UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


T-28 Multi-turret Tank

The T-28 was a Soviet medium three-turreted tank belonging to the interwar period. It was developed in 1930-1932 by engineers of the tank-tractor VOAO design bureau, supervised the work on the project S. A. Ginzburg. In the 1930s, the T-28 Multi-Turret Medium Tank was a symbol of the Red Army as much as his heavier "brother," the T-35. It's silhouette is well known from pre-war newsreels about Soviet military parades on Red Square in Moscow.

This machine was the first medium tank in the Soviet Union, which was able to start mass production. In the period from 1933 to 1940 in Leningrad at the Kirov plant was made 503 copies of the T-28 tank. The T-28 tank mounted a powerful 76mm howitzer in its main turret and two mashineguns in seperate, smaller turrets. It was used from 1933 to 1944. Some of the tanks also fell into Finnish hands during the winter war.

In 1930, the Soviet Union negotiated with Great Britain for the supply of heavier tanks to the country, and the possibility of buying three-turret Vickers Medium Mark III tanks, which were also known as Vickers 16 tons, was discussed. On the basis of machines purchased in England, it was planned to expand its production of breakthrough tanks. However, the negotiations ended in failure, the company Vickers-Armstrong did not support the idea to sell several samples of the tank, citing the secrecy of its design. At the same time, the USSR was offered tough conditions under which a deal could be concluded. In particular, the Soviet Union was asked to pay for an introduction to the tank design, to purchase 10 Vickers Medium Mark III tanks, and to guarantee the acquisition of Vickers light tanks.

However, Moscow was not satisfied with such conditions of the deal, and all options were rejected. As a result, the USSR began work on creating its own counterpart of the Vickers Medium Mark III tank. The faculty of motorization and mechanization of the Military Technical Academy named after Dzerzhinsky, as well as the tank and tractor design bureau of the All-Union Artillery Union (All-Union Arsenal Association) took up the sketchy design of a new tank. To the new tank, the Soviet military formulated the following requirements: the preservation of the overall layout of the British combat vehicle, a weight of not more than 16 tons, weapons - a 45-mm cannon in the main turret and tank machine guns in small ones. It was planned to equip the tank with combined armor, which included sheets 10 mm thick on the roof, 17 mm on the vertical surfaces of the vehicle, and 20 mm in the frontal part.

In 1931 a new project was undertaken to build a three-turret medium tank. It was designed by a group from OKMO of the "Bolshevik" machine-building plant in Leningrad. The group was led by Chief-Engineer N.V.Barykov and Chief Engineer N.V.Tzeitz.

At the end of 1931 the first prototype was sent to the proving grounds for testing. The first prototype of the new tank was designated T-28-1, the msvhinr was made of non-armored steel, the tank was ready in May 1932, and then he was able to complete his first test run. In contrast to the previously approved project, the tank was distinguished by the installation of a more powerful V-shaped 12-cylinder piston aircraft engine model M-17, which has water cooling. The tank also received a PS-2 37-mm cannon, since at that time the 45-mm tank gun was not ready yet.

The main turret of the new tank was armed with a 45 mm gun and a DT machine-gun. Two other turrets were armed with DT machine-guns only. The main turret was rotated by an electric drive which was a novelty for that time. Initial tests showed many shortcomings in the chassis as well as in the transmission.

In 1932, the tank-building workshops of the "Bolshevik" Factory were segregated into an independent facility, factory No.174. Due to full utilization of this factory for manufacturing T-26 light tanks the manufacturing the T-28 tanks was assigned to the "Krasnij Putilovetz" industrial plant (since 1934 - "Kirovskiy Zavod"). All documents for T-28 production were sent to that plant in November 1932.

To maintain mass production of a new tank, a special group of engineers was summoned. Later this group was reorganized in Special design bureau No.2 (or simply SKB-2) with director O.M.Ivanov, Chief Engineer N.F.Komarchev (in 1933 he was arrested and replaced with A.G.Efimov). In May 1937 O.M.Ivanov was also arrested and replaced with J.Y.Kotin.

