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'Best tank' of the Spanish Civil War

Discussion in 'Pre-World War 2 Armour' started by Ricky, Mar 22, 2007.

  1. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    Ok, subjective topic time!

    What was the best tank to serve in the Spanish Civil War?

    You can even pick a 'best' for each side if you wish...


    Off the top of my head I will pick the Soviet T-26.
     
  2. smeghead phpbb3

    smeghead phpbb3 New Member

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    Good topic! I always liked the undersung 'lighter' tanks... Tigers, Panthers and JS-II's gets a bit 'much' sometimes, and it's nice to consider the old obsolete infantry support vehicles which trundled along behind them...

    Personally I'd nominate the BT-5 fast tank, in the context of the spanish civil war it had a good gun, good armor, and the christie suspension system made it possibly the most mobile tank in existance right up until 1945... It was slightly less protected than the T-26, but significatly faster and more versatile...

    In the context of WWII however, both tanks had utterly pathetic armor protection, but at least the BT series remained fast, and could be outfitted with a 76mm gun, so they weren't completely useless... The T-26 however was slow, and incapable of being up-gunned; its marginal advantage in armor meant nothing in WWII... The BT-5 proved to have more versatility and potential than the T-26, as can be seen in its successor, the T-34
     
  3. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    Did the BT-5 (or any of the BT-series) see action in the Spanish Civil War?

    Where is Kellhound when you need him...?
     
  4. TISO

    TISO New Member

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    Yes they did. BT-5 and BT-7 with early turret.
     
  5. Patton phpbb3

    Patton phpbb3 New Member

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    My favorite is the BT-7. Fast, light, manuverable, and well armed for the time, although it was lacking in the armor department.
     
  6. Anton phpbb3

    Anton phpbb3 New Member

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    I would also go for the BT-5

    most of the other tanks were tankettes (italian cv3) or very light tanks (pzkw 1, ft-17).

    The t-26 was a more or less good infantry tank for that time.

    Does anyone knows more about spanish civil war armour?

    Kind regards,
     
  7. jeaguer

    jeaguer New Member

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    .

    The exten of my knowledge was the use of russian models by the government and the presence of italian recon carrier by the italians troops fighting for the rebels ,
    - there was an article were general mola , talked of having a money prize for government tanks , his morocan troops " bagging quite a few "
    - widespread and nebulous report of the complete failure of the italians "armor "
    - the presence of von Thomas as armor commander for the rebels
    - the unsuccessful use of german tanks in the taking of madrid
    - reference to lessons learned by the french observers ,
    .......tanks are useless in build up areas without infantry support ,
    being shortened by the time it trickled down as,
    ....... tanks are useless without infantry support
    - I'm reading now " the battle for spain " from antony beevor , a writer more of the journalist than historian blend , this not being dismissive .

    i'll spread my new found knowledge back here :grin: :grin: :grin:

    a preview snipet ,
    commander estienne fighting with 115 french volunteers in a building surrounded by tanks escorted by morocans soldiers who set the building on fire ,
    estienne , coolly lighting a cigarette to the flames and commenting that nobody would ever know what had been done here


    .
     
  8. Kellhound

    Kellhound New Member

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    Who was calling for me?
    Sorry for being absent for so long, but my computer was totally destroyed and i'm still recovering some fragments of info.

    Terrain in Spain was the most important factor for vehicles. Not many roads were paved in that time, and wheeled vehicles were not very useful outside cities, and some plains. Tracked vehicles have the advantage here.
    The italians are a good example. They took Malaga at the beginning of their intervention fairly fast, mostly due to surprise and the speed of their mechanised troops.
    But in the battles for Madrid, rains had turned roads to a mud trap, stopping their divisions, and later in the battle (Guadalajara battle) the T26 (and Polikarpov fighters, actually, aviation was the main actor here) destroyed their cohesion and soundly defeated them.
    A day-by-day account (in spanish) with some interesting (and small) photos here. On the scarce side, but has few political ideas mixed in (for now).


    T26 was almost unstoppable then, and with a gun powerful enough to destroy any enenmy tank. German panzers (1 and 2) and Italian tankettes were no match one on one. The Condor Legion ground troops started using their 88mm flak guns to defend against tank attacks :roll: (don't remember battle right now, told to me by a former sargeant).


    Nationalist army paid any trooper who captured a T26 the huge amount (by then) of 500 pesetas. Many a republican "captured" their own tanks.
    Were in service until last 40's, one company being stationed next town, 6km from my house. One was unburied some years back when they were making some repairs in a highway there. I don't know what could happen to whoever misplaced that :lol:
    Republican tanks



    Edited a couple mistakes and added a some links to sources.
     
