today, we are going to talk about another quite original branch or branches, that could appear in the European Tree – the Yugoslavia ones. There is an old myth running around that the “smaller” nations had no original tanks of their own – I hope that in previous parts, we debunked this sufficiently and today, we will continue to do so.
Unlike relatively rich Sweden’s tank development, Yugoslavia’s tank development was born out of necessity to counter both western and eastern tank designs with indigenous resources due to the precarious and complicated situation after the war. Where Sweden simply developed their tanks because it was advantageous for them and Czechoslovakia was satisfied with improving Soviet armor from 1950′s onwards, Yugoslavia had to make do with a mixture of American and Russian vehicles and go on from there, developing an entire series of their own original medium tank projects.
This time, I will be drawing upon the work of Yugomaniac and Bojan, both well-known for, amongst other things, proposing a Yugoslavian branch for World of Tanks. Early Yugoslavian designs are very closely tied to Czechoslovak branch (some of the tanks being basically entirely Czechoslovak, made however solely for the purpose of export to Yugoslavia). Here’s a variant of Bojan’s and Yugomaniac’s tree – another proposed variant would completely lack low tiers, starting straight from the Czechoslovak branch. Obviously, that’s something that should be avoided.
Unfortunately, there is not that much info I could find about these vehicles, not nearly as detailed as the Swedish tree – more research is required I guess.
First, the light/medium branch.
Tier 1 – Renault M26/27, basically a Renault FT with different (Kegresse) suspension. Quite original actually, could also serve as tier 1 for Poland, they were using it as well.
Tier 2 and 3 – Škoda and Praga category II light tanks. Praga P-IIa was a 1935/36 competing project to the famous Š-IIa (LT vz.35, also known as Panzer 35t) – it had very thin armor (15mm front) and an older model of 37mm gun (A3, cca 40mm pen in WoT terms) and a 114hp Praga engine. It was rejected by both the Czechoslovak and Yugoslav army for insufficient armor.
Tier 3, Š-IIa-j, is a proposed improved version of the LT vz.35. It is also known as the “T-12″ and was armed with a powerful 47mm A9 gun. 11 tons, 135 horsepower, 47mm A9 gun, 25mm frontal armor. The prototype was made in 1940, but by then Czechoslovakia was already occupied, exporting to Yugoslavia was no longer an option and from the Axis bloc, noone was really interested – and so the prototype was “cannibalized” for other tanks.
Tier 4 – Somua S35 with a 6pdr, this was a unique conversion of the Somua S35 tank, made in Shibenik by Yugoslavian partisans. The Germans were using the S35 as second line armor (as they did with a lot of captured tanks), partisans captured it and modified it with a 6pdr Mk.V from a destroyed AEC armored car. Most likely one of a kind, although some sources suggest that two of these actually existed. Obviously, the turret had to be heavily modified in order to carry such a large weapon.
Other sources also suggest that the real reason for this conversion could be the lack of ammunition and damage to the original gun.
Tier 5 (Mk.IV/76mm) is a proposal to re-arm the Panzer IV tank with the US M1A1 76mm gun – allegedly, drawings were made, but this project was scrapped due to the tank being obsolete.
Tier 6 – Vozilo A. Now we are getting somewhere. Vozilo A was an attempt of post-war Yugoslavia to improve the T-34, using indigenous resources. Most people, who see it on pictures, think it’s some sort of “weird T-34″, but in fact it was really an indigenous development. 9 were produced between 1949 and 1951. The armament is a bit complicated. Italian sources suggest following weapons:
75mm KwK 42 L/70 (already in game)
85mm ZIS S-53 (already in game)
85mm M51 – a bottlenecked version of the German 88mm L/56, modified to fire Soviet 85mm shells. It could penetrate 140mm at 100m with AP, 190mm with APCR
The vehicle weighed cca 33 tons, was powered by a V-2 diesel (500hp), could reach 50 km/h. Armor – hull: 50/45/? mm, turret 100/82-86/60mm.
