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T-34 medium tank

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T-34-85 at Musée des Blindés

Type Medium tank
Place of origin Soviet Union
Service history
In service 1940–present
Used by Soviet Union and 39 others
Wars World War Two and many others
Production history
Designer T-34 Main Design Bureau – KMDB
Designed 1937–1940
Produced 1940–1958
Number built 84,070[1]35,120 T-34[1]

48,950 T-34-85[1]

Specifications (T-34 Model 1941[4])
Weight 26.5 tonnes (29.2 short tons; 26.1 long tons)
Length 6.68 m (21 ft 11 in)
Width 3.00 m (9 ft 10 in)
Height 2.45 m (8 ft 0 in)
Crew 4

Armor Hull front 47 mm /60° (upper part)[2]45 mm (1.8")/60° (lower part),

Hull side 40 mm[3]/41°(upper part), Hull rear 45 mm, Hull top 20 mm, Hull bottom 15 mm; Turret front 60 mm (2.4"), Turret side 52 mm/30°, Turret rear 30 mm, Turret top 16 mm



76.2 mm (3.00 in) F-34 tank gun(T-34/85: 85mm gun)


2 × 7.62 mm (0.308 in) DT machine guns
Engine 12-cyl. diesel model V-2

500 hp (370 kW)

Power/weight 17.5 hp/tonne
Suspension Christie


400 km (250 mi)
Speed 53 km/h (33 mph)

The T-34 was a Soviet medium tank produced from 1940 to 1958. Although its armour and armament were surpassed by later tanks of the era, it has been often credited as the most effective, efficient and influential design of World War II.[5] First produced at the KhPZ factory in Kharkov (Kharkiv, Ukraine), it was the mainstay of Soviet armoured forces throughout World War II, and widely exported afterwards. It was the most-produced tank of the war, and the second most-produced tank of all time, after its successor, the T-54/55 series.[6] In 1996, T-34 variants were still in service in at least 27 countries.

The T-34 was developed from the BT series of fast tanks and was intended to replace both the BT-5 and BT-7 tanks and the T-26 infantry tank in service.[7] At its introduction, it was the tank with the best balanced attributes of firepower, mobility, protection and ruggedness, although its battlefield effectiveness suffered from the unsatisfactory ergonomic layout of its crew compartment, scarcity of radios, and poor tactical employment. The two-man turret-crew arrangement required the commander to aim and fire the gun, an arrangement common to most Soviet tanks of the day; this proved to be inferior to three-man (commander, gunner, and loader) turret crews of German Panzer III and Panzer IV tanks. However according to analysis at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds of a T-34 sent over by the Soviets in 1942, the T-34 had the best optics of any tank so far analyzed there, of either existing tanks or any under development.[8]

The design and construction of the tank were continuously refined during the war to enhance effectiveness and decrease costs, allowing steadily greater numbers of T-34s to be fielded. In early 1944, the improved T-34-85 was introduced, with a more powerful 85 mm gun and a three-man turret design. By the war's end in 1945, the versatile and cost-effective T-34 had replaced many light and heavy tanks in service, and accounted for the majority of Soviet tank production. Its evolutionary development led directly to the T-54/55 series of tanks, built until 1981 and still operational as of 2010 and which itself led to the T-62, T-72 and T-90 tanks which, along with several Chinese tanks based on the T-55, form the backbone of many of the world's armies even today.

The T-34 was the most important weapon fielded by the Red Army in World War II. When first produced in 1940, commentators considered it one of the finest tank designs in the world.[9][10] Sloping armour increased protection, the V-2 diesel engine used a less flammable fuel, the Christie suspension was fast on rough terrain and wide tracks gave low ground pressure for good mobility in mud and snow. The T-34 continued to give the Soviet Army a critical advantage in the war even after its technological advantages had been equalled and surpassed.[9]


[hide] *1 Development

[edit] DevelopmentEdit

In 1939 the most numerous Soviet tank models were the T-26 light tank, and the BT series of fast tanks. The T-26 was a slow-moving infantry tank, designed to keep pace with soldiers on the ground. The BT tanks were cavalry tanks, very fast-moving light tanks, designed to fight other tanks but not infantry. Both were lightly armoured, proof against small arms but not anti-tank rifles and 37 mm anti-tank guns. During the Battles of Khalkhin Gol, a border war against Japan in 1939, General Zhukov deployed nearly 500[11] BT-5 and BT-7 tanks against the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA). Although the IJA Type 95 light tanks had diesel engines,[12] the BT tanks did not. Their gasoline engines, commonly used in tank designs by most nations at the time, often burst into flames when hit by IJA tank-killer teams[13] using Molotov cocktails,[14] tank gunfire[15] or "at any other slightest provocation."[16] Both were Soviet developments of foreign designs from the early 1930s; the T-26 was based on the British Vickers 6-Ton, and the BT tanks were based on a design from American engineer Walter Christie.[citation needed]

In 1937, the Red Army assigned engineer Mikhail Koshkin to lead a new team to design a replacement for the BT tanks at the Kharkiv Komintern Locomotive Plant (KhPZ). The prototype tank, designated A-20, was specified with 20 mm (0.8 in) of armour, a 45 mm (1.8 in) gun, and the new Model V-2 engine, using less-flammable diesel fuel in a V12 configuration designed by Konstantin Chelpan. It also had an 8×6-wheel convertible drive similar to the BT tank's 8×2, which allowed it to run on wheels without caterpillar tracks.[17] This feature had greatly saved on maintenance and repair of the unreliable tank track of the early 1930s, and allowed tanks to exceed 85 kilometres per hour (53 mph) on roads, but gave no advantage in combat. By then, the designers considered it a waste of space and weight.[7] The A-20 also incorporated previous research (BT-IS and BT-SW-2 projects) into sloped armour: its all-round sloped armour plates were more likely to deflect anti-armour rounds than perpendicular armour.[18] A-8 (BT-7M), A-20, T-34 Model 1940 and Model 1941Koshkin convinced Soviet leader Joseph Stalin to let him develop a second prototype, a more heavily armed and armoured "universal tank" which could replace both the T-26 and the BT tanks.[notes 1] The second prototype Koshkin named A-32, after its 32 mm (1.3 in) of frontal armour. It also had a 76.2 mm (3 in) gun, and the same V-2 diesel.[19] Both were tested in field trials at Kubinka in 1939, with the heavier A-32 proving to be as mobile as the A-20. A still heavier version of the A-32 with 45 mm (1.8 in) of front armour and wider tracks was approved for production as the T-34. Koshkin chose the name after the year 1934 when he began to formulate his ideas about the new tank, and to commemorate the decree expanding the armoured force and the appointment of Sergo Ordzhonikidze to head tank production.[20]

Lessons from Khalkhin Gol regarding armour protection, mobility, welding and main guns were incorporated into the new T-34 tank,[21] and Koshkin's team completed two prototype T-34s in January 1940. In April and May, they underwent a grueling 2,000-kilometre (1,200 mi) drive from Kharkiv to Moscow for a demonstration for the Kremlin leaders, to the Mannerheim Line in Finland, and back to Kharkiv via Minsk and Kiev.[20] Some drivetrain shortcomings were identified and corrected.[22]

[edit] ProductionEdit

[edit] Initial production (1940)Edit

[2][3]The original T-34 Model 1940 – recognizable by the low-slung barrel of the L-11 gun below a bulge in the mantlet housing its recoil mechanism. This pre-production A-34 prototype vehicle has a complex single-piece hull front.Political pressure came from conservative elements in the army to redirect resources into building the older T-26 and BT tanks, or to cancel T-34 production pending completion of the more advanced T-34M design. This political pressure was brought to bear by the developer of the KV-1 and IS-2 tanks which were in competition with the T-34. (Political pressure between designers and factories producing different tanks to meet the same requirements continued much later post-war, including a period when the T-55, T-64, T-72, and T-80 were in concurrent production at several factories, with differing political patrons on the supreme council of the USSR.[23])

Resistance from the military command and concerns about high production cost were finally overridden by anxieties about the poor performance of Soviet tanks in the Winter War in Finland and the effectiveness of German tanks during the Battle of France. The first production T-34s were completed in September 1940, completely replacing the production of the T-26, BT, and the multi-turreted T-28 medium tank at the KhPZ. Koshkin died of pneumonia at the end of that month (exacerbated by the drive from Kharkov to Moscow), and the T-34's drivetrain developer, Alexander Morozov, was appointed Chief Designer.

