Military Wiki
BTR 152 Yerevan.JPG
BTR-152 in Yerevan, Armenia.
Type Armored personnel carrier
Place of origin Soviet Union
Service history
In service 24 March 1950 - present
Used by See Operators
Wars See Service History
Production history
Designer B. M. Fitterman
Designed November 1946 - 1949[1]
Manufacturer Automotive Factory No. 2 Zavod imeni Stalina (until 1956)[1]
Automotive Factory No. 2 Zavod imeni Likhacheva (from 1956 to 1962)[1]
Produced 1950 - 1962
Number built around 15,000
Variants See Variants
Weight 9.91 tonnes[2]
Length 6.55 m
6.83 m for BTR-152V
Width 2.32 m
Height 2.04 m (without the mg)[2]
2.36 m (with the mg)[1]
2.41 m (BTR-152V with the mg)[1]
Crew 2 (+18 passengers)[3]

Armor welded steel[4]
15 mm front[2]
9 mm sides and rear[4]
10 mm roof[4]
4 mm bottom[4]
7.62mm SGMB light machine gun (1,250 rounds) (12.7 mm DShK 1938/46 heavy machine gun (500 rounds) can be used instead)[2]
2x7.62mm SGMB light machine guns (1,250-1,750 rounds) on side pintel mounts (optional)[2]
Engine ZIS-123 6-cylinder in-line water-cooled petrol (for variants based on ZiS-151)
ZiL-137K 6-cylinder in-line petrol (for variants based on ZiL-157)[5]
110 hp (82 kW) at 3,000 rpm. (for variants based on ZiS-151)
107 hp (80 kW) (for variants based on ZiL-157)[5]
Power/weight 11.1 hp/tonne (8.3 kW/tonne)
10.8 hp/tonne (8.1 kW/tonne) for BTR-152V[1]
Suspension wheeled 6×6
front - 2 leaf springs and hydraulic shock absorbers.
rear - equalising type with 2 leaf springs and torsion bars.
Ground clearance 300 mm
Fuel capacity 300 l (79 gal)
650 km (404 miles)[2]
Speed 75 km/h[6]
65 km/h for BTR-152V[1]

The BTR-152 (also known as BTR-140) was a non-amphibious Soviet wheeled armored personnel carrier (BTR stands for Bronetransporter (БТР, Бронетранспортер, literally "armoured transporter") ) that entered Soviet service in 1950. By the early 1970s it had been replaced in the infantry vehicle role by the BTR-60. However, it remained in service in the Soviet Army and the Russian Army until 1993 in a variety of other roles. It was also exported to many third World countries.


Tanks are an essential element of armed maneuver warfare. Yet, even this high-value, powerful weapon remains vulnerable to infantry anti-tank tactics especially in urban or confined environments. Hence, infantry accompany tanks to assist in suppressing possible anti-tank action.

During the Second World War, the Soviet tacticians incorporated joint infantry and tank attacks against German forces, both serving in roles to protect the other. Performance was less than desirable as infantry lacked the armored protection and rapid mobility of the tank, and thus unarmoured troops were vulnerable to enemy fire. This led to employment of armoured infantry carriage vehicles known as APCs which overcame these shortcomings.(Perrett 1987:65)

After the war, Soviet military analysed the high infantry casualty rate of combined infantry-tank attacks and concluded the lack of APCs were a major cause. This vulnerability in maneuver warfare was given high priority to remedy. The Soviet military industrial complex had its own designs, Lend-Lease vehicles such as the M3 Half-track and newly acquired German SdKfz 251 to serve as reference. (Perrett 1987:65)

The BTR-152 was one of the first Soviet armoured infantry vehicle after the Second World War. It was developed from November 1946 at ZiS plant by a team (it included K. M. Androsow, A. P. Pietrenko, W. F. Rodionow and P. P. Czerniajew)[1] led by B. M. Fitterman. The first two prototypes were completed in May 1947 and were followed by three experimental series. The vehicle was adopted by the Soviet Army on 24 March 1950. The vehicle was based on the existing ZiS-151 truck chassis. Despite an improved engine, the addition of 5 tons of armour resulted in the vehicle having insufficient mobility.

