Fake Tanks WW2 Polish Fake Tanks

‘Czołg Ciężki Polski’ Markowskiego (Fake Tank)

Republic of Poland (1938-1940)
Heavy Tank – Fake

Compared to other nations, Poland probably has the largest percentage of widely known fake and fictional vehicles in relation to the number of real ones. The reason for that is likely the high level of patriotism and passion among the Poles, and it is related to the popularity of military online games in their country. Because the number of known real vehicles, including paper proposals and conceptual projects, was not enough to have Polish technical trees implemented in games such as World of Tanks and War Thunder, many people worked hard to create superlative forgeries, many of which can hardly be detected even after years. One such popular fake tank was the Heavy Tank of Antoni Markowsky, well-known under its Polish designations ‘Czołg Markowskiego’, ‘Czołg Ciężki Polski’ (or just ‘CCP’ in short), and ‘53TP Markowskiego’.


Real Polish Armored Vehicles of Late Interwar Period

Based on the English Carden-Loyd Mk.VI tankette, a quite successful vehicle was created in Poland in the early 1930s – the TK-S. The same story happened with light tanks: having established the production of Vickers Mk.E light tanks, Polish tank builders created the successful 7TP machine based on it. Unfortunately, the next step – the development of its own armored vehicles – turned out to be too difficult for the Polish tank industry. Plenty of attempts were made, but none progressed beyond experimental machines. The beginning of the Second World War was faced by the Polish Army with tanks based on technical solutions from the late 1920s.

The 7TP mod. 1939 was proposed by the Studies Bureau of the State Engineering Works, led by Edward Habich. In this variant, the PZInż. 155 (CT1D) engine was utilized. The tank’s hull shape differed slightly from the 7TP; the armor thickness increased from 17 mm to 40 mm in the hull front, from 17 mm to 25 mm in the hull sides; from 15 mm to 40 mm in the turret’s front and to 20 mm in the turret’s sides. The weight also increased to ~11 tonnes, prompting a reinforced suspension (320 mm wide tracks, road wheels with replaceable rubber), and the C7P tractor’s transmission was proposed.

The project was submitted for consideration in May 1939. Despite the heavy criticism drawn by the State Engineering Works, its solutions gained approval from the Armored Weapons Command. Two prototype light tanks named 7TP wz. 1939 were ordered. In July, these vehicles (with some different adjustments – one had the standard 7TP transmission, the other’s transmission was adopted from the C7P tractor) were completed and received by the Military Technical Inspection. After July 28th, in the Kampinos Forest, the tanks were examined and subjected to comparative trials.

During the first drives, the prototype with the C7P’s transmission obtained the best results and performance, so it was supposed to be launched in mass production. Unfortunately, the outbreak of the Second World War foiled these plans.

7TP, “reinforced” by B.B.T.Br.Panc (blue outline) and 7TP (red outline) cross-section comparison. Source: Secret Projects Forum

Earlier, in 1929, Captain Marian Ruciński was dispatched to the United States to represent the interests of the Military Institute of Engineering Research (WIBI). During his visit, he met with Christie and discovered that the U.S. Wheel Track Layer Corporation was working on an enhanced version of the M.1928 tank, designated M.1940.

Following negotiations, a contract was signed, whereby Christie committed to developing an improved version of the M.1928 tank for Poland. The agreed-upon cost of the tank was $30,000, with an additional $3,500 allocated for spare parts. The delivery time was stipulated at 90 days from the contract signing. However, Christie soon entered into an agreement with Poland’s main adversary, the Soviet Union, for the supply of the same M.1940 tank. The Soviet deal proved to be more lucrative, leading to the abandonment of the construction of the Polish tank. Despite Polish threats of legal action, they were only able to recover the amount they had paid. Subsequently, this incident tarnished Christie’s reputation. In 1936, having lost other contracts, Christie offered to collaborate with Poland, but the offer was declined. By that time, Poland had become less reliant on Christie, particularly considering the controversial nature of his later projects.

