Military Review

Find and hit: the evolution of the optical means of the T-34 tank

35
Find and hit: the evolution of the optical means of the T-34 tank

One of the experienced T-34. On-board periscope and a panoramic instrument on the roof are clearly visible on the tower. Photo Armor.kiev.ua


During the production and development, the T-34 medium tank changed repeatedly, receiving new weapons. At the same time, combat characteristics remained at the required level, which was facilitated by the gradual development of surveillance and fire control equipment. Consider the evolution of commanding observation devices, as well as sights in the workplace of the gunner and gunner.

Early release


From the very beginning, the T-34 possessed a developed set of optical instruments at almost all crew workplaces, which made it possible to observe both the road and the terrain as a whole. Keep track of your early quadruple tank had a commander, who was also assigned the duties of a gunner. In some situations, the driver and loader could take over.


General view of the sights of the Tod series. Figure from the T-34 / t34inform.ru instruction manual

Pre-war tanks used the PT-K commander’s panorama with a magnification of 2,5x mounted on the roof of the tower above the gunner’s commander as the main means of observation. On some machines, the panorama was replaced with the PT4-7 periscope sight. On the sides of the tower there were periscopes of the side view. Thus, without leaving the car, the commander could monitor part of the left hemisphere (without magnification) or the front sector using PT-K. At the same time, the panorama overview was limited to both the external details of the tower and the ergonomics of the commander's place. The view through the open hatch was excluded due to the employment of the crew and general danger.

The early T-34s with the L-11 gun received the TOD-6 telescopic sight (26 ° field of view, 2,5x magnification) and the PT-6 periscope. For tanks with a F-34 gun, TOD-7 and PT-7, respectively, were intended, which had similar characteristics. The sights of the commander-gunner provided effective fire from a cannon and a coaxial machine gun in all designated range ranges during daylight hours.

Own sight was available on the frontal machine gun mount of the radio operator gunner. This was a PU product with a 3x magnification and a small field of view not exceeding the aiming angles.


Panoramic command observation device used on 1941 tanks. Figure from the 1941 service manual / t34inform.ru

In general, T-34 early releases had good visibility and quite successful sighting devices. However, all the advantages of optics could not be realized. The commander could not follow the terrain and aim the gun at the same time, which led to known risks. Other crew members could not help him, without being distracted from their duties.

Surveillance Upgrade


With the growth of mass production, development and optimization of the design, certain changes were observed in all major areas. T-34-76 tanks of different factories from different series could differ significantly from each other, having only some common features. However, even in such a situation, there were general trends in the form of replacing some monitoring devices or introducing completely new ones.

One of the ways to improve was to become a commander's cupola with viewing slots around the perimeter. Also, over time, MK-4 periscope instruments were introduced with the possibility of circular viewing. Such devices were installed above the commander and loader (optional). The driver still had only periscopes for driving, and the shooter had to look out only through the scope.


Periscope sight PT-4-7. Figure Wio.ru

In 1941-42 mass-produced tanks began to receive a gun mount with a telescopic sight TMFD-7 (field of view 15 °, magnification 2,5x) and periscope PT-4-7 with the same magnification and a field of 26 °. Unlike previous devices, the PT-4-7 sight provided all-round surveillance without dead zones. Later, at the disposal of the commander-gunner, a side level appeared for firing from closed positions.

Replacing the sights improved the fighting qualities of the tanks, however, for a long time there were problems associated with the quality of the optical glass. As they were resolved, this situation improved. There were operational difficulties. The commanders almost did not use the turret with the MK-4 periscope, preferring to search for targets with the PT-4-7 sight, and then switch to the nearby TMFD-7. In fact, the commander’s turret was useless. In addition, the effectiveness of the use of optics was still affected by the complexity of the commander's work.

Commander and gunner


In January 1944, the T-34-85 medium tank was adopted, which had a number of important differences from its predecessors. The main one was a new oversized tower, which managed to accommodate three crew members. Fire control tasks were removed from the commander and transferred to the gunner.


Field of view of the TMFD-7 sight during reconciliation. Figure Wio.ru

T-34-85 again received the commander’s cupola with viewing slots around the perimeter and the MK-4 device in the hatch. The same periscope was installed above the gunner’s place. Unlike previous tank modifications, there were no developed surveillance tools in place of the charging one.

To use an 85 mm gun, depending on its type, the gunner had a telescopic sight TSh-15 or TSh-16 (field of view 16 °, 4x magnification), periscope panoramic PTK-5 and side level. The shooter-radio operator used the telescopic sight PPU-8T with characteristics at the level of previous products.