Several upgraded versions were designed by W. F. Rodionow and N. I. Orłow[1] which later entered production. These rectified many problems such as the open roof and the mobility issue. A central tire pressure regulation system was added to allow tire pressure to be adjusted to optimize traction in varying terrain.

Production of the BTR-152 was stopped in 1962. Approximately 15,000 examples were built.


BTR-152 APC in Yad la-Shiryon Museum, Israel. 2005. Spare tire mounted on the rear of the vehicle is visible.

The BTR-152, based on a truck chassis, has the engine located in the front, the crew behind the engine, and an open-topped troop compartment in the rear. The vehicle has all-welded steel construction with sloped armour. The windscreen is protected by twin armoured shutters with integral vision blocks. Driver and commander enter and exit the vehicle via the doors on each side of the crew compartment. The upper part of the doors can be opened without opening the entire door, allowing both crew members a side view. Additionally both driver and commander can view the battlefield using periscopes mounted over the doors. The vehicle's armour varies from 15 mm thick on the front to 9 mm thick on the sides, to just 4 mm thick on the floor. This provides modest protection from small arms fire and small shell fragments, but does nothing against larger artillery fragments or heavy machinegun fire. The BTR-152's tires are not protected by armour and are particularly vulnerable to puncture from gunfire of all kinds. The vehicle is sometimes fitted with a winch that has a maximum capacity of 5 tonnes, and is fitted with a 70 m cable.[2][4]

The BTR-152 can tow heavy guns, transport 1.9 tonnes of cargo, or a half platoon of infantry. In the APC role, infantrymen can fire their individual weapons from the relative protection of the vehicle, and can exit through the rear doors or by jumping over the sides.[1][4][7]

The troop compartment is open-topped, although later versions were enclosed. It can be covered with a tarpaulin to protect the transported cargo or troops from rain and snow; however, it makes it unable for troops to disembark over the sides of the vehicle or mount any of the 7.62 mm SGMB light machine guns. The transported troops sit on two wooden benches. Twin doors at the rear of the hull provide access to the compartment. There are three firing ports on each side of the hull, and a further two in the rear. The driver and gunner are the only ones that have overhead protection. The BTR-152K is the only APC variant to have an armoured roof over the troop compartment and an NBC protection system. All other BTR-152 variants lack NBC protection.

BTR-152 in Yad la-Shiryon Museum, Israel, 2005.

The BTR-152 APC is armed with a single pintle-mounted 7.62 mm SGMB light machinegun which was a typical armament for APCs of its time. It can also mount a 12.7 mm DShK 1938/46 heavy machinegun. The machinegun can traverse 45 degrees and elevate between -6 and +24 degrees.[4]

Because the original BTR-152 APC used components from the ZiS-151, it shared that truck's maintenance problems and poor cross-country mobility. Later variants using ZiL-157 components featured more power and larger, single tires which reduced the vehicle's shortcomings but did not entirely eliminate them. Serviceability and reliability remained low.[7] The lack of an amphibious capability was also a significant weakness.

Armoured shutters controlled by the driver protect the radiator from hostile fire. Closing the shutters can result in sudden overheating of the engine during combat and can force the driver to reduce speed to avoid damaging the engine. The vehicle therefore becomes a slow, unmaneuverable target on the battlefield.[4]

Service history

The vehicle entered active service with the Soviet Army on 24 March 1950 and was first publicly shown during a parade in Moscow in 1951. It was phased out as an APC between the late 1960s and early 1970s and was replaced by the BTR-60. It remained in service with the Soviet Army and later post-soviet Russian Army until 1993 in a variety of roles, including command vehicles, mobile radio stations and ambulances. It was also exported to many Third World countries where some still remain in service.

BTR-152 first saw combat use during Hungarian Revolution of 1956. They were later used during the Six Day War in 1967. Dozens of Egyptian and Syrian BTR-152 APCs were captured by the Israeli Army. They were also used in combat during the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 by the Soviet Army and other Warsaw Pact armies. They also were used in a number of local conflicts like the ones in Africa.


BTR-152V in Muzeum Wojska Polskiego, Warszawa-Czerniaków.

former Soviet Union

Two Soviet BTR-152V2s.

