Poland had created various Tank projects in the interwar period before they were overrun by the Germans in World War 2. One of these vehicles that was planned and constructed in a prototype manner only was the 10TP cruiser tank. In essence it can be considered a polish BT-5, as both have their origin in the Christie Tank and have a somewhat similar appearance.
It all began with a failed purchase of license-production rights and blueprints of the Christie M1928. The Wojskowy Instytut Badań Inżynierii (WIBI) sent Captain Ruciński to acquire those in the late 1920s. However, the Polish were concerned of legal repercussions so they refunded the purchase afterwards.
At the end of 1930, the WIBI began designing their own tank based on the M1928 and M1931 which went under the working name “A la Christie”.
The design was inspired by the leftover data and notes, which Ruciński did not return to Christie. Soon after the whole project began, delays ocurred due to the already started project of the 7TP, itself based upon the Vickers Mk.E.
By 1934, the WIBI was dissolved and replaced with the Design and Testing Centre of the Armoured Forces, which destroyed the projects documents under the supervision of a special commission. Only very little notes survived this document destruction.
On the 10th March 1935, they announced a new design work, under the control of Major Rudolf Gundlach as the head of the designer team with Jerzy Napiórkowski as the process engineer. This was the offical begin of the 10TP tank development.
While the tank wasn’t ready for deployment and still in development, it was already included in the program of the Army, which got approved by the KSUS (Komitet do spraw Uzbrojenia i Sprzętu) in 1936. This program included 4 new armored battalions equipped with the 10TP and other motorized equipment.
The 10TP had mutliple issues in its development, some of those originating from foreign produced parts. It finally rolled out on the 16th August 1938, although the single prototype was already in finished by July 1938. It was tested by the experienced military specialist Sergeant Polinarek and the Chief of the BBT Br.Panc. Captain Leon Czekalski. Their tests had to be kept secret due to the German Abwehr and “Fifth Column” getting more active within Poland.
No further trials were done until the 30th of September and the 10TP was sent back to the workshop for further modifications. It had its final trial on the 16th of January 1939, where it made a over 2.000 km long road march. After that, it got sent back again to the Workshop to check for any damage that might have ocurred.
The whole story finds its end in September 1939 with the invasion of Germany. Its speculated that it fought in the defense of Poland, but unlikely due to its prototype nature.
Armament: 37mm Bofors wz.36 | 2x 7,92mm Ckm wz.30
Ammo Capacity: 80 rounds | 4500 rounds
Engine: V12 American LaFrance with 210hp at 2’800rpm
Transmission: 4 forward gears, 1 reverse gear
Max. Speed: 75km/h
Mass: 12.8 tons
Armor: 20mm all around, 8mm on roof and belly, 16mm frontal on turret (same turret as 7TP)