|Notable for||Most notable WWII tank|
|Maximum Torque||2200 Nm|
|Combat Weight||32 T|
|Requires an Export Licence?|
|Speed Cross-country||40 km/h|
|Main||85 mm gun|
|Secondary||2x 7.62 mm DT|
The most iconic Russian tank you can buy in the USA in the UK or anywhere else in the world. Only a few are left in private hands, most have ended up in museums. All mechanical, no electricity, no hydraulics, nothing can actually break. Steering is no easy. Changing gear is not so easy. Just as in war. Mostly T-54 engines are used. Totally reliable. Most spares still accessible.
T-34 - Soviet medium tank of the Great Patriotic War was produced in series since 1940. During 1942-1947 it served as the main tank of the Red Army and the USSR Armed Forces. It was the main tank of the Red Army until the first half of 1944, before entering the troops of its modification T-34-85.
The most massive Russian tank of World War II and the postwar period.
Developed by the design bureau of the tank department of the Kharkiv plant No. 183 under the leadership of Mikhail Ilyich Koshkin. The success of the project was predetermined by the use of the latest highly economical V-2 diesel engine, thanks to which the medium-armored T-34 inherited an unusually high specific power (the ratio of engine power to combat weight) from the lightly armored BT, which ensured the absolute superiority of the T tank throughout the Great Patriotic War -34 in maneuverability, mobility. For the first time in the practice of world tank building, the T-34 medium tank was equipped with a long-barrel (30.5 caliber) 76-mm L-11 gun (model 1939), significantly exceeding the initial speed of the armor-piercing projectile (635 m / s) all existing years of foreign tank artillery systems. And since March 1941, the T-34 began to install a 76.2-mm F-34 gun (1941 model) with a barrel length of 41.5 caliber and an initial armor-piercing projectile speed of 662 m / s, which penetrated 60-mm armor from a distance 1000 m: T-34-76 - specifying designation of this model. The high modernization potential of the structure turned out to be very important, this allowed to effectively increase the combat qualities of the tank while increasing its industrial production throughout the war. From 1942 to 1945, the main large-scale production of the T-34 was deployed at the powerful engineering plants of the Urals and Siberia, and continued in the postwar years. The leading factory for the modification of the T-34 was the Ural Tank Plant No. 183. The latest modification (T-34-85) is in service with some countries to this day.
The T-34 tank had a huge impact on the outcome of the war and on the further development of the world tank building. German troops did not expect such powerful equipment from the USSR. Due to the combination of its combat qualities, the T-34 was recognized by many experts and military experts as one of the best tanks of the Second World War. When it was created, Soviet designers managed to find the optimal ratio between the main combat, tactical, protective, operational, running, and technological characteristics.
The T-34 tank is the most famous Soviet tank and one of the most recognizable symbols of the Second World War. To date, a large number of these tanks of various modifications in the form of monuments and museum exhibits have been preserved.
In 1943, due to the massive appearance of new models of armored vehicles with enhanced armor among the Germans, the effectiveness of 76.2 mm T-34 tank guns became insufficient. This forced designers to look for ways to improve the combat qualities of the T-34. After working out several options, the T-34-85 was launched in 1944, armed with a new 85-mm S-53 cannon. The crew increased from 4 to 5 people, the tank received a new tower with enhanced armor and more convenient for the crew. The combat weight increased to 32 tons, which led to a slight decrease in dynamic characteristics.
T-34 has a classic layout. The crew of the tank consists of four people - the driver and the gunner-radio operator, located in the control compartment and charging with the commander, who also serves as a gunner, who were seated in a double turret.
There were no clearly defined modifications of the linear T-34-76. Nevertheless, in the design of serial vehicles there were significant differences caused by different production conditions at each of the factories producing them at certain time periods, as well as by the general improvement of the tank. In historical literature, these differences are usually grouped by the manufacturing plant and the production period, sometimes with an indication of a characteristic feature, if two or more types of machines were produced at the same time at the factory. However, the picture could have become even more complicated among the troops, since due to the high maintainability of the T-34, the wrecked tanks were most often restored again, and the nodes of damaged vehicles of different versions were often assembled into an entire tank in various combinations.