The T-34 posed new challenges for Soviet industry. It had heavier armour than any medium tank produced to that point, and subassemblies originated at several plants: Kharkov Diesel Factory No. 75 supplied the model V-2 engine, Leningrad Kirovsky Factory (former Putilov works) made the original L-11 gun, and the Dinamo Factory in Moscow produced electrical components. Tanks were initially built at KhPZ No. 183, in early 1941 at the Stalingrad Tractor Factory (STZ), and starting in July shortly after the German invasion at Krasnoye Sormovo Factory No. 112 in Gorky. There were problems with defective armour plates however.[24] Due to a shortage of new V-2 diesel engines, the initial production run from the Gorky factory were equipped with the BT tank's Mikulin M-17 gasoline aircraft engine, and inferior transmission and clutch.[25] Only company commanders' tanks could be fitted with radios, which were expensive and in short supply – the rest signalled with flags. The L-11 gun did not live up to expectations, so the Grabin design bureau at Gorky Factory No. 92 designed a superior F-34 76.2 mm gun (see Designations of Soviet artillery). No bureaucrat would approve production, but Gorky and KhPZ started producing the gun anyway; official permission only came from Stalin's State Defense Committee after troops in the field praised the gun's performance.[26]

[edit] Mass production (1941–1943)Edit

Germany's surprise invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941 (Operation Barbarossa) forced the Soviet Union to freeze further development and shift into full production of tanks.[citation needed] [4][5]T-34 tanks headed to the front.The Wehrmacht's rapid advances forced the evacuation of tank factories to the Ural Mountains, an undertaking of unprecedented scale and haste. KhPZ re-established itself around the Dzherzhinski Ural Railcar Factory in Nizhny Tagil, renamed Stalin Ural Tank Factory No. 183. The Kirovsky Factory, evacuated just weeks before the Germans surrounded Leningrad, moved with the Kharkov Diesel Factory to the Stalin Tractor Factory in Chelyabinsk, soon to be nicknamed Tankograd ("Tank City"). Voroshilov Tank Factory No. 174 from Leningrad was incorporated into the Ural Factory and the new Omsk Factory No. 174. The Ordzhonikidze Ural Heavy Machine Tool Works (UZTM) in Sverdlovsk absorbed several small factories. While these factories were being moved at record speed, the industrial complex surrounding the Stalingrad Tractor Factory produced forty percent of all T-34s.[27] As the factory became surrounded by heavy fighting in the Battle of Stalingrad in 1942, the situation there grew desperate: manufacturing innovations were necessitated by material shortages, and stories persist that unpainted T-34 tanks were driven out of the factory directly to the battlefields around it.[28] Stalingrad kept up production until September 1942. [6][7]Polish T-34 Model 1943 in Poznań, Poland. The model 1943's hexagonal turret distinguishes it from earlier models.[8][9]The T-34's 12-cylinder Model V-2 diesel engine at the Finnish Tank Museum in ParolaBarring this interruption, the only changes allowed on the production lines were to make tank production cheaper and simpler. New methods were developed for automated welding and hardening the plate, including innovations by Prof. Evgeny Paton.[29] The design of the 76.2 mm F-34 gun Model 1941 was reduced from the earlier model's 861 parts to 614.[30] Over two years, the unit production cost was reduced from 269,500 rubles in 1941, to 193,000, and then to 135,000.[30] Production time was cut in half by the end of 1942, even though most experienced factory workers had been sent to the battlefield and replaced by a mixed workforce that included 50% women, 15% boys and 15% invalids and old men. T-34s, which had been "beautifully crafted machines with excellent exterior finish comparable or superior to those in Western Europe or America", were much more roughly finished, this did not compromise the mechanical reliability however.[31]

In 1942 and 1943 the Red Army emphasised rebuilding the losses of 1941 and improving tactical proficiency. The T-34's design was 'frozen'; the rate of production increased rapidly and, typically, design improvements were focused on the production aspect. Soviet designers knew of certain design deficiencies, however, the corresponding improvements would have affected production time. A less cramped hexagonal turret was introduced in 1942, this had been derived from the abandoned T-34M project; subsequently a commander's cupola for all-round vision was added. Limited rubber supplies led to the adoption of steel-rimmed road wheels, and a new clutch was added to the improved five-speed transmission and engine.[citation needed]

[edit] Production figuresEdit

Type Production

(June 1941 – May 1945)[32]

Light tanks 14508
T-34 35119
T-34/85 29430
KV and KV-85 4581
IS 3854
SU-76 12671
SU-85 2050
SU-100 1675
SU-122 1148
SU-152 4779

In 1943, T-34 production had reached an average of 1,300 per month.[33] The T-34 came to symbolise the effectiveness of the Soviet counterattack against the Germans. In response to the sheer number of T-34s appearing on the battlefield and the ever-growing need for heavier firepower, the Germans started to field huge numbers of the high-velocity PaK 40 75 mm gun, both towed and self-propelled versions; these made up the majority of anti-tank artillery by 1943.[citation needed] By late 1942 and into mid-1943, Germany had also begun to field the Tiger I heavy tank and Panther medium tank, producing a corresponding need for improvements to the T-34. Two notable improved variants resulted; in 1943, an up-armoured T-34 which incorporated greater fuel capacity, reliability, and a modified turret, and in 1944, a further variant armed with a modified 85 mm ZiS AA/AT gun.[citation needed]

By the end of 1945, over 57,000 T-34s had been built: 34,780 original T-34 tanks in 1940–44, and another 22,559 T-34-85s in 1944–45.[34] The single largest producer was Factory N.183 (UTZ) building 28,952 T-34s and T-34-85s from 1941 to 1945. The second-largest was Factory N. 112 (Krasnoye Sormovo) in Gorky with 12,604 in the same period.[35]

In 1946, after the war, 2,701 T-34s were built, and large-scale production ceased. It was restarted under licence in Poland (1951–55) and Czechoslovakia (1951–58), where 1,380 and 3,185 T-34-85s were made, respectively, by 1956.[citation needed]. In the late 1960s, Soviet T-34-85s underwent a modernisation program (T-34-85M) for export and reserve service, being retrofitted with drivetrain components from the T-54/55 series tanks—a testament to the level of standardisation in Soviet tank design.[citation needed] As many as 84,070 T-34s are thought to have been built, plus 13,170 self-propelled guns built on T-34 chassis.[36]

[edit] DesignEdit

[edit] OverviewEdit

[10][11]T-34 Model 1942 s ekranami (Russian for "with screens"), with appliqué armour welded to the hull, near Leningrad, 1942

We had nothing comparable. —Friedrich von Mellenthin (Panzer Battles)

The initial T-34 version had a 76.2 mm gun, and is often called the T-34/76 (originally a World War II German designation). In 1944, a second major version began production, the T-34-85 (or T-34/85), with a larger turret mounting a larger 85 mm gun.[37]

The T-34 had the coil-spring Christie suspension of the BT, using a "slack track" tread system with a rear-mounted drive sprocket and no system of return rollers for the upper run of track, but dispensed with the weighty and ineffective convertible drive. It had well-sloped armour, a relatively powerful engine and wide tracks.[38]

Initial 1940 production tanks were installed with the 10-RT 26E radio set, but this was soon replaced by the 9-RS model (also installed on SU-100). From 1953, T-34-85s were installed with the R-113 Granat ("garnet") radio sets.[39]

The initial T-34/76 suffered from the same two-man turret limitation as other contemporary Soviet tanks; namely, that the tank’s commander was also required to aim and fire the gun while potentially also being a platoon commander and having to coordinate with other tanks. Most contemporary German medium tanks had three man turret crews with work divided between commander, gunner and loader. This problem, which had been recognised before the war, would be corrected with the addition of upgraded turret on the T-34/85 in 1944.

