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|This page is about the Soviet medium tank T-34-85 (D-5T). For other uses, see T-34 (Family).|
- 1 Description
- 2 General info
- 3 Armaments
- 4 Usage in the battles
- 5 History
- 6 Media
- 7 References
- 8 Read also
- 9 Sources
The T-34-85 (D-5T) is a Rank III Soviet medium tank with a battle rating of 5.3 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced during the Closed Beta Test for Ground Forces before Update 1.41. This T-34 model is introduced with the formidable 85 mm gun on a tank mount. With a newer, strengthened turret, it can prove to be a menace at its battle rating. Though formidable, the Soviet upgraded the 85 mm gun to the improved ZiS-S-53 variant on the T-34-85 model.
Operational and visual characteristics of the T-34-85(D-5T) are as similar and as common to previous T-34 lineage of tanks as they come, with the exception of a new turret and more powerful cannon. Players experienced in operating previous models of the T-34 in Rank II should have little to no difficulty in adjusting to this vehicle. The same can be said, unfortunately, about opposition forces facing this vehicle. The T-34-85(D-5T) inherits both its predecessors' strengths and weaknesses.
The T34-85 works very well with other allied tanks (British and American) that it is often paired with in RB and SB. It retains high mobility and an effective main gun, allowing it to quickly get to capture points (usually following M18s, which are often first at the scene). Here the T-34-85 (D-5T) can capture the points and then hold them until heavier reinforcements arrive. This means that often the team will have early superiority over the capture points.
Survivability and armour
- Rolled homogeneous armour (Hull, Turret roof)
- Cast homogeneous armour (Turret, Cupola, Driver's hatch, Machine gun port)
|Armour||Front (Slope angle)||Sides||Rear||Roof|
|Hull|| 45 mm (60°) Front glacis
45 mm (60°) Lower glacis
75 mm (56-60°) Driver's hatch
65 mm (30°) Machine gun port
| 45 mm (39-40°) Top
45 mm Bottom
| 45 mm (47-49°) Top
45 mm (47°) Bottom
|Turret|| 90 mm (1-69°) Turret front
90 mm (7-61°) Gun mantlet
| 75 mm (19-22°) Front 2/3rd
52 mm (13-19°) Rear 1/3rd
|52 mm (12°)||20 mm|
|Cupola||90 mm||20 mm|
- Suspensions wheels are 20 mm thick and tracks are 18 mm thick
|Weight (tons)|| Add-on Armor
|Max speed (km/h)|
|Engine power (horsepower)|
|Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
|85 mm D-5T|
|Turret rotation speed (°/s)|
|Mode||Stock||Upgraded||Prior + Full crew||Prior + Expert qualif.||Prior + Ace qualif.|
|Reloading rate (seconds)|
|Stock||Prior + Full crew||Prior + Expert qualif.||Prior + Ace qualif.|
|Ammunition|| Type of
|Penetration in mm @ 90°|
|Ammunition|| Type of
Mass in kg
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive Mass in g
| Normalization At 30°
Last updated: 126.96.36.199
|55||52 (+3)||40 (+15)||38 (+17)||36 (+19)||31 (+24)||25 (+30)||19 (+36)||13 (+42)||7 (+48)||1 (+54)||No|
Turret and side empty: 36 (+19)
|7.62 mm DT|
|Capacity (Belt capacity)|| Fire rate
| Horizontal |
Usage in the battles
Although this tank is classified as a medium tank, it should still be handled with care. The vehicle's armour thickness around the hull is inherited from the previous T-34 Models and remains unchanged; not considered reliably accurate to resist impacts of any weapon except for smaller calibre cannons (<57mm). Angling can result in ricochets even from the most powerful armaments, such as the cannon of the Tiger H1 in some conditions. The tank does retain a high top speed and acceleration, allowing it to outmanoeuvre its more common but heavier German counterparts in its rank. The 85 mm D-5T cannon is sufficient when fighting against Tiger tanks from the front (less than 100m away), but is accosted by a Panther from the front, aiming for the very middle of the left or right side turret mantlet (100 mm), where the T-34's shells are guaranteed to penetrate.
