Armour and armament
Armour 70 mm
Main armament 76.2mm F-34 tank gun
Secondary armament 2×7.62mm DT machine guns
Power plant 12-cyl. diesel model V-2
500 hp (373 kW)
Road speed 55 km/h
Power/weight 16.2 hp/tonne
Range 465 km
The T-34 is a Soviet medium tank produced from 1940 to 1958. It was the world's best tank when the Soviet Union entered the Second World War, and is credited as the war's most effective, efficient and influential design. First produced in 1940, at the KhPZ factory in Kharkov (Kharkiv, Ukraine), it was the mainstay of Soviet armoured forces throughout World War II, and widely exported afterwards. It was the most-produced tank of the war, and the second most-produced tank of all time, after its successor, the T-54/55 series. The T-34 was still in service with twenty-seven countries as late as 1996.
The T-34 was developed from the BT series of Fast Tanks, and was intended to replace both the BT tank and the T-26 infantry tank in service. At its introduction, it was the tank with the best balance of firepower, mobility, and protection in existence, although initially its battlefield effectiveness suffered from the unsatisfactory ergonomic layout of its crew compartment, lack of radios and poor tactical employment.
In late 1943, the improved T-34-85 was introduced, with a more powerful gun. The design and construction of the tank were continuously refined during the war to improve effectiveness and decrease costs, allowing steadily greater numbers of tanks to be fielded. By 1945, the versatile and cost-effective T-34 had replaced many light and heavy tanks in service, and accounted for nearly all Soviet tank production. It was influential in the development of the late twentieth-century concept of the main battle tank.
“The finest tank in the world” —Field Marshal Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist (Liddell Hart 1951)
Combat effectiveness of early war T-34s can best be evaluated in terms of 'hard' factors—armour, firepower, and mobility—and 'soft' factors: ergonomic features such as ease of use, vision devices, crew task layout and so forth. The T-34 was outstanding in hard factors and poor in soft ones.
The 'big three' of tank design have always been armour, firepower, and mobility. The T-34 was an outstanding balance of all three throughout its World War II life cycle. In 1941 its thick, sloped armour could defeat all German anti-armour weapons at normal ranges. T-34s could be knocked out only by the towed 88mm Flak guns or at close range by 50mm and 75mm short-barrelled tank guns. The majority of German tanks in 1941 did not have 75mm guns; indeed 37mm guns were far more common. By mid-1942 the T-34 was vulnerable to improved German weapons and remained so throughout the war, but its armour protection was equal to comparable tanks such as the US M4 Sherman or German Pzkw-IV. In terms of firepower, the T-34's 76mm gun could penetrate any 1941 German tank with ease. This gun also fired an adequate HE round. In 1943, the 76mm was out-ranged by the Panther's long 75mm and the Tiger's 88mm. The introduction of the Soviet 85mm gun in 1944 did not make the T-34-85 equal in firepower, but the 85mm could penetrate both Panthers and Tigers at reasonable ranges.
(Low poly, Game-Ready!)