Tiers 7 to 10 represent the indigenous Yugoslavian research into tanks. Tier 7 – M-328/628 “Galeb” (seagull) is a further development of the Vozilo A from 1958-1959. I am actually not sure any photos of this stage exist, but basically, the idea was to mount even more powerful gun on the T-34 chassis, including the American 90mm M3 gun.
Tier 8 – M-320 was on the other hand a brand new tank and an attempt to create a copy of the T-54 (to which Yugoslavia at that point did not have access) while combining it with the lessons learned from the Americans. The development started in 1955 and resulted in a working prototype.
To quote Yugomaniac: “During 1955 Mechanical Institute has begun the preliminary design work on the M-320 medium tank. Performing examination of characteristics on all available tanks (T-34, M-4, M-47, M-18…), many subsystems were examined in detail, a detailed numerical analysis of major subsystems and running gear were carried out and an optimal solution was proposed for our requirements and capabilities. But already the next year 1956, project was abandoned and efforts were redirected at perfecting T-34, since production of some units for it had already been realized”
The tank would weight 34 tons, had a crew of 5, was powered by a 520hp V-2R engine (max. speed 50 km/h) and was equipped either with 90mm M3, or 90mm M1 (equal to the US 90mm M36 gun). Armor: 75/40/20 hull, 105/52/50 turret.
Tier 9 – M-636 “Kondor” – the ultimate attempt to emulate the T-54. Developed from 1953 to 1963 in parallel to the previous designs, cancelled after the “thawing” of relations between Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. Several stages were developed, with the common characteristics being the crew of 5, a powerful engine (520hp V-2R with planned improvement to 600hp), originally the 90mm M1 gun (see above), but also with the possibility of the 100mm D-10T (D-10T2S) upgrade. Speed would be cca 50 km/h, weight around 35 tons.
The ultimate stage of this project (M-636D, also called T-34D) from 1963 would “sit” at tier 10, equipped with the proposed 105mm French CN gun and a 680hp engine. This picture was made by Yugomaniac as well:
The tank destroyers are even more obscure. There is the famous project of the PaK 40 on Stuart:
Then there is a project of a PaK 40 on Panzer III hull I have never heard about, allegedly one was modified as such. SO-76/85 Majbach was apparently a paper project to re-arm the StuG with 76mm M1A1 or 85mm ZIS S-53 (similiar project existed in Czechoslovakia by the way). Then there is Vozilo B on tier 6, which is the same as Vozilo A, only having a 90mm M3 gun. SO-122 M-4 is the famous Sherman with the 122mm gun:
And probably the weirdest Yugoslav project is this:
Yea, that’s a T-54 hull with a Hellcat turret, used for training. There is even a model of this vehicle for WoT, made by fans:
The artillery is even more obscure and I have no photos, so I will just copypaste Bojan’s comment on that branch:
Tier 2 – SO-75 H-35
Hotchkiss H-35 with turret removed and 7.5cm leIG18 mounted on it.
Tier 3 – SO-150 M-3A3
Stuart with 15cm sIG33
Tier 4 – SO-105 M-18
M18 mod with most of turret cut off and 105mmm howitzer mounted. 120deg traverse.
Weapons: 105mm M3, 105mm M2
Tier 5 – SO-122(H) M-4
122mm M-30 (M38) howitzer on Sherman chassis
Weapons: 105mm M2 (stock), 122mm M38 (top).
Tier 6 – SO-155(H) T-34
155mm M1 howitzer on T-34 chassis
Weapons : 122mm M38, 155mm M1
Tier 7 – SO-155(T) M-4 Mod
Modified Sherman chassis with either 130mm M46 or 155mm M1A1 gun facing backward.
Weapons: 130mm M46, 155mm M1A1
Tier 8 – SO-152(T)/155(T) T-54
Weaponse: 152 ML-20 (stock) or 155mm M1A1 (Top) na T-54 chassis
Tier 9 – SO-203(H) T-54/55
203mm howitzer on T-54/55 chassis
Tier 10 – SO-203(T) T-55
203mm L/40 gun on T-55 chassis. This is early ’70s project but fits otherwise.