BT tanks

Have I ever mentioned how much I love BT tanks? 


The BT series of tank was first produced in 1932 and was quite modern for its time, featuring sloped armor and built around the “cavalry tank” mindset which favored mobility. It was first used in action during the Spanish Civil War. The tank itself was based on an American design by the race-car builder Walter Christie, which explains the “go kart with a gun on it” design philosophy. Which probably explains part of why I love this thing so much.

It was outdated by the time WWII rolled around however, as they were lightly armored and really primarily designed as an infantry tank They made for easy targets, which is why so few are around today.

Fun facts:

  • BT tanks had convertible tracks - a trained crew could remove or install the tracks within about 30 minutes, the idea being to extend the longevity of the tracks themselves: drive them on wheels, and put the tracks on once you got to the battlefield and had to make your way through the muck. This concept was born out of WWI-era thinking, where track life was short, and the long track segments of the earlier BT tanks were prone to warping.

  • Wheeled mode was engaged by installing an extra sprocket in the first pair of roadwheels and installing the pop-out steering wheel (which is hilariously crude.) This allowed for that wheel set to turn for on-road usage. In practice this was rarely used, and was dropped with the 1937 BT-7 series.

Pulling some old characters out. I tend to default to drawing the BT-7 with the older turret style most of all though, since somehow that’t my favorite (featured is the BT-7 with the 1935 turret.)

Two versions of the illustrated version since 1) it was originally meant to just be a standalone loose doodle but then a background happened, and 2) I liked the idea of a graphical, almost scale-model-box-art style. 
[Lineworks in the red banner are from]


other variant doodles

Featured below, in order:

  • BT-2,

  • Christie prototype M1931 “Tornado,”

  • Finnish BT-45 (captured and converted into an “artillery” variant) along with the BT-7A, Russian artillery variant using the T-28’s main turret and a 76mm howitzer,

  • BT-7TU command variant with the horseshoe antennae,

  • RBT5 - goofball idea to mount rocket launchers on a BT-5, there were a couple of these,

  • OT-7 (flame variant) as a Beutepanzer (Geman-captured tank - quite a few were reused by the other side!). As far as I know, none were used in service, but they played with the idea.

  • And if you squint, there’s the later model BT-7 with the conical turret in a couple of the monochrome doodles.

It’s not all of them, but arguably these are all the visibly distinguishable ones.