Monday 21 April 2014

T-34-85 Identification

Most T-34-85 tanks you will see on photographs are equipped with an 85 mm ZiS-S-53 gun. However, a small amount of these tanks were armed with another gun, the D-5. Here is how one of these rarities looks.

Note the single fan cap in the back, lack of radio antenna in front of the commander's cupola, and forward position of the bolts holding the gun in place. Another interesting point: most of these tanks only had two turret crewmen!

"According to GOKO degree from August 19th, 1943 #3908, and order #7 of the Commander of the Armoured and Mechanized Forces of the Red Army, Marshal of Armoured Forces comrade Fedorenko on January 29th, 1944, the NIIBT proving grounds performed trials of two experimental T-34 tanks from factory #112 from February 5th to February 21st, over the distance of 1000 km. February production tanks #4010163 and #4010171 with engines #E-312513 and E-312579 from factory #76 underwent trials. 

The difference between these tanks and mass production tanks is as follows:
  1. These tanks have 85 mm D-5 guns.
  2. The ammunition rack is reduced to 54 85 mm shells instead of 100 76 mm shells.
  3. The turret ring is 1600 mm instead of 1430 mm. 
  4. The front springs are strengthened (the spring diameter is 32 mm instead of 30 mm).
Tank trials were conducted in accordance with the program confirmed by the Deputy of the Chief of the Armoured Directorate of the Red Army, Lieutenant-General of the Tank Engineering service, comrade Lebedev. All trials were performed in the region of Kubinka station of the Western Railroad."
CAMD RF 38-11355-2358

Well, maybe they forgot. The same document for a T-34-85 with a ZiS-S-53 makes this unlikely, though.

"According to GOKO decree from August 19th, 1943, #3958, the NIIBT proving grounds tested a production T-34 tank from factory #112 from March 8th to March 28th, over 1000 km. 

A tank produced in March of 1944 was used, #G.4020433 with engine #E-402027 from factory #76, and gearbox #7230. The tank has the following differences compared to a stock T-34 tank with a 76 mm gun:
  1. The tank uses an 85 mm ZiS-S-53 gun.
  2. The ammunition rack is reduced to 55 85 mm shells from 100 76 mm shells.
  3. The turret ring diameter is 1600 mm (instead of 1450 mm).
  4. The front springs are strengthened (the spring diameter is 32 mm instead of 30 mm).
  5. The crew is increased to 5."
CAMD RF 38-11355-2364

And, to show the visual differences, another photograph:

Note the double fan cap on the back of the turret, the antenna mount in front of the cupola, and the altered periscope in front of the antenna. The bolts holding the gun in place are now sunken closer to the mantlet. 

Here is another rare tank. A T-34-85 with a D-5-T, and a commander's RSB-F radio! Only 5 were produced.

What looks like an "ordinary" T-34-85 is given away by an additional exhaust pipe on the side, from the generator. 

The rarities never end, as here is a photograph of a T-34-85 with a D-5-T that has a turret mounted radio and 3 turret crewmen. 

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