T-34



  • Well the T-34/76 is widely regarded as the best tank of WWII. What do you think?



  • Awesome tank.



  • I don’t think so…

    1. It was easy to build.  (about 84,000 built total)

    2. They could be easily converted to perform other tasks.

    3. It was a med. tank so it’s not like it was a shoebox.

    4. It has a very long service record starting production in 1937 (but not starting service until 1940) and stayed in service until 1996.

    5. It was a very durable tank they stoped producing them in 1958 so to still be in service 38 years later has to say something.

    (Start edit) 6) It had an active service life, serving in World War II, Korean War, Hungarian Revolution of 1956, Middle East, several African conflicts, Vietnam War and the Bosnian War.  I bring up this point because it was not a weapon like a Nuke it had to do more then sit on standby and maintain a presence.  It had to bring the fight to the enemy. (end edit)

    For those who disagree with me I think that you should look at this unit like a leatherman.  Any tool that serves multiple functions doesn’t serve any one function well.  But this unit was above average at everything and that has to go for something.

    LT



  • When I went to Marine Corps tank school in 1985 the T34/85 was an enemy tank we had to learn about as several were in the hands of the lesser allies of the USSR.

    This tank alone was produced in more numbers than all the German tanks ever built.

    Like the Makarov PM pistol, Like the AK47 rifle the T-34 is a Russian masterpiece. A simple and rough design that works, anywhere and at anytime.

    The fact that the Germans had to design counter - tanks (Panther et al) to attempt to defeat it shows just what the vehicle was. One of the top ten tanks in history.



  • @legion3:

    When I went to Marine Corps tank school in 1985 the T34/85 was an enemy tank we had to learn about as several were in the hands of the lesser allies of the USSR.

    This tank alone was produced in more numbers than all the German tanks ever built.

    Like the Makarov PM pistol, Like the AK47 rifle the T-34 is a Russian masterpiece. A simple and rough design that works, anywhere and at anytime.

    The fact that the Germans had to design counter - tanks (Panther et al) to attempt to defeat it shows just what the vehicle was. One of the top ten tanks in history.

    I agree it would have to be in the top ten.  I don’t know as you can ever pick a number one, I mean a T-34 wouldn’t stand a chance vs. a M1A2 Abrams but that’s just how tech works.  Things are supposed to get better.

    LT



  • Yes, picking an overall number one would be difficult. You cannot compare tanks by age nor can you compare different era’s.

    In very modern tanks only a few have actually seen combat:
    M1A1, T-72, Merkava III (and the whole Merkava family) and the British Challenger I and II.

    On paper the French GIAT LeClerc, German Leopard II, Russian T-90, and Japan’s Type-90 all appear to be top of the line machines.

    The beauty of WW2 is most of the designs saw combat and thus you can weed out some tanks easily. However, a good tank crew in an inferior tank can actually do quite well. So even obsolete tanks were still being used late in the war. Heck, My “obsolete” M-60A1 took apart several “modern” T 72’s back in the day.

    The T-34 would have to be near, if not at the very top of any WW2 tank list.

    My personal favorite was the Panther and then the Tiger 1, however the “best” German tank design was probably the Mark IV as it was able to be upgrade easily and was the basis for many different fighting platforms. But the US and Russians, while having other designs, pretty much stuck to the Sherman and the T34 and just simply outproduced the Germans.

    Albert Speer used to hold the sherman tank up to the German Army as the model for what tanks should be, a medium, easy to build, easy to maintain, armored enough, armed adequately, all weather, all terrain vehicle easy to move from place to place. Unfortunately (or fortunately) they weren’t listening.



  • I used to think the T34 was an awesome tank but after reading a recently de-classified test of 5 specially prepared T34’s by the US at Aberdeen proving grounds during the war I am no longer of that opinion.



  • @a44bigdog:

    I used to think the T34 was an awesome tank but after reading a recently de-classified test of 5 specially prepared T34’s by the US at Aberdeen proving grounds during the war I am no longer of that opinion.

    :?

    More info please. How is the history proven on the battlefield not as important as some “tests” at aberdeen? I wonder if the German’s point of view was asked for at Aberdeen?

