Talk:T-34/Archive 1

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This archive page covers approximately the dates between 2003-10-06 and 2005-09-18.

Post replies to the main talk page, copying or summarizing the section you are replying to if necessary.

Please add new archivals to Talk:T-34/Archive02. (See Wikipedia:How to archive a talk page.) Thank you. Michael Z. 2005-12-20 07:08 Z

Awesome article

Awesome article. Especially the sidebar. BL 10:55, 6 Oct 2003 (UTC)

post-war T-34 engagements

A section should be added on the usage of T-34 by North Korea in Korean War, and Arab states in their wars against Israel.

Be bold! Michael Z. 2005-01-24 06:32 Z

Commander as loader

Hmm, all the sources on the web that I could find via Google (admittedly not a perfectly reliable source) show that the commander did not have to load the gun. The problem rather was that he had to be a commander and a gunaimer at the same time. The second crewman was a loader only.

See for example: [1],[2],[3],

And especially this: [4] The diagram clearly labels: commander and loader positions as separate.

I would appreciate it if you could point me to some evidence that the commander had to load the gun.Balcer 21:56, 11 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Sorry, I was going by my Zaloga book, and didn't bother to check any other sources.
  • Steven J. Zaloga and James Grandsen, Soviet Tanks and Combat Vehicles of World War Two, 1984. Arms and Armour Press, London. ISBN 0-85368-606-8
P. 135: "... The tank commander not only had the same duties as his German counterpart, but also had to load the main gun and the coaxial machine-gun which could be very distracting..."
Caption, top of p. 134: "This interior view shows the gunner's position to the left and the commander/loader's station to the right", which contradicts his description of the commander having "...a view-slit near his left shoulder."
On the other hand, the coax MG seems to be on the right, which would support the description in the main text. It's possible that practical commanders started to sit in the right-hand turret station and loaded instead of gunning, but I'm just speculating here. I wonder if the commander's periscope could be moved to the right-hand hatch.
I'll try to do some more reading. Michael Z. 2005-02-11 22:30 Z
From the diagrams further down the page at [5], it appears that the arrangement of hatches and periscopes was changing all the time, and of course there would always be a mix of tanks in the field. Difficult to generalize. Michael Z. 2005-02-11 22:41 Z

Thanks for the sources. Indeed Zaloga is a very reliable author on such matters. Maybe a good way to think about this is simply that there was no dedicated commander's position in the T-34/76, and the two crewmen in the turret, either the loader or the gunner, each did as much of the commander's job as they could manage. Maybe even the decision on who was the tank commander (loader or gunner) varied from tank to tank. Balcer 05:17, 12 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Sounds reasonable, although I suspect that there was a clear commander and he sat where he pleased!
One of the other web sources mentions that (at some point) a command tank had two periscopes. I don't know much about early war doctrine, but in the '50s the Soviets had very tight command & control in a tank company. They didn't use platoon or individual tank fire and movement very much; the company commander sometimes had the only radio, and would visually control all ten tanks (with hand flags!). They would move and halt together, and concentrate fire on a single target or area (inflexible, but potentially devastating).
I'm thinking that the company commander was the only one in the company who was expected to have the same battlefield awareness and level of initiative as a Wermacht or NATO tank commander. Michael Z. 2005-02-12 23:22 Z
You're right that, up to 1943, the company commander's vehicle had the only radio. You're probably also correct about the theoretical tactical doctrine. Where you're wrong (with all respect) is to which extent the tactical doctrine was ever put into practice. What with dust, smoke and exposure to enemy fire, the CC was unable to actually control (muhc less co-ordinate) his subordinate vehicles in action, and as a result each tank in effect operated alone. See Richard Overy's Russia's War and any description of the Chinese invasion of Vietnam in 1979 (in which the PLA's tanks did not have radios below the platoon level). --Euromutt 12:04, 26 July 2005 (UTC)
Good point. I'm guessing the company commander would try to shepherd his company to the start line for an operation, point them in the right direction, and give the order to go. If he was still alive after an action, he'd try to round them up and RV with his commanding officer. Not too much in between. Anyone know if he'd have tracer in the machine gun to indicate targets? Michael Z. 2005-07-26 14:16 Z

Christie Suspension ?

