When the new 1940-41 Tank Programme started, a new replacor to the T-26 was developed. This tank was specified as T-50. The production of the T-50 began in 1940 and the first machine reached the front on mid-41. They were meant to be issued with the infantry as close support tanks, and to replace the BT-tank in its light tank role. As with the T-26s, the T-50 was armed with a 45mm tank gun and two machineguns, but the velocity was twice as much and the gun fired 3 times faster than the T-26. Protection in the front was made out by 37mm thick armour plates. It is interesting to note that the T-50 had the same armour thickness all around the vehicle, with the result that, although a light tank, it had fairly effective armour protection. The T-50 was the first light tank ever made with a cast turret which was fitted with a heavy mantlet. Both the chassis and the turrets design resembled that of the coming T-34 design even though the T-50 was based upon the T-26. The most significant alteriation was the new torsion bar suspension, which was needed after the increase of weight. A new dieselengine producing 300hp was also new in the T-50. This gave the tank a maximum speed of 60km/h. In addition, an all-round vision cupola was provided for the commander and the crew was increased with one man giving it a total of 4 men. No other light tank can be considered to be superior than the T-50 during battle, but the T-50 was a rather complicated and expensive vehicle to manufacture, and production ceased in February 1942 after that only 63 had been built at Omsk, and only 48 of these were armed.
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