Military Review

Prototypes of the medium tank T-54

The T-54 tank has become one of the most common post-war vehicles of its class. It became the basis for a large number of modifications, including tank T-55, which was built even larger series. The T-54 and T-55 tanks are deservedly considered one of the best armored vehicles of their time. However, the base T-54 did not appear immediately. Work on the project of a promising tank began back in 1944, but it went into production only a few years later. During this time, the designers of plant No. 183 (Nizhny Tagil) created several versions of the new tank, each of which was a step from the original idea to the production car.

T-54 sample 1945 year

History The T-54 project began in the fall of 1944. Nizhny Tagil designers without a break from the main work on the production and improvement of serial technology created a project of deep modernization of the T-44 tank. Documentation for the T-54 project was presented to the People's Commissariat of the tank industry in the last months of October. Already November 1 People's Commissar V.A. Malyshev signed an order, according to which Plant No. XXUMX was to build a prototype of a new tank.

Prototypes of the medium tank T-54

It should be noted that that version of the project did not meet a number of requirements: it used an old transmission, tracks with a ridge gear, etc. outdated technical solutions. However, an experienced T-54 tank, presented for testing at the beginning of 1945, was built according to a project that appeared in the autumn of 44. In February, 1945 passed factory tests of an experienced armored vehicle.

The T-54 project in the version that appeared in October 1944 of the year was a deep upgrade of the T-44 tank. The aim of this modernization was to increase the level of protection and firepower while maintaining acceptable weight and running characteristics. The main way to accomplish this task was to change the layout of the internal volumes of the armored hull. Due to the more dense arrangement of the units and the transverse placement of the engine, it turned out to bring the reserved volume to the 11,8 cube. meter

The design of the armored hull of an experimental tank was almost the same as that of the T-44 tank. The forehead of the hull was assembled from two sheets 90 mm thick, the beads were 75 mm thick, and the feed consisted of three parts from 30 to 45 mm thick. The T-54 tank of the 1945 model of the year was equipped with a mechanic-driver shifted to the stern with a turret and a hatch in the turret sheet.

In the engine compartment T-54 installed 12-cylinder diesel engine B-2-44 XHUMX HP power. Thanks to the transverse placement of the engine, it was possible to save considerable amounts both inside the hull and in the logging equipment. In addition to the engine in the stern of the tank, they installed an input gearbox (“guitar”), a multidisk dry friction reducer, a main clutch, a five-speed gearbox, two multidisk onboard friction clips, belt brakes and onboard gearboxes. Inside MTO managed to fit two main fuel tanks on 520 liters. In addition, space was provided in the fences for three 520-liter tanks. According to calculations, the fuel reserve should be enough for 50-300 kilometers of the road.

The suspension of the T-54 tank of the 1945 model of the year was completely borrowed from the previous T-44. She had five road wheels with a torsion bar on board, the drive and guide wheels. As in the previous tanks, the track engagement was used.

The “main gauge” of the advanced tank was made by the 100-mm rifled gun D-10T-K, developed at the plant number XXUMX (Sverdlovsk). The updated tower design allowed for the first time in domestic practice to equip a medium tank with a 9 caliber gun. The D-100T-K prototype tool differed from the original D-10T by the absence of a spring balance mechanism. To balance the gun had to lighten or weight some of its details. The D-10T-K cannon could accelerate the BR-10 armor-piercing-tracer to the speed of 412-895 m / s, which made it possible to penetrate the armor plate 900 mm thick from the 120 distance.

As an additional weapons used two machine guns GW 7,62 caliber mm. One of them was paired with a gun, and the second was placed near the workplace of the driver. For shooting provided a hole in the front plate of the case.

22 February 1945, an experienced T-54 tank of the first version was delivered to Moscow, where it was demonstrated to the leadership of the tank-building industry and the military. 11 March launched tests at the site in Kubinka, which lasted just over a month. During this time, the tank passed over 1500 kilometers. The report on the test results noted that the T-54 surpasses all existing domestic tanks. In this case, however, testers drew attention to some of the design flaws, the elimination of which could increase the capabilities of the machine.

