History of the Turán Medium and Heavy Tanks in World War II

The Hungarian Army made serious efforts to build up an independent, national war industry, which able to supply the Army with modern armaments and equipment during the war.

Among the modern weaponry, the armoured vehicles were the top priority beside the aircrafts for the Hungarian chief of staff. The current war proved that the air force and the mechanised/armoured troops are the decisive tools of winning the war.
In 1939, the Hungarians had the FIAT Ansaldo tankettes and the 38M Toldi light tanks under production. However, neither armoured vehicles were up to the demands of this war. The war winning armoured vehicles of that time was the medium or heavy tanks. Of course, when the decision was made, that time the medium tanks were armed with 40-50mm guns and the heavy ones with 75mm.
Since the WWII broken up, it was clear that Hungary was unable to purchase updated weaponry from abroad. Germany concentrated on its own demands as prepared the large scale war and used the possibility of selling weapons for blackmailing his allies. The Italians and the neutral states simply could not produce modern weapons for Hungary.  The military carefully investigated available options.  The only solution seemed to be the former Czechoslovakian Skoda Company; with the permission of the Germans, a list of licences for sale was made available to Hungary in late 1939. The Hungarians had had good experiences with Czech military industry products during the k. und k. era.
On the list of available licences was the T-21 tank, which was seen as a possible solution as a medium tank for the Hungarian military. The upgraded, modified version of the T-21 was accepted by the Hungarian Army and the production is started.

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The Defence Industry in Hungary

Following the end of World War I, Hungarian military industry was in bad shape. The lost resources of her territories ceded to other nations, manpower losses caused by the war, and the limitations imposed by the Treaty of Trianon all played their part in this situation. During the late 1920s and early 1930s, the economic situation of the country began to improve. Hungary’s economy was essentially based on agriculture, and those industries which existed did so mainly to provide tools and equipment meant for use in agriculture.
However, a small number of famous heavy industrial companies which originated in the old k. und k. period played a very important role in the military industry. From the 1930s, the Manfred Weiss, FÉG, Diósgyőri State Weapon Factory, Ganz, MÁVAG, Magyar Vagon és Gépgyár (Rába), GAMMA, and Danuvia companies provided the backbone to the Hungarian military industry. Due to financial constraints, these companies initially focused on repairs and modifications to existing equipment, but later worked on production under license and independent developments.
The Manfred Weiss, Ganz, MAVAG, and Magyar Vagon és Gépgyár (Rába) factories were able to preserve and later expand their skills and capacities to produce armour for the Hungarian Army. Of course, in the early 1930s any work and development carried out had to be done in secret.

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Design and production of the Turán tank family

40M Turán Medium Tank

At the end of the 1930s it became obvious that the tankettes and light tanks used by the Hungarian Army were unsuitable as battle tanks. The question remained of where the Hungarians could purchase suitable medium or heavy tanks to equip the planned tank divisions. At that time Sweden and Italy had no suitable models, and the Germans rejected Hungarian proposals to purchase production licences.
In 1939, the MÁVAG and Ganz factories negotiated with Landsverk to purchase the licence to build the heavy LAGO tank (15 t, 47mm gun), but the negotiations were unsuccessful. The Italians also offered their M11/39 medium tanks.
The only solution seemed to be the former Czechoslovakian Skoda Company; a list of licences for sale was made available to Hungary in late 1939. The Hungarians had had good experiences with Czech military industry products during the k. und k. era.
Furthermore, in 1939 two Czech LT-35 tanks had been captured by Hungarian troops and handed over to the HTI for testing, with positive results. On the list of available licences was the T-21 tank, which was seen as a possible solution as a medium tank for the Hungarian military.
The T-21 tank was armed with a new 47mm Skoda A11 gun, had 16-30mm armour and a powerful 240HP eight-cylinder engine. It gave the 16,5 tons vehicle the speed of 50km/h on the road. The layout of the four man crew was standard; driver, radio operator, gunner and commander. The chassis was same design as the Lt vz. 35, it was only more robust due to the greater weight. The Skoda kept the pneumatic steering and its planetary gear-box too.