T-34-85 was a breakthrough for a number of reasons, and one of the main was the increase in the crew, which entailed other changes. Thanks to the appearance of the gunner, the commander was able to concentrate on observing the terrain, finding targets and interacting with other tanks. Accordingly, the viewing slots of the commander’s turret were actively used and were no longer useless, as on the T-34-76. For the same reasons, management efficiency has obviously grown. weapons - the gunner did not spend time searching for targets and received target designation from the commander.


Commander's turret for the T-34-85. Three marked the panoramic device MK-4. Figure from the service manual 1949 / pro-tank.ru

Consistent development


With the development of the T-34 medium tank, the composition and configuration of its viewing devices and fire controls have repeatedly changed. The growth of characteristics and the acquisition of new opportunities were provided. At the same time, the complex of optics was initially very successful - although not all of its advantages were immediately realized in practice.

From the very beginning, the T-34 had developed means of monitoring the battlefield in almost all workplaces. They generally met the requirements and provided good visibility, albeit with certain limitations. In the future, the complex of viewing devices was further developed - both by simplifying individual elements, and by introducing new, more advanced devices. The result of this development was the T-34-85 tank complex based on periscopes and slots, providing circular surveillance with minimal dead zones.


The design of the sight TSh-16. Figure from the service manual 1949 / pro-tank.ru

However, it was far from always possible to take advantage of such systems. Until 1944, the problem of the use of command and sighting devices by one crew member remained. In addition, in the early periods of the war, the quality of optics fell. Fortunately, over time, product quality increased, and the load on the crew was optimally distributed.

It is easy to see that throughout the entire production of the T-34, like other Soviet tanks, it had two sights for the main gun. This provided a certain flexibility in the use of guns and machine guns, and also allowed to continue the battle if one of the sights failed.

It should be noted that for German tanks at that time, the standard was only one main sight, which in a clear way affected the stability of the weapons complex. In addition, German tankers often had to observe, leaning out of the hatch, or to improvise with abnormal means. In both cases, Soviet tanks favorably differed from enemy technology.


Museum T-34. The location of the periscopes of the commander and gunner, as well as the sights of the gun and the machine guns, are clearly visible. Wikimedia Commons Photos

Effective and controversial


At the project level and equipment composition, the optical complex of medium tanks of the T-34 line was very successful and efficient. He gave a good overview in different directions and allowed the effective use of all available weapons. As necessary, devices were replaced, removed or supplemented with new ones.

Optics issues were related to production constraints and ambiguous concepts in the crew context. As a result, most of these problems were solved, and the T-34 received a modern, developed complex of optical devices for various purposes. Together with other systems, he made the T-34 one of the best tanks of its time.
Author:
35 comments
Information
Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must to register.

I have an account? Sign in

  1. svp67
    svp67 10 July 2020 18: 29 New
    12
    In general, T-34 early releases had good visibility and quite successful sighting devices.
    That's honestly funny to read it. Well, now it’s full of literature, which describes the fate of the creation of this tank and a lot of documents of that time ...
    “The main disadvantages of the T-34 are the following:
    a) The tower’s deficiency in terms of the convenience of using weapons, observation and guidance devices, and ammunition, which does not make it possible to fully use the artillery system.
    ....
    c) Observation devices installed on the T-34 tank do not provide reliable and sufficient visibility. ...
    1. lucul
      lucul 10 July 2020 21: 40 New
      0
      That's honestly funny to read it

      What is funny to read there? Read better than the Germans, and it is not post-war memoirs. They admire the T-34-76 in 1941. In addition to the walkie-talkies, the tank was qualitatively superior (although there were enough problems) Pz.3 and early Pz.4.
      The T-34 confidently hit German tanks, in the summer of 1941 from 1 km distance, which the Germans could not do. And that's all, with optics, with an increase of only x2.5.
      Low-quality optics, and a scourge until 1943, but nothing stood on pre-war models.
      1. Sergey Sfiedu
        Sergey Sfiedu 10 July 2020 21: 55 New
        +3
        Qualitatively superior. But not optics. In general, the review was bad. The fact that you need to put the commander's cupola was clear even before the war. But put only in the middle of 1943. How many tanks have lost due to poor visibility? And thanks to the British for the MK-4.
        1. lucul
          lucul 10 July 2020 22: 22 New
          0
          How many tanks have lost due to poor visibility?

