Part I: Development, history & production --- Part II: Camouflage, description, specifications & modeling
Part III: Service with photo gallery --- Part IV: Tankettes with 20 mm cannons --- Self propelled guns
Part V: Experimental tankettes --- Part VI: Foreign service of TK/TKS --- Part VII: Auxiliary equipment --- TKS gallery
|TKS tankette [photo Micha³ Derela]|
The photographs show the TKS tankette from a collection of the Polish Army Museum (Muzeum Wojska Polskiego) in Warsaw. It was captured by the Germans and taken to Norway during World War II to fulfill an occupation service there. After the war it was found incomplete in the Swedish Axwall museum (chassis and part of upper plates). It was next given in November 2003 to the Polish Army Museum, where it was partly restored, with parts coming from different tankettes found in battlegrounds, and some parts reconstructed. The tankette is painted in a standard camouflage, used by the Polish from 1936 until the World War II. A camouflage scheme is based upon an example in manual (showing only front and right side).
Photos from the first public show of the restored tankette, at International Defence Industry Salon (MSPO) in September 2005 in Kielce. Author: Micha³ Derela.
|The tankette here has a complete 7.92mm wz.25 Hotchkiss machine gun, with a flash suppressor, dug from the earth and borrowed from a private owner.|
Photos from 2005. Author: Zbyszek Cheda.
|An anti-aircraft machine gun mounting is visible on the left. A typical equipment carried on the front plate was a shovel and a crowbar. The machine gun has no flash suppressor.|
|A cover of the Gundlach reversible observation periscope is visible. Its use gave the TKS commander the best observation conditions from among all world's tankettes. The upper plate is original, recovered from the ground, as its texture shows. Holes on both sides were for sleeves (lacking) to stick out triangular folding signal flags from the inside. Hatches have leather straps from the outside. Polish tankettes and tanks had armour plates screwed with significant screws with conical heads.Visible are Polish tank helmets, converted from French infantry World War I Adrian helmets by replacing front peaks with leather pads.|
| Left: a view on the upper plate, from the back. A hole with a sleeve for the third signal flag is seen. On the left there is a driver post, with a vision hatch in front. A periscope behind a vision slot is missing, as well as a steering wheel below. |
Right: the rear superstructure plate, with a mesh outlet of the cooling air, above a radiator, and the driver's rear observation hatch.
|Visible are: an anti-aircraft machine gun mounting, a muffler with flattened exhaust pipe, and spare wheel mounting details.|
| Left: rear view of a bottom. An additional cooling air outlet hatch is visible, and a crank holder above. In a bottom plate, on the left, there is a an additional air intake hatch.|
Right: front view of a bottom.
|Left: an idler wheel with a tension adjustment gear.|
Right: a sprocket wheel.
| Left: a grill outlet of a cooling air at the rear. A semicircular hole is for an emergency starting crank. To use the crank, the grill must be opened and the crank should be put into its holder and coupled with a shaft inside. |
Right: side observation hatch on the driver's side. Note a simple lock.
The interior in 2005 was incomplete. On the photographs there are lacking, first of all, Polski Fiat 122AC or BC engine between crew seats, an exhaust collector, a water radiator behind driver's seat, a steering wheel, a control panel, seats' backrests and some other minor equipment.
| A view from the rear - visible is a gearbox with a clutch cover, separating the driver's post on the left and the commander/gunner's post on the right. The wz.25 machine gun is incomplete, and has no telescopic sight. There are racks for two ammunition boxes on the lower right side and three boxes on a shelf above a track (one in front, two at a back). On the edge, there was a wooden canvas-covered handrest. Under the gunner's feet there are racks for additional two boxes, with a tray for 5-litre oil cannister above. A round rack is for a fire extinguisher. In the corner between lower ammunition racks there is a rack for a box with 2.5 kg of explosives. You can also see a cross-section.|
The commander's reversible periscope is post-war, but is basically a copy of original Gundlach reversible periscopeWikipedia (the Polish invention by Ryszard Gundlach, sold to Vickers before the war, then popularized as Tank Periscope Mk.4 in allied vehicles, then copied by the Soviets and finally manucfatured in Poland again under licence along with Soviet tanks...).
Before the driver there is a steering wheel shaft, connected with brake shafts, which are visible in front, above a differential and driving shafts. According to a manual, there should be wooden floor there, protecting steering rods. To the right of the steering shaft there is main brake pedal and acceleration pedal (in a form of a crank). Upon the gearbox there is a gear stick (without a knob) and a lever for manual acceleration setting on the left. A clutch pedal was to the left.
| Left: a view from the rear. Visible is a plate before the driver (with the periscope lacking), the gearbox and the steering wheel shaft. The seats could be shifted in longitudinal axis, and there were small holes before them, to remove trash. |
Right: a view towards the rear. Visible is a transversal beam, on which suspension frames were mounted. The driver's seat is lacking a backrest, and there is lacking a toolbox on a shelf behind the driver. Due to a lack of a radiator, there is a mesh of additional cooling air outlet visible in right bottom corner, covered with a hatch. Right behind the driver's seat there was a hatch in the floor for additional cooling, hardly recognizable.
|A view towards right rear corner. Visible is a fuel tank and an ammunition rack behind commander's seat, for eight boxes. The commander's backrest was mounted on this rack. On the shelf above the track there were racks for one ammunition box (to the left) and two boxes (to the right). The sixteenth box was attached to the machine gun. There is also visible a shaft for crank-starting the engine. Between observation hatches there should be an exhaust pipe outlet.|
Photographs from the the International Defence Industry Salon (MSPO) in September 2016 in Kielce. Author: Micha³ Derela.
|Right: a view from the right, on the commander's seat. Visible is the engine, which had no cover from this side. Deep on the left side there is a dynamo. An electric component on the right might be modern, though (it is not described in the manual).|
|A view on the driver's place. The steering wheel and the dashboard are visible. Owing to an exhaust collector proximity, the engine has a cover from this side, with an asbest layer. On the top there is a hood for an ignition distributor. In front of the engine there is an air filter (we don't know about its originality). A red button's purpose and originality is not known either (according to a manual, an ignition adjustment lever should be near this place).|
|A view on the driver's place. The tankette has a radiator, and reconstructed insulated exhaust hose in place. Belts used as backrests are provisional – there should be strapped canvas-covered cushions, filled with felt.|
You can mail me with questions or comments.
Photos copyright to Micha³ Derela and Zbyszek Cheda © 2005, released under cc-by-sa-2.5 licence.