The Soviet T-34 is considered the most successful tank of its time, it combined high speed, manœuvrability and fuel economy, low silhouette, good armour protection and firepower. The vehicle had 60 mm of sloped frontal armour, as much as the modern Leopard II, making it immune to 3.7 cm PaK 35/36 anti-tank guns. Even the powerful 8.8 cm L.71 gun of the Jagdpanther tank destroyer had only a calculated 11% probability of penetrating the T-34’s sloped frontal armour at 500 m range. By comparison, the German Tiger I tank was twice as heavy, but it lacked the sloped armour which would have reduced the probability of an effective hit against it by as much as 34%.
Cavalry Breakthrough Tank
The T-34’s four stroke V2 diesel engine, was small, light-weight, powerful, and relatively economical. The T-34 consumed 480 litres of diesel fuel over its cruising range of 300 km, compared to the Tiger tank which consumed 535 liters of petrol per 100 km, on level ground. Many Tigers were lost when they ran out of fuel and could not be recovered later.
Tactically, the T-34 fell into the Soviet N.P.P. category of "Cavalry" Breakthrough or Flanking Tanks, it was the workhorse of the tank brigade and the mechanized brigade. The Soviet wartime economy focused on tank production almost exclusively, and the only available armoured personnel carriers were American M3 White scout cars supplied under lend-lease. As a result, Soviet motorized infantry units typically rode their attached T-34 tanks into battle. These elite »tankoviy desant« tank riders have not been covered in 1:72 scale plastic yet, they would be an important addition to any collection of Soviet armoured forces.
Available Scale Model Kits
- T-34/76.C, 1:48 Tamiya 32515
- T-34/76.C, 1:72 ESCI
- T-34/76.C (cast turret), 1:72 UniModel UM72325
- T-34/76.C, 1:72 Italeri 7008
- T-34/76.C, 1:76 Matchbox 40082
- T-34/76.C, 1:76 Matchbox/Revell 03154
- T-34/76.C M.42/43, 1:76 Ostmodels R45
- T-34.C 1942 ZAVOD NR-27 Uparmour, Conv. Kit, 1:76 VUC C-110
- T-34/76.C, 1:87 miniTanks 1237
- T-34/76.C, 1:87 WTD 5
- T-34/76.C with STZ Turret, 1:87 ROCO 160
- T-34/76.C, 1:100 Roskopf 152
- Type: N.P.P. Breakthrough Tank
- Motor: V-12 cylinder diesel, 372 kw
- Speed: 50 km/h on roads
- Fuel Capacity: l
- Cruising Range: 300 km
- Length: 5920 mm
- Width: 3000 mm
- Height: 2400 mm
- Weight: 27.813 kg
- Armament: 76.2 mm L.42 F-34 Tank Gun; two DT 7.62 mm MGs; DChK 12.7 mm AA-MG
- Crew: Commander, Driver, Gunner and Loader
- Ford, Roger: T-34 Russian Battle Tank
- Funcken, L. & F.: L’Uniforme et les Armes des Soldats de la Guerre 1939–1945, p. 77
- Hughes, Matthew: Weapons of War: The T-34 Tank
- Zaloga, Steven: T-34/76 Medium Tank 1941–1945
- Soviet Army, 1942–1945
- Polish People’s Army (LWP), 1944–1945
- T-34/76.D with the larger hexagonal turret and «Mickey Mouse» twin hatches. Turret conversion kits available from Vac-U-Cast include different pedestals to mount these turrets on Airfix, Matchbox or Fujimi T-34 tanks.
- T-43/76.D assault tank version of the T-34/76.D, converted as above, but with additional frontal armour plating made from plastic card.
- T-34/85 retrofit, mounting a new 85 mm L.54 gun turret on an old hull. A suitable turret could be scrounged from the Fujimi T-34/85 kit.
Over 40,000 of the cheap and effective T-34s were built, and they outnumbered the expensive and complicated Tigers and Panthers by a factor of 6 to 1. As is often the case in business and war, the Germans did not internalize the important lessons of the early Blitzkrieg campaigns, whereas the Soviet Army learned from its defeats and prevailed eventually. Dinosaurs like the legendary Tiger tank end up in museums, but Volkswagens like the T-34 continue to serve even today.