    Don’t come drop a bomb like that without more info as to why. What did these tests say?



  • I will see if I can find the article to link to. It might take me a few days as it was a few months back.

    Keep in mind these were specially prepared T-34s. So they were a step above what rolled off the assembly lines. The list of mechanical breakdowns was long and often. Basically the Army could not keep the things running any amount of time. With the life expectancy of the T-34s in the Soviet Army that was not so much of a concern for them. Remember Stalin said quantity has a quality of its own. There was some other stuff as well, but again its been a few months since I read the article.



  • Below I have a list of heavy equipment produced by the Russians that is well known for mechanical reliability.

    As you can see from the list it’s not hard to imagine the T-34 might break down a lot just like everything else the Russians have ever built without stealing the plans from someone else first.



  • @11HP20:

    Below I have a list of heavy equipment produced by the Russians that is well known for mechanical reliability.

    As you can see from the list it’s not hard to imagine the T-34 might break down a lot just like everything else the Russians have ever built without stealing the plans from someone else first.

    Hmmm…

    Cute…not accurate but cute.

    Having faced Russian made stuff I can tell you it does work and works quite well.

    The AK47 and the Makarov pistols are reliable in any conditions, any where and at any time. If the T-34’s broke down at Aberdeen its more likely the Americans had no idea what they were doing with them. Apparently enough of them worked on the battlefield.

    Whom did the Russians steal the plans to the T-34? What Russian stuff have you seen break down?  😉



  • So far I haven’t found the original I remember reading Just a copy and paste at a forum. The Aberdeen T-34 lasted for over 300km while the Soviets were getting a bit over 200km in the field. The Engine went with 70 something hours on it. Maybe next weekend I can find the original document.

    I also recall back when I was in the service the T-72s were regarded as world beaters. Operation Desert Storm blew that right out of the water.

    The AK-47 is touted as the model of reliability yet no one mentions the effective range of 100Ms 1/3 of an M16A1 1/5 of an M/16A2.



  • Here is the copy and paste for those interested in reading it.

    Footnote 1 – reads, “The full name of the document is, “An Evaluation of the T-34 and KV tanks by workers of the Aberdeen Testing Grounds of the U.S., submitted by firms, officers and members of military commissions responsible for testing tanks.” The tanks were given to the U.S. by the Soviets at the end of 1942 for familiarization.”)
    The condition of the tanks

    The medium tank T-34, after driving 343 km, became disabled and could not be fixed. The reason: owing to the extremely poor air cleaner on the diesel, a large quantity of dirt got into the engine and a breakdown occurred, as a result of which the pistons and cylinders were damaged to such a degree that they were impossible to fix. The tank was withdrawn from tests and was to be shelled by the KV and its “Z/ 3” (?) – by the cannon of the M-10 tank. After this it would be sent to Aberdeen, where it would be analyzed and kept as an exhibit.

    The heavy tank KV is still functional. Tests are continuing, although it has many mechanical defects.
    The silhouette/configuration of the tanks

    Everyone, without exception, approves of the shape of the hull of our tanks. The T-34’s is particularly good. All are of the opinion that the shape of the T-34’s hull is better than that of any American tank. The KV’s is worse than on any current American tank.
    Armor

    A chemical analysis of the armour showed that on both tanks the armour plating has a shallow surface tempering, whereas the main mass of the armoured plating is made of soft steel.

    In this regard, the Americans consider that, by changing the technology used to temper the armoured plating, it would be possible to significantly reduce its thickness while preserving its protective capacities. As a result the weight of the tank could be decreased by 8-10%, with all the resulting benefits (an increase in speed, reduction in ground pressure, etc.)
    Hull

    The main deficiency is the permeability to water of the lower hull during water crossings, as well as the upper hull during rain. In heavy rain lots of water flows through chinks/ cracks, which leads to the disabling of the electrical equipment and even the ammunition.

    The Americans liked how the ammunition is stowed.
    Turret

    Its main weakness is that it is very tight. The Americans could not understand how our tankers could fit inside during winter, when they wear sheepskin jackets. The electrical mechanism for turning the turret is very bad. The motor is weak, heavily overloaded and sparks horribly, as a result of which the device regulating the speed of the rotation burns out, and the teeth of the cogwheels break into pieces. They recommend redoing it as a hydraulic or simply manual system.

