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      T-34 Medium Tank  

    T-34 Medium Tank


    No one tank affected the outcome of World War 2 as much as the Soviet T-34 Medium Tank series with over 80,000 produced.





     Updated: 4/1/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com


    To Red Army authorities, it was becoming painfully clear that the BT series of "fast tanks" was not the long term answer for Soviet armored forces. The tank was lightly armored and lightly armed while still intended to tackle enemy armor at range. These vehicles all but lacked the facilities from which to accomplish the role effectively, particularly on the modernizing battlefield of the late 1930s. The BT marks featured a rather novel track design which allowed them to run on bare wheels as needed, a quality that added little to their war-making prowess but was admired by Soviet authorities for its multi-faceted nature. In 1937, the Soviet Army officially requested its official replacement and this began development of a new type of frontline combat tank based on the BT-IS "proof-of-concept" vehicles. Engineers put forth several pilot vehicles, each with progressively thicker and sloped armor protection and greater armament and based on a further evolved form of the BT fast tank series. A new diesel-fueled engine - the Model V-2 12-cylinder - was developed and this particular addition proved a departure from the gasoline-fueled powerpacks utilized in the BT series which held a propensity to explode into flames when hit. The ultimate revision - the A-34 - was accepted for service as the T-34 Medium Tank. Early production forms of 1940 were armed with the 76.2mm L-11 series main gun which eventually gave way to the F-32 and, ultimately, the excellent F-34 series of 76.2mm guns. The use of heavily sloped armor for ballistics protection was rather forward-thinking for the time.

    The T-34 is Born

    Production of the T-34 was quickly ushered in particularly after the massive failings of Soviet armor in the Winter War against neighboring Finland (1939-1940). However, short supplies of the new engine and radio sets saw early T-34 forms fitted with inferior Mikulin M-17 powerplants of the BT tanks and radio sets were distributed solely to "command tanks". T-34 tankers were then trained to rely on rather primitive battlefield signals presented through specialized flag movements, requiring that accompanying tanks had to be within visual range of one another - reminiscent of ancient warfare to an extent.

    T-34 Walk-Around

    The T-34 entry in to service in 1940 brought about immediate consideration as the most combat capable tank in the world. The vehicle was the perfect balance of speed, firepower and armor protection - three key assets of any successful tank design, even those being developed today. The vehicle weighed in at 26 tons and managed a running length of 22 feet with a width of 10 feet and height of 8 feet. The 76.2mm main armament was augmented by a coaxial 7.62mm DT machine gun and a bow-mounted 7.62mm machine gun in the hull - both to serve as anti-infantry defense. Once stocks of the intended engine were available, power was mainly derived from the Model V-2 diesel-fueled 12-cylinder engine developing 500 horsepower. This promoted a top speed of 33 miles per hour on ideal surfaces and an operational range of 250 miles before refueling. The chassis was suspended atop a coil-spring Christie-based suspension system which presented excellent cross-country performance. Key to the success of the T-34 would be its implementation of heavily sloped, thick armor facings - particularly at the glacis plate, turret and along the hull sides. The turret itself was purposely small in dimension to promote a squat target when viewed in profile. The five large road wheels and wide tracks would serve the type well when traversing the soft terrains of Central and Eastern Europe in the battles to follow. Crew accommodations amounted to four personnel made up of the driver, commander/loader, gunner and bow-machine gunner. Note that the commander doubled as his own loader in these early T-34 forms - this arrangement necessitated by the cramped conditions of the small turret. Conversely, Western tanks in Britain, America and Germany largely relied on a five-man crew for increased efficiency.


    T-34 Technical Specifications


    Service Year: 1940
    Type: Medium Tank
    National Origin: Soviet Union
    Manufacturer(s): State Factories - Soviet Union / Poland / Czechoslovakia / China
    Production: 84,070



    Design (Crew Space, Dimensions, Weight, and Systems)


    Operating Crew: 4
    Length: 19.42 feet (5.92 meters)
    Width: 9.84 feet (3.00 meters)
    Height: 8.01 feet (2.44 meters)

    Operating Weight: 31 tons (28,000 kg; 61,729 lb)

    Nuclear / Biological / Chemical Protection: None
    Nightvision Equipment: Driver only (post-war)

    Installed Power and Standard Road Performance


    Engine(s): 1 x Model V-2-34 12-cylinder diesel engine developing 500 horsepower.

    Maximum Road Speed: 32 mph (51.5 km/h)
    Maximum Road Range: 188 miles (302 km)

    Armament and Ammunition


    EARLY (T-34-76):
    1 x 76.2mm L-11 / F-34 main gun
    1 x 7.62mm DT MG machine gun in coaxial mount
    1 x 7.62mm FT machine gun in hull bow

    LATE (T-34-85):
    1 x 85mm D-5T / ZiS-S-53 main gun
    1 x 7.62mm DT MG machine gun in coaxial mount
    1 x 7.62mm DT machine gun in hull bow

    Ammunition:
    77 x 76.2mm projectiles (T-34/76)
    55 x 85mm projectiles (T-34/85)
    2,394 x 7.62mm ammunition

    Global Operators / Customers


    Afghanistan; Albania; Algeria; Angola; Austria; Bulgaria; China; Congo; Cyprus; Czechoslovakia; Cuba; Finland; East Germany; Egypt; Equatorial Guinea; Ethiopia; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Hungary; Indonesia; Iraq; Laos; Libya; Mali; Mongolia; Mozambique; Namibia; North Korea; Palestine; Poland; Romania; Somalia; South Yemen; Soviet Union; Sudan; Syria; Togo; Vietnam; Yugoslavia; Zimbabwe

    Model Variants


    T-34 Model 1940 (T-34-76A) - Initial production model appearing in 1940; fitted with L-1 76.2mm main gun; welded or cast turret construction; two-man turret; MT-17 gasoline engines; Christie-based suspension system.

