GROUP BUILDS > The RAF Centenary Group Build

BA3 Model 1934 Armoured Car: Finished Pics Page 5

<< < (15/17) > >>

BA-3 Armoured Car:  No 1 ACC, No 4 Sect., RAF, 1942, Western Desert, Egypt.

The BA-I, or sometimes BAI (BroneAvtomobil Izhorskij plant), was the first three-axle armoured car of the Red Army.  Before that, the BA-27 (1928) was the most common medium armoured car in service (215 produced), and forged a pattern for future developments.  It was based upon the American truck Ford-Timken.  This proved a popular, but rather conservative design with two axles, a bolted hull and the T-18 light tank turret.  The Army asked for a bigger model, potentially equipped with heavier turrets and, by 1932, the Izhora factory proposed the BA-I, a six-wheeled vehicle almost entirely assembled by welding.
The custom-built turret housed a 37 mm (1.46 in) gun and a coaxial 7.62 mm (0.3 in) and the front left compartment (usually the co-driver position) was used by a machine-gunner.  There was also an extra pair of replacement wheels, just behind the front axle (developed on the D-13), which helped crossing trenches and ditches.  But their capabilities against tanks and other armored vehicles was limited due to the medium-velocity of the 37 mm (1.46 in) gun, designed primarily for infantry support, and only 82 were built until 1933.
The BA-3 was an improved model, following a 1932 army specification asking for a model equipped with the T-26 turret, and its high velocity 45 mm (1.77 in) 20K gun (60 rounds), allowing excellent antitank capabilities.  The armament was completed by a coaxial DT machine-gun and another in the front compartment co-driver ballmount.  The Izhora plant chose to radically improved the BAI design, lengthening the rear part of the hull by 50 cm (1.64 ft) to cope with the extra top-weight of the new T-26 turret. The ring was also reinforced, as was the entire rear compartment.
BA3 Armoured Car008 by Fred Maillardet, on Flickr
The riveted armor was also thickened and the engine compartment received extra exhaust vents, as the GAZ engine proved prone to overheating.  It was also remarkable that it was tested and equipped with spare chained tracks for its rear wheels, for a quick conversion into a half-track.  Each track comprised 25 80×35 mm (3.14×1.38 in) soft steel links and weighted about 74 kg, stored on the rear mudguards.  The conversion could be performed in just 10 minutes ensuring largely improved off-road capabilities and overall versatility in operations.
Like the BAI, the hull and turret were partly welded.  The front compartment was higher than the rear fighting compartment, giving this model a lower profile. Access to the fighting compartment was allowed by a rear door and two hatches served the driver compartment.  The suspension was of the leaf spring system.  The two rear axles held double wheels, so, in fact, no less than twelve tires were needed.  The hull weighed 5.82 tons, and the watercooled GAZ A M-1 engine gave a power-to-weight ratio of 8 tons/hp with a net power of 40hp@2800rpm.  Top speed was 56 km/h (35 mph) on road and range about 160 miles (240 km).
BA3 Armoured Car011 by Fred Maillardet, on Flickr
Tests were performed in June 1934 at the NIIBT unit, Kubinka proving grounds.  Cross-country speed proved less than 35 km/h (21.7 mph) and the engine also overheated badly, imposing better cooling and a reinforced front suspension, which were added on the next series. Production was part of the 1st Five Year Plan and was partly assumed by Vyksunskij (Gorki Works), the first series based on the US-based Ford-Timken truck chassis converted into a 6×4, and later production vehicles received a new Russian-built GAZ AAA chassis.  When the production ended in 1935, 180 had been delivered to the Red Army.
These armored cars were supplied to reconnaissance regiments of tank, cavalry and infantry units.  The Transbaikal military district saw an increase in material which led to the constitution of an entire brigade of three armored car regiments.  Seven BA-3s and 80 BA-6s were sent to the Republicans fighting in Spain in 1937.  The 1st Armored Brigade, under the command of D.G.Pavlov. took part in the defense of Madrid.  They also fought at Teruel.  In 1939, captured models led to the development of Spanish close-copies, which will be seen later on the Russian front (with the “Azul” division). 
BA3 Armoured Car017 by Fred Maillardet, on Flickr
When the war broke out in 1939, the 7th, 8th, and 9th Brigades, half equipped with BA-3/6s, were sent to the Far Eastern border with Japanese-controlled Northern China.  The dry and flat steppe helped these heavy armored cars and their 47 mm (1.77 in) gun gave excellent results against Japanese tanks at Khalkin Gol.  However, they proved vulnerable even to the Japanese 13 mm (0.51 in) heavy machine-guns.  Some were delivered to the 6th and 8th Armored Cavalry Battalions of the Mongolian Revolutionary People’s Army, which also took part in various operations in this sector against the Japanese.
Others took part in the invasion of Poland in September.  Later on they took part in the “Winter war” campaign against Finland, showing good mobility in the snow with their “half-track kits”.  Many were easily destroyed by Finnish antitank rifles and other lighter expedients, and a dozen were captured.  They were later pressed in service as the BAF-A and fought on until late 1944. The Russian models were still frontline during the summer of 1941.
The BA-3 was also exported to Turkey.  Some sources speak of 60 delivered in 1939.
BA3 Armoured Car013 by Fred Maillardet, on Flickr
It is not known how or when RAF airfield protection units in Egypt obtained a BA-3 but it is most likely to have been one of the Turkish cohort that somehow made its way South.  It appears to have had its original turret replaced with one similar to those fitted to Rolls Royce Armoured Cars.  This would most likely have been done due to difficulties in finding a local supply of Soviet 45mm ammunition.  It would also have made a significant weight saving.  Measurements taken by scaling from the few existing photographs show that the turret has a smaller diameter than those fitted to the Rolls Royce.  It is therefore most likely to have been manufactured locally using one of the RAFs other Armoured Cars as an example.  The same photographs mostly show a Vickers machine gun as the main weapon with a Lewis gun for air defense.  In one picture an air cooled gun with a longer barrel has been installed which appears to be an American M2 Browning 0.50 calibre machine gun.

