Historical Accuracy: T-50 and Soviet Lights

The Soviet light tanks are being reshuffled from patch 8.6 to patch 8.7, as many of you already know. The ahistoric T-50-2 is going away, being replaced by the long-awaited MT-25. The T-50 is also being nerfed. Let’s look at how all of these adjustments fit into the pages of history.

The T-50 was meant to replace the T-26 as the RKKA’s infantry support tank. The task of designing it and building two prototypes was given to two factories: factory #174 and the Kirov factory. The results were somewhat different. Let’s look at what the two factories ended up producing.

Factory #174 followed the order more closely than its competitor. Its design was 13.5 tons in mass, was fitted with either a 300 hp or 250 hp engine (later upgraded to 350 hp), and had a maximum theoretical speed of 50 kph (trials showed a maximum speed of 52 kph). Two prototypes were built to these specifications, indexed T-50-1 and T-50-2. Later, the requirements for the tank were increased. The mass went up to 14.5 tons, and front armour was increased to 50 mm, both on the hull and turret. A subsequent order increased that requirement to 55 mm all around.

Riding on the success of the KV series, Kirov factory’s project bureau was a bit of a prima donna. Its design deviated from the project specification, which #174′s engineers took issue with. The result was a tank that weighed 13.8 tons, and was capable of reaching 65 kph on the same 300 hp engine as the #174 prototype. Kirov’s prototypes were not accepted into service, but fought to defend the factory during the Siege of Leningrad.

Kotin did not give up on his design, and proposed a new one: a 25.5 ton tank equipped with 60 mm of sloped armour, a 76 mm gun, with a maximum speed of 40 kph. Since this was basically a T-34 on torsion bars (and factory #183 could make a better T-34 on torsion bars), the project was rejected.

The MT-25 has nothing to do with any of these projects (as is correctly indicated by its research path). The tank was intended to take advantage of breaches in the enemy’s defense. Like the T-34, it was meant to tear through, and cause as much chaos in the rear as possible. In order to achieve this, it was planned with very high speed, maneuverability, and resilience (damage to half of the road wheels did not immobilize the vehicle). The maximum speed of this tank was 100 kph. The tank’s armament was a “47 mm gun and 3 machine guns”. It is unclear what 47 mm gun the designers had in mind. The schematics show a cannon highly reminiscent of the L-11 gun, the same as was mounted on early T-34s.

Now, let’s see where the in-game vehicles fit in. Let’s start with the obvious one, the MT-25. Its speed is drastically reduced from historical. I don’t have data on its armour layout, but the armament seems feasible. Anything carrying an L-11 could carry an F-34 or ZiS-4.

The T-50s become a bit more problematic. There are several historical designs, and several in-game ones. Let’s mix and match.

The pre-patch T-50 has a maximum speed of 60 kph, with engines ranging from 300-550 hp. The tank weighs 13 tons. The armour of the tank maxes out at 37 mm. This appears to be the initial factory #174 vehicle, before any of the upgrades, but with a fancy new engine. It is plausible that, with such an engine, it would reach 60 kph.

The post-patch T-50 has a maximum speed of 52 kph, with the same armour. The engines have been scaled back. Not only is the prototype engine gone, so is the “top” historical 350 hp one. Wargaming rounds up the tank’s mass to 13.5 tons.

The T-50-2 is interesting. Obviously, it’s quite a bit faster than any of the T-50s (even the Kirov factory one!). Then again, it gets that fancy 550 hp engine. The historical blurb seems to suggest that the T-50-2 is Kirov’s prototype, so perhaps doubling the horsepower squeezed an extra 7 kph out of the design. As with the #174 design, none of the armour upgrades have been added.

Where does this leave us? Well, it leaves us with the two best T-50s missing: Kirov’s (with its 65 kph speed limit) and #174′s (with its 55 mm of armour at the same 52 kph speed limit). Maybe Wargaming is saving them for the moment where upgradeable hulls are implemented. Or, perhaps, an entire new Soviet light tree! With a little extra shuffling and finagling, it would be very possible to shove the upgraded #174 design into a tier 5 light slot (with medium matchmaking, like the Crusader), the Kirov T-50 into the tier 6 slot, and continue with crazy Soviet light tank projects from there.

35 thoughts on “Historical Accuracy: T-50 and Soviet Lights

  1. Maybe its one of those 400 planned tanks that are not yet added into the game. We will know in a few years when they get done adding them in.


  2. > The maximum speed of this tank was 100 kph.

    100 kp/h was maximum speed for MT-25 on wheels. On tracks it was lower (not specified by project author), so 72 kp/h seems reasonable.

    • Yoba, you were faster :-)

      Not only that, 100kph was achievable on good, flat roads only and was absolutely stressful to the suspension. Possible (under special circumstances) – yes; sustainable – definitely no.

      • “A proposed project of a light wheeled caterpillar vehicle. The draft was completed in February 1943. The most innovative feature was the suspension design. The suspension wheels were interleaved, and power was delivered to all wheels. No prototypes were manufactured.”

        *No prototypes were manufactured* – no test data – what is there to discuss about?

        • Yep. But for wheeled/tracked vehicles maximum speed in-game is maximum speed on tracks, not on wheels.

  3. I’m almost certain T-50-2 is the Kirov version with a crazy top speed and a fancy new turret (stock turret is the historical Kirov one).

    • It scared the living shit out of the Germans when they met it and remained perfectly useful into the mid-late war period; abysmal ergonomics are somewhat irrelevant in comparision.

      • Don’t even try to get me started…It was “successful” because it bore the name of comrade defense commissar Kliment Voroshilov.

        • The big stupid turret on the KV-2 was the funniest..

          At first the Germans didnt know what to make of it..

          (a) big target, easy to hit
          (b) big armour, big gun, fuck!

          Then they realised it could not turn the turret or fire the gun unless it was on level ground…

          After that it was answer (a)…

        • That, and because German guns were incapable of penetrating it, even if it posed a big target. Then they loved it so much, they copied the concept (in an over-engineered and expensive way, of course).

          • KV-2 couldnt fire on the move either
            or rotate turret
            also had to slow down engine rpm to change gear

          • “That, and because German guns were incapable of penetrating it, even if it posed a big target. Then they loved it so much, they copied the concept (in an over-engineered and expensive way, of course).”

            Hahahaha, you Russians are hilarious. Now tell us that story how you managed to win WW2 all by yourselves…

          • Oh yeah, the KV-2 was so awful, just look at Raseiniai. The Germans effortlessly cleaved through every KV-2 there!

            No, wait, exactly the opposite happened.

    • when germans first saw KV-1
      they couldn’t penetrate its frontal armor
      so they just flanked it and moved on

      also KV-1 couldn’t damage/aim german tanks

  4. “…long-awaited…”? More like rejected at birth if you keep up with commentary on the NA server forum.

          • Better than the British where it’s largely “Documentation? What’s documentation?” The Russian, US, and French archives are all very accessible, which is reflected by WG’s research into them. For Germany and Japan though, they rely almost solely on third party research.

  5. It is rather amusing reading the reasoning behind the developers decisions. Sometimes they use several of these in the same reply.

    1. Not historical? But this is a a game not a simulation.

    2. We had to rebalance that tank to keep the game playable.

    3. The gun on that tank was too much better than the guns on other country tanks.

    4. We cannot make that change because then that tank would not be historical.

    5. Working as intended.