    KV-1 heavy tank at Bovington Museum (England) (photo by […])
    Armament

    The gun of the T-34 is very good. It is simple, dependable and easy to service. Its weakness is that the initial speed of the shell is significantly less than that of the American “Z/ 3” (3200 feet versus 5700 feet per second).
    Aiming/Back-sight

    The general opinion: the best in the world. Incomparable with any existing (well-known here) tanks or any under development.
    Track

    The Americans very much like the idea of steel tracks. But they believe that until they receive the results of the comparative performance of steel vs. rubber tracks on American tanks in Tunis and other active fronts, there is no basis for changing from the American solution of rubber bushings and pads.

    The deficiencies in our tracks from their viewpoint results from the lightness of their construction. They can easily be damaged by small calibre shells and mortar bombs. The pins are extremely poorly tempered and made of poor steel. As a result they quickly wear and the track often breaks. The idea of having loose track pins that are held in place by a cam welded to the side of the hull, at first was greatly liked by the Americans. But when in use under certain operating conditions, the pins would become bent which often resulted in the track rupturing. The Americans consider that if the armour is reduced in thickness the resultant weight saving can be used to make the tracks heavier and more reliable.
    Suspension

    On the T-34, it is poor. Suspension of the Christie type was tested long ago by the Americans, and unconditionally rejected. On our tanks, as a result of the poor steel on the springs, it very quickly (unclear word) and as a result clearance is noticeably reduced. On the KV the suspension is very good.
    Motor

    The diesel is good and light. The idea of using diesel engines on tanks is shared in full by American specialists and military personnel. Unfortunately, diesel engines produced in U.S. factories are used by the navy and therefore the army is deprived of the possibility of installing diesels in its tanks.

    The deficiency of our diesels is the criminally poor air cleaners on the T-34. The Americans consider that only a saboteur could have constructed such a device. They also don’t understand why in our manuals it is called oil-bath. Their tests in a laboratory showed that:

    • the air cleaner doesn’t clean at all the air which is drawn into the motor;
    • its capacity does not allow for the flow of the necessary quantity of air, even when the motor is idling. As a result, the motor does not achieve its full capacity. Dirt getting into the cylinders leads them to quickly wear out, compression drops, and the engine loses even more power. In addition, the filter was manufactured, from a mechanical point of view, extremely primitively: in places the spot-welding of the electric welding has burned through the metal, leading to leakage of oil etc. On the KV the filter is better manufactured, but it does not secure the flow in sufficient quantity of normal cleaned air. On both motors the starters are poor, being weak and of unreliable construction.
      Transmission

    Without doubt, poor. An interesting thing happened. Those working on the transmission of the KV were struck that it was very much like those transmissions on which they had worked 12-15 years ago. The firm was questioned. The firm sent the blueprints of their transmission type A-23. To everyone’s surprise, the blueprints of our transmission turned out to be a copy of those sent (?). The Americans were surprised, not that we were copying their design, but that we were copying a design that they had rejected 15-20 years ago. The Americans consider that, from the point of view of the designer, installing such a transmission in the tank would create an inhuman harshness for the driver (hard to work). On the T-34 the transmission is also very poor. When it was being operated, the cogs completely fell to pieces (on all the cogwheels). A chemical analysis of the cogs on the cogwheels showed that their thermal treatment is very poor and does not in any way meet American standards for such mechanisms.
    Rolling friction clutches

    Without doubt, poor. In America, they rejected the installation of friction clutches, even on tractors (never mind tanks), several years ago. In addition to the fallaciousness of the very principle, our friction clutches are extremely carelessly machined from low-quality steel, which quickly causes wear and tear, accelerates the penetration of dirt into the drum and in no way ensures reliable functioning.
    General comments

    From the American point of view, our tanks are slow. Both our tanks can climb an incline better than any American tank. The welding of the armour plating is extremely crude and careless. The radio sets in laboratory tests turned out to be not bad. However, because of poor shielding and poor protection, after installation in the tanks the sets did not manage to establish normal communications at distances greater than 10 miles. The compactness of the radio sets and their intelligent placement in the tanks was pleasing. The machining of equipment components and parts was, with few exceptions, very poor. In particular the Americans were troubled by the disgraceful design and extremely poor work on the drive/ gear/ transmission links/ blocks (?) on the T-34. After much torment they made new ones and replaced ours. All the tanks’ mechanisms demand very frequent adjustments/ fine-tuning.
    Conclusions, suggestions

    1. On both tanks, quickly replace the air cleaners with models with greater capacity capable of actually cleaning the air.

