Tancik vz. 33

The Tancík vz. 33 (literal translation Tankette model 33) was a Czechoslovak-designed tankette used mainly by Slovakia during World War II. Seventy-four were built. The Germans seized forty when they occupied Bohemia-Moravia in March 1939; there is no record of their use. The Slovak Republic inherited thirty at the same time when it declared independence from Czechoslovakia. In Slovak service it only saw combat during the Slovak National Uprising.


Tancik vz. 33
Class Vehicle
Type Armoured Fighting Vehicle
Manufacturer CKD (company)
Origin Czechoslovakia
Country Name Origin Year
Czechoslovakia 1934
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Czechoslovakia 1934 1944 View
Slovakia View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
CKD (company) 1934 70 View

The Tancík vz. 33 was assembled from a framework of steel "angle iron" beams, to which armor plates were riveted. The driver sat on the right side using a 300 mm × 125 mm (11.8 in × 4.9 in) observation port protected by 50 millimetres (2.0 in) of bulletproof glass and an armored shutter which had a 2 mm (0.079 in) slit. The gunner sat on the left and had a similar vision port half the size of the driver's. His ZB vz. 26 machine gun was mounted in a ball mount directly to his front. There were similar vision ports on the sides and the rear. The driver's machine gun was fixed and he fired it using a Bowden cable; 2,600 rounds were stored for the machine guns.

The front armor was 12 mm (0.47 in) thick, the sides had a thickness of 8 mm (0.31 in), the top was 6 mm (0.24 in) thick and the bottom plates were 6 mm (0.24 in) in thickness. This was deemed enough to deflect armor-piercing 7.92 mm (0.312 in) bullets fired from distances greater than 125 metres (137 yd) from the front and 185 metres (202 yd) from the sides. Both were supposed to withstand ordinary bullets from over 50 metres (55 yd).

The 1.95 litres (119 cu in), water-cooled, 30 horsepower (22 kW), inline 4-cylinder Praga engine sat directly in the fighting compartment. It had a top speed on the road of 35 kilometres per hour (22 mph). One 50-litre (13 US gal) fuel tank was located to the left of the engine. The transmission had four forward gears and one reverse gear. It, the reduction, differential, driving shafts and brakes were taken from the Praga AN truck.

The suspension was a modified version of that used in the Carden-Loyd tankettes. It consisted of two small road wheels fastened together on a frame, two frames paired and sprung by leaf springs that made a wheel carrier, one wheel carrier per side. The track was guided by wooden, metal-lined frames. It had a ground pressure of only 0.5 kg/cm2. It could cross a ditch 1.2 metres (3.9 ft) wide, climb an obstacle .5 metres (1.6 ft) high and ford a stream .4 metres (1.3 ft) deep.

Czechoslovakia

The 1934 Fall maneuvers validated the misgivings of many in the Army. The gunner had trouble holding his weapon at speeds over 10 kilometres per hour (6.2 mph) and could not lay it properly at all. The driver could not use his machine gun in addition to driving the vehicle. They had trouble negotiating the terrain and proved unsuitable for reconnaissance as the crew could only observe the road while "buttoned-up". The lack of a radio made coordination impossible among the vehicles in a platoon or larger-sized formation.

While used as a substitute for the light tanks not yet in service during 1934—36 the Army decided to organize them in three-vehicle platoons and assigned them to support the border areas. These platoons were heavily used suppressing the protests and violence instigated by Konrad Henlein's Sudeten German Party (Sudetendeutsche Partei - SdP) and the Sudetendeutsche Freikorps (paramilitary groups trained in Germany by SS-instructors) between May and October 1938. They were also used to repel Hungarian and Polish border-crossers, sometimes up to a battalion in strength. They helped to screen the infantry when they had to evacuate southern Slovakia after the First Vienna Award on 2 November 1938.

Germany

The Germans captured forty Tancík vz. 33s when they occupied Czechoslovakia, but there is no record of their use so they were presumably quickly scrapped or relegated to training duties.

Slovakia

The thirty Tancík vz. 33s formed one platoon in the Armored Battalion "Martin" formed by the Slovak Army in mid-1939, but they were relegated to training duties during 1940. They saw some use by the insurgents when the Slovak National Uprising began in September 1944, but little is known of their activities.

Type Tankette
Place of origin  Czechoslovakia
Service history
In service 1934—44
Used by  Czechoslovakia
 Slovakia
Wars Slovak National Uprising
Production history
Designer CKD
Designed 1930—33
Manufacturer CKD
Unit cost about 131,200 Czechoslovak koruna
Produced 1934
Number built 70 + 4 prototypes
Specifications
Weight 2.3 tonnes (2.3 long tons; 2.5 short tons)
Length 2.7 metres (8.9 ft)
Width 1.75 metres (5.7 ft)
Height 1.45 metres (4.8 ft)
Crew 2
Armor 4–12 millimetres (0.16–0.47 in)
Main
armament
2 x 7.92 mm (0.312 in) ZB vz. 26machine guns
Engine 4-cylinder, water-cooled Praga
30 horsepower (22 kW)
Transmission 4 x 1
Suspension leaf spring
Fuel capacity 50 litres (13 US gal)
Operational
range
100 kilometres (62 mi)
Speed 35 kilometres per hour (22 mph)

End notes