On 15 October 1936, the first shipment of 50 Soviet T-26 light tanks arrived at the port of Cartagena. These were put into combat as early as 26 October, under the leadership of Soviet Lieutenant Colonel Semyon Krivoshein, south of Madrid. The 1st Republican Tank Brigade was created in December 1936, initially consisted of a tank battalion, a transport battalion and a Spanish motorcycle company under the command of Soviet brigade commander D. Pavlov at the Archena training centre. After the Battle of Brunete, the brigade was reorganized into an Armoured Vehicles Division División de Ingenios Blindados, composed of a tank brigade and an armoured brigade; the latter was made up of lighter armoured fighting vehicles, such as the BA-6 and was put under the command of the Spanish Colonel Sánchez Paredes. By this time, most of the Soviet tankers had returned to the Soviet Union to provide information on mechanized warfare in Spain and the only Soviet unit left was the heavy tank regiment, armed with brand new BT-5s which had not been used in combat yet. This regiment was crewed by both Soviet and veteran Spanish tankers, and was put under the command of Soviet Colonel Kondriatev, disposed of an infantry brigade and an anti-tank artillery company. However, by this time the Republican military command had relegated the tank to the role of merely infantry support, dissuaded by the poor performance of Republican armour to that date. The last major battle Republican armour would take part it was the Battle of the Ebro, in 1938.
Armored vehicles and improvised armored vehicles (trucks or tractors with steel plates welded or bolted) will be strengthen the forces of the International Brigades and has survived at least three reports of Greek drivers.
The metal emblem consists of a gear surrounding a red star having in the center an archetypal F17. Exist reports of one embroidered version of the emblem that was worn on the chest.