Categories
Polish fake AFVs

CP Armoured Tractor

Poland (1939)
Artillery Tractor – Fake tank

The CP armored tractor is a plastic model kit produced by the Polish RPM company. According to the story mentioned in the model instruction:
“When reinforcing the armored units with heavy weapons, the Polish army planned to design cannon-armed vehicles able to provide direct support during an attack. The result was the TKD. It was based on the TK chassis, armed with a 47mm “Pocisk” cannon mounted in a half-armored emplacement. After performing trials of the prototype, a small series was produced. As the “Pocisk” cannon was not used by the Polish army, in order to standardize the armament, the guns were dismounted and, according to unconfirmed information, sold to China. The vehicles were converted to tractors for the wz.1897 field cannons with a modified chassis (rubber wheels).”
During the Second World War, a number of tanks and other armored vehicles were disarmed and used as carriers. The best examples are the Allied ‘Kangaroo’ vehicles used as tracked APCs or German ammo carriers (like the Munitionsträger Hummel) which were just disarmed self-propelled guns. The CP armored tractor is such a converted tractor, but fictional. It is based on the real TKD self-propelled gun but without armament. The disarmed TKDs are claimed to have been slightly modified and assigned to tow the 75mm wz.1897 cannons (the version with rubber wheels).

The box art of the RPM model kit of the CP armored Tractor.
The wz.1897 was actually a French mle. 1897 gun that was used by the Polish army – it was one of the most popular cannons in the army of Second Polish Republic. Some of these guns were improved with tyred wheels, however, most of them had wooden spoked wheels. These guns were towed by horses or by C4P half-tracks. The wz.1897s were used in the September Campaign during all significant battles, frequently in an anti-tank role.
There is no reliable source that confirms the existence of a vehicle called “CP”. Also, no such conversions of TKDs are mentioned in literature. However, TKD self-propelled guns were used in 1938 (during the annexation of Zaolzie) and later probably in the September Campaign (in defense of Warsaw). Moreover, a photo from September 1939 show an abandoned TKD without its cannon – so it is possible that some TKDs were really disarmed and used as tractors or carriers. However, they also might have just been disarmed to prevent the invading Germans from using them. Also, the kit shows a plate being bolted or riveted over the gun aperture, which is also missing from the vehicle in the picture. This plate would have been hard to remove (and for little gain) or to have been blown out if the vehicle was destroyed.

A TKD self-propelled gun abandoned on the side of a road with its gun missing, probably in September 1939. However, it doesn’t look like the fake CP armored tractor – Source: odkrywca.pl.
Thus, a second life of the TKDs as disarmed carriers is possible. Nevertheless, the existence of the claimed “CP” type vehicles can be declared as fiction, as nothing confirms the other changes shown in the model kit, apart from the cannon disarmament.

Modifications

The main difference from the TKD is, of course, the lack of a gun. Its place in the frontal armor is covered with a riveted armor panel. The vehicle has two headlights, one on each side, not only on the left (like on the TKD). Moreover, the CP has a hook at the back of hull, used to tow the cannon. However, this hook looks a little too fragile for something destined for towing a cannon weighing about 1.5 tonnes.
The only armament of the CP is a machine-gun placed on the left side of the hull for self-defense, on the standard stand, known from regular Polish tankettes (TK-3 and TKS). It is a 7.92mm wz.25 machine gun, however, the kit also includes a 7.92 wz.30 machine-gun. Both of these were used in Polish vehicles against aircraft or infantry attacks.

In Retrospect

The CP is certainly a fictional vehicle, however, its design could have been pretty successful. The similarity to the British Universal Carrier or French Renault UE tankette is clearly visible. These vehicles were very useful support vehicles, being used until late in the war. The CP, as the Polish counterpart of Universal Carrier, could have been a good multi-role support vehicle, as the TK3 on which it was based was a decent vehicle. The German army kept using captured TK vehicles even in 1944 – and mainly as tractors and carriers.
It is uncertain if the CP could have been a suitable tractor for the wz.1897 cannon. Unlike the real C4P, the fictional CP had no space for the wz.1897 cannon’s crew nor for its ammo. Also, it was certainly underpowered if it was meant to tow a 1.5 tonne gun. The specialized C2P tractor was able to tow wz.1897, but it was a purpose-built tractor – the CP is portrayed as an improvised vehicle. The C2P had a strengthened chassis and a solid towing hook.

