T-34 Medium Tank
The T-34 is called the Victory Tank and the best tank of the the Great Patriotic War. This tank determined the architecture of armored vehicles of almost all the tank powers of the world in the post-war period. Carrying the Red Army banner into the streets of Berlin, the T-34 became a symbol of Russian armored might. After the experience of the Spanish Civil War, Soviet tankers said in one voice: we need a thick-armored vehicle with a powerful gun and a reliable, powerful engine. The T-34 was an outstanding design, combining the attributes of speed, protection, and firepower in a vehicle that was simple for the Soviet arms industry to produce in quantity, and was not beyond the functional and maintenance capabilities of the average Russian soldier.
The T-34 was involved in many armed conflicts in Europe, Asia and Africa of the 1950s and 1980s. The last documented case of the combat use of the T-34 in Europe was their use during the wars in Yugoslavia of 1991-1999. Dozens of T-34s have been installed in various countries of the world as monuments and museum exhibits.
The T-34 tank was developed at the design office of Plant No. 183 (now the Kharkiv Transport Machine-Building Plant named after V. Malyshev) under the supervision of Mikhail Koshkin. The tank’s “adoptive father” was engineer and tank designer Alexander Morozov. He was the man who finally sent the T-34 into combat, and then adapted it to take on new and increasingly formidable German opponents on the battlefield.
According to Hughs & Mann, the designation year "34" was to commemorate the 1934 Soviet state decree for a massive expansion of the USSR’s tank force (and it was also the year that the developer had this new-tank proposal accepted). Andrey Cheremisken corrects this in stating that Soviet publications explain the designation "T-34" is derived from the use of the letter "A" by the Kharkov Locomotive Factory #183 for experimental tanks, such as A-20 and A-32 and then A-34. Nothing to do with the year. With the mass production of the A-34 the "A" designation was changed to "T" resulting in T-34.
The prewar period is a time of abundance of various concepts of the tank. The creators of the T-34 were able to look into the future and develop weapons, the most suitable for fighting the approaching war. Koshkin and his team were the only ones on the threshold of the the Great Patriotic War who were able to guess what the battlefield would be, what means of destruction would be dangerous for the tank, what tasks the tank would have to solve. They foresaw the picture of the battle and understood what the tank should be like before - or other. On the basis of this vision, which was certainly accompanied by calculations and estimates, and created the T-34.
In every combat vehicle, but especially in tanks, a balance of some basic positions must be observed. In the tank, they represent firepower, armor protection and a high level of mobility. Here, in terms of balance of these three qualities, the T-34 tank surpassed all other tanks of the War. The diesel engine was used for the first time on a massive scale. Before that, gasoline engines were usually used. During the war, the Germans had gasoline engines, after the war almost everyone started switching to diesel engines, the solution in many respects provided the possibility of mass production and a high level of maintainability of the tank in the field.
This tank has enjoyed a truly remarkable life span. Skeptics like to compare the technical characteristics of the T-34 with other tanks of the the Great Patriotic War, arguing that the brainchild of Mikhail Koshkin was inferior to many of them. But what Norman Davis, a professor at Oxford University, said, is the author of the book Europe in War. 1939–1945. Without a simple victory ":" Who in 1939 would have thought that the best tank of the the Great Patriotic War would be produced in the USSR? The T-34 was the best tank, not because it was the most powerful or heavy, the German tanks in this sense were ahead of it. But it was very effective for that war and allowed him to solve tactical tasks. The maneuverable Soviet T-34s “hunted in packs” like wolves, which did not give chances to the cumbersome German “Tigers”. American and British tanks were not so successful in opposing German technology."
In 1945, summing up the the Great Patriotic War, British Prime Minister Lord Winston Churchill replied to journalists about the best weapon: “Three. English cannon. German aircraft "Messerschmitt". Russian tank T-34. However, if in the first two cases I understand how it was done, then I absolutely do not understand how such a tank appeared ... "
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