The T-34 armored hull is welded, assembled from rolled plates of homogeneous steel armor of grade 8C of high hardness, with a thickness of 13, 16, 40, and 45 mm. The armor protection of the tank is anti-shell, equally strong, made with rational angles of inclination. The frontal part consisted of wedge-converging armor plates with a thickness of 45 mm: the upper one located at an angle of 60 ° to the vertical and the lower one located at an angle of 53 °. Between themselves, the upper and lower frontal armor plates were connected using a beam. The sides of the hull in its lower part were arranged vertically and had a thickness of 45 mm. The upper part of the sides, in the area of the fenders, consisted of 40 mm armor plates located at an angle of 40 °. The aft was assembled from two 40-mm armored plates converging in a wedge: the upper, located at an angle of 47 ° and the lower, located at an angle of 45 °. The roof of the tank in the area of the engine compartment was assembled from 16 mm armor plates, and in the area of the turret box it was 20 mm thick. The bottom of the tank had a thickness of 13 mm under the engine-transmission compartment and 16 mm in the frontal part, also a small section of the aft end of the bottom consisted of a 40-mm armor plate.
On the T-34 model of 1943, the thickness of the upper stern armor plate was increased from 40 to 45 mm, and the thickness of the bottom in the frontal part was increased from 16 to 20 mm. Also, the hulls of the tanks could have slight differences, depending on the manufacturing plant, so on machines manufactured by the Stalingrad shipyard in 1942, the upper frontal sheet was welded to the airborne connection “in the spike”, instead of the commonly used butt joint.
Turret T-34 - double, close to the hexagonal in terms of shape, with a feed niche. Depending on the manufacturing plant and the year of manufacture, turrets of various designs could be installed on the tank. On the T-34 of the first issues, a welded turret of rolled plates and sheets was installed. The walls of the turret were made of 45 mm armor plates located at an angle of 30 °, the forehead of the turret was a 45 mm, curved in the shape of a half-cylinder, a plate with cutouts for installing guns, machine guns and sights. The roof of the turret consisted of a 15 mm armor plate, bent at an angle from 0 ° to 6 ° to the horizontal, the bottom of the aft niche was a horizontal 13 mm armor plate. Although other types of turrets were also assembled by welding, it was the turrets of the original type that are known in the literature as “welded”.
Shortly after the start of serial production of the T-34, by the end of 1940, a cast turret was also put into production, the armor for which and the casting technology were developed by TsNII-48. The walls of such a turret were cast entirely, and the roof, which still consisted of rolled armor plates, was welded to it. Since cast armor, with equal thickness with katana, has less projectile resistance, the wall thickness was increased to 52 mm to maintain protection at the same level. Otherwise, cast turrets were identical in design to welded ones. The production of cast turrets for the T-34 continued in parallel with the welded ones until the end of its production.
Another, less common type of turret was stamped, manufactured by UZTM since 1942. The upper part of such a turret was made entirely, with the exception of the gun mask, by stamping from a 45 mm sheet. Stamped had no significant differences from welded or cast turrets, but externally turrets of this type are easily distinguishable by rounded upper faces. In total, at the time of the termination of the production of T-34 at UZTM on March 1, 1944, according to various sources, 2050 or 2062 turrets of this type were produced.
Since 1942, they switched to the production of an improved tower shape, characterized by a larger width, a smaller slope of the sides and aft, and a plan shape close to a regular hexagon. Due to their characteristic shape, such towers were known as “hex” or “nut towers”. The new tower had a slightly larger internal volume, but still remained cramped and still double. Another significant change was the introduction in 1943 of a cylindrical commander’s turret mounted on the roof of the tower. However, since the tank commander was busy servicing the guns, the turret was practically useless for him and did not receive widespread distribution.
The main armament of the T-34 early releases (1940 - early 1941) was the 76-mm cannon of the 1938/39 model (L-11). The length of the gun barrel is 30.5 calibers / 2324 mm, the initial velocity of the armor-piercing projectile is 612 m / s. Since March 1941, it was replaced by a 76-mm cannon of the 1940 model (F-34). The barrel length of this gun was 41.5 calibers / 3162 mm, and the initial velocity of the armor-piercing projectile was 662 m / s.