Work on the Polish equivalent of the Christie tank commenced in 1932, relying on materials obtained by Captain Ruciński from Christie. However, progress on the project was sluggish, as priority was given to the development of the Polish equivalent of the Vickers Mk.E, the 7TP. Towards the end of 1934, the Military Institute of Engineering Research (WIBI) was disbanded, leading to the destruction of documentation related to the Polish Christie tank, leaving almost nothing preserved to this day.

A restart of the project occurred on March 10th, 1935, with the newly formed Design Bureau for the Development of Armored Vehicles (pl. ‘Biuro Badań Technicznych Broni Pancernych’, abbreviated ‘BBT Br.Panc.’) taking charge. Major Rudolf Gundlach, a key figure in Polish tank development alongside Edward Habich, was the lead designer. Jan Lapushevsky assumed the role of the lead engineer for the machine. The project was designated 10TP, indicating a 10-tonne tank class. Although the initial design progress was slow, approval from the Committee on Armaments and Supplies of the Polish Army (KSUS) in January 1936 expedited the work.

In 1937, the designers initiated the assembly of the first prototype of the 10TP in the workshop at the Technical Bureau, situated on the premises of the PZInż factory in the city of Ursus, near Warsaw. At the outset of assembly, the company lacked the necessary equipment for manufacturing the 10TP, resulting in the prototype being completed only in July 1938. Tests were carried out under the strictest secrecy due to concerns about potential German agents. On August 16th, 1938, the 10TP tank underwent its inaugural extensive test run. Unfortunately, with the onset of the Second World War, all work came to a halt, and the sole prototype of the tank was destroyed.

10TP wheel-cum-track tank on wheels. Source:

In 1939, the issue of upgrading the 10TP was being worked out, taking into account the shortcomings identified during the tests. The tank became purely tracked, its armor was strengthened, and the combat weight increased to 14 tonnes. The issue of installing a more powerful 47 mm cannon was also being considered. The tank turned into the Polish equivalent of the British Cruiser Tank Mk.IV, surpassing it in armament and armor. The matter did not progress beyond preliminary studies; nevertheless, the documents on this topic have been preserved.

Two outlines of the Czołg lekki polski, commonly known under the incorrect designation 14TP; note the difference in the parameters. Sources: WLU WS 2/2021, WLU 151/2018 (via SkylinerPL).

Unfortunately, medium tanks became an unattainable goal for the Polish industry. The first requirements for a medium tank date back to the summer of 1936. According to them, a tank weighing 12-20 tonnes, armed with a 75 mm gun, was supposed to be created. Later, the weight requirements increased, turning the development of the machine into a competition between BBT Br.Panc. and KSUS. There is also information that Habich designed his own medium tank, but only doubtful textual information has been preserved on it.

As in the case of light tanks, the reference points for creating a medium tank came from British samples, firstly the Medium Tank Mk.III. Polish designers also closely followed the Soviet T-28. The concept assumed two-tier armament: two machine gun turrets for infantry support, with the main turret housing a gun and a paired machine gun. Since two competing teams worked on a similar technical task, their tanks turned out to be quite similar.

Led by Rudolf Gundlach, the team of BBT Br.Panc. developed a tank with weapons that differed from the initial requirements. The 23-tonne machine was to be equipped with a 40 mm wz.36 anti-aircraft automatic gun (the Polish version of the Bofors anti-aircraft gun). The tank also carried three Ckm wz.30 machine guns: one paired with the cannon and two in machine gun turrets. It was also supposed to have an 81 mm mortar. The vehicle was designed to be quite mobile: a pair of engines with a total capacity of 600 hp would accelerate it to 45 km/h. The thickness of the armor reached 50 mm, and, judging by the sketch, cast parts were widely used.