    2. The technology for tempering the armour plating should be changed. This would increase the protectiveness of the armour, either by using an equivalent thickness or, by reducing the thickness, lowering the weight and, accordingly, the use of metal.

    3. Make the tracks thicker.

    4. Replace the existing transmission of outdated design with the American “Final Drive,” which would significantly increase the tanks’ manoeuvrability.

    5. Abandon the use of friction clutches.

    6. Simplify the construction of small components, increase their reliability and decrease to the maximum extent possible the need to constantly make adjustments.

    7. Comparing American and Russian tanks, it is clear that driving Russian tanks is much harder. A virtuosity is demanded of Russian drivers in changing gear on the move, special experience in using friction clutches, great experience as a mechanic, and the ability to keep tanks in working condition (adjustments and repairs of components, which are constantly becoming disabled). This greatly complicates the training of tankers and drivers.

    8. Judging by samples, Russians when producing tanks pay little attention to careful machining or the finishing and technology of small parts and components, which leads to the loss of the advantage what would otherwise accrue from what on the whole are well designed tanks.

    9. Despite the advantages of the use of diesel, the good contours of the tanks, thick armour, good and reliable armaments, the successful design of the tracks etc., Russian tanks are significantly inferior to American tanks in their simplicity of driving, manoeuvrability, the strength of firing [reference to speed of shell], speed, the reliability of mechanical construction and the ease of keeping them running.

    Signed – The head of the 2nd Department of the Main Intelligence Department of the Red Army, General Major of Tank Armies, Khlopo… (end missing: Khlopov?)



  • This is an extract from a Russian military history magazine.

    Yes. Here’s an extract from the article which emphasizes you point. Referring to the T-34 at Aberdeen Proving Ground which broke down at 343 kilometers,

    "there was nothing unusual about a tank breaking down after such a short period. At that time T-34 tanks were guaranteed not to break down for 1,000 kilometers, but in practice this number was unattainable. According to a report by the Scientific Institute for Armored Equipment (NIBT) to Ya. N. Fedorenko, the chief of the Red Army’s Auto-Armored Directorate, the average distance a T-34 traveled before requiring major overhaul (capital repairs) did not exceed 200 kilometers. The Aberdeen T-34 exceeded this.

    In 1942 the quality of Soviet tanks had significantly fallen for many understandable reasons. These included the difficulty of reestablishing production by the evacuated factories at new locations, factories switching over to new production, the loss of many supply lines and sources of raw materials, a sharp drop in the average qualification of workers due to losses among experienced workers and the hiring of many new, inexperienced workers including women and teenagers. These new workers worked tirelessly and did everything they could for the front, but they were not qualified. Producing the most tanks possible was the priority, which was understandable since the heavy losses of the initial part of the year had to be made up. Therefore the requirement for quality was reduced, and the military accepted any tank that was built. As a result, in 1942 some 34’s could only go 30-35 kilometers before needing an overhaul.

    To a certain degree this was justified because tanks, as a rule, did not survive until the expiration of its overhaul life, short as that was. The life of a tank on the front line was not long – on average 4-10 days (not counting time spent in transit by rail and being repaired), or from 1-3 attacks. In 1942 the average mileage before being put out of service due to combat was 66.7 kilometers, which was less than half the average mileage before needing an overhaul. The majority of tanks simply didn’t live long enough to break down.