The gun was mounted on the trunnions in the frontal part of the tower, in coaxial installation with a machine gun. Vertical aiming, for L-11 within −5 ... + 25 °, for F-34 within −5 ° 30 ′ ... + 26 ° 48 ′, was carried out using a screw mechanism, horizontal aiming was carried out exclusively by turning the tower. To aim at the target in tanks with the L-11 gun, the TOD-6 telescopic sight and the PT-6 periscope panoramic sight were used. For tanks with an F-34 cannon of earlier releases, a telescopic TOD-7 sight and a periscopic panoramic PT-7 were used, subsequently replaced by a telescopic TMFD-7, which had a 15 ° field of view and 2.5 × magnification and a periscopic panoramic PT-4-7 providing a field of view of 26 ° at the same magnification, but less accurate due to errors introduced by the communication mechanism between the sight and the gun. Since 1943, a lateral level was also installed on the F-34 for firing from closed positions.
Both guns used the same range of ammunition: unitary shots to the 76 mm divisional cannon of the 1902/30 model and the 76 mm regimental cannon of the 1927 model. The ammunition of the gun on the T-34 release of 1940-1942 consisted of 77 rounds, which were placed in suitcases on the floor of the fighting compartment and in stacks on its walls. On the T-34 release of 1942-1944 with the "improved tower", the ammunition was increased to 100 rounds. The ammunition could include shots with caliber and sub-caliber armor-piercing, high-explosive fragmentation, shrapnel, and carte shells. Due to the presence of tungsten carbide in them, sub-caliber shells were in short supply throughout the war and were included in the ammunition of linear tanks only if there was a probability of repulsing tank attacks.
Auxiliary weapons of the tank were two 7.62-mm machine guns DT. One of them (“paired”) was located in a paired installation with a gun and had common pointing angles with it. Another (“course”) was located in a ball mount in the upper frontal plate of the hull, its aiming angles were ± 12 ° in the horizontal plane and −6 ... + 16 ° in the vertical. According to various sources, the ammunition load of machine guns on tanks of early releases was 46 or 49 disks of 63 rounds each (in the total of 2898 or 3087 rounds), on the earliest vehicles that did not have a radio station, it increased to 75 disks (4725 rounds). On the T-34 with an improved tower, the ammunition consisted of 50 disks (3150 rounds).
The driver in non-combat conditions monitored the area through an open hatch. For review in battle, he had a stationary prismatic periscope sighting device in the manhole cover and two auxiliary periscopic instruments located on the sides of the manhole and directed at an angle of 60 ° to the longitudinal axis of the tank. Since 1942, with the introduction of a simplified manhole cover, the central periscope has been replaced by two ones that can be closed by armored shutters to protect against bullets and fragments, and side periscope devices were no longer installed. The shooter-radio operator did not have his own monitoring devices, the only means of viewing the terrain for him could be the diopter sight of the machine gun, which had a field of view of only 2-3 °
On both sides of the tower on tanks of early releases, periscopic observation devices were installed that could be used by the commander and loader, for which this device on tanks of early releases was the only means of observation. On a significant part of the tanks manufactured since 1942, onboard periscope devices were replaced by simple viewing slots, which were closed on the inside with a protective triplex glass block. For tanks of early releases, the commander had a rotary periscopic observation device for observing the terrain, located in the hatch cover of the tower, and capable of giving a circular view, as well as a rotary command panorama PT-K, mounted to the left in front of the tower roof. On tanks manufactured since the fall of 1941, the viewing device in the manhole cover was eliminated, and the commander’s panorama on a significant part of the tanks of the later releases was replaced by the PT-4-7 periscope sight, which could also be used in rotary mode to observe the terrain and provide a field of view in 26 ° at 2.5 × magnification. On a significant part of the wartime production tanks, a periscope observation device, PT-K or another model, received and loading. On the part of the 1943 tanks, a commander’s turret was installed on the commander’s hatch, equipped with five viewing slots with a protective glass block, which provided a circular view. In addition, an additional periscopic viewing device was installed in the pivoting roof of the turret. Due to the workload of the commander as a gunner, the effectiveness of the commander’s turret was less than expected, and its installation was not widely used.