Some tanks also had appliqué armour made of scrap steel of varying thickness welded on to the hull and turret. Tanks thus modified were called s ekranami (Russian: с экранами, "with screens").[40]

[edit] T-43 projectEdit

[12][13]The T-43 (right), next to a T-34 Model 1943

The technological pace-setter of World War II tank design. —Steven Zaloga et al. (1997:3)

After German tanks with the superior long 75 mm (2.95 in) gun were fielded in 1942, Morozov's design bureau began a project to design an advanced T-43, aimed at increasing armour protection while adding modern features like torsion-bar suspension and a three-man turret. The T-43 was intended to be a universal tank to replace both the T-34 and the KV-1 heavy tank, developed in direct competition with the Chelyabinsk heavy tank design bureau's KV-13 project.[41]

In 1943 the Soviets encountered the new German Tiger I and Panther tanks. Experience at the Battle of Kursk and reports from front-line commanders indicated that the T-34's 76.2 mm gun was now inadequate. An existing 85 mm (3.3 in) anti-aircraft gun was identified as effective against the new German tanks, and could be adapted to tank use.[42] Unfortunately, the T-43 prototype's heavier armour was still not proof against the Tiger's 88 mm gun, and its mobility was found to be inferior to the T-34's, even before installing a heavier 85 mm gun. Although it shared over 70% of its components with the T-34, a commitment to manufacturing it would have required a significant slow-down in production.[41] Consequently, the T-43 was cancelled.

[edit] T-34-85Edit

[14][15]T-34-85 with Polish Army markingsWhen the T-43 was cancelled, the Soviet command made the difficult decision to retool the factories to produce a new model of T-34 with a turret ring enlarged from 1,425 mm (56 in) to 1,600 mm (63 in), allowing a larger turret to be fitted. The T-43's turret design was hurriedly adapted by V. Kerichev at the Krasnoye Sormovo Factory to fit the T-34.[43] The resulting new T-34-85 tank had a much better gun and finally, a three-man turret with radio (which had previously been in the hull). Now the commander needed only to command the tank, leaving the operation of the gun to the gunner and the loader.[citation needed] Another significant piece of equipment was the Mk.4 observation periscope copied from the British and Polish pre-war design, permitting the commander an all-around field of view, which was mounted on the turret roof.[citation needed]

Although a T-34-85 was still not a match for a Panther, the improved firepower made it much more effective than before. The decision to improve the existing design instead of tooling up for a new one allowed the Soviets to manufacture tanks in such numbers that the difference in capabilities could be considered insignificant. In May 1944, the Wehrmacht had only 304 Panthers operating on the Eastern Front, while the Soviets had increased T-34-85 production to 1,200 tanks per month.[44]

[edit] SuccessorsEdit

In 1944, pre-war development of a more advanced T-34 tank was resumed, leading to the T-44. The new tank had a turret design based on the T-34-85's, but featured a new hull with torsion-bar suspension and transversely mounted engine; it had a lower profile than the T-34-85 and was simpler to manufacture. Between 150 and 200 of these tanks were built before the end of the war. With some drivetrain modifications and a new turret and 100 mm gun, it became the T-54, starting production in 1947.[citation needed]

[edit] Operational historyEdit

[edit] Combat starting in June 1941Edit

The finest tank in the world" —Field Marshal Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist[45]

Main article: German encounter of Soviet T-34 and KV tanksGerman training mockup of a T-34 built over a captured Polish TK-3 tanketteIn June 1941, Germans had great difficulty destroying T-34/76 in combat, as their standard anti-tank weaponry proved ineffective. Contrary to popular belief, Soviets had already deployed quite a significant number of T-34 tanks,[46] concentrating them into five[47] of their twenty-nine mechanized corps. The same pertains to the KV heavy tanks.

One of the first known encounters with a T-34 involved the 17th Panzer Division near the Dniepr River. The T-34 crushed a 37 mm anti-tank gun, destroyed two Panzer IIs, and left nine miles of destruction in its wake before being destroyed at close range by a howitzer. The appearance of the T-34 in the summer of 1941 was a psychological shock to German soldiers, who had been expecting to face an inferior Soviet enemy; this is shown by the diary of Alfred Jodl, who seems to have been taken by surprise at the appearance of the T-34 in Riga.[48] Destroyed T-34The combat results for 1941 show that the Soviets lost an average of over seven tanks for every German tank lost.[49][50] From a total of 20,500 Soviet tanks lost in 1941, approximately 2,300 were T-34s and over 900 were mostly KV heavy tanks.[51]

The puzzling discrepancy is that on one hand, these corps within weeks had lost most of their T-34 and KV tanks,[52] but on the other hand, German reports did not note such a massive elimination in combat.[53] The number of non-combat losses was unprecedented.

This discrepancy would suggest that at least half the first summer's total tank losses were due to mechanical failure, lack of fuel or abandonment rather than direct fire from German tanks or guns.[48] This is attributed to the serious state of soviet supply and logistics in during 1941 because of Operation Barbarossa. The Red Army’s tank divisions, already short of tractors and recovery vehicles, were even less capable and had time to recover these tanks after the German invasion. This would suggest that T-34’s loss ratio in tactical combat would be closer to 2 or 3 to 1 in the German favour during 1941.

[edit] Early war combat assessmentEdit

Early-war T-34s proved, in theory, to have effective armour, firepower, and mobility, drawbacks include poor crew comfort, vision devices, and internal layout.[citation needed] In 1941, the thick sloped armour could defeat all German anti-armour weapons except the towed 88 mm flak guns at normal combat ranges. By mid-1942, the T-34 had become vulnerable to improved German weapons and remained so throughout the war, but its armour protection was equal or superior to contemporary tanks such as the M4 Sherman or Panzer IV.

Firepower, the T-34/76's 76 mm (3 in) gun with anti-tank ammunition could penetrate any 1941 German tank with ease.[citation needed] This gun also fired an adequate high explosive round. However, by 1942-43, the 76mm could not penetrate the Panther's hull front armour and was out-ranged by both the Panther's long 75mm and the Tiger's 88mm. Even with the introduction of the Soviet 85mm gun in 1944, the upgraded T-34/85 was still not their equal in firepower, but at least could, in theory, penetrate the armour of both Panthers and Tigers at up to 500 m (550 yd); whereas, the German 88mm and 75mm could still destroy the T-34/85 at 500 m (550 yd) or more.[54][55]

Mobility, A long road march could be a punishing exercise for a T-34 tank at that time. When in June 1941 D.I. Ryabyshev's 8th Soviet Mechanized Corps advanced towards Dubno, the corps lost half of its vehicles. A.V. Bodnar, who was in combat in 1941–42, recalled: From the point of view of operating them, the German armoured machines were more perfect, they broke down less often. For the Germans, covering 200 km was nothing, but with T-34s something would have been lost, something would have broken down. The technological equipment of their machines was better, the combat gear was worse.[56]The driver's seat usually consisted of nothing more than a hard bench or shell storage containers, this affected the driver's ability to endure the vibrations and shocks of combat on rough terrain for long periods. The use of poorly machined, low quality steel side friction clutches and the T-34's outdated and poorly manufactured transmission meant frequent mechanical failure occurred and that they "create an inhuman harshness for the driver".[8] A mallet was also needed to shift gears reducing response times during manoeuvrings.[citation needed] Visibility from the driver's seat was also poor, and they could not see folds in the ground in front of them.