Plant No.183 was recommended to modify the tower design, use the caterpillar pinching gear, change the transmission, equip the tank with anti-cumulative screens, and also upgrade the composition of the observation and aiming equipment. Upon completion of all these modifications, the tank could be adopted. In the meantime, Plant No. 183 was assigned to build two new prototypes of the T-54 tank. By June 45, Nizhny Tagil tank builders had to assemble two tanks with updated transmission mechanisms and other innovations, the total number of which exceeded six dozen.

One of the new prototypes received a planetary transmission, the second - the planetary rotation mechanisms. It was believed that the second version of the armored car has great prospects in comparison with the first. In late July, the sea trials of the T-54 of the 1945 model of the year with planetary turning mechanisms began. Until the beginning of November, an experienced tank passed over the range over 1500 km. According to the test results, high reliability of planetary turning mechanisms was established. In this case, the design of the tank and its units had to make about a hundred different changes.

"137 Object"

In early December, 1945, the People's Commissariat for Transport Engineering issued an order to finalize the design documentation for the T-54 project, followed by the construction and testing of tanks in the installation batch. Experienced cars needed to be built by March 15 by 1946. It was this order Commissar Malyshev led to the appearance of the T-54 tank of the 1946 model of the year, better known as the “137 Object”.

During the finalization of the draft T-54 has undergone major changes. Almost all its aspects were corrected. Armored hull changed slightly. Improvements related to the installation sites of various new equipment. The level of protection of the tank model 1946, remained at the level of the previous version of the T-54.

As the power plant used diesel engine B-54 power 520 HP With the required combat mass of 36 tons, such an engine could provide speed on the highway up to 32-33 km / h. The transmission matched the third T-54 prototype of the 1945 model of the year. The fuel system of the tank remained the same. In the suspension, slightly modified units of the previous experimental tank were used, but now the lantern engagement of the track with an open metal hinge was used.

In the modified turret of two prototypes of the “Object 137” tank, the 100 caliber mm guns of two models were installed. One of them was equipped with a D-10T instrument, the other - LB-1. Both tanks carried an SG-43 machine gun of 7,62 mm caliber, paired with a gun. Two more machine guns of this model with ammunition for 250 cartridges were placed in armored casings on the felled shelves. Finally, a large-caliber DShK machine gun, designed to combat airborne targets, was installed on the tower.

Due to the modifications of the turret, chassis and other units, the combat mass of the “137 Object” experimental tanks significantly exceeded the target level. Instead of the machine’s specified 36 tons, the machine weighed 39,15 tons. This led to a decrease in power density and an increase in pressure on the ground.

June 20 launched interdepartmental testing of two T-54 tanks of the 1946 model of the year. During the tests, the tank with the LB-1 gun overcame about 1000 km, and the tank with the D-10T gun - only 760 km. Despite the decline in ride quality of new cars in comparison with previous prototypes, the commission recognized their advantages over the existing technology. However, the designers of the plant # 183 were recommended to carry out the next revision of the project. Claims caused the work of the transmission and the updated chassis. In addition, the noise in the habitable volume exceeded the acceptable level, and the anti-aircraft machine gun could not fire in any direction without turning the tower.

At the end of the summer, Plant No.183 modified the transmission and the undercarriage of the 137 Object tank, and by the middle of September built a new prototype. The hull, tower and engine remained the same. From mid-September until the end of October, this prototype passed factory tests. The test program meant overcoming 2000 kilometers. In the first three days of testing, the experienced T-54 traveled about 570 kilometers at an average speed of 35 km / h. 25 September, during the next run on the landfill, collapsed eight rubber tires rollers and four support balancers. Until the middle of next month, the car was being repaired, and at the end of October it was dismantled to assess the condition.

By this time, the military and the People's Commissariat of Transport Engineering decided on the main weapon of a promising tank. They became the 100-mm gun D-10T. 30 September this was enshrined in the relevant document.

T-54 tanks of model 1947 of the year

All autumn 1946, the designers of the plant №183 were engaged in updating the hull and various systems of a promising tank. In October, construction began on the first prototype of the updated protection, which lasted until February of the following year. In the second half of February, the 47-th new prototype reached the ground.

