Verdeja was a series of light tanks developed in Spain between 1938 and 1954 in an attempt to replace German Panzer I and Soviet T-26 tanks. The program was headed by major Félix Verdeja Bardales and led to the development of four prototype vehicles. The project was unofficially canceled in favor of adopting the U.S. M47 Patton tank in 1954 through the Mutual Defense Assistance Act.
About Verdeja in brief
Verdeja was a series of light tanks developed in Spain between 1938 and 1954 in an attempt to replace German Panzer I and Soviet T-26 tanks. The program was headed by major Félix Verdeja Bardales and led to the development of four prototype vehicles, including a self-propelled howitzer armed with a 75 millimeter gun. It was one of the first development programs which took into account survivability of the crew as opposed to the protection of the tank itself. The project was unofficially canceled in favor of adopting the U.S. M47 Patton tank in 1954 through the Mutual Defense Assistance Act. A prototype of the 75-millimetre howitzer and of the Ver deja 2 were put on display in the early 1990s. Spain received its first tank in mid-1919, a French Renault FT, for testing purposes, and later received ten more tanks on 18 December 1921. By the start of the Spanish Civil War there were only ten working FT light tanks available in the country. The lack of armor prompted the Soviet Union to supply the Popular Front with light tanks. Between 1936 and 1939, the Germans provided the Nationalists with 122 Panzer Is and the Italians provided 155 L-3-35s. Meanwhile, the Soviets issued Republican Spain 281 T- 26s and 50 BT-5s. The use of these tanks during the Rif War, including the first amphibious landing with tanks, offered valuable experience for Spain’s first indigenous armor program, the Trubia A4.
These prototypes influenced a subsequent indigenous attempt to produce a tank, named thetrubia-Naval. This design also failed to get past the prototype type stage. Despite four successfully converted vehicles, designated Panzer I Breda, there was no widespread program to retrofit the gun into the Panzer I. Instead, the Nationalist T-24s were pressed into service against their previous owners, with the first Nationalist t-26 unit formed in June 1937. The Nationalists quickly found out that light machine guns on their tanks could not penetrate the T-25’s armor at over 150 metres. Although the project was approved in October 1938, it was never approved by the Spanish government due to lack of interest from the national government. Despite attempts to fit a new engine in the Verdejo 2, the program was never put into mass production. The Verdejas were based on experiences with existing light tanks, which frequently lost their tracks in combat. These included the Panzer Is, T-27s and T-28s, all of which had a low profile, all-around machine guns; two-around turret mantlet with a 30 millimetres, and a road speed of 70 kilometres per hour, combat range of 200 kilometres, combat range of 100 kilometres. The design was inspired by several of the light tanks which it was intended to replace, including the Panzer I and T-26, both of which were originally used during theSpanish Civil War.