In prewar years the collective farms and state farms of Belorussia were notable for advanced animal husbandry. Most of collective farms had 2 – 3 farms with large number of livestock. But many regions encountered a difficulty with fodders. To strengthen the fodder supplies, collective farms of republic began to reclaim peat bogs to use the peatbogs for crops sowing. After bog reclamation they needed plough up. A marsh plough was needed for this matter. This plough has its own specialty; it should plough up at the depth of 30 – 35 cm and make full turn of layer, i.e. 180°.
A marsh plough must be more heavy-duty and designed for hard conditions of bog work, where hidden a buried forest and other rhizomes of plants at ploughing. In 1947, a designer Konstantin Fomichev has created “2PF-55” plough. It showed good results on tests. Plough was designed for works with “NATY” and “KD-35” tractors of domestic manufacture. In accordance with decision of Central Committee and Council of Ministers, Minsk tractor works was supposed to assemble 150 ploughs by 1948 year. Thus a marsh plough was the first product of tractor works. Mass production of “2PF-55” two-share plough has begun in mechanical-repair shop in March 24, 1948. In all, 292 marsh ploughs were assembled and shipped.
In first years after the war, Minsk Tractor Works has become a new production object. It was “Kirovez KD-35” catterpillar agricultural tractor. It was designed at Lipezk tractor plant and in All-Russian research institute “NITI”. “KD-35” tractor was designed for general purposes operations with towed agricultural machines and implements — plough, disk and other harrows, seeders. Tractor had rear power shaft and drive pulley for binder, mowing machine, PTO-driven combine and also drive fixed machines.
However, at first it was necessary to develop a production of starting engines. This task was not easy. After all, for its solution it was needed to do about 700 different operations on machines and devices. The first PD-10 engine had been assembled to the 31st anniversary of October.
The works had gathered force with every day. In 1949, 5008 starting engines were assembled, and in 1950 – 23107. At the same time production of diesel-engines was developed.
In 1950, molding, mechanical-repair and foundry shops were placed in operation and iron foundry was handed over for montage. The temporary tractor assembling shop was established at areas of fuel devices shop. In this year the plant staff had to finish all works concerned with developing and preproduction of tractors and diesel-engines, to put into operation all production buildings, to build 16000 m² of dwellings, building of industrial school and schools in Slepianka region, to finish a construction of underground communications on the industrial area, to lay on water supply and sewage system in dwelling village, to complete a tram-line, to pave the new roads and footpaths.
The day 4th of November 1950 was mentioned in chronicle of working feat of Byelorussian tractor builders as a beginning day of serial production of KD-35 tractor.
The first-born of Minsk tractor builders had a big and deserved success with toilers of fields. KD-35 tractors were equipped with 37 h.p. 4-cylinder diesel engines. The engine had high efficiency. So, it consumed 13 kg of fuel per 1 hectare of tillage at average conditions. Fuel tank capacity was designed for fuel of 10 hours undisturbed operation. Machine prototype ploughed up 6 hectares of land for 10 hours.
The tractor has been produced not long, only 9 months till August 1951. 406 machines were made for this time. Production of diesel and starting engines for KD-35 has been continued. They were delivered to Lipezk tractor plant. Later this engine was applied to wheeled versatile cultivated tractor that had been developed by the plant engineers since 1948.
In May 1948, the works has obtained a project of technical requirements for tractor designing from Ministry of USSR agriculture. According to the order № 140 of minister of USSR automobile and tractor industry of 31st May, 1948, engineering staff of the works was authorized to design a versatile wheeled tractor with 37 h.p. diesel engine. Tractor with 3 point hitch hydraulic system allowed to operate without trailer hand was created for the first time.
In October 1948, department of chief designer had finished the tractor draft project (in two modifications). “Belarus” versatile wheeled tractor was designed for operations with attached, half-hinged and towed agricultural machines. Tractor design had two modifications: MTZ-2 — for inter-row cultivation of low-stalked crops with coincident trail of front and rear wheels, and MTZ-1 — for cultivation of tall-stalked crops with front dual-wheels. There were two versions of wheels for tractor operation: rubber low-pressure tires and wheels with hard steel tread with spurs. Tractor had independent PTO drive, hydraulic system for lift of attached implements, and equipped with removable adjustable towing attachment.
July 18, 1949 was the field day for all workers of the plant. The first Byelorussian wheeled tractor of plant design had left the gates of experimental shop. Afterwards, the prototype of wheeled tractor was as a base for creation of MTZ-2 serial machines.
In 1949, 7 prototypes were made and have been put to prolonged factory tests.
October, 14 1953 is a historical date for works team, assembling of MTZ-1 and MTZ-2 tractors was finished at the mother conveyor. These machines had determined all further works specialization in production of wheeled versatile tractors.