The loader also had a difficult job due to the lack of a turret basket (a rotating floor that moves as the turret turns). The floor under the T-34's turret was made up of ammunition stored in small metal boxes, covered by a rubber mat. There were nine ready rounds of ammunition stowed in racks on the sides of the fighting compartment. Once these initial nine rounds had been used, the crew had to pull additional ammunition out of the floor boxes, leaving the floor littered with open bins and matting and affecting their performance.[57] Interior of a T-34/85 viewed from the driver's hatch, showing the ammunition boxes on which the loader had to stand in the absence of a turret basket. In the foreground is the driver's seat. Levers for radiator flaps can be seen on the firewall.The commander fought the tank at a disadvantage; the forward-opening hatch and lack of turret cupola forced him to observe the battlefield through a single vision slit and traversable periscope.[58] German commanders liked to fight "heads-up", with their seat raised and having a full field of view - in the T-34/76 this was impossible.[59] The tank could not use terrain effectively. As well as the limitations to driver and commander view, the T-34/76 had a relatively low and cramped turret wherein the gun could not depress more than three degrees with the effect of severely restricting use on a reverse slope or at close range[citation needed], a lack of properly installed and shielded radios --if they existed at all-- restricted their operational range to under 10 miles[8], and generally poor target observation and indicator devices. Similarly, the turret drive had poor reliability as suggested by US testing at the Aberdeen proving ground in 1942:[8] The main weakness is that it is very tight. The Americans couldn't understand how our tankers could fit inside during a winter, when they wear sheepskin jackets [The Americans tested T-34 Model 1941 with a two-men turret]. The electrical mechanism for rotating the turret is very bad. The motor is weak, very overloaded and sparks horribly, as a result of which the device regulating the speed of the rotation burns out, and the teeth of the cogwheels break into pieces. They recommend replace it with a hydraulic or simply manual system.The gun sights and range finding for the T-34's 76.2 mm F-34 L/42.5, gun either the TMFD-7 or the PT4-7,[60] were rather crude, especially compared to those of their German adversaries, affecting accuracy and the ability to engage at long ranges. As a result of the T-34/76’s two man turret, weak optics and poor vision devices, German tankers noted: T34s operated in a disorganised fashion with little coordination, or else tended to clump together like a hen with its chicks. Individual tank commanders lacked situational awareness due to the poor provision of vision devices and preoccupation with gunnery duties. A tank platoon would seldom be capable of engaging three separate targets, but would tend to focus on a single target selected by the platoon leader. As a result T-34 platoons lost the greater firepower of three independently operating tanks.[61]The Germans noted the T-34 was very slow to find and engage targets while the Panzers could typically get off three rounds for every one fired by the T-34.[62][broken citation]

Russian veterans condemned the turret hatches of early models. Nicknamed pirozhok (stuffed bun) because of its characteristic shape, it was heavy and hard to open. If it jammed, the crew were trapped. Tank commander Nikolai Evdokimovich Glukhov remembered: "A big hatch – very inconvenient, very heavy." The complaints of the crews urged the design group led by A.A. Morozov to switch to using two hatches in the turret.[63]

Armour, although in theory an effective overall shape, it suffered from build quality issues, especially of plate joins and welds, as well as the use soft steel combined with shallow surface tempering, all this was noted by US engineers at the Aberdeen Proving grounds.[8] In a heavy rain lots of water flows through chinks/cracks, which leads to the disabling of the electrical equipment and even the ammunition.The following is a war time account of the effectiveness of the T-34's armour and relative impunity when faced with available German anti-tank guns of the time: Remarkably enough, one determined 37mm gun crew reported firing 23 times against a single T-34 tank, only managing to jam the tank’s turret ring”.[64]However, what should also be highlighted is that although the German Anti-Tank gun crew managed to score 23 hits, the T-34 referred to didn’t even manage to hit the AT gun once[65][broken citation]

The tracks were the most frequently repaired part. Crews took spare parts even in combat. A.V. Maryevski later remembered: The caterpillars used to break apart even without bullet or shell hits. When earth got stuck between the road wheels, the caterpillar, especially during a turn – strained to such an extent that the pins and tracks themselves couldn't hold out.[66]The Soviet wartime experience is reinforced by US testing at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds regarding the Christie suspension and the tracks:[8] The Christie's suspension was tested long time ago by the Americans, and unconditionally rejected. On our tanks, as a result of the poor steel on the springs, it very quickly (unclear word) and as a result clearance is noticeably reduced. The deficiencies in our tracks from their viewpoint results from the lightness of their construction. They can easily be damaged by small-calibre and mortar rounds. The pins are extremely poorly tempered and made of a poor steel. As a result, they quickly wear and the track often breaks.Although in 1941, the T-34 could engage any German tank effectively, it did suffer from certain severe mechanical problems. For example, engines would grind to a halt from dust and sand ingestion as the original "Pomon" air filter was almost totally ineffective and had insufficient air-inflow capacity, starving the combustion chambers of oxygen, lowering compression and thereby restricting the engine from operating at full capacity --this was later partially remedied by the addition of the "Cyclon" filters on later models--, and transmission/clutch assemblies were prone to serious mechanical problems. The US conclusions regarding the mechanical reliably and manufacturing of the 1941 T-34 version tested at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds were as follows:[8] Judging by samples, Russians when producing tanks pay little attention to careful machining or the finishing and technology of small parts and components, which leads to the loss of the advantage what would otherwise accrue from what on the whole are well designed tanks. Despite the advantages of the use of diesel, the good contours of the tanks, thick armor, good and reliable armaments, the successful design of the tracks etc., Russian tanks are significantly inferior to American tanks in their simplicity of driving, manoeuvrability, the strength of firing (reference to muzzle velocity), speed, the reliability of mechanical construction and the ease of keeping them running.There was a shortage of repair equipment and recovery vehicles, and it was not uncommon for early T-34s to enter combat carrying a spare transmission on the engine deck. Improvements were made throughout production, with a new 5-speed gearbox in 1942, which increased cross-country top speed to 30.5 kph[8] as well as many individually minor updates.[67]

Other key factors diminishing the initial impact of T-34s on the battlefield were the poor state of leadership, tank tactics, and crew training, a consequence of Stalin's purges of the Soviet officer corps in the late 1930s, aggravated by the loss of the best-trained personnel during the Red Army's disastrous defeats in 1941. Many crews went into combat with only their basic military training plus seventy-two hours of classroom instruction. These problems were exacerbated by the T-34's poor ergonomics and lack of radios during the early part of the war, making it practically impossible to co-ordinate tank units in combat. German tank soldiers found that the Soviet armour attacked in rigid formations and took little advantage of terrain.[68]

[edit] Further combat assessment (1942–1943)Edit

[16][17]Burning T-34, 1941

Losses by source [notes 2]

calibre (cm)

% lost
2.0 4.7
3.7 10.0
Short 5.0 7.5
Long 5.0 54.3
7.5 10.1
8.8 3.4
10.5 2.9
Unknown 7.1

The Soviets lost 6, 4, 4 and 1.2 tanks for every German tank lost for the years 1942, 1943, 1944 and 1945 respectively.[69][70]

By 1942 the most common Soviet main battle tank was the T-34/76. In comparison, the most common German tanks at the time were Panzer III with the 5cm KwK 38 L/42, later the longer 5cm KwK 39 L/60 and Panzer IV most of which were still armed with the short, low muzzle velocity 7.5cm KwK 37 L/24. Some Panzer IV tanks and StuG III assault guns armed with the longer, higher velocity 7.5cm KwK 40 L/43 (or the longer L/48 guns) had also begun appearing on the Eastern Front by late 1942. This later gun was capable of destroying a T-34 frontally at around 1,000 metres.

During 1942, the Soviets lost 6,600 T-34/76 out of a total of 15,100 fully tracked AFVs lost.[71]The overall Soviet tank loss ratio for 1942 was similar to that of 1941, but worse for the T-34/76 - 44% of the tanks lost were T-34/76s. A study based on Soviet field intelligence reports identified the weapon calibres responsible for T-34/76s destroyed between June 1941 and September 1942:[72][73]

During the Battle of France the German infantry's 37 mm Pak 36 anti-tank gun had earned the nickname "Door Knocker" among its crews, due to its inability to penetrate anything but the lightest tank armour.[citation needed] Crews of these weapons fighting on the Eastern front found it even more badly outmatched by the armour of the T-34/76. However, with the introduction of the 5 cm Pak 38 in spring 1941, the Germans had an effective counter to the T-34/76. The study also shows that the majority of T-34s were destroyed by the long 5.0cm gun and not by the feared, long range 8.8cm Flak. During 1941 and to a lesser extent 1942, the ‘88’ is often credited with stopping T-34s and KVs when all else had failed but relatively few T-34s were destroyed by them and almost as many were destroyed by artillery.[citation needed] [18][19]A T-34 from factory 112 destroyed at the village PokrovkaDuring the winter of 1941–42, the T-34 again dominated German tanks through its ability to move over deep mud or snow without bogging down; German tanks could not move over terrain the T-34 could handle. The Panzer IV used an inferior leaf-spring suspension and narrow track, and tended to sink in deep mud or snow.[74]

Most significantly, as seen from the soviet study above, approximately three quarters of T-34s were destroyed by the guns of early war German tanks (Panzer II, Panzer IIIs and Panzer IV) and anti-tank guns. These guns - from 20 mm to 50 mm calibre - would have needed to get very close to a T-34/76 to penetrate its 45-47mm hull frontal armour. That the T-34/76's crews could not pre-empt these weapons from getting into a killing position, and were slow to acquire the enemy target once it became known was again likely due to poor visibility, optics, crew training, and in-effective fire control systems, as referenced in the previous section.

