The BA-3 was a heavy armoured car developed in the Soviet Union in 1933, followed by a slightly changed model BA-6 in 1936. The armoured car had the same turret as the T-26 M33 and BT-5 tanks and was equipped with a 45mm main gun.
Around 180 BA-3 cars were built until production ended in 1935. The BA-6 followed with 386 cars produced between 1936 and 1938. The innovation that slightly improved mobility was the auxiliary (“Overall”) tracks that could be fitted onto the rear tandem wheels which converted the car to a half-track.
The BA-3 was externally very similar to the BA-6; the BA-3 retained door in the rear of the hull that was not present in the BA-6. More important improvements of BA-6 were the new GK tires, filled with sponge (porous rubber) and thus much less vulnerable to small-caliber fire. On the downside, the tires reduced both the speed and range of the vehicle. It also had a somewhat thinned armor plating. BA-3/6 cars were superseded by the BA-10 model. All cars of this series were very heavily armed for the era; they could knock out other vehicles with ease, including tanks. However, their thin armor made them vulnerable to heavy machine gun and small caliber cannon fire. A prototype railway BA-3ZD variant was created in 1936 but was not accepted for production. The BA-6ZD was produced in limited numbers.
Theatres of War
Around 60 BA-6 cars were delivered to Turkey in 1935. The BA-3/6 was used in combat in the Spanish Civil War, against the Japanese in the Battle of Khalkhyn Gol, in the Finnish Winter War, and against the Germans in the early stages of the Eastern Front. The German Army used a few Spanish-built six-wheeled armored cars that were close copies of the BA-3/6 series. Later in the war, the BA-3/6/10 was replaced in the Red Army’s heavy scout vehicle role by light tanks, such as the T-60 and T-70. A few captured BA-3 cars were used by Finnish army under designation BAF-A, and captured BA-6 cars under designation BAF-B.
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