PIBWL presents:

Locomotives of Polish armoured trains 1918-1930

Part I - Part II - Locomotive Ti3

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  © Michal Derela, 2000 Updated: 10. 01. 2004 - corrected. (will be updated by December 2009)

A series G8 locomotive of train 'Zygmunt Powstaniec'
An armoured locomotive series G8 of armoured train 'Zygmunt Powstaniec'. [source 3]

This is the second part of the "Polish armoured locomotives" page, describing the locomotives of the Prussian and Soviet origin. Notice: to show the series designations properly, a browser must display superscript (this text must be in superscript).

The locomotives used in Polish armoured trains in 1918-30:
The list is not complete. In brackets are Polish State Railways PKP series designations, introduced since November 1923.

Part I: - ex-Austro-Hungarian series: MAV: 377 (Tkh103),
kkStB: 73 (Tp15), 178 (TKp11), 229 (Okl12), 180.5 (Tw11), 97 (Tkh12);
Part II: - ex-Prussian series: KPEV: G3 (Th1), G5 (Ti1 - Ti4) (G53 - Ti3), G7, G8 (Tp1 - Tp4), T9 (TKi1), T11 (OKi1), T13 (TKp1), T16 (TKw1), T37 (narrow gauge);
- captured Soviet: series O

Series G3:

A close-up of a locomotive series G3 of the train "Kaniów", Pińsk 1919. Click to see a larger scene [source 3]

As it shows on photographs, several light freight locomotives of the Prussian series G3 were armoured in Poland, but there is no information available on them. Partially armoured locomotive of the series G3 was used in the Polish armoured train "Zagończyk". A similar locomotive was used in armoured train "Kaniów" in 1919 as well. There are no details known about any of these. A position of a dome behind the chimney suggests, that they all were manufactured before 1895.

Construction and data:

The Prussian standardized freight locomotive series G3 was produced since 1877 - as many as 2082 were made. After the WW I, the Polish Railways received 118 locomotives G3, which were given a designation Th1 after 1923. The axle arrangement was C (0-3-0; wheel arrangement: 0-6-0), with a three-axle tender. The locomotive had twin engine, working on a saturated steam (C-n2).

Full length of a locomotive with tender: 15,37 m.

Special thanks to Johann Blieberger.

A partially armoured locomotive series G3 of armoured train "Zagończyk". [source 4]

Series G5:

There were four types of the Prussian G5 freight locomotives produced. Apart from a sub-type G53 (described separately), which as Ti3 became a standard locomotive of the Polish armoured trains since 1926, also some locomotives of other sub-types were armoured in Poland.

Armoured train "Hallerczyk", with (most likely) G54 series locomotive, near Kobryn, 16.09.1920 (click to see a larger scene). Before the locomotive, there is an artillery wagon, built in Warsaw, armed with a 76mm gun, of a type used in train "Bartosz Głowacki". [source 4]

Two locomotives series G53: G53-4021 Münster used in armoured train "Mściciel" (later in "Danuta") and the second G53, used in "Generał Sosnkowski", were armoured just in 1920 in the workshops of Warsaw-Praga depot (this series is described separately).
  Also fully armoured locomotives series G54 were used in some Polish regular armoured trains. The G54-4321 (built in 1909, armoured in the fall of 1920) was used in armoured train "Wilk" (The Wolf). This train was decomposed in June 1921, and in February 1922 the locomotive was given to armoured train "Smialy", replacing a locomotive 229.140 (in 1928 it was itself replaced with the standard Ti3-9 - G53-4005). Most likely it was a fully armoured locomotive series G54 to equip armoured train "Hallerczyk" in 1920.

The locomotives of these series were also used in the Polish improvised armoured trains of the Third Silesian Uprising (1921). Probably all were partially-armoured ones, protected with regular steel plates rather than armour plates, but the details are not known. The known ones are:
The G5(1) locomotive from 'Ludyga' improvised armoured train.