The Model
1/35 Zvezda BA3 Model 1934.
Scratchbuilt turret using Vickers gun courtesy of Nighthunter and Lewis gun from Tamiya LRDG Chevy.
Bren gun from Tamiya Bren Gun Carrier.
Painted with Vallejo acrylics.  I chose to do my Caunter scheme in Dark Green, Portland Stone and USAF Light Grey.
The Zvezda kit goes together well but suffers from not having clear headlight lenses (unfortunately I had none the correct diameter in my model car parts boxes).  It also is missing a spare wheel.  BA3s had one on each side mounted low so as to assist when crossing ditches.  Zvezda only give you one.  I can only assume the RAF lost one somehow.
BA3 Armoured Car001 by Fred Maillardet, on Flickr

Excellent job Fred.  :thumbsup:

The backstory is just so believable too, if you publish it widely you can bet someone will report the use of BA3s by loads of RAF units in the Middle East.  ;D

Excellent build, I like it much, too!  :thumbsup:

That's come out really well mate  :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

I must admit that if I'd have been in the crew of either these or any other British armoured car in theatre the idea of having the R.A.F. "Target" painted over my head would have appeared to have been a bit of a double edged sword  :unsure:

Thanks folks.

--- Quote from: NARSES2 on September 28, 2018, 07:10:56 am ---...I must admit that if I'd have been in the crew of either these or any other British armoured car in theatre the idea of having the R.A.F. "Target" painted over my head would have appeared to have been a bit of a double edged sword  :unsure:

--- End quote ---

Well, in reality they had dropped the target by 1942 when they put on the Caunter camo.  However, there seemed to be something lacking and I felt the build needed a splash of colour.


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

[*] Previous page

Go to full version