Praga Export Tanks – Part I: LTL

Hello everyone,

today, we are going to talk about a topic that I intentionally avoided for a very long time, because to say it’s a mess would be an understatement. The history and designation of Praga export tanks is very confusing and… well, you’ll see. In order to start, we have to return back to early 30′s and Praga’s TNH design.

It was a good time to be a Czechoslovak arms producers. Military production of Czechoslovakia was always of top notch quality (especially the Škoda artillery), but this all culminated between 1934-1935. In those years, Czechoslovakia was the biggest arms exporter in the world. While most of the production was sold to European countries, we exported armor to some quite exotic destinations, such as Iran and Peru.

The tanks, exported by Praga, are generally referred to as “Praga export tanks” and in this article series, we are going to have a look at them in detail. Or, rather, we will continue to be looking at them, since I actually already covered three of them in my previous articles. Those were:

TNH – export light tank, sold to Iran
LTH – export light tank, sold to Switzerland
LTP – export light tank, sold to Peru

The export light tanks were all based on the original TNH design, but the vehicles differed in a number of aspects. For one, they were generally smaller than the other TNH designs (specifically the TNH-S, accepted into service as LT Vz.38). They can be easily told apart from the LT Vz.38-based designs by the suspension: the roadwheels are smaller and there is an extra return roller.

The main difference of course was that the export tanks were made specifically according to the wishes of the customer. Most of the time, that included the engine and the main gun (plus the armor specifications), the suspension was always of the Praga type. Today, we’ll have a look at what Praga developed for Lithuania.

Lithuanian LTL


Lithuania was one of the interesting clients Praga acquired over the years. The decision to import tanks came from the desire of Lithuania to build its own strong army to defend it against the aggression of its neighbor, Russia. The 30′s however found the Lithuanian army to be woefully underequipped. Its armored forces consisted of a couple of old WW1 era armored cars, some 12 FT-17 light tanks, bought from France in 1924 (machinegun version only) and later of 16 Vickers M.1933 machinegun tanks from 1934 (as well as 6 Swedish Landsverk L-182 armored cars). These meager forces were formed into two armored companies in Radviliškis and Kaunas. By the end of the 30′s, practically all of these vehicles were completely worn out by use and in generally very poor shape (this was especially true for the vintage armored cars and the FT-17′s).

As a result of these conditions, Lithuania accepted a new, re-arming program, that presumed the purchase of 64 tanks and 20 armored cars. Lithuanian Ministry of National Defense (krašto apsaugos ministerija – KAM) thus reached out to the well-known European arms manufacturers (including ČKD) with its demands in early December 1935. These demands included a tank of 5 ton weight, with 6-13mm thick armor, armed with a 20mm Swiss Oerlikon gun (12 tanks) and Maxim heavy machinegun (4 tanks). The tank was to be able to reach the speed of 50 km/h. The deadline for manufacturer offers was set at 15.1.1936.

This demand found ČKD in an unfortunate situation, as no such design (let alone prototype) was readily available. In the end, the Praga engineers took the AH-IV tanketted, modified it to at least partially meet the requirements and sent it as an offer on 6.1.1936. It was a stopgap solution at best, but it raised the interest of the Lithuanian side. In March 1936, a Lithuanian delegation came to Prague to witness the trials of the AH-IV and TNH (Iran) tanks and to talk about conditions and prices. Unfortunately, both vehicles not only did not fulfill the Lithuanian demands, they were also too expensive for Lithuania. In the end, Lithuania settled for buying 16 more Vickers M.1936 light tanks, forming a 3rd company from them.

That however did not dissuade ČKD from pursuing this potential customer further. Furthermore, ČKD also “acquired” a piece of information, that Lithuania was to spend a large sum (15 mil.CZK) on armored vehicles between 1937 and 1940. ČKD thus asked KAM for new demands and in November 1936, they sent their chief designer, Ing. A.Surin to Kaunas to discuss the exact demands and conditions of Lithuanian military and to present them his LTL-H project. His trip was a success, he made a good impression. In November 1936, a Lithuanian committee arrived in Prague with Col.Aleksandravičius as its head to discuss the conditions once again. They were especially adamant with the light weight demand – maximum weight of 7000 kg was requested due to the state of Lithuanian roads and bridges. Surin’s LTL-H however was heavier and thus, this demand was dropped (the LTL-H was also offered to Switzerland, where it was replaced by another project, the LTH).


