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I have seen a claim in some English online encyclopedias claiming that LT vz. 38 was originally supposed to have a crew of 3 and only after it fell into hands of Nazis was it changed to 4. However, I failed to find any mention of that in Czech sources. Is this a mistake by confusing LT vz 38 for LT vz 35 or did I just not look well enough?

I saw the original claim at tanks encyclopedia

Also, the same claim was sort of repeated at Chieftain's video about tank types participating in battle of France, although there, it was rushed over and mentioned in one breath with LT vz 35.

As for where I've been searching for confirmation, I went to Czech wikipedia, some news articles and blogs of czech WW2 enthusiasts/amateur historians, but unlike with LT vz 35, nowhere did I find claim of crew of 3, only claim of crew of 4. I know that Germans later used it with 4 crewmen, but I can't find any reputable confirmation source confirming Czechoslovakia planned to only use 3.

Found a Czech bachelor thesis on LT vz. 35 and 38 (yeah, I know, very weak source, at best as good as that encyclopedia online) which claims exact opposite, that unlike LT vz. 35, LT vz. 38 was constructed with 4 members of crew in mind. It then, on the same page, describes original LT 38's internal communication module for commander and (three coloured lights), which proves it is talking about before Germans took over, because those did replace it with normal radio communication. Still it's just a bachelor thesis and thus, not too trustworthy source.

  • Mark Wallace: Sorry for not being accurate enough, fixed that. Yes, I'm referring to that, although the correct spelling is LT vz. 38. Also to clarify, I'm not looking for just Czech sources, reason I was using those was I assumed it'd be easier to confirm this claim in Czech, as western historians usually have very little interest in Czechoslovak prewar situation, so I assumed it'd be far easier to find more serious source if I looked for Czech ones. – Failus Maximus Sep 2 at 12:08
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    Well, by 1938 it was clear that one man turret where commander would do everything is not a good idea. In fact, LT vz. 35 was upgraded to two man turret in that year. Therefore, it would be quite logical for successor tank ( LT vz. 38), to have this from the start. – rs.29 Sep 2 at 20:09
  • @rs.29 Would you mind expanding upon that? In sources I found, it was always claimed LT vz. 35 was only upgraded to two man turret after falling into German hands (that is, 1939). Again, it was usually rushed over without any details. – Failus Maximus Sep 2 at 20:31
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    @FailusMaximus I only have "v roce 1938 byl doplněn do osádky střelec z kanónu" from Czech wiki, and general knowledge about tank design based on late 1930s experience . Practically at that time single man turret was abandoned everywhere in new tank design. – rs.29 Sep 3 at 5:32
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https://tankarchives.blogspot.com/2017/05/pzkpfw38t-prize-from-bohemia.html

mentions that the 38t from the second production batch had 4 crew members, the first (much smaller) batch, in part vehicles repurposed from a canceled Czech order, had 3.

This change seems to have been made pretty early in production, effectively after what we'd now call operational acceptance trials.

This and several other design changes were made in June 1939.

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