When the USSR was first invaded by Nazi Germany, the Red Army were majorly unprepared for the quick invasion carried out by the Nazis. Some say that it was Mother Russia's extreme cold that defeated the Nazis, but the aftermath of Josef Stalin's Five-Year plan is what gave the Soviet Union the ability to push back the Nazis. In 1940 the KhPZ factory in Ukraine began mass producing the T-34, a design based on the BT series of tanks. The T-34 lacked technology such as radios and was never deployed tactically, however the T-34 was a revolution in tank design, with its slanted and inclining armor and its powerful 76.2mm F-34 main gun.
Cheap and easy to produce, the T-34 dominates in large numbers even against advanced German tanks and was the head of the spear when the USSR counter-attacked Nazi Germany. Don't worry about heavy tanks, about 4 of these can rout one. This tank, can be deployed in large numbers, because of the low cost it has. It is nearly equal to the Sherman tank, having the same armor, the same warmode, and the same cost, but with a slightly better gun. It is however, slower than the Sherman.
The T-34 is a result of Soviet tank development in 1930s, which took form in either humongous infantry support tanks such as the medium three-turreted T-28, or the insanely fast BT series. The latter were designed to exploit any available roads by detaching the treads and traveling on wheels. When the KhPZ received the order for a new tank, it was still about to have a 45 mm cannon, 3 MGs and a flamethrower, but the importance of sloped armor was not underestimated as well. Myths attribute this to Michail Koshkin spontaneously building a model out of firewood, but T-34 simply capitalized the importance of it in its design. Out of experimental purposes, both a wheeled (A-20) and a purely tread-based (A-32) prototypes were built. In September 1939 they went through the paces, but the A-20 had reached its limit on weight, while A-32 could mount 10 mm more armor and a 76-mm gun. The A-32 became the prototype for the T-34.
Michail Koshkin died in late 1940, because in March he led a gruesome field trial across more than 3000 km of rough country, causing pneumonia. His grave was later deliberately bombed by the Germans.
The T-34 was not a wonder weapon. Among its most notable flaws was the Christie-type suspension. The KV-1 already used the modern torsion bar system, which is extremely compact, while the armored hull of the T-34 had large cuts to accommodate the springs. Cuts that the "Door Knocker" could exploit.
The T-34 proved extremely lethal under the right circumstances. A group of two T-34-85 disguised as hale stacks, firing at point blank range, were the first thing the King Tigers met on the Eastern Front. Two were lost immediately, the other two retreated and were abandoned by their crews for the victorious Soviet tank commander to capture. Or at least that's what they tell at Kubinka museum; the more trivial variant is that they got stuck in deep mud in front of an orchestrated AT ambush.
The tank also had firing ports for personal weapons. Their design was later improved upon by a mechanic-savvy tank driver, a Junior Lieutenant Michail Kalashnikov. That Kalashnikov.
Some captured T-34s were used by Germans as Pz.Kpfw.747 T-34(r). Its current users are Bosnia, Vietnam, Guinea, Guinea-Bisau, Yemen, North Korea, Kongo, Cuba, Laos, Mali and Namibia.
Strategy and Tactics
- In-game, although the T-34 requires research it is well worth mass producing throughout the early stages of the game, especially if you are a fan of "Blitz" tactics in which case the T-34 is quick, cheap and powerful.
- Though it does not have the same damage output or range as the Panther, it is very cheap at only $20, players will find it a solid and reliable tank. If your economy allows it, mass-producing the T-34 and sending them out with some assault gun/artillery support with air support will make short work of any enemy base.
- If you do have the economy, "spamming" this tank combine with Fanaticism is one of the best ways to over run your enemies. Keep in mind this work best if supported by other units as AT's and AA's, but of course the cheap kind.
Pros & Cons
+$20 for a quick and effective tank
+T-34 will outrange and outgun the M4 Sherman
+/-Althought not in the game, the BT-7 should be available and researched into the T-34, leaving the player with an even faster tank with light armor and armerment. to compensate for the T-26
Medium cal. HE shell
Medium cal. AP shell
.30 cal. Machine-gun
- The T-34 seen in the picture is an earlier variant, still being armed with the 76mm F-34 gun, while later T-34s were armed with 85mm tank gun While the stats are of the T-34/85.
- There was a version known as the T-34/57 featuring the ZiS-4 (ZiS-2 tank version) which was able to pierce the frontal armor of the Tiger
- The T-34 is the most produced tank in the world with a total number of over 85.000 tanks including a lot of variants and other AFVs based on it.