Outlines of the Czołg sredni, commonly known under incorrect designation 20/25TP. Version by BBT Br. Panc. Source:

KSUS developed its machine in two versions. The tank, also known as K.S.U.S.T., was in many ways similar to the development of the BBT Br.Panc. (this is especially true of the hull’s layout). The first option involved a 22-tonne tank, which was powered by a 320 hp diesel engine. As the main armament, it was supposed to use a 75 mm field gun of the 1897 model. Similar to the BBT Br.Panc version., the tank carried three Ckm wz.30 machine guns, but this time without a mortar. The crew, instead of seven people in the BBT Br.Panc. project, included six people. The armor thickness was more modest, at 35 mm. Theoretically, the first version of the K.S.U.S.T. was supposed to accelerate to 35 km/h. The second variant had a combat weight of 25 tonnes, a pair of 300 hp engines, armor thickness up to 50 mm, and a maximum speed of 45 km/h.

Outlines of the Czołg sredni, commonly known under incorrect designation 20/25TP. Versions by K.S.U.S. Source:

The designs of BBT Br.Panc. and KSUS were very similar, and after consideration at the end of 1937, it was decided to develop a ‘joined’ design project. Unfortunately, the creators of the new medium tank faced a number of problems, including the main one: a lack of a suitable engine. As a result, the Polish medium tank only existed on paper when World War II began. During the war, Poland even had heavy tanks – IS-2s, which were supplied to the Polish Army by the Soviet Union in 1944-1945. After the war, a considerable number of tank designs, both medium and heavy class, were developed in Poland, but almost all of them were diploma works, from which only descriptions remained.

Pseudo Historical Information About the Tank’s Origin

Page of the forged booklet, ‘unveiling’ some aspects of the proposal’s history. Writing may be translated as “Independent work of Prof. Antoni Markowski from Lwow Polytechnic. Preliminary assumptions for the project of building a heavy tank for the Polish Army” Source:

According to most of the ‘Historical Information’ abstracts given on the Internet, the development of the ‘Czołg Ciężki Polski’ or ‘Czołg Markowskiego’ underwent following stages:

“In 1939, when the design of a new Polish medium tank reached the stage of manufacturing full-size models, representatives of the Armament Committee proposed starting a program to create a heavy tank (Polish: ‘Czołg Ciężki Polski’). The main requirements were the ability to break through fortified lines and support infantry, armor providing invulnerability to anti-tank guns, and a weight of up to 50 tonnes. The program was designed for 5 years (1940-1945).

Several heavy tank concepts were created in Poland in 1939. One of them was developed by Professor Anthony Markovsky of the Lwow Polytechnic Institute. His work was submitted to the Committee on Armaments on July 22nd, 1939. Professor Markovsky proposed the concept of a tank armed with a 120 mm wz. 1878/09/31 howitzer and one machine gun, having very thick armor (130 mm for the front of the hull, 100 mm for the sides, 90 mm for the rear, and 110 mm for the turret), but low mobility (500 h.p. engine, allowing speeds of up to 30 km/h).

Since the official heavy tank program was supposed to be launched only in 1940 (with the allocation of appropriate funding), work on heavy tanks in pre-war Poland did not go beyond the creation of draft concepts.”

Scan of the so-called document, where the heavy tank of Markowski is mentioned. Source:

It goes without saying that there is little proof of the reality of the aforementioned abstract. First of all, there was no Professor Antoni Markowski at the Lwow Polytechnic back in 1938-1940, when the heavy tank is said to have been developed. Moreover, there was basically no sense in the concept of such a vehicle, as the Polish industry had not yet acquired the capability to master the production of the parts necessary for even a medium tank. Finally, the document physically contains plenty of dubious attributes, such as linguistic details and paper aging.

For example, ‘czołgu’ is a rather modern genitive case (‘dopełniacz’) form; in the 1920-1940s, ‘czołga’ was used instead in most documents and books. In the first paragraph, ‘propozycja’ should be written in the instrumental case: ‘propozycją’. In the last but one paragraph, instead of the singular adjective ‘przewidywalna [załoga]’ (pl. for ‘predictable [crew]’), a plural noun ‘przewidywania’ (pl. for ‘predictions’) is used. All this can hardly be written by a Professor of the Polytechnic or an Academy; the document is certainly written not in the language of those years 1930s/1940s, but rather very chaotically and at the level of a person from a middle school class.

