The TACAM (T-60 is one of Romania’s attempts of improving their captured T-60 light tanks into an anti-tank platform. This tank packs a punch for it’s small size and saw action defending in the Jassy-Kishniev offensive fighting Soviet armour.
Romania during the 1930’s up to the beginning of operation Barbarossa had no tank industry relying on exports for their army from the French Renault FT-17 to the Renault R35’s alongside Czech Panzer 35t’s so that when they went to war with the Germans against the Soviets they learnt very quickly that their tanks were inadequate against the heavier Soviet tanks like the T-34 and KV-1 but could still deal with the lighter T-26 and BT series tanks present at the beginning of the war and the eventual T-60’s. Throughout the war Romania would capture a variety of Russian equipment which is where the development of the TACAM T-60 can trace it’s roots for it’s development.
Meanwhile in 1942 Germany the development of open top tank destroyers from the Panzer I, Panzer II and Panzer 35t chassis into tank destroyers to keep them in use against vehicles they would usually not be able to destroy. Romania saw these development and brought up a variety of tanks to also convert into tank destroyers as they wouldn’t be likely to receive any of the larger panzers anytime soon to their army and could not rely on capturing enough T-34’s. The tank they decided to first develop into a tank destroyer would be the T-60 light tank which they had been capturing in the war with the soviets at that point. There was many reasons they chose the T-60 over other vehicles with one being it’s high manoeuvrability and another of the main being how easy it would be to maintain with the small industry Romania possessed at the time with the T-60’s also using the Gaz 202 which was a copy of the Dodge FH.2 engine which was a common engine in Europe already.
The TACAM’s main armament is the Soviet 76.2mm M1936 F-22 field gun which was fitted to the tank with a -5/8 gun elevation and a maximum traverse of 32°. By removing the turret the gun could be fitted and three sides of the tank would be protected by adding scraps of armour from BT-7’s and a variety of other soviet armoured vehicles to create 15mm’s of sloped armour with the front plates created in a cross section, the tank would also use the 7.92mm ZB-53 machine gun located in the hull. the frontal armour was between 15-35mm whilst the sides were 15mm and rear 13mm of armour. the vehicle had 3 crew and could store 44 rounds some of which would of been stored in four storage boxes located in the vehicle. The fire rate is unknown however the F-22 could fire between 12-15 rounds per minute.
34 vehicles would be produced in 1943 which was a big feat for a nation with no real experience in making tanks or converting tanks at all other than repairing tanks. 16 tanks would be apart of 61st Tacam Company in the 1st Armoured Regiment whilst a further 18 would be apart of the 62nd Tacam Company in the 2nd Armoured Regiment. They would be sent to defend Bessarabia and Transnistria in 1944 which they first saw combat, on March 28th 7 vehicles would remain after the intense fighting where they would mostly be transferred around to multiple divisions until remaining as a home guard company where they were eventually returned to the Soviets due to being on T-60 chassis where one would be tested at Kubinka where it’s fate is unknown but presumably it was scrapped.
The F-22 gun although not an anti-tank gun still had powerful HE shells which still did serious damage to Soviet T-34’s, the main ammunition for the vehicle would be captured shells from the Soviets alongside the “Kostinescu” armour piercing shells which had a velocity of 751m/s weighed 6.6kg and a penetration of 72mm at 1000m within a 30° slope. The Soviet shells would consist of ammunition such as the BR-350A 6.3kg and BR-350B 6.5kg APHE shells, OF-350 6.2kg HE shell, BR-350BSP 6.5kg AP-T shell, Sh 354 6.5kg shrapnel shells and D-350 smoke shells. The velocity for the APHE and AP-T shells were 690m/s whilst HE shells were 706m/s whilst the shrapnel had 652m/s. It is unknown which of all these ammunition types Romania actually used with the vehicles but the BR-350A APHE penetration has 75mm of penetration at 500m. It is unknown which shells Romania actually used for the F-22 due to the amount of different shells it could fire and also whether they captured any BP-350A HEAT rounds which where introduced to the Soviets in 1943.
Dimensions (L-W-H): 4.24m x 2.35m x 1.75m (13’9’’ x 7’7’’ x 5’7’’ ft)
Total Weight: 9 tons
Propulsion: Gaz 202 6 cylinder gasoline engine, 80hp engine.
Transmission: 4 forward 1 reverse
Power to Weight Ratio: 8.89hp/ton
Suspension: Torsion Bar
Top Speed: 40km/h (24.9 mph) (20km/h off road (12.4mph))
Main Armament: 76.2mm M1936 F-22 (44 rounds)
Vertical Guidance: -5°/6°
Maximum Gun Traverse: 32°
Secondary Armament: 1x 7.92mm ZB-53 (hull mounted)
Armour: 15-35mm frontal, 15mm sides and 13mm rear (Hull)
10mm roof and floor