The last Soviet medium tank T-62 was created, as they would say today, in a competitive environment. At least the command of the main departments of the Ministry of Defense - armored and rocket-artillery perceived it as a hindrance to another Kharkov development (“Difficult way to recognition”). However, the further combat fate of this armored vehicle confirmed the correctness of the choice of the leadership of the defense department and justified the decisions of the designers.
The T-62 tank, whose mass production began on July 1 1962, compared to its predecessor, the T-55 had a number of design features.
This machine was equipped with a U-115TS smoothbore gun with a two-plane stabilizer Meteor, a solid turret with an epaulet diameter of 5 millimeters (T-2245 - 55 mm), and a mechanism for ejecting spent cartridges through the hatch in the aft of the turret. Changed the mount of the gun, sight and coaxial machine gun in the tower. They increased the length of the case by 1816 millimeters, and the height - by 386 millimeters. The slope of the feed sheet was reduced from 27 to two degrees. To ensure the desired angle of reduction of the gun, the roof of the hull from the turret towards the stern had a slope of 17 ° 3 ', and towards the bow - 15 ° 0'. To protect the epaulettes of the tower and the commander’s hatch from direct hits of bullets, armor rings were welded with a cross section of 30x10 millimeters. The machine gun was eliminated, the turret rotation mechanism was structurally changed. The TPKUB monitoring device was replaced by the TKN-30 “Karmin” combined command device, a small-sized nozzle heater with increased heating capacity was installed, a 2-disk friction clutch with a hydropneumatic control drive that eliminated excessive slipping of the disks during operation and reduced the pedal effort, plastic brake pads on the belts turn brakes. To increase smoothness tank the dynamic course of the track rollers was increased from 142 to 162 millimeters. Due to the lengthening of the supporting surface of the tracks, the specific ground pressure was reduced to 0,75 kg / cm2, as well as a number of other smaller improvements.
The serial production of T-62 was carried out by Uralvagonzavod up to 1973, when it was replaced on the assembly line by T-72.
The only serial modification was the Commander T-62K, which differed from the linear machine by installing an additional radio station Р-112, tank navigation equipment THA-2 and charging unit АБ-1-П / 30-У. Ammunition decreased by four art-shots and three boxes with ribbons for a coaxial machine gun. Another set of four-meter whip antenna was added, the mount of the loader's seat was changed, and some changes were made to the layout of electrical equipment, to the placement of ammunition and spare parts and to the layout of TPU devices.
As for the linear T-62, then during serial production, they have changed little. All improvements were reduced mainly to the installation of more modern equipment and weapons. So, from August 1964, the twin machine gun SGMT was replaced with PKT, and the commander's observation device TKN-2 with TKN-3. With 1965, instead of the radio station P-113 and TPU P-120, they began to install the radio station P-123 and TPU P-124. In the same year, the TPR-1-41-11 night sight scope was introduced. Since May, the 1966 of the Gyropolupompas GIC-48 was replaced with the GPC-59, and in 1967, the hatches in the roof of the MTO were closed. With the 1972-th anti-aircraft gun began to be installed DShKM. Starting from 1975, some of the tanks released were equipped with KDT-1 laser rangefinders.
After appearing in the army T-62 attracted the attention of Western experts. However, for a long time they could not even get photos of the new secret armored combat vehicle (BBM). The tank was officially demonstrated to the general public only in 1967: on November 7 twenty T-62 4 Guards Kantemirovsky tank division passed through Red Square. The European public was able to familiarize themselves with these tanks a year later: on the night of 21 August 1968, Operation Danube began - the troops of the Warsaw Pact countries entered Czechoslovakia. A number of tank units of the Soviet army that took part in this operation were armed with T-62.
Sixty-two warriors had to go to a real battle in just six months, but at the very other end of the country. On the night of 2 in March, 1969 of the year around 300 Chinese soldiers captured the island of Damansky on the Ussuri River, equipped with firing positions on it. The attempt of the Soviet border guards, led by the head of the frontier guard unit Nizhnemikhaylovka senior lieutenant Ivan Strelnikov to remove the violators from the Soviet territory ended tragically - the outfit was shot by the Chinese at close range. In the ensuing battle with the help of the approached reserves, the border guards beat off the island and took up defense. As the Chinese side's attempts to take possession of the island continued, the 12 of March in the battle area came from units of the 135 th Pacific Red Banner Motorized Rifle Division of the Far Eastern Military District - a motorized rifle and artillery regiment, a separate tank battalion and a division of BM-21 “Grad” rocket launchers. Nevertheless, the border guards stayed in the trenches until March 14, when an unexpected order followed: “Leave the damansky!”. The Chinese again occupied the island, though not for long. Less than a day later, a new order arrived: “Damanskiy rebuff!”, Which was done. On the morning of March 15, Chinese troops, supported by artillery and tanks, began to attack the Soviet positions. At the same time, our border guards were left with virtually no artillery support, since the enemy’s guns were on the Chinese coast. While the command of the Far Eastern Military District requested permission from Moscow to open fire on the territory of China, the head of the frontier detachment, Colonel Democrat Leonov, decided to strike the rear of the Chinese with a T-62 platoon (according to other sources, to reconnoiter). Three tanks went to the Ussuri ice and turned around Damansky Island, substituting the enemy for the enemy. Taking advantage of this, the Chinese shot down the head T-62 from an RPG-7 anti-tank grenade launcher. The crew, including Colonel Leonov, died. The other two tanks and border guards retreated. By evening, the commander of the Far Eastern Military District, Lieutenant-General Oleg Losik, without waiting for the command from Moscow, ordered the firing on the Chinese coast. The regiment 122-mm howitzers and the division of installations "Grad" dealt a powerful blow to the island and the territory of China to a depth of seven kilometers. Following this, the 2 Battalion of the 199 5th Verkhneudinsk Motorized Rifle Regiment went to the attack with the support of the T-62 company. After a fierce battle, the island was cleared from the enemy. However, the wrecked tank remained on the Ussuri ice between Damansky Island and the Chinese coast. Despite repeated attempts, it was not possible to evacuate him. In order to prevent the Chinese from seizing the car, there was a constant shelling from our side. As a result, the ice meter thickness burst and the tank sank. Formal secrecy measures have been taken. True, the Soviet command did not know that the Chinese scouts penetrated the wrecked tank on the very first night, removed the 2B-41 TS and removed several projectiles, including armor-piercing. In May, after the ice had gone down, the Chinese managed to pull this car to their shore.