          The bulk of the loss is the lack of a walkie-talkie in the tank, and not bad optics.
          Hans had a walkie-talkie all over.
          1. svp67
            svp67 10 July 2020 22: 27 New
            +4
            Quote: lucul
            The bulk of the loss is the lack of a walkie-talkie in the tank, and not bad optics.

            The list of reasons for the loss of the T-34 tank in the first weeks of the war will take the volume of the A-4 sheet, and this is at least.
            Want to understand this issue, read the monograph by Shein and Ulanov "The first T-34. Combat use. In the fire of the 41st year"
            Here is an excerpt from the test report of the 40th year
            “As a result of conducted combat firing with the solution of fire missions, the disadvantages were identified:
            ... 4) The lack of visual communication between the tanks when solving the fire problem due to the fact that the only device that allows circular viewing - PT-6 is used only for aiming.
            5) The inability to use the TOD-6 sight due to the overlapping scale of the aiming angles with the PT-6 device.
            ....
            The noted shortcomings reduce the rate of fire, cause a large expenditure of time to solve the fire problem ...
        2. antivirus
          antivirus 13 July 2020 22: 11 New
          +1
          optics is chemistry.
          Remember the fate of the Goose Crystal Factory of high-purity quartz glass.
          separate branch of industry and science.
          frames decide everything.
          without frames of glassware at the stove (breathing their products), you insect on the battlefield.
      2. svp67
        svp67 10 July 2020 22: 24 New
        0
        Quote: lucul
        In addition to the walkie-talkies, the tank was qualitatively superior (although there were enough problems) Pz.3 and early Pz.4.

        Sorry, but these are your words ...
        Quote: lucul
        The T-34 confidently hit German tanks, in the summer of 1941 from 1 km distance, which the Germans could not do.

        You do not agitate me for "Soviet power" ... We are not at the party meeting. June 22, 1941, the Germans threw against us, about 4300 tanks and self-propelled guns. We already had 860 T-34s in the border districts, destroy or at least destroy each of them ONE German tank before we lost them, and this is literally the first two weeks of the war, the Germans would certainly not have passed beyond the Dnieper.
        The Germans themselves have enough memories of how they, using the “blindness” of our tanks and their “deafness”, approached them in battle and destroyed them in vulnerable places.
        1. lucul
          lucul 10 July 2020 22: 33 New
          -10
          The Germans themselves have enough memories of how they, using the “blindness” of our tanks and their “deafness”, approached them in battle and destroyed them in vulnerable places.

          Play at least in Wot or War Thunder, in a training battle - only one team will be with walkie-talkies (have the ability to communicate), and the second not, then switch places. This is where you will understand that the ability to communicate in battle, between each other is a huge advantage over an opponent who is deprived of this.
          1. svp67
            svp67 10 July 2020 22: 35 New
            10
            Quote: lucul
            Play though in Wot or War Thunder

            Do you need to smell flowers in a gas mask? Sorry, but I’m a tank officer and treat toys like toys
            1. lucul
              lucul 10 July 2020 22: 36 New
              -5
              Sorry, but I’m a tank officer and treat toys like toys

              Then a simple question - what is more important for a tank company - developed surveillance equipment or a walkie-talkie?
              1. svp67
                svp67 10 July 2020 22: 46 New
                +4
                Quote: lucul
                what is more important for a tank company - advanced surveillance equipment or walkie-talkie?

                You’re kind of funny ... For a tank, even a separate one, everything matters. And for that matter, in the first T-34s the tank commander, he was the unit commander (platoon, company) was also a gunner. So think that he then and there was more important. And in order to take full advantage of the radio station to control the tank unit, the unit commander would not hurt to see the battlefield well ...
                1. lucul
                  lucul 10 July 2020 22: 49 New
                  -9
                  You are kind of funny ...

                  I repeat the question - what would you choose for yourself, when commanding a company of tanks in the upcoming battle, the thermal imager on each tank, but the radios that are completely absent in the tanks, or tanks with the radios, but without thermal imagers?
                  Or or ? Other options are not accepted.
                  1. svp67
                    svp67 10 July 2020 22: 52 New
                    +6
                    Quote: lucul
                    Other options are not accepted.

