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Thread: The T-34 Myth

  1. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCR View Post
    1. The tank where you needed a Sledgehammer to shift gear was the KV-1, not the T-34
    The KV was a mechanical nightmare

    2. The Tiger (Tiger I) never had any mechanical problems.
    The first ones got stuck near Leningrad because Hitler send them to a area not suited for heavy tanks.
    Apart from that, the Tiger was a very reliable vehicle.
    The later Panthers and King Tigers were also at least on par with other german tanks in reliability and perhaps superior to even the T-34 in mobility.
    The problems with the Panther were by and large solved by the end of 1943.
    According to Jentz’s book (posted at tanknet) from summer ’44 till end of the war operational rates were similar for all German tanks Pz IV, Panther, Tiger (in the East Tiger and Panther have same with Pz IV slightly higher, in the West its Tiger first then Pz IV and slightly lower for the Panther).
    The people who think the Panther and Tiger broke down all the time are the same ones who believe the T-34 was reliable...
    As for stability in rough terrain T-34 was dead last, not even comparable with Tiger and Panther (due to the double tracks vs Christie).

    Quote Originally Posted by Jippo View Post
    So if I am Russian and write my **** in a paper it becomes the truth about soviet tanks? Source critique is essential. And if the engine broke down in average after 72 hours of use, does it make it a bad tank? No, as it is just a one minor attribute of the whole thing.
    Ehm no the engine problem was not minor. As for your original statement IF you are a scientist and IF you work at a Russian army testing centre and IF you receive a US tank from the USA military and IF you run detailed tests on it then YES your opinion matters because you have the data to back it up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jippo View Post
    it is just a one drop of information in the lake of knowledge we have about the T-34
    You mean the sources that said T-34 was the best tank in the universe and never broke down, was built in seconds, cost 10 roubles and destroyed all enemy tanks? It’s not an ocean it’s the same statements repeated over several books with no explanation.

  2. #47
    Senior Member Acheron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paspartoo View Post
    [*******#000000][FONT=Calibri]But that’s the problem mate, it wasn’t their opinion. They ran tests and found the T-34 to have very poor components. Unless American chemistry is different from Soviet one then there really was a serious issue![/FONT][/COLOR] [FONT=Calibri][SIZE=3][*******#000000]Note that the vehicles they tested were specially built with the best materials and still they exhibited all the problems the report mentions. Also according to tanknet forum (quoting a Russian article) the T-34’s engine only lasted 72 hours. Did that make it to 1996?[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]
    Someone seems to have trouble with their reading comprehension skills or is simply blinded by their bias. Jippo said, and I quote: "[*******#333333]To judge a whole family of tanks based on one sample in Aberdeen (used & maintained by a crew who most likely hadn't had the type training at all) is stupid.[/COLOR]"

    Here, let me paraphrase it for you. To judge the overall design of the tank to be ineffective merely by the fact that some components of a single 1941 version T-34-76 sent to Aberdeen were of poor quality (while exploited and maintained by untrained crew), at a time when Soviet Union's priority was to quickly ramp-up production of said tanks at the same time as to relocate their heavy industry, is foolish.

    Quote Originally Posted by paspartoo View Post
    [*******#000000][FONT=Calibri]Note that the vehicles they tested were specially built with the best materials[/FONT][/COLOR]
    [*******#000000][FONT=Calibri]
    Now you are just making blind assumptions. There is no verifiable proof of this, other than people's suppositions.

    [/FONT][/COLOR]
    Quote Originally Posted by paspartoo View Post
    A recent article by Boris Kavalerchik about the assessment appeared in the Russian-language magazine Voenno-Istoricheskiy Arkhiv, issue No. 1, 2006....
    Have you read the article? Do you know the author's credentials? You seem very apt at finding snippets of information on the T-34 that suits your argument/perception of the tank and treating it as canon.
    Last edited by Acheron; 12-20-2012 at 07:11 AM.

  3. #48

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    By the way here is the quote from http://www.dupuyinstitute.org/ubb/Fo...ML/000044.html:


    Most people who read this forum are probably familiar with the assessment which the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland did on a T-34 and a KV-1 in 1942. A recent article by Boris Kavalerchik about the assessment appeared in the Russian-language magazine Voenno-Istoricheskiy Arkhiv, issue No. 1, 2006. I found a couple of things striking. First of all, and this is not the striking part, Kavalerchik says that contrary to popular opinion in Russia which holds that the T-34s which were sent to the US and England were intentionally not of the highest quality, in the spring of 1942 five T-34s were specially prepared using the highest quality parts at the Ural Tank Factory (UTZ), which at that time produced the best T-34s in Russia. These five tanks were better than regular T-34s. One was sent to the U.S., one to England, two to the front, and one to the Peoples Commissariat for Tank Production and can now be found mounted on a pedestal in the yard of the Central Museum of the Armed Forces in Moscow.
    The striking part of the article, to me at least, is this part, which comments on Aberdeen’s finding that the T-34 broke down beyond repair after 343 kilometers due to dirt getting into the engine’s cylinders. Apparently this was very good!
    “There was nothing unusual about a tank breaking down after such a short period. At that time T-34 tanks were guaranteed not to break down for 1,000 kilometers, but in practice this number was unattainable. According to a report by the Scientific Institute for Armored Equipment (NIBT) to Ya. N. Fedorenko, the chief of the Red Army’s Auto-Armored Directorate, the average distance a T-34 traveled before requiring overhaul (capital repairs) did not exceed 200 kilometers. The Aberdeen T-34 exceeded this.
    In 1942 the quality of Soviet tanks had significantly fallen for many understandable reasons. These included the difficulty of reestablishing production by the evacuated factories at new locations, factories switching over to new production, the loss of many supply lines and sources of raw materials, a sharp drop in the average qualification of workers due to losses among experienced workers and the hiring of many new, inexperienced workers including women and teenagers. These new workers worked tirelessly and did everything they could for the front, but they were not qualified. Producing the most tanks possible was the priority, which was understandable since the heavy losses of the initial part of the year had to be made up. Therefore the requirement for quality was reduced, and the military accepted any tank that was built. As a result, in 1942 some 34’s could only go 30-35 kilometers before needing an overhaul.
    To a certain degree this was justified because tanks, as a rule, did not survive until the expiration of its overhaul life, short as that was. The life of a tank on the front line was not long – on average 4-10 days (not counting time spent in transit on rail road and being repaired), or from 1-3 attacks. In 1942 the average mileage before being put out of service due to combat was 66.7 kilometers, which was less than half the average mileage before needing an overhaul. The majority of tanks simply didn’t live long enough to break down. The V-2 diesel engine which equipped T-34s and KV-1s was still suffering growing pains. At that time its designers were struggling to extend the diesel’s service life to 100 hours, but in reality it seldom lasted more than 60. The engine of the T-34 which was tested at Aberdeen broke down at 72.5 hours, of which 58.45 were under load and 14.05 were while idling. The KV’s diesel lasted 66.4 hours. One of the deficiencies of the B-2, besides a short guaranteed life, was an increased fuel consumption (12% above norm), and, especially, a completely unacceptable over-consumption of oil, which exceeded existing norms by 3-8 times! Therefore the range of a T-34 in 1942 was limited not by fuel, but by oil: according to the averages at that time from the technical department of the People’s Commissariat for Tank Production, a T-34 carried enough fuel for 200-220 kilometers, but oil for only 145. At the same time German and American tanks didn’t require any additional oil; it was simply changed every 2,000 kilometers.”

    If someone has more info or thinks this is not correct please share.

  4. #49
    Senior Member Jippo's Avatar
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    Paspartoo, you didn't understand a thing of what I said. Try to read it again.

    As an example: engine that lasts 72 hours isn't even a minor nuisance if the tank is otherwise superb and on average has lifespan of 50 hours on the battlefield. Get it? Or if the engine costs 10 rubles and is replaced in 5 minutes time by a baboon with a wrench it is perfectly fine as along as there is a steady support of engines, baboons and wrenches. Engine life is a minor attribute among others, and it's importance is weighed by other factors we can not fully judge. Engine life alone doesn't make a tank "good" or "bad".

    What comes to sources, it is you who brings one source as a gospel saying one thing, while we have wealth of other sources that do not agree. It may be the engines were **** and the gearboxes were even worse, sure, but if it were so why so few have complained?

    Also I have learned to take everything written about Russian equipment in anglo-american literature with more than a pinch of salt. A lot of the time same rumours or myths get circulated as a fact (T-72 autoloader is a good example) or the writer simply fails to see why a certain design decision was made. Many times this is simply due differences in culture. There are a lot misconceptions about anything concerning Soviet/Russian military tactics and equipment going around in the west.

  5. #50
    Senior Member Acheron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jippo View Post
    I don't know if there ever was, or if it is a myth like most of that video is. I was 184cm according the army doctors and had absolutely no problems of fitting in and we had a driver well over 190 as well in our company.



    T-34-85 is a modified T-34.

    This is just the type of armchair general thing I do not fancy. There is no way of saying weapon X is better than weapon Y. You might find some numbers on the wikipedia and have cat-fight, but you will have to do it by yourself.

    All that is thoroughly unimportant in regard of being "a good tank". It is a right tool for the job type of question, and even in that the tool doesn't matter as there are far more important matters than the tool that make the end result. Namely who is using it and who is directing the usage and which way they do it.

    Nevermind the fact that I never even mentioned "weight class" anywhere. If you want to have T-34-85 winning the red ribbon, have a competion of the worlds best tank between 31-33 tonnes class with a 85mm gun. And yeah! You won the internet fight! Wohooo!
    I agree with everything you say Jippo. I'm only being an armchair general for the sake of playing devil's advocate with the T-34 haters, who seem to be on a holy mission to try to discredit an excellent tank with blatantly biased snippets of (mis)information.

