TANK GREAT VICTORY

TANK OF VICTORYThe history has disposed so that one of the greatest victories of the red Army in the great Patriotic war — the battle of Kursk was won at a time when Soviet armored and mechanized troops are qualitatively inferior to the German. By the summer of 1943, when the most painful design flaws of the T-34 was eliminated, the Germans had new tanks “Tiger” and “Panther”, significantly surpassing our power of weapons and thick armor. Therefore, during the battle of Kursk Soviet tank units, as before, had to rely on their numerical superiority over the enemy. Only in some cases, when the “thirty” were able to approach German tanks almost side by side, the fire of our guns became effective. On the agenda there was a question about a radical modernization of the T-34 and especially of his arms.

 
In late August, the plant number 112 held a meeting at which profits the people’s Commissar for tank industry V. A. Malyshev, the commander of armored and mechanized troops of the red Army Ya.N.Fedorenko and senior officials of the people’s Commissariat of weapons. In his speech V. A. Malyshev noted that the victory in the battle of Kursk went to the red Army dearly. The enemy tanks fired on our from a distance of 1500 metres, while our 76 mm tank guns could hit the “tigers” and “Panther” only from a distance of 500-600 m. “Figuratively speaking, — said the Commissar — the opponent has a hand and a half kilometers, and we are only half a kilometer. Need to immediately install on the T-34 a more powerful gun”.
 
In fact, the situation was much worse than it was depicted by V. A. Malyshev. But attempts to rectify the situation have been made since the beginning of 1943.
 
April 15 t-bills in response to the emergence of the Soviet-German front, the new German tanks issued a decree №3187сс “On measures to strengthen anti-tank defense”, which obliged the AGENCY to put field trials of anti-tank and tank guns that were in mass production, and a 10-day period to present its opinion. In accordance with this document, the Deputy commander of BT and MV, Lieutenant-General of tank troops V. M. Korobkov ordered to use in the course of these tests, which took place from 25 to 30 April 1943 at the landfill in Kubinka, the trophy “Tiger”.
 
The test results were not very comforting. So, 76-mm armor-piercing tracer gun f-34 is not punched side armor of German tanks even from a distance of 200 m! However, the most effective means of dealing with a new heavy enemy vehicle was 85mm 52K AA gun model 1939, which up to a distance of 1000 m pierced its 100-mm frontal armor.
 
T-bill on 5 may 1943 adopted the resolution No. 3289сс “About the strengthening of the artillery armament of tanks and self-propelled units”. In front of NKTP and NKV has been set specific targets for the creation of tank guns with anti-aircraft ballistics.
 
In January 1943, to the development of this gun began the construction Bureau of factory No. 9, headed by F. F. Petrov. By 27 may 1943, was issued the working drawings for the gun D-5T-85, designed for the type of German tank self-propelled guns and is characterized by low weight and small length of the rollback. In June, the first D-5T was made in metal. This gun was a perfect match to heavy tanks KV-85 and is-85, and the D-5S — for-propelled gun SU-85.
 
However, to have it installed in medium tank T-34 was required to increase the diameter of the ring tower and install new tower. On this problem worked KB factory “Red Sormovo” headed by V. V. Krylov and tower group of the plant number 183, headed by A. A. and M. A. Moloshtanov Nabutovsky. The result was two very similar to each other, the cast turret with the turret ring in the light of 1600 mm. Both of them were recalled (but not copied!) tower of the experimental tank T-43, used as a basis for the design.
 
T-34 with a gun D-5T
 
T-34 with a gun D-5T:
 
1 gun D-5T, 2 — panorama PTK; 3 — observation slit; 4 — commander’s cupola; 5 — external fuel tank, 6 — canvas, 7 — hole for firing personal weapons; 8 — ring; 9,10 — vision devices MK-4 loader, and a commander, 11 — spare tracks; 12 — driver’s hatch; 13 — set exchange machine gun; 14 — tow rope; 15 — Luke loader, 16 double hatch commander’s; 17 — nadvorny sunroof; 18 – protective grille over louver for exhaust air cooling system; 19 — armored covers exhaust pipes; 20 — an access hatch to the powertrain; 21 — die support roller; 22 — antenna input; 23 — armored caps fans

 
Setting the gun D-5T in the new tower was supposed to solve all problems, but… a Great mass-dimensional characteristics of the gun was decided due to the large complexity of the design. In addition, the feature D-5T was the location of the brake rollback and nachalnika over the barrel like a German assault gun Stuk 40, but unlike the latter — for the main turret armor. For the best trim its axle pushed forward and the breech, on the contrary, was pretty much relegated to the feed sheet of the tower. It is practically excluded the possibility of loading the gun on the move tank. Even when driving at low speed trained loader several times to hit the warhead of the projectile in the breech of the gun. The result is a gun D-5T on the arms of the T-34 was not received, and immediately after its trials in October 1943, gave the order, TsAKB (chief designer V. G. Grabin)
 
on the development of a special 85-mm gun for T-34 tank. Serial production of the new weapon was supposed to begin at factory No. 92 from March 1, 1944, and until then as a temporary measure, the plant “Red Sormovo” were allowed to be installed in the tower to its design, the gun D-5T.
 