Normally, paper yellows in a way that progresses from the edges to the center, where the sheets of paper come into contact with each other. Source:

Lastly, the aging of the paper is also dubious. The paper clips show no signs of rust, and the paper has uniformly turned yellow, lacking a distinctive gradient from the edges to the center.

Tracking the Origin

One of the earliest appearances of this document is in the ‘Broń Pancerna’ Facebook group, where it was published on December 17th, 2013. According to the description, it was by the subscriber Dorota Szlec who, in turn, said that she received it from VAT archives. However, no VAT archives existed in Poland, only the WAT archive – the archive of the Military University of Technology (pl.: ‘Wojskowa Akademia Techniczna’).

About a year before, on December 15th, 2012, the same photos were published on the forum, under a designation ‘53TP’. Given details are mostly the same, apart from one: it is said that the vehicle was previously known as ‘ziemnorodny’ and ‘czołg 7-tarczowy’ (pl. for ‘earthbound’ and ‘tank with 7 armor plates’, referring to the number of plates forming the turret’s roof). No such designations existed in reality in Poland. They first appear in an article by Danuta Skrzypczak named ‘Akta Wojskowych Instytutów I Biur Technicznych z Lat 1915-1939’; highly likely, she messed up the ‘ziemnowodny’ and ‘7-tonowy’ (pl. for ‘amphibious’ and ‘7-tonne’) designations, referring to 7T and 7TP tanks (aforementioned Polish Vickers Mk.E tanks) and some other amphibious vehicles. This leaves little chance for the aforementioned version to be credible.

Finally, the earliest traceable appearance of Markowski’s tank is on October 9th, 2012. It was published in a ‘Polish Medium and Heavy tank proposals (1937-1939)’ article on the world_of_kwg blog on the LiveJournal website. Highly likely this was not the first online appearance, but most of the preceding publications have ceased to exist by now.

The Mysterious Professor

According to forged historical information, the author of the proposal was Antoni Markowski, a professor at the Lwow Polytechnic.

The only known real reference to a person named Antoni Markowski in the context of armored vehicles. Source: Janusz Magnuski, ‘Samochody pancerne wojska polskiego 1918-1939’

The first traceable mention of a person with such a name appears in the book Armored cars of the Polish Army 1918-1939 (pl. Samochody pancerne Wojska Polskiego 1918-1939) by Janusz Magnuski, in a section related to the ‘Tank Piłsudskiego’ (pl. for ‘Piłsudski tank’) armored car. According to the information given there, Professor Antoni Markowski (1878 – 1949) was the author of an idea to use an armored car to assault objects taken by the Ukrainians during the Polish-Ukrainian fight for Lwow in 1918. Still, no relationship with the Lwow Polytechnic is mentioned.

Unexpectedly, more information about Antoni Markowski appears in the Sprawozdanie Dyrekcji Państwowej Szkoły Realnej im. Jana i Andrzeja Śniadeckich we Lwowie za rok szkolny 1920-21 (eng. Report of the Jan and Andrzej Śniadecki State Real Estate School in Lwow for the school year 1920-21). He is described as a “professor, Artist-Painter; taught hand drawings in classes Ia, Ie, IIa, IVa, IVc, Vc; head of the hand-drawing room; 19 hours per week” (pl.: “Markowski Antoni, profesor, artysta-malarz, uczył rysunków odręcznych w klasach Ia, Ie, IIa, IVa, IVc, Vc; zawiadowca gabinetu rysunków odręcznych; tygodniu godziny 19”).

In the interwar period, Professor Markowski educated young graphic designers and was active in artistic circles in Lwow. After the city was occupied by the Red Army in 1939, he was deported to the East, but he managed to evacuate with Anders’ Army. Later, he lectured at the Academy of Fine Arts in Beirut and died in 1949 in London.

It has to be mentioned that Professor Antoni Markowski (1878 – 1949), Artist-Painter, is often confused with Professor Józef Antoni Markowski (1874 – 1947), an anthropologist. He was born into the family of Antoni and Aniela née Heimroth and was the older brother of Zygmunt Markowski (1872 – 1951), a pathologist and internist. Both of them were associated with the Lwow academic community but not with the creation and construction of armored vehicles.