                    A thermal imager ... and a "annihilator" instead of a gun.
                    Having the advantage in detecting the enemy, and the thermal imager gives them, under certain conditions, you can do with the flag signaling ...
                    In the history of that war, there are a lot of examples when the ONE tank, using the advantage in optics and a cannon, emerged victorious in the fight against a group of tanks, or stopped their progress.
                    Take the battle of Kolobanov.
                    1. lucul
                      lucul 10 July 2020 22: 56 New
                      -4
                      under certain conditions, you can do with flag alarms

                      It is permanent, without "certain conditions"?
                      If the current officer, then you can experiment, turn off the radio for the duration of the training maneuvers in your tanks, and try to control the tanks ....
                      1. svp67
                        svp67 10 July 2020 23: 00 New
                        +5
                        Quote: lucul
                        If the current officer, then you can experiment, turn off the radio for the duration of the training maneuvers in your tanks, and try to control the tanks.

                        You are like a child .... Well, disconnect, the tanks themselves will not go anywhere and they will carry out some kind of task. But you try to close all the observation and aiming devices and so do something ... Even just drive a car with completely opaque glasses. Since you are such a maximalist
                      2. lucul
                        lucul 10 July 2020 23: 08 New
                        -4
                        But you try to close all the observation and aiming devices and so do something ... Even just drive a car with completely opaque glasses.

                        I am simulating the situation of the 1941 model for you, and you are talking about completely opaque glasses.
                        On the T-34 walkie-talkie nebylo how to manage them? Ask a direction before the fight? And everything supposedly they will figure it out? This is the lowest efficiency possible. Total loss in tactics.
                        You stand on the position of interests of ONE tank, and how you do not care to control the rest of the tanks - I see the target, I’m firing.
                      3. svp67
                        svp67 10 July 2020 23: 17 New
                        +6
                        Quote: lucul
                        I am simulating the situation of the 1941 model for you, and you are talking about completely opaque glasses.

                        You are modeling your ignorance of the material part ... At the beginning of the war in the Red Army there were 6826 fully radio-controlled tanks, plus 2306 tanks with receivers ... Of the eight hundred T-34s, only three hundred did not even have a receiver. That is, it was quite possible to control this mass of tanks a little bit
                      4. lucul
                        lucul 10 July 2020 23: 22 New
                        -4
                        Of the eight hundred T-34s, only three hundred did not have at least a receiver. That is, it was quite possible to control this mass of tanks a little bit

                        Standing up and working well are two different things. All as one, they said that our radios were completely useless, that tankers, that pilots. The frequency gets off from the slightest push, on the air there are cracking and interference. Ie they are, as it were, but in fact they are not there. A battle must be waged. Only in 1943 did the situation begin to straighten.
                      5. svp67
                        svp67 10 July 2020 23: 27 New
                        +4
                        Quote: lucul
                        All as one, they said that our radios were completely useless, that tankers, that pilots. The frequency from the slightest push is lost, on the air there are cracking and interference

                        For this, a special person was in the crew of the T-34, whose duties it was to constantly adjust the frequency ...
                        Quote: lucul
                        A battle must be waged.

                        That's when the question once again arises of good observation and aiming devices. You have a "cut" a certain sector, so keep it
                      6. lucul
                        lucul 10 July 2020 23: 35 New
                        -4
                        That's when the question once again arises of good observation and aiming devices. You have a "cut" a certain sector, so keep it

                        Yeah, it’s like under Prokhorovka — they set a direction, and laid down almost the entire tank army. There was no feedback (interaction), each tanker clearly saw our tanks wrecked ahead, but carried out the order and drove on to death. The classic case of failed tactics of command and control.
                        Of course, it’s easy for me to speak from the outside, but Rotmistrov’s actions were tactically more competent, losses could be much less ....
                      7. svp67
                        svp67 11 July 2020 07: 06 New
                        +5
                        Quote: lucul
                        Yeah, it's like under Prokhorovka - set the direction

                        Sorry, but you started discussing a topic that you simply don’t understand ... But I simply won’t conduct tactics lessons, there’s no time
                        Quote: lucul
                        Yeah, it’s like under Prokhorovka — they set the direction, and put almost the entire tank army.

                        There suffered maximum losses ONE corps of THREE of this army
                        Quote: lucul
                        The classic case of failed tactics of command and control.

                        ????? What are you talking about? Do not meddle in those issues in which no specialist
                        Quote: lucul
                        but act Rotmistrov tactically more competently, losses could be much less ....

