BTR-40 (БТР, from Бронетранспортер, or
Bronetransporter, literally "armoured transporter".†) is a Soviet
non-amphibious, wheeled armoured personnel carrier and reconnaissance
vehicle. It is often referred to as the Sorokovka in Soviet
service. It is also the first mass-produced Soviet APC. It was
eventually replaced in the APC role by the
BTR-152 and in the scout
car role by the BRDM-1.
1 Development history
3 Service history
3.1 Soviet Union
3.2 Foreign service
4.1 Former USSR
4.2 The People's Republic of China
4.4 Former East Germany
5.1 Current operators
5.2 Former operators
7 External links
The BTR-40's development began in early 1947 at the design bureau of
the Gorkovsky Avtomobilny Zavod (Gorkovsky Automobile Factory) under
the leadership of V. A. Dedkov. The concept was a successor to the
BA-64B armoured car which went out of production in 1946. The design
team also included L. W. Kostikin and P.I. Muziukin. Two prototypes
designated BTR-141 were completed in 1947. The first was armed with
two coaxial 14.5 mm
KPVT heavy machine guns on a rotatable mount
which was protected by armour plate at the front and sides. The second
had no fixed armament. Neither one was accepted for service. In 1950
two new prototypes were produced. Those had a different shape of
armour including an upright rear armour. Again one prototype had no
fixed armament and the second was armed with two coaxial 14.5 mm
KPVT heavy machine guns. These were accepted into service as BTR-40
and BTR-40A respectively.
The vehicle's drawbacks, such as its poor cross-country performance
and problems with crossing water obstacles, compelled the design team
to produce, in late 1954, what was planned to be an amphibious variant
of the BTR-40. It received the designation BTR-40P (with the 'P'
standing for plavayushchiy - "floating"). During the design process,
the vehicle moved away from the APC concept and became an amphibious
armoured scout car. It received a new designation - BRDM.
The BTR-40's design was based on the
GAZ-63 four wheel drive truck
which went into production in 1946. The design featured a self-bearing
body which was a new feature in Soviet vehicles. The hull has two side
doors for the commander and driver and a back door. The vehicle can
transport up to eight fully equipped soldiers or 1 tonne of cargo.
The BTR-40's armour is from 6 mm to 8 mm thick which gives
it protection from small arms fire and the shell splinters of its
time, but does not protect it against modern artillery fragments and
.50-calibre machine gun fire. The BTR-40-series tyres are not
protected by armour. They are particularly vulnerable to puncture from
fire of all kinds. The vehicle has no roof and is normally covered
with a tarpaulin to protect the crew, transported cargo or troops from
rain and snow. However this makes it unable to mount any of the SGMB
The APC variant has no permanent armament but it has pintle mounts for
three 7.62 mm
SGMB medium machine guns, one at the front of the
troop compartment and the other two at the sides. The vehicle also has
two firing ports on both sides of the hull which allow up to four
soldiers to use their weapons while being protected by the APC's
GAZ-63 truck on which it is based on, the
BTR-40 has a
four-wheel drive. The chassis, however, is shorter compared to the
GAZ-63. The only other thing that distinguishes the chassis of the
BTR-40 from that of the
GAZ-63 are additional shock absorbers. The
BTR-40 also has a more powerful engine. The turning angle is 7.5 m.
The vehicle has the 10RT-12 receiving and airing radio which has a
range of 20–25 km and a winch at the front, with a maximum
capacity of 4.5 tonnes and 70 m of cable. It has no protection against
nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) weapons. It also has no night
BTR-40 in Budapest during the Hungarian Uprising of 1956
BTR-40 was produced at the Gorkovsky Avtomobilny Zavod (Gorkovsky
Automobile Factory) from 1950 to 1960. It was first shown publicly at
the military parade in Moscow in 1950. It was issued to the Red
Army in 1950 and was used in the APC, reconnaissance and command post
roles. After several years of service, it became apparent that it did
not fit the modern battlefield. It was replaced by the BTR-152.
BTR-40 captured by the royalist guerrillas during the
Yemen Civil War
BTR-40 began to enter service with two other Warsaw Pact members
in late 1949, namely
East Germany and Poland, where it was used as a
standard APC until more advanced vehicles like the
available. The last BTR-40s were withdrawn from Warsaw Pact countries
in the early 1970s. The vehicle was also sold to many Arab and African
nations in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
The People's Republic of
China (PRC), had developed a copy of the
BTR-40 called the Type 55. It is unknown how many of these vehicles
entered service with the PLA. The vehicle was also exported to North
Korea, probably as part of a military assistance programme during the
Korean War, where it saw combat for the first time. It was later used
by the North Vietnamese Army during the
BTR-40 also saw combat service during the
North Yemen Civil War
North Yemen Civil War during
which at least one was captured from the Egyptians by the royalist
BTR-141 (1947) - The original prototype with a faceted rear hull had
two variants. The first was armed with twin ZPTU-2 14.5 mm KPV
heavy machine guns placed in a rotary platform with armour protection
at the front and sides. The second version had no permanent armament
but later became the BTR-40.
BTR-40 (1950) - Original production model.
BTR-40A (1950) -
BTR-40 converted into a SPAAG armed with twin ZPTU-2
14.5 mm twin anti-aircraft gun (2400 rounds) in a turret, later
also used in the BTR-152A, manually operated by a single soldier. The
turret is placed inside the troop compartment. It can make a full turn
and its guns can elevate between -5 and +80 degrees. This variant
does not have the firing ports in the hull sides.