  • BTR-152 (1950) - Basic APC based on ZiS-151 truck, many of which would later be covered and converted for other uses, such as ambulances, radio stations, and engineer vehicles. The basic BTR-152 has no winch, has an open top, and has no tire pressure control lines.[2]
    • BTR-152A (1951) - BTR-152 converted into a SPAAG armed with a double (ZPTU-2) or quadruple (ZPTU-4) KPVT 14.5 mm antiaircraft heavy machine guns (2400 rounds) in a turret manually operated by a single soldier. The entire crew of the vehicle consisted of 10 soldiers in variant equipped with ZPTU-2 and 5 soldiers in variant equipped with ZPTU-4. The turret is placed inside the troop compartment and can be manually operated by a single soldier. It can make a full turn and its guns can elevate between -5 and +80 degrees.[2][4][8]
    • BTR-152 converted into a minelayer equipped with racks for anti-tank mines.[7]
    • BTR-152B (1952) - Artillery command version with a front-mounted winch and external tires pressure regulation system.[2][7]
    • BTR-152C - Communication variant based on BTR-152.[8]
    • BTR-152V (1955) - Variant based on ZIL-157 truck with external tires pressure regulation system, a front-mounted winch and night vision devices for the driver.[4]
      • BTR-152D (1955) - Armament as BTR-152A, but based on BTR-152V.
      • BTR-152I - BTR-152V version for artillery command vehicle.[2]
      • BTR-152S - Command and communication post vehicle for infantry commanders. It has a significantly higher full cover roof and additional radios and antennas.[1][7]
      • BTR-152V1 (1957) - Received night vision equipment, winch, open top and improved external tires pressure regulation system.[2]
        • BTR-152K (1959) - Received armored roof with three big hatches on top of it of which two were opening to the right over the troop compartment, internal tires pressure regulation system and filtering/ventilating system. The weight of the vehicle has increased, the crew went down from 2+18 to 2+13.[4][7][8]
          • BTR-152K converted into an armoured ambulance.
        • BTR-152E - Armament as BTR-152A, but based on BTR-152V1.
        • BTR-152U - Command vehicle based on BTR-152V1 equipped with external tires pressure regulation system. This command vehicle has a significantly higher full cover roof and additional radios and antennas. It has equipment for staff operations. This vehicle normally tows a trailer carrying additional equipment.[2][4][7]
          • BTR-152U equipped with internal tires pressure regulation system.[7]
            • BTR-152U with fully armoured roof and internal tires pressure regulation system.[7]
      • BTR-152V2 - BTR-152V version without winch. It has the internal tires pressure regulation system.[2]
        • BTR-152D based on BTR-152V2.[7]
        • BTR-152B1 (1958) - Artillery command version with a front-mounted winch, internal tires pressure regulation system and ТВН-2 night vision device for the driver.[9]
      • BTR-152V3 - BTR-152V with winch on the front, open top, infrared driving lights, and internal tires pressure regulation system.[2]
      • BTR-E152V (1957) - Experimental version; the second pair of the wheels was moved toward the center of the vehicle in order to improve the off-road performance.

People's Republic of China

  • Type 56 - Chinese copy.

BTR-152 TCM-20 at Muzeyon Heyl ha-Avir, Hatzerim, Israel, 2006.


  • BTR-152 converted by Egyptians into a SPAAG armed with Czechoslovak KLAD (Egyptian designation is M58) quadruple DShK 1938/46 12.7 mm anti-aircraft heavy machine guns mounted in the troop compartment. It was withdrawn from service in middle of the 1980s.[2][6][7]

former East Germany

BTR-152 converted into an ARV by Lebanese Militia next to a BTR-60 APC in Yad la-Shiryon Museum, Israel, 2005.