    The V-2 diesel engine which equipped T-34s and KV-1s was still suffering growing pains. At that time its designers were struggling to extend the diesel’s service life to 100 hours, but in reality it seldom lasted more than 60. The engine of the T-34 which was tested at Aberdeen broke down at 72.5 hours, of which 58.45 were under load and 14.05 were while idling. The KV’s diesel lasted 66.4 hours. One of the deficiencies of the B-2, besides a short guaranteed life, was an increased fuel consumption (12% above norm), and, especially, a completely unacceptable over-consumption of oil, which exceeded existing norms by 3-8 times! Therefore the range of a T-34 in 1942 was limited not by fuel, but by oil: according to the averages at that time from the technical department of the People’s Commissariat for Tank Production, a T-34 carried enough fuel for 200-220 kilometers, but oil for only 145. At the same time German and American tanks didn’t require any additional oil; it was simply changed every 2,000 kilometers.”



  • @legion3:

    @11HP20:

    Below I have a list of heavy equipment produced by the Russians that is well known for mechanical reliability.

    As you can see from the list it’s not hard to imagine the T-34 might break down a lot just like everything else the Russians have ever built without stealing the plans from someone else first.

    Hmmm…

    Cute…not accurate but cute.

    Having faced Russian made stuff I can tell you it does work and works quite well.

    The AK47 and the Makarov pistols are reliable in any conditions, any where and at any time. If the T-34’s broke down at Aberdeen its more likely the Americans had no idea what they were doing with them. Apparently enough of them worked on the battlefield.

    Whom did the Russians steal the plans to the T-34? What Russian stuff have you seen break down?  😉

    I didn’t word my second sentence well at all. I was refering to heavy equipment. So you got me. You are correct about Soviet small arma being reliable. My AK is a fine close combat weapon. I just wouldn’t want to rely on it in wide open spaces against an enemy armed with Western long arms. As far as side arms I’ll keep my 1911 thank you. The Soviets did not steal the plans for the T-34 and it was unreliable. So were all their other tanks, planes, trucks, missles, etc. Unless they stole the plans for them. Even then they were not as reliable as the originals. What Soviet equipment have I seen broken down. Lot’s of vehicles. Including the T54-55 my buddies and I tried to take at the “Highway of Death”. What T-34 have you seen that was running so well?



  • I’m sorry the “Highway of Death” had destroyed equipment mostly, not much runs when its been blasted. Once on operations with the Egyptians I saw several of their T-34’s running around, they were using them as enemy forces. This was of course back in the 80’s but they were running then.

    So you don’t like Russian heavy equipment, well I guess they had enough of it to route the Germans. And even though I spent most of the 80’s preparing to fight them, I wonder if they would have had enough to route us to?



  • I have enjoyed this Poll and the debate it has caused. Keep the great polls ideas Will.



  • I’ll readily admit I’m not educated enough on this particular tank to make a statement about them I’m comfortable with. However in A&A miniatures, I think the point value of the Sherman Tank is fair considering how good they are based on the mass production of them

    Not to change the subject, but I think the Tiger is a tank that is definately not underrated in the game. My only qualm is the point value. Tigers should have a slightly lower point value based on how common they were on the battlefield. The more I read about their role in operation Barbarossa, the more I’m beginning to learn how many of these superior tanks were being used.


  • Customizer

    To some extent the T34s reputation was forged by the unsung KV1.  It is these heavies that stopped the German panzers as their thicker armour was very effective against German shells of the time.  It was the KV1 that forced the Germans to rush into production their own line of heavy tanks.
    Of course the T34 really came into it own when the Soviets went on the offensive, where it’s greater manouverability was the crucial factor.



  • @legion3:

    I’m sorry the “Highway of Death” had destroyed equipment mostly, not much runs when its been blasted. Once on operations with the Egyptians I saw several of their T-34’s running around, they were using them as enemy forces. This was of course back in the 80’s but they were running then.

    So you don’t like Russian heavy equipment, well I guess they had enough of it to route the Germans. And even though I spent most of the 80’s preparing to fight them, I wonder if they would have had enough to route us to?

    If you want to question my integrity that’s fine. I know what we found, where we found it, and the shape it was in. I’m sure you’d imply I don’t have any of the Iraqi letters and the dairy I found there. That’s fine.

    I’m going to follow your logic for a minute. The Russians made tanks in so great a quanity the Germans could never hope to come close to keeping up. That makes those Soviet tanks awesome. Therefore I guess the Sherman was one of the all time greatest tanks. Same logic, different country.

