Armoured ambulance BA-22

Autor: Marek Čech / Panzer 🕔︎︎ 👁︎ 1.634



Practical work in the development and production of armored vehicles led the Sanitary Department of the Red Army to determine the requirement for the construction of an armored vehicle to transport wounded soldiers. The prototype BA-22 (Bronirovanyj Avtomobiľ - an armored car) was built in September 1938 at the "Drobmash" plant in Vyksa on the chassis of a GAZ-AAA truck. Officially, the new design was called "armored moto-medical station" and it was an armored vehicle for transporting either four wounded lying down on stretchers or ten seated soldiers.



Technical solution


TheBA-22 was built to a design scheme with the engine located in the front, front steering wheels and two rear drive axles. The front steer wheels of the vehicle were single, while the rear two pairs of wheels were twinned. The fully enclosed box body was welded from 6 mm thick rolled steel plates. Side armour plates with narrow bevels at the top were installed with a slight inclination, while the front hull plate had a fairly pronounced angle of inclination, increasing its resistance to missiles. In general, the armour of the vehicle was rather weak and could hardly protect the crew from fire at close range.

On the left side of the cab, which was located in front of the high armoured hull, sat the driver and on the right side the vehicle commander. Behind the driving compartment was a compartment for wounded soldiers and paratroopers, respectively. Three doors, two on the sides of the hull and one double door at the rear of the vehicle, were provided for the embarkation of the crew and landing party.




The front of the armoured hull was stepped in shape and consisted of an upper plate which formed the nose of the engine compartment, a middle plate which made a nearly horizontal angle and formed the roof of the engine and gear compartment, and a lower plate which made a slight angle and formed the nose of the engine and gear compartment. The control compartment cabin flowed smoothly into the wounded and airborne compartments respectively. The car carried no armament, and the hull was not fitted with firing ports for firing the paratroopers' personal weapons.

The front of the hull, essentially identical to the armour of the armored BA-6 vehicle, contained an engine compartment that housed a carbureted four-cylinder liquid-cooled GAZ-AA engine rated at 29.4 kW (40 hp) at 2,200 rpm. The engine was coupled to a transmission that included a single-disc dry clutch, a four-speed gearbox (4+1), a demultiplier, a cardan gear, a worm-pair main gear and mechanical brakes. The BA-22 powerplant enabled the vehicle, with a combat weight of 5.24 tons, to move on hard-surfaced roads at a maximum speed of 40 km/h. With full fuel tanks (109 liters), the BA-22 had a range of 250 km on paved roads, with the range dropping to 200 km off-road.

The tri-axle chassis (6×4) with suspension on semi-elliptical leaf springs used wheels with 6.50-20 tyres. The two spare wheels were attached to the sides of the hull at the lower rear of the engine compartment and rotated freely on their axles. They prevented the armoured personnel carrier from bogging down and facilitated obstacle clearance when driving in difficult terrain The BA-22 was able to negotiate gradients of 24° and fords up to 0.6 m deep. To increase ground clearance, lightweight large metal "overopp" tracks were fitted to the rear two axles, usually mounted along the hull above the rear fenders. The front wheels were covered by streamlined mudguards, while the rear mudguards served as boxes in which spare parts, tools and other equipment were stored.


above the rear fenders, the auxiliary tracks can be seen to improve ground clearance

Engine access for maintenance and repairs was provided by a hinged armoured bonnet, which was hinged to the fixed section of the engine compartment roof, and service hatches in its side walls. The radiator, mounted in front of the engine, was protected by a V-shaped cross-section of 6 mm thick armoured plate, which had two hatches with movable flaps that regulated the supply of cooling air to the radiator and the engine. Better ventilation and cooling of the engine compartment was provided by slotted louvres on the sides of the engine compartment, which were covered by flat armoured covers. On either side of the front wall of the engine compartment, two headlamps in streamlined armoured covers were mounted on short brackets.




Test runs on the 331 km long track revealed the machine's deficiencies, after which it was sent for further testing at the NIBT complex, which took place from 15 May to 23 June 1939. The machine showed unsatisfactory results during the trials and was not accepted for armament. It was blamed for its low engine power, low angles of attack and the thickness of the armour, which resulted in poor hull resistance to missiles. The interior of the hull did not meet sanitary and hygienic requirements for cleanliness and equipment, the hatches and doors of the hull were not airtight, and the high height of the vehicle made it significantly unmasked in the field.

Further work was therefore stopped on the vehicle and the prototype was handed over to the Red Army Sanitary Research Institute. However, this does not change the fact that it was essentially the first armoured wheeled personnel carrier in the Red Army.



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Kolomets Maxim, Srednye broneavtomobili Krasnoi Armii, Frontovaya ilustracija, Strategiya KM, Moscow 1999

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