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Soviet Union's T-34/85 Ob 1943 medium tank

Photos

T-34/85 Medium Tank, Vpered na Berlin (onward to Berlin)
Soviet Union's T-34/85 Medium Tank, <em>Vpered na Berlin</em> (onward to Berlin)

T-34/85 Medium Tank named after the poet Vladimir Mayakovskii. Location is Berlin, April 1945.
Soviet Union's T-34/85 Medium Tank named after the poet Vladimir Mayakovskii. Location is Berlin, April 1945

T-34/85 Medium Tank with the 44th Guards Tank Brigade, 11th Guards Tank Corps in Yugoslavia in 1945.
Soviet Union's T-34/85 Medium Tank with the 44th Guards Tank Brigade, 11th Guards Tank Corps in Yugoslavia in 1945
T-34/85 Medium Tank:
Soviet Union's T-34/85 Medium Tank

T-34/85 Medium Tank:
Soviet Union's T-34/85 Medium Tank

T-34/85 Medium Tank:
Soviet Union's T-34/85
T-34/85 Medium Tank:
Soviet Union's T-34/85
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T-34/85 Medium Tank:
Soviet Union's T-34/85
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T-34/85 Medium Tanks going through Moldavian Republic after crossing the Dniester River.
Soviet Union's T-34/85 Medium Tanks going through Moldavian Republic after crossing the Dniester River

T-34/85 Medium Tank:
Soviet Union's T-34/85 Medium Tank
Camera Press

T-34/85 Medium Tank:
Soviet Union's T-34/85 Medium Tank
Mark Holloway
T-34/85 Model 1944 Medium Tank. The writing translates to "For Soviet Uzbekistan". In East Prussia in February 1945.
Soviet Union's T-34/85 Model 1944 Medium Tank. The writing translates to "For Soviet Uzbekistan". In East Prussia in February 1945
T-34/85 Model 1944 Medium Tank with the 63rd Guards Tank Brigade, 10th Guards Tank Corps in Prague in May 1945
Soviet Union's T-34/85 Model 1944 Medium Tank with the 63rd Guards Tank Brigade, 10th Guards Tank Corps in Prague in May 1945
PT-3 mine roller:
Soviet Union's T-34/85 Mine Roller (PT-3)
Dragon Armor 1/72 model, 60248:
Dragon Armor 60248 T-34/85 Diecast Model
Dragon Armor 1/72 model, 60249:
Dragon Armor 60249 T-34/85 Diecast Model
Easy Models 1/72 model, 36271:
Easy Models 1/72 Armor Model 36271, Soviet T-34/85 Medium Tank
Easy Models 1/72 model, 36274:
Easy Models 1/72 Diecast Armor 36274, North Vietnam T-34/85
Forces of Valor 1/72 model, 85018:
Forces of Valor 1/72 Diecast Armor 85018, USSR's T-34/85
Forces of Valor 1/72 model, 85418:
Forces of Valor #85418, Soviet Union's T-34/85:

Design

The modernization of the T-34 was decided upon at a meeting of the State Defense Committee on August 25, 1943, after the severe losses at the battle of Kursk.2 V. G. Grabin, chief designer at Artillery Factory No. 92, suggesting in the spring of 1943 to us a long barrel 85 mm tank gun to up arm the T-34.2 He used an 85 mm gun that was going to be installed in the KV-3 heavy tank.2 It had to be modified to fit the T-34 and it was designated the 85 mm Tank Gun ZIS-53.2

During the 1st half of 1943 another group under General F. F. Petrov work on 2 variants of the 85 mm that was later used in the KV-85, IS-1, and SU-85.2

At Factory No. 92 in Gorki, A. Savin made a 3rd variant of the 85 mm gun.2 It was mounted in a modified T-34 turret for testing.2,6 During testing it was realized that the turret would have to be enlarged to accommodate 3 crew members to allow for the maximum possible rate of fire.2,6 The People's Commissariat for the Armor Industry assigned the task to a development bureau in the Krasnoye Sormovo factory.2