Due to the fact, the only other thing worth noting about this vehicle compared to its predecessor's is its upgraded weaponry, the T-34-85(D-5T)'s armour protection in this Battle Rating and Rank are considered only barely sufficient when countering similar vehicle in its class. Almost all vehicles (excluding some SPAA) such as the common German Tigers, Panthers, USSR KV, IS and even other T-34 tanks will have little difficulty disabling or outright destroying this vehicle with a single shot in most conditions. When engaging the common Tiger tank and Panzer IV models, each of these vehicles retains the design flaw of 90 degree flat armour plates on the front and sides of each respective vehicle. The T-34-85(D-5T)'s cannon should have little no difficulty in penetrating this and destroying the opposition's vehicle in a single shot if this weakness is exploited. The Panther and occasional Tiger II models are more considerably dangerous and difficult to dispatch when encountering them head-on due to the thicker and sloped armour of which the 85mm cannon of the T-34 cannot penetrate. In head-on engagements, operators of this vehicle should note to precisely target the right and left side turret mantlet of each respective vehicles instead. Time expended in attempting to find a penetration confirmation indication on the cross-hair when inspecting the sloped front plate is time wasted and instead, should be focused on precise targeting of the mantlet. Of note for the Panther tank is the vehicle's slow turret traverse and as such, if opportunity presents itself, the operator of the T-34-85(D-5T) should utilize the vehicle's significant manoeuvrability advantage to out-flank, destroy the target in a single shot and prepare to switch and engage the next target, or to retreat. Other more common tanks such as opposition USSR KV, IS and T-34 models are usually less of a concern than the common Panther tank, as most of these respective tanks also inherit the weakness of somewhat slopped frontal chassis and turret armour which can be easily penetrated even from significant distances. Regardless, these vehicle's operation and design strengths and weaknesses are also inherited from vehicles of the previous Ranking and Battle-Ratings, only having their turret and weapons differing by being more powerful than their predecessors. All of which can still penetrate to critically disable to destroy the T-34-85(D-5T) in one or two shots.
Pros and cons
- Excellent manoeuvrability
- Excellent acceleration
- High rate of fire
- Sufficient firepower, 85mm cannon and shells able to commonly destroy a vehicle with a single penetrating APHE shell in its rank regardless of ground vehicle type
- The BR-365A shell is able penetrate most armour (especially on Panthers and early Tigers) and the large HE charge (164g of TNT Equivalent!) allows you to decimate crews in tanks once you penetrate and detonate. It also is very similar to the BR-365K shells in penetration values.
- Increased turret armour
- Excellent turret traverse speed
- Wide tracks for better ground flotation
- Player skill compatibility between older and newer T-34 models
- Poor gun depression - a common trait in all USSR tanks
- Barely-satisfactory armour protection in its rank
- Limited to four-man crew
- Poor reverse speed
The T-34, in its introduction, was a huge shock to the German army when they invaded as they did not have the adequate anti-tank weaponry to defeat the T-34 and its heavier companion KV-1 tank. However, by 1943, the Germans began introducing newer tanks or upgrading their current tanks. They upgraded their Panzer IVs with the 75 mm KwK 40 gun, which could penetrate the T-34, and introduced the Tiger I and Panther tanks into their forces, which could not only destroy the T-34s easily, but can also take in the 76.2 mm shells the T-34 fires. The inferior firepower the T-34 forced the T-34 forces to close into a very close distance during the Battle of Kursk with the Tigers and Panthers in order to get to the sides and fire at the weaker armour. While the Soviets were victorious against the German offensive, the T-34s suffered high losses with this strategy.
The T-34's slow improvement from the 1941 model was due to the decision to keep changes to the model low to keep costs low and productivity high. This worked well in the first two years against the Germans, but the Battle of Kursk showed that the newer German tanks now outgun the T-34s. Soviet High Command, once conservative on the T-34's upgrades, now opted for an increase in the T-34 armament to be able to counter the German tanks. During the development, an interim solution for the problem was the equipping of the 57 mm ZiS-4M gun onto the T-34, which has better penetration capabilities compared to the 76.2 F-34 guns. This tank, the T-34-57, performed as an adequate "tank-hunter", but the small HE shell on the 57 mm gun made it a poor tank armament so this was only an interim solution until a better design is made.