A built model of the CP armored tractor – Source: karopka.ru


Illustration of the fake CP tractor by Tank Encyclopedia’s own Bernard “Escodrion” Baker

Sidenote: Tractors in the TK family

The Polish specialized tankette-based tractor was the C2P. Designed in 1932 and based on the TKS tankette, it had an improved chassis with new side clutches and bigger wheels at the back. Initially, the Polish army rejected this machine (in favor of a horse rig). However, it was later used especially for the 40mm Bofors anti-aircraft gun. Unfortunately, the low budget of the Polish army hindered modernization effort and precluded the C2P from being used with other types of cannons. The production that started in 1937 was stopped by the war. The German army gladly used captured C2Ps. These tractors were used on all fronts to the end of the war.

C2P tracked tractor – Source: Public domain, taken from Wikipedia
During 1930s, Polish engineers designed special trailers to be towed by tankettes. One type of trailers – with tracks – was designed for spare parts. The second type – wheeled – was designed for barrels of fuel and oil. Another trailer was designed for the RKD long-range radio and a crew of 4 men. The actual use in service of these trailers is barely known.

TK3 tankette with a tracked trailer – Source: Derela Republika
The German army used captured TK tankettes for reconnaissance, against guerillas and sometimes just as support vehicles. These vehicles were used on all fronts until the end of the war. Sometimes, they were further modified by Germans. Some photos show a TKS with a simplified gun mount or a TK-3 reworked into a tractor very similar to the C2P.

A very interesting vehicle, this is not a C2P armored tractor. It is a TK3 tankette that has had its armor cut out and a windshield installed by the Germans – Source: Derela Republika

Specifications

Dimensions L-W-H 3 x 1.7 x n/a m
Crew 2
Propulsion Polski FIAT 122AC 6 cyl, 42 hp
Speed 40 km/h
Armament Wz.25 or wz.30 (both 7,92mm) machine gun

Links, Resources & Further Reading

www.super-hobby.com
derela.republika.pl (1)
derela.republika.pl (2)
Wrzesień 1939 magazine, nr. 3, FIRST TO FIGHT Sp.z o.o., Warsaw
Wrzesień 1939 magazine, nr. 33, FIRST TO FIGHT Sp.z o.o., Warsaw

Fake CP Armored TractorFake CP Armored Tractor prints

By Bernard “Escodrion” Baker

Prints of the Fake Polish CP Armored Tractor

Buy this print on RedBubble!

Categories
Polish fake AFVs

Polnischer Panzerkampfwagen T-39

Poland (1939)
Medium/Cruiser Tank – Fake tank

A Fake More Famous than the Real Thing

The 14TP is a little known Polish tank project of the late 1930s. While the information regarding it is vague and no photos have survived, some pieces of information about the project remain. The 14TP was based on the previous 10TP, but with more frontal armor, without the ability to run on its wheels alone and with a different engine.
However, the image most widely associated with the 14TP on the internet looks nothing like the lighter and better-known 10TP. It is the ‘Polnischer Panzerkampfwagen T-39.’

A sketch of the Polnischer Panzerkampfwagen T-39, as presented in an article written by Janus Magnuski – Nowa Technika Wojskowa nr 6/1996

A Historical Fake?

The Polnischer Panzerkampfwagen T-39 was first published by Janus Magnuski, a Polish historian, in his articles in the Nowa Technika Wojskowa 6/1996 and the Poligon 1/2009 magazines.
According to Magnuski, after the war, the sketch of a tank named the “Polnischer Panzerkampfwagen T-39” (“Polish Tank T-39”) was found in the documents of the Abwehr (Nazi German intelligence service). According to Magnuski, this tank looked like a cruiser-medium tank with a Christie-like suspension, similar to the 10TP, it was assumed that this was the German interpretation of the 14TP, based on whatever intelligence the Germans could get about it before or after the invasion.
While this story is plausible, no evidence was offered to support it and the original document, if it existed, has not emerged.

A ‘what-if’ drawing showing a Polnischer Panzerkampfwagen T-39 in action – Source: User bartekd on the odkrywca.pl forum
The Polnischer Panzerkampfwagen T-39 bears little resemblance to the 10TP, on which the real 14TP project was based. While it is often used to represent the 14TP, it most certainly bears no relationship to the real thing.
Of course, intelligence services are not infallible, and it possible that the T-39 was based on very poor-quality information obtained by the German agents in Polish territory. Alternatively, it is also widely postulated that this was a deliberate fabrication deliberately planted by the Poles in order to fool the Germans.
It is also possible that the Polnischer Panzerkampfwagen T-39 is a more recent fabrication, produced by Magnuski or supplied to him by somebody else. Until the original document will be found, it is hard to tell.