Thus, in February 1937, another project was concieved, this time designated as LTL (“lehký tank pro Litvu” – “light tank for Lithuania”), a very light tank indeed. The negotiations about this tank were quite pressing, as the competition (Landsverk Sweden, with its L-100 and L-120 tanks) was closing in, but in the end, ČKD was successful and on 26.5.1937, a contract for 21 tanks between Lithuania (represented by Col.Aleksandravičius) and ČKD was signed. ČKD was thus to produce a tank between 5 and 6 tons of weight, armed with a 20mm gun, two heavy machineguns and with 25mm of frontal armor, capable of reaching 54 km/h. The prototype was to be built until the end of November 1937 – this however presumed that the customer (Lithuania) would secure the arms they demanded (20mm Solothurn cannons). That of course was not as easy as it looked on paper and due to some delays in the production of the armament, which came 2 months late, the prototype was only ready on 14.4.1938 (the fault for the delay was also partially in the new Praga F4 engine, that proved to be unreliable due to its teething problems).

Generally, the vehicle resembled the TNH (Iran) tank, but it was smaller and there were other changes as well (notably the drive sprocket was in the rear).

Its dimensions were as such:

Length: 4,2m
Width: 1,95m
Height: 2,1m
Clearance: 35cm

The vehicle weighed 7,2 tons (not fitting within the Lithuanian limits) and was powered by a 120hp Praga F4 4-cylinder water-cooled gasoline engine (power to weight: 16,67 hp/t). It could reach speeds up to 54 km/h. Its armor had the following thickness:

Hull: 25/15/15mm
Turret: 25/15/15mm
Bottom, roof: 8mm

It was armed with a 20mm Oerlikon-Solothurn cannon and 2x 7,85mm Maxim M08 MG.

Overall, it was a pretty solid tank, but unfortunately, storms were gathering over Czechoslovakia at that point and big changes were coming for the Czechoslovak army as well and the final fate of this design will be revealed in the next part.

In World of Tanks

I have the LTL as one of the “export” options in the Czechoslovak light tank branch on tier 3. Sure, for that tier it’s undergunned (stock gun option), but we’ll get to the good stuff later on.


I.Pejčoch – Obrněná technika
V.Francev – Exportní lehké tanky Praga

36 thoughts on “Praga Export Tanks – Part I: LTL

  1. To many Czechoslovak tank articles..I want to read about…danish..or..canadian tanks.:ORRRRRR EVEN…usa spaceships

    • Chechoslovakia had the best tanks then and Silent have best acces to that source material so of course he will be posting a lot about that…

    • Canada has tanks ? Real tanks ? Do they have “SORRY” inscription all around ?
      just kidding. :D

      • No, but those Canadian tanks had itneresting design of the engines. If petrol was unavailable they would run on maple syrup. Hybrid engines 50 years ahead of its time! :-)

  2. I wish that Poland and Chechoslovakia had better co-operation and maybe even an alliance in the 1930s. The entire mess of WW2 might have been avoided if the annexation of Chechoslovakia was prevented and Polish armed forces where supplied with the best at the time Chechoslovak arms. Too bad our rivalries and over the top nationalism (both Poles & Chechs to blame) got in the way of clear strategical thinking…

          • Ok. What exactly could France and Britain do?

            Unfortunately and bizarrely, I have heard several (mostly Polish) people seem to express greater hatred for the French and British that the Germans and Russians.

            Are they seriously suggesting that these countries should have reconstructed their entire economies towards fighting a continental war? Particularly bearing in mind that they were still suffering the after effects of what, at the time, was the worst recession in history and that the Germans had been preparing to fight exactly such a war for the preceding 5+ years.

            Are they suggesting that these countries should have sacrificed the lives of hundreds of thousands (or millions) of the lives of their citizens? They would have had to invade and conquer Germany and then repulse the Soviet Union, and would not in fact have saved Poland/Czechoslovakia from invasion, but would only have freed it after the fact.

            Or perhaps, they are suggesting that Britain/France should not have tried to bluff Germany. What effect would that have had? In all probability, it would merely have brought the invasion forward by a year or so.

            Another point is why should France and Britain have done anything for Poland/Czechoslovakia? Their interest was in keeping Germany at bay, but there was no other practical or moral reason for they to sacrifice themselves. It’s not as if Poland/Czechoslovakia where ever going to be in a position to do anything similar in return.

            • Following that logic you are using now all alliances are null and void if you risk your nose getting bloddied…. I hope that this mindset is not present with the leaders of NATO….

