Indonesian PT-76 traversing a water barrier.
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The PT-76 is an amphibious light tank of Soviet origin. Development began shortly after World War 2 and it was widely used by the USSR and most Soviet allies during the Cold War. Nowadays small numbers remain in use, mostly with third world nations.
The PT-76 is a tracked amphibious light tank. The hull is rather large in order to create buoyancy and stability while afloat. The driver is seated in the front of the hull. The turret is fitted in the middle and houses the commander and gunner. The engine and drivetrain are mounted in the rear. Two hydrojets provide propulsion in the water.
The main armament is a rifled 76.2mm D-56T cannon, which was developed from the ZiS-3 anti-tank gun used during World War 2. A total of 40 rounds are carried. The rate of fire is 6 to 8 rounds per minute. On the early version of the PT-76 the main gun was not stabilized. As a coaxial weapon a 7.62mm SGMT or PKT machine gun is fitted. Additionally some PT-76 were refitted with a 12.7mm DShK heavy machine gun on the turret roof.
To keep the weight down for the amphibious capability the armor is quite thin. The steel armor protects against small arms fire and shell splinters. Many PT-76 were not fitted with a NBC system, fire extinguishing system or the ability to lay a smoke screen.
The PT-76 has a good cross country performance and is fully amphibious. The road speed is somewhat limited. A 240hp diesel engine provides propulsion.
The PT-76 was used by most Soviet and Eastern European forces during the Cold War. It was also widely exported to nations with close ties to the USSR. Nowadays small numbers remain in use with Russian naval infantry and many PT-76 are still in service with third world nations.
PT-76 amphibious light tank in use with Polish naval infantry.
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The ASU-85 is an airborne assault gun. It is based on the same chassis as the PT-76 and uses many of the same automotive components. Unlike the PT-76 the ASU-85 is not amphibious.
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