Construction and data:

All the sub-types of the freight locomotives series G5 were similar. The axle arrangement was 1'C (1-3-0; wheel arrangement: 2-6-0), with a three-axle tender. The sub-series were differing in steam engines and front carriage mainly. All engines were two-cylinder, working on saturated steam.
- G51: twin engine (1C-n2), 268 built in 1892-1902,
- G52: compound engine (1C-n2v), 714 built in 1896-1908,
- G53: twin engine (1C-n2), 206 built in 1903-1906,
- G54: compound engine (1C-n2v), 758 built in 1901-1910.

The Polish railways in 1918-1939 had 28 of Ti1 (G51), 74 of Ti2 (G52), 16 of Ti3 (G53) and 195 of Ti4 (G54). The construction and data of all the locomotives are similar to the G53 - Ti3.

Series G8 and G7:

The G8 locomotive of 'Testart' train.
An armoured locomotive series G8 of armoured train "Testart".
The second G8 locomotive of 'Testart' train
The second locomotive G8 of armoured train "Testart". This locomotive was probably used earlier in some other train - the name "P.P. Testart" is written upon an old overpainted name. An inscription on a tender is: "Powstańcy Górn.-Śląscy 1921" - 'The Upper-Silesian Insurgents 1921'

The Prussian series G8 and similar, earlier G7, were very good and popular freight locomotives. They were also used as armoured locomotives by the Polish, especially in the Third Silesian Uprising in 1921.

The best and most uniform of Polish insurgent improvised trains were the trains of the 4th "North" Group, completed in steelworks in Zawadzkie and workshops in Krupski Mlyn. Their locomotives, however, were protected with regular steel plates rather than armour plates. Apart from the first locomotive of "Nowak", all were fully covered with steel plates.
 The first train completed at Zawadzkie on 15 May 1921 was "Nowak". It had only partially covered G7-series locomotive (10mm sheet steel covering a driver's cab, wheels, engines, a half of the boiler and possibly a tender). After it was damaged, the train got new, fully protected locomotive series G8 in the early June, and then was known as "Nowak II".
 The second train was "Zygmunt Powstaniec", completed on 17 May - it had a locomotive G8, fully covered with 12 mm steel.
 The third train, "Tadek Slazak" was completed on 21 May and had locomotive G72-4700, armoured in a similar way.
The last train, completed on 5 June was "Testart", later renamed to "Piast". It had a locomotive G8, replaced later with another G8 (on the photos). All these locomotives were disarmoured in 1922-23.

The last episode of the armoured locomotive G8 combat usage was one of the Coastal Defence improvised armoured trains, built on 3 September 1939 in Gdynia railway workshops. Most likely it had a locomotive Tp4 (G81), protected with 10mm thick sheet steel. The train consisted of two freight wagons, protected with 0.5m (20in) of sand between the double wooden walls. It was armed with HMG's and rifles of its crew.

Construction and data:

A series G8  locomotive of 'Zygmunt Powstaniec' train The freight locomotives series G7 and G8 were built in several Prussian factories. They were constructions of Robert Garbe. Axle arrangement of both series was D / 0-4-0 (wheel arrangement 0-8-0), with a three-axle tender.

The locomotives G7 were built in few sub-series. The G71 had twin steam engines (D-n2), 1,200 were built in 1893-1917. It was designated as Tp1 in Poland (142 used). The G72 had compound engine (D-n2v), 1,650 were built in 1895-1911. It was designated Tp2 in Poland (295 used). The G73 (Polish: Tr1) was a bit different (type: 1'D/ 1-4-0/ 2-8-0) and was not used in armoured trains.
All G7 types were working on a saturated steam and had two-cylinder engines. The max speed was 45 km/h. The length was 11.75 m without tender, about 18.3 m with tender.

The series G8 was basing on a succesfull G7 design, but was working on superheated steam, which increased the performance much (D-h2). It was the world's first freight locomotive with a superheater. The basic sub-series G8 (without superscript number) was built in 1906-1913 (1,045 built). The most popular sub-series G81 was built in 5,297 units in 1912-1922 (the later types G82 and G83 were quite different and were not used in Polish armoured trains). The Polish Railways had 83 of the G8 (designated Tp3) and 459 of the G82 (designated Tp4).

