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Manufacturer: Zvezda (Russia)
Paint: Unpainted, Unassembled, Kit do not contain paints and glue.
Condition: New in Box
The T-34 was a Soviet medium tank which had a profound and permanent effect on the fields of tank tactics and design. First deployed in 1940, it has often been described as the most effective, efficient, and influential design ofWorld War II. At its introduction, the T-34 possessed the best balance of firepower, mobility, protection, and ruggedness of any tank (though its initial battlefield effectiveness suffered due to a variety of factors). Its 76.2 mm (3 in) high-velocity gun was the best tank gun in the world at that time; its heavysloped armour was impenetrable by standard anti-tank weapons; and it was very agile. Though its armour and armament were surpassed later in the war, when they first encountered it in battle in 1941 German tank generals von Kleist and Guderian called it "the deadliest tank in the world."
The T-34 was the mainstay of Soviet armoured forces throughout World War II. The design and construction of the tank were continuously refined during the war to enhance effectiveness and decrease costs, allowing steadily greater numbers of T-34s to be fielded despite heavy losses. It was the most-produced tank of the war, and the second most-produced tank of all time, after its successor, the T-54/55 series. By the end of the war in 1945 the T-34 had replaced many light and heavy tanks in Red Army service. It accounted for the majority of Soviet tank production, and following the war it was widely exported. Its evolutionary development led directly to the T-54/55 series of tanks, built until 1981 and still operational as of 2013 and which itself led to the T-62, T-72, and T-90 tanks which, along with several Chinese tanks based on the T-55, form the backbone of many armies even today. In 1996, T-34 variants were still in service in at least 27 countries.In 1939, the most numerous Soviet tank models were the T-26 infantry tank and the BT series of fast tanks. The T-26 was slow-moving, designed to keep pace with infantry on the ground. The BT tanks were cavalry tanks: fast-moving and light, designed for manoeuvre warfare. Both were Soviet developments of foreign designs from the early 1930s; the T-26 was based on the BritishVickers 6-Ton, and the BT tanks were based on a design from American engineer Walter Christie. Both were lightly armoured like their foreign counterparts, proof against small arms but not anti-tank rifles or 37 mm (1.46 in) anti-tank guns, but both were armed with a 45 mm (1.77 in) gun, which was a significant improvement.
During the Battle of Lake Khasan in July 1938 and the Battles of Khalkhin Gol in 1939, an undeclared border war against Japan, the Soviets deployed nearly 500 T-26, BT-5, and BT-7 tanks against the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA). Although the IJA Type 95 light tanks had diesel engines,] the T-26 and BT tanks did not. Their petrol engines, commonly used in tank designs by most nations at the time, often burst into flames when hit by IJA tank-killer teams using Molotov cocktails. Poor quality welds in the Soviet armour plates left small gaps between the plates, and flaming petrol from the Molotov cocktails easily seeped into the fighting compartment and engine compartment; portions of the armour plating that had been assembled with rivets also proved to be vulnerable. The Soviet tanks were also easily destroyed by the Japanese Type 95 tank's 37 mm gunfire, despite the mediocre performance of that gun, or "at any other slightest provocation." The use of riveted armour led to a problem called "spalling", whereby the impact of enemy shells, even if they failed to disable the tank or kill the crew on their own, would cause the rivets to break off and become projectiles inside the tank.
In 1937, before these battles with the Japanese Army, the Red Army had assigned engineer Mikhail Koshkin to lead a new team to design a replacement for the BT tanks at the Kharkiv Komintern Locomotive Plant (KhPZ). The prototype tank, designated A-20, was specified with 20 mm (0.8 in) of armour, a 45 mm (1.77 in) gun, and the new Model V-2-34 engine, using less-flammable diesel fuel in aV12 configuration designed by Konstantin Chelpan. It also had an 8×6-wheel convertible drive similar to the BT tank's 8×2, which allowed it to run on wheels without caterpillar tracks. This feature had greatly saved on maintenance and repair of the unreliable tank tracks of the early 1930s, and allowed tanks to exceed 85 kilometres per hour (53 mph) on roads, but gave no advantage in combat. By 1937-38, track design had improved and the designers considered it a waste of space and weight, despite the road speed advantageThe A-20 also incorporated previous research (BT-IS and BT-SW-2 projects) into sloped armour: its all-round sloped armour plates were more likely to deflect rounds than perpendicular armour.