Professor Józef Antoni Markowski (1874-1947) and his brother Professor Zygmunt Markowski (1872 – 1951). Source:,, compiled by the author.

The only place where a person named Antoni Markowski was mentioned as a Lwow Polytechnic Professor was an article by Polish researcher and historian Michal Derela about the ‘Tank Piłsudskiego’. In a large monograph by Zbysław Popławski named Wykaz pracowników naukowych Politechniki Lwowskiej w latach 1844-1945 (pl. for The list of research workers at the Lwow Polytechnic in the years 1844-1945), released in Krakow in 1994, only three people with the Markowski surname are mentioned, but none of them is Antoni.

Prof. Antoni Markowski, if he had worked in the Lwow Polytechnic, is supposed to be listed on this page. Source: Zbysław Popławski, ‘Wykaz pracowników naukowych Politechniki Lwowskiej w latach 1844-1945’; photo by Piotr Niedziela.

Therefore, Professor Antoni Markowski does not seem to have worked at the Lwow Polytechnic in the late Interwar period. This is one piece of evidence that indicates the fact that ‘Czołg Ciężki Polski’ is a fake vehicle.

Description of the ‘Project’

Photo of the last page of the forged booklet, with main parameters listed. Note the date below – July 22nd, 1939. Source:


The hull of the vehicle resembled, in many aspects, the hull of the Soviet T-34 medium tank. Frontal, side, and rear plates were installed at angles of 30°, 40°, and 20° respectively, with thicknesses of 130 mm, 100 mm, and 90 mm. Effective thicknesses would be an incredible 260 mm, 155 mm, and 263 mm. The total hull length was to be 7.6 m, width – 3.6 m, height – 2 m. Though the forged document contains only rough outlines of the heavy tank, it may be speculated that it would have had a rather traditional layout, with a turret in the front part and the motor compartment in the rear part of the hull. The sloped frontal plate included a hatch, probably for the driver, and a machine gun of an unspecified model.

On the first Polish-made vehicles, such as TKS or 7TP, rivets were widely used as the primary method for joining the armor plates, most of which were rolled. Riveted joining was a common and established method, particularly for rolled homogeneous armor. Additionally, riveted joints facilitated easier field repairs and replacements: damaged sections could be cut out, and new plates could be riveted in place without the need for sophisticated welding equipment.

On later proposals, such as the ‘Czolg sredni’ by K.S.U.S.T. and BBT Br.Panc., cast parts were planned to be used widely, as well as welded joining. Welding provides a stronger, more continuous bond between metal plates, resulting in improved structural integrity. Besides, welding facilitated the development of more complex and effective armor shapes: the ability to weld intricate designs allowed for better distribution of armor, enhancing overall protection.

What-if model of Markowski ‘Czołg Ciężki Polski’, based on the forged blueprint. Notice the use of interlocked plates and welding, something that would only appear on later German tanks in real life. Source: made by Pablo Escobar in Sprocket game, Zinoviy Alexeev Design Bureau

Highly likely, ‘Czołg Markowskiego’, if built, would have either used welded armor or combined welding with riveting. For example, it would have been rational to make the front turret’s roof riveted: this would have made dismantling of the gun easier, similarly to Soviet IS-3 heavy tanks, whereas thick hull plates would probably have been welded.


The coffin-shaped turret is probably the most prominent feature of the design. There is no real-life equivalent for it. This layout would have enhanced the protection of the upper turret due to the plate angling: 15° from normal for the front side ones and 20° for the front roof ones. Considering the plate thickness to be 110 mm, as mentioned in the booklet, that would result in more than 320 mm and 425 mm of effective armor, respectively. On the turret’s flat roof, one crew hatch is drawn, as well as an observation device.

What-if model of Markowski ‘Czołg Ciężki Polski’, based on the forged blueprint. Source: made by Pablo Escobar in Sprocket game, Zinoviy Alexeev Design Bureau


The 120 mm Armata wz. 78/09/31 was a combination of the gun barrel from the Canon de 120 mm L modèle 1878 field gun supplied by France and the carriage of the Russian 152 mm M1909 howitzer. The name of the gun signifies the date of manufacture for each of the components used: 78 indicated the barrel was from 1878, 09 indicated the carriages came from the M1909, and 31 indicated that the design was completed and construction began in 1931.

