tank. Four tractors were reserved for 5th Motorized Cavalry Division, in course of reorganization. All Ford rusesc de captura tractors have been lost on Moldavian front during 19-23 August 1944 and beyond, when the Soviets “recovered” their equipment lost to Romanian Army in the previous years.
|Max road speed
|1 x 7.62mm DT mg