By February 25, 1933, the first 8 armored hulls had been produced and assembling of the first 4 tanks began. By 1 May, 12 vehicles were completed, 10 of which took part in a military parade in Moscow and the other two - in Leningrad. On 11 August 1933 the new medium tank was accepted to the Red Army service under the T-28 designation.

The first order from the Red Army to produce the T-28 (in 1933) was for 90 T-28's. However, up to end of the year the industry could build only 41 new vehicles. A total of 503 tanks were built during mass production runs.

In the first years of serial production (from 1933 to 1935) the tank suffered from chronic diseases, the car had a large number of flaws, which in some cases were very serious. For this reason, some already released tanks were delayed for a long time by military acceptance, and in the already handed over military vehicles we had to work on eliminating defects. The work was carried out directly in the army with the involvement of special factory brigades. All this time, Soviet engineers did not abandon attempts to modernize the T-28 tank.

T-28 Medium Tank - Design

Production T-28's were significantly distinguished from the prototype. The main difference was in the hull: production vehicles had a welded hull instead of riveted. The main turret was modified as well and rearmed with a short barreled 76.2 mm gun KT-28 (the original name of that gun was KT - Kirov tank, the index "28" meant it was modified to be installed in T-28) instead a 45 mm gun. The chassis and transmission were also slightly improved. In general, the T-28 had several versions. The most "improved" was the second series - it had over 600 modifications.

At the time, there were only three major modifications of vehicle:

  1. From 1938 the tank was re-armed with a 76.2 mm L-10 gun;
  2. From December 1939 the vehicle received extra protection - armored shields. The frontal armor was increased to 80 mm, the sides - to 40 mm. Weight was increased to 32 tons. Such tanks received a designation T-28E ("E" letter meaning: "ekranirovannij" - additional armor plates);
  3. In 1940 the main turret was redesigned again - to a conic form.

Experimental tanks had mine-clearing equipment TM-35 or equipment for crossing rivers under water T-28PKh.

During the serial production of the T-28 tank until 1940, the designers managed to add about 600 different patches to the tank, including the installation of the P-40 anti-aircraft turret, replacing the common landing hatch with two. In addition, it was possible to increase the voltage of the electric motor of the main turret of the tank by 2 times - from 12 to 24 V. Also, the internal communication devices "Safar", which were installed on tanks of the first series, were replaced by the domestic tank intercom TPU-6, designed for all crew members. On all the medium three-turret T-28 tanks, the 71-TK-1 or 71-TK-3 radio stations were mounted.

The sighting system of the KT-28 instrument included a telescopic sight of a sample of 1930 and a periscope of a sample of 1932. The mechanism of rotation of the turret of the tank had both electric and manual control. In the gun turret, a sector-type lift mechanism was used — manual. In two more small turrets, one DT machine gun was mounted. At the same time, the main turret of the tank had a circular sector of fire, while small machine-gun turrets had a 165-degree fire sector.

Since 1938, the T-28 tanks began to install a new more powerful tank gun L-10, having a barrel length of 26 calibres. The speed of a projectile fired from such a cannon reached 555 m / s. The gun was much more powerful than the old KT-28 tank gun. The new tanks also used the original ammunition layout - the shells were located in rotating ammo packs located under the gunner’s and tank commander’s seats. Each such combat pack contained 12 projectiles. In addition, to the left and right of the driver's seat were rotating drums - at 40 shops with DT machine guns each.

The crew of the T-28 tank included 6 tankers: a driver, a tank commander who was also a loading gun and a gunner, a radio operator who also served as the second loader, a gunner, and two gunners stationed in machine-gun turrets.