  • SPW-152 - East German version of BTR-152.[7]
    • SPW-152 converted into an armoured ambulance.[7]
    • SPW-152U - East German command version of BTR-152.[7]


  • BTR-152 captured from Syrians or Egyptians and modified to fulfil the Israeli Army needs.[7]
  • BTR-152 TCM-20 - Israeli air defense vehicle based on ex-Syrian or ex-Egyptian BTR-152. It is armed with twin 20 mm cannon in a TCM-20 powered mount.[7]


  • BTR-152 modified by Lebanese Militias. It was fitted with ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft gun placed inside the troop compartment. It was used in fire support and anti-aircraft roles.[7]
  • BTR-152 modified by the South Lebanese Army. It was fitted with a crane inside a cut down troop compartment. One surviving example is at Yad la-Shiryon Museum in Israel.[7]


  • BTR-152 converted to serve as a mobile command post. It has additional radios.[7]
  • BTR-152 converted into an engineering vehicle.[1]
  • BTR-152 converted into an armoured artillery tractor.[1]


BTR-152 operators

  •  Angola
  •  Cambodia
  •  Equatorial Guinea
  •  Ethiopia
  •  Guinea
  •  Guinea-Bissau
  •  Laos
  •  Mali
  •  Mozambique
  •  Nicaragua
  •  North Korea
  •  People's Republic of China (as Type 56)
  •  Republic of the Congo
  •  Poland - Used by the army but replaced by SKOT APC. In 1982 the Milicja Obywatelska has received 6 BTR-152V1 APCs with special equipment from East Germany's Volkspolizei.[10] One of the vehicles is still kept in storage by the police forces.
  •  Somaliland
  •  Seychelles
  •  Sri Lanka
  •  Sudan
  •  Syria
  •  Tanzania
  •  Uganda
  •  Vietnam
  •  Yemen - 250
  •  Zimbabwe

Former Operators

  •  Afghanistan
  •  Albania
  •  Algeria
  •  Bulgaria - Withdrawn from service in the 1990s
  •  Cuba
  •  Cyprus - ~34/35 vehicles delivered 1965, saw action in 1974 Turkish Invasion of Cyprus.
  •  East Germany - Passed on to the unified German state.
  •  Egypt - 300 BTR-152s.[11] 675 BTR-152s originally bought. Also Egypt operated 120 BTR-152 converted into SPAAGs (See Egypt section for details) but withdrawn them from service in the middle of the 1980s.
  •  Estonia - 5[12]
  •  Hungary
  •  Indonesia - now retired
  •  India
  •  Iran
  •  Israel - Captured a number of those vehicles during the Six Day War from Egypt and Syria. It was used by Israeli Army mostly in the role of weapon carriers like BTR-152 TCM-20. A small number saw service with Israeli Police.[3]
  •  Iraq - All destroyed or scrapped.
  • North Vietnam North Vietnam - Passed on to the successor state.
  •  Romania - Withdrawn from service in the 1990s.
  •  Russia - Withdrawn from service in the 1990s
  •  Mongolia - Withdrawn from service in the 1976s
  • Lebanese Forces - Supplied by Syria and Israel or captured from the PLO.
  • South Lebanon Army - Supplied by Israel.
  • Tigers Militia (Lebanon) - Supplied by Syria in the late 1970s
  • Progressive Socialist Party (Lebanon) - Supplied by the PLO or Syria in the early 1980s.
  •  Soviet Union - Passed on to successor states.
  •  Germany - Taken from GDR's army, all scrapped or sold to other countries.
  • Palestinian territories Palestinian Liberation Organization - Supplied by Syria. Passed on to the Lebanese al-Murabitun militia.
  •  Yugoslavia - 40, withdrawn in 1970s.


See also


  • Soviet/Russian Armor and Artillery Design Practices 1945 to Present, Andrew Hull, David Markov Steven Zaloga, ISBN 1-892848-01-5
  • Jane's Armour and Artillery 2005–2006
  • Perrett, Bryan (1987). Soviet Armour Since 1945. London: Blandford Press. ISBN 0-7137-1735-1.
  • Samer Kassis, 30 Years of Military Vehicles in Lebanon, Beirut: Elite Group, 2003. ISBN 9953-0-0705-5
  • Samer Kassis, Véhicules Militaires au Liban/Military Vehicles in Lebanon 1975-1981, L’Echo des Cedres, Beirut 2011. ISBN 978-1-934293-06-5
  • Samuel M. Katz and Ron Volstad, Battleground Lebanon, Concord Publications, Hong Kong 1990. ISBN 962-361-003-3

External links

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