Military Wiki
TK-3 / TKS
TKS P1010141 2.jpg
TKS tankette
Type Tankette
Place of origin  Poland
Service history
Used by  Poland
 Independent State of Croatia (NDH)
 Nazi Germany
Production history
Manufacturer Fabryka Samochodów PZInż.
Produced 1931 - 1939
Number built 575
Weight 2.43/2.6 tonnes
Length 2.58 metres (8 ft 6 in)
Width 1.78 metres (5 ft 10 in)
Height 1.32 metres (4 ft 4 in)
Crew 2 (commander, driver)

Armor 4 – 10 mm
7.92 mm km wz.25 (Hotchkiss) machine gun
2000 rounds
Engine Ford A / Polski FIAT-122 petrol engine
40/46 hp (30/34 kW)
Power/weight 17/18 hp/tonne
Suspension bogie
Fuel capacity 70+8 l
200 km (roads), 100 km (cross-country)
Speed 46/40 km/h

The TK (TK-3) and TKS were Polish tankettes during the Second World War.

Design and development

The TK (also known as the TK-3) tankette was a Polish design produced from 1931 that was based upon an improved chassis of the British Carden Loyd tankette. The TKS was an improved model with a new hull and a more powerful engine. The armour of the TK was up to 8 mm thick (10 mm on the TKS). In 1939, re-arming of the tankettes with 38FK 20 mm machine guns began, but only about 24 were completed before the outbreak of World War II.

On 6 November 1934 Estonia purchased 6 vehicles from Poland, with the contract deal worth over 180,000 krones. The deal also included one additional tracked-lorry, and a motorcycle was given free as a bonus.[1]

Combat history

The 575 TK/TKS tankettes formed the bulk of the Polish armoured forces before the outbreak of war. They suffered heavy losses during the Invasion of Poland, often being the only armoured fighting vehicles available. Due to their light armament of a single machine gun, they stood no chance in combat against German tanks, except the Panzer I, but their small size suited them for reconnaissance and infantry support. Only the handful of tankettes armed with 20 mm guns had a fighting chance against the enemy tanks; in one instance on 18 September 1939 a 20 mm gunned TKS with Nkm wz.38 FK commanded by Podchorazy[2] or Officer Candidate in the rank of SFC Roman Orlik destroyed three German Panzerkampfwagen 35(t) tanks.

After conquest of Poland, the tankettes were taken over and used by the Germans. In this role they saw various uses, mostly for training, security duties or artillery tractors. Many captured tankettes were used by the Luftwaffe for airfield security duties and as snowplows[3]


  • TK (TK-3) - from 1931, about 280 built (Ford A engine)
  • TKF - TK tankette with 46 hp (34 kW) Polski Fiat engine and new (TKS-type) suspension, about 18 built
  • TKS - improved model of 1933, about 260 built (new hull, suspension, Polski Fiat engine)
  • TKS with Nkm wz.38 FK - 20 mm gun - about 24 TKS fitted with 20 mm gun in 1939.
  • C2P - unarmoured light artillery tractor, about 200 built.

Experimental models:

  • TK-1, TK-2 - first prototypes
  • TKD - light self propelled gun with 47 mm gun, four made.
  • TKW - light reconnaissance tank with turret, one prototype made.
  • TK-3 with 20 mm gun - only one prototype with a modified hull was completed.
  • TKS-D - light tank destroyer with 37 mm Bofors anti-tank gun, two made

Surviving TK-series tankettes

TK-3 tankette

TKS tankette in Polish Army Museum

There are only two fully operational TKS tankettes and one TK-3 surviving. All of them reconstructed from wrecks in the first decade of 21st century, using non-original parts.

  • 1 x TKS - One of the TKS tankettes was donated to Poland by the Swedish Axvall Tank Museum and since 2008 it is on exhibition in the Museum of the Polish Army. Interestingly, the Swedish TKS survived the post-war period in Norway, where it was operated by a local farmer as a tractor.
  • 1 x TKS - Private collection.
  • 1 x TK-3 - Private collection.

The other survivors are not in working order.

  • 1 x TKS - On exhibition in the Kubinka Tank Museum in Russia.
  • 1 x TKS - On exhibition in the Military Museum in Belgrade.
  • 1 x TKS - Returned from the Norwegian Armed Forces museum to the Armoured Weapon Museum in Poznan, Poland
  • 1 x TKF - In Serbia.
  • 1 x C2P artillery tractor - Was found in Belgium and bought by the National Military History Center of Auburn, Indiana, where it is currently on exhibition.



  1. Eesti soomusmasinad : soomusautod ja tankid 1918-1940 / Tiit Noormets, Mati Õun Tallinn : Tammiskilp, 1999 Page 52 ISBN 9985-60-692-2
  2. Podchorazy can be also translated as Sub--Warrant Officer
  3. Panzers in Finland - Kari Kuusala
  • Adam Jońca, Rajmund Szubański, Jan Tarczyński Wrzesień 1939 Pojazdy Wojska Polskiego wyd. WKiŁ Warszawa 1990 ISBN 83-206-0847-3
  1. Magnuski Janusz "Czołg rozpoznawczy TK (TKS)" seria TBiU-Typy broni i uzbrojenia (tom: 36), MON 1975


  • Janusz Magnuski, "Karaluchy przeciw panzerom"; Pelta; Warsaw 1995
  • Leszek Komuda, "Przeciwpancerne tankietki" in: "Militaria" Year 1 Nr. 3 and Nr. 4.
  • Adam Jońca, Rajmund Szubański, Jan Tarczyński, "Wrzesień 1939 - Pojazdy Wojska Polskiego - Barwa i broń"; WKL; Warsaw 1990.
  • Jan Tarczyński, K. Barbarski, A. Jońca, "Pojazdy w Wojsku Polskim - Polish Army Vehicles - 1918-1939"; Ajaks; Pruszków 1995.
  • "Czołg rozpoznawczy TK-S", Militaria i Fakty nr. 31 (6/2005)
  • Janusz Magnuski, "Czołg rozpoznawczy TKS (TK)"; TBiU nr. 36; Wydawnictwo MON; Warsaw 1975
  • Zbigniew Lalak, "Czołg rozpoznawczy TK3 / Reconnaissance tank TK3" in Z. Lalak, T. Basarabowicz, R. Sawicki, M. Skotnicki, P. Żurkowski "Pojazdy II wojny swiatowej (tom 2) / Military Vehicles of WW2, part 2", Warsaw 2004, ISBN 83-920361-0-7
  • Eesti soomusmasinad : soomusautod ja tankid 1918-1940 / Tiit Noormets, Mati Õun Tallinn : Tammiskilp, 1999 Page 52 ISBN 9985-60-692-2

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