Armament

However, when the 85 mm gun from V.G. Grabin was installed it was discovered that it had a limited elevation.2 New guns were developed and were tested at the end of 1943.2 The State Defense Committee approved it for introduction to the army on December 15, 1943.2

Gun Ammo Type Weight Muzzle Velocity Penetration
100 yards 1,000 yards
85 mm Model 1944, L/538 AP8 20.3 lb8 2,600'/sec8 4.7"@0°11  
85 mm1   21.5 lb1
9.8 kg1
2,600'/sec1
780 m/sec1
   
85 mm Model 1944 ZIS-S-53 or 556 APBC6       95 mm@30°6

Other faults in the 85 mm gun from V.G. Grabin were discovered and it was decided to use the gun from General Petrov.2 This gun had bad ballistic performance and work continued on the ZIS-53.2 It was tested in January 1944 and were shortly thereafter put into production.2 By the end of 1944 11,778 85 mm Tank Gun ZIS S-53 were produced.2

The breech block could be manually or semi-automatically operated.6 The recoil of the 85 mm was a hydraulic buffer and a hydro-pneumatic recuperator.6

There was an elevating gear on the left that also had the triggers for the 85 mm and the machine gun.6 Mounted on the left wall was the traversing controls, one for manual operation and the other electrical.6

The mounting of the 85 mm gun could be removed rather easily from the front of the turret with little work.6

A Tsch 16 scope was installed and it had a 16 degree field of view and 4x magnification.2

There were 35 rounds of the 85 mm ammunition stored in boxes on the floor, three in the rear corners, two in the front corner, four against the hull wall, and twelve in the rear bulge of the turret.6

On some vehicles two MDSh smoke emitters were placed on the rear hull.6 They could be burned while the T-34/85 was moving or could be ejected to the ground.6

Comparison of Main Tank Armament Performance

 

Turret

To make room for the 85 mm gun the turret ring of the original T-34/76 had to be increased.6 This was achieved by extending the room of the hull further back.6

The turret was made from a single casting.6 With the sloping front of the turret, causing shot traps, it was necessary to weld deflector strips, made of metal, to the roof of the hull.6

The commander was located in the rear of the turret, to the left.6 In front of him was the gunner.6 The loader was located on the right side.6 A cylindrical cupola for the commander was installed that had five vision slits with bullet proof glass.2,6 Early versions had hatches in the cupola that opened front and back and later versions had a single hatch.6 The loader had a hatch in the turret roof as well that contained two ventilators to extract gun fumes.6

Pistol ports were located on the side of the turret.6

Engine

The fuel tanks had to be modified, and reduced the tanks capacity in relation to the T-34/76.6

Suspension

Stronger springs were needed at the front to deal with the heavier turret.6

Production

Production started in late 1943 and entered service in Guard units in March 1944.

  • T-34/85: 22,55910, 29,4302
    • 1943: 2831, 1002
    • 1944: 10,44910, 11,0002,3, 11,7781
    • 1945: 7,2301, 12,11010, 18,3302

Comparison of Main Tank Production

Comparison of Main Tank Production

 

Variants

  • T-34/85:
  • T-34/85 Model 1944:
  • T-34/85-I: Had turret that was designed for the KV-85.1 The turret ring had a diameter of 5.2' / 1.56 m.1 Issued to Guard Tank units.1 The main gun was reported to be able to penetrate the front armor of a Tiger or a Panther.1
  • OT-34/85: Had an AT-42 flame-thrower mounted in place of the hull machine gun.2 Could shoot a flame 60-100 meters.2
  • PT-3: Had a PT-3 mine removal roller attached.2 Engineer regiments had 22 T-34s and 18 PT-3 min removal devices.
  • There was a bridgelayer and mine-roller version too.