By 1943, however the strategic initiative had generally swung in favour of the Soviets --with notable exceptions such as Operation Zitadelle even as the Germans managed to field ever more powerful and effective AFVs and ani-tank guns, albeit still not in absolute quantity of combat ready vehicles.[citation needed] Although in 1943 the Germans were generally on the defensive and in retreat, the Soviets still lost 23,500 fully tracked armoured fighting vehicles including around 14,700 T-34s.[75] a similar (3 to 1) loss ratio to the preceding years.

The Soviets realised that the 1943 loss/kill ratio was unsustainable. In order to restore the technological balance they reduced T-34/76 production and moved quickly to manufacture the improved and up-gunned the T-34/85 with a new turret and the 85mm M-1944 ZIS-S53 L/51.5 gun.[76]

[edit] Introduction of T-34-85 and combat assessement (1944-1945)Edit

As the war went on, the T-34 gradually lost the innovative design advantages it had at the beginning of the German invasion in 1941. As the war progressed it had become an increasingly easy target for the more powerful 75mm and 88mm armed tanks[56]; weapons could even pierce the turret relatively easily. It should be noted that the turret armour, which was cast, was softer than that of the other parts of the tank and it offered poor resistance even to the 37 mm shells of automatic AA guns.[77] Rear view of a T-34-85. In the centre is a circular transmission access hatch, flanked by exhaust pipes, MDSh smoke canisters on the hull rear, and extra fuel tanks on the hull sides.The 85 mm ZiS gun of the T-34/85 greatly increased firepower over the previous 76.2 mm F-34 cannon on the T-34/76. The length of the 85 mm gun barrel (4.645 meters) made it necessary to be careful not to dig it into the ground on bumpy roads or in combat; A.K. Rodkin commented: "the tank could have dug the ground with it in the smallest ditch. If you fired it after that, the barrel would open up at the end like the petals of a flower."[78]

At the start of the war, T-34s were about four percent of the Soviet tank arsenal, but by the end it comprised at least 55% of tank production (based on figures from;[79] Zheltov 2001 lists even larger numbers). By the time the T-34 had replaced older models and became available in greater numbers, newer German tanks, including the improved Panzer V "Panther", outperformed it. The T-34-85 tank initially cost about 30 percent more to produce than a Model 1943, at 164,000 rubles; by 1945 this had reduced to 142,000 rubles.[80] During the course of the Great Patriotic War the cost of a T-34 tank reduced by almost half, from 270,000 rubles in 1941,[80] while in the meantime its top speed remained about the same, and its main gun's armour-penetration and turret frontal-armour thickness both nearly doubled.[81]

During the last years of the war the Soviets 'improving tactics were still inferior to the Germans', but the Red Army's growing operational and strategic skill and its larger inventory of tanks helped bring the loss ratios down.[82] The T-34/85 in early 1944 did give the Red Army a tank with a better gun and turret, while its armour and mobility were arguably better than German Panzer IV and Sturmgeschütz III it could not match the Panthers armour or the 7.5 cm KwK 42 gun retrofitted to many German AFVs (including the PzIVs). To the Soviet advantage there were far fewer Panthers than T-34s or German AFVs in general.

Comparisons can be drawn between the T-34 and the U.S. M4 Sherman tank. Both tanks were the backbone of the armoured units in their respective armies, and both were upgraded extensively and fitted with more powerful guns. Both were designed for ease of manufacture and maintenance, sacrificing some performance for this goal. Neither were equal to Germany's later tanks, the Panther or the Tiger.[83] The improved T-34-85 remained the standard Soviet medium tank with an uninterrupted production run until the end of the war. The Germans responded to the T-34 by introducing the new powerful and initially failure prone Panther tank, while also improving the firepower of the numerous older Panzer IV tanks and Stug III self-propelled gun. The emphasis on quality during tank production allowed the Soviets to maintain a substantial numerical superiority in tanks throughout the war.[84] Production figures for all Panther types reached no more than 6,557, and for the expensive heavy, Tiger types 2,027.[85][86] Production figures for the T-34-85 alone reached 22,559 eventually, the T-34 replaced most light, medium, and heavy tanks in Soviet service.[citation needed]

By 1944 the Soviets had the absolute strategic initiative, with massive numerical superiority, and in terms of supply distribution and logistics, also operational superiority.[citation needed] They had the luxury of being able to concentrate large armoured forces at any points on the front they desired while still being able to strongly defend everywhere. The Soviets also attained critical air superiority for the first time, albeit not always and not everywhere.[citation needed] However, in 1944 the Soviets lost 23,700 fully tracked AFVs (only 2,200 of which were light tanks): this was the highest number of AFV losses in a single year by any country in history.[87] Of these 58% were T-34s, the majority of those being the new up-gunned and improved T-34/85s. Despite having the operational and strategic advantage and Soviet losses were about 4 tanks for every German tank destroyed[88][broken citation]

[edit] ConclusionsEdit

The impression that it made was to influence greatly subsequent tank development throughout the world— John Milsom (1971)Soviet fully tracked AFV production from June 1941 to May 1945 was 99,150 (this includes all types of fully tracked assault and self-propelled guns) vehicles. An additional 11,900 tanks and self-propelled guns were received via Lend Lease.[89][90] In comparison, the Germans, who are often criticised for producing too few, albeit higher quality tanks replete with too many refinements and excessive quality control during production, produced a total of 26,925 tanks, 612 command tanks, 232 flame tanks, 10,550 assault guns, 7,831 tank destroyers, and 3,738 assault and self-propelled artillery AFVs, between 1938 and May 1945.[91] For a combined total of around 49,900 fully tracked AFVs. Soviet tanks had a generally rough and ready finish, and lacked many ergonomic and refinement features which were deemed essential by German and to a large extent by Allied tankers as well.[citation needed] That there were more Soviet tanks produced during the war than were destroyed (approximately 44,900 of the 55,550 T-34s produced were lost), regardless of the individual tactical performance of each, ultimately helped to win the war. The Soviets mass produced more fully tracked AFVs, and more T-34s in particular than the Germans did total fully tracked AFVs. It can be argued that it was exactly the emphasis on refinements, manufacturing quality and subtleties of design which gave German tank crews significant edge in combat at the tactical level. The Soviets achieved strategic success, but paid an exceptionally high price; approximately 44,900 of the T-34s were lost out of a total of 96,500 fully tracked AFVs lost compared with only 32,800 for the Germans (this includes all SP guns, SP artillery, and several thousand vehicles captured when Germany surrendered on the East Front) during all of WW2; a global loss ratio of 2.94 to 1 in favour of the Germans.[92][93]

In conclusion, there appears to be discrepancies between the strategic features of the T-34’s design (ease and quantity of manufacture, simplicity of design, etc.) and the tactical effectiveness of features of its design (innovative armour layout, wide tracks, low silhouette, etc.). It can be argued that the T-34 was a ‘war winning’ tank on a strategic level, but this should not detract from the fact that at a tactical level its performance during four years of continuous war was relatively poor.[citation needed]

[edit] Korean War (1950–1951)Edit

[20][21]A North Korean T-34-85 caught on a bridge south of Suwon by U.S. attack aircraft during the Korean War.Many Soviet-client and former Soviet-client states used T-34-85s after the end of World War II. A full brigade equipped with about 120 North Korean T-34-85s spearheaded the invasion of South Korea in June 1950. Additional T-34 tanks later joined the first assault force after it had penetrated into South Korea.[94] The North Korean tanks had overwhelming early successes against South Korean infantry, Task Force Smith and U.S. M24 Chaffee light tanks. The World War II-era 2.36-inch bazookas used by the Americans were useless against the T-34s[95] as were the 75mm cannons of the M24 Chaffee.[citation needed]

