History of the Turán Medium and Heavy Tanks in World War II


An official offer came from the Skoda Factory to the Hungarian Ministry of Defence on October 1939. The Technical Director of Skoda Factory, dr. Vacláv Fiegl handed over the list of the licenses approved by the Germans for sale, among them, the documentation of the T-21 tank to the Hungarian Military Technical Institute (HTI). During the negotiation between the HTI and Skoda Factory, they agreed on a test trial of the T-21 tank in Hungary in early 1940. Theoretically the Hungarians could choose between the Swedish, Italian and Czech medium tanks. However, the Italian tanks were inferior to the Czech design, the developing war made Sweden a distant player, and the Skoda Factory was well known and trusted since the Monarchy.

 

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The Weis Manfred Factory on behalf of the other factories involved in the project (Magyar Waggon, Ganz and MÁVAG Factories) and the HTI visited the Skoda Factory in the spring of 1940 to discuss the licence production of the T-21. In the same time a military delegation also visited Pilsen led by Colonel Emanuel Czaykowski, accompanied with János Korbuly the chief engineer of the WM Factory. The Skoda offered the technical documentation of the T-21 tank with the licence rights to the Hungarians for 1.5 million Pengő, an enormous amount of money. Finally the Skoda agreed on the next terms and conditions of the licences agreement of the T-21/Turán tank as 1.184.200 Pengő for unlimited internal production in summer of 1940.  
After a three weeks long complex test trials in Hajmáskér, May 1940, the Hungarians requested some modifications:
- increasing the armour to 35mm,
- replacing the command cupola by a fixed one,
- replacing the electrical equipment with Bosch products,
- mounting a 40mm gun instead of 47mm.
The Turán’s hull was made in riveted and bolted version for the Turán family. The length of the body, the driven chain elements, the power transmission systems, the controls and the suspension, as well as the production technology remained the same for the Turán tank family.
The well-proven 43M rotatable periscope was installed on the turret and on the main body.
The two batteries, the air filter and the engine oil tank have been in the main compartment. The power plant of the tank was a 260 horsepower 4-stroke, water-cooled, 8-cylinder Turán petrol engine with could move the 18,7-19,2 tons (with skirt plates) vehicle at a maximum speed of 43 km/h.
The vehicle’s transmission system worked with compressed air, with 6 forward and 6 reverse gears and equipped with steering wheel brakes. Driving the vehicle was simple: the driver pulled the lever in the direction of rotation by breaking the side chain.
When the lever was fully pulled, the Turán could turn around on the spot. The vehicle was able to move along a 45 ° slope in good terrain with good lateral stability.  Its maximum speed reached 47 km/h (on a slight slope on concrete). The braking distance was then 200-250 m.

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The belly of the armour hull was horizontal, at the end, a 45° armoured steel plate joined to it. There was a 40 ° sloping flange at the front and a 60 ° lower front panel closed the hull, which was also equipped with 1-1 drawbar hooks. An emergency exit was also found on the belly of the armoured hull where the crew could escape quickly from the vehicle. 
At the height of the upper edge of the hull, mudguards were mounted above the chassis, which slid backwards at 3°. The headlamps that had been blinded due to the requirements of the combat experiences were shielded from the 1944s and protected by a slim metal panel. The fire extinguisher positioned behind the left headlamp and the right side the loudspeaker of the horn was attached.
On the inside of the front mudguards there were additional tools: on the left wire cutter and a special tool for replacing the track on the right a hammer for bolt pinching. In front of the headlamps, 2-2 thick wooden blocks for the jacks in case of lifting the vehicle, served as ground leveller and balance for weight distribution.
The armour hull joined by the superstructure, the side walls of which were tilted 80° inwards. The structure accommodated further attached tools; to the left, a field shovel, jimmy, pick axe, and a large hammer for mud shredding, a tow cable from the steel to the right. These side armour plates have an angle of 60 ° with the front armour plates and an angle of 30 ° with the side panels fitted to them. After the fighting compartment, the side walls continued with a small fracture toward the tail armour. In the lower part of the engine compartment, there is a bullet-proof grille that can be locked from inside with 4-4 shuttering louvers. There was also a similarly opening hatch on the back side of the armour body under the mufflers. Side panels parallel to the sides of the armour are raised at an angle of 4°.