The Design of the Polnischer Panzerkampfwagen T-39

The feature that brings the Polnischer Panzerkampfwagen T-39 closest to the 10TP and 14TP is its Christie-like suspension. The T-39 has five large rubberized road wheels on each side, which also supported the track return. In the case of the real vehicles, each wheel would have been connected to a large coil spring sandwiched between two layers of armor.

‘What-if’ illustration of the Polnischer Panzerkampfwagen T-39, presented as the real 14TP – Source: WW2 Drawings, illustrated by V.Bourguignon.
The Polnischer Panzerkampfwagen T-39, as shown in the outline from Magnuski, was significantly longer than the 10TP, with one more road wheel. Most of the lengthening seems to have gone to the engine bay. This partially relates to the real 14TP, which was meant to have a more powerful engine.
The front part of the lower hull extends significantly in front of the superstructure, a feature that is common to frontal transmission vehicles.
The rather large turret is mounted centrally in the vehicle, between the rear engine compartment and the front driver compartment. It does not resemble any Polish turret in use at that time. The front of the turret has a very pronounced curvature.
It is noteworthy that the Polnischer Panzerkampfwagen T-39, as shown, does not have any machine-gun visible, either in the turret or in the hull.


Illustration of the Polnischer Panzerkampfwagen T-39 by Jarosław Janas.

Another illustration of the 14TP, done “Escodrion” Bernard Baker

The Fake Document

Since the appearance of the Polnischer Panzerkampfwagen T-39 in the 1996 article by Magnuski, a document has appeared and widely circulated on the internet, often purported to be the original Abwehr document from which the T-39 project was ‘discovered’ by Magnuski.
However, a careful look reveals several problems with this document. First off, it is extremely clean, both in its writing and in its preservation. While this does not necessarily mean it is fake, it is a warning sign.
It must be noted that a large part of the original Abwehr documents was methodically destroyed during the war, to prevent their capture by the enemy.
Furthermore, the German used in the document is full of grammar and phrasing mistakes. Whoever produced it was clearly not a native speaker, especially not one writing official intelligence documents!
The drawing in the document also perfectly matches the T-39 drawing widely available on the internet. This might mean that Mister Januski was very thorough in reproducing it or that whoever produced this document used the image available online.
Another interesting thing to note is that German documents did not feature drawings in them. The drawings were usually attached as annexes, and not present along with the text.

Conclusion

The ‘Polnischer Panzerkampfwagen T-39’ is not the 14TP. However, it has become widely mistaken for the real 14TP. Many websites and magazines, when writing about the little-known 14TP, use this fake tank to illustrate their pieces, often omitting to make any distinction between the two.
Also, some people have tried using the ‘Polnischer Panzerkampfwagen T-39’ to spin the 14TP into a far more advanced vehicle than it was, one that would be on par or superior to anything else of the time. New information, however, indicates it was not such a super-vehicle.
It is possible that Magnuski indeed saw the ‘Polnischer Panzerkampfwagen T-39’ in a German document, but until such a document appears, it should be treated with care. There is also no source where this ‘document’ was found or by whom or even when.

The supposed document showing the Polnischer Panzerkampfwagen T-39. It is almost assuredly a fake – Photo: As taken from a post by Raznarok on the World of Tanks forums

Links, Resources & Further Reading

Polish forum thread discussing various designs, including the 14TP
Poligon magazine 2010/1
Modern Drawings

Categories
Polish fake AFVs

PZInz 126 (Fake Tanks)