120 mm wz. 1878/09/31 in a marching order in Poland. Source:

In 1935, there were 32 wz.1878/09/31 guns in Poland’s inventory, with an additional 4 in reserve, lacking full equipment, totaling 36 guns. Additionally, there were 13 unconverted wz.1878 barrels in reserve. In 1939, three Heavy Artillery Detachments, each with 12 guns, were held in reserve. Among these, the 46th and 47th Heavy Artillery Detachments were horse-drawn, while the 6th Heavy Artillery Detachment was motorized. All actively participated in the defense of Poland, facing both German and Soviet units.

After the Polish Campaign in 1940, Germany sold 24 of the surviving guns and 46,200 rounds of ammunition to Finland. The guns arrived in two shipments: 13 guns on the Inga on October 2nd, 1940, and the remaining 11 guns on the Widor on October 9, 1940. In Finnish service, the unmodified Canon de 120 mm L modèle 1878 was designated 120 K/78, and the new guns from Poland were designated 120 K/78-31. During the Continuation War (Second Soviet-Finnish War), these guns were issued to four heavy artillery battalions. They gained a reputation for being durable and high-quality artillery pieces, although the new primer system proved troublesome, and the recoil system was not always reliable in cold weather. Two of the guns were lost in 1944, and after World War II, the remaining guns were placed in reserve until they were retired during the 1960s.

The offensive anti-infantry machine gun in the hull front is not specified; still, it can be speculated that it could have been the 7.9 mm Ciężki Karabin Maszynowy wzor 30 (a.k.a. Сkm wz. 30). First, the general outline on the forged blueprint is rather close to that of the Сkm wz. 30; second, this machine gun was used on most of the Polish tanks by the beginning of World War II, such as the 7TP and 10TP light tanks, TKS tankette, etc.

Blueprint of the 7.9 mm Ciężki Karabin Maszynowy wzor 30. Source: Ciężki karabin maszynowy wz.30. Atlas. Instrukcja o Broni Piechoty, cz.3.

By the end of 1927, the ministry organized a competition for a new standard of universal heavy machine guns. In the contest, several candidates participated: the American company Colt with their M1928, an export version of the Browning M1917A1; the Schwarzlose M.7/12 (Schwarzlose Janecek vz.7); and a British Vickers machine gun modified to the Czechoslovakian 7.92 mm caliber.

All initial tests were won by Browning. Tests were repeated in 1928, and once again, American weapons emerged victorious. Consequently, the Polish Ministry decided to purchase a license at an extremely high price – $450,000. Unfortunately, the acquired license for a Browning machine gun was poorly documented and delayed in delivery, precluding the Poles from placing further orders abroad. Therefore, the Polish Ministry decided to order the production of a local version of the Browning M1917 at Fabryka Karabinow (pl. for ‘Rifle Factory’) in Warsaw.

The first test models were prepared in the mid-1930s and sent to various test ranges. In March 1931, the first 200 models were sent to front-line troops for further testing under the designation Ckm wz.30. Mass production began by the end of the same year. The most notable differences between the original and the Polish versions are as follows:

  1. Accommodates different calibers, including the Polish standard 7.92×57 mm Mauser ammunition;
  2. Replaces loophole iron sights with V-notch sights;
  3. The handle on the rear of the weapon has been lengthened to make it easier to carry;
  4. A longer barrel improves performance and accuracy;
  5. The rifle lock has been modified to make it easier to replace worn-out barrels;
  6. Locks have been changed to be easier to handle;
  7. A new mount was adopted, and a mast for anti-aircraft fire was added;
  8. A sight for anti-aircraft fire, and a handle for aiming in the air have also been added;
  9. A flash suppressor has been added.

The first test introduced a series of additional changes. In 1938, the trigger mechanism was replaced by a completely new and more reliable system. In addition, the locks were replaced for ease of handling and to keep the weapon in good condition. The modified design received the designation Ckm wz.30a, but the soldiers themselves rarely used this name.