The data of the G8 series locomotive (without armour): max speed 55 km/h, weight: 57t - locomotive and 36t - tender. Axle pressure: 14.3t. The tender capacity was 7t of coal and 12m3 of water (17m3 - produced since 1911).

All the G7 and G8 locomotives armoured in Poland differed in an armour style and details. The armour was usually up to 10-12mm thick steel plates, covering the whole locomotive.

Series T37:

Possibly the only narrow-gauge (785mm) armoured train was "Kabicz" (also called "Pancerka Kabicz"), built by the insurgents of the 1921 Third Silesian Uprising. It was built in some works in the area of Gliwice (Gleiwitz), and used by the insurgent units blocking Gliwice. The train consisted of a fully armoured tank locomotive of the Prussian series T37 and two armoured coal wagons, with 4 MG's each (drawing - source 1).

Construction and data:

The Prussian narrow-gauge tank freight locomotives series T37 were built in the beginning of the XX century for the Upper-Silesian industry railways (track gauge - 785mm). 20 were built by Orenstein & Koeppel and Hagans, and 2 a bit different, by Hartmann (see them on this page). They could negotiate narrow turns (radius 35m). Axle arrangement: D / 0-4-0 (wheel arrangement 0-8-0T). Two-cylinder twin engine, working on saturated steam (D-n2t). A data of a locomotive Orenstein & Koeppel, without armour: max speed (with load): 25 km/h, weight: 27.9t, power: about 200HP, length: 6.52 m.


Series O:

The 'O'-series locomotive.
Polish armoured locomotive series Ov, probably of the armoured train "I Marszalek". [Fritz Von Heigl, "Taschenbuch der tanks", 1930]

In 1919 and early 1920 the Polish forces captured several Soviet armoured trains, wagons and locomotives. The most common of the captured ones were armoured locomotives series O, with a few patterns of armour, basing upon the well-known Russian freight locomotives series O. Many of the captured stock were put into Polish service, especially for these locomotives and modern twin-turret wagons were better, than most of contemporary Polish half-improvised trains. They were used by the Polish either on a wide gauge tracks (Russian 1524mm), or on the standard 1435mm gauge track, as the engineers were modifying the tracks on ex-Soviet areas. After Soviet offensive of summer 1920, those of trains and "O" locomotives, which managed to be withdrawn, served in the Polish Army further.

An armoured locomotive series OV of "General Dowbor", with "Hunhuz" armour type, under repair. [source - 3]

Among others, a locomotive series OV was used in the Polish armoured train "General Dowbor", which was former Ukrainian train "Sichovyi" (or "Sichevik") (- former Soviet "Tovarishch Voroshilov"), captured by the Poles on 24 May 1919. The locomotive and wagons of this train belonged to the standard Russian WW-I train Nr.5 type "Hunhuz". Both the locomotive and wagons were fully armoured with 12-16mm thick plates. On 23 June 1920, "General Dowbor" was derailed and then captured by the Soviets (according to some sources, its crew was slaughtered by the Budionny's Cossacks then).
  An armoured locomotive series O with a different armour style was used in armoured train "Generał Listowski" (
a photo), lost on 02.08.1920. It had an armour similar to the later Polish locomotives Ti3. Upon the boiler, it had two armoured cylinders, covering a dome and an air compressor.

"Smialy-Szeroki" with its armoured locomotive series O (the second one?), with a boiler covered with sloped plates. The first wagon is armed with the 76.2mm (3in) field gun M.02 in a rotating armoured housing. [source - 2]

Two locomotives series "O" were used in armoured train "Smialy-szeroki". It was a wide-gauge train, created in April-May 1919 of a Soviet stock captured in Lida (now in Belarussia). It was manned partially by the crew of armoured train "Smialy", hence its name ("szeroki" means: "wide" [gauge]). Both locomotives used were partially armoured. One of them had armoured driver's cab, dome and engines (probably it was damaged in action on 10 May). The other locomotive was protected to a higher degree - it had also boiler sides covered with sloped plates. The train fought, among others, in a battle of Dyneburg (Daugavpils) on 28 September 1919. "Smialy-szeroki" was decomposed in the late April 1920, and on 16 May its locomotive was given to armoured train "Poznańczyk", turned to a wide gauge then.