The North Korean T-34s lost their momentum when faced against U.S. M26 heavy tanks and ground-attack aircraft, and when the U.S. infantry upgraded their antitank weapons to 3.5-inch Super Bazookas hurriedly airlifted from the United States. The M4 Sherman (M4A3E8 model) and British tanks such as the Centurion, Churchill, and Cromwell also entered the war. The tide turned in favor of the UN forces in August 1950, when the North Koreans suffered major tank losses during a series of battles in which their foes brought their newer equipment to bear. The U.S. landings at Inchon on September 15 cut off the North Korean supply lines, causing their armoured forces and infantry to run out of fuel, ammunition and other supplies. As a result, the North Koreans had to retreat, and many T-34s and heavy weapons were abandoned. By the time the North Koreans had fled from the South, a total of 239 T-34s and 74 SU-76s had been lost.[95] After November 1950, North Korean armor was rarely encountered.[96]

A few more tank engagements occurred when China entered the conflict in February 1951 with four regiments of tanks (a mix of mostly T-34-85 tanks, a few IS-2 tanks, and other AFVs). However, because these tanks were dispersed with the infantry, tank to tank battles with UN forces were uncommon.[97] China produced T-34 tanks under the designation Type 58, though production soon stopped when the Type 59 became available. At least one T-34 has also been spotted in China, converted into fire-fighting vehicles.[98]

A 1954 survey concluded that there were in all 119 tank vs. tank actions involving U.S. Army and Marine units during the Korean War, with 97 T-34-85 tanks knocked out and another 18 probable. The M4A3E8 was involved in 50% of the tank actions, the M26 in 32%, and the M46 in 10%.[99] The M26/M46 proved to be an overmatch for the T-34-85 as its 90mm HVAP round could punch all the way through the T-34 from the front glacis armor to the back,[100] whereas the T-34-85 had difficulty penetrating the armor of the M26/46.[101] The M4A3E8, firing 76mm HVAP rounds, was equal to the T-34-85 as both tanks could destroy each other at normal combat ranges.[101]

[edit] OperatorsEdit

After the Second World War the following countries used the T-34; it remained in service in 1996 in 27 of those countries, indicated by asterisks (*).[102]

Europe and the Americas Middle East and Asia Africa

[edit] Current and past military operatorsEdit

As of 2012 the T-34 is mostly in reserve, or treated as an infantry backup. However, in some countries, is also considered as a second or main tank, because of the lower numbers of newer tanks. [22]===[edit] Use in other countries=== [23][24]A Bosnian Serbs Army T-34/85 with added rubber plates as additional armor near Doboj, spring 1996.The Soviet and Finnish Army used T-34s until the 1960s, the former included the 76.2mm gun armed versions until at least 1968 when they were used in filming the sequel to the film The Living and the Dead. The Finnish tanks were captured from the attacking Soviets or trophies purchased from Germany. Many of the Т-34-85s were enhanced with Finnish or Western equipment, such as improved optics.[citation needed]

T-34s equipped many of the Eastern European (later Warsaw Pact) armies. They served in the suppression of the East German uprising of June 17, 1953, as well as of the Hungarian uprising in 1956. They were also used in the Middle East, the Vietnam War, and even as recently as the Bosnian War. In May 1995, a Serb T-34 attacked an UNPROFOR outpost manned by the 21st Regiment of the Royal Engineers in Bosnia, injuring a British peacekeeper.[103] Croatia inherited 25 or 30 from Yugoslavia but has since withdrawn them from service. T-34s were sporadically available in Afghanistan (it is not known if T-34s were used against coalition troops), and Saddam Hussein had T-34s in the Iraqi army in the early 1990s. Several African states, including Angola and Somalia, have employed T-34-85s in recent years. Cuban T-34-85s also saw action in Africa.[citation needed]

Cypriot National Guard forces equipped with some 35 T-34-85 tanks helped to enforce a coup by the Greek junta against democratically elected President Archbishop Makarios on July 15, 1974. They also saw extensive action against Turkish forces during the Turkish invasion in July and August 1974, with two major actions at Kioneli and at Kyrenia on July 20, 1974.[104]

[edit] SymbolismEdit

[25][26]One of the best-known memorials of the Battle of the Dukla Pass of 1944, near Ladomirová and Svidník, on the Slovak side of the Dukla Pass. A Soviet T-34-85 (left) together with a German Pz-IV J (right).[27][28]Monument to T-34 in front of theatre in Hrodno, BelarusSoviet-bloc countries installed hundreds of T-34s as war memorials.[citation needed]

A T-34-85 tank monument in the East German city of Karl-Marx-Stadt (Chemnitz) was the target of a 1980 bomb attack that inflicted minor damage on the vehicle and blew out nearby windows. The bomber, Josef Kneifel, was sentenced to life imprisonment in Bautzen, but was released after a deal with the West German government in 1987. After German unification in 1990, the tank was transferred to a museum in Ingolstadt.[citation needed]

Another such tank, mounted atop the monument to Soviet tank crews in Prague, was the focus of significant controversy. The monument, also known locally as 'Saint Tank,' intended to represent Lt I.G. Goncharenko's T-34-85, the first Soviet tank to enter Prague in May 1945, actually bore an IS-2m heavy tank. To many in Prague, the tank was also a reminder of the Soviet invasion which ended the Prague Spring of 1968. The tank was painted pink by artist David Černý in 1991. Following an official protest from the Russian government, the arrest of Černý, a coat of official green paint, public demonstrations, and a further coat of pink paint applied by fifteen parliamentary deputies, the tank was finally removed to a military museum.[105][106]

Four Tankers and a Dog (Czterej pancerni i pies) was a very successful war-themed Polish television series of the 1960s (based on an eponymous novel by a Polish writer Janusz Przymanowski (1922–98), himself a Red Army volunteer) which made T-34 tank number 102 an icon of Polish popular culture. It was also shown in other Soviet-bloc countries where it was also well received, surprisingly even in the German Democratic Republic. At the beginning of the 21st century reruns of the black and white series still manage to attract a large audience.[citation needed]

In Budapest on 23 October 2006, the 2006 protests in Hungary climaxed during the official fiftieth anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. Protesters managed to start an unarmed T-34 tank which was part of a memorial exhibition and used it in riots against police forces. The tank drove a few hundred metres then stopped in front of the police, causing no personal injury.[107]

[edit] VariantsEdit

Main article: T-34 variantsIdentification of T-34 variants can be complicated. Turret castings, superficial details and equipment all differed between factories. New features were added in the middle of production runs or retrofitted to older tanks. Knocked-out tanks were rebuilt, sometimes incorporating newer-model equipment and even new turrets.

The Red Army never had a consistent policy for naming the production models.[108] Since at least the 1980s however, many academic sources (notably, AFV expert Steven Zaloga) have used Soviet-style nomenclature: T-34 and T-34-85, with minor models distinguished by year, as T-34 Model 1940. Some Russian historians use different names: they refer to the first T-34 as the T-34 Model 1939 instead of 1940, all T-34s with the original turret and F-34 gun as Model 1941 instead of Models 1941 and 1942, and hexagonal-turret T-34 as Model 1942 instead of 1943.[109] Captured Soviet T-34 Model 1943 tanks pressed into service with the Wehrmacht.German military intelligence in World War II referred to the two main production models as T-34/76 and T-34/85, with minor models receiving letter designations such as T-34/76A—this nomenclature has been widely used in the West, especially in popular literature. When the German Wehrmacht used captured T-34s, it designated them Panzerkampfwagen T-34(r), where the "r" stood for russisch ("Russian").

The Finns referred to the T-34 as the Sotka, after the Common Goldeneye, a sea duck, because the side silhouette of the tank resembles a swimming waterfowl (as related in the memoirs of Finnish tank ace Lauri Heino). The T-34-85 was called pitkäputkinen Sotka ("long-barreled Sotka").

The T-34 (German designation: T-34/76) was the original tank with a 76.2 mm gun.