    T-34 Model 1941 (T-34-76B) - Appearing in 1941; cast or welded turrets; improved armor protection; F-34 76.2mm main gun.

    T-34 Model 1941 (T-34-76C) - Appearing in 1942; improved armor protection; new wheel and track design; primarily cast turret construction; revised driver's hatch.

    T-34 Model 1942 (T-34-76D) - Cast or pressed hexagonal turret

    T-34 Model 1942 (T-34-76E) - Cast or pressed hexagonal turret; new commander's cupola.

    T-34 Model 1942 (T-34-76F) - Forged turrets from Uralmash and Chelyabinsk factories

    T-34/57 - Limited production T-34 fitted with ZiS-4 L/37 57mm anti-tank gun.

    OT-34 - Flame projecting tank; bow-mounted machine gun replaced with flamethrower (ATO-41 or ATO-42 depending on model year).

    T-34M - Prototype T-34; hexagonal three-man turret; increased armor protection; increased range; increased ammunition stowage; torsion bar suspension system; no large-scale production ordered.

    T-34-85 Model 1943 - Appearing in 1944; fitted with 85mm D-5T main gun; enlarged three-man cast turret assembly; commander's cupola implemented on turret roof; pair of bulbous ventilator hatches seen on turret roof rear.

    T-34-85 Model 1944 - Appearing in 1944; fitted with 85mm ZiS-S-53 main gun; radio set relocated from hull to turret; relocated commander's cupola further rearwards; new gun sight.

    T-34-85 Model 1945 - Appearing in late 1944; larger commander's cupola; single-piece roof hatch; electrically-powered turret assembly; revised track fenders; self-generated electrically-induced smoke system.

    T-34-85 Model 1946 - Appearing in 1946; fitted with improved Model V-2-34M series diesel engine; new road wheels introduced; subtle refinements throughout.

    T-34-85 Model 1960 - Modernized T-34; fitted with Model V-2-3411 diesel engines; smoke dischargers; infrared headlamp; improved radio sets; new air cleaner and generator.

    T-34-85 Model 1969 / T-34-85M - Modernized T-34; new radio sets; new road wheels; improved transmission systems; nightvision for driver; external fuel tank support; anti-ditching device under rear hull.

    OT-34-85 - Flame projecting tank variant; bow-mounted machine gun replaced with ATO-42 flamethrower.

    SU-85 - Tank Destroyer based on the chassis of the T-34; fitted with 85mm D-5T main gun.

    SU-100 - Tank Destroyer based on the chassis of the T-34; fitted with 100mm D-10S main gun.

    SU-122 - Self-Propelled Artillery System based on the chassis of the T-34; fitted with 122mm M-30S main gun.

    PT-34 - Mine Roller

    T-34-T / TT34 - Improvised Armored Recovery Vehicle

    SPK-5 - Battlefield Engineering Vehicle sans turret of T-34; appearing in 1955

    SPK-5 / SPK-10M - Electroc-hydraulically-powered crane

    T-34-TO - Battlefield Maintenance Vehicle on the T-34 chassis

    T-34-85CZ / T36 - Czechoslovakian license-production T-34-85

    MT-34 - Czechoslovakian Bridgelayer

    VT-34 - Czechoslovakian Armored Recovery Vehicle

    T-100 / T-34-100 - Egyptian tank destroyer based on the T-34; fitted with 100mm BS-3 anti-tank gun.

    T-122 / T-34-122 - Egyptian self-propelled gun based on the T-34; fitted with 122mm D-30 howitzer.

    Flakpanzer T-34 - German Army designation of single T-34 example converted for use as a mobile flak gun fitting the 20mm FlaK 38 series weapon.

    Type 58 - Chinese T-34-85 production model

    Type 58(59) - Chinese T-34-85 with Type 59 tank sights

    Type 58-I - Chinese improved Type 58 with revised commander's hatch; provision for heavy machine gun on turret roof.

    Type 58-II - Chinese improved Type 58 with additional turret cupola; provision for 2 x heavy machine guns on turret roof.

    Type 63 - Chinese self-propelled anti-aircraft gun based on the Type 58 tank; fitting 2 x 37mm Type 63 weapons.

    T-34085M1 - Polish upgraded T-34-85; new road wheels

    T-34-85M2 - Polish upgraded T-34-85; amphibious kit; additional onboard storage

    CW-34 - Polish support vehicle

    WPT-34 - Polish engineering vehicle

    T-34/55 - Syrian modernized T-34-85; 1 x heavy machine gun at commander's cupola.

    T-34/122 - Syrian Self-Propelled Howitzer; fitted with 122mm D-30 howitzer

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