BTR-40V (1956) -
BTR-40 fitted with an external tyre pressure
BTR-40B (1957) - BTR-40V with an armoured roof with four hatches. The
vehicle has a filtering/ventilation system, NBC protection system and
central tyre pressure regulation system. It also has a pintle mount
for a 12.7 mm or 14.5 mm heavy machine gun, although the
standard version of the BTR-40B had no fixed armament. It was
designed for use as a reconnaissance vehicle. Crew was reduced from 2
+ 8 passengers to 2 + 6.
BTR-40Kh - NBC reconnaissance vehicle.
BTR-40ZhD (1959) -
BTR-40 equipped with small rail wheels mounted to
the front and rear of the vehicle on special supports.
BRDM-1 - Armoured car which uses a number of
Originally planned to be an amphibious variant of the
therefore it received the designation BTR-40P.
The People's Republic of China
Type 55 - Chinese copy of the BTR-40. Possibly also a
designation for the Soviet-supplied BTR-40s.
BTR-40A-AA - A Cuban air defence vehicle. It uses the chassis and the
armoured front of the
BTR-40 but the troop compartment has been
removed in favour of a square sided platform mount with drop down
sides and rear on which twin ZPTU-2 14.5 mm KPV heavy machine
guns are placed.
BTR-40A-PB - A Cuban
BTR-40 armed with an anti-tank guided missile
(ATGM) launcher. While travelling, the launcher is hidden in the
superstructure so that from a distance, the vehicle cannot be easily
distinguished from a normal BTR-40. The superstructure also provides
the launcher with armour protection. When in position, the roof of the
superstructure is opened sideways and the launcher is elevated.
Jababli - Is a Cuban
BTR-40 fitted with a 3M11 Falanga (AT-2 Swatter)
ATGM launcher on a launch platform in a cut-down superstructure. Only
a limited number were built. NATO gave it the designation M1975/4.
Former East Germany
SPW-40 - The East German designation for a BTR-40.
SPW-40A - The East German designation for a BTR-40A.
SPW-40Ch - The East German designation for a BTR-40Kh.
SPW-40 converted into a tank destroyer armed with an elevatable ATGM
launcher capable of firing
9M14 Malyutka ATGMs with an armoured roof
over it in a cut down troop compartment. This variant does not have
the firing ports in the hull sides.
BTR-40 converted into an armoured car armed with a medium machine gun
in a cube-shaped turret on top of the superstructure inside the troop
compartment. It also has four smoke grenade launchers on both sides of
BTR-40 converted into an armoured car armed with a 40 mm gun in
an angular turret on top of the superstructure inside the troop
compartment, it also has four smoke grenade dischargers on both sides
of the hull. It has a searchlight on the left hand side of the hull.
It is intended to be used for fire support.
BTR-40 fitted with pintle mounts for the US
M1919A4 7.62mm light
machine guns, one in the forward part of the troop compartment and two
on either side as well a large number of equipment holders on the
BTR-40 operators in blue with former operators in red
Egypt: 380; 350
BTR-40 and 30 SPW-40Ch
Indonesia: 100; 85 operational.
North Korea: 450
People's Republic of Bulgaria: 150
People's Republic of China: Unlicensed variant designed Type
55; retired in the 1990s.
East Germany: 300
Hungarian People's Republic: 200
Israel: Used by the Israeli Border Police.
Mongolian People's Republic: 200
Polish People's Republic: 400
North Yemen: 70
South Yemen: 60
^ Jane's Armour and Artillery 2005-2006.
^ a b c d e f g h i j k "
BTR-40 ZSRR Strona 2 z 2" (in Polish).
Pancerni.net. [self-published source?]
^ a b c d Christopher F. Foss. Jane's Tanks and Combat Vehicles
Recognition Guide (2000 ed.). Harper Collins Publishers. p. 290.
^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "
BTR-40 ZSRR Strona 1 z 2" (in Polish).
Pancerni.net. [self-published source?]
^ "North Vietnamese Armor"
^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab "Trade
Registers". Retrieved 24 December 2014.
^ a b John Pike. "People's Liberation Army". Retrieved 24 December
^ "BTR-40 : Panser Yang Nyaris Jadi Besi Tua". IndoMiliter.
Archived from the original on 24 December 2014. Retrieved 24 December
^ Cordesman, Anthony H.; Kleiber, Martin (2007). Iran's Military
Forces and Warfighting Capabilities: The Threat in the Northern Gulf.
Greenwood. p. 51. ISBN 978-0-313-34612-5.
^ "Yemen" (PDF). Tel-Aviv: Institute For National Security Studies. 6
October 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 July 2017.
Retrieved 26 July 2017.
^ "Handbook of Major Foreign Weapons Systems Exported to the Third
World: 1981-86" (PDF). Langley: Central Intelligence Agency. November
1987. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 January 2017. Retrieved
20 June 2017.
^ Cordesman, Anthony (October 2016). After The Storm: The Changing
Military Balance in the Middle East. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.
p. 241. ISBN 978-1-4742-9256-6.
^ Keegan, John (1983). World Armies (Second ed.). Basingstoke:
Palgrave-Macmillan. p. 408. ISBN 978-0333340790.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to BTR-40.
BTR-40 foto and forum
(in Russian) Description and photo gallery at armoured.vif2.ru
(in Russian) Description and photo gallery at legion.wplus.net
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