Saturday 25 July 2015

Yet Another T-34 Heir

Despite the start of the Great Patriotic War putting on hold any plans to produce the T-34M, ideas to replace the T-34 didn't go anywhere. In a 1942 decree on improvements to the T-34, the following point exists:

"5. For further development and improvement of medium tanks, allow NKTP and factory #183 to build two prototypes of the T-44 tank by September 1st of this year, with the following tactical-technical characteristics.
  • Mass: no more than 32 tons
  • Armour
    • Side: 60 mm
    • Front: 60-75 mm
    • Rear:
      • Rolled: 60 mm
      • Cast: 75 mm
    • Turret (cast): 80-85 mm
  • The turret has a commander's cupola.
  • Speed:
    • Highway: 45-50 kph
    • Off-road: 20-25 kph
  • Armament: 
    • One 76.2 mm gun
    • Two coaxial machineguns
  • Ammunition:
    • 76.2 mm shells: 60-65
    • DT rounds: 2000-2500
  • Crew: 4 (commander and radio operator, loader, gunner, driver).
  • Engine
    • At less than 30 tons: V2-34 engine, 500 hp
    • At more than 20 tons: V2-K engine, 600 hp
  • Fuel range: 250-300 km on a highway.
  • Suspension: torsion bar.
Confirm the rest of the requirements with NKTP and GABTU

6. NKTP (comrade Malyshev) and factory #183 director (comrade Maksarev) must perform trials of the tank with GABTU before October 10th and report to GOKO by October 10th.

7. The People's Commissariat of Finance must issue 5 million rubles to the NKTP from the Council of Commissars reserves to build and test experimental T-44 tanks and 5-speed gearboxes, as well as awards to exceptional workers."

However, it seems that Stalin was not quite ready to give up on the T-34. His trademark red pencil drew a big fat line across anything that had to do with the T-44 in this decree.

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