  9. jeaguer

    jeaguer New Member

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    .Schneider ?!?!? I feel sorry for whom ever had to fight in it ,
    or did anyone have to ?
    my Spanish is as good as my Danish ,
    I know Renault -17 were used in the riff war against Abd el Krim rebellion
    Beevor mention that planes could destroy tanks easily enough from the air and that the 37 mm AT guns were very efficient ,also successful use of petrol bottles

    As for the T-26 being useless in 41 , yes sure against Mk-3 or in an all armor battle , I'm not sure it was very much inferior to a Mk-2
    It could nicely brace an infantry batallion if used as support ,
    it was better than nothing and still could wipe out the odd infantry company taken in the open .

    .

    .
     
  10. Kellhound

    Kellhound New Member

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    Only registered use I have seen of Schneiders and FT17 was in "population control".
    FT17 were used in our first amphibious landing at Alhucemas in 1925, with British landing craft from Galipoli. I doubt they were the same ones, but knowing our army it's probable :roll: .

    Haven't seen yet an impartial account of any part of our Civil War, still delicate business after 70 years, and that's why I don't know too much about it. Because I prefer to know facts than political ideas or propaganda.


    An inside paper of the army was about armored warfare during the war, but was only available to officers. I've been after one for a while, but no success yet.
     
  11. jeaguer

    jeaguer New Member

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    .
    by 1939 , since the Soviets and Japaneses were so discrete, the Spanish civil war was the only recent public affrontment of large forces with artillery , tanks and planes
    It was studied with great care by the Germans staff , particularly the effect of dive and saturation bombing .
    As far as the tanks were concerned they were quickly indispensable to break the line , being immune to the two great infantry killers, the machine gun and artillery shrapnel

    It can be assumed that other nations army looked upon it as an object lesson too .
    The classic " French "doctrine was that tanks were to be used as assault guns in attack as stiffening in defense ,
    large mass attack of armor was seen as wrong if separated of the infantry as the tanks were vulnerable if isolated ,
    when the attack reach its objective the tanks would consolidate the defense, held ready to chew the counter attack to shreds
    during the civil war both side were conforming or trying to apply this tactic
    the better soviet tanks were often let down by decidedly amateurish republican troops and staff.

    as for the use of 88 against tanks , the first use I can discover recorded so far is at the September 1938 battle of the Ebro river when the republicans tried to cross and got stopped half across , the nationalists threw everything they had at it including the AA of the condor legion who used their 88 in direct support as there was no republican air force around for two days ( !?)
    they knocked out the few republican tanks who had managed to cross ,
    dooming the attack to futility and destruction
    The gunners seems to have enjoyed themselves as they are reported as being used as fire support for the rest of the campaign

    .
     
  12. jeaguer

    jeaguer New Member

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    this is the best I've found from the master Zaloga

    a snipet :
    A British attaché during the Spanish Civil War warned that "the greatest caution must be used in deducing general lessons from this war: a little adroitness and it will be possible to use it to ‘prove’ any preconceived theory".

    http://libraryautomation.com/nymas/sovi ... the_sp.htm

    there is tons of good stuff there , he doesn't go into the competition of whom was the worst , the soviet advisers or the Spanish republicans officers both threw men at machine-guns with exuberance , using the shooting squad as tool for moral building and a NKVD framework behind the lines
    and those were the "good guys " :smok:

    .
     
  13. Kellhound

    Kellhound New Member

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    ¿There are "good guys" in a civil war? :grin:
     
  14. jeaguer

    jeaguer New Member

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    On general principle , officers overthrowing a legally elected government in a blood bath are the bad guys !

    .
     
  15. Kellhound

    Kellhound New Member

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    Don't say that aloud around here. You don't know who can be listening. :grin:

    The republic fragmented too soon into several factions, many of them executing or imprisoning people even for being relatives of a factory owner, priest, or having a field a couple more meters then its neighbor.

    Believe me when I say there was no "good side" in our civil war.
    Probably there were a few good people, but overwhelmed by the rest of their respective sides, little they could do. An example of politics at its worse.
     
  16. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    The Spanish Civil War was a good example of two nasty sides fighting it out - frankly whichever side won, Spain would have lost.
     
  17. Kellhound

    Kellhound New Member

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    You are right.
    We are still paying it.

    Well, that's only true if you trust our politicians :wink:
     

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