One of the symbols of victory

The upgraded T-34 was recognized as the best medium a tank at the final stage of the second world war

History decreed that one of the greatest victories of the Red Army in the Great Patriotic War — near Kursk — was achieved at a time when the Soviet armored and mechanized troops (BT and MV) were qualitatively inferior to the German Pancerffe. By the summer of 1943, the most painful design flaws of the T-34 were eliminated, but the Germans had new Tiger and Panther tanks, which were noticeably superior to our weapons and armor thickness.

Therefore, during the Battle of Kursk, Soviet tank formations, as before, had to rely on their numerical superiority over the enemy. Only in some cases, when the thirty-three managed to get close to the German tanks very closely, the fire of their guns became effective. On the agenda was the question of a radical modernization of the T-34, and especially in terms of its weapons.


At the end of August at the plant number 112, a meeting was held at which V. A. Malyshev, Commissar of the Tank Industry arrived, Ya.N. Fedorenko, commander of the armored and mechanized forces of the Red Army, and responsible officers of the People's Commissariat of Arms. In his speech, Malyshev noted that the victory in the Battle of Kursk went to the Red Army at a high price. Enemy tanks fired from a distance of 1500 meters, while our 76-mm tank guns could hit the Tigers and Panthers only from 500-600 meters. “Figuratively speaking,” said the people's commissar, “the enemy has a hand a mile and a half, and we are only half a kilometer away. It is necessary to immediately install a more powerful gun in the T-34. ”

In fact, the situation was much worse than it was described by the People's Commissar. But attempts to rectify the situation have been made since the beginning of 1943.

As early as April 15, the GKO in response to the appearance of new German tanks on the Soviet-German front issued a decree “On measures to strengthen anti-tank defense”, which obliged the State Aviation Administration to subject anti-tank and tank guns in mass production to ground testing and submit to 10-day time your conclusion. In accordance with this document, the deputy commander of BT and MV Lieutenant-General of Tank Forces V.M. Korobkov ordered to use the trophy "Tigr" during the tests, which took place from 25 to 30 in April 1943 of the year at NIBTPpolygon in Kubinka. The results were not encouraging. So, the X-NUMX-mm armor-piercing tracer of the F-76 cannon did not penetrate the onboard armor of the German tank, even from a distance of 34 meters! The 200-mm 85K anti-aircraft gun of the 52 model of the year, which pierced its 1939-mm frontal armor from a distance to 1000 meters, turned out to be the most effective means of fighting the new enemy machine.

5 May 1943, the State Defense Committee adopted a decree "On strengthening the artillery armament of tanks and self-propelled guns." In it, NKTP and NKV were assigned specific tasks to create tank guns with anti-aircraft ballistics.

Back in January, 1943 of the year, the design bureau of plant No. 9, led by F. F. Petrov, began the development of such a weapon. By May 27, the X-NUMX-2 working drawings of the D-1943T-5 cannon, designed according to the type of German tank self-propelled barrels and differing in light weight and short recoil length, were released. In June, the first D-85Ts were manufactured in metal. This gun was successfully assembled in heavy tanks KV-5 and EC-85, and in the variant D-85C - in the SU-5 artillery missile.

However, to install it in an average T-34 tank, it was necessary to increase the diameter of the tower chase and design a new tower. The Red Sormov Design Bureau, led by V. V. Krylov, and the tower group of plant No. 183, led by A. A. Moloshtanov and M. A. Nabutovsky, worked on this problem. As a result, there were two very similar cast turrets with a diameter of shoulder strap around the world 1600 mm. Both of them resembled (but did not copy!) The tower of an experienced T-43 tank, taken as the basis for the design.

The D-5T cannon in the new turret - this seemed to solve all the problems, but ... The excellent weight and size characteristics of the gun were provided by the great complexity of the design. In addition, the feature of the D-5T was the location of the recoil brake and knurled over the barrel, like the German assault cannon Stuk 40, but unlike the latter, behind the main tower armor. For a better balance, its trunnions were pushed forward, and the breech, on the contrary, turned out to be rather strongly pushed to the rear stern of the tower, which practically excluded the possibility of loading the gun while the tank was moving. Even when moving at low speed, trained tank crews, trying to carry out loading, hit the projectile head part several times in the breech of the gun. As a result, the T-5 tank was not accepted by the D-34T, and immediately after completing its tests - in October 1943 of the year was issued an order from the CACB (chief designer - VG Grabin) to develop a special 85-mm gun for T-34. Serial production of the new weapon was supposed to start at 92 plant number 1 in March 1944, and until then, as a temporary measure, Red Sormov was allowed to be installed in the tower of its design D-5T. In this case, the plant was asked to ensure the release of the tank in the following quantities: in January 1944 of the year - 25 units, in February - 75, in March - 150. From April, the company was supposed to completely switch to the production of T-34-85 instead of T-34.