It should be noted that during mass production the T-28 achieved a high commonality with the T-35 Heavy Tank. For example, both vehicles had the same main turret (cylindrical and conic versions). Also, the smaller turrets (armed with TMG's) were the same. At first the T-28 was armed with a KT-28 short-barreled 76.2 mmtank gun. Later versions received a more powerful tank gun L-10 with a barrel length of 26 calibers and muzzle velocity of 555 m/s. In fact, there were a very limited number of L-10 guns, and some tanks were still armed with the KT. Both small turrets were armed with DT machine-guns. Each small turret could rotate 165°. The last version was equipped with an AA P-40 machine-gun ring armed with 7.62 mm DT AAMG. In general, the T-28 had quite a modern design for that time.

The use of T-28 medium tanks in the Winter War with Finland revealed the insufficiency of booking cars. Given this, an additional tank screening scheme was created. Combat vehicles were equipped with screen armor in factory conditions. The shielding was made by welding additional sheets of armor steel 20-30 mm thick to the tank hull and its turrets. Due to the shielding, the thickness of the body armor was brought up to 50-60 mm, and the upper part of the sides of the car and turrets - up to 40 mm. Such a move made it possible to seriously increase the security of the T-28, but at the same time it had the most negative impact on the tank’s dynamic characteristics, since its mass after shielding increased to 32 tons.

However, at the same time, the tank had some serious shortcomings, especially in the engine and transmission. Despite the designers' efforts these defects persisted. These difficulties were the result of immature technology processes as well as the Red Army's lack of experience in maintaining such complex vehicles.

Nevertheless, in the 1930's the T-28 was the most powerful medium tank in the world. The increasing firepower of anti-tank weapons (especially antitank guns) demanded increased armor protection and increased speed; that's why the multi-turret versions became obsolete.

T-28 Medium Tank - Combat

The first 10 tanks were sent to the 2nd Independent Regiment of RGK of the Leningradsky military district. In fact, independent tank units of RGK were represented since 1924. The 2nd Independent Regiment was formed in 1929. Later, due to production of new T-28 tanks another four tank regiments of RGK were formed: in Smolensk, in Kiev, in Kharkov, and in Slutzk. Organization of these regiments was changed several times.

By the end of 1935, each regiment consisted of three battalions of 30 tanks (T-28 and T-35) per battalion. In December 1935 these regiments were collected into independent heavy tank brigades. In these brigades, tanks of different classes weren't mixed with each other. In other words, a brigade might have T-28's or T-35's but not both types at the same time.

A heavy tank brigade of T-28's consisted of a three common tank battalions, a training battalion, supply battalion and some other units. This organization was created on 12 December 1935 by the order of Minister of Defense. However on 21 May 1936 all these brigades were assigned to the RGK. In 1939 there were four heavy tank brigades: the 4th, 5th 10th, and 20th tank brigades. In a deviation from the policy of matching tank types to units, the 5th tank brigade had both T-28 and T-35.

The 4th and 10th tank brigades were the first tank brigades which took part in military conflict. In September 1939 they took part in the occupation of Bessarabia (West Ukraine). After analysis of the first deployment of these brigades, ABTU ordered the reorganization of all tank brigades: now they were to consist of three tank battalions of 156 tanks per battalion (117 T-28 and 39 BT). There were also future plans to replace them with the KV-1.

On 30 November 1939 the Russo-Finnish war began (also known as the Winter War). The 10th and 20th tank brigades took part in this war. When the war ended, the 20th Brigade (commander - kombrig Borzilov) was awarded with the Red Banner Order. During the Winter War, T-28 tanks were used first for direct gunfire on embrasures of a Finnish pillboxes. However the standard 30 mm armor couldn't protect the tanks from Finnish AT-guns. That's why Soviet losses of T-28's were so high. After those battles the T-28's were equipped with additional armor.

During the Winter War a couple of T-28 tanks were captured by the Finns. In 1941 they've captured another five vehicles. Those ex-Soviet tanks served up to the end of the war in the one Finnish tank brigade. In 1944 one of those vehicles was modified (all turrets removed) and used as an armored evacuation vehicle up to 1951. There are rumors in 1955 two tanks have been sold to Turkey. However, not one archival document confirm that.