Usage

On December 15, 1943, the T-34/85 was assigned to an elite Guards unit.6

Specifications

  T-34/85
Crew Commander, driver, hull gunner, turret gunner, loader6
51,3,4,5,6,9,11, 4-58
Radio 9-RS6
OR 10RT6
OR R1136
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 70,000 lb, 70,548 lb,
30 tons4, 31.5 tons1,3,5,9,11, 32 tons1,6
32,000 kg1,3,11
Length w/gun 24.6'5,9, 24' 9"6, 26' 5.75", 26' 8", 26' 7"3, 26' 9"11
7.53 m4, 8.15 m3,11
Length w/o gun 19' 8"6
6.29 m1
Height 7.8'5,9, 7' 11"6, 9' 10"1, 9'3,11, 9' 7"3
2.5 m4, 2.74 m1,3,11
Width 9.8'5,9, 9' 7"1, 9' 9.5"11, 9' 10"6
2.99 m1, 3 m4
Ground clearance 1' 4"6
0.4 m4
Ground contact length 12.2'9
Ground pressure 10.8 psi8, 12.3 psi6
0.87 kg/cm2 4
Turret ring diameter 5' 2"6
1.6 m
Armament (mm)  
Main 1: 85 mm 215-553 L/51.59
1: 85 mm ZiS-S-533,11
1: 85 mm ZIS-S-53 L/536
1: 85 mm1,5
1: 85 mm L/534
1: 85 mm M1944 S53 (D-5T)7
1: 85 mm Model 1944, L/538
Secondary  
MG 2: 7.62 mm DT MG3
2: 7.62 mm MG1,11
2: MGs4,9
1: MG5
MG - coaxial 7.62 mm DT MG7,8
7.62 mm Degtyarev MG6
MG - hull 7.62 mm DT MG7,8
MG6
Side arms Grenades
Quantity  
Main 559, 564,8, 55 - 566, 60, 767
HE6, APBC6, APHE6, HVAP6, Sub-caliber AP6
Secondary  
MG 1,8908, 1,9554, 2,3949, 2,7456
Side arms Grenades: 206
Armor Thickness (mm) 903
18 - 755
Front: 1.8"@60°8
Side: 1.8"@40°8
Hull Front, Upper 47 - 609, 454, 90, 471, 47@60°6
Hull Front, Lower 45, 47@60°6
Hull Sides, Upper 454, 45 - 479, 47@40°6, 601
Hull Sides, Lower 45
Hull Rear 30, 40-454, 471, 47@50°6
Hull Top 18 - 229, 201, 304, 30@90°6
Hull Bottom 18 - 229, 18, 201,4,6
Turret Front 3.7"8
20 - 759, 45-554, 901, 90 - 1006
Mantlet: 2.3"8
Turret Sides 3.5"8
50 - 554, 751, 75 - 85@18 - 21°6
Turret Rear 504, 601, 60 - 75@5 - 10°6
Turret Top 18 - 20@90°6, 201,4
Engine (Make / Model) V-2-346,9,11, W-2-343, W-24
Bore / stroke 4 cycle8, 4 stroke6
Cooling Water4,6,8
Cylinders 129, V-126,8,11
Capacity 38.9 liters6
Net HP 5005,9,11, 500@1,800 rpm6,8
Power to weight ratio 15.6 HP/ton6
Compression ratio 15:18
Transmission (Type) Constant mesh spur gear8
4 forward, 1 reverse4,6,8
Steering Clutch brake8
Steering ratio  
Starter Air and electric8
Electrical system 24-volts and 12-volt8
Ignition  
Fuel (Type) Diesel5,8,9,11
Octane  
Quantity 480 liters4
Quantity - internal 127 gallons, 130 gallons6, 144 gallons, 147 gallons8, 214 gallons
Quantity - external 25 gallons8, 60 gallons6, 71 gallons
Road consumption 1.1 mpg6, 1.7 mpg8
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse 360°6
Hand and electric6,8
Speed - Road 31 mph1,5,9, 32 mph6, 33 mph8, 34 mph3, 34.2 mph11
47 kph4, 55 kph3,11, 50 kph1
Speed - Cross Country 5-10 mph8, 18.6 mph, 21.8 mph
Range - Road 186.4 miles11, 186 - 220 miles9, 190 miles1,3,6, 224 miles1, 250 miles8
300 km1,3,4,11, 360 km1
Range - Cross Country 130 - 210 miles9, 155 miles8, 193 miles1
160 km4, 310 km1
Turning radius 25' 4"
7.7 m4
Elevation limits -5° to +20°6
Fording depth 3' 11"8, 4' 3"6
0.9 m4
Trench crossing 8.2'8, 8' 3"6
Vertical obstacle 2' 4"6, 2' 6"8
Climbing ability 35° (70%) slope6,8
Suspension (Type) Christie4,6,8
