T-34 Tank, T-34/85, SU-85, SU-100
Subsequent T-34/76 models are best known by their British classification. The Models E and F were both produced in 1943. While the basic hull and turret structure of the T-34/76E remained the same, it had a more effective air-cleaning and lubrication system. The hull design was also improved by using automatic welding processes with improved materials that gave stronger, higher quality joins. The Model E clearly demonstrated the advances made in Soviet industry. This new confidence in tank construction meant that each new T-34 model was more rugged and better equipped.
The Model F had a distinctive appearanceas, while it had no commander's cupola, the model had contoured undercuts around all the sides and the front. The main difference to the F was, however, in its internal workings. The T-34/76F had new, highly efficient automotive components. The old four-speed gearbox was replaced by a five-speed box that made gear-changing easier and in creased the speed of the T-34. The air filter was refined further and a level of care and thought went inro the mechanics of the T-34/76F that set it apart from earlier models. However, only a limited number of this type were produced as production began to move in a much more radical direction.
By 1943 it was apparent that the 76,2 mm (3in) gun on the T-34 tank was inadequate. The model incorporated many new design features, and had added armour protection, bur it was still undergunned. The appearance of the German long-barrelled high-velocity 7,5cm (2,95 in) (L/48) and 8,8cm (3,46in) tank guns finally proved that the T-34 had to be up-gunned, and this was to lead to the genesis of the T-34/85.
With its 85mm (3,34in) gun, the T-34/85-I that appeared in 1943 was basically an up-gunned T-34 tank. The T-34/85 had a new turret originally designed for the KV-85 tank with a ring diameter of 1,56m (5,2 ft). This created the space for an extra crewmember and simplified the tasks of the tank commander, who previously had helped with the gun. The T-34/85-l was first issued to elite Guards Tank units, and the new gun soon proved its worth. Based upon the pre-war M-1939 85mm (3,34in) antiaircraft gun, it had an effective range of 1000m (1100 yd) and, it was claimed, was able to penetrate the frontal armour of the German Tigers and Panthers.
Introduced in 1944, the T-44 with its crew of four was a total re-design of the T-34/85. It was longer and lower, had a larger turret, thicker armour up to 120mm (4,75 in) and torsion bar suspension. There was no hull machine gun and the V-12 381kW (512 bhp) diesel engine was mounted transversely. It was initially armed with an 85mm (3,34in) gun, and this was later replaced with a 100mm (3,9in), but the turret was too small for this big gun and the weight of the tank was 34,545kg (34 tons). The hull was 6,5m (21ft 4in) long, and it was 3,28m (10ft 9in) wide and 2,49m (8ft 2in) high. The V-12 381kW (512 bhp) diesel engine gave a road speed of 50km/ h (32 mph) and range of 250km (155 miles). The T-44 formed the basis of the post-war generation of T-54, T-55 and T-62 tanks.
The SU-85 was designed to coumer German Tiger and Pamher tanks imroduced in 1943 that had out-ranged the T-34 with their 8,8cm (3,34in) and 7,5cm (2,95 in) guns. It was based on a T-34 tank chassis with a V-12 373kW (500bhp) engine but with a simple superstructure mounting an 85mm (3,34 in) D-5S gun. It was put together as a prototype very quickly and production was underway at the Uralmashzavod and Kirov plants in mid-1943. The SU-85 was 6.58 m long (21 ft 7in), 2.99 m (9ft 10 in) wide and 2.54 m (8ft 4in) high. It weighed 29,600kg (29,13 tons) and had a crew of four. The vehicle had a road speed of 48 km/h (30mph) and range of 320km (200 miles). Production halted when the T-34/85, armed with the D-5S gun, entered service.
When the T-34/85 entered service, the Uralmashzavod factory took the chassis of the SU-85 and mounted the M 1944 100mm (3.9 in) D-10S naval gun. With muzzle velocity of 895m/s (2936 ft/s), it fired a 15,88kg (35Ib) shell to a maximum range of 20,650m (22,580 yd).
The SU-100, which had 34 rounds stowed on board, was more than capable of destroying the heaviest German tanks. Its all-up weight was 32,515kg (320 tons); it was 5,92m (19ft 5in) long, 3m (9ft 10in) wide and 2.54m (8 ft 4in) high. The V-12 diesel gave 373kW (500bhp) and a road speed of 56km/ h (35mph) and a range of 300km (186 miles). Armour protection for the hull from was 75mm (3in) and for the gun mantlet 110mm (4,3in).
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