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TKS

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Type  Tankette
Produced  1931 - 1939
Weight  2.43/2.6 tonnes
Place of origin  Poland
No. built  575
TKS
Manufacturer  Fabryka Samochodów PZInż.

The TK (TK-3) and TKS were Polish tankettes during the Second World War.

Contents

Design and development

The TK (also known as the TK-3) tankette was a Polish design produced from 1931 based on the chassis of the British Carden Loyd tankette, with an improved hull and more powerful engine, and armour up to 8 mm thick (10 mm on the TKS). In 1939, up-arming of the tankettes with Nkm wz.38 FK 20 mm machine guns began, but only 24 of these were completed before the outbreak of World War II.

On 6 November 1934 Estonia purchased 6 vehicles from Poland, with the contract deal worth over 180,000 krones. The deal also included one additional tracked-lorry, and a motorcycle was given free as a bonus. After the Soviet Union occupied Estonia, these vehicles were put into service with the Red Army.

Combat history

The 575 TK/TKS tankettes formed the bulk of the Polish armoured forces before the outbreak of war. They suffered heavy losses during the Invasion of Poland, often being the only armoured fighting vehicles available. Due to their light armament of a single machine gun, they stood no chance in combat against German tanks, except against the Panzer I, but their small size suited them for reconnaissance and infantry support. Only the handful of tankettes armed with 20 mm guns were effective against enemy tanks; in one instance on 18 September 1939 a 20 mm gunned TKS commanded by Podchorazy (Officer Candidate SFC) Roman Orlik destroyed three German Panzerkampfwagen 35(t) tanks.

After the conquest of Poland, captured tankettes were used by the German army in various support roles, mostly for training, security duties or as artillery tractors. Many captured tankettes were also used by the Luftwaffe for airfield security and snowplowing. Some were later sold to the military of the puppet state of Croatia.

Variants

  • TK (TK-3) - from 1931, about 280 built (Ford A engine)
  • TKF - TK tankette with 46 hp (34 kW) Polski Fiat engine and new (TKS-type) suspension, about 18 built
  • TKS - improved model of 1933, about 260 built (new hull, suspension, Polski Fiat engine)
  • TKS with Nkm wz.38 FK - 20 mm gun - about 24 TKS fitted with 20 mm gun in 1939.
  • C2P - unarmoured light artillery tractor, about 200 built.
  • Experimental models:

  • TK-1, TK-2 - first prototypes
  • TKD - light self propelled gun with 47 mm gun, four made.
  • TKW - light reconnaissance tank with turret, one prototype made.
  • TK-3 with 20 mm gun - only one prototype with a modified hull was completed.
  • TKS-D - light tank destroyer with 37 mm Bofors anti-tank gun, two made
  • Users

  •  Poland
  •  Estonia
  •  Independent State of Croatia (NDH)
  •  Nazi Germany
  •  Soviet Union
  • Surviving TK-series tankettes

    There are only two fully operational TKS tankettes and one TK-3 surviving. All of them were reconstructed from wrecks in the first decade of 21st century, using non-original parts.

  • 1 x TKS - One of the TKS tankettes was donated to Poland by the Swedish Axvall Tank Museum and since 2008 it is on exhibition in the Museum of the Polish Army. The Swedish TKS survived the post-war period in Norway, where it was operated by a local farmer as a tractor.
  • 1 x TKS - Private collection.
  • 1 x TK-3 - Private collection.
  • The other survivors are not in working order.

  • 1 x TKS - On exhibition in the Kubinka Tank Museum in Russia.
  • 1 x TKS - On exhibition in the Military Museum in Belgrade.
  • 1 x TKS - Returned from the Norwegian Armed Forces museum to the Armoured Weapon Museum in Poznan, Poland
  • 1 x TKF - In Serbia.
  • 1 x C2P artillery tractor - Was found in Belgium and bought by the National Military History Center of Auburn, Indiana, where it is currently on exhibition.
  • References

    TKS Wikipedia


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