During the next revision, the armored corps underwent major changes. So, to reduce the overall height of the car, the sides of the hull were reduced, and the bottom of the bottom, by contrast, was increased by 220 mm. This allowed us to reduce the silhouette of the car, almost without losing internal volumes. The shape and size of the turret were changed, which also affected the overall dimensions of the tank. A new anti-aircraft machine gun was installed on the roof of the turret, the design of which was carried out on the basis of the corresponding unit of the EC-3 tank.

From 18 to 26 February 1947, this prototype of the 137 Object passed 1020 km with an average speed of 23,4 km / h. In this case, the first races the tank made with the tower of the old model. The assembly of the new tower was completed a little later and it was installed on an experienced tank. After installing the T-54 turret, the 1947 model of the year produced 14 test shots. Simultaneously with the running tests, they shot the second corps at the artillery range.

In early March, passed the ministerial tests. Once again, the commission issued a list of necessary corrections to tank builders. Plant No.183 was again reminded of the need to reduce the combat weight of the vehicle to the required 36 tons, demanded reinforcement of certain elements of the undercarriage, refined the transmission and improved the observational devices.

In April, 1947 was built two more tanks "Object 137", which became models for serial armored vehicles. The hull and turret of these machines corresponded to the units of the previous prototype, and the armament remained unchanged in comparison with the project in the 1946 version of the year: 100-mm D-10T rifled gun, SG-43 twin machine gun, two course guns of the same model and antiaircraft 12,7 anti-aircraft gun mm By the beginning of the tests of two new pilot tanks, the designers of Plant No. XXUMX managed to slightly increase the characteristics of the D-9T gun. Thus, the BR-10 armor-piercing tracer at a distance of 412 meters could penetrate up to 1000 mm of armor. The gun's rate of fire reached 135 rounds per minute.

In April and May 1947, two new prototypes passed interdepartmental tests. Both tanks, in total, covered almost 2490 kilometers at a speed of about 18-20 km / h. For all test runs, tanks never stood idle due to technical problems and were tested almost without any complaints from the commission. It was recommended to start mass production of the new T-54 tank.

According to the test results, an order was issued, which ordered the plant No. XXUMX to build an installation batch of new tanks from 183. As this lot was built, it was necessary to implement 50 constructive and production measures. The remaining improvements were supposed to be implemented as the respective units are developed in production. The first tank T-22 of the installation batch was ready in July 54. During production, plant No. XXUMX introduced various changes into the design of the new tank. The total number of adjustments made during the construction of the installation batch reached 1947.

Tests of the first T-54 tank from the installation batch began in July 1947, and in September another armored vehicle successfully crossed the required 1000 kilometers. The construction of the installation batch of 50 tanks made it possible to eliminate the last major shortcomings of the project, as well as master the production technology of new equipment.

Start of serial construction

At the end of November 1947, the management approved the drawings and technological conditions for the serial construction of the armored vehicle of the new model. Soon, the documentation was handed over to plants No.75 (Kharkov) and No.174 (Omsk), where in the beginning of 1948, the mass production of new T-54 tanks began. B-54 diesel engines were produced by the Stalingrad tractor and Chelyabinsk tractor plants. The turrets for the new tanks were also manufactured at two enterprises: the Nizhny Tagil and Omsk plants received these units from the Chelyabinsk plant No. XXUMX, and the Kharkov tank builders from the plant to them. Ilyich (Zhdanov). The D-200T cannons were manufactured only by the Sverdlovsk plant No. XXUMX.

In 1948, Plant No. 183 built 285 tanks of a new model, Plant No. 75 - 218 and Plant No. 174 - 90. Subsequently, the pace of production grew steadily, and the construction of T-54 tanks of various modifications, including the T-55, continued until the mid-seventies. In total, three Soviet factories built 16775 T-54 tanks of all modifications. In addition, 300 tanks in the form of a set of parts were delivered to North Korea, and Poland and Czechoslovakia built 1500 and 1800 machines, respectively, under license. In the sixties, Chinese engineers copied the design of the T-54 tank and launched mass production of its slightly modified version called the “Type 59”.

