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T-34

The T-34 is a Soviet medium tank.

General Characteristics (T-34/76)
Length: 8.0 m
Width: 3.0 m
Height: 2.7 m
Weight:26 t
Speed:55 km/h (road)
- (off-road)
Range: 186 km
Primary armament:76.2 mm gun
Secondary armament:two 7.62 mm machine guns
Power plant:373 kW (500 hp) Diesel
Crew: 4
General Characteristics (T-34/85)
Length: 8.0 m
Width: 3.0 m
Height: 2.7 m
Weight:32 t
Speed:55 km/h (road)
- (off-road)
Range: 360 km
Primary armament:85mm gun
Secondary armament:two 7.62 mm machine guns
Power plant:373 kW (500 hp) Diesel
Crew: 5

Table of contents

Production history The T-34 was developed from 1936, and a prototype was completed in 1939. Full scale production started in 1940.

Between 1940 and 1944 over 35000 T-34/76 tanks were produced. The T-34 was produced in two major variants, the T-34/76 with a 76 mm gun and a T-34/85 with an 85 mm gun. After the war the T-34 was followed by the T-44 and the T-54.

Variants

  • T-34/76A - Production model of 1940
  • T-34/76B - Production model of 1941 with heavier armor and a cast turret.
  • T-34/76C - Production model of 1942 with heavier armor and a redesigned turret.
  • T-34/76D - Production model of 1943 with welded turret.
  • T-34/76E - Production model of 1943 with a commanders cupola.
  • T-34/76F - Production model of 1943 with a cast version of the T-34/76D turret.
  • T-34/85 - Production model of 1943 with a 85 mm gun and and improved turret.

  • Panzerkampfwagen T-34(r) - T-34s captured by Germany.

Some T-34 were fitted as self-propelled guns by Syria.

Combat history The T-34 is often used as a symbol for Soviet resistance and German arrogance (underestimating the "sub-humans" (Untermenschen)). As such, its actual performance and impact on the war is often overrated. Nevertheless, the appearance of the T-34 definitely was an unpleasant surprise for the German commanders, as it could combat all 1942 German tanks effectively (it was faster, had better armament (50mm was the predominant calibre of German tanks guns) and better armour protection (due to the implementation of the technical innovation of sloped armour)).

However, direct tank to tank combat was a rather rare occurence, the vast majority of losses suffered were from logistical and mechanical troubles (50% of Soviet tanks at the start of the German invasion), artillery and air strikes and (self-propelled) anti-tank guns. At the outset of the war, only about 10% of all Soviet tanks were T-34 variants, this number increased to 50-60% percent till mid-1943. By the time the T-34 had replaced older models and became available in greater numbers, new german tanks (including the improved German copy of a T-34, the Panzer-IV 'Panther'; captured T-34, which could be repaired, were reused by the German army) outperformed him.

Still, the T-34 was an adequate and effective tank and played a big part in the defeat of the German invaders.

Quotes "The finest tank in the world" - Field-Marshal Ewald von Kleist[?]

See also: List of tanks, List of Soviet tanks.



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