  • Model 1940 (T-34/76A): Early production run with interim L-11 76.2 mm tank gun in a two-man turret.
  • Model 1941 (T-34/76B): Main production with heavier armour and the superior F-34 76.2 mm gun.
  • Model 1942 (T-34/76C): Many minor manufacturing improvements.
  • Model 1943 (T-34/76D, E, and F): New cast hexagonal turret, nicknamed "Mickey Mouse" by the Germans because of its appearance with the twin, round turret-roof hatches open. Main production had a new commander's cupola.
  • T-34/57: Fewer than 324 T-34s in 1941 and 1943–44 were fitted with the ZiS-4 or the ZIS-4M high-velocity 57 mm gun to be used as tank hunters.[110] Some of them took part in the Battle of Moscow.

The T-34-85 (T-34/85) was a major improvement with a three-man turret and long 85 mm gun.

  • Model 1943: Short production run of February–March 1944 with D-5T 85 mm gun
  • Model 1944: Main production, with simpler ZiS-S-53 85 mm gun, radio moved from the hull into a turret with improved layout and new gunner's sight

All T-34-85 models are externally very similar. Various technical improvements continued to be made to the T-34-85, including major refurbishing programs in 1960 and 1969. One can recognise the widely exported Czechoslovakian-built T-34-85s by a semi-conical armoured fairing (like a rear-facing scoop) on the left rear slanting side-panel of the engine compartment sponson.

Soviet medium tank models of World War II[111]

Model 1940


Model 1941


Model 1942


Model 1943



T-34-85 T-44
Weight 26 t 26.5 t 28.5 t 30.9 t 34 t 32 t 31.9 t
Gun 76.2 mm L-11 76.2 mm F-34 76.2 mm F-34 76.2 mm F-34 76.2 mm F-34 85 mm ZiS-S-53 85 mm ZiS-S-53
Ammunition 76 rounds 77 rounds 77 rounds 100 rounds 60 rounds 58 rounds
Fuel 460 L(120 U.S. gal) 460 L

(120 U.S. gal)

610 L

(160 U.S. gal)

790 L

(210 U.S. gal)

810 L

(215 U.S. gal)

642 L

(170 U.S. gal)

Road range 300 km (185 mi) 400 km (250 mi) 400 km (250 mi) 465 km (290 mi) 300 km (185 mi) 360 km (225 mi) 300 km (185 mi)
Armour 15–45 mm

(0.60–1.8 in)

20–52 mm

(0.8–2.1 in)

20–65 mm

(0.8–2.6 in)

20–70 mm

(0.8–2.8 in)

16–90 mm

(0.6–3.5 in)

20–90 mm

(0.8–3.5 in)

15–120 mm

(0.6–4.7 in)

Cost 270,000 rubles 193,000 rubles 135,000 rubles 164,000 rubles
Notes: dimensions, road speed, engine horsepower did not vary significantly, except for the T-43 which was slower than the T-34.

[edit] Other armoured fighting vehiclesEdit

  • Flame-thrower tanks: OT-34 and OT-34-85 had an internally mounted flamethrower ATO-41 (ATO-42 later) replacing the hull machine-gun.[citation needed]
  • PT-1 T-34-76: Protivominniy Tral (counter-mine trawl) Mine roller tank, mostly built on T-34 Model 1943 or T-34-85 chassis[112]
  • Self-propelled guns: The T-34 chassis was used as the basis for a series of self-propelled guns[citation needed]

After World War II, Syria and Egypt fitted some T-34s with 122 mm howitzers for use as self-propelled artillery.[113]

[edit] Support vehiclesEdit

[29][30]T-34 ARV (right) towing a disabled tank at the Battle of KurskThere were many support vehicles and even civilian tractors and cranes built on the T-34 chassis starting during the war and continuing at least into the 1990s. The vast majority of these were conversions of old or damaged tanks and self-propelled guns.

  • Bridging tanks: Old tanks rebuilt in the field or at repair facilities. These were simply driven into water two abreast for special river-crossing operations, to be recovered later.[citation needed]
  • Armoured recovery vehicles: During World War II, some old tanks were rebuilt as armoured recovery vehicles (ARVs), by plating over the turret ring or adding a superstructure. After the war, this repurposing program was formalized in successively more elaborate models.[citation needed]

[edit] Surviving vehiclesEdit

Partly due to the large number produced, there are hundreds of surviving T-34s. Examples of this tank are in the collections of most significant military museums, and hundreds more serve as war memorials. Many are in private ownership, and demilitarised working tanks change hands for US$20,000–40,000. Some still may serve in a second-line capacity in a number of Third World militaries, while others may find use in a civilian capacity, primarily in film making. In many WWII films, such as Saving Private Ryan,[114] The Battle of Neretva, and Kelly's Heroes,[115] T-34-85 tanks were modified to resemble Tiger I tanks, due to the rarity of the latter vehicle.[114]

The durability of the T-34 is underlined by a recent restoration. In 2000, a T-34 Model 1943 was recovered that had spent 56 years at the bottom of a bog in Estonia.[116] The tank had been captured and used by retreating German troops, who dumped it in the swamp when it ran out of fuel. There were no signs of oil leakage, rust, or other significant water damage to the mechanical components. The engine was restored to full working order.[117][118]

Other significant surviving T-34s include a Model 1941 at the U.S. Army Ordnance Museum in Aberdeen, Maryland—one of the oldest surviving vehicles. Other older 76 mm-armed T-34s have recently been recovered from old battle sites, but no known T-34 Model 1940 with an L-11 gun survives.[citation needed] The French Musee des Blindes at Saumur holds two T-34s including one in full working condition that is displayed in action at their summer "Carrousel" live tank exhibition.[citation needed]

A well–known example is the Mandela Way T-34 Tank, a privately–owned T-34-85 named after the street it is sited near in Bermondsey, London. It is frequently repainted by artists and graffitists.