    A quote from Andrew Cockburn’s The Threat:Inside the Soviet Military Machine refering to the T34 “The transmissions were so delicate that tanks would be sent into battle with spare sets roped to the decks. When American analysts had the opportunity to make a close examination of T34s captured in the Korean War, they found that some components had a working life of about 14 hours.” This book was written in 1983. In it Cockburn tried to tell the world the most modern of Soviet armor did not come close to matching the West’s armor. I’m guessing he knew a thing or two.

    The most reliable Soviet truck built immediately after the war were direct copies of the Studebakers they received from lend-lease. Down to Studebaker printed on the valve covers. Their best long range bomber shortly after the war. A copy of the B-29. American jets were known to have 3-1/2 times the operational readiness of their Soviet counterparts. I could do this all day.

    So you saw modernized Egyptian T34s running around. Thanks for making my point for me. Even the Egyptians had the good sense to replace the motors and transmissions. Just like the Soviet armor I supposedly trained with in Germany. All had Western engines and transmissions. Were these T34s you saw left with there original turrets, were they T34/100s with the BS-3 100 mm AT gun, or were they T34/122 SPGs. I’m sure they weren’t the oil well fire fighting versions. Those had two Mig 21 engines strapped to the top sans turret. You would have noticed that.

    Soviet tankers who used both Western and Soviet armor say Soviet armor was unreliable. Military analyasts, historians, servicemembers hwho worked with Soviet heavy equipment, authors who study such equipment, the Russians themselves (try to read a44bigdog’s post), and so on say the Soviet big toys don’t work well. Then there is you.

    Say what you want past this point. I will not be replying to your posts. It’s just not worth the effort.



  • The T 34 helped the Russians win World War 2. Overated or not. With issues or not. I guess sometimes numbers do count.

    I am not questioning your integrity. I was on that highway too. I don’t recall seeing any T34’s, several T54/55’s however, I must admit my time was very limited spending only a few minutes getting past that mess and moving on. If you spent more time there then your knowledge on the scene is superior to mine.

    This whole thread has brought back some serious memories, was it really 17 years ago?

    I just respect any tank shooting at me, whether or not its overrated or not. Nothing more terrifying than having 125mm shell whistling past.



  • I have to ammend my last post. I can’t think too fast. One of my many faults.

    The vehicle I was thinking of was not a Studebaker truck. It was a Packard car. In 1938 (I think) Packard sold some tooling to the Soviets. With this Stalin’s crew made copies of one of Packards models. This ended for a while because of some uninvited German guests. After the war production continued until the late '50s. The engine was reliable enough to have suppodedly found it’s way into some trucks. These engines had Packard on the valve covers.

    My confusion/stupidity came from the fact the Soviets received a huge amount of Studebaker trucks thanks to lend/lease. These trucks were so popular some Russians started using the word Studebaker as a generic term for truck.

    Legion 3 the tank I mentioned was near the top of the hill. The ground leveled off at one point before continuing upward towards the crest. Going up the hill the T54/55 would have been on your left. Not a scratch on it. Unfortunately some a$$hole stole the pictures the pictures I took there or I would have scanned a couple a posted them.

    To anyone interested in how whacked out a T34 can look check this out.

    http://www.jedsite.info/tanks-tango/tango-numbers-su/t-34_series/t34-series.html

    Look at the T34 HU Firefighting, and the Syrian T34/122. Thinking about the Egypian 122 SPG reminded me of the Syrian version. So I googled and found this site.


  • 2019 Moderator

    Holy cow that hungarian fire fighter is awesome.  LMAO at “specific recognition points”



  • I just don’t remember seeing it but I will defer to your memory, As I said I was there for only minutes and we were constently on the move and of course had other things on my mind then  😉



  • “Very worrying”, Colonel-General Heinz Guderian, Commander of Second Panzer Army.

    “We had nothing comparable”, Major-General F.W. Mellenthin, Chief of Staff of XLVIII Panzer Corps.

    “The finest tank in the world”, Field-Marshal Ewald von Kleist, First Panzer Army.

    “This tank (T-34) adversely affected the morale of the German infantry”, General G. Blumentritt.


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