The new version also formed the basis of the Ckm wz.30/39T design, intended for export to Turkey and adapted to Turkey’s standard 7.65×53 mm Argentine ammunition. However, this design was never produced in large numbers, as the competition in Turkey was canceled after the outbreak of World War II.

Ckm wz. 30 being used as an anti-aircraft weapon during the Civil War in Spain. Source: Nieznany – Z. Gwóźdź, P. Zarzycki; Polskie konstrukcje broni strzeleckiej; Wyd. SIGMA NOT, Warszawa 1993.

Additionally, a significant number, over 1,700, were exported to Republican Spain by the SEPEWE syndicate. Attempts were made to sell to other countries, such as Argentina, Bulgaria, Estonia, Romania, and Yugoslavia, but despite positive participation in the competitions, the state-run factory did not have the resources to guarantee delivery. Captured weapons were used by Nationalist Spain, Nazi Germany, and Romania. After 1939, many surviving Ckm wz.30 machine guns were used by Polish partisan units, mainly the Home Army, especially during the Warsaw Uprising.

Three (or Zero?) Possible Engine Options

The exact model of the engine was unspecified; the only known parameter is its power – 500 hp. Three options were, with a stretch, compatible with this value back then:

  1. Paired Rytel-Werner gasoline or diesel engines (300 or 250 hp each). For the new medium tank, also known as K.S.U.S.T., the Engine Department of PZInż., headed by engineer Zdzisław Rytel, designed, in collaboration with engineer Jan Werner, a special V-12 engine in two versions: a carburetor gasoline engine of 300 hp (according to some sources, it had to be an 8-cylinder) and a direct injection diesel engine of 250 hp. However, until the outbreak of the war, the Engine Department of PZInż did not finish any of those prototypes.
  2. Paired American LaFrance gasoline engines (240 hp each). Due to the prolonged work on the construction of the Polish engine prototype for the 10TP light tank, it was decided to look for another one outside the country. The 12-cylinder American LaFrance engine (240 hp) was bought, though it seemed to be too weak and faulty.
  3. Engine compartment of the 10TP light tank. The American LaFrance engine is indicated by a number 27. Source: Armor in profile №1, 1997
  4. Paired German Maybach HL 108 (300 hp each) engines were considered the most appropriate powerplant choice for the 10TP and had already been taken into account in 1937. During the early development stage of the 10TP light tank, it was about 200 kg lighter than an American LaFrance and reached almost half as much power. However, despite many efforts and attempts to buy the HL108 with semi-automatic gear-boxes in Germany, the 10TP had to continue further with the unreliable American LaFrance. The case was so important that there was even an attempt to bring the engine to Poland through the help of Sweden because the Germans, in 1937, did not agree to sell fewer than 8-10 engines, which for the Polish side was insufficient. The most likely scenario is that, by September 1939, the Maybach purchase failed, although some documents say that a new engine had been obtained. After the war, in the 1960s, Leon Czekalski, an officer who did a test drive of the 10TP, recalled that the 10TP was tested with two different engines, and the second one had been awaited for a long time.

It is important to keep in mind there was no engine manufacturing plant in Poland before World War II. Polish industry has not been able to master the production of even licensed engines for the light tank. More powerful, especially domestic engines, which would have been needed for medium or heavy vehicles, did not even loom on the horizon.


According to the description of the vehicle, it should have been equipped with a crew of 5-6: a commander, gunner, one or two loaders would have likely occupied places in the turret and in the middle part of the hull; the driver and a radioman/machine gunner would have been located in the front part of the hull.

Wargaming Gets The Show on the Road

In the summer of 2020, a Polish tech tree was introduced in the online game World of Tanks, following years of discussions and rumors among players and historians. Well before this introduction, Markowski’s tank was considered one of the primary candidates for top tiers. Another popular but yet-to-be-introduced proposal was the Czołg Lema, a superheavy tank suggested by Stanislaw Lem, an eminent Polish sci-fi writer, philosopher, satirist, and futurologist, to the Soviet Military Command during World War II. This addition was crucial, as the game faced a significant shortage of historical vehicles suitable for the higher tiers.