After the battles with the Japanese Army, Koshkin convinced Soviet leader Joseph Stalin to let him develop a second prototype, a more heavily armed and armoured "universal tank" which reflected the lessons learned in those battles, and could replace both the T-26 and the BT tanks. Koshkin named the second prototype A-32, after its 32 mm (1.3 in) of frontal armour. It had a L-10 76.2 mm (3 in) gun, and the same Model V-2-34 diesel. Both were tested in field trials at Kubinka in 1939, with the heavier A-32 proving to be as mobile as the A-20. A still heavier version of the A-32, with 45 mm (1.77 in) of front armour, wider tracks, and a newer L-11 76.2 mm gun, was approved for production as the T-34. Koshkin chose the name after the year 1934, when he began to formulate his ideas about the new tank, and to commemorate that year's decree expanding the armoured force and appointing Sergo Ordzhonikidze to head tank production.
Valuable lessons from Lake Khasan and Khalkhin Gol regarding armour protection, mobility, quality welding, and main guns were incorporated into the new T-34 tank, which represented a substantial improvement over the BT and T-26 tanks in all four areasKoshkin's team completed two prototype T-34s in January 1940. In April and May, they underwent a grueling 2,000-kilometre (1,200 mi) drive from Kharkiv to Moscow for a demonstration for the Kremlin leaders, to the Mannerheim Line in Finland, and back to Kharkiv viaMinsk and Kiev. Some drivetrain shortcomings were identified and corrected.Over two years, the unit production cost of the T-34 was reduced from 269,500 rubles in 1941, to 193,000, and then to 135,000. Production time was cut in half by the end of 1942, even though most experienced factory workers had been sent to the battlefield and were replaced by a mixed workforce that included 50% women, 15% boys, and 15% invalids and old men. Originally "beautifully crafted machines with excellent exterior finish comparable or superior to those in Western Europe or America", later T-34s were much more roughly finished; this did not compromise the mechanical reliability however.
Following the end of the war, a further 2,701 T-34s were built prior to the end of Soviet production. Under license, production was restarted in Poland (1951–55) and Czechoslovakia (1951–58), where 1,380 and 3,185 T-34-85s were made, respectively, by 1956.]Altogether, as many as 84,070 T-34s are thought to have been built, plus 13,170 self-propelled guns built on T-34 chassis.] It was the most-produced tank of the Second World War, and the second most-produced tank of all time, after its successor, the T-54/55 series.
A T-34-85 tank on display at Musée des Blindés in April 2007.
|Place of origin||Soviet Union|
|In service||1940-Late 1960s (USSR)
1950s - present (other countries)
|Used by||Soviet Union and 39 others|
|Wars||World War II, and many others|
|Specifications (T-34 Model 1941)|
|Weight||26.5 tonnes (29.2 short tons; 26.1 long tons)|
|Length||6.68 m (21 ft 11 in)|
|Width||3.00 m (9 ft 10 in)|
|Height||2.45 m (8 ft 0 in)|
|Armor||Hull front 47 mm /60° (upper part)
45 mm (1.8")/60° (lower part),
Hull side 40 mm/41°(upper part),
Hull rear 45 mm,
Hull top 20 mm,
Hull bottom 15 mm;
Turret front 60 mm (2.4"),
Turret side 52 mm/30°,
Turret rear 30 mm,
Turret top 16 mm
|76.2 mm (3.00 in) F-34 tank gun
(T-34-85: 85 mm ZiS-S-53 gun)
|2 × 7.62 mm (0.308 in) DT machine guns|
|Engine||Model V-2-34 38.8 L V12 Diesel engine
500 hp (370 kW)
|Ground clearance||0.4 m (16 in)|
|400 km (250 mi)|
|Speed||53 km/h (33 mph)|
|Panzer II German tank 1/100 Zvezda 6102|
|Price : $7.95|