In spring 1951 MTW’s team had gotten a very important government task — to develop a production of skidders in which there was a great demand for harvesting field.
KT-12 gas-producing tractor is a special catterpillar tractor designed for tree skidding. It had come in USSR in first after-war years. It had no analogue in any other countries. Firstly skidding was carried out by cartage (by horses), manual or by motor winches. KT-12 tractor was created by designers of Kirovsk plant in Leningrad in co-operation with scientists of Leningrad forestry engineering academy. KT-12 tractor had been produced at Kirovsk plant till 1951. Now it would be set up its production at Minsk Tractor Works. Only three months had been led for decision of all organizational questions. So, for short history of the works existence, MTW had to develop the second (after KD-35) machine, moreover not its own design.
The first batch of KT-12 skidding machines was assembled at the main conveyor of tractor assembling shop on August 15, 1951. In the production process the tractor had been modernized for the purpose to improve functional quality of machine. For the short period of time the plant designers have increased the warranty period of machine 1,5 times more by changing some units and components.
In the early fifties the Ministry of USSR forest industry stated, that KT-12A with gas-plant didn’t correspond to increased requirements. Taking into account the tractor disadvantages, the Ministry had decided to refuse from this machine at all and put the question to design a new more reliable 60 h.p. skidder.
Analyzing the situation, MTW’s designers and leaders have considered the expediency of creation more powerful skidder, but advanced an opinion: one powerful tractor class would be uneconomical for all logging area. It was necessary to develop an average power skidder on the basis of KT-12A with installation a diesel engine from “Belarus” wheeled tractor on it.
In 1954, the design of such tractor was developed with mark TDT-40. The tractor was designed for tree-length hauling direct from cutting area. Accept hauling timber, it was indispensable at throw, for various transport operations on impassibility of roads. In 1955, according to operational test the interdepartmental committee has stated that TDT-40 tractor is very needed for Ministry of USSR forest industry and it is rational to put it into production in a short period of time. In accordance with resolution of Ministry of USSR tractor and agricultural machinery industry, TDT-40 diesel tractors were put into batch production since May, 1959. By the end of the year their number exceeded 3430. The same year design works were finished and first prototypes of D-50 diesel tractor were produced. New engine exceeded the power of its predecessor more then 10 h.p., smaller size and the weight was 350 kg lighter.
It was required more powered skidders than TDT-40 for operations at forestry of Ural, Siberia and the Far East. Minsk Tractor Works together with Research automotive institute should be developed the project of tractor according to technical requirements of Ministry of USSR forest industry. First the tractor was given the mark “TDT-54”. To increase the effectiveness it was applied 54 h.p. diesel engine from DT-54 tractor of Kharkov tractor plant.
After TDT-54 skidder was approved by the state commission for batch production, each units of tractor was tested. As a result, most of its units were modernized. Besides this, D-54 diesel was forced to 60 h.p. power, after this the tractor was named TDT-60. In 1956, four its prototypes have passed all state proof tests in works conditions in Vakhtansk timber industry enterprise of Gorki region.
The works has gotten into difficulties because of the simultaneous production of two MTZ-2 and TDT-40 tractors with absolutely different designs and functions. The works had no possibility to develop two different productions at the same time: the agriculture was in urgent need of production of MTZ-2 tractor, and Ministry of USSR forest industry was interested in TDT-40 tractor.
Technical and economic calculation has shown that Minsk plant must be specialized in production of all-purposes wheeled tractors.
MTW’s leaders made a suggestion to Ministry — to stop production of TDT-40 and devolved it to the plant in Karelia, and developed model of TDT-60 — on Altaia tractor plant. Production of TDT-40 tractors was devolved on Onega engineering plant in Petrozavodsk in accordance with USSR government regulation of January 30, 1956. Till this date these tractors were under the jurisdiction of Ministry of USSR forest industry and then they were devolved to Ministry of USSR tractor and agricultural machinery industry. In 1957, Onega tractor plant began to develop the TDT-40 tractor, and MTW has continued its production. By 1958, MTW has produced 12977 of TDT-40 tractors. In 1957, Altai tractor plant put into batch production the TDT-60 tractors. At this point the history of skidders was finished for MTW, where they have been produced parallel with wheeled tractors during 7 years.
After a time, the requirements for MTZ-2 tractor have been increased. It has low transport speed (13 km/h) and insufficient number of gears. Characteristics of fuel efficiency and material capacity were very low in tractor. It was required to increase reliability and life time of machine. In 1955 – 1956, generalizing the operating experience of MTZ-2 tractors and taking into account condition and level of tractor industry, designers have modernized a machine. It was allowed to eliminate defects and extend field of machine application and improve technical economic indices.