The article says the T34 uses the Christie suspension. But the Christie suspension article says:

The use of oversized road wheels and lack of return rollers is a common design feature of many tank suspension systems. For this reason it is common to see the term "Christie Suspension" applied to designs that don't actually use it. In fact the vast majority of these examples, notably the World War II Soviet and late-war German designs both used torsion bar suspensions. The real Christie suspension was used only on a few designs, notably the Soviet BT tank series and some experimental Italian and British designs.

The Christie article has been updated; the T-34 indeed did use Christie's coil-spring system but without the ability to operate in wheeled mode. The BT series were true Christies in the sense that they were 'convertible' to wheeled mode by removing the tracks and running on (powered) wheels only. The British cruisers also ran only in tracked mode.

It's unfortunately correct that many people think that any tank with large roadwheels is a Christie. It's also correct that *most* Soviet designs from just before or during WW2 (T-40, T-50, T-60, T-70, T-80, IS series, KV series) used torsion bar suspension.

- DMorpheus


"These virtues in combination with its very good balance of firepower, armour protection, and mobility, allow it to be classified, all things considered, as the best tank of the war.The American M4 Sherman had many of these virtues but was deficient in armour design and (in most variants) firepower."

So the T-34 had: - good firepower - good mobility - good armour. And the M4, which the article claims "had many of these virtues", does not have: - good firepower - goor armour.

Isn't this a bit contradictory? At first it is claimed that the M4 was almost as good, but then revealed that it was deficient in two thirds of the areas in which the T-34 was good at? Hey, we're not in cold war anymore. It's now possible to admit the Soviet tanks were better, without immediately trying to show how American tanks 'were almost as good'.--HJV 22:28, 4 May 2005 (UTC)

It's not contradictory if viewed in context of the sentences preceding the quote: "The T-34 was easily mass produced and it was also reliable and easy to maintain in the field. Consequently, large numbers could be deployed and operated simultaneously." Like the T-34, but unlike German tanks, the Sherman was easy to produce, transport and maintain. Moreover, while the 75mm main gun on the earlier Sherman variants was indeed less than entirely satisfactory, its turret traverse rate was unmatched by any German tank, and probably any Russian tank as well, and I strongly suspect its aiming systems (optics et al.) were superior to anything ever mounted on the T-34. Finally, I suspect crew comfort was significantly higher in the Sherman than in the T-34. The bottom line is that there are many factors as to what makes a particular AFV an effective weapon system, which are not necessarily expressed readily as numbers in a table. You can look at the figures for two tanks, see that tank A has a medium-length 75mm and tank B has a long-barreled 85mm and conclude that tank B must therefore have superior firepower. But if tank B has a slow turret traverse (making it harder to bring the gun to bear), lousy optics (making it harder to score a hit), and/or a turret design which hampers the loader (thus reducing the rate of fire), the raw numbers are misleading as to which tank has the advantage.--Euromutt 13:45, 26 Jul 2005 (UTC)

Indeed the raw numbers are misleading. In the Korean War M4 tanks armed with the 76mm gun proved themselves equals to the T-34 by combat, and there is also long-standing debate on how effective was the protection of the M4 tank. I'd certainly hestitate it to call it defficient. The discussion page on the M4 tank has further information on the subject of the M4 tank's armor protection.

Combat Effectiveness

I separated the Comnbat History and Combat Effectiveness.


"It is true that the German Panther, whose design was based on much study of the T-34, may have been the most powerful all around tank of the war, but it was complex to build and suffered from engine problems."


The early model had its problems, but as the mechanical problems of early Ausf.Ds were solved Panther was a reliable tank. Mechanical difficulties were not as common as you seem to think...

"The American M4 Sherman had many of these virtues but was deficient in armour design"

Sherman 76W was a good tank, and T-34/85s armor was nowhere near the quality of model 76W. Soviet steel was of deplorable quality.

Post-war tests by the US Army on a number of Russian AFVs (including T-34) showed, that the armour quality ranged from some armour plates being hard to being soft iron plates with no hardening work having been done at all.

I also fail to see how German tanks like StuG (over 10000 build) and and Panzer IV were complex machines. Their design dates back to midd-1930s.