Here are some more of the captured trains, which might have locomotives series O:
- "I Marszałek", "Gen. Konarzewski" (lost on 9 July 1920), "Pilsudczyk-Szeroki" (lost on 19 July) and "Smigly" (the last two were formed of Soviet No.45 train) and "Pionier-Szeroki" (lost on 17 June).

After 1918-20 Polish-Soviet war, some remaining locomotives series O could have been used for some time in armoured train "I Marszałek" and possibly other Polish trains. Until the mid-twenties, all were disarmoured and put into civilian service.

Construction and data:

The locomotives series O were popular Russian freight locomotives ('O' stood for Russian: "osnovnoy" = primary; unoficcially called "Ovyechka" = the lamb), built in a big quantity in BMZ works in Bryansk. These reliable locomotives were made in a few sub-series, distinguished by a superscript letter. All had D (0-4-0) axle arrangement (wheel arrangement: 0-8-0), with a 3-axle, or later 4-axle tender. All had two-cylinder compound engines, working on saturated steam (D-n2v) (apart from some late sub-series).

The first sub-series OD ("OД") was produced in 1897-1902. Poland had up to 30 of them, designated as: Tp102. The most popular was another sub-series OV (OB written in Cyrilic, OW in Polish), produced in 1902-1907. Poland had 94 of these, designated as Tp104. They were the most common among armoured locomotives as well. The series OD and OV differed in a valve gear type first of all, but they both looked almost the same. The later series, not used in armoured trains of this period, were among others: OK and OP (some were used in Soviet armoured trains of WW2).

A partially armoured locomotive series O of the Polish armoured train "Smialy-Szeroki". [source - 2]

The locomotives series O were the standard Russian and Soviet armoured locomotives until the end of the 40's (the last type was the armoured locomotive type PR-43 of the Soviet armoured trains type BP-43).

The locomotives of that period had several patterns of Russian or Soviet armour. Most of them were fully armoured. Some had a commander's turret above the tender, behind the driver's cab.

The data of a typical armoured locomotive series 'O' with 4-axle tender:
Length - about 19 m (62.3 ft), width - about 3.2 m, height - about 4.72 m, weight - up to about 115 t. The power output was about 600 HP. The max speed was 45 km/h.

The data of not armoured locomotive series OD, with 3-axle tender (OV was the same or similar): length - 16.2 m, width - 3.2 m, height - 4.72 m, wheel diameter - 1.2 m, total weight: locomotive - 52.5 t, tender - 36.6 t, maximum speed - 45 km/h, OV - 55 km/h ?).
The capacity of 3-axle / 4-axle tender: coal - 6 t / about 10 t, water - 14 m3 / 23 m3.

armoured locomotive series 'O'. Click to enlarge

Part I - introduction and the Austro-Hungarian-origin locomotives

Armoured locomotive Ti3


All corrections and additional informations or pictures are welcome!

1. Janusz Magnuski "Pociag pancerny 'Zygmunt Powstaniec'", Typy Broni i Uzbrojenia (TBiU) No.71; Wydawnictwa MON; Warsaw 1981
2. Janusz Magnuski "Pociag pancerny 'Smialy' w trzech wojnach"; Pelta; Warsaw 1996
3. Jerzy Garbaczewski "Pociagi pancerne w Wojsku Polskim 1918-1939 cz.I"; Mundur i Broń 8
4. "Pociągi pancerne 1918-1943", Białystok 1999

Our thanks to Jarkko Vihavainen, Johann Blieberger and a magazine "Mundur i Broń"!

You can see the Glossary of Steam Locomotive Terminology at Railway Technical Web Pages.

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All photos and pictures remain the property of their owners. They are published in non-commercial educational and research purpose.
Text copyright to Michal Derela.