One of the symbols of victory

The tanks armed with the D-5T cannon differed markedly from the machines of later release in appearance and internal design. The tower was a double, and the crew consisted of four people. On the roof there was a strongly shifted forward commander's turret with a double-wing cap rotating on a ball bearing. A periscopic viewing device MK-4 was installed in the lid, which allowed a circular view. The accuracy of fire from a cannon and a coaxial machine gun was provided by a telescopic articulated sight TSH-15 and a panorama of the PTK-5. On both sides of the tower there were viewing slots with triplex glass blocks and loopholes for firing from personal weapons. The radio station was located in the body, and the input of its antenna - on the starboard side, just like the T-34. The power plant, transmission and chassis changes have practically not changed.

These machines differed somewhat depending on the time of release. For example, the first production tanks had one tower fan, and the following two had them. Tanks of the latest releases had observation devices MK-4 and a commander's turret of a later model. The radio station was in the turret, but the antenna input on the right side plate or its jammed hole was still in the hulls.

From January to April 1944, the factory workshops left the 255 T-34 tanks with the D-5T gun, including five command vehicles with RSB-F radio stations.

Fulfilling the order of the NKV to create 85-mm guns for the T-34 in October-November 1943, the TsAKB and Plant No. 92 produced three prototypes. CACB presented C-53 guns (leading designers - T. I. Sergeev and G. I. Shabarov) and C-50 (leading designers - V. D. Meshchaninov, A. M. Volgevsky and V. A. Tyurin), and Artillery Plant No. 92 - gun LB-1 (LB-85) designed by A. I. Savina.


During the tests, which lasted until the end of 1943, preference was given to the C-53 gun, which 1 January 1944-th adopted the T-34 tank, and with both standard (1420 mm) and advanced shoulder strap. It compares favorably with analogs simplicity of design and reliability. The recoil brake and nakatnik were located under the base of the bolt, which made it possible to reduce the height of the line of fire and increase the distance between the breech and the back wall of the tower. In addition, the cost of the gun was lower than that of the 76-mm F-34 and even more so than the D-5T.

The T-34-85 tank with the C-53 gun was adopted by the Red Army by the T-bills No. 5020ss of January 23 of 1944.

Starting from February, the plant № 53 “Red Sormovo” began the gradual transition to the production of machines with the C-112 tool. Moreover, the first tanks had the appearance of many features from the T-34 with the D-5T: early Sormovskaya tower, U-shaped eyes, the location of the fuel tanks, etc. From 15 March 1944 of the year, plant No. 34 began production of T-85-183 , and since June - No. 174 in Omsk.

Meanwhile, continued, despite the start of mass production, ground tests C-53 revealed significant defects in recoil guns. Plant number 92 in Gorky was commissioned on its own to carry out its refinement. In November-December, the 1944-th began the production of this gun under the index ZIS-S-53 (ZIS - the index of the artillery plant number 92 named after Stalin, C - index TSAKB). In total, 1944 1945 C-11 518 and 53 14 265 53 cannons were manufactured in 34-85. The latter were installed on both the T-44-XNUMX and the new T-XNUMX tanks.

In C-53 and ZIS-C-53 cannons, the T-34 had a three-seat turret, the commander's turret moved closer to its stern. The radio station was moved from the housing to the tower. The machines were equipped with viewing instruments of a new type only - MK-4, both in the early - open and late - closed versions. During 1944, five spare tracks were mounted on the upper front hull sheet, the box-shaped front mud shields folded on the hinges, and the MDS smoke bombs were installed on the hull rear slate. As production proceeded, the shape of the bow section of the hull, connecting the upper and lower head plates, changed and decreased. On late-release machines, it was generally removed — the upper and lower sheets were butt-welded.


