The 7TPjw (single-turret) was the main Polish tank from 1935 up until Polands defeat in 1939. It was superior to early german tanks such as the Panzer I and II but was fielded to scarcely to make a significant difference.
It features many licensed parts from different nations and is the best the Polish had to offer at the time.
History and General Information
Due to lack of experiance, Poland couldn’t just build their own tank, so they looked for other options on the open market. Some of these options were the M26/27 and the NC-2 from Renault, but those were quickly found unsatisfactory and they went with the Vickers 6-ton Mk. E. They procured 60 tanks as well as the license to build more, but due to the designs faults they decided not to build any locally. They rather started to work on an improved design which they called the 7TP, standing for “7 Tons, Polish”, even though this project would eventually exceed 7 tons.
This new design started in 1932 and took up until 1935, where the first vehicles were made in serial production. The first batch of 22 vehicles was equipped with two machinegun turrets taken straight from the Vickers tanks, as they were to be converted to single turret tanks. A final Single-Turret armament was not choosen up to autnumn of 1935, where the swedish Wz.37 37mm gun was choosen alongside the swedish designed turret (With some improvements). The Single-Turret variant wasn’t produced until 1936 and due to budget cuts it was agreed upon to order around 1 tank company a year. Thanks to the sales of 4 Renault FT tank-companies, another 49 tanks could be procured in 1937, but all of them were only finished in 1938 because of problems with the production of the armor plates, the radios and the periscopes. In total, there were 134 7TP’s produced, including prototypes.
When it was realised that Poland was about to be involved into a war, they ordered another 150 tanks, but sadly none of them were finished before the surrender of Poland, as they would have been delivered only in December of 1939 to 1940 at the earliest.
Some Systems used by the 7TP were:
Radio: N2/C or RKB/C
Periscope: Zeiss wz.34 G
Transmission: dry multi-disc main clutch
Armament: 1x 37mm Wz.37 L/45 gun | 1x 7,92mm Wz.30 TMG
Ammo Capacity: 80 rounds | 3960 rounds
Engine: PZInż.235 (Saurer VLDBb) with 110hp
Transmission: 4 forward gears, 1 reverse gear
Max. Speed: 32-37km/h
Mass: 9,9 tons
Hull Armor: 17mm frontal | 9-17mm side | 6-9mm rear
Turret Armor: 15mm allround
Power/Weight ratio: 11,1hp/ton