The plant was proposed to ensure the release of the tank in the following amounts: in January 1944 — 25 PCs., February — 75 PCs., March — 150, and from April to completely switch to production of the T-34-85 instead of T-34.
 
Tanks, armed with gun D-5T, markedly different from the machines later by the appearance and internal structure. The tower was double, and the crew consisted of four people. The tower had shifted forward a commander’s cupola with the double lid, rotating on a ball bearing. In the lid was an observation periscope device MK-4 of the circular review. For firing the main gun and coaxial machine gun was mounted articulated telescopic sight TSH-15 and the panorama of the PTK-5. Both sides of the tower there were peepholes with glass blocks triplex and loopholes for firing personal weapons. The radio station is housed in the housing, and the deployment of its antenna is on the starboard side, as well as the T-34 tank with 76 mm cannon. Powerplant, drivetrain, and suspension changes very little.
 
Tanks with gun D-5T somewhat differed depending on the release time. For example, the first production vehicles had one tower fan, and the next two. Tanks, the latest release had the only monitoring devices MK-4 and later commander’s cupola. The radio station was located in the tower, but in the hulls of these tanks remained the antenna input on the right side sheet or plugged the hole.
 
It should be noted, that the considered modification of the statistical reporting as the T-34-85 appears, does not appear. In any case, at the present day in the literature there are significant differences in the estimates of the number of vehicles produced. In Western publications the figures fluctuate in the range of 500-700 tanks. In fact, much less! From January to April 1944 the factory shops left 255 T-34 tanks with a gun D-5T, including five command cars with radio station RSB-F.
 
Following an order of the IEC on the creation of a 85-mm gun for T-34 in October — November 1943 year, cacb and factory # 92 produced three prototypes of the new guns. Cacb presented the gun S-53 (the leading designers T. I. Sergeyev and G. I. Shabarov) and C-50 (leading designers V. D. Meshchaninov, V. A. Tyurin and A. M. Polgeiski) and the artillery plant No. 92 — gun LB-1 (LB-85) designed by A. I. Savin.
 
T-34-85 production 1944
 
T-34-85 of the release of 1944:
 
1 — gun With a-53; 2 — antenna input; 3 — commander’s cupola; 4 —external fuel tank; 5—cast support roller; 6 — viewing slot loader; 7 — porthole for firing personal weapons; 8,9,10— vision devices MK-4 loader, commander and gunner; 11 — armored caps fan; 12— Luke loader; 13 — the double hatch commander

 
During the tests, which lasted until the end of 1943, there was a preference for S-53, which is January 1, 1944, was adopted by the T-34 tank, both regular (1420 mm) and extended shoulder straps. Gun S-53 differed from analogues by simplicity of design and reliability. Recoil brake and lakatnik was located at the base of the shutter, which allowed to reduce the height of the line of fire and increase the distance between the breech and the rear wall of the tower. In addition, the cost of guns was lower than even the 76-mm cannon f-34, not to mention the D-5T.
 
Tank T-34-85 with a gun S-53 was adopted by the red Army GKO decree No. 5020сс dated 23 January 1944 .
 
Since February, a gradual shift to the production of tanks with gun S-53 “started the plant number 112 “Red Sormovo”. The first tanks had the appearance of a lot of shit from the T-34 with D-5T: early Sormovo tower, 11-shaped rings, the location of fuel tanks, etc. From 15 March 1944 to proizodstva T-34-85 started the factory No. 183, but with ” Jun — Zavod No. 174 in Omsk.
 
Continued in parallel with the production of field tests revealed significant defects in the recoil devices of the gun S-53. At factory No. 92 in Gorky was instructed their forces to carry out its revision. In November— December 1944 began production of the gun under the designation ZIS-S-53 (“VMS” is an abbreviation of the name of artillery plant No. 92 named after Stalin, C — index, cacb). Only in 1944-1945 was made cannons 11 518 S-53 guns 14 265 ZIS-S-53. The latter was established as tanks T-34-85 and then T-44.
 
At “thirty” with guns S-53 and ZIS-S-53 the structure was a triple, and a commander’s cupola was moved closer to the stern. The radio moved from the hull to the tower. Observation devices installed just a new type — the MK-4, both in early — and late — closed variants. During 1944, introduced the five mount spare tracks on the upper front hull, box front mud flaps, leans on the hinges, the installation of small smoke grenades (MDSH) on the aft hull. As the shape and dimensions of the beam fore part of the body connecting the upper and lower frontal sheets. It decreased in size, and on cars of late releases was removed — the upper and lower steel sheets welded butt.
 