In December, 1944 Plant No. 112 introduced to the GBTU a number of improvements to the tank turret design. In particular, it was proposed to replace the two-wing commander's hatch with a single wing, to equip the tower's niche with frameless X-NUMX shots, introduce duplicate control of the turret rotation, and finally, improve the ventilation of the crew compartment by installing spaced fans. Of the improvements listed in January 16, only the first was adopted.

As for the improvement of ventilation, the Sormovichi intended to transfer one of the two fans installed in the rear part of the roof of the tower to its front. In this case, the front was exhaust, and the rear - discharge. Apparently, the GBTU for unknown reasons decided to postpone the implementation of this very sensible proposal. In any case, the photographs of the 1945 Spring Combat of the Year T-34-85 with separated fans are not found. You can not see these tanks and the Victory Parade. However, the units of the Kantemirovskaya tank division, which were passing through the Red Square on November 7 1945, were equipped with just such machines. All this suggests that tanks with separated fans began to be produced after World War II, or, apparently, at the very end of it and only at plant number 112. These machines are distinguished by another characteristic detail - the absence of a viewing slot in the right side of the hull. But unfortunately, the frameless ammunition was never implemented.

The experienced specialist was able to determine at which factory the T-34-85 was manufactured, on a number of grounds related to the tank manufacturing technology. The towers, for example, differed in the number and location of the casting and welds, in the form of the commander's cupola. In the undercarriage used as stamped track rollers, and cast with developed finning. There were various mounting options for fuel tanks and smoke bombs. Even the protective straps of the shoulder strap tower were different. Several variants of tracked tracks were also used.

In addition to linear, from June 1944, OT-34-85 flamethrower tanks were also produced. Like its predecessor - OT-34 on this machine, instead of a machine gun, was placed automatic piston flamethrower ATO-42 of plant number 222. Its installation in the tank was developed at the plant number 174, which, along with the "Red Sormov" was a manufacturer of flamethrowing machines.

Mastering in combat

The Red Army T-34-85 tank units began to arrive in February-March 1944. So, approximately then these machines of the brigade 2, 6, 10 and 11 of the Guards tank corps were received. Unfortunately, the effect of the first combat use of the new Thirty-Four turned out to be low, since only a few pieces arrived at their formations. In addition, very little time was allotted in the combat units for the retraining of crews.

Here is what M. E. Katukov wrote in his memoirs on this occasion, on the April days of 1944, commanding the 1 tank army, which fought hard in Ukraine: “We survived those difficult days and joyful moments. One of these - the arrival of tank replenishment. The army received, however, in a small amount the new thirty-fours, armed not with the usual 76-mm, but with the 85-mm cannon. Crews who received new thirty-fours had to give only two hours to master them. We could not give more then. The situation on the super-wide front was such that the new tanks, which had more powerful weapons, had to be put into action as soon as possible. ”

Experienced Teletan OT-34-85

Among the first went to the T-34-85 with a gun D-5T 38-th separate tank regiment. Together with the 516-th separate flame-throwing tank regiment, he was part of the Dimitri Donskoy column, built with funds from the Russian Orthodox Church. 19 T-34-85 and 21 flamethrower FROM-34 were purchased with money collected by believers. At the solemn meeting of March 8, 1944, the transfer of the Red Army vehicles took place. March 10 The 38 Tank Regiment went to the front, where as part of the 53 Army he took part in the Uman-Botosha operation.

In appreciable quantities, the T-34-85 was used during the offensive in Belarus, which began at the end of June, 1944. They already made up more than half of the thirty-four 811 who took part in Operation Bagration.

