|Manufacturer||Gorkovsky Avtomobilny Zavod|
|Primary Role||Armored Car|
Contributor: Alan Chanter
ww2dbaseArmoured car production in the Soviet Union during World War II was extremely erratic with priority being given over to the manufacturing of tanks. Apart from some small improvements to the two obsolescent pre-war designs the only new vehicle to put into production was the BA-64 which entered service in late 1942. The BA-64 was intended to fill a Red Army requirement for a light armoured car for the use of commanders and their staffs, or for general reconnaissance and liaison duties.
ww2dbaseA light armoured scout car with angled armour the BA-64 weighed about 2.5 tons. It had four-wheel drive, and was powered by a four-cylinder 50-brake horsepower GAZ petrol engine, giving a maximum speed of 80 kilometers per hour. The BA-64's general layout was based on the GAZ-64 light cross-country car and the design was heavily influenced by the contemporary German SdKfz 221 and 222 armoured cars, to which it bore a slight resemblance. Although the BA-64 had better armour, speed, range and off-road capability than any other Soviet wheeled armoured fighting vehicle, due to the limitations of the chassis early production cars tended to be top-heavy and unstable, requiring caution when driven off-road. These problems were resolved, in September 1943, when production switched to the BA-64B which utilized the chassis of the wider GAZ-67B jeep, thereby dramatically improving stability and cross-country performance.
ww2dbaseThe crew of two consisting of a driver and a machine-gunner who was situated in a small open top multi-sided turret. For self-defence the usual armament was a 7.62-millimeter DT machine-gun located either in the turret face, or on top for anti-aircraft use, Alternatively a heavy 14.5-millimeter machine-gun on a pintle mount could be carried, and some cars, although not intended to be a fighting vehicle, were occasionally seen mounting a 20-millimeter cannon, anti-tank rifles, or similar rather useless additions.
ww2dbaseAs a popular command car the BA-64 was typically equipped with radio and map boards on special fittings. A half-track model based upon the 1920's Austin-Putilov armoured car may also have been trialled with Kegresse tracks at the rear replacing the rear wheels.
ww2dbaseMore than 9,000 BA-64s had been completed by the time production ended in 1946. It would remain in service with the Soviet Army until 1956 and is known to have continued in use thereafter as an armoured police vehicle with other Warsaw Pact nations.
David Porter: World War II Soviet Weapons (Amber Books, 2018)
Ian V. Hogg & John Weeks: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Military Vehicles (Hamlyn, 1980)
B. T. White: Tanks and other Armoured Fighting Vehicles 1942-45 (Blandford Press, 1975)
Last Major Revision: Jul 2019
|Machinery||One GAZ Model MM 3,280cc 4-cyl petrol engine rated at 54bhp at 2,800rpm|
|Armament||1x7.62mm DT machine gun|
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Captain Henry P. Jim Crowe, Guadalcanal, 13 Jan 1943