Each wheel suspended on movable arm working against a coil spring located in the hull8
Wheels each side 54,6,8
Tracks (Type) Dry pin8
Length  
Width 1' 7.6"6, 1' 9.1"9, 1' 10"
560 mm4
Diameter 2' 9"6
Number of links 726,8
Pitch 6.9"6, 7"8
Tire tread Steel4
Track centers/tread 8' 2"6
Track contact length 12' 2"6
  T-34/85 1944
Crew 52
Radio  
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 32 tons2
Length w/gun 8.15 m2
Length w/o gun 6.1 m2
Height 2.72 m2
Width 3 m2
Ground clearance 0.4 m2
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure 0.81-0.85 kg/cm2 2
Turret ring diameter  
Armament (mm)  
Main 85 mm ZIS S-53 1944 L/51.52
Secondary  
MG  
MG - coaxial 7.62 mm DT MG2
MG - hull 7.62 mm DT MG2
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 56-602
Secondary  
MG 1,8902
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm)  
Hull Front, Upper 602
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper 452
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear 452
Hull Top 20-232
Hull Bottom 222
Turret Front 45-75
Turret Sides 752
Turret Rear 752
Turret Top 202
Engine (Make / Model) W-2/342
Bore / stroke 4 stroke2
Cooling  
Cylinders V-122
Capacity  
Net HP 500@1,800 rpm2
Power to weight ratio 15.6 HP/ton2
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type)  
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type)  
Octane  
Quantity 840 liters2
Quantity - internal  
Quantity - external  
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse 360°
Speed - Road 50 kph2
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 300 km2
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth 1.3 m2
Trench crossing 2.5 m2
Vertical obstacle 0.73 m2
Climbing ability 35°2
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width  
Diameter  
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread  
Track contact length  

Sources:

  1. Russian Tanks of World War II Stalin's Armored Might, by Tim Bean & Will Fowler, 2002
  2. Russian Tanks and Armored Vehicles 1917-1945, by Wolfgang Fleischer, 1999
  3. The Encyclopedia of Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles - The Comprehensive Guide to Over 900 Armored Fighting Vehicles From 1915 to the Present Day, General Editor: Christopher F. Foss, 2002
  4. Panzer Truppen The Complete Guide to the Creation and Combat Employment of Germany's Tank Force 1943-1945, Thomas L. Jentz, 1996
  5. Tanks of the World, 1915-1945, Peter Chamberlain, Chris Ellis, 1972
  6. Profile AFV Weapons, #47, Russian T34, by J. M. Brereton, Major Michael Norman, RTR, 1972
  7. Battle Winning Tanks, Aircraft & Warships of World War II, David Miller, 2000
  8. Tank Data, Aberdeen Proving Grounds Series, 1968?
  9. Airfix Magazine Guide 22 Russian Tanks of World War 2, John Milsom and Steve Zaloga, 1977
  10. Atlas of Tank Warfare From 1916 to the Present Day, Dr. Stephen Hart, 2012
  11. World War I and II Tanks, George Forty, 2012
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site

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