The next time T-62 went into battle after 10 years - in Afghanistan. The tank units of the 40 Army were represented by the regular regiments of the three motorized rifle divisions introduced into this country - the 24 Guards Tank Regiment of the 5 Guards Migration Service, the 285 Tank Regiment of the 108 MMS, and the 234 Tank Regiment of the 201 MTS as well as tank battalions of motorized rifle regiments and brigades, in the absolute majority of cases armed with T-62. The 285 th regiment entered Afghanistan, as well as other units and subunits of the 108 MRD, on a pontoon bridge over the Amu Darya near the Uzbek city of Termez, the 24 th Guards crossed the land border at Kushka, and the 234 th went through the Pamirs along a narrow mountain snow-covered serpentines. For this truly "Suvorov transition" the regimental commander was subsequently awarded a state award.
Tankers in Afghanistan had to conduct combat operations on a terrain that was absolutely unsuitable for the use of these BBMs, and to perform tasks for which they had never prepared. The tanks were mainly used as mobile firing points at roadblocks. In addition, they were attracted to accompany the columns. At the same time, one or two vehicles with mine trawls operated as part of the movement support unit, while the rest were evenly distributed throughout the column. When the enemy attacked, the tanks drove off the road and covered the cars with fire, which skipped the dangerous area at high speed. They were also used when blocking and mopping up the terrain: armor covered motorized infantry and paratroopers and destroyed the most important targets with fire and caterpillars. Considering the absence of the enemy’s means of night vision, especially in the initial period, tanks were used to capture important objects with a sudden night strike.
More modern armored vehicles did not go to Afghanistan - the command reasonably decided that in the absence of the enemy’s armored vehicles and “sixty-two times” it would be quite enough. However, the senselessness of the presence in Afghanistan of a significant number of tanks became evident quite soon. In 1986, part of the tank regiments was introduced into the USSR. However, a number of T-62 continued to be used in the 40 Army up to the 1989 year. It should be noted that during the fighting in Afghanistan, the tanks suffered relatively low combat losses. In the army as a whole, the ratio of the failure of armored vehicles for technical reasons and combat damage was 20: 1. Combat casualties occurred mainly from the detonation of mines and land mines. At the same time, more than 50 percent of damaged cars required major repairs or were not recoverable at all.
Still in service
By the time of the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan, the Vienna talks on the conclusion of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE Treaty) were already in full swing. According to the information that the Soviet Union submitted for signing, as of November 1990, the USSR had on its European part 2021 a T-62 tank of various modifications. The dynamics of reducing the number of T-62 tanks on Russian territory can be traced, according to the data of the Commission, for compliance with the provisions of the CFE Treaty. So, in 1990 and 1991, their number did not change (2021 unit), in 1992-m it was reduced to 948 (some of the tanks turned out to be abroad - in Ukraine, in Belarus and Moldova). In 1993, their number still remained unchanged, but already in 1994, it began to decline rapidly and amounted to 688 units. In 1995, the number of tanks in the European part even increased slightly - to 761, apparently due to the transfer of some parts from the Siberian military district to the North Caucasus. However, by the 1997 year, it amounted to all 97 combat vehicles.
As part of the 93 th mechanized regiment of the internal troops of the "sixty-two" repelled the attack of Dudayev militants in Dagestan. Subsequently, T-62 from the 42 Guards Motor Rifle Division and the 160 Guards Tank Regiment (SibMD) took part in the counter-terrorist operation in the North Caucasus. The last fact of the combat use of T-62 tanks took place quite recently - in August 2008, in the course of repelling Georgian aggression against South Ossetia. They were part of the tactical group 42-th Guards Motorized Rifle Division.
Stages glorious path. More than 50 years T-62 are in service with about two dozen countries
- Mikhail Baryatinsky