In March 1940, the Red Army started its new reorganization and formed several mechanized corps. Each mechanized corps consisted of two tank divisions and one motorised regiment. In that time all tank brigades were disbanded and their tanks were added to the new tank divisions. For example, on 22 June 1941, the 8th Tank Division (4th Mechanized Corps) had 75 T-28 tanks, another 5 vehicles were in 10th Tank Division (15th Mechanized Corps). Both corps were attached to the Kiev military district. On 15 July 1941, the 16th Mechanized Corps received an order from the commander of South-West Front to make a strike on Zhitomir. The 29th Tank Regiment (15th Tank Division) took part in this battle. During a counter-attack at Semenovka (a village near Berdichev) one platoon of T-28's under the command of 1st Lieutenant Vasiliy Sumtzov destroyed three German tanks, two AT-guns, one mortar, 7 trucks and about 100 German soldiers.

The fate of T-28 tanks was the same as for all other Soviet tanks - most them were lost in first two months of war. Some of the surviving T-28's served up to 1943 on the Leningradskiy Front and during the Moscow counter-offensive (1941).

In the summer of 1941 the design of the T-28 became obsolete due to the drawbacks of multi-turret vehicles. German Pz-III and Pz-IV had an equal armor protection but were much more maneuverable, but the T-28 was better armed than any German tank in 1941 and could hit any German tank from long distances.

T-28 tanks took an active part in the fighting at the first stage of the Great Patriotic War. Almost all of these cars were lost in the summer battles of 1941. The surviving tanks were limitedly used in battles until 1944. The last documented evidence of the use of T-28 tanks in battle dates back to July 1944. Combat vehicles were used during the offensive of the Red Army in Karelia. Trophy tanks T-28 were also used by the armed forces of Finland. At the same time in service with Finland, these Soviet tanks remained until 1951.

T-28 Medium Tank - Specifications

Basic data
Combat Mass, t25.4
Armor Thickness, MM:
Lower Front frontal sheet30
Top Front Inclined sheet15
Driver Mechanic Guard30
Hull Board20
Folding Board Suspension Protection10
Body Feed18-20
Roof case10
Large Tower Board20
Big Tower Roof15
Mask guns20
Small Tower Board20
Small Tower Roof10
Specific pressure, kgf/cm20.62
Maximum speed, km/h:
by highway42
By the Protree20-25
Power Reserve, km:
by highway190
By the Protree140
Capacity of fuel tanks, l660
Obstacles to Overcome:
Ascent, hail47
Lateral roll, deg31
Vertical Wall, M1
Moat, M1
Thickness of the tree to be piled, cm40

Caliber, MM76.2
Ammunition, shells69
Machine gunsDt
Caliber, MM7.62
Ammunition, cartridges7938

T-28 Medium Tank - Variants

  • T-28-1 the so-called "pre-production sample." Released in 1932 in the amount of two tanks. He was armed with a 45 mm cannon and 3 DT machine guns;
  • T-28/1933 . It was mass produced in 1933/34. Armed with a KT-28 76.2 mm caliber cannon and 4 DT machine guns. It was made 41 tank;
  • T-28/1934 . Produced in the period from 1934 to 1938. To armor tank added one machine gun. The troops delivered 266 tanks;
  • T-28E tank - screened
  • T-28/1938 . Made in the period from 1938 to 1940. Armed with a gun L-10 caliber 76.2 mm and five DT machine guns. 131 tanks released;
  • T-28/1940 . Equipped with a conical main turret. Armament has not changed. Manufactured 13 tanks;
  • T-28E - shielded. The screening of the tank was carried out in 1940, taking into account the experience of the armed conflict with Finland. Works were carried out on 111 machines;
  • T-28A - speed. Had a modified gearbox and final drive, due to which an increase in the speed of driving along the roadsteads to 46 km / h was achieved, and on the highway to 56 km / h. It was produced from VI to XII 1936. During this period, 52 tanks were produced. The release was discontinued due to the planning of the release of the T-29 tank.

