The appearance of German PzKpfw V ‘Panther’, PzKpfw VI ‘Tiger’ and PzKpfw IV fitted with a long barrelled 75 mm cannon on the battlefields of the eastern front posed quite a challenge for the designers of the Russian T-34 medium tank.

Since the new generation of the German panzers completely outgunned the original T-34/76 variant, Russians hastily sought a solution to counter this problem. In May 1943 the State Defence Committee of the Soviet Union decided to fit the T-34 with a cannon of larger calibre.

TS32  001

The final choice fell on a 85 mm cannon. The first upgunned T-34s were coupled to the D-5T cannon; their production figure totalled some 800. This modification brought along a revised, enlarged turret and a more numerous, now five-member crew.

TS32  002

The production of the redesigned T-34 commenced in early 1944 at Krasnoye Sormovo Factory No. 112 in Gorki. Meanwhile, a new, improved 85 mm ZiS S-53 gun was rushed into production. Henceforth, it became the standard main armament of all the newly built T-34s. With time, the rest of the factories assembling T-34s switched to production of the new variant. Overall, a staggering 18,000 T-34/85s were built by the end of the war. Interestingly, due to varying degree of manufacturing limitations of these plants, tanks of various production runs differed considerably.

TS32  003


The first unit of the Polish People’s Army (the LWP – Ludowe Wojsko Polskie) to receive the new tanks was the First Armoured Brigade. On 1st October 1944 the LWP was issued 20 T-34/85s manufactured at No. 112 plant in Gorki, of which 15 went to the First Armoured Brigade.

TS32  004

By the end of the Second World War a total of 328 upgunned T-34s were delivered to the LWP, mostly the production of the No. 112 plant in Gorki and No. 183 plant at Nizhny Tagil. Of these, only 132 survived the war.

TS32  005

In 1951 Poland started a licence production of modified T-34/85s. Until the early sixties they were the main offensive force of the Polish armoured units, before they phased out in favour of the more modern T-54s and T-55s.

TS32  006


Read more…

TS32  okladka

  • Recommended - Aircraft

Mitsubishi  A5M Claude
Mitsubishi A5M Claude The mid-1930s saw the ever increasing numbers of fast monoplane...
Grumman  F-14 Tomcat in US Navy Service
Grumman F-14 Tomcat in US Navy Service For many years, the author of this book wished to publish a work...
Mitsubishi A6M Reisen Zero Vol. II
Mitsubishi A6M Reisen Zero Vol. II Kiedy na początku 1941 r. stało się jasne, że starcie zbrojne...
Fiat G.55 Centauro
Fiat G.55 Centauro The participation of Italy in World War II was quite controversial,...
Panavia Tornado
Panavia Tornado In the 1960s, many European countries were already working on...
Mitsubishi A6M Reisen Zeke Vol. I
Mitsubishi A6M Reisen Zeke Vol. I The Zero was exciting, like nothing I’d seen before. Even sitting...
Lublin R-XIII
Lublin R-XIII In 1897, Emil Plage founded the Factory for Building Machines...