53TP Markowskiego as presented in World of Tanks. Source: WoT

Unfortunately, the in-game Markowski’s tank turned out to be a double-edged fake, as it significantly differs even from the forged documents and blueprints. In fact, the late-Interwar-era vehicle was turned into something between the IS-2 and IS-3 heavy tanks. It has every part different, from the hull shape and layout to the gun model. Though the base turret resembles the one presented in the booklet, it has several incorrect details, including the gun, gun mantlet and commander’s cupola.

53TP Markowskiego with basic turret. Source: WoT

The most significant inaccuracy, which has transformed into a popular myth, is related to the Polish designations used in World of Tanks for various vehicles, including the Czołg Markowskiego. In pre-WWII Poland, the 10TP was the last vehicle designated based on the ‘X-tonowy polski’ (pl. for ‘Polish X-ton’) pattern. Thus, the so-called 9TP was actually referred to as ‘7TP wz. 39’ or ‘7TP wzmocniony’ (pl. for ‘7TP mod. 39’ or ‘7TP reinforced’), 14TP as ‘Czołg lekki polski 12TP’, 20/25TP as ‘Czołg średni’, 50TP as ‘Czołg Tyszkiewicza’, and 60TP as ‘Czołg Lewandowskiego’. Lem’s superheavy tank was never designated as ‘220TP’. Similarly, even if it existed, Markowski’s heavy tank would have been known as ‘Czołg Markowskiego’ or ‘Czołg Ciężki Polski Markowskiego’ (pl. for ‘Markowski Tank’ or ‘Markowski Polish Heavy Tank’).

Last but not least, some World of Tanks-related sources mention ‘53TP variant I’ and ‘II’, as well as several self-propelled gun and tank destroyers based on the Markowski Tank. It is important to emphasize that, since the project did not exist in reality, there were neither modifications nor versions of it, nor vehicles based on it. All these are the inventions of internet users and fans of tank games and have appeared years and decades after the forged booklet.


While proven to be a fake and an impossible-to-exist vehicle, the so-called Markowski tank undeniably commands interest and attention. Over the years of its existence, it has evolved into a true legend among military historians, enthusiasts of Polish Tank Building, and online game players. This tank, essentially playing the role of a Polish pre-WWII Maus, serves as an excellent option for those who appreciate alternative history, model makers, and game developers. However, it is crucial to keep in mind that it is a conceptual fabrication and not a genuine historical vehicle.

‘Czołg Ciężki Polski’ Markowskiego, standard Polish Interwar camouflage. Illustration by Pavel ‘Carpaticus’ Alexe
‘Czołg Ciężki Polski’ Markowskiego, primer. Illustration by Pavel ‘Carpaticus’ Alexe

‘Czołg Ciężki Polski’ Markowskiego specifications table

Dimensions (L-W-H) Length (without gun): 7,600 mm
Length (with gun): 8,400 mm
Width: 3,600 mm
Height: 2,900 mm
Crew 5-6 (probably commander, gunner, one or two loaders, radioman/machine gunner and driver)
Primary Armament 120 mm wz. 1878/09/31
Secondary Armament Unspecified; 7.9 mm Ckm wz. 30 probably
Mass 53 tonnes
Hull Armor 130/100/90 mm
Engine Unknown, 500 h.p
Top speed 25-30 km/h
Range on the road 500 km


2 replies on “‘Czołg Ciężki Polski’ Markowskiego (Fake Tank)”

I think that one of the reasons why we Poles sometimes make stuff up is because we have an absolute obsession with WW2 history. Btw if an Israeli tech tree is possible in War Thunder, then so is a Polish tech tree. And I’am currently working on it.

Actually israel tech-tree can be perfect realistic, here how do it in WoT: tier 7: M50 Super Shermen 75mm, tier 8: M51 Super Sherman 105mm, tier 9: Ti-67 Tiran, tier 10: Merkava 1. All tanks existed in metal, in series, in battles, and all really israelic.

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