It is suggested to the Red Army to use such German tanks as StuG III and Pz IV due to their relability and availability of spare parts.

- Department of Weaponry of the Red Army -


"The huge numbers produced were a deciding factor in the Allied victory." Then why were there combat units in Soviet Army equipped with Shermans? Apperently "huge numbers" were not enough. I will re-word that particular section.

The Soviets received about 4,100 Shermans, and produced about 70,000 T-34s during the war. Michael Z. 2005-08-23 17:42 Z
All in all, approximately 10% of the Soviet tanks and AFVs were supplied by the Western Allies. Halibutt 22:54, August 23, 2005 (UTC)

that equals=shit.

you have to be real naive to think that the allies gave propper help to the russians, they gave "some" help to them, but all in all both britts and americans werent too happy about helping the russians so the help was strictly less than the necesary (considering that russia was a potencial enemy)

My friend, 10% of tanks, a little less in planes, slightly more in raw materials... this was a huge help, whatever you call it. Both in numbers and in percentage of Soviet production, the Allied help for the Soviets was by far greater than to any other Allied country. Halibutt 08:03, August 25, 2005 (UTC)
"you have to be real naive to think that the allies gave propper help to the russians" I think you've accepted post-war Soviet propaganda a little too unquestioningly. Voznesensky, head of Gosplan, claimed in 1947 that "allied deliveries of industrial goods to the USSR" comprised only 4 per cent of the total used. In this he was somewhat correct (he conveniently omitted the figures for 1944, which was a peak year in deliveries), but he also conveniently neglected to compare raw materials and semi-manufactures. The thing was that the USSR had plenty of industrial capacity, and didn't need allied AFVs and combat aircraft; what it did need was the materials with which to keep its fighting machines operational. Thus, the western Allies supplied very few finished munitions to the Soviet Union, but they did supply roughly half the copper and explosives which the USSR needed to produce munitions for itself. Similarly, the western Allies supplied 57.8% of the Red Army's aviation fuel requirements. The Soviets produced the vaunted BM-13 "Katyusha" rocket launcher themselves, but the vehicle of choice to mount it on was the American-made Studebaker US6 truck. Indeed, the Red Army's fast-moving offensives, like Operation Bagration, would not have been possible (at least, not at that speed) without large numbers of American-made trucks to bring forward the supplies of fuel, ammunition and food needed to keep the armoured spearheads operational. I don't think it's naive to consider that a significant amount of aid.--Euromutt 21:20, September 23, 2005 (UTC)

T-34/85's reduced speed

...and so the maximum road speed was reduced to 34 miles per hour.

But both of our data tables list the road speed as 55 km/h (34 mph). I just checked Zaloga & Grandsen's Soviet Tanks and Combat Vehicles of World War Two, and their data tables list maximum road speed as 53 km/h for the T-34 model 41, and 55 km/h for the model 42, 43, and T-34/85 model 44. Let me know if I'm missing something, but I'm going to remove that phrase since it disagrees with our tables and Zaloga's. Michael Z. 2005-09-7 18:30 Z

Units (00 mm, 00mm, 00-mm)

"One hundred metres" is correctly "100 m", but compound adjectives are correctly hyphenated, so "seventy-six-point-two-millimetre gun" should be "76.2-mm gun". I thought we had discussed this somewhere on Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (dates and numbers) (but I can't find the reference and WP is too slow to check through the archives right now), and decided to reduce clutter by abbreviating "76.2-mm" as "76.2mm", as many good books on the subject do.

Anyways, I'm going to revert this for consistency with other tank and artillery articles, for now. Michael Z. 2005-09-14 20:52 Z

