Polish Armor – Part 1: WB-3

Hello everyone,

today, we are going to start new series of historical articles, this time about Polish armor. Let me tell you some of those designs are pretty interesting.

Just like the early Czechoslovak armor development, Polish armor was based mostly on foreign technology. Poland starts to diverge from Czechoslovakia in the early 30′s, when the Czechoslovaks started to produce various designs of their own, while Poland thought it would be better to actually license the designs (notably the ubiquitous Vickers 6-ton tank, which was modified and produced as the 7-TP). The two most known vehicles of the Polish army were the TK tankettes (and their variants) and the 7-TP tank (which was – as I mentioned above – a modified Vickers 6-ton). There were other designs too and we’ll talk about them chronologically, so you get the “feel” for the upcoming World of Tanks Polish branch.

Unfortunately, as you can imagine, Polish World of Tanks branch is problematic past tier 6. But we’ll talk about the hightier options and possibilities.


The 1918 birth of inter-war Poland was not an easy one. Poland only two years old, Poland had to face a grave threat of Soviet invasion. However – although the Soviet sources were substantial, Polish army was not “green” either at that point. In fact, the core of the early army of inter-war Poland was based on Polish foreign units. One of the most important of them was the Polish foreign army in France under Józef Haller, that was formed in June 1917. The assets of this army were by no means meager – it was equipped by the French and Americans and by the time the war was over, the units, returning to Poland, took the vehicles home with them, including 120 brand new French FT-17 tanks, that were to form the core of the Polish armored corps.

These Renaults were concentrated in the Polish 1st armored regiment (1. pulk czolgowy), 75 of those were equipped with the 37mm Puteaux guns, the rest were machinegun models. These vehicles (and the whole regiment) took part in the Polish-Soviet war between 1919 and 1920. There were several heavy battles in this war, at one point the Polish got as far as to Kiev, on the other hand the Soviets pushed them back to Warsaw and only in March 1921 was the Soviet-Polish border finally confirmed by a peace treaty. This war saw widespread use of armored cars: there were several Polish types, come of them heavily improvised, but those won’t be the subject of this series. In the end, when it comes to armor, Poland actually came sort of on top: according to some sources, they lost 12 FT-17 tanks, but in turn captured several dozens of Soviet armored cars.

After the war, the FT-17 tanks remained the primary Polish tanks until the arrivel of Vickers vehicles in 1931. We’ll get to that point too, but for now, let’s have a look at the 20′s. In this time, Poland experimented with various armored cars and halftracks, leading to the wz.28 and wz.29 designs. By the end of 1918, Central Vehicle Works in Warsaw (Centralne Warsztaty Samochodowe – CWS) were founded. At first, the repairs and refits of cars and trucks took place here, but by the end of 1921, the plant started repairing the FT-17 tanks too and building their own Ford T Polish armored cars. The company actually grew quickly, by mid-20′s they were designing their own various cars and in 1928, the company was transformed to the well-known PZInz (Panstwowe Zaklady Inzynierii) company complex, responsible for the majority of Polish vehicle projects until the Second World War. And this is where the story begins.



In 1926, the Polish army started a competition for the next Polish tank design. The competitors were the Warsaw Locomotive Plant and PZInz (back then it was still just one factory located in Czechowice). The soldiers demanded a 12-ton vehicle, capable of withstanding a 45mm gun fire at 500 meters (by that 45mm gun various obsolete constructions from as early as WW1 were meant, not the modern 45mm guns from the 30′s). It was supposed to have a 47mm gun in the turret, complemented by two machineguns (either 7,62mm or 13,2mm). It was also supposed to go as fast as 25km/h and to be equipped with electric ignition and a smoke discharger. Quite an ambitious project for the mid-twenties!

Warsaw Locomotive Plant designers won the competition by offering two possible variants: one was purely a tracked vehicle, the other was a wheel-cum-track design. Both prototypes were constructed in 1927 and in May 1928, the wheel-cum-track variant was tested. The design looked a lot like the wheel-cum-track Saurer design: the alleged advantage was that this tank could move much faster on the wheels an switch to tracks only ín rough terrain, saving both the maintenance and track wear.