Poland (1940)
Command tank – Fake tank

Model kit

The PZInż 126 (PZInż – Państwowe Zakłady Inżynieryjne – National Institution of Engineering) is a fictitious tank invented by the model-kit firm RPM. It was a part of a series of model kits of vehicles based on the British Vickers Mark E light tank (7TP, T-26, etc.)
The cover art for the PZInz 126 model kit from RPM.
The cover art for the PZInz 126 model kit from RPM.
The description of the vehicle from the model kit instructions reads: “The plans of modernizing the armored branch did not encompass only the production or purchase of a new tank, but also trials to upgrade the vehicles already in service. According to the Polish leadership, the Vickers E tank was too weakly armoured, and its armament was downright symbolic. Arming the TKS tankette with a 20 mm FK wz.28 cannon markedly increased the battle value of these obsolete vehicles, and made them able to fight with a potential enemy (their capability was proven during the invasion in September 1939). The small dimensions of these tanks did not allow the installation of a high power radio required to create command vehicles for the armored formations. This is where the retired Vickers E entered the fray. It was planned to remove the original turrets and replace them with the turret of the PZInż 130 tank with a 20 mm gun. In place of the second turret, a radio station with essential accessory was to be installed. This potent command vehicle was created on the chassis of the old vehicle. However, the September invasion ruined these plans.”
The PZInz 126 is pictured as a “what if” plan, a tank designed by the Polish engineers and meant to be built in 1940 – if the war had not happened. However, the model kit description doesn’t mention the fact that no plans of the PZInż 126 were ever created. The number “126” is not included in the list of PZInż projects/products. This project is not recorded in any historical documents. This tank is a fictitious invention.
Unfortunately, the RPM firm has disappeared, and it was impossible to contact them for comments.

Supposed design

The following section talks about the design of a fictitious vehicle. The information presented is inferred from the model kit description and analyzing the kit itself, along with some historical context.
The PZInż 126 would have been a scout and command vehicle for the Polish armored formations. The crew would have probably consisted of three people, situated in the middle placed crew compartment. These were the driver on the right side of tank, the radio station operator on the left side, in place of the original left turret and the gunner on the right, in the turret. The crew is not specifically mentioned in the description, but is easy to infer from the vehicle layout. The gunner or the radio operator should have also acted as the commander.
This vehicle is meant to represent a conversion of the British Vickers Mk. E Type A light tank. In 1931, Poland bought this design and started to improve its construction, leading to the 7TP. However, the Polish-built tanks had considerable improvements in construction, that do not appear in the design of the PZInż 126.
The original British vehicle was powered by an Armstrong-Siddeley “Puma” engine. This engine had a capacity of 6.67 liters and a power of 91 horsepower. The Vickers tank did not have large enough air intakes, which led to problems with cooling the engine.
In effect, this vehicle would have looked very similar to another tank based on the 6-ton Vickers: the Soviet HT-26 flamethrower tank. On both vehicles, the right-hand turret was changed with a new one, and the left-hand one was removed.
A view of the left side of a PZInz 126 model - Source: cmorrismodels
A view of the left side of a PZInz 126 model – Source: cmorrismodels
The turret would have been derived from that of the experimental TKW tankette. That turret was also used on another prototype tank, the PZInż 130. It had a top hatch and two rear doors. The turret would have contained the only weapon of this vehicle, a 20 mm gun. In the model kit description it is identified as the NKM wz.38 FK-A light cannon, but the model and the illustrations seem to represent the Solothurn S18-100. This gun had a shorter barrel and was placed lower in the turret than the NKM wz.38.
The wz.38 gun was never mounted in this turret, although it was planned for the PZInz 130. Another model kit shows this gun mounted on the TKW, but this is also a fake.
The place of left turret was taken by a hatch, periscope, antenna and the radio stations. The radio type is not mentioned.

Retrospect

The idea of a vehicle that is meant to house a unit commander and provide him with mobility and protection while also allowing him to control his troops is a tested and verified one – German command vehicles, like the Sd.Kfz.265 or Pz.Bef.Wg.35(t), were very useful for the Panzer Divisions.
However, in order to make use of a vehicle analogous to the German Panzerbefehlswagens, the Polish army needed a change in structure. Such vehicles were highly useful inside the German Panzer Divisions, which were dedicated tank units. The Polish army, on the other hand, perceived tanks as infantry support weapons, split into small units and working in close cooperation with the foot soldiers. The infantry command structures also had control over the Polish tanks. Thus, tanks meant as a liaison between other tanks (like the PZInż 126) were redundant. The Polish engineers did start a project to design a tank with a powerful radio, but this concept was not perceived as essential.