Thanks for your comments. The manual of style says The reader should see a space between the value and the unit symbol, for example "25 kg" not "25kg". The US NIST (the US Federal authority for units) also says use a space, see: It may also be in ISO-31 but that is not available online. Authorities responsible for units either recommend a space or use it as their style. As far as I am aware, there is no respectable authority that says the opposite. Using a space happens to makes it easier to search for pages with particular units but that is not the reason.
Of course, the space character can easily be dropped with little effect if there is limited room but that is not the case here. This issue is clearly of secondary importance to using correct symbols etc but there you go. I would be happy to debate this in general (again?) on Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (dates and numbers) if we want to find out what others think. Thanks for mentioning it. Bobblewik 10:16, 15 September 2005 (UTC)
I've found it, and it wasn't really much of a discussion: Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style_(dates_and_numbers)/archive17#Adjectival use of unit measurementns. The two of us actually more-or-less settled on the standard English usage, but I've since found other users reverting me when I've applied this in AFV-related articles, so I decided to go with the flow and use the 00mm form.
I'd be glad to switch to standard English-language usage, but we should try to get a bit of consensus and put on a drive to reformat a few prominent articles.
We should also agree on a consistent usage, first. I still think that in running text, it's correct to hyphenate the adjectival usage (as in "76.2-mm gun"), but to make it easier for authors we could agree to consistently use a space ("76.2 mm gun"). I'd prefer the first, but then some of might be spending a lot of time playing adjective police in military equipment articles. Michael Z. 2005-09-15 17:32 Z
Thanks for the reference. I found another:
I regard the hyphen as useful tool. It can be deployed with good effect if a reasonable reader could misinterpret the text. For example to distinguish black-cab drivers come under attack from black cab-drivers come under attack. Similarly with numbers, I might want to distinguish between the mars image shows 187 kilogram-size rocks and the mars image shows 187-kilogram size rocks (not a good example but I hope you know what I mean). You are not alone in regarding the hyphen as a part of spelling or grammar (e.g. 'correct' for adjectival form, as you say). However, some styleguides adopt a more functional approach to the communication and suggest that the hyphen is an optional tool to eliminate reasonable ambiguity.
Some discussion about the general use of the hyphen is on my talk page:
I particularly enjoy the quotes (sources provided):
  • The hyphen has a number of uses, most of them confusing
  • If you take the hyphen seriously, you will surely go mad
  • Winston Churchill: One must regard the hyphen as a blemish to be avoided as far as possible
Interesting though. Bobblewik 21:52, 15 September 2005 (UTC)
Thanks for the references to the style guides—and other interesting stuff on your style talk page. You've convinced me. I still might use hyphens when writing figures out ("hundred-millimetre gun"), but spaces seem to be fine elsewhere. I'll start to use the convention as I keep editing AFV articles.
Non-breaking spaces are a good idea, but they look like heck in the wikitext and are a pain to edit. Unicode offers us the "right" way to do it; I can enter a non-breaking space character by typing option-space on my Mac keyboard (anyone know how on Windows?). Unfortunately, certain browsers (MSIE 5/Mac, that I know of) will convert them to a plain space when they edit the page. Michael Z. 2005-09-15 23:28 Z
You know, I started some editing with this convention in mind, and it still doesn't feel right. I read 90 mm as "ninety millimetres". When I see "90 mm gun" it throws off the rhythm and stress of the sentence, as I realize that I'm not reading "ninety millimetres gun" but "ninety-millimetre gun". In this type of construction, I think I'd still be more comfortable with "90-mm gun" or "90mm gun". To me, this feels like one of those cases where a hyphen or contraction "can be deployed with good effect if a reasonable reader could misinterpret the text."
Of course, "a length of 90 mm" still correctly reads as "a length of eighty-five millimetres". Michael Z. 2005-09-16 17:43 Z

As far as misinterpretation is concerned. A hyphen joins words into pairs. This permits us to use word pairs such as "black-cab drivers" and "black cab-drivers". The form "black cab drivers" is ambiguous. By contrast, the form "the tank has a 90 mm gun" is not ambiguous. It has only one reasonable interpretation.

It is up to you. All three styles (90 mm, 90mm, 90-mm) are in use. For me the biggest problems are inconsistency and fuzzy linguistic rules. It is easy to be consistent when you stick to one. I don't experience the same discomfort that you say you have. Perhaps I am more familiar with this. Although many people will say that a hyphen is supposed to be there in adjectival forms, in actual writing it is not a universal convention that is natural to everybody. For example:

Once you start thinking about style and consistency, you will notice how inconsistent people are. Feel free to do whatever you think is best. Keep up the good work. Bobblewik 16:18, 18 September 2005 (UTC)