Simpler, Lower, Thicker
On July 17th, 1941, State Committee of Defense decree #179ss "On production of light T-60 tanks at factory #37" was signed. Instead of the planned T-50, the factory would produce a simplified version of the T-40 amphibious reconnaissance tank. N.A. Astrov and V.P. Okunev's idea was approved at the very top, since the T-50 would not be available before October at best, and factory #37's equipment was not appropriate for producing such a heavy tank.
Meanwhile, making the T-60 from the T-40 was also far from simple. The problem was that the Ordzhonikidze factory in Podolsk produced rather complex hulls and turrets. The biggest problem was with the turret, which had a complicated shape. A large amount of rejected parts was one of the reasons why the T-40's production was behind schedule, and moving to homogeneous armour in mid-July only partially mitigated the problem.
Meanwhile, on July 20th, 1941, decree #222ss "On producing 10,000 light tanks" was signed. According to the decree, one of the main producers of the T-60 was KhTZ (Kharkov), with a quota of 3500 tanks. Another 3000 would be build at the Molotov GAZ factory, the main supplier of engines, gearboxes, road wheels, and other components for the T-40. Even with homogeneous armour, the T-40 was unsuitable for this kind of mass production, and its design had to be simplified.
On July 23rd, NKSM order #360ss was issued, according to which factory #37 was to design a simplified T-60 hull and turret. Only two days later, a technical meeting was held at factory #37 to discuss the design of the T-60 tank on the basis of the T-40 and its production at GAZ and KhTZ. However, real work on a simplified T-40 began earlier. The earliest drafts are dated July 22nd, even before the order was given. Astrov's design bureau set a world record in designing their tank: the final blueprints were ready on July 28th, so all documentation on the tank was developed in less than a week. This is confirmed by the dates on blueprints.