Testings with various guns in Soviet inventory against captured German tanks showed that the most capable gun was the 85 mm 52-K anti-aircraft gun. With this discovery, the 52-K underwent development to make derivatives able to be mounted onto a tank. The cannon was able to penetrate the front of the Tiger from 500 meters out, the turret side from 600 meters away, and the hull side from 800 meters away. However, the cannon was much larger than the F-34 gun and so a much larger turret was necessary to house the gun. The solution to this was to transfer the turret from the cancelled T-43 tank program onto the T-34, this increased the turret ring diameter from the original 1,425 mm into 1,600 mm, which required a retooling in the manufacturing plants. While this delayed T-34 production, the 85 mm was finally able to be mounted onto the T-34 as the T-34-85.
The T-34-85, aside from the enlarged turret ring for the new turret, uses the same T-34 hull design. Armour was still about 45 mm thick, sloped at 60 degrees for a 90 mm effective thickness. The Christie suspension was retained, as well as the diesel engine. However, the biggest difference in the tank design is the three-man turret, though a turret basket is still exempt from the design. Before, the two-man turret on the older T-34 had the commander forced to do his job and the gunner's, the three-man turret on the T-34-85 separated the commander's duty by having a separate gunner to fire the gun, leaving the commander to do his job commanding the tank as a whole. The larger turret also has space for a radio (previously in the hull by the assistant driver), allowing the commander to effectively communicate between tank units. Aside from the enlarged turret ring, new turret, and the 85 mm gun, the internal specifications of the T-34 and its pros and cons were nearly identical to the older variants.
The 85 mm gun on the T-34-85 was able to penetrate 125 mm of armour at 500 meters away at a 90 degree meet angle with normal AP rounds. The 85 mm gun was derived from the 52-K anti-aircraft gun, which was developed from Vasilliy Grabin and Fyodor Petrov's design bureaus. Petrov's bureaus produced the 85 mm D-5T gun while Grabin's design, after being taken over by A. Savin, produced the 85 mm ZiS-53 gun. During trials in the Gorokhoviesky Proving Grounds, it was found that the ZiS-53 gun was much better than the D-5T and was much simpler, which was redesignated as the ZiS-S-53 after Savin's initials. However, as the new turret was optimized with the D-5T gun, the T-34-85 started with the D-5T as the T-34-85 Model 1943, which ran on from February to March 1944. After March 1944, the 85 mm ZiS-5 was used as the armament of the T-34-85 Model 1944. During its production life from 1943 to 1958, up to 48,950 T-34-85s were created (22,559 of which during World War II), consisting of more than half of the total 84,070 T-34 units created in its entire production life since 1940.
From its introduction onwards, the T-34-85s were the main tank in Soviet service, with the older T-34s still being used as they are lost from combat and retribution and replaced. The T-34-85's 85 mm gun armour penetration and front turret armour nearly doubled compared to the older T-34, yet retain the same speed, mobility, and armour compared to it. The T-34-85 was vastly superior to the German's Panzer IVs and StuG IIIs, and though it was still ineffective in protection and armour penetration to the Panther and the Tiger I, it gave it a better edge in firepower to compete against them due to the higher armour penetration value on the 85 mm shells. The T-34-85s maintain numerical superiority throughout the entire war due to the Soviet's industrial base and design concept of mass producing single designs, while the Germans focus on newer, better tanks such as the heavier Tiger II, which restricted productivity and made logistics a hard job to maintain. The T-34-85s were the main Soviet spearhead weapon during Operation Bagration and its future offensives up until the Battle of Berlin. After the fall of Nazi Germany, the Soviets use the T-34-85s again in their invasion of Manchuria to fulfil their promise to invade Japan after the fall of Germany. The combined-arms forces of their armoured units overran the Japanese positions in Manchuria and were pushed all the way to a distance from the Yalu River. The Japanese surrender order was given out by the emperor on August 14, which was not carried out as a cease-fire until August 17.
After the end of World War II, the T-34-85s were given out in massive quantities to Soviet-occupied territories and their allies. The next action the T-34-85s faced was in the Korean War, in the hands of the North Koreans. The North Korean armoured forces are able to assault deep into South Korea with these tanks as South Koreans were severely under-equipped in anti-tank weaponry, only armed with US-supplied M24 Chaffees and regular bazookas, which were useless against the T-34s. It wasn't until the deployment of US troops into the Korean peninsula that the tide turned against the North Koreans and their tanks. The US sent their M4A3E8 Shermans, M26 Pershings, and "Super Bazookas" to arm the troops there. All these weapons are able to destroy the T-34-85s, with the M26 Pershing being able to penetrate straight through the front and back of the T-34-85 armour with HVAP rounds. The Shermans are able to go on par with the T-34-85s, but the better optic quality and crew training gave them an edge against the T-34-85s. These anti-tank weapons supplied by the coalition caused the North Koreans to suffer major tank losses and after their supply lines were cut by the US landings at Inchon, the armoured vehicles were abandoned as the North Koreans retreated. T-34-85s were still encountered once the Chinese became involved in the war, where they were accompanied with IS-2s as well. Though pure tank-to-tank battles between the two sides were scarce after 1950 due to combined-arms units used on both sides.