In the period from 1944 to 1947, the Nizhny Tagil Plant No. XXUMX conducted a lot of design work and built several prototype tanks. All these efforts turned out to be in vain - the result of numerous improvements and tests was the creation of one of the best tanks of its time.

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  1. Cormorants
    Cormorants 4 December 2013 09: 15
    Armor is strong and our tanks are fast!
    1. Deniska
      Deniska 4 December 2013 11: 24
  2. 10kAzAk01
    10kAzAk01 4 December 2013 10: 29
    in WoT, this device is my favorite ... laughing
    1. 755962
      755962 4 December 2013 19: 56
      Do not bend childishly? On gold?
      Tank guides in the subject soldier
      1. 10kAzAk01
        10kAzAk01 5 December 2013 11: 35
        ......... happens without gold in any way .... laughing
  3. amigo1969
    amigo1969 4 December 2013 10: 46
    Once again amazed at the design of our tanks !! The beauty!!! They knew how to do it. For comparison - look at the English tanks of the 2nd World War .. Samovars on caterpillars.
    1. igordok
      igordok 5 December 2013 17: 49
      Quote: amigo1969
      Samovars on caterpillars

      Do not dare to call cans samovars. smile
  4. Jake danzels
    Jake danzels 4 December 2013 11: 23
    A Morozova A.A. somehow forgot to mention.
    1. svp67
      svp67 4 December 2013 11: 29
      Quote: Jake Danzels
      A Morozova A.A. somehow forgot to mention.
      Paying tribute to Morozov’s talent, I would like to note that he was not the only one who created it, and that not one surname is mentioned in the article at all ...
    2. sapran
      sapran 4 December 2013 11: 35
      Not only Morozova A.A. ... The authors do not hinder themselves by naming the names of heroes who worked for the good of the country during the hardest time for the country, not sparing themselves ..
      In total, conduct an analysis of who has implemented what he has insisted that this is exactly what needs to be done. These are people who deserve life in the memory of generations. They should be an example for young people.
  5. ramin_serg
    ramin_serg 4 December 2013 11: 31
    The tank that left an unforgettable mark in world tank building fellow

    article and tank respect
  6. Jake danzels
    Jake danzels 4 December 2013 11: 48
    Quote: svp67
    that not one surname is mentioned in the article at all ...

    But this is just bad, we forget those who made formidable military vehicles.

    zs by the phrase "we forget" I mean the younger generation.
    1. Alexandr_n
      Alexandr_n 5 December 2013 18: 37
      Well, again, people are divided into Soviet and "growing young generation". Comrades, each subsequent generation grows on what the previous generation left it. And in general, than the designers of tanks are better than hundreds of millions of other people whose work was just as honest and difficult. Why should their names be remembered, but the names of, say, the designers of the Niva combine not?
  7. cosmos111
    cosmos111 4 December 2013 13: 36
    -12 qualifying.
    Excellent modification of the T-34 85.
    1. GastaClaus69
      GastaClaus69 4 December 2013 14: 15
      What a trifle.
      1. cth; fyn
        cth; fyn 4 December 2013 15: 41
        MS-1? Terrible beast ... of course in due time.
      2. samoletil18
        samoletil18 4 December 2013 20: 34
        There is information about the combat use of MS-1 in 1941.
        1. GastaClaus69
          GastaClaus69 4 December 2013 22: 36
          Most were transferred to western UR and converted to bunkers, most of those that were on the go lost in the Dubno-Lutsk-Brody region, although some survived even before the battle for Moscow.

          T-18 just brought to the Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War (most likely from the Far East).
          1. family tree
            family tree 4 December 2013 23: 30
            Located in the area of ​​Lake Khasan in the form of fortifications T-18 were in service until the early 1950s, when they were excluded from the fortification system and abandoned
  8. avt
    avt 4 December 2013 13: 57
    Quote: cosmos111
    Excellent modification of the T-34 85.

    request What a fright so decided ?? Further development of the T-44, wherever it went. Only in terms of the number of vehicles released and their participation in hostilities are nearby.
    1. samoletil18
      samoletil18 4 December 2013 20: 16
      Quote: avt

      Quote: avt
      What a fright so decided ?? Further development of the T-44, wherever it went. Only in terms of the number of vehicles released and their participation in hostilities are nearby.