The T-34 of the first series was equipped with a short-wave telephone radio station 71-TK-3, which was soon replaced by a newer 9-P. The 9-P radio station provided a communication range of 15–25 km from standstill and 9–18 km in traffic by telephone. Since 1943, the T-34s have been equipped with a 9-PM simplex radio station operating on an extended frequency range. On tanks of early releases, due to the shortage of radio stations, they were equipped with only vehicles of unit commanders and only a small part of linear tanks. In the future, the situation with the release of radio stations gradually improved, but they were finally able to switch to full radioification of tanks only during the release of the T-34-85. For internal communication between crew members a telephone tank intercom was used, on tanks of early releases - TPU-2 or TPU-3, later replaced by TPU-3-bisF.
All versions of the T-34 were equipped with a V-shaped 12-cylinder four-stroke high-speed liquid-cooled diesel engine with jet spraying of fuel and a twin-shaft distribution mechanism (DOHC), model В-2-34, developed under the direction of Konstantin Fedorovich Chelpan. The V-2 engine was originally developed for use in aviation and had all the advantages and disadvantages inherent in this.
Due to the lack of V-2 engines, 1201 of the T-34s produced in 1941-1942 were equipped with M-17T or M-17F carburetor aircraft engines of the same power. In addition, in the manual “Tank T-34 in battle” (Military Publishing House of NKO, 1942), the characteristics of the tank indicate the diesel V-2K (400 hp at 1700 rpm).
The maximum engine power of V-2-34 is 500 liters. with. at 1800 rpm, nominal - 450 l. with. at 1750 rpm, operational - 400 l. with. at 1700 rpm Engine displacement - 38880 cm3, compression ratio - 14 (15). The weight of the engine assembly is about 1000 kg. The engine resource before the first repair is 50 hours.
To clean the air entering the engine on the T-34 of the 1940-1941 model, an air purifier of the Pomon type was used, which was distinguished by extremely unreliable operation. Since 1942, it was replaced by two Cyclone-type air purifiers, which significantly increased the reliability of the propulsion system.
Internal fuel tanks on the T-34 were located on the sides of the hull, in the spaces between the shells of the suspension springs. The tanks of the early releases had six internal tanks with a total capacity of 460 liters., On the machines of the later releases, the number of internal tanks was increased to eight, and their total capacity - up to 540 liters. The total capacity of the four external onboard fuel tanks on the early vehicles was 134 liters, on the T-34 of 1942 they were replaced by two fodder tanks of a similar capacity, and on the tanks of the later releases - two, and then three cylindrical side tanks with a capacity of 90 liters. each. The diesel fuel “DT winter” was used as fuel - all-weather, or “DT summer”, at an outdoor temperature of more than + 5 ° С.
The engine oil system included two oil tanks with a capacity of 40 liters. Applicable oils: aviation oil "MK" (in summer) and aviation "MZ" (in winter). In the absence of winter oil, it is allowed to use an oil mixture consisting of 70% MK oil and 30% spindle oil.
The cooling system is liquid. Full refueling is 80 liters of water. Two tubular radiators of the engine cooling system were installed on either side of it.
The exhaust system of the engine is straight-through, there are no silencers. Consists of two exhaust pipes in the stern of the tank.
The transmission of the T-34 model of 1940 included:
Released in the fall of 1941, the T-34 series with a 57-mm tank gun had differences in the engine. Instead of a diesel engine, an M-17 carburetor engine (licensed BMW VI) was installed. There is no information on the difference in maneuvering qualities with "diesel" modifications.
The onboard network of the tank consists of two networks, voltage 12 and 24 volts. To feed consumers in the parking lot or at low engine speeds, 4 lead storage batteries of the 6STE-128 type are used, connected in pairs, in parallel and in series. A 12-volt network is laid on the starboard side of the tank. The mains voltage source on the go is the GT-4563A DC generator with a peak power of 1000 watts. To maintain a voltage of 24 volts in the network, the relay-regulator RRA-24F is used. On tanks of early releases with the GT-4563A generator, relay controllers РРТ-4576А were installed, in the design of which there was no radio interference filter.
The beginning of charging the battery occurs at 600-650 rpm of the crankshaft of the tank engine, the generator begins to give full power at 700-750 rpm. engine (by tachometer)
The tank engine is started by the ST-700 electric starter.