Wireless sets in Polish tanks

The main Polish vehicles used for mobile long-range communications were trucks, but the idea of wireless equipped command tanks was not totally foreign. However, there was a problem. The wireless sets that could have been used in these command tanks were rather weak and did not have a long range.
The first Polish tank equipped with a radio was the French Renault TSF – a converted Renault FT with a radio set inside a large box-structure on top of the hull instead of the turret. In 1926, the Polish engineers swapped the French radio sets with Polish ones with a range of 20 km. In August 1931, all the TSFs were reworked to normal FTs. Before 1936, a single Renault FT was equipped with a radio set as an experiment but unfortunately, there is no further information available about this particular conversion.
After 1936, the Polish Army equipped a few TK3 and TKS tankettes with short-range RKBc radio sets. These would have been operated by the vehicle commander. Nevertheless, these vehicles were not meant to command other tankettes, but to keep in contact with the local headquarters and possibly relay scouting information. In September 1939, Poland had around 50 TKS tankettes. The number of tankettes with the RKBc radio set is unknown, but it was at least 5. Converted tankettes are easy to identify; they had two boxes with accessories on the back (left and right sides) of the hull and a long antenna.
A TK3 with the RKB-C radio. Notice the two large boxes at the rear and the large antenna - Source: derela.republika.pl
A TK3 with the RKB-C radio. Notice the two large boxes at the rear and the large antenna – Source: derela.republika.pl
In 1936, one Vickers E (twin turret; number 1359) was converted to carry a large radio set as an experiment. However, when the new single turret 7TP version, which had a radio set, appeared, the radio-equipped Vickers Mark E project was rejected. The intended prototype was never equipped with a radio set.
In 1938-1939, four Vickers E Mark A tanks were converted into radio vehicles (probably with the type N2/C radio set). These vehicles had a big antenna with two brackets on the hull. The specifications of this type of vehicle are unknown. However, the Vickers Mark B (single turret), which were issued to commanders, had low-power Marconi SB4a radio sets.
A row of Polish Vickers Mark E tanks. The last vehicle seems to have an antenna and might be one of the radio equipped vehicles - Source: derela.republika.pl
A row of Polish Vickers Mark E tanks. The last vehicle seems to have an antenna and might be one of the radio equipped vehicles – Source: derela.republika.pl


Illustrations of the PzInz 126 Polish Fake tank.

The first page of the PZInz 126 instruction sheet.
A twin turreted Vickers Mark E, for comparison

When the single turret version of the 7TP was made, the engineers decided to mount a Type N2/C radio set (type N2/C) in the tank from the get-go. The back of the prototype’s turret was enlarged in order to accommodate the radio set. This arrangement became a standard on the single-turret 7TP. There were 7TPs that lacked the radio set, and used this extra space for ammunition stowage. The range of the radio set could be improved by means of a 6 metre long antenna – Source: derela.republika.pl

A Polish 7TP with the antenna visible on the roof. It is the thin white line going from the turret roof to the upper edge of the photo – Source: derela.republika.pl
The first page of the PZInz 126 instruction sheet.
The first page of the PZInz 126 instruction sheet.

Rear right side view of a PZInz 126 model – Source: mojehobby.pl
A twin-turreted Polish Vickers Mark E. This was the supposed base vehicle for the PZInz 126 - Source: Derela.Republika.pl
A twin-turreted Polish Vickers Mark E. This was the supposed base vehicle for the PZInz 126 – Source: Derela.Republika.pl
The PZInz 130 amphibious tank. This vehicle had the same turret as the one shown on the fictional PZInz 126.
The PZInz 130 amphibious tank. This vehicle had the same turret as the one shown on the fictional PZInz 126. The prototype remained unarmed, but it was envisioned to mount a 20 mm wz.38 FK-A cannon at some point – Source: Derela.Republika.pl

The later version of the TKW tankette prototype. This is the same turret as the one used on the PZInz 130 and the fictional PZInz 126. It was only armed with a machine-gun – Source: Derela.Republika.pl

Links

The TKW tankette on Derela Republika
The PZInz 126 kit on Super Hobby

PZInz 126 specifications

Dimensions 4.88 x 2.41 x 2.00 m
16.37×7.9×6.74 ft
Crew 3 (driver, gunner, radio operator )
Propulsion Armstrong Siddeley Puma, 80-92 hp
Suspension Leaf sprung bogies
Speed 35 km/h (21 mph)
Range road/off-road 160/90 km (100/55 mi)
Armament 20 mm NKM wz.38 FK-A light cannon
Armor Front hull – 13 mm
Side hull – 13 mm
Back hull – 8 mm
Top hull – 5 mm
Bottom hull – 5 mm
Turret (all sides) – 8 mm