      T-44 is the result of the rearrangement of the T-34-85. The T-54 is the result of strengthening the T-44's armament. T-55 and T-62 development T_54. It's like VAZ-2101 and -2107 "completely different cars." In 1981, my father made me a royal gift, according to my then concepts - a subscription to the magazine "Technology of Youth". And I still remember the title of the article I read first: "Heirs of the Thirty-Fours." I recommend M. Svirin "Stalin's steel fist. The history of the Soviet tank 1943-1955". M. "Yauza" "EKSMO" 2006.
      I’m going to be torn now, too. But I will not be silent soldier
      Maybe in vain COSMOS111 so zamusunuyut.
      1. avdkrd
        avdkrd 4 December 2013 21: 39
        Quote: samoletil18
        T-44 is the result of the rearrangement of the T-34-85

        Some kind of Jesuit logic - then really the re-arrangement of the MS-1. The T-44 is not really a rearrangement, but a rethinking of the approach to tank building. Rearrangement is when the size and location of tanks, ammunition racks, radio stations, etc. are changed, and when fundamental differences are introduced, such as the transverse arrangement of the engine, a completely new transmission, a completely new chassis (torsion bars instead of Christie's candle suspension), a new body with a wide the chase later made it possible to install a new spherical turret with the same hull dimensions, this is not a "rearrangement result", the T-44 is a fundamentally different machine, built taking into account the operating experience and combat use of the T-34-85 and all other Soviet tanks. The T-54 is again not a modernization of the T-44, since even the original base hull was drastically changed AND re-arranged.
        ps Even the not implemented T-34M is not a rearrangement, but a completely new tank, which unfortunately could not replace the T-34 due to technological problems of wartime.
  9. Aleks tv
    Aleks tv 4 December 2013 15: 49
    It was interesting to read about the history of the prototyping of the T-54, which grew into a wonderful T-55.

    Although at the same time the fate of the IS-7 was being decided, they chose "mobility".
    It is not known how the armor fist of the Motherland would be then ...

    Thanks to Kirill for the article.
  10. cth; fyn
    cth; fyn 4 December 2013 16: 04
    This one stands on the square, seemingly unpretentious, but you climb into the tower, you feel no less than a god. A good car, I saw an opened MTO, but on IMR-1, the spectacle is amazing, though the oil is ankle-deep, but still cool. Climbed inside, with my 177cm in place of the driver's mechanical tightly.
    Of course, it’s impossible not to note the presence of shelving tanks that played a not very good role in the history of the machine, a jamb from the side of the designers? naturally, but otherwise the car would not have been adopted, it reminds the story of the place of an air gunner on the Il-2. You have to pay for everything, but with respect to military vehicles, since ancient times, blood has been paid, as they say: One though one-eyed, but sees everything.
    1. GastaClaus69
      GastaClaus69 4 December 2013 17: 44
      Quote: cth; fyn
      This one stands on the square, seemingly unpretentious, but you climb into the tower, you feel no less than a god.

      Here I am ready to bet you, we have such a miracle in the square. Climb up yes to direct battle glory rolls!
      There is even a sign: I did not climb to 34ku, it means not local. smile
      1. amigo1969
        amigo1969 4 December 2013 17: 52
        The monument is neat and tidy, the tank is painted, there are fresh wreaths. So the people in the right city live !!))
        1. GastaClaus69
          GastaClaus69 4 December 2013 18: 08
          It's just that in our city they honor history very much and really do not like politics!)
      2. Jake danzels
        Jake danzels 4 December 2013 18: 17
        Is it on Victory Square?
        Yes, and you kind of had a lot of military men in the city of the USSR and Desna as well)
        1. GastaClaus69
          GastaClaus69 4 December 2013 18: 50
          Yes, according to legend, this is the first tank to break into the city, although the city itself freed in 43 76gv. air assault division).
          Who was in the Desna does not laugh in the circus.
          There are enough military men; only serving in the army is not comme il faut now. The border guard himself, the sergeant get 3tis, and the sergeant is black. garrison 1200 UAH and at the same time serve!
          In short, we are not afraid of anything while we have such people !!
      3. The comment was deleted.
      4. Military79
        Military79 5 December 2013 00: 21
        Honest mother !!! This is Chernihiv, Peremogi square, ehh? Every time I remember Simonov:
        I would dig it as it is,
        In holes, in torn iron sheets, -
        Nevayuschaya military honor
        There are in these scars, in charred wounds.