So the new models of “Belarus” tractor were appeared: MTZ-5 (prototype of 1956), MTZ-5M and MTZ-5L (prototypes of 1957).
Having high universality the MTZ-5 had independent PTO drive, more powered and efficient engine, hydraulic hitch system with external cylinders.
In 1958, the design was updated, prototypes were produced, tests were made and the drawings of MTZ-7 were given to preproduction. This tractor had cross-country capacity with four driving wheels. The first configuration of tractor was designed with application of front driving axle from GAZ-67 military land-rover, it had non-adjustable width of front wheels track and that is why had not provided the performance of tillage works. The tractor didn’t stand a test because of insufficient strength of GAZ-67 axle. The problem was solved after driving axle of GAZ-63 was installed on the tractor. Production of cabs for Belarus tractors has been started. The construction of removable cab allowed to use it as in a closed form and as a canopy on tractor. Conditions of operator work have significantly improved with application of such cab.
In 1959, the production of MTZ-5LC and MTZ-5MC tractors was started after carrying out the design updating. The letter “C” in designation meant “high speed”. The engine power was increased till 48 h.p. (instead of 45 h.p.) due to increasing the number of revolutions till 1600 rpm (instead of 1500 rpm).
Range of operating speeds was within 5 – 10 km/h. The number of gears in gearbox was increased from 4 to 5. In other aspects this tractors had not the fundamental distinctions from MTZ-5L and MTZ-5M tractors. Production of high-speed machines has been started in 1959.
In 1959, MTZ-7M, MTZ-7MC and MTZ-7LC tractors were put into batch production, but no so long, because the main goal was to receive information how much this tractors are good with four driving wheels in different climatic and soil conditions. In this year the works has produced 169 tractors, and in 1960 – 1277.
279 pieces of MTZ-7 tractors has been produced altogether. Their production was finished in 1961.
Until 1959, MTW had a facility to produce only 18000 wheeled tractors of MTZ-2 type, 6000 of TDT-40 catterpillar skidders and 40000 of D-40 engines.
Also MTZ-5, MTZ-5M and MTZ-5L tractors were put into batch production, and in 1956 designers have designed the new diesel engine for future MTZ-50 tractor. Not only the works, but and all country was interested in creation of new prospective general-purpose tractor. Technical project of the tractor was finished in 1957 and approved by leading Scientific Automotive Institute.
In 1958, experimental shop has made some tractor prototypes. According to test results, scientific and technological council “Union of agricultural machinery” recommended to put into batch production the “Belarus” MTZ-50 wheeled general-purpose tractor of 1.4 class. MTZ-50 tractor was equipped with 55 h.p. diesel engine; weight of machine was reduced more then 400 kg. 9-speed gearbox was installed in tractor transmission, providing a speed range from 1.65 to 25 km/h.
In 1959, according to state test results the construction of MTZ-50 tractor was updated, the required documentation was published and sent to preproduction. Modification of tractor with high cross-country ability with four driving wheels –MTZ-52 was developed on the base of MTZ-50 tractor. Due to low slipping losses the fuel efficiency of MTZ-52 was higher than MTZ-50 tractor.
November 14 of 1959, USSR Council of Ministers has issued a resolution “Concerning organization of specialized production of wheeled tractors, motorcycles and engines for them at BSSR enterprises”. One item of document was:
2. To oblige the BSSR Council of Minister to provide:
b) production of “Belarus” MTZ-50 tractors beginning from 1961 and MTZ-52 tractors beginning from 1962 whose production should be achieved 75000 pieces per year in 1965.
Council of BSSR national economy made a resolve of December 19, 1961:
3. To provide step-by-step manufacturing application of new MTZ-50 tractor for non-stop change to a new tractor model, for that: — to approve a production the MTZ-50 PL tractor of transition model to chassis of MTZ-50 tractor with D-48 PL stock engine forced to 50 h.p. power on MTW for 1961 – 1962 — to start production of MTZ-50 tractors with D-50 engine from IV quarter of 1962.
1960. The works was in reconstruction stage. Shops were equipped with the new equipment and the obsolete equipment was changed. The updating of MTZ-50 tractor construction was carried out; required documentation was issued and sent to preproduction. MTW’s designers have developed a modification of MTZ-52 tractor with high cross-country ability with four driving wheels on the basis of MTZ-50 tractor. This machine supplemented the basic model, widen the range of application for agricultural and transport operations, particularly in condition of high soil moisture.
May 26, 1960, Central Committee of the CPSU and USSR Council of Ministry adopted a resolution №563 to build a specialized Minsk motor plant. This project has provided for production of 120.000 D-50 engines per year for kitting-up the family of universal tractors and spare parts for them. Building of new motor plant has been started at free area near MTW in 1960.