For the trials, the wheel-cum-track prototype was designated WB-3. Unfortunately, the prototype failed during the tests: it was deemed unreliable, it could not reach the speed required and it was difficult to manufacture. As other nations have learned (for example Czechoslovakia), Poland too found out that the wheel-cum-track is a blind branch of armor development and as a result abandoned the program completely. The tracked prototype (designated WB-10) was never finished.

At this moment I’d like to take a short break and thank you for reading my historical articles by posting two Locust codes from Gamescom (if you used such a code already, it won’t work): you will find them here.

Despite the trials ended in failure, one thing could not be denied: Poland – often regarded poorly for their industry – could design their own tank in mid 20′s, a feat other “more developed” nations repeated only years later. As for the fate of the final prototype, nothing is certain, it was probably scrapped at some point.

In World of Tanks

Well, what can we say, it would be a fine Polish tier 1 vehicle. Low-power 37mm or 47mm gun could make it work. Unfortunately, not much info is known, at least in English sources, so it is clear this vehicle requires some additional research.


Weight: 13 tons
Crew: 4
Armor: unknown, presumably 10-15mm
Engine: unknown
Speed: 20km/h

35 thoughts on “Polish Armor – Part 1: WB-3

  1. So, unknown armament besides the requirement.
    Unknown engine.
    Unknown off-road performance beyond the fact that it broke down.
    Also, those wheels would look … sad and out of place on a serious tank. Besides that, if anyone can find out more specs for this it would surely much better as a tier 1 than another FT-17 variant or the Vickers 6 ton.
    A pity you didn’t find anything about the WB-10. That would sound like a more realistic tank proposal just because it didn’t use this suspicious wheel-cum-track concept.

    • Well, the detailed research would require Polish sources and I don’t speak Polish. This article is more like intended to make people aware such a thing existed.

    • The wheel-cum-track was tested even by the British as well as several others. At the time it was overly complicated and metals were nothing like today’s. Which made it difficult to deal with all the stresses and reliability issues involved with the design.
      You might be able to take the British work and apply it to the Polish tank. I think even the French messed with the idea as well. (Will need to check my books). The concept is decently sound and was actively used on lighter vehicles.

  2. wait didnt you start a article about hungarian tanks? M44 Tas etc
    and now you jumped to polish tanks?

    • Well, I kinda shelved them for now, because there is a lot of info available on the Turán, Zrinyi and Toldi vehicles in English. Will finish them eventually.

  3. Interesting, and I like that you added an “easter egg” for people who bothered to read the article.

  4. The first real common tank of Polish Army was a renault FT17.
    Also we have tested it’s modernized version’s like the Renault FT Kegresse-Hinstin M26/27

    In 1924, 6 radio command tanks Renault TSF were bought in France. They were based upon FT-17 hull, fitted with a radio in a big superstructure in a place of a turret. They were not armed. Also, in 1929-1930, some of newer Renault tank designs were bought. They were 5 tanks Renault M26/27 and 1 tank Renault NC-27 (publications often quote 24 tanks NC-27[1], but only one was bought in fact). M26/27 was an unsuccessful development of FT-17, with the same hull and armament, fitted with a new track mechanism with Kegresse rubber tracks (they were proposed to the French Army under the designation NC-2, but were not accepted; instead, a batch was sold to Yugoslavia, where they served as M.28). Renault NC-27 was a further development of FT-17, with a redesigned hull and new chassis, but a turret with gun or MG armament remained similar (they were proposed to the French Army under the designation NC-1; its further development led to the French D1 tank).

    In the thirties, the obsolete radio tanks TSF were scheduled to be rebuild to combat tanks, replacing the superstructure with a turret. A new turret with a coxial 37mm gun and MG was developed by the Polish in this purpose, but it is not clear, if these tanks were eventually rebuilt using these turrets (it is rather doubtful, as no photos are known). There were also tested some modernization projects of regular FT-17 tanks, including changes in hull shape and engine cooling system (FT-17 “Hanus”), suspension (from Vickers E tank) and new turrets, mentioned above, but none were accepted.

    Use in the thirties:
    In 1930-36, the Polish Army had the biggest number of its Renault tanks:

    Polish FT-17
    Polish FT-17 on manoeuvres in the 20′s. Photo courtesy by Zbigniew Cheda.
    112 light tanks Renault FT-17 (numbers: 1001-1112)
    6 radio tanks Renault TSF (numbers: 2001-2006)
    27 training tanks Renault FT-17 CWS (nos: 3001-3027)
    5 tanks Renault M26/27
    24 tanks Renault NC-27 (in fact, 1 tank, the rest might be FT-17s)
    174 tanks in total


    One of its polish mods is well interesting…
    Renault FT wz.32
    “…suspension (from Vickers E tank) and new turrets, mentioned above, but none were accepted.”