                        Everyone imagines himself a strategist seeing a battle from the side
  • sevtrash
    sevtrash 29 August 2020 10: 07 New
    0
    Quote: svp67
    Do you need to smell flowers in a gas mask? Sorry, but I’m a tank officer and treat toys like toys

    Simulators wherever they are not used to improve professional control skills, remote control in motion is not a toy for a long time, but the current state of control of weapons of some types with a prospect for others. It is clear what will happen next with the replacement for artificial intelligence.
  • VIP
    VIP 11 July 2020 07: 56 New
    +5
    Computer games are a strong argument
  • Sergey Averchenkov
    Sergey Averchenkov 10 July 2020 22: 24 New
    -3
    But the T-34 produced 5 pieces per tiger. And the war showed it.
  • Thrifty
    Thrifty 10 July 2020 18: 36 New
    0
    Cyril, as always, your articles are good, but from the category of “come on your own!” You, like Domantsev, lack, for example, the desire to work even on the Internet to give more accurate dimensions, including massive, aiming devices of our tanks , and for comparison, also the dimensions and characteristics of the main sighting devices of the Nazi tanks! hi
  • Russ
    Russ 10 July 2020 19: 14 New
    0
    All that is done is all for the better ???
  • Free wind
    Free wind 10 July 2020 20: 12 New
    -1
    many noted the poor design of the sights. Judging by the drawings, it seems to me quite normal sights. Well, let's say the guns had good sights, the magpie was distinguished by sniper shooting, and why the tank should be unimportant .. Here is the periscope of the circular view of the commander, as it’s not very. Otto Carius noted in the book Tigers in the mud, good tank sights. In the first photo I can’t understand the modification of the tank, the gun is somehow incomprehensible, the driver’s hatch is strange. There are a lot of headlights, you won’t go to battle. Most likely this is a test tank, maybe they drove to Moscow on it.
    1. Avior
      Avior 10 July 2020 22: 28 New
      0
      . Experienced medium tank A-34 during tests at the NIBTPolygon in Kubinka. March 1940 Noteworthy is the curved frontal sheet of the hull, not found on serial machines. (Both photos from the collection of M. Baryatinsky)



      Bottom photo
      One of the first production tanks T-34. 1940 year. (Photo from the collection of M. Baryatinsky)

      Headlights also stand, but smaller. Perhaps they set for the time of testing so that it was convenient to drive at night
  • Ngauro
    Ngauro 10 July 2020 20: 52 New
    +4
    Pasholok always writes that it was the sights on the T34 that were always normal, unlike observation devices
    1. vladcub
      vladcub 10 July 2020 21: 20 New
      +5
      Drabkin: “I fought on the T-34” has many complaints about surveillance tools. There were muddy glasses and the mechanical drivers preferred to look through the hatch.
      On our street there lived a T-34 mechwater driver and he enviously talked about surveillance equipment in Sherman, and
  • vladcub
    vladcub 10 July 2020 21: 34 New
    +3
    Cyril, I read just the opposite from Drabkin about the T-34 surveillance tools.
    I talked with a front-line soldier, was a T-34 divorce, he was the material of a surveillance tool in 34 ...
    The Germans on the Tigers had beautiful sights. German optics has traditionally been of high quality.
    I know from my own experience that my vision is not so hot, now they produce the best glasses: Carl Zeiss, the Japanese, the French have good optics, but the Japanese and Germans are of better quality.
  • Cowbra
    Cowbra 11 July 2020 02: 27 New
    -1
    "Find and hit" is our job of wholesale armor. It can be snapped off. Their job is to walk and push
  • Private SA
    Private SA 29 July 2020 01: 41 New
    0
    Quote: lucul
    Then a simple question - what is more important for a tank company - developed surveillance equipment or a walkie-talkie?

    Competent command of a tank company. I saw once, standing on guard on the train,
    like a company of tanks tied up in the mud. In the mud of the KDVO.
    And on sights and triplexes - from the memoirs of tankers from the collection "I fought in the T-34"
    A. Drabkina, we really were inferior to the Germans. And the commander's turret
    for review - only the year 1944 appeared.
  • Private SA
    Private SA 29 July 2020 03: 19 New
    0
    Quote: sim232
    It really became a three-seater in 1944. And the beholder in this Bashetian woman appeared at the same time.

    Tank commander. But everyone was on fire when a shell hit the diesel fuel tanks in the fighting compartment.
    We will not talk about the detonation of ammunition on the T-34 -76.
  • sevtrash
    sevtrash 29 August 2020 10: 19 New
    0
    Wittmann, the most successful tanker of all times and peoples (well, sort of), put a good overview at the head of his success. And he preferred to use his eyes without optics, sticking out in the hatch, sticking out that is. He even described how he stuck his head back and forth and so many times. So no optics could then replace their own vision. The main enemy of tanks was considered anti-tank guns, of course, for reasons of who first discovered it. An anti-tank gun in an ambush and a tank in an offensive are detected in different ways)). And the size.