The BTR-40 is a Soviet non-amphibious, wheeled armoured personnel carrier and reconnaissance vehicle.
About this creation
The BTR-40's design was based on the GAZ-63 four wheel drive truck which went into production in 1946. The design featured a self-bearing body which was a new feature in Soviet vehicles. The hull has two side doors for the commander and driver and a back door. The vehicle can transport up to eight fully equipped soldiers or 1 tonne of cargo
Photos by Bernard Zee
The BTR-40's armour is from 6 mm to 8 mm thick which gives it protection from small arms fire and the shell splinters of its time, but does not protect it against modern artillery fragments and 12.7mm machine gun fire. The vehicle has no roof and is normally covered with a tarpaulin to protect the crew, transported cargo or troops from rain and snow.
The BTR-40 has no permanent armament but it has pintle mounts for three 7.62 mm SG-43 medium machine guns, one at the front of the troop compartment and the other two at the sides. The vehicle also has two firing ports on both sides of the hull which allow up to four soldiers to use their weapons while being protected by the APC's armour.[
The vehicle has the 10RT-12 receiving and airing radio which has a range of 20–25 km and a winch at the front, with a maximum capacity of 4.5 tonnes and 70 m of cable. It has no protection against nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) weapons.
The BTR-40 was produced at the Gorkovsky Avtomobilny Zavod (Gorkovsky Automobile Factory) from 1950 to 1960. It was first shown publicly at the military parade in Moscow in 1950. It was issued to the Red Army in 1950 and was used in the APC, reconnaissance and command post roles. After several years of service, it became apparent that it did not fit the modern battlefield. It was replaced by the BTR-152.
The BTR-40 began to enter service with two other Warsaw Pact members in late 1949, namely East Germany and Poland, where it was used as a standard APC until more advanced vehicles like the BTR-152 were available. The last BTR-40s were withdrawn from Warsaw Pact countries in the early 1970s. The vehicle was also sold to many Arab and African nations in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Below is the BTR-40 from the museum where I work. It originally was in service with the Egyptian Army, but was captured by Israeli forces during the Six Day War. It was then put into Israeli service and eventually sold to the museum.