T-34-100 Experimental Tank

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Written by Валерий Потапов
Published on Tuesday, 20 September 2005 21:55
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Using the war experience the T-34 Medium Tank was modernised several times. Some of these modernisations were accepted for service, others weren't. As reserves of the basic T-34 dwindled. This was especially when Soviet engineers tried to mount a new more powerful armament on the T-34. To install a 85 mm gun, a new turret has beed developed. Even more troubles happened when Soviet engineers tried to mount a 100 mm gun onto T-34-85. In July of the 1944, simultaneously two design bureaus were ordered to do this: the KB No.92 and the KB of the factory No.183 («KB» means design bureau). Despite big technical problems (the standard diameter of the turret rind was insufficient), the KBNo.92 led by A. Savin was able to solve this problem. They are offered to install their own 100 mm gun ZIS-100. THis gun was based on the 85 mm gun ZIS-S-53.

All attempts to install a more powerful gun failed. In 1945 Soviet engineers attempted to rearm a T-34–85 with a 100 mm D-10–34 gun. At least two prototypes were built: the first one with a 100 mm gun mounted on a standard turret of the T-34–85; and the second one with a 100 mm gun mounted on a new, larger turret. To install this turret the hull was also slightly improved.

At least two prototypes existed: the T-34-100 with the standard turret of the T-34–85 and the T-34–100 with a new, larger turret. To install this turret the hull was also altered, for example, the turret ring was increased to 1700 mm and the bow machine-gun was removed. Proving ground trials however, revealed a big problems concerned with the extra load onto the running gear during the shooting.

Besides the ZIS-100, the 100 mm D-10–34 was tested with the T-34–100. In February-March 1945, this tank was tested on the Gorokhovetskij and the Sverdlovskij proving grounds. Triars revealed the low accuracy of the gun due to overloaded chassis of the vehicle. However, the Soviet military liked this tank anyway because they are always looked on the German 8,8 cm PaK 43. That's why works continued. However all attempts to reduce the recoil force and therefore to increase the gun accuracy failed.

The next attempt to mount a 100-mm gun onto the T-34 was offerd by engineers of the KB No.92 and engineers of the Special KB. They are offerd a 100 mm gun LB-1 to be mount on the T-34–100 with the large turret. This gun was developed by these KBs and was of reduced recoil force. Trials showed good stabililty of the tank during shooting, low recoil force of the gun and therefore good accuracy. The T-34–100 armed with the LB-1 was recommended to accept for service. However, the time of the T-34 run out and, in March 1945, the first prototype of the T-54 Main Battle Tank was introduced for trials. This tank was far superior to any T-34's design; that is why all further works with T-34s were cancelled forever.

Sources: «Report about trials of the T-34 with 100 mm guns», NKTP, 1945;
«Armament of the Soviet tanks 1940-1945», Armada No.4, 1999;
I. P. Shmelev «The T-34», Technics and Armament 11–12, 1998;
«Bronekollektsiya» No.3, 1999.

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