1960. Workup of tractor design mounted on caterpillar tracks was in progress. In the letter of Department of USSR Agriculture of March 31, 1960 was reported: "…testers revealed that application of rubber-metal semi-caterpillar substantially increased towing and economic indicators of "Belarus" tractor at damp and loose soils, and provides increasing of productivity, reducing of track depth and soil compression, that is favorable at sowing and presowing operation”. Semi-caterpillar was delivered to farms by special requests.
Design development was finished and prototypes of MTZ-50 cotton-growing tractor were produced in 1963. The tractor was designed for cultivation and cotton picking in four-row machine system with 90 cm row-spacing. MTZ-50X tractor differed from MTZ-50 tractor by front axle construction — it had one guide wheel. Unit of final drive with additional reduction gears was changed also. All required tests of tractor were finished in 1966, after that the preparation to its batch production was started by the plant specialists. Production of MTZ-50X has been continued 8 years: from 1969 to 1977. Then production was devolved to Tashkent tractor plant.
MTZ-52 was put into batch production at MTW in 1964. The novelty has taken a big popularity and begun exporting in many countries of the world.
The two thousandth tractor was assembled at the main assembly line on June 22, 1961.
New main assembly line was put into operation before the appointed time on October 16, 1961, in honour of XXII congress of Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
First batch MTZ-50PL “Belarus” tractor was assembled at the main assembly line on January 5, 1962.
Three caterpillar modifications was produced on the base of MTZ-50 tractor, unit unification with MTZ-50 tractor was more than 62%. Caterpillar modifications were unified by 95 – 98%. 1967, version of T-54B caterpillar was put in production in two modifications: T-54B-C1 with 950 mm track width for vineyard cultivation with 1,8 m and more row-spacing, and T-54B-C2 — with 85 mm track width for vineyard cultivation with 1,5 m row-spacing.
T-54L tractor was put into production in 1968.
In 1966, USSR council of ministers adopted a resolution №606 to develop 75-80 h.p. universal tractor of 1.4 drawbar class. Designers have developed such tractor by means of modernization of MTZ-50 tractor and named it the MTZ-80/82. Design of this tractor, except increasing of engine power, had many improvements.
In 1972, state tests of MTZ-80/82L tractor (with electric starting run and starting engine) was finished. The tests have shown that the number of mounted machines and implements on tractor has increased to 230 denominations. High speed (to 35 km/h) gave a possibility to use tractor more efficiently at transport operations.
В 1974 году завод приступил к серийному выпуску МТЗ-80. Трактор был задуман как базовый с учетом разработки на нем нового семейства унифицированных энергонасыщенных тракторов как колесных, так и гусеничных. Основными отличиями трактора МТЗ-80 от трактора МТЗ-50 были следующие:
Minsk motor plant has modernized an engine. Engine had two modifications with starting from electric starter. Crankshaft speed was raised to 2200 rpm.
Experience of MTZ-80 operation in various country regions has shown up the necessity of developing the modification of this machine designed for certain agricultural and other works. The most popular modifications of MTZ-80 tractor were: MTZ-82P rice-growing, MTZ-82H low-clearance, MTZ-82K hillside.
MTZ-82P tractor was designed for comprehensive mechanization of rice cultivation and attendant cultures of crop rotation, including for cultivating and planning of water filled-up irrigable areas, rice sowings, looking after irrigative system. A fundamental distinction of MTZ-82P from MTZ-82 basic model was: it had increased to 700 mm clearance under sleeves of front and rear axles and frame. It was achieved due to installation of additional board rear axle gear, unified with MTZ-80X tractor and tires of large sizes.
MTZ-82H tractor was designed first of all for mechanization of mining agriculture. The main factor limiting the application of flat tractor in mining agriculture is steepness of slope. The flat tractors can use at slopes with 8 degree steepness. MTZ-82H tractor differs from serial MTZ-82 by reduced centre of gravity and correspondingly has larger lateral and transverse stability. Reduction of centre of gravity was achieved by installation the front and rear wheels with reduced diameter.
MTZ-82K tractor relates to general-purpose machine designed for operations at steep mining slopes. MTW has begun a team-work with Georgia Research institute (Tbilisi) in 1964. In 1968 – 1974, trial production shop was produced prototypes of hillside tractor. They have passed overall laboratory and state tests in Georgian, Kirghiz, Moldavian and South research stations. Construction had board swinging reduction gear, mechanism of stabilization and balancing of frame position, front driving axle with parallelogram device, reducer of stabilization. Clearance of MTZ-82K tractor is standard, as a basic model.