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The BP-43 Armored Train was an armored train that was used by the Soviet Union during World War II.

Description

The BP-43 had a PR-43 locomotive powering the train and the locomotive itself had up to 60 mm of armor protecting its crew.[1] Also importantly, a DShK was mounted in the anti-aircraft role on the locomotive. In total, the BP-43 consisted of six separate cars with optional flat cars for transport. For the standard cars, a T-34 Medium Tank turret with the same armament as the regular ground tank was mounted on to the top of the car in a well defended compartment.[2] Notably, there were machine gun ports placed in each of the T-34 artillery cars.

To defend against aircraft, armored compartments each with around 50 mm of protection mounted 37 mm anti-aircraft guns. Each weapon was separated into their own respective compartment on the train and the reason for this being was that should one compartment be compromised, only one weapon would be lost and the compartment could then be released without losing the train's firepower. The train required a crew of upwards of 100 men and like just about any other armored train or vehicle for that matter was very vulnerable to looming aircraft no matter how many anti-aircraft guns were mounted. In total, the train weighed around 362.8 metric tons with a total length of around 19 meters. The maximum speed of the train was around 45 kilometers per hour.[3]

History

The BP-43 Armored Train was developed in 1943 following the heavy losses of OB-3 Armored Trains in the early 1941 campaigns. It was decided to develop a train that could defend itself effectively against Axis aircraft and ground forces which were often deadly to trains of all kinds in combat. The benefits of a new combat train were obvious however, trains were capable of carrying huge amounts of material to the battlefield quickly. Thus, the BP-43 had been designed with further anti-aircraft emplacements to combat low flying enemy aircraft.[4] In total, around twenty-one BP-43 armored trains were created during World War II and they were used until the end of the war.

References

  1. http://www.wio.ru/rr/ww2sov.htm
  2. http://www.avalanchepress.com/ArmoredTrains.php
  3. http://www.russianwarrior.com/STMMain.htm?1941vehicle_BP42armoredtrain.htm&1
  4. Zaloga. J. Steven. Armored Trains. Osprey Publishing (2006), Page 40

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