              You are assuming German strenght as it was at the beginning of invasion of France, maybe operation Barbarossa. In 1938 it was not the behemoth that it became later on.
              Look at this timeline
              1938 (annexation of Chechoslovakia) 600 k men in the army
              1939 (invasion of Poland) 1,5 milion men
              1940 (invasion of France) 2,5 milion men
              1941 (Invasion of SU) 3 milion men

              So yes, we are butthurt and with good reason. Due to diplomatic pressure from Britain and France they did not mobilize their full strenght so as not to antagonize Hitler. Chechoslovakia did not mobilize their full strenght assured by the western powers that when push came to shove they would be aided. I do not need to tell you how that trust was utterly betrayed.

              Chechoslovakia had more men under arms and better arms when Germany came in. If Britain and France had acted with full mobilisation and invasion straight ahead to Berlin (maybe even Poland would have joined… see the wishful thinking from my first post) the issue of the Third Reich would have been resolved right there and then. Instead the Third Reich was allowed to grow in strengt peacefully.

              For more history and maybe and understanding of why we are butthurt please have a read of this.


              • Sorry, but no.

                Poland and CZ fully mobilised (in 38, or later) would still have been defeated by German alone, not considering their USSR allies. Like you say, wishful thinking.

                Also, I repeat, why should Britain and France have killed themselves to defend the undefendable? Begging is never attractive.

                • And you are arguing that based on what facts? I provided plenty.

                  Checoslovakia was prevented from full mobilisation by Britain and France + they where prevented from finishing their border fortresses. When fully mobilised they would have had over a milion men + better tanks and various other equipment and sensible modern border fortifications. versus the german 600 k men. That is 400 k in favour of Chechoslovakia. Poland had almost 200 k active service men ready in 1938 not including what they would have been able to mobilise. That is 600 k in favour of Chechoslovakia/Poland. France had 425 k active service men not including what they could mobilize. That is over 1 mil men in favour of the allies. Britain.. hell if i know, they could bombard German docks with their navy…

                  The soviets had already been beaten back once. By Poland. With the help of a Ukrainian army. Only thing that stopped them from chasing the red disease back to Moscow was…. oh look. Britain and France with their peculiar interests… Diplomatic pressure caused them to cease their offensive and whatever Ukraine was then became USSR. Good bye independent Ukraine, hello soviet puppet peoples republic of Ukraine….They would not have come back if not the agreement of Ribbentrop/Molotow.

      • You know that Poland and Czechoslovakia were “built” only to keep Germany away from them? These countries were created to keep Germany small, without needing help from UK and France – they had their own problems.

        Actually this worked quite well – if it wasnt for the Soviets – only after negotiation with them Hitler was ready for a real war, getting Czechoslovakia on the round table was a really nice and – you have to admit it – crucial beginning (tanks, equipment, one less rival).

        • @DemolitionDmitrij

          Seriously… I just… No, after countering Sense i really do not have the stamina to counter russian propaganda historical bullshit. Untangling that mess of real historical facts from the core bs is much effort.

          • Ok, now I understand. A warped mentality, that fits the ‘facts’ to justify their sense of persecution is not worth trying to persuade otherwise.

            • Point taken into consideration, found reasonable to a certain degree but ultimately rejected as not applicable in this case. :-)

              I am willing to continue my discussion with you because you provide a reasonable answer and counter arguments that are sensible. You have a point of view that has formed freely on your own accord.
              Dmitrij thou… not very much. He is just repeating inconsistent crap that has been around since the era of Stalin in differen forms to belittle the nations of eastern europe and justify their actions their actions there. Polish forums are infested with those RF net brigades, i have had enough of them there already.

              • Well, but there is one more thing. CZ-PL relations were, ehm, very bad. So when in 1939 Germany occupied rest of Czechoslovakia, POland attacked too and occupied part of our country.

                • Yes, and that was wrong. That is what i ment by rivalries and over the top nationalism after gaining their indepence with the fall of the great empires they turned on each other hoping to grab as much as possible…. Divided they fell one by one. Unity never got a chance. We kicked each other in the balls whenever such an opportunity arose. Especially CZ-PL would have been natural allies since they could complement each other very well and offer each other such a great deal on equal terms.

                  Their is some substance to my claim of CZ/PL co-operation. At the eve of annexation when the pressure was begining to mount on Prague, Poland was offered by Chechoslovakia most of their arms production possible output at close to production cost prices. The offer was rejected it is claimed. The problem with this (and the reason why i am not repeating it too often) i can not find that source information again so it is so far unverifiable.

            • You are also willing to drop all NATO mutual promises? Dissolve NATO, maybe?

              Because there was similar pact signed then. And that should have been the main reason, if you are lacking others.

              • There is fantasy/ideology/wishful thinking and then there is reality.

