The PT-76 is a Soviet amphibious light tank that was introduced in the early 1950s and soon became the standard reconnaissance tank of the Soviet Army and the other Warsaw Pact armed forces. It was widely exported to other friendly states, like India, Indonesia, Iraq, Syria, North Korea and North Vietnam.

The tank’s full name is Floating Tank–76 (плавающий танк, plavayushchiy tank, or ПТ-76). 76 stands for the caliber of the main armament: the 76.2 mm D-56T series rifled tank gun.

The PT-76 is used in the reconnaissance and fire-support roles. Its chassis served as the basis for a number of other vehicle designs, many of them amphibious, including the BTR-50 armored personnel carrier, the ZSU-23-4 self-propelled antiaircraft gun, the ASU-85 airborne self-propelled gun and the 2K12 Kub anti-aircraft missile launch vehicle.

Its main armament consists of a 76.2 mm D-56T series rifled tank gun, which has an effective range of approximately 1,500 meters and a rate of fire of six to eight rounds per minute. This gun is 42 calibers long. The PT-76 carries 40 rounds for its gun. A typical ammunition load consists of 24 x OF-350 Frag-HE, 4 x AP-T, 4 x API-T and 8 x BK-350M HEAT rounds (with AP-T rounds substituted for HVAP when available).

The gun is mounted in an oval dish-type circular truncated cone turret with flat, sloping sides which is mounted over the second, third, and fourth pair of road wheels. All PT-76s have a fume extractor for the main gun at the rear of the turret.

The 7.62 mm SGMT coaxial medium machine gun comes with 1,000 rounds. This weapon has a maximum effective range of 1,000 meters in daylight while the vehicle is stationary, 400 to 500 meters in daylight while the vehicle is on the move and 600 meters at night. Maximum range is 1,500 meters. It can be fired in 2 to 10 round bursts and has a practical rate of fire of 250 rounds per minute and a cyclic rate of fire of 650 rounds per minute. From 1967, the machine gun was replaced with PKT of the same caliber.

The main gun, which is considered light for a modern tank, can fire BM-354P HVAP, API-T, AP-T, BR-350 API-T and OF-350 Frag-HE rounds (as can the 76.2 mm M1942 (ZiS-3) divisional gun) and is capable of penetrating the armour of APCs and other lightly armored vehicles.

The commander/gunner has a cupola on the left side of the double hatch. The cupola has the TPKU-2B observation device and two TNP day periscopes and can be rotated 360 degrees by hand. The commander also has a 4X optical sight mounted to the left of the main armament and a TShK-66 sight/rangefinder. The loader has the MK-4 observation device mounted on the turret’s roof in front of the hatch.

Manufacturers: Volgograd Tractor Plant, Kirov Factory

Saumur museum of armored vehicles


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