RussianArmour Overview
All drawings © o5m6 2007-9. All rights reserved.
No publication in any form without the author's written permission.

Last Updated: July 21, 2009

Russian Tanks in the Spanish Civl War
When the first batch of 50 T-26 was loaded off the Russian freighter »Komsomol« at the Spanish port of Cartagena on Oct 12, 1936, the Franco Rebellion of July 1936 had already evolved into a bloody civil war threatening the capital Madrid.
The Russian government, anxious about loosing the country to the fashists, decided to support the Republicans in the same way the Italians and Germans supported the Nationalists.
Hence, no less than 281 T-26 light tanks and a further 50 BT-5 fast tanks reached the Spanish shores until March of 1938.
The T-26 instantly played a dominent role whenever appearing on the battlefield.
Sufficiently armoured against its machine gun equipped German and Italian counterparts and well armed with the 45mm gun, the T-26 was only threatended by artillery and land mines.
However, its potential couldn't be exploited as the coordination of infantry and armour formations was virtually non-existent, resulting in tank attacks lacking infantry support and vice versa.
Nontheless, there were bounties offered by the Nationalists for every tank captured and every such tank was instantly integrated into the own tank units.
The T-26 remained in action until the end of war participating in almost all major battles.

The 50 BT-5 arrived on Aug 10, 1937 and were mainly deployed on the Spanish »Eastern Front« during the battles of Zaragoza and Ebro. As with the T-26, captured samples were instantly used by the Nationalist tank brigades.

Sources :

Highly recommended

  T-26 Model 1935 in Republican service

All-welded T-26 Model 1935, Madrid vicinity 1936

Abandoned with all hatches open

  T-26 Model 1935 in Franco-Nationalist service

All-welded T-26 Model 1935

Note St.Andrew's cross on roof top for air identification

  T-26 Model 1936 in Republican service

All-welded T-26 Model 1936 with P-40 AA machine gun mount and rear machine gun

  T-26 Model 1936 in Franco-Nationalist service

Note tank and unit insignia on front armour

Note widespread two-tone camouflage

  BT-5 in Republican service

Captured by the Nationalits during the Ebro fighting in 1938

Early cylindrical turret with small buzzle, see also photo bottom right

  BT-5 in Franco-Nationalist service

  Armoured Car BA-6 in Franco-Nationalist service

In total, 37 BA-6 and 3 BA-3 were sent to Spain in October of 1936.
This one was captured from the Republicans in 1937, turret at 6 o'clock

Franco-Nationalist victory parade at Barcelona, February 21,1939

Note St.Andrew cross as air recognition symbol on turret top

The BA-6 performed well on the battlefield and was a precious trophy for the Franco-Nationalists

All drawings © o5m6 2007-9. All rights reserved.
No publication in any form without the author's written permission.

Last Updated: July 21, 2009

RussianArmour Overview