[edit] See alsoEdit

[31] Tank portal
==[edit] Notes==
  1. ^ A Leningrad team was also trying to develop an advanced replacement for the T-26 infantry tank, but its project was plagued by technical problems and political shake-ups. Almost 70 T-50 light infantry tanks were finally built in Omsk, Siberia in the winter of 1941, but by then thousands of T-34s were rolling into battle, and the infantry tank concept had been abandoned. (Zaloga 1984:114)
  2. ^ The table should be read with caution, as it is based primarily on Soviet field intelligence reports and actual German gun types could easily have been mistaken, especially the long 5.0cm and 7.5cm.[citation needed][clarification needed]
  1. ^ a b c Zaloga 1996, p. 18
  2. ^ Specifications for T-34/76B
  3. ^ Armor specified for T-34 Model 1941: Zaloga "T-34/76 Medium Tank 1941–45", 1994.
  4. ^ Zaloga 1984:184.
  5. ^ George Parada (n.d.), "Panzerkampfwagen T-34(r)" at Achtung Panzer! website, retrieved on November 17, 2008.
  6. ^ Harrison 2002
  7. ^ a b Zaloga & Grandsen 1984:66, 111
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h Major-General of Tank Armies, Khlopov, 2nd Department, Evaluation of The T-34 and KV Tanks By Engineers of the Aberdeen Proving Grounds USA, Main Intelligence Department of the Red Army (n.d.) via The Russian Battlefield,, retrieved November 23, 2011
  9. ^ a b Zaloga & Grandsen 1983
  10. ^ Anonymous, (n.d.) "Heinz Guderian" at The Eastern Front website, retrieved on November 17, 2008.
  11. ^ Coox p. 579
  12. ^ Zaloga (2007)
  13. ^ Coox p. 311
  14. ^ Coox p. 309
  15. ^ Coox p. 437 and 993
  16. ^ Zaloga & Grandsen 1984:111
  17. ^ Zheltov 1999
  18. ^ Yaziv, D.; Chocron, S.; Anderson, Jr., C.E.; Grosch, D.J. "Oblique Penetration in Ceramic Targets". Proceedings of the 19th International Symposium on Ballistics IBS 2001, Interlaken, Switzerland, 1257–64
  19. ^ Zaloga 1994:5
  20. ^ a b Zaloga 1994:6
  21. ^ Coox p. 998
  22. ^ Zaloga & Grandsen 1983:6
  23. ^ [Sewell 1998]
  24. ^ Zaloga 1983:6
  25. ^ Zheltov 2001:40–42
  26. ^ Zaloga & Grandsen 1984:130
  27. ^ Zaloga & Grandsen 1983:13
  28. ^ Zaloga & Sarson 1994:23
  29. ^ "Paton Evgeny Oscarovich", at the E.O. Paton Electric Welding Institute. Retrieved November 17, 2008.
  30. ^ a b Zaloga & Grandsen 1984:131
  31. ^ Zaloga & Grandsen 1983:17
  32. ^ Walter S. Dunn, Jr (2007). Stalin's keys to victory : the rebirth of the Red Army. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books. ISBN 0-8117-3423-4.
  33. ^ Zaloga 1984:225
  34. ^ The Russian Battlefield 1998a, 1998b
  35. ^ Michulec & Zientarzewski 2006:220
  36. ^ Zaloga & Grandsen 1996:18
  37. ^ Zaloga 1983:14
  38. ^ Zaloga 1983:14
  39. ^ Zaloga 1983:14
  40. ^ Zaloga 1983:14
  41. ^ a b Zaloga et al. 1997:5
  42. ^ Russian Battlefield 1998b
  43. ^ Zaloga 1984:166
  44. ^ Zaloga et al. 1997:6
  45. ^ Liddell Hart, 1951.
  46. ^ There were 967 T-34 tanks and 508 KV tanks deployed: Erickson 1962/2001, p. 567.
  47. ^ Zaloga 1995, p. 9.
  48. ^ a b Zaloga & Grandsen 1984:127
  49. ^ T. Bean, W. Fowler, Russian Tanks of WWII-Stalin’s Armoured Might, Ian Allan Publishing, London, 2002, appendix, p170.
  50. ^ S. J. Zaloga, L.S. Ness, Red Army Handbook 1939-1945, Sutton Publishing, Stroud, UK, 1998, p. 181, table 6.3
  51. ^ G.F. Krivosheev , et al, Soviet Casualties and Combat Losses in the Twentieth Century, Edited by Colonel General G.F. Krivosheev, Greenhill Books, London, 1997. p. 252, table 95
  52. ^ Solonin, pp. 145, 261–262, 321.
  53. ^ German reports mentioned even small-scale encounters with these troublesome, unexpected tank types. Despite that, they regarded the use of T-34 and KV tanks as "scattered".
  54. ^ Russian Battlefield 1998c
  55. ^ Dmitry Pyatakhin and George Parada (n.d.), "Tiger Tamers: Battle for Sandomierz Bulge – August of 1944" at Achtung Panzer! website, retrieved on November 17, 2008.
  56. ^ a b Drabkin & Sheremet 2006, p. 43.
  57. ^ Zaloga & Grandsen 1984:137
  58. ^ Zaloga p39
  59. ^ Zaloga & Grandsen 1984:135–7
  60. ^ Armchairgeneral
  61. ^ S. Zaloga , P. Sarson, T-34/76 Medium Tank 1941-1945, Osprey Military, Reed International Books Ltd, London, 1994, p. 40
  62. ^ ibid. p.40
  63. ^ Drabkin & Sheremet 2006, pp. 27–28.
  64. ^ S. Zaloga , P. Sarson, T-34/76 Medium Tank 1941-1945, Osprey Military, Reed International Books Ltd, London, 1994, p. 12
  65. ^ ibid
  66. ^ Drabkin & Sheremet 2006, p. 42.
  67. ^ Zaloga & Sarson 1994, p. 24.
  68. ^ Zaloga & Grandsen 1984:126–27, 135
  69. ^ T. Bean, W. Fowler, Russian Tanks of WWII-Stalin’s Armoured Might, Ian Allan Publishing, London, 2002, appendix, p. 170.
  70. ^ S. J. Zaloga, L.S. Ness, Red Army Handbook 1939-1945, Sutton Publishing, Stroud, UK, 1998, p. 181, table 6.3.
  71. ^ G.F. Krivosheev , et al, Soviet Casualties and Combat Losses in the Twentieth Century, Edited by Colonel General G.F. Krivosheev, Greenhill Books, London, 1997. p. 252, table 95.
  72. ^ S. J. Zaloga, L.S. Ness, Red Army Handbook 1939-1945, Sutton Publishing, Stroud, UK, 1998, p. 179, table 6.1.
  73. ^ Also, T. Bean, W. Fowler, Russian Tanks of WWII-Stalin’s Armoured Might, Ian Allan Publishing, London, 2002, appendix, p. 171
  74. ^ Perrett 1999
  75. ^ G.F. Krivosheev , et al, Soviet Casualties and Combat Losses in the Twentieth Century, Edited by Colonel General G.F. Krivosheev, Greenhill Books, London, 1997. p. 252, table 95.
  76. ^
  77. ^ Drabkin & Sheremet 2006, p.27.
  78. ^ Drabkin & Sheremet 2006, p. 33.
  79. ^ Zaloga 1984:125–6, 225
  80. ^ a b Harrison 2002:181
  81. ^ Zaloga 1984:113, 184, 225
  82. ^ Zaloga & Grandsen 1984:223
  83. ^ Zaloga & Grandsen 1983:37
  84. ^ Zaloga & Grandsen 1983:37
  85. ^ Tom Philo, "Selected Equipment Production Figures World War II". at Tom Philo Photography website, retrieved on November 17, 2008
  86. ^ Anonymous (2005), "German Panzer Production in WWII" at Lone Sentry website, retrieved on November 17, 2008.
  87. ^ G.F. Krivosheev , et al, Soviet Casualties and Combat Losses in the Twentieth Century, Edited by Colonel General G.F. Krivosheev, Greenhill Books, London, 1997. p. 253, table 95.
  88. ^ ibid
  89. ^ S. J. Zaloga, L.S. Ness, Red Army Handbook 1939-1945, Sutton Publishing, Stroud, UK, 1998, p. 180, table 6.2.
  90. ^ T. Bean, W. Fowler, Russian Tanks of WWII-Stalin’s Armoured Might, Ian Allan Publishing, London, 2002, appendix, p. 169.
  91. ^ P. Chamberlain, H Doyle, T Jentz, Encyclopedia of German Tanks of WWII, Arms and Armour Press, London, 1978, appendix VII, pp. 261-262.
  92. ^ G.F. Krivosheev , et al, Soviet Casualties and Combat Losses in the Twentieth Century, Edited by Colonel General G.F. Krivosheev, Greenhill Books, London, 1997. p. 253, table 95
  93. ^ German tank losses from S. J. Zaloga, L.S. Ness, Red Army Handbook 1939-1945, Sutton Publishing, Stroud, UK, 1998, p. 181, table 6.3.
  94. ^ Perrett 1987:134–5
  95. ^ a b Perrett 1987:135
  96. ^ Zaloga & Kinnear 1996:34–3
  97. ^ Zaloga 2010:71–73
  98. ^ "Sheyang's first fire-fighting tank" (in Chinese), Liaoning Gateway,
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  100. ^ Zaloga 2010:59
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  105. ^ Wright 2001:379
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  107. ^, "Hungarian protesters seize tank", October 23, 2006; Népszabadság Online, "Elfogták az elkötött T-34-es vezetőjét", October 23, 2006 (Hungarian language).
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  109. ^ Zheltov 2001, passim
  110. ^ Wachowski 2004
  111. ^ Zaloga & Grandsen (1984:113, 184), Harrison (2002:181), KMDB (2006).
  112. ^ Steven J. Zaloga, Hugh Johnson, T-54 and T-55 Main Battle Tanks 1944–2004, Osprey Publishing, pp.18–19; the KMT designation was adopted in the 1950s
  113. ^
  114. ^ a b "SdKfz 181 PzKpfw VI Tiger I Tank", Saving Private Ryan Online Encyclopedia,
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  116. ^ Tanki T34-76 väljatõmbamine Kurtna järvest (WWII Trophy tank). Militaarne Hiiumaa web site, text republished from Komatsu Times vol 3 no 1. English and Estonian language, retrieved on February 3, 2007.
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