The chassis of the T-28 was actively used by Soviet designers to create experimental armored vehicles.

  • T-28A-2 - October 1936. Issued in a single copy. Had an experimental transmission (hydro-mechanical), which allowed to bring the speed of the tank to 65 km / h;
  • T-28 with suspension T-35T-28PH (underwater walking). Had equipment to overcome water obstacles along the bottom at depths of up to 4.5 m. Produced in a single copy in 1937. It was tested VIII - XII 1937. The crew was equipped with light diving equipment. Tank made 27 races. The total time spent under water was 6 hours and 35 minutes. With the engine running T-28 with torsion bar suspension- 4 hours 44 min. During the tests, the maximum time of a single dive was brought up to 60 minutes. The time of continuous operation (submerged) of the engine was 27 minutes. According to the results of these tests, it was decided that it would be possible in principle to use the T-28PH (after appropriate equipment modifications) for underwater crossing of water barriers having a depth of not more than 4 m, a width of not more than 1000 m and a current speed of not more than 1 m / s.

In addition to the experimental machines based on the T-28, samples of armored vehicles were created, which were later produced in small series. The most famous of them are:

  • T-29 wheeled-tracked tank, the most unified with the T-28. The exact number of tanks produced could not be established;
  • IT-28 engineering tank bridge laying machine. The machine was created in the period from 1936 to 1940. In metal IT-28 saw the light in the spring of 1940 on the chassis of the T-28E tank. From the tank dismantled the turret and turret box. Instead, set the octahedral felling. A double-track bridge with intercept levers and a bridge drive 13.3 long and 3.5 m wide was mounted on it. The design allowed the bridge to be brought in: horizontally and vertically for 3 minutes, bringing the bridge into the transport position for up to 5 minutes. The width of the engineering tank bridge laying IT-28obstacle that he allowed to block was 12.5 m. The capacity shown by the bridge was 50 tons. IT-28 was armed with two DT machine guns. Having received a positive assessment in principle, the car was sent for revision. But it was never brought to the required characteristics due to the fact that the war began and the work was curtailed;
  • The T-112 was an experimental medium tank. It was developed in 1938 in order to unify the suspension of the T-28 and T-35 according to the type of the latter. Did not go beyond the design work stage;
  • MBV - motobronewagon. The basis was taken units and units, as well as the gun turret T-28. it was equipped with three turrets with cannons KT-28 / L-11 of caliber 76.2 mm (during the war they were replaced with F-34), 4 Maxim machine guns and 8 - DT. It was manufactured 2 armored cars, which participated in hostilities during the Great Patriotic War;
  • Self-propelled mortar caliber 152.4 mm (1932). It was armed with 152 mm mortars of a model of 1931 and 2 DT machine guns placed on the T-28 chassis. Mass - 17.6 tons. Ammunition - 47 shots. Speed on the highway - up to 37.5 km / h. All three turrets were removed from the product, the side walls were leveled, the front armor plate was replaced (with ball bearings for two machine guns). Additionally installed side and rear armor plates to cover the gun crew. The crew of SAU consisted of 6 people;
  • Self-propelled gun (coastal) caliber 152.4 mm (1933). Experimental SAU for coastal defense. It was armed with 152 mm naval gun B-10. Had a constructive ability to conduct circular fire. This was achieved due to the fact that the caterpillars rose, and the body fell to the ground. And the whole installation was based on a special design pallet with a roller shoulder strap, which allowed the gun to be rotated smoothly and at a speed of up to 10 degrees SW second. The low altitude in the combat position provided a good masking of the gun on the ground. With a mass of 50 t. SU developed speed on the highway about 20 km / h. Translation from marching to martial status took up to 3 minutes. The crew of SU 6 people;
  • SU-8 - an experinental anti-aircraft SAU (1935). Armed with an anti-aircraft cannon caliber 76 mm sample 1931 and one machine gun DT. Open installation. To unload the springs when firing stops were installed, the sides were folded back to increase the area required by the gun crew. The mass of SU-8 is 19 tons. The crew ZSU 6 people. Ammunition - 108 shots. One prototype was made;
  • SU-8SU-14 (1935) and SU-14-1 (1936). SAU on chassis T-28 and T-35, respectively. Armament: a howitzer B-4 caliber 203 mm in the first case and a naval gun B-10 caliber 152 mm, in the second. Several prototypes were manufactured as part of the “self-propelled duplex” project;
  • Tank minesweeper. The car was created taking into account the experience of the armed conflict with Finland. On the serial T-28 mounted roller track mine sweep, the so-called "push" action. One carriage was making a 600 mm wide passage. tests have shown that the carriage resource is enough to undermine up to 3 anti-tank mines of the TM-35 type, after which it needs repair. The trawl allowed demining at speeds up to 12 km / h. He mounted on a serial tank for 1 hour and 40 minutes. The dimensions of the tank with the mounted trawl were: 8160 x 3216 mm. weight of the mounted trawl - 2110 kg. According to the test results, the task was set to bring the survivability of the carriages to 12-15 explosions. Further work was continued, but on the T-34 chassis;
  • As an option, in continuation of the theme, a striker (TR-28) mine trawl, tested in the summer of 1940, was created. He allowed to clear the passage width of 3500 mm. In front of the tank, the drum was fastened with segments of cables placed on it, the ends of which were weighted with weights. Revolving ropes with cargoes hit the ground and the mines detonated. The design was also approved in principle and sent for refinement;
  • Tank electric trash (1940). Instead of the main artillery turret mounted generator in the armored wheelhouse with a set of additional equipment. Before the tank, an UHF EM field (ultra-high frequency) was created, which initiated the detonation of mines with electric detonators. 04/14/40 tank successfully passed state tests, but did not go into mass production. During the war years, similar work was carried out on the basis of the KV-1 tank (object 218);