Past the Korean War, the T-34-85s were clearly obsolete with the development of newer tanks being developed worldwide. Despite that, many countries still use T-34-85s as their main tank or as reserves, even the Soviets and Finnish continue using them until the late 1960s. Warsaw Pact countries used them in large quantities and were involved in many conflicts within these countries, such as the East German uprising in June 1953, Hungarian revolution in 1956, Coup by Greek junta in July 1974, and the Turkish invasion in July-August 1974. The T-34-85s also saw conflicts in the Middle East in the hands of Syrians, Egyptians, Jordanians, and Iraq; Vietnam with the North Vietnamese, and in the Bosnian War in the Bosnian Serb Army. African countries such as Somalia and Angola still use T-34-85s in their armies, and they could even be seen in the recent conflicts in Yemen and in Ukraine. Despite their age, it seems that the T-34-85 was to become a tank that will persist in the hands of smaller countries for years to come.
During late 1944, the Soviets were already searching for a successor to the T-34s that use most of the newest tank technology found in recent years. The result was the T-44 medium tank, which did not enter service in time to see widespread usage and even combat during World War II. The T-44 underwent further development and redesigning to become a tank that would surpass the T-34 in the most produced tank in existence, the T-54 tank.
This tank was developed based on the T-34 at factory No. 183's design bureau by installing a new three-man cast turret with the 85 mm D-5T cannon. This weapon, with a length of 51.6 calibres, was created based on an artillery cannon with improved ballistics. The cannon's armour-piercing rounds reached a muzzle velocity of 795 m/s and according to standard firing data, it was able to penetrate the Tiger's frontal armour at a range of 500-800 metres.
The hexagonal shaped turret had an expanded traverse circle and slightly sloping sides, and its dimensions significantly exceeded those of the mass-produced T-34 turret equipped with a 76.2 mm cannon. The vehicle's commander also fulfilled the role of spotter as before, since the massive size of the weapon's breech prevented a third man from fitting into the turret. The turret's roof featured a cast command cupola with a two-leaved hatch and observation instrument, a ventilation hatch with an armoured hood, the PTK-5 surveillance device and a round loader's hatch.
The turret's armour had been increased, so its sides, front and command cupola walls were 75 mm thick, the turret roof 20 mm thick and the cupola roof 15 mm thick.
Its air filtering system was improved by installing the new Multicyclone air filter. Thanks to this, some motors worked for up to several hundred hours without repair, which was an almost unobtainable figure for T-34 Mod. 1941-1943 tanks.
Production of the tank began in January 1944. In total, 255 of them were made. Of them, 5 were command tank variants and were equipped with the RSB-F radio set, while the others were equipped with the 9RS radio set.
The vehicles began to join battle units (primarily Guards Tank Brigades) in 1944 and were used alongside the old T-34s. Tanks of this model actively participated in the liberation of Right-bank Ukraine in the spring of 1944, and in battles in Finland and Norway in battle units on the Karelian front.
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|USSR medium tanks|
|T-28||T-28 · T-28E|
|T-34-76||T-34 (Prototype) · T-34 (1940) · T-34 (1941) · T-34 (1st Gv.T.Br.) · T-34 (1942) · T-34E STZ · T-34E|
|T-34-57||T-34-57 · T-34-57 (1943)|
|T-34-85||T-34-85 (D-5T) · T-34-85 · T-34-85E|
|T-44||T-44 · T-44-100 · T-44-122|
|T-54||T-54 (1947) · T-54 (1949) · T-54 (1951)|
|T-55||T-55A · T-55AM-1|
|T-62||T-62 · T-62M-1|
|T-64||T-64A (1971) · T-64B|
|T-72||T-72A · T-72B|
|T-80||T-80B · T-80U|
|Trophies/Lend-Lease||▂T-III · ▂T-V · ▂M3 Medium · ▂M4A2 · ▂МК-IX "Valentine"|