Aircraft / Aviation Vehicles & Artillery Small Arms Warships & Submarines Military Ranks Military Pay Chart (2024) Special Forces
Land Systems / Battlefield


Up-Gunned Medium Tank [ 1943 ]

The T-34/85 is nothing more than an up-gunned version of the base T-34 medium tank design of World War 2.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 02/04/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The T-34/85 was essentially categorized as an "up-gunned" version of the successful base T-34 medium tank designed and built in large numbers by the Soviet Union during World War 2. The Germans had invaded the Soviet Union in June of 1941 and the Panzer III and Panzer IV series had formed the backbone of their armored assaults up to now. However, things quickly changed when the Soviets unleashed their heavily armored and armed T-34 medium tanks alongside their KV-1 and KV-2 series heavy tanks.

The base T-34 mounted a capable 76mm main gun which proved effective against the Panzer III and Panzer IV series tanks fielded by the Germans in bulk up to this point in the war. In response, the Germans delivered their Panther and Tiger series tanks featuring bigger guns and more armor. The T-34/85, therefore, came at a time when Soviet authorities were looking for a bigger tank gun option to contend with the German 75mm and 88mm offerings - two proven tank killers in their own right. The T34/85 also featured an entirely new five-speed transmission, a new three-man turret design to house an additional crewmember, electric turret traversal to speed up gunnery response and a useful cupola for the tank commander. These additions - at the cost of a little bit of speed - benefitted an already excellent base design, particularly since the T-34 was most effective when fielded in massed numbers against German forces.

Initial designs of the T-34/85 called for a heavy-penetrating main gun platform with sufficient mobility with good armor protection. An 85mm anti-aircraft gun was already in trials on the tank chassis of the KV-85 heavy tank at the time so the choice to field this same armament in a new T-34 was logical. The new T-34/85 would also feature two DT general purpose machine guns with limited traverse - one fitted coaxially in the turret and the other embedded in the front right hull (bow) portion of the tank. The turret itself was new to the T-34 line, it being developed from the one used in the KV-85. The T-34 chassis, in general, proved highly adaptable and ideal for other production variants that turned the medium tank into improvised dedicated tank destroyers and anti-mine vehicles among other forms. The vehicle was crewed by five personnel made up of the driver, commander, loader, gunner and radio operator, the latter doubling as the bow machine gunner. Operational range could be extended through the use of external fuel drums. Power was derived from a single W-2-34 V12 diesel engine outputting 500 horsepower. Top speed was listed at 34 miles per hour and the vehicle's weight reported at 32 tons.©MilitaryFactory.com
The T-34-85 was first delivered to Soviet tank crews - namely guard units - in late 1943 and early 1944 through a short initial production batch run. Early forms fielded the D-5T 85mm gun system and were known under the designation of "Model 1943". A follow-up version was released to production soon following and was known simply as the "Model 1944". This became the definitive T34-85 mount and were fitted with the ZiS-S-53 series 85mm main gun - an armament that was simpler to mass produce for the Soviet war effort. The radio suite was also relocated from the bow to the turret in these models and a new gunner's sighting device was installed. Some 12,000 T-34/85 examples were delivered by the end of the war in Europe in May of 1945 and captured samples were pressed into service by the desperate German Army.

Even after World War 2, the T-34/85 existed in greater numbers and delivered to some Soviet-friendly nations - North Korea and China being key recipients considering the upcoming Korean War (1950-1953). North Korea itself fielded about 150 of the T-34/85 variant at the beginning of the Korean War and several T-34/85s are still believed to be in operational frontline service even today, a testament to both the successful design of the T-34 as a whole and the lack of forward-thinking on the part of the North Koreans.

In all, over 55,000 T-34/85's were built by the end of production and a bulk of that - roughly 40,000 - were produced during the war years alone. Nevertheless, the tank system proved to be the most successful Soviet tank design up to that time, setting the design stage for Cold War tank influence that has lasted up to today. The T-34, at its core, was efficient to produce and easy to maintain once in the field. Her use of sloped armor, large road wheels and a powerful main gun proved to be a collectively efficient end-product for decades - her value proven by her actions in World War 2.

Major modernization programs followed the T34/85 during the Cold War years, these taking place in 1960 and 1969. Regardless of changes, many retained their general base appearance and were only discernable to experts of the T-34 lineage. Czechoslovakia mass-produced the T-34/85 and distributed them widely across the Soviet sphere.©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.


State Factories - Soviet Union / Poland / Czechoslovakia / China
Afghanistan; Albania; Angola; Bosnia; China; Cuba; Guinea-Bissau; Hungary; Mali; Nazi Germany; North Korea; Romania; Slovenia; Soviet Union; Vietnam
Operators National flag of Afghanistan National flag of Albania National flag of Angola National flag of China National flag of Cuba National flag of modern Germany National flag of Nazi Germany National flag of Guinea National flag of Hungary National flag of North Korea National flag of Romania National flag of Slovenia National flag of the Soviet Union National flag of Vietnam
Service Year
Soviet Union
National Origin

Support allied ground forces through weapons, inherent capabilities, and / or onboard systems.
Design providing enhanced armor protection and firepower over that of lightweight offerings - but lacking the general capabilities of heavier solutions.
Engage armored vehicles of similar form and function.

19.7 ft
(6 meters)
9.1 ft
(2.77 meters)
8.0 ft
(2.44 meters)
70,548 lb
(32,000 kg)
35.3 tons

1 x W-2-34 12-cylinder diesel-fueled engine developing 493 horsepower.
Drive System
30 mph
(48 kph)
Road Speed
86 miles
(138 km)
Road Range

1 x 85mm D-5T OR ZiS-S-53 main gun.
1 x 7.62mm coaxial DT general purpose machine gun.
1 x 7.62mm bow-mounted DT general purpose machine gun.
55 x 85mm projectiles.
2,394 x 7.62mm ammunition.

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.

Military lapel ribbon for the American Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of the Bulge
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Kursk
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Ukranian-Russian War
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental military vehicles


1 / 1
Image of the T-34/85
Front right side view of a T-34/85 medium tank on display; color

Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies

2024 Military Pay Chart Military Ranks DoD Dictionary Conversion Calculators Military Alphabet Code Military Map Symbols

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com. No A.I. was used in the generation of this content; site is 100% curated by humans.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org (World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft), WDMMW.org (World Directory of Modern Military Warships), SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane, and MilitaryRibbons.info, cataloguing military medals and ribbons. Special Interest: RailRoad Junction, the locomotive encyclopedia.

©2023 www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-2023 (20yrs)