Thursday, July 28, 2011

From Christie to T-72, part 2

J. Walter Christie was just one of many US tank designers vying to get their vehicles accepted by the War Department. But Christie turned out to be the most outstanding of them all, with his designs almost immediately accepted for service ( although none of them went into full production). Perhaps the very best of these was the M1931. Part of what made this vehicle such a winner was its revolutionary new suspension, which allowed for better mobility and speed than any other type at that time. It also allowed for the tracks to be taken off for ease of transport. But perhaps the most interesting quality of these tanks was the interest other countries, particularly Russia, took in them. Very soon that nation had bought a number of them, albeit turretless. These were accepted by the Red Army and designated BT-1 or "fast tank" in russian (although their crews took to calling them "betkas" or beetles). And those are the subject of the next post.

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