Friday, 9 January 2015

Soviet Medium Tank Family

Towards the end of WWII, Soviet medium tanks were due for a firepower upgrade. The new T-44, despite having a superior layout and armour to the T-34-85, still carried the same 85 mm gun. While it was possible (with some difficulty) to fit a 100 mm gun in a T-44 or even a T-34-85, the Red Army opted for a brand new tank to carry the gun. Enter the T-54, in its first iteration.


"Comparative tactical-technical characteristics of the T-54, T-44, and T-34-85"

Characteristic T-54 T-44 T-34-85
Type Tracked Tracked Tracked
Engine V2-44 V2-44 V2-34
Combat Mass 35500 31800 33200
Hp/ton 14.6 16.8 15.52
Ground pressure without submerging 0.9 0.8 0.84
Dimensions
Length with gun forward 8970 7650 8100
Length with gun backward 8490 7440 7050
Hull length with MDSh 6555 - -
Width 3185 3150 3000
Height 2275 2400 2700
Height of the hull (from road surface) 1375 1400 1560-1680
Clearance 400 425 400
Width between middle of tracks 2610 2610 2460
Length of the contact surface 3940 3885 3850
Turret ring diameter 1800 1600 1600
Fighting compartment width 1850 1850 1420
Fighting compatment length (from ammuniton rack to engine compartment) 1570 1550 (from driver's seat) 1450
Height of the fighting compartment, from the floor to turret roof 1570 1590 1585
Armour


Thickness Angle Thickness Angle Thickness Angle
UFP 120 60 90 60 45 60
LFP 120 45 90 45 45 60
Side 90 0 75 0 45 40
Upper rear 30 60 30 60 45 40
Middle rear 45 17 45 17 45 47
Lower rear 30 70 30 70 45 45
Engine compartment roof and floor 15 90 15 90 20 90
Fighting compartment roof 30 90 20 90 20 90
Turret front 180 - 120 - 90 -
Turret side 150 to 90 at rear 20 90 20 75 20
Turret rear 75 12 75 12 52 12
Turret roof 15 90 15 90 20 90
Armament
Gun D-10T-K (experimental) ZiS-S-53 ZiS-S-53
Caliber 100 mm 85 mm 85 mm
Horizontal traverse 360 degrees 360 degrees 360 degrees
Maximum elevation 17 degrees 20 degrees 22 degrees
Maximum depression 3 degrees 5 degrees 5 degrees
Ammunition capacity 34 58 56
Aimed ROF 5-6 RPM 7-8 RPM 7-8 RPM
Machinegun type GVG DT DT
Amount 2 2 2
Caliber 7.62 mm 7.62 mm 7.62 mm
Hull machineguns 1 (fixed) 1 (fixed) 1 (ball mount)
Coaxial machineguns 1 1 1
Machinegun ammunition 3000 rounds 1890 rounds 1953 rounds
Hand grenades 12 20 20
Commander turret control Electric motor points turret at target selected by commander - -
Smokescreen MDSh - MDSh
Number of smoke charges 2 - 2
Location of charges Middle rear - Upper rear
Speed
Maximum speed 43.5 kph 51.1 kph 56 kph
Average speed:





Highway 30-35 kph 30-35 kph 30-35 kph
Off-road 15-18 kph 15-20 kph 15-20 kph

5 comments:

  1. It is amazing the Soviet T-54 had armor and firepower on par with the Tiger 2 at nearly half the weight!

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  2. Tiger-II was rapidly becoming a dinosaur in 1945. Some of the choices (radio operator, front transmission, intelinked wheels...) added weight with little advantage -if any-.

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    Replies
    1. Alejandro: I am aware that the German tank's high profiles and more spacious interiors added to their weight, and you mentioned interlinked road wheels. Were there any other reasons for the panzers weighing more than their contemporaries?

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    2. Bigger engine with big, huge cooling fans necessitated a bigger engine compartment, meaning more area to cover with armour. All that adds up as weight. The interweaving roadwheels didn't affect the weight very much. It's mainly just the sheer volume of the tank.

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    3. The Engine wasn't big at all... It was both smaller in physical dimensions and displacement compared to the Soviet V-2 series V12's and the Rolls Royce Meteor. In fact it's around the same physical size as the Ford GAF V-8 the M4A3 variant of the Sherman used.

      So the Big Engine reason is not valid...

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