"It was the most excellent example of the offensive weapon of Second World War." - General Mellentin.
"Their T-34 was the best in the world." - Field marshal Kleist.
Just two of many quotes that have praised the T-34 tank. This is a vehicle, which has become a legend as the tank that won The Great Patriotic War for the Soviet Union.
The T-34 tank was designed and built in the Kharkiv Tractor Factory in the Ukraine and the first T-34 tank was tested by successfully driving it 1,000 miles from Kharkiv to Moscow and back. Mass production began in July 1940 and 1,225 tanks were made before the German invasion came on the 22nd of June 1941. After the invasion production was transferred to East away from the threat of German bombing.
The T-34 was far superior to the German Panzers when it was introduced due to a variety of advanced concepts for tank design of the time. It featured a high velocity gun placing more emphasis on tank killing ability and its armour was very well sloped making it difficult to knock out. Also it had extra wide tracks, which improved mobility cross-country, and its diesel engine both gave it longer range and reduced the risk of fire.
The T-34 design evolved throughout the war: the T-34/76B had a rolled-plate turret; the T-34/76C had twin roof hatches instead of the one large hatch; from the winter of 1942/3 the T-34/76D introduced a hexagonal turret, wider gun mantlet and jettisonable exterior fuel tanks; the T-34/76E added a cupola on the turret for the commander and was of all welded construction; the T-34/76F Had a cast rather than welded turret; during the winter of 1943/4 production of the T-34/85 began and used the turret of the KV-85 tank which included an 85-mm main gun plus space for an additional crew member so the commander did not also have to fire the gun.
In combat the T-34 served in almost every role and with hand bars welded to the hull 'tank descent' troops were able to ride westwards with the advancing armour towards Hitler's Reich. Serving from the very beginning to the very end of the Great Patriotic War the T-34 changed not just the course of tank design but also the history of the planet through the actions of its crews.
After the Second World War the T-34 was widely exported and was still fighting in Africa in the 1980s. Then in the 1990s it saw action again in Europe (for hopefully the last time) during the Bosnian/Yugoslavian civil war - a true testament to a design that was half a century old.
|Formal Designation||T-34-85 Model 1944|
|Manufacturer(s)||Factory No.183 UVZ, Factory No.112, Factory No.174|
|Production Quantity||176801||Production Period||Mar. 1944 - May 1945|
|Length overall||8.15 m (26' 9")||Barrel Overhang||2.05 m (6' 9")|
|Width||3.00 m (9' 10")||Height||2.72 m (8' 11")|
|Combat Weight||32000 kg (70000 lbs)||Radio Equipment||9RM|
|Primary Armament||85mm gun ZiS-S-53||Ammunition Carried||56-60|
|Traverse (degrees)||Electric (360?)||Elevation (degrees)||-5? to +22?|
|Traverse speed (360?)||21 sec.||Sight||TSh-16, MK-4|
|Secondary Armament||2 x 7.62mm DTM MG (coaxial, bow)||Ammunition Carried||1890|
|Engine Make & Model||V-2-34M||No. of Links/Track||72/track|
|Type & Displacement||V12, 38.9 liters||Track Width||55.0 cm (22")|
|Horsepower (max.)||520hp@2000rpm||Track Ground Contact||372 cm (146")|
|Power/Weight Ratio||16.3 hp/tonne||Ground Pressure||0.78 kg/cm2 (11.1 psi)|
|Gearbox||5 forward, 1 reverse||Ground Clearance||0.4 m (1' 4")|
|Fuel||Diesel||Turning Radius||7.6 m (24' 11")|
|Range on/off road||300+/180+ km||Gradient||35?|
|Mileage on road||180 l/100km||Vertical Obstacle||0.8 m (4' 1")|
|Fuel Capacity||540 (+ 180 external)2 l||Fording||1.3 m (4' 3")|
|Speed on/off road||55/30 km/h||Trench Crossing||2.5 m (8' 2")|
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