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History of Tanks - T-34

One of the most influential tanks of World War 2.

Prior to World War 2, some of the most abundant tanks of the Soviet army were the BT series of armored vehicles. However, the BT series just wasn’t holding up to enemy assaults, so the Red Army assigned Mikhail Koshkin to develop and design a new series of tanks.

Part of the reason behind this new design was due to the type of engine that the previous tanks used. For a long time, the Soviet tanks utilized a petrol engine (as opposed to the diesel engines of the Japanese army) which would be quite susceptible to catching fire. A well-placed Molotov would seep into the engine compartment thanks to the poorly constructed and riveted armor.

The T-34, one of the Soviet Union's most effective tanks.
The T-34, one of the Soviet Union's most effective tanks.

As it became more apparent of the failings of the Red Army’s tanks, Koshkin appealed to Stalin to create a better tank. This lead to the development of a heavier tank, the A-32, but Koshkin didn’t stop there. Koshkin and his team began designing what would eventually become the T-34, which was named after the year 1934, the year which Koshkin began dreaming up the fabled T-34.

While the most common gun on the T-34 was the 76.2mm, the in-game 57 mm ZiS is often touted as one of the best options for tankers.
While the most common gun on the T-34 was the 76.2mm, the in-game 57 mm ZiS is often touted as one of the best options for tankers.

After the failings of the previous tanks during battles, Koshkin focused on improving the armor protection, mobility, welding quality, and main guns in his future designs and productions. Before this came the A-32 tank that utilized 32 mm frontal armor and an L-10 76.2 mm gun. Another version of the A-32 was created with 45 mm armor, wider tracks, an L-11 76.2 mm gun, and was approved for production as the T-34. This quality is reflected in the World of Tanks version of the T-34 with the tank’s sloped armor being extremely difficult to penetrate even when the user isn’t angling the tank correctly.

Once this production was approved, Koshkin pushed his team to improve the tank along the previous points: armor, mobility, welding, and guns. When the prototype T-34 was completed, Koshkin’s team took the tank for a 2,000 km drive to show the Kremlin leaders the new addition to the Red Army. Unfortunately, Koshkin succumbed to pneumonia after the drive in the tank to Moscow exacerbated the condition.

The frontal armor on the T-34 is incredibly strong, able to withstand the German forces during World War 2 and even considered quite strong in World of Tanks.
The frontal armor on the T-34 is incredibly strong, able to withstand the German forces during World War 2 and even considered quite strong in World of Tanks. Then add in an array of powerful guns and the T-34 ends up being a powerful vehicle.

The original designs of the T-34 utilized well-sloped armor, a powerful engine, wide tracks, and a 76.2 mm gun. This 76.2 mm gun saw various upgrades over the course of the war that ended with the T-34-85 version of the T-34 as it used an 85 mm ZiS-S-53 gun. The vast array of weaponry is reflected in-game as four different armaments are available for use with the 57 mm ZiS-4 offering excellent accuracy and velocity.

As the war continued, it became easier and cheaper for the Soviet industry to produce the T-34 in all of its various forms. By the end of the conflict, more than 80,000 T-34s (including all variations) were produced. Interestingly, the T-34 is to the Soviet’s what the M4 Sherman is to the American’s, with both tanks being considered one of their nation’s best advancements in tank technology.

With excellent armor, good mobility, and powerful guns, the T-34 is the Soviet equivalent of the USA's M4 Sherman. Which do you prefer to use?
With excellent armor, good mobility, and powerful guns, the T-34 is practically the Soviet equivalent of the USA's M4 Sherman. Which do you prefer to use?

The T-34 was one of the Soviet Union’s most renowned tanks and was considered one of the most effective, efficient and influential tank designs of World War 2. Thanks to its sloped frontal armor, it was incredibly tough against enemy fire as noted by numerous German reports from the time. Overall, the T-34 was an incredible tank and its effect on the outcome of the war cannot be understated.

Thankfully, World of Tanks players are able to take to the battlefield in one of the Soviet Union’s greatest tank accomplishments of World War 2. If you want to read more about the history behind tanks, be sure to check out the rest of our History of Tanks articles!

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Sam Chandler

Sam loves all things shooters, whether it's a cheeky chicken dinner in PUBG or diving into a raid in Destiny, he'll be there.