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Last Updated: May 12, 2009

Standard production BA-64 with air inlets and bullet-proof »GK« military tires


BA-64 Light Armoured Car
At the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, the Red Army had in its arsenal the impressing number of some 6,000 armoured cars.
Less impressing was the fact that all of these were based on conventional civilian GAZ and ZIS 4x2 and 6x4 chassis which were hopelessly overloaded by the installed armour.
This led to poor performance without giving sufficient protection against armoured opponents.
In this situation, the GAZ design bureau began to develop a complete new armoured car based on the recently finished GAZ-64 all-wheel-driven chassis.
A captured German Sd.Kfz.221 armoured car, brought to Gorkiy in September 1941, presented the perfect blueprint for the sloped armoured hull and the full-traversal turret.
The new »64-125« prototype was finished by early 1942 and presented to Stalin and Voroshilov in the Kremlin together with the equally barnd-new T -70 light tank.
Series production was authorized on March 9,1942 under the final designation of »BA-64« and by May the first 3 cars had passed the tests successfully.
The combat debut took place in summer of 1942 on the Brjansk and Voronesh fronts, and the BA-64 soon excelled in its role as reconnaissance vehicle.
However, with its ability of shooting at the upper levels of buildings as well, the BA-64 proved most valuable during the heavy street fightings in the large towns of Eastern and Middle Europe during 1944-5.
In total, no less than 3,901 BA-64 armoured cars were produced mainly at Gorkiy until spring 1943 when the BA-64B was introduced, based on the wider GAZ-67 chassis and equipped with several minor design improvements.

Early BA-64 without air inlets and with civilian tires (left and bottom) and bullet-proof (»GK«) tires (top).