    One known photo of it:

    And Polish fan /GrumpyStranger/ made visualization:

    Some data about it:
    Tank Renault FT wz.32

    Mass: 7,2t
    Crew; 2 ludzi,
    Dimensions; lenght – 4,5m, wide – 2,15m, high – 2,04m, ground Clarence – 0,4m,
    Armed; 1 canon 37mm Puteaux i 1 km 7,92mm wz 30,
    Targeting and observation accessory: 2 observing binoculars, 2 Gundlach reverse periscopes, 2 observation slot

    Armor – riveted rolled steel plates of thickness: hull front 18mm; bottom and up 5mm, turret; front, side and back 16mm.

    Engine – gasoline carburetor engine, four stroke, inline, four cylinders, Renault, max power 42KM, with 1500rpm./min. water cooled.

    Fuel – gasoline, tank capacity 120l, fuel consumption. 150l/100km.

    Drivetrain – main clutch, mechanical gearbox, four forward gears and one reverse, steering mechanism – the clutch side, the side gears.

    Suspension – blocked in a trolleys of two wheels with rubber bandages, flat leaf spring suspension, four supporting rollers, drive wheel in back of hull, front hull tension whell, track wide 230mm, scale 92mm, length of the abutment 2700mm, spacing of tracks 1755mm.

    Performance – power unit 5,8 KM/t, max speed up to 13km/h, range on the road 80km.
    Overcoming obstacles – contact pressure of 0.4 kg/cm2, slope 450, trenches with a width of 185cm.

    Personnly i think the Renault FT Kegresse-Hinstin M26/27 and the Renault FT wz32
    Are much better fo polish T1 than fake WB3

    Only one problem with the Renault FT Kegresse-Hinstin M26/27…

    It is currently introduced to game as chinese tree NC-31 !
    While in fact the chinese NC-31 looks tottaly diffrent:

    More works of /GrumpyStranger/ icluding TKS, 4TP, 7TP, 7TP wz39 (known as 9TP), 10TP, 14TP, 25TP:

    subsequent projects: PZInż Habich, KSUS I and the 7tp for comparision.

    subsequent projects: KSUS I, 10TP, 7TP wz39 vel. 9TP, 7TP, 4TP, TKS

    • Renault FT wz.32
      Polish Double weapon turrets:

      Double Weapon Turret wz.29
      Developed in the Design Office Armoured Wibi (Biuro Konstrukcyjne Broni Pancernej WIBI).
      The project was created in 1929, the first prototype in 1930.
      Turret was octagonal, guns: 37mm Puteaux cannon and Hothkiss wz.29 machine gun
      were placed in opposite sides.
      After practical testing the model was rejected in 1931.
      It was too cramped interior and was impossible to conduct simultaneous fire from both weapons.

      Double Weapon Turret wz.32
      In 1932, a new model was constructed.
      New yoke for the 37mm Puteaux cannon and Hothkiss wz.30 machine gun was constructed.
      The yoke was made of molded armored plate 20mm thick.
      It give a possibility of guiding weapons in two axes, and allowed for observation of the target with two telescopes.
      Yoke with double weapons was mounted in the front oriel of the turret.
      Turret have an inner diameter of 1000 mm and a height of 700 mm.
      Armor thickness as the original Renault turret but weighed about 14 kg more.
      The top plate was closed with hatch cover of “special construction” (?), on both hatch sides was planed to place two Gundlach reverse Periscopes and sleeves for Słupski signal Flags.
      In the year of 1936. turret was considered successful project, six such towers were commissioned in Starachowice Plant (Zakłady Starachowickie ) for modernization of Renault FT TSF.
      It is not know if those turrets were ever build or mounted on TSF’s.
      None photos neither blueprints of this turret are known…

      Some more information about Renault FT wz.32 could be found in press:
      “Do Broni” nr 2-3/2009.
      “Do Broni” nr 1/2009.
      “Nowa Technika Wojskowa” 9/97
      “Polish Track and Wheels” No1, No2, No3