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RUSSIA

U.S.A.
M10 Wolverine
M4 Sherman
M3 Half-Track
Willys Overland Jeep MB
M7 Priest
B-17 Flying Fortress
SBD-6 Dauntless
P-51 Mustang
F4U Corsair
USS Enterprise
HMS Prince of Wales
USN Fletcher Class
USN Gato Class
LCVP Higgins Boat

GERMANY
PzKfW Mk.VI Tiger
PzKfW Mk.IV Panzer
Hanomag Sdkfz.251
VW Type 82 Kübelwagen
SdKfz.124 Wespe
Junkers Ju 87B Stuka
Messerschmitt Bf-109e

JAPAN
Chi Ha 97
Aichi D3A1 Val
A6M Zeke/Zero
IJN Shokaku Class
IJN Yamato
IJN Akizuki Class
U-Boat Type VII C
Dai-Hatsu 14M

U.K.
Spitfire Mk VB

RUSSIA
T-34/85
T34/76
BM-13N Katyusha "Stalin Organ"
Yak-9

Medium T-34/85 Tanks

The modernization of the T-34 was decided upon at a meeting of the State Defense Committee on August 25, 1943, after the severe losses at the battle of Kursk. V. G. Grabin, chief designer at Artillery Factory No. 92, suggesting in the spring of 1943 to us a long barrelled 85 mm tank gun to uparm the T-34. He used an 85 mm gun that was going to be installed in the KV-3 heavy tank. It had to be modified to fit the T-34 and it was designated the 85 mm Tank Gun ZIS-53.

During the 1st half of 1943 another group under General F. F. Petrov work on 2 variants of the 85 mm that was later used in the KV-85, IS-1, and SU-85.

At Factory No. 92 in Gorki, A. Savin made a 3rd variant of the 85 mm gun. It was mounted in a modified T-34 turret for testing. During testing it was realized that the turret would have to be enlarged to accommodate 3 crew members to allow for maximum possible rate of fire. The People's Commissariat for the Armor Industry assigned the task to a development bureau in the Krasnoye Sormovo factory. A cylindrical cupola for the commander was installed. However, when the 85 mm gun from V.G. Grabin was installed it was discovered that it had a limited elevation. New guns were developed and were tested at the end of 1943. The State Defense Committee approved it for introduction to the army on December 15, 1943.

Other faults in the 85 mm gun from V.G. Grabin were discovered and it was decided to use the gun from General Petrov. This gun had bad ballistic performance and work continued on the ZIS-53. It was tested in January 1944 and were shortly thereafter put into production. By the end of 1944 11,778 85 mm Tank Gun ZIS S-53 were produced.

A Tsch 16 scope was installed and it had a 16 degree field of view and 4x manification.

Production started in late 1943 and entered service in Guard units in March 1944. To combat the German Panthers & Tigers a more powerful gun was needed. The 85 mm was selected and was based on an Anti-Aircraft gun. The turret was modified from the KV-85 and held a crew of 3. Hand rails were welded onto the hull for infantry to hold on to. Gun could penetrate 100 mm at 1,100 yards. A special "Arrowhead" round was produced but was inaccurate at longer ranges.

OT-34/85: Had an AT-42 flame-thrower mounted in place of the hull MG. Could shoot a flame 60-100 meters.
PT-3: Had a mine removal roller attached. Engineer regiments had 22 T-34s and 18 PT-3 min removal devices.

There was a bridgelayer and mine-roller version too.

Crew Commander, driver, hull gunner, turret gunner, loader
51,3
1944: 52
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 70,000, 70,548 lb, 31.5 tons1,3, 32,000 kg1,3
1944: 32 tons2
Length w/gun 26' 5.75", 26' 8", 26' 7"3, 8.15 m3
1944: 8.15 m2
Length w/o gun 1944: 6.1 m2
19' 5.25", 20', 6.29 m1
Height 8' 5", 8' 6", 9' 10"1, 9' 7"3, 9'3, 2.74 m1,3
1944: 2.72 m2
Width 10' 6.25", 9' 10", 9' 7"1, 2.99 m1
1944: 3 m2
Ground clearance 1' 4"
1944: 0.4 m2
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure 12.37 psi
1944: 0.81-0.85 kp/(cm2 )2
Turret ring diameter 5' 2", 1.6 m
Armament (mm)  
Main 85 mm ZiS-S-533
1944: 85 mm ZIS S-53 1944 L/51.52
85 mm1
Secondary  
MG 2: 7.62 mm DT MG3
1944: 2: 7.62 mm DT MG, coaxial, hull2
2: 7.62 mm MG1
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 55, 60
1944: 56-602
Secondary  
MG 2,394
1944: 1,8902
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm)  
Hull Front, Upper 45, 90, 471
1944: 602
Hull Front, Lower 45
Hull Sides, Upper 1944: 452
601
Hull Sides, Lower 45
Hull Rear 30, 471
1944: 452
Hull Top 1944: 20-232
201
Hull Bottom 18, 201
1944: 222
Turret Front 55, 901
1944: 45-75
Turret Sides 1944: 752
55, 751
Turret Rear 50, 601
1944: 752
Turret Top 1944: 202
201
Engine (Make / Model) W-2-343 water cooled
Transmission 4 forward, 1 reverse
Capacity Internal: 127, 214, 144 gallons
External: 71 gallons
1944: 840 liters2
Performance  
Traverse 360°
Max Speed 1944: 50 kph2
31 mph1, 34 mph3, 55 kph3, 50 kph1
Cross Country 21.8, 18.6 mph
Road radius 186.4 miles, 224 miles1, 190 miles1,3, 360 km1, 300 km1,3, Cross Country: 310 km1, 193 miles1
1944: 300 km2
Turning Radius 25' 4"
Elevation Limits -5° to +25°
Fording depth 4' 4", 4' 3"
1944: 1.3 m2
Trench crossing 8' 3"
1944: 2.5 m2
Vertical Obstacle 1944: 0.73 m2
Suspension (Type) Christie
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Track length  
Tires  
Track width 1' 10"
Track centers/tread  
Production 1943: 2831, 1002
1944: 11,7781, 11,0002
1945: 7,2301, 18,3302

Sources:

  1. Russian Tanks of World War II Stalin's Armored Might, by Tim Bean & Will Fowler, 2002
  2. Russian Tanks and Armored Vehicles 1917-1945, by Wolfgang Fleischer, 1999
  3. The Encyclopedia of Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles - The Comprehensive Guide to Over 900 Armored Fighting Vehicles From 1915 to the Present Day, General Editor: Christopher F. Foss, 2002