An electric motor MB-20A is installed to rotate the tank turret. 1257: 1 is the gear ratio from the motor shaft to the tower shoulder strap. The motor consumes different amperage depending on the tilt of the tank: from 90 A at a horizontal position to 200 A or more when tilting the tank. The maximum angle of the tank, at which the motor still rotates the turret, is in the range of 17-22 °, and depends on the state of the batteries and the outside temperature.
To ventilate the tank from powder gases during firing, the MV-12 motor fan is used.
For the electrical connection of the tower with the rest of the tank’s electrical equipment, a ring current collector is used - a VKU-37T rotating contact device. Consists of slip rings and brush assembly. Only 3 power and 7 low-current rings.
Electric signal of vibration type GF-12.
Switchboards with devices:
In the chassis of the T-34, a candle suspension was used, or as Christie's suspension, which he inherited from the BT series of tanks, was used, but in the case of the T-34, the suspension was modernized and the spring was placed at a slight angle. On each side, the undercarriage consisted of five large dual-track rollers with a diameter of 830 mm, a guide wheel (sloth) in front, and a rear-wheel located behind. The design of the track rollers could differ significantly depending on the manufacturer and the year of manufacture: stamped or cast rollers, rubberized or with internal depreciation, were used, and those manufactured by STZ in the summer of 1942 - without depreciation at all. Track rollers were mounted on balancers connected to the suspension springs located inside the tank body, in boxes attached to the sides.
Tracks for T-34 - steel, crest gearing, consisting of alternating crest and "flat" tracks. On early-release vehicles, the caterpillar had a width of 550 mm and consisted of 74 tracks, on later-release vehicles, the track had a width of 500 mm, and the number of tracks in it was reduced to 72. To improve cross-country ability, lugs of various designs could be mounted on the tracks, bolted to every fourth or sixth track.
Depending on the manufacturer and the year of manufacture, different types of trucks were installed on the T-34. On machines of the early production of the KhPZ, tracks with a width of 550 mm, with a low profile, were used, consisting of a stamped truck and a ridge attached to it. Each caterpillar of the tank consisted of 74 tracks, 37 ridge, and 37 "flat". The tracks were interconnected by two fingers, which were first fixed with screws, on machines of later releases - with cotter pins or wedges. By the fall of 1940, production of all-stamped or cast tracks began. During the war, in the fall of 1941, the production of all-stamped trucks with a width of 500 mm began, which was distinguished by a reinforced structure, a more developed profile of the outer side, which improved adhesion to the ground, and a smoothed inner side, due to the use of non-rubber rollers. The number of tracks in this type of track was reduced to 72. In parallel, the production of cast tracks of the same width and with a reduced number of tracks in the track went on. Since 1943 they switched to the tracks of the so-called “waffle” type, assembled from two stamped halves each. Among these types of tracks, there could also be slight differences, mainly in the profile of the bearing surface.
T-34-57 - a tank armed with a 57-mm cannon ZIS-4. Work on it began in the summer of 1940. By December of that year, a prototype gun was created, and in April 1941 the gun was mounted on a tank and shot at a firing range. The tests were unsuccessful, the gun required serious refinement, which was carried out in a short time. Already in July, the new gun was again installed in the tank, successfully passed the tests and was put into service; serial production of guns was conducted from August to November 1941. In the second half of September, at the factory No. 183, they armed 10 tanks (4 of them were radio-fired), and in early October they were sent to Vladimir to equip the 21st tank brigade. Lost from October 16 to October 30, 1941. In July - August 1943, another 4 cars were assembled. In August, field tests took place. They did not participate in the hostilities. Its further fate is unknown.
OT-34 (TO-34) - a flamethrower tank based on the T-34. Unlike the linear tank, it was armed with an ATO-41 automatic powder piston flamethrower at the site of the course machine gun, and its crew was reduced to three people, due to the radio operator gunner. The OT-34 was developed in 1941, and its mass production began in 1942 and continued until 1944, when it was replaced on assembly lines by the OT-34-85 tank, created on the basis of the T-34-85. In total, 1170 OT-34s were produced, not counting OT-34-85, or about 3.3% of the total number of T-34-76s issued.