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


From the front, a 15° sloping front panel was attached to the bottom flange of the hull. On the sloping front panel there is a circular mounting window for maintenance purposes and there are two iron straps that clamp the replacement track parts. The drivers’ observation panel is located on the frontal armour plate, right to the machine gunner position.
The turret was hexagonal shaped, with fixed – non movable commander cupola, its accommodate the main armament, the gun and the coaxial machine gun and the three men out of the five crew; gun layer, loader and commander. The driver and radioman /machine gunner seated in the frontal space of the body.
The 5 man crew had small arms for self-protection; each crew member had a 9mm service pistol, plus three sub-machineguns (SMG), eight hand grenades and one flare pistol belonged to the weaponary.

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The selected primary weapon of the 40M Turán medium tank was the 40mm gun instead of the original Czech 47mm. The reason for reducing the gun calibre was that the new Hungarian 40mm gun had a muzzle velocity of 820 m/s instead of 590 m/s for the 47mm gun. It also fired the 36M 40mm shell, which was used for the Bofors. The modification of the gun was ordered from Skoda Factory too. The licence right of this 40mm tank gun was purchased by the HTI , it was called 40mm 41M tank gun.
The secondary weapons of the tank were two Hungarian designed and made 34/40AM 8mm Gebauer machine-guns. One was a coaxial machine gun built next to the main gun, the other situated next to the driver position operated by the radioman.
The licence was sold to Hungary in July 1940. Hungary agreed to manufacture the Turán tanks only for her own use and not for export. The Turán program was farmed out to four companies: Manfred Weiss, MÁVAG, Ganz and Győri Magyar Wagon és Gépgyár. The plan was to produce 230 medium 40M Turán tanks for the two divisions that were being created.
The 40M Turán was produced in two versions, a command version with one R-5 and two R-4 radios, and the combat version with just one R-5 and one R-4 radio. Of course the command version had reduced ammunition capacity. The organisation of the joint manufacturing program was very complicated and very slow. During the initial stages of mass production, about 200 different modifications were done to the original plans because the original prototype was found to be flawed. The first prototype Turán was finished in June 1941. During testing of the iron prototype new problems arose: the engine overheated, and additional problems were found with the gearbox and chassis. A new radiator was designed by Manfred Weiss which overcame the problems.

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Another problem was the armour plating. Until the manufacturing of the Turán tanks the Hungarian steel mills had manufactured armour plating only up to a thickness of 13mm. Besides, Hungary had problems with obtaining certain additives, like vanadium and nickel. Before the war Hungary was unable to collect enough vanadium, nickel and other metals important for war industry. The Steel Mill in Diósgyőr developed a new type MESTER plate and Magyar Wagon és Gépgyár also developed the AJAX plate; which did not contain any nickel. However its disadvantage was that below 20mm was difficult to make in thickness. Magyar Wagon és Gépgyár developed an improved AJAX plate, which was comparable to Mester plate, but could have been manufactured in any thickness. Both plates were resistant to penetration, but were somewhat brittle. The frontal armour was increased to 50mm, but because of the lack of proper plates this was achieved by combining a 25mm and 35mm plate.
Because of all these problems, the first vehicles did not leave the factories until the summer of 1942.  A combination of badly-trained drivers, insufficient maintenance and the short training program created a lot of problems for this first Turán series.
The R5/a and R-4 type radios were installed in the vehicle. The crew wore 39M crash helmet with a well-insulated headset in the vehicle. They could talk to each other on a loudspeaker microphone. The commander directed the vehicle’s main armament by commands or due to the combat noise with conventional signals.
The crew of a Turán tank consisted of five men:
1. The commander: whose task was to lead the armoured vehicle, keep up the communications and order and control the fire fight of the tank. Usually he led the Turán from his commander cupola with open hatch – just like the German AFV commanders. In this case he could navigate better, but was more vulnerable to the enemy fire.
2. The gun layer: whose task was to operate the main weapon, the 40 or 75mm gun. With his monocular optic he could aim the weapon.
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Versions armed with a 37 mm gun