It was the summer of 1944 of the year that the troops were undergoing an active process of mastering new technology. For example, in all parts of the 3 of the Ukrainian Front, on the eve of the Yassy-Kishinev operation, live-fire exercises were conducted. At the same time, in order to demonstrate the fighting qualities of the T-34-85 cannon, it fired at German heavy tanks. Judging by the memoirs of V. P. Bryukhov, Soviet tank crews learned quickly: “In the Yassy-Kishinev operation in fifteen days on my T-34-85, I personally knocked out nine tanks. One fight was well remembered. Kushi went through and went out to Leovo, to connect with the 3-th Ukrainian Front. We walked along a corn height with a tank — nothing was visible, but there were roads or glades in it, like in a forest. I noticed that at the end of the clearing a German tank slipped towards us, then it turned out that it was the “Panther”. I command: “Stop. Sight - right 30, tank 400 ". Judging by the direction of its movement, we should have met on the next glade. The gunner threw the gun to the right, and we moved forward to the next glade. And the German also spotted me and, seeing the direction of movement of the tank, began to hide me in corn. I look into the panorama at the place where it should appear. And for sure - it appears under the 3 / 4 perspective! At this point you need to make a shot. If you give the Germans a shot and he misses with the first projectile, jump out, the second is guaranteed to be in you. Germans - they are. I shout to the gunner: “Tank!”, But he does not see. I look, he already got out half. You can not wait. The seconds go by. Then I grabbed the gunner by the collar - he is sitting in front of me - and threw it on the combat pack. He himself sat down at the sight, failed and struck him in the side. The tank broke out, no one jumped out of it. And, of course, when the tank broke out, at that moment my authority as a commander rose to an inaccessible height, because if it were not for me, this tank would have crashed down on us and the entire crew died. Gunner Nikolai Blinov felt humiliated, he was so ashamed. ”

In the mass order, the T-34-85 were used in combat operations in the winter and spring of 1945: in the Vistula-Oder, Pomeranian, and Berlin operations, in the battle at Lake Balaton in Hungary. So, on the eve of the attack on Berlin, the manning of tank brigades with combat vehicles of this type was almost one hundred percent.

And by the beginning of the Vistula-Oder operation 3, the Guards Tank Army under the command of General P. S. Rybalko, for example, had 55 674 man of personnel, which accounted for 99,2% of the regular strength. fleet consisted of 640 T-34-85 (staffing 103%), 22 tank-minesweeper T-34, 21 IC-2 (100%), 63 heavy ACS ISU-122 (100%), 63 secondary ACS SU-85 ( 63%), 63 light ACS SU-76 (100%), 49 light ACS SU-57-I (82%).

At the final stage of the Second World War, the Thirty-Four took part in the most impressive marches: to Prague in May and through the Great Khingan ridge and the Gobi desert in August 1945 of the year. In this case, the first was characterized by a high rate of movement. So, 3-I Guards Tank Army passed 450 km from Berlin to Prague for 68 marching hours. The failure of machines for technical reasons was not high - only two T-53-34 of the 85 in service were broken in the 18 of the Guards Tank Brigade.

Until the middle of 1945, the Soviet tank units deployed in the Far East were armed with mostly obsolete light BT and T-26. By the beginning of the war with Japan, 670 T-34-85 entered the troops, which allowed them to equip the first battalions in all separate tank brigades and the first regiments in tank divisions. 6-I Guards Tank Army, transferred to Mongolia from Europe, left its combat vehicles in the former deployment area (Czechoslovakia) and already received 408 T-34-85 units from factories No. 183 and No. 174 in place. Thus, the machines of this type took the most direct part in the defeat of the Kwantung Army, being the strike force of tank units and formations.

In conclusion, we can say that the modernization of the T-1943 carried out in 1944-34 years has significantly improved its combat capabilities. In the design of the tank as a whole, a certain balance of compromises was observed, which favorably distinguished it from other armored vehicles of the Second World War. Simplicity, ease of operation and maintenance, high maintainability, coupled with good body armor, maneuverability and powerful weapons have caused the popularity of the T-34-85 among tankers. These machines were the first to rush into Berlin and Prague, making the last shots at the enemy in the Great Patriotic War. It was they who, in most cases, froze on pedestals, forever remaining in the memory of the people one of the symbols of our Victory.

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  1. dred
    1 January 2012 19: 23
    The legend of tank building.
  2. 9991
    16 March 2012 20: 40
    How many monuments they cost, it’s a pity that they have just been mostly built after the war.
  3. TeR
    13 December 2014 13: 04
    The caption under the picture is "Experienced teletank OT-34-85".
    However, in fact, it depicts "T-26-III (Demoman)".
    So it goes.
    1. 0
      4 January 2015 14: 02
      Quote: TeR
      You are depicted "T-26-III (demolition)".
      This is a "teletank", and there was also a "control tank"