        Climbing high onto a pedestal
        Let, as a witness, confirm by right:
        Yes, victory was not easy for us.
        Yes, the enemy was brave.
        All the more our fame.
  11. family tree
    family tree 4 December 2013 18: 16
    multi-disk dry friction reducer, main clutch,

    Multi-disc main clutch of dry friction, steel on steel. hi
    1. cth; fyn
      cth; fyn 5 December 2013 13: 26
      steel to steel

      Only steel! Only hardcore!
  12. Fedya
    Fedya 4 December 2013 21: 51
    At my work, a man on t-54 in Kazakhstan served on the border with China. He said when Brezhnev died, they lived for a week on positions, they were afraid that the Chinese would attack. Although 30 years have passed, he says that he would still serve! I showed him a picture from Wikipedia, the driver’s seat, he called everything, remembers.
  13. Sashko07
    Sashko07 4 December 2013 21: 53
    In summer, exercises were held in Goncharovsk, 2 days plowed at the training ground, 20 km to the north of Chernihiv was heard soldier
    1. Military79
      Military79 4 December 2013 23: 29
      “Bulats” were shot.
      1. cth; fyn
        cth; fyn 5 December 2013 13: 27
        And quite an interesting machine, Damask yours, it's a pity no one wrote about it in detail ... yet.
  14. Military79
    Military79 4 December 2013 23: 28
    Regarding the T-55. When disbanding 97 MBR in Slavut, the tank standing on the podium was on the balance sheet. The car passed like a combat training one. It was necessary to drive a column of cars for loading at the junction station. Zampoteh choked up turnips for a long time, thinking how to remove 55 from the pedestal. They thought to pile and pull the embankment. And then pull the tug up to the station. he told us that he served in this unit as a warrant officer and drove this tank under its own power in 1976. We cut off the welding and climbed inside. The tanks turned out to be a solarium. We threw the battery group and tried to start it. They put the first group but conceived on the second and I had to tinker, but the tank dug up to the platform itself, and didn’t even die out. It was in 2003-2004 and the equipment stood for almost 30 years.
    1. Aleks tv
      Aleks tv 4 December 2013 23: 56
      Quote: Military79
      The tanks turned out to be a solarium.

      Quote: Military79
      the car sneezed and STARTED.

      Quote: Military79
      The equipment stood for almost 30 years.

      Did you take part in this yourself or have you heard?
      1. Military79
        Military79 5 December 2013 00: 13
        I then served in Izyaslav, nearby. And the story was told by one of the deputy technicians who was involved in the delivery of equipment. His sister was a dormitory neighbor and he often came to her.
        1. Aleks tv
          Aleks tv 5 December 2013 00: 36
          Quote: Military79
          And the story is told from the words of one of the local deputy technicians


          I have no arrivals ...
          Toko it is not clear what there (in the monument) diesel fuel did?

          There is experience using 10-year-old diesel fuel (stored correctly), wow and we were tormented with it ... and then with fuel equipment.
          And here - 30 years ...
          Maybe this is possible, FIG knows.
          1. Military79
            Military79 5 December 2013 02: 20
            Listen, maybe there was some kind of mixture. How do you like the version?
  15. kirgudu
    kirgudu 4 December 2013 23: 47
    Here it is. The foundation of modern tanks was laid under Stalin, so much so that it is still being modernized and not very invented.
    1. cth; fyn
      cth; fyn 5 December 2013 13: 31
      Well, yes, combined armor, so, little things ...
  16. Sashko07
    Sashko07 5 December 2013 18: 25
    Quote: Military79
    “Bulats” were shot.

    Maybe, but most likely the artillery fired, maybe even reactive, it was like a volley and there were a lot of explosions at once.