                In reality NATO is a rather vague mutual defense pact, which is widely open to interpretation. It was set up to do one thing, which was to discourage the USSR from attacking those parts of Europe it did not already control. Such an attack never happened and the few actions that have been instituted in the name of NATO (Bosnia, Afghanistan etc) were not part of a mutual defense obligation. Rather, they were the result of ad-hoc negotiation.

                For the sake of argument, if Syria invaded Turkey, I’m sure you would be happy for a 100 or so of your soldiers to go there as part of NATO, with a very low expectation of any casualties. However, would you suffer conscription and go and fight there yourself with a high chance of death? I suspect, in the latter scenario, Poland (and many other countries) would suddenly find an exceptable rationale for inaction.

                • Nope, quite opposite.
                  And the same was in ’39, Hitler knew he would have been backstabbed if he turned to the West first.

                  We know our obligations, but you clearly propose to dissolve NATO as useless.

                • Casus foederis of the NATO has been tested already. USA called it after 9/11 – 2001 (damn, over a decade ago and it still feels as if it was yesterday…). NATO members answered the call. I do acknowledge though that USA is in this case…. special to put it mildly.

                  If Turkey is attacked and calls for help invoking casus foederis against Syria, Iran, China or the Judeo-masonic conspiracy from mars…. Poland shall answer that call and send them whatever assistance that they require. We shall not fail our ally. “LotR ref over”.

                  Yes, i believe that Poland would send troops in sufficient numbers and keep them there untill the adversary was beaten back. Every other country in eastern europe will also do it.
                  Why do i believe that? Because if we ignore Turkeys call then the casus foederis of the NATO alliance, the largest and strongest military force on the face of this earth would be would be null and void. We would have to start building new bi-lateral alliances from scratch. We rely on the alliance to provide mutual security. Because the NATO members feels secure with the casus foederis we (all NATO members) do not have to spend idiotic amounts of cash on the military to be able to counter every concievable threat that would cripple our economy and weaken the state.

                  Would i suffer conscription if push came to shove if Turkey was attacked? Yes, although i am not subject to conscription .

    • Well Not dont like ifs scenarios, I dont think we could sucsesfully defend against germany,.. even in best case scenarios,… help from allies(French and Soviet union- there wasnt any betwenn Cechoslovakia nad GB) was completly inprepared to war,… French idea of war – as case of Poland shoved – was sit on line and wait till germans come,.. even when almoust entire german army was in poland, the still sit on the line, and Soviets army was so cripled by Stalin purges, that it was completly innefective – Soviet-Finnland was is nice example,… furthermore they didnt have direct border whit germany so,…
      poland – cechoslovakias relations was not the best either,.. well they got piece of us in Munchn too,.. and there was another wild card in region,.. Hungary,… so u can read best case scenario Cechoslovakia could hold up alone 1 month,.. if Hungary dont act,.. but in the end they would definetly act, and even trouth Hungarian army was Inferior to ours or germans,.. u look at man and u sav What everyone was seeing,.. we was almoust completly encirkled by enemies, and we didnt have pover to hold up till alies win a war for us, and we coudnt win it alone

      • Marian, i believe you are wrong when it comes to Chechoslovakia not beeing able to hold out. The numbers are in favour of Chechoslovakia even if they fought alone. If they had had help from the west and maybe Poland… Then it is Germany that would have been totally surrounded fighting a war on several fronts long before D-day landings…
        Hungary… would have certainly not gotten involved in a fight against Chechosloakia if Poland was their ally and putting up a good fight…
        Surrounded by enemies… yes. Every country in europe it seems was that and anybody was open for beeing stabbed in the back if they chose to go with their military somwhere… But.. So was germany. Totally encircled…

    • you know that Poland also invaded part of the CSK when germans “attacked” right?

      • Yes, acknowledged already in this conversation. The whole point of why i started this conversation was to showcase alternative history, what could have been feaseable if the newly formed countries had put aside their rivalries.

        Why the quotations marks on the word after germans “attacked”?

  3. Today, we’ll have a look at what Praga developed for Lithunia
    Woras will not be pleased for that spelling of his country ;)

    • I am not happy too^^ u missed a after u..:DD
      and i didnt knew that my country had some tanks from Czhechs:/

  4. Bring on the Czech articles! I’m working on adding Czechoslovakia as a side to my RTS mod & this place is the best English source of information I’ve found.

      • D-day mod for Red Alert 2;

        The Czech are still in alpha testing & I haven’t officially announced their addition yet, I’ll be posting more information in a few weeks.

    • Where is Woras btw? Not trolling us as usual. Woooras! Wooooooraaaaas! Where are you? I hope you are making another great random for us….

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