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BT Family

When somebody says “wheeled tanks”, the first vehicles most people think of are probably the Italian Centauro or the South-African Rooikat, both of which are pretty recent designs. In reality though, the first vehicles of this type appeared as early as the first half of the 20th century. John Walter Christie, a talented American engineer, came forward with the idea for a design that made them possible, and the Soviet military were daredevil enough to roll with it. And so, in the interwar period, the Red Army received their first highly mobile “convertible” tanks with a unique wheels-and-tracks system. They were known as BT tanks, with “BT” standing for “Bystra-khodnyy Tank”, or “high-speed tank”.


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