In December 1944 the plant No. 112 introduced, gbtu a number of design improvements turret. Including replacement double-leaf hatch single-leaf commander, the introduction of a niche of the tower frameless boeukladki on 16 shots, dubbed the turning control of the tower and, finally, improved ventilation of the fighting compartment spaced fans. Of these proposals, in January 1945, was introduced only a single manhole cover commander turrets.
 
With regard to improved ventilation, then the workers proposed to move one of the two mounted in the rear part of the turret roof fan in its front part. The front fan was an exhaust, and back — pressure. Apparently, in gbtu for unknown reasons, decided to postpone the implementation of this very sensible proposal. Anyway, the photos of the fighting of spring
 
1945 year, the T-34-85 with spaced fans are not Dating. Did not include tanks during the Victory Parade, but 7 November 1945 division Kantemirovskaya tank division involved and the parade on red square, it was equipped with such tanks. All this suggests that machines with diversity fans have started to be produced already after the great Patriotic war and, apparently, only at factory No. 112. These cars was another characteristic detail — there was no peephole in the starboard side of the hull.
 
In tanks of different plants there were some differences from one another related to manufacturing technology. Towers differ by the number and location of injection molding and welded seams, the shape of the commander’s turret. The chassis was used as the forged rollers and cast with well-developed fins. Were different options for fixing fuel tanks and smoke bombs. Even the protective strap of the turret was different. Tanks were used and several variants of the crawler tracks.
 
In addition to linear, from June 1944, were produced flamethrower tanks ot-34-85. Like its predecessor, the ot-34 on this machine, exchange machine gun was replaced by an automatic piston tank flamethrower ATO-42 factory No. 222. The installation of the flamethrower tank was developed at factory No. 174, which along with the plant number 112 was a manufacturer of flame-throwing machines.
 
Serial production of the T-34-85, the Soviet Union ceased in 1946 (according to some sources, the plant “Red Sormovo” in small batches it lasted until 1950), releasing 25 899 military vehicles. In foreign sources the following figures of the production of T-34-85 and the Soviet Union in the postwar years: 1946 — 5500, 1947 — 4600, 1948 – 3700, 1949 – 900, 1950 – 300 units. Judging by the number of zeros, these figures likely are very approximate. If we take as a basis the number of vehicles produced in 1946 to be overstated and these sources twice, and assume that all other numbers are inflated also, it turns out that in the years 1947-1950 it was released 4750 tanks T-34-85. It really seems to be true. You can not seriously suppose that our tank-building industry stood idle for almost five years. The release medium tank T-44 is stopped and 1947, and mass production of the T-54 factories begun in 1951. Prior to that it was produced from 1946 in limited quantities.
 
In troops of tanks T-34-85 began to arrive in February—March 1944. Around this time they got brigade 2nd, 6th, 10th, and 11th guards tank corps. Unfortunately, the effect of the first combat use of the new tanks was low, as crews received only a few such machines. The majority of them were T-34 with 76 mm guns. Besides, very little time set aside for training of crews in the first place — gunners.
 
T-34-85 post-war edition
 
T-34-85 post-war issue:
 
1 — gun ZIS-S-53; 2 — loophole for firing personal weapons: 3 — late commander’s cupola and larger diameter: 4 — eye of the tower; 5.6.7 — vision devices MK-4 (latest version— cover) loader, commander and gunner; 8 — spare tracks; 9 — armor hood exhaust fan; 10 — armor cap blower; 11— Luc charging; 12 — single-leaf door (with a weight compensator) commander; 13 — folding of the wings; 14 — fastening of the tarpaulin: 15 — smoke bombs MDSH

 
In appreciable quantities of T-34-85 was used during the offensive in Belarus, which began in late June 1944. They accounted for more than half of the 811 “thirty” who took part in this operation. In mass T-34-85 was used in combat in 1945: Vistula-Oder, Pomeranian, Berlin operations in the battle near lake Balaton in Hungary. In particular, the eve of the Berlin operation, the staffing of the tank brigades and combat vehicles of this type were almost one hundred percent. T-34-85 took part in the defeat of the Japanese Kwantung army as striking force of tank units and formations.
 
In conclusion, we can say that conducted in 1942-1944 modernized tank T-34 has significantly improved its combat capabilities. The design of the tank as a whole was observed a balance of compromises, distinguishes it from other tanks of the Second world war. Simplicity, ease of operation and maintenance, high remontoprigoden combined with good armor protection, maneuverability and powerful weapons have led to the popularity of the T-34-85 at soldiers. These machines first broke into Berlin and Prague, making the last shots at the enemy in the great Patriotic war. They, in most cases, frozen on pedestals, will forever remain in memory of people as a symbol of our Victory.
 
M. BARYATINSKY

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