As of the beginning of 1998, the T-34-85 tanks were in service in Albania (138 tanks), Angola (58), Afghanistan (exact numbers are not available), Bosnia (accurate numbers are not available), Guinea-Bissau ( 10), Cuba (400 tanks, some of them are used to protect the coast, some are in storage), Mali (18).
Korean War 1950-53
As is known, the Allies divided Korea roughly in half - along the 38 parallel. In the northern part of the country, with the help of our compatriots, the communist regime of Kim Il Sung was established, in the southern part - the occupying American troops remained; Naturally, the regime there was pro-American. The military conflict of the two regimes was inevitable. I must say, the Communists prepared for war much better.
North Korean T-34, shot down under the 20 Teijon July 1950
The armored units of the People’s Army of North Korea began to form in 1945, the first was the 15 tank training regiment, armed with, along with the American light tanks M3 Stewart and the average M4 Sherman (received from the Chinese), two tanks T-34-85. The tanks were brought from the USSR, along with them arrived in Korea 30 Soviet tank officers with combat experience of the Great Patriotic War. The regiment was commanded by Colonel Yu Kuong Soo, who began his military career as a lieutenant of the Red Army during the years of the Great Patriotic War. In May, the 1949 g. Regiment was disbanded, its personnel became the backbone of the new 105-th tank brigade. Until October, all three regiments (107, 109, 203) were fully equipped with Thirty-Fours. Each shelf contained 40 T-34-85. By June, the 1950 was part of the People’s Army; there were 258 T-34 tanks; The 105 Brigade was fully equipped with them, around 20 machines were listed in the 208 training regiment, the rest in the new 41, 42, 43, 45 and 46 tank regiments (in fact, they were separate tank battalions of approximately 15 tanks in each ) and in 16 and 17 - and tank brigades (really - shelves, on 40-45 machines). Against the background of the Soviet tank armies 1945, the 258 T-34s do not make much of an impression, but in 1950 they were the most numerous and, equally important, the best in combat training and characteristics of the equipment, tank forces in Asia. So, in the South Korean army there wasn’t a single tank at all, and the Americans had several mouths of the lightweight МХNUMX "Chaffee" tanks, and that was part of the occupying forces on the Japanese islands.
At 5 on the morning of 25 on June 1950, the T-34s of the 109 tank regiment crossed the 38 parallel; The Korean War began. The mountain character of the central part of the Korean Peninsula prevented the use of large masses of tanks, so tank regiments did not operate as part of a brigade, but were attached to infantry divisions. The main blow was delivered to Seoul.
US soldiers next to a padded T-34
Many soldiers of the South Korean Army infantry units never saw tanks at all in their life, and those who saw armored monsters and even knew how to fight them, very quickly became convinced of the futility of 57-mm guns and 2,36-inch bazookas. American anti-tank Ural armor was too tough. Yet on the first day of the war, the South Koreans managed to knock out 11 T-34 from the 107 regiment on the first day of the war, but this did not affect the overall picture of the battles (this information on the losses of T-34 is quite doubtful, because data before 9 July, the 105-I tank tank lost all 4-5 T-34 in the battles). Tank fear quickly spread to the defending units, and already on 27 on June tankmen of the 107 and 109 regiments took their initial positions for the assault on Seoul. The capital of South Korea was taken the next day. Further advance of tanks to the south was delayed by a blown-up bridge over the Han River, which was restored only on July 3. July 5 North Korean units first met in battle with the Americans: 33 T-34 107 regiment attacked the positions of units of the 24 th Infantry Division of the US Army. The Yankees tried to stop the tank attack with 105-mm howitzers and 75-mm recoilless guns with artillery fire. It turned out that the T-34 armor confidently “holds” both the 105 and 75-mm high-explosive shells. The artillery calculations of the howitzers had only six cumulative projectiles, two of them managed to knock out two tanks at a distance in 500. Korean tanks won the first battle with the Americans.