  6. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jippo View Post
    Paspartoo, you didn't understand a thing of what I said. Try to read it again..
    No offense but grownups respond with grownup arguments.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jippo View Post
    As an example: engine that lasts 72 hours isn't even a minor nuisance if the tank is otherwise superb and on average has lifespan of 50 hours on the battlefield. Get it? Or if the engine costs 10 rubles and is replaced in 5 minutes time by a baboon with a wrench it is perfectly fine as along as there is a steady support of engines, baboons and wrenches. Engine life is a minor attribute among others, and it's importance is weighed by other factors we can not fully judge. Engine life alone doesn't make a tank "good" or "bad".

    Mechanical reliability doesn’t make a good tank? ‘minor attribute’ ? No further comment…

    Quote Originally Posted by Jippo View Post
    What comes to sources, it is you who brings one source as a gospel saying one thing, while we have wealth of other sources that do not agree. It may be the engines were **** and the gearboxes were even worse, sure, but if it were so why so few have complained?
    Because they were dead? or they did not know any better? Or because no one was allowed to criticize glorious Soviet tanks produced by glorious Soviet economy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jippo View Post
    Also I have learned to take everything written about Russian equipment in anglo-american literature with more than a pinch of salt. A lot of the time same rumours or myths get circulated as a fact (T-72 autoloader is a good example) or the writer simply fails to see why a certain design decision was made. Many times this is simply due differences in culture. There are a lot misconceptions about anything concerning Soviet/Russian military tactics and equipment going around in the west.
    It’s true that all countries have a bias in favor of their equipment. However I don’t see any direct bias in the T-34 case. German and Americans tests showed things that are acknowledged even by Soviet sources. I would agree with you only in that Soviet equipment was built on different philosophy than Western arms so a direct comparison is tricky.

  7. #52
    Senior Member Jippo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paspartoo
    No offense but grownups respond with grownup arguments.
    Quote Originally Posted by paspartoo
    Because they were dead? or they did not know any better?
    So that is you idea of a grown up argument, I presume? It makes no sense to continue with you, and yes, you obviously do not understand what I write.

    Just FYI (and this is too kind): FDF operated different models of T-34 a good 16 years (1943-1961) and portion of that in full-scale war (1943-44). This guys had first hand experience from nearly all soviet models of the period while also having operational STUG-III's, PZ-IV's, and Charioteers during the same time frame. I think they had a bit better view of pros & cons of the T-34 than you do.
    Last edited by Jippo; 12-20-2012 at 07:37 AM.

  8. #53
    L O L A JCR's Avatar
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    Jippo did you know some people in the finnish armored forces who still had T-34/85 experience?

  9. #54
    Senior Member Jippo's Avatar
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    They are mostly dead & I do not know anyone in person. There are some guys around Hämeenlinna who maintain the Armor museums equipment and some old chaps with the armor guild there might have real first hand experience too. I'm not active with the armor guild.

  10. #55
    Falcons FTW Kilgor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCR View Post
    1. The tank where you needed a Sledgehammer to shift gear was the KV-1, not the T-34
    The KV was a mechanical nightmare

    2. The Tiger (Tiger I) never had any mechanical problems.
    The first ones got stuck near Leningrad because Hitler send them to a area not suited for heavy tanks.
    Apart from that, the Tiger was a very reliable vehicle.
    The later Panthers and King Tigers were also at least on par with other german tanks in reliability and perhaps superior to even the T-34 in mobility.
    The problems with the Panther were by and large solved by the end of 1943.
    Well wikipedia specifies a mallet , but you could also be right !

  11. #56

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    Quote Originally Posted by paspartoo View Post
    [FONT=Calibri][SIZE=3][*******#000000]The T-34/85 had a three man turret (last main tank to finally get one) and a new gun. That’s it. Why would the kill ratio change dramatically? On the contrary i can argue that the ‘better’ ratios are simply due to the massive numerical advantage of the Soviet forces in 1944-45.
    You appear to have missed the point entire[SIZE=3]ly, which is the article contra[SIZE=3]dicting its own argum[SIZE=3]ent.[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]

  12. #57
    Senior Member Meatwad's Avatar
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    King Tigers were also at least on par with other german tanks in reliability and perhaps superior to even the T-34 in mobility.
    How would a King Tiger be better than a T-34 in mobility? Sure it was agile for a heavy tank but it weighed more than twice as much, it had a lower power to weight ratio, it was obviously slower and had less than half the operational range. The thing couldn't even cross most bridges as it was too heavy and would probably run in to serious problems of getting stuck in eastern Europe if it ever got to be there. They obviously didn't sort out the defective armor though as Germany was seriously against the wall at that time for resources. Nevermind that it was a logisitcal nightmare for them.

    The Panther has the advantage of being a later design than the T-34 and obviously copied many of its triats so it's no surprise it would be better, that much should be expected. It however did not serve in the war nearly as long and was not in service in any meaningful numbers till late 43 even beyond.

    If you want to talk best medium tank that saw service in meaningful numbers for the majority of the war it clearly comes down to T-34 - Pz-IV - M4 Sherman, and of those designs the T-34 is the best.
    You guys can talk about uber heavy trophy tanks and this vs that but they had no real impact on the war in comparison.

  13. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo1 View Post
