T-34 - Variants
Each plant manufacturer made design changes. Thus, externally (or rather, externally) it was possible in some cases to distinguish production tanks of different years and different factories. With regard to the T-34, it was not customary for the Soviets to follow the German practice at that time to assign tanks of different series to different modifications. In soviet literature, tanks of 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943 are distinguished. This refers to the T-34 in this case, armed with a 76-mm cannon. Now they are usually denoted as T-34-76. It is difficult to say exactly when and at what factory the T-34 of the 1941 model took shape. These machines began to be armed with an F-32 gun with a barrel length of 31.5 caliber. They switched to fixing the front edges of the frontal armor plates. Now they were joined by a weld. The reservation form for the recoil of the gun was changed.
In the process of its production, the T-34 was improved, and many changes were made to its design. However, the main thing: the body, engine, transmission (except for the gearbox), the suspension remained almost unchanged. The remaining parts have changed repeatedly. The L-11, F-32, F-34, D-5T, ZIS-S-53 guns were installed on the tank as the main armament. Some experts have up to 7 different types of turrets: welded from rolled sheets, cast or even stamped, with a thickness of 45 mm, created at ChKZ. The turrets differed not only in the shape and number of hatches on the roof, the number and location of the "mushrooms" of fans, the presence or absence of pistol embrasures, viewing devices in the boards, but, most importantly, its shape. The earliest option is a small turret, commonly referred to as a “pie”. In 1942, under the leadership of MA. Nabutovsky designed a new hexagon-shaped turret, the so-called "nut". It was more technological in production. Both turrets were considered cramped for the two crew members sitting in them.
There are also four types of rollers: with rubber, with internal depreciation, with a solid rim, with a developed ribbing. There were at least three types of tracks. The additional tanks for fuel also differed in form, quantity and location. There were other differences: antennas, railings, exhaust pipe shells, driver's hatches, etc. All listed, apparently, is not worth it. And often at the front of any one machine, especially after the repair, had several different rollers.
By analogy with the machines of earlier releases, a cast turret began to be installed, however, retaining the shape of the previous one - welded. The manufacture of the casting turret facilitated the production and made it possible to increase the production of tanks. Changed the shape of the hatch in the roof of the turret. The driver's hatch received a rectangular shape with two periscopic viewing devices standing separately in it, covered with armored gates. The driver could use any of them (the second served as a backup in case the first one failed).
The track width of the caterpillar was reduced from 55 to 50 cm and they got a developed surface. As a result, improved maneuverability of the tank due to better engagement of the tracks with the ground. Some of the cars began to be equipped with road wheels without “rubber” (rubber tires), with the so-called internal depreciation. This was done in order to save scarce rubber, but led to the rapid deterioration of rubber internal depreciation and complicated production. Internal depreciation of the rollers was not widespread and in the future it was only periodically applied in some series of different factories. Guide rollers lost the gum forever, in this case the savings were out of place. The combat weight of the tank sample of 1941 increased. in this case, the savings were in place. The combat weight of the tank sample of 1941 increased. in this case, the savings were in place. The combat weight of the tank of 1941 increased.
The year 1942 brought new improvements in the design of the T-34, aimed at increasing its combat power, maneuverability, as well as simplifying the design. On the tank guns were placed either F-32 or F-34. The last barrel length is 41.3 caliber. The ballistic characteristics of the F-34 were the same as those of the famous ZIS-3 divisional cannon and the ZIS-5's heavy KV tank. Now the gun barrel protruded from the front of the hull. Ammunition was 97 or 100 shots. To increase the free volume in the turret, the trunnion supports of the gun were moved forward beyond its frontal part. This caused the appearance of a convex fitting on it.
The cast turret received a hexagonal shape. On its roof there were already two hatches - the commander and loader. A five-speed gearbox was introduced (instead of a four-speed gearbox), which improved engine traction performance. A more efficient air cleaner and an all-mode fuel pump regulator were installed. The rollers were used either with rubber or with internal damping, both solid and lightweight, with stiffeners, besides in different combinations. A more powerful radio station, 9-P, was installed instead of 71-TK-3, and now it was installed on all machines, and not only on commanders.
In 1942, again, due to the offensive of the enemy troops, the Stalingrad Tractor Plant failed. At the same time, the production of the T-34 was also mastered at the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant and in Omsk at plant No. 174. The release of tanks in several factories further diversified the number of options. In combat, this created additional difficulties. Wrecked tanks, if possible, were evacuated from the battlefield, sometimes dismantled for parts on the spot. From the surviving parts, assemblies, units of several machines tried to assemble one. But sometimes, to the horror of tankers and repairmen, the same parts of different machines did not fit together! It all ended with the fact that Stalin called the Chief Designer of Plant No. 183 A.A. Morozov, and categorically demanded to bring parts of different plants to a single standard.
At the end of 1942, it was proposed at ChKZ to equip the T-34 with a commander's turret developed for the experimental medium tank KB-13. It began to be installed on tanks produced in 1943. The fixed turret had 5 viewing slots with glass blocks at the base, and a periscopic observation device MK-4 in the roof. It also has a hatch with a lid through which the gunner was landing (he was then called the commander of the turret or the turret) and the commander. The loader had his own round hatch to the right of the commander's turret, and also received his MK-4 device in the roof of the turret. On the part of the tanks was put a new cast turret of a more rounded shape. In 1943, several hundred OT-34 flamethrower tanks were launched. Instead of a frontal machine gun, ATO-41 flamethrower was installed on them. Fire shooting (incendiary mixture - 60 percent of fuel oil and 40 percent of kerosene) was carried out under the pressure of powder gases from the combustion of a conventional charge to the cartridge of a 45-mm cannon, which pushed the piston in the working flame-thrower cylinder. The range of flame throwing reached 60-65 m. (For a special mixture - up to 90 m.) 10 l of liquid in each shot. Tank capacity - 100 liters. They were enough for 10 shots.
The T-34M Medium Tank was being developed in order to improve the reliability and operational capabilities of the T-34 tank. Development work on this ceased as the the Great Patriotic War broke out.
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