Tank Destroyer (TD) Tracked Combat Vehicle
The T-34/100 served with Egyptian Army forces during the 1973 Yom Kippur War against Israel.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
The T-100 (also known as the "T-34/100") was a Egyptian-inspired tank destroyer conversion of the famous Soviet World War 2-era T-34/85 medium tank. The T-34 quickly established itself as the standard Soviet tank during World War 2 (1939-1945) when it appeared on the East Front against the German Army in 1941. The original T-34 was a revolutionary design fielding heavy sloped armor, large road wheels and a capable 76mm main gun. The series was improved in 1944 with the introduction of the "T-34/85" which mounted a more powerful 85mm D-5T main gun in a new three-man turret. By the end of World War 2, the cost effective nature of the reliable and robust T-34 series made her a war winner for the Red Army and her wartime success subsequently made her a hot commodity in the post-war years. Produced in over 84,000 examples, the T-34 went on to arm dozens of Soviet-friendly nations in the ensuing Cold War period and many were evolved to fulfill other battlefield roles as needed by their operators. One such client nation included Egypt which also made use of the late-war Soviet 100mm BS-3 (M1944) high-velocity anti-tank/field gun in some number. Egypt and the Soviet Union formally began bilateral relations in 1943, opening up channels in politics, tourism and military procurement.
The Egyptian Army found itself with a tank destroyer requirement and it was decided to fit their Soviet BS-3 guns into modified T-34/85 turrets while keeping the original T-34/85 tank chassis intact. The turret was essentially retained in its original form with the exception of angled steel plate extensions being welded to the front, top and rear facings. This resulted in a considerably altered appearance from the original T-34/85 as the long 100mm barrel protruded over the bow of the hull (this quality known simply as "barrel hang") and was capped with a double-baffled muzzle brake to combat the gun's inherent recoil action. Additionally, a dedicated recoil mechanism was installed just under the barrel base near the turret to help further dispel recoil effects. The turret sat in its original ring along the forward portion of the hull though the turret armor extensions forced the turret to spread out over the turret roof to an extent. The resulting tank destroyer was an interesting - if unique - end product that would have made even the Wehrmacht proud as the German Army became something of experts in the conversion of outmoded tank systems into effective tank killers.
As the T-100 was essentially just a modification of the base T-34/85 medium tank, the hull carried with it much of what made the original a success. There were five large road wheels to a track side and the hull sported heavily sloped armor, thicker along the front. The glacis plate was low along the front and sloped upwards towards the turret base. A clamp was affixed to the rear sloping plate to secure the main gun when traveling (this required the T-100 to position its turret facing rear). External fuel tanks - common on many Soviet/Russian tank designs - could be seen mounted to either side of the hull rear. The T-100 crew amounted to four personnel and positions were similar to those as found on the T-34/85 series tank. The driver maintained his position at the front left of the hull with the engine held in a compartment at the hull rear. The vehicle was fitted with a single V-2 V-12 diesel engine of 493 horsepower which supplied the T-100 with an operational range of 223 miles and a top speed of 33 miles per hour.
While the T-100 proved itself a capable derivative of the T-34 family line, the system was soon found lacking in the required qualities for the modern battlefield by the time of the 1973 Yom Kipper War against Israel. By this time, the armor protection of the World War 2-era T-34 tanks were no longer capable of contending with the armor-piercing weaponry available to the Israelis - these coming from American 105mm-armed M48 medium tanks and British Centurion main battle tanks along with general guided anti-tank implements. As such, the T-100 was forced into more defensive-minded roles than initially envisioned, thus allowing her to bring her 100mm main gun to bear from prepared positions and hopefully against unsuspecting foes.
A later development of the T-100 (T-34/100) produced the T-122 (T-34/122), which essentially mated the Soviet 122mm field gun to a wider turret on the chassis of the T-34.