In addition, T-28 artillery turrets were used on project 1124 and 1125 armored cars, in the manufacture of armored trains (Dzerzhinets No. 2 and Fascism Fighter No. 1), as well as in the creation of DOTs (defense of Leningrad). The design of the T-28 tank was the optimal ground for testing new tank guns. During the release in the artillery turret T-28 posted:

  • Cannon tank L-11 (1938) caliber 76.2 mm created at the Kirov factory to replace the L-10. This gun was considered as the main one for T-28 tanks and a regular one, for promising medium and heavy tanks that were at the design stage at that time. In 1939, ground tests were carried out comparative tests of L-11 and F-32. The results were about the same. However, the L-11 was much more complicated and more expensive to manufacture, as a result of which it was not accepted for service;
  • CT-28The F-32 tank gun was created by the Gorky OKB-92. Adopted in January 1940. But the T-28 has not reached;
  • Gun tank f-30 caliber 85 mm. Also the development of OKB-92 (chief designer VG Grabin). Created in 1939 as a tank gun of great power. Being installed in the T-28 turret, only the tests of artificial recoil and carriage passed. Shooting was not carried out, since the calculations showed that the recoil response to the epaulet should significantly exceed the constructive possiblity;
  • Cannon tank F-39 caliber 95 mm (OKB-92). Created in the spring of 1940 on the basis of the F-30 (caliber 85 mm). Tested similarly to the F-32 and with the same conclusions.

T-28 Medium tank T-28 Medium tank T-28 Medium tank T-28 Medium tank T-28 Medium tank T-28 Medium tank T-28 Medium tank T-28 Medium tank T-28 Medium tank T-28 Medium tank T-28 Medium tank

T-28 Medium tank

T-28 Medium tank

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list

Page last modified: 10-04-2019 10:17:08 ZULU