The BP42-44 were operated symmetrically. Meaning that the locomotive and tender was located in the middle of the train, with armored cars on either side of it. Interestingly enough, a second tender was positioned in front of the locomotive, which was a converted Polish locomotive. One former armored locomotive actually survives in preservation, though without its armoring. In practice, the BP42-44 class of armored trains were used as mobile forts. Though, at times the armored locomotives themselves were used for special moves of high ranking officers. Interestingly enough, the turret on the second car on the second line, was often a captured turret taken from T34 tanks. Over time they were replaced with German turrets. There are also a number of photos floating around of supposed BP-42 artillery wagons equipped with Tiger turrets, though whether that was a one off or a common practice is not known.
The Soviets took armored trains to a new level with the MBV-2. The MBV-2 was unique in that it was self propelled with a diesel engine. (hydraulic transmission). The MBV proved very useful, to the point that they were refitted numerous times with different types of turrets. There is some anecdotal evidence that they even carried T34 turrets. They were so popular, that the NKVD (precursors to the KGB) employed a number of these special duty units. Unlike the German Armored trains, they didn't act like moving forts, as much as support units and area denial units. One such unit was enough to scout, while at the same time bring enough fire to bear to stall most German Tanks they came across, or could hold an infantry company at bay.
Armored Train: Chbowka
Panzertriebwagen Nr 16 (PzTrWg 16 or PT 16) - German heavy armored motorcar built in 1942 by Schwarzkopff company. Based on WR550 D14 diesel locomoive, surrounded by armor and with two armored units added at each end. Initially armed with 2 cm Flakvierling 38 AA guns, later replaced (after additional modifications to the units) with russian 76,2 mm FK 295/1 gun-equipped turrets. Armor thickness was from 31 to 84 mm. Fought on Eastern Front. In 1943 as a reserve unit used to patrol guerilla-threatened areas. In 1944 assigned to Army Group Mitte, fought in Rawa Ruska and Lublin, later in Kielce surroundings. Withdrawn to Gliwice for repairs, was finally repaired in Germany. In 1945 took part in combat near Neuruppin, and was finally captured intact on 2nd May 1945 at Neustadt Dosse.
Incorporated into the structures of Polish Army, served in no. 4194 unit, as a part of an armored train. In 1945-47 took part in fights with Ukrainian UPA partisans at Bieszczady area. Later stored on a siding at Przemyśl, before becoming part of Warsaw Railway Museum.
Edited by Magick, Nov 10 2012 - 02:14.