To stop the rapid advance of the North Korean troops, the Americans hurriedly transferred their units from the occupation forces in Japan to Korea. The first armored division of the US Army in Korea was Company A from the 78 heavy tank battalion, equipped with M24 “Chaffee” tanks. The first tank battle between the T-34 and the M24 occurred on July 10. Two “Chaffee” were hit, the “Thirty-Four” had no losses, although they received direct hits, but no projectile struck armor. The next day, the Americans lost three more M24, the North Koreans again did not lose a single tank. Such a beginning of a combat career demoralized the crews of American tanks. By the end of July, the company A de facto ceased to exist: there were only two tanks left from 14; during this time, the Yankees never recorded any T-34 at their own expense. In August, two more companies, the Chaffee, were transferred to Korea, which the infantry commanders were not very happy about because of the complete uselessness of these vehicles as an anti-tank weapon.
The first sensible loss of the T-34 suffered after the use of the American infantry 3,5-inch "superbasin". First time this weapon was used in the battles for Daejeon on July 20, then managed to destroy two "thirty-four." Tankers of the 105th brigade lost 15 T-34s in battles for Daejeon, seven were set on fire by bazookas and five were shot down aviation.
It seemed that after the fall of Daejeon, the war was about to end, one more effort, and the Americans and their South Korean allies would be thrown into the sea. However, this did not happen. The tank units — the main strike force of Kim Il Sung’s army — had minimal combat losses: several vehicles from mines, some from bazooks, several as a result of bomb-assault air strikes; no more than 20-25 T-34. However, in early August, the 105 brigade consisted of only about 40 combat-ready T-34-85. Most of the “boxes” remained scattered along the entire “glorious combat path of the brigade” from the 38 parallel to Daejeon due to breakdowns, accidents and lack of spare parts. American aviation, which dominated the sky, prevented restoration work. American pilots did not achieve much success in the fight against tanks, but to reduce the supply of tank units with fuel and spare parts to a minimum they did very well. A powerful final tank strike from the North Koreans failed. 13 August when attacking the city of Daegu 105-I brigade lost about twenty T-34 - half of their battle-capable tanks. The remaining vehicles were distributed among the infantry units and subsequently took part in fruitless attempts to break through the Pusan bridgehead.
For the first time during the Korean War, 17 August "Thirty-four" met a worthy opponent - "Pershing" from the 1-th brigade of marines. The crews of the T-34 took the M26 for the familiar Chaffee and confidently rushed into battle, for which they paid - three tanks were shot down from the Pershing 90-mm guns. From that moment on, the course of tank battles changed radically. It was not even the appearance of tanks capable of fighting with the Thirty-Four. North Korean tankers were excellently prepared for offensive operations in a war of maneuver, but now they had to gnaw through prepared defense and often engage in combat with American tanks. In the course of these martial arts, the best training of American crews was quickly revealed.
By September, around the perimeter of the bridgehead, held mainly by the Americans, equilibrium was established: Americans had some advantage in manpower, the ratio of tanks was approximately 1: 1 (about 40 tanks as part of the UN forces and the same number of North Koreans). The communists could not break through the defense, and the Yankees considered it inappropriate to strike the main blow in a mountainous area. The landing of an amphibious assault force in Inchon allowed the Americans to break the strategic impasse. From Incheon opened the direct and short way to Seoul. In the area of the capital there was a total of 16 T-34 from the 42-th mechanized regiment, staffed by un-shot crews and 10-15 tanks of the 105-brigade. In the 16-20 battles of September, virtually all T-34s were destroyed. It is significant that, while the Americans delivered both Inherkhon and Pershing and Shermans, the vast majority of the T-34 destroyed the bazook calculations.
The events of the Korean War spun in the opposite direction. If before the Communists raced, sweeping away everything in their path, to the south, now the Americans were rapidly advancing to the north. From August 1950, the quantitative superiority in the tanks passed to the UN forces. By the end of 1950, the American tank units included 1326 tanks: 138 M-24 Chaffee, 679 M4A3E8 Sherman, 309 M26 Pershing and 200 M46 Patton. Kim Il Sung's troops numbered about 300 T-34-85.
The subsequent course of the Korean War is known: by October, the Americans had gone to the Sino-Korean border, where a considerable number of Chinese volunteers entered the business, dropping the Yankees to the 38 parallel by the end of the year. Mao Tse Dun asked Stalin to help not only with equipment, but also to send regular units of the USSR Armed Forces to Korea. Moreover, the General Headquarters of the Soviet Army considered it necessary to impart Soviet tank units to poorly equipped Chinese infantry divisions. Stalin did not go for it, but agreed to the deployment of ten tank regiments on Chinese territory near the border with Korea to counter a possible UN force invasion of the PRC. At the same time, the possibility of licensed production of T-34-85 in China was considered.
After the hard battles of winter 1950-51, by April 1951, the front line stabilized along the 38-th parallel; although the war continued until the end of 1953, tank battles are a thing of the past. According to the US Department of Defense, 119 tank battles took place throughout the war, and more than three tanks from each side took part only in 24 cases. These were exactly martial arts. The Americans chalked up the 97 T-34-85 (another 18 - destroyed "probably"), recognizing the loss of their 34. How objective these data are, the American pilots’s combat score says: by October 1950, they declared 857 destroyed tanks and self-propelled guns, according to American intelligence, this figure is about eight times greater than the military and non-combat tank losses of the People’s Army for that period.
In general, the Americans rated the T-34 as an “excellent tank,” while at the same time noting the specific training of their crews, who were able to effectively attack unprepared anti-tank defenses, but could not fight on equal terms with American tankers in martial arts. According to American experts, Chaffee simply shouldn’t be compared with T-34-85, while the Shermans of the M4 and 3-8 models had similar characteristics and, although their guns were smaller, the cumulative shells of Shermans guns penetrated the frontal armor. Thirty-fours. The M26 and M46 tanks were superior to the T-34, which, however, is not surprising, since these are machines of a different generation. It is indicative that Kagle and Mason, the authors of the book “Sea War in Korea”, simply refused to compare American tanks with T-34-85, recognizing the absolute superiority of the latter in terms of the complex combat properties. Indeed, the Pershing had an unreliable running gear and low power density and, as a result, poor mobility, especially in mountain conditions. The M46 tanks were a novelty and have not yet gotten rid of the “childhood diseases” that caused a lot of trouble to their crews. The American tankers themselves preferred to go to battle in the good old Shermans, believing that due to their best training they could survive in possible clashes with North Korean tanks.
The political intricacies of the post-war years led to the coming to power of Colonel Nasser in Egypt and the reorientation of the country's foreign policy towards cooperation with the Soviet Union and its allies. Cooperation involved the supply of military equipment. In 1953, Nasser concluded an agreement on the supply of weapons, including 230 tanks (most of them T-34-85) from Czechoslovakia. Egypt was preparing for war. The key event of 1956 in the Middle East was the nationalization of the Suez Canal by Egypt in August. Britain and France did not suffer such infringements of their political and economic interests in the region and at the end of October began hostilities; October 31 Anglo-French aircraft struck at Egyptian airfields. On November 1, Israeli troops launched an offensive on the Sinai Peninsula. In the course of Operation Cadet, the Israelis, among others, destroyed the Thirty-Fours 27, losing their tanks to 30. Israeli tankers fought on the Shermans and the French AMX-13. November 5 began the intervention of the British and French. There were no military clashes between the tanks of the army of Egypt and the European powers.
Middle East, Suez crisis, 1956 Egyptian Czech T-34
The 1956 war pushed Egypt into even more active cooperation with the socialist camp in the military field. Until the end of the year, 120 T-34-85 was also received from Czechoslovakia. In 1962-63. another batch of thirty-threes was delivered to Egypt, and in 1965-67. Received the latest 160 T-34-85. Later, only the more modern T-54 and T-62 were delivered to Egypt.
In the same ranks of the Syrian army, the former opponents - German Pz.IVJ (left) and the Soviet T-34-85, the end of the 1950's
At the beginning of the 1960s, a significant number of Thirty-Fours entered into service with Syrian armored units. In the army of this state, T-34 fought side by side with their long-time adversaries — the German PzKpfw.IV, StuG.III; captured German technology came to Syria from France. T-34-85 together with the ex-German “fours” took part in artillery duels with Israeli “Shermans” on the Golan Heights in November 1964.
The 1967 war turned into the hardest for the Arabs. The fighting in Sinai ended with the defeat of the Egyptian troops. The Israelis destroyed or captured more 820 tanks, including 251 T-34-85; own losses amounted to 122 tank AMX-13, "Sherman" and "Centurion". On the Syrian front, the loss ratio was in favor of the Arabs, who lost the 73 tank (T-34-85, T-54 and PzKpfw.IV), destroying the Israeli vehicles 160. The six-day war was the last in the Middle East, where the "thirty-four" were used for its intended purpose, i.e. as tanks. The veteran was replaced by more modern machines, and the T-34 was used as fixed firing points. A significant number of them altered in SAU.
Since the second half of 1991, hostilities began on the territory of Yugoslavia and developed into a civil war. The development of the crisis was influenced by the coming to power in Slovenia and Croatia of the nationalist forces who took the course for the withdrawal of these republics from the SFRY. The central government in Belgrade, in order to prevent the collapse of the federation, took the course of a military solution to the conflict.
Balkans 1991 of the Year - Padded Yugoslav T-34
The fighting in Croatia began in the summer of 1991. This was a real war, in which both sides used aircraft, artillery, armored units. Along with the tanks designed after the Second World War (T-55, M-84 - the Yugoslav version of T-72), T-34-85 also participated in the battles. "Thirty" used both sides. The Croats managed to capture some of these tanks from the Serbs, some of the vehicles were brought to the formations of the Croatian National Guard by crews who deserted from the Yugoslav People's Army.
Croatian tank T-34 with the inscription "MALO BIJELO", 1991
In the summer and autumn of 1991, the Croats began active operations in order to capture the garrisons of the JNA. During the battles for the JNA military camp near the town of Karlovac, the garrison commander used his T-34-85 to strengthen the defense in the most threatened sectors. Several Thirty-Fours broke into the streets of the Carlo-Matzah suburb, sowing panic among the local population. Two of them managed to knock the Croats. The seizure of the suburbs made it possible to relax the pressure on the garrison of the YNA of the Croat formations and made a frightening impression on the local population, which was extremely hostile towards the Serbs. In the end, the town of Karlovac, like most of the military garrisons of the JNA in Croatia, captured the formations of the National Guard. All T-34-85 tanks of the Karlovac garrison were either destroyed or captured by the Croats.
This rather unusually screened Serbian T-34 "BELIEVE!" Went through the whole Bosnian war.
In the autumn of 1991, the Croats used the T-34 / 85 in battles on the Adriatic coast near Dubrovnik as self-propelled artillery and to accompany the infantry. Despite the fact that "thirty-four" had long been considered obsolete, they showed themselves well in these battles. Thus, a Croatian tank with the inscription “MALO BIJELO” withstood two hits by Malyutka anti-tank guided missiles, the crew of this tank destroyed two armored vehicles, one truck and one T-55 Serbs. The Croats tried to compensate for the weakness of the onboard armor of the old tanks by hanging sandbags on the sides of the turret and the hull of sandbags. American 12,7-mm Browning М2НВ machine guns were mounted on a number of tanks near the loader turret.
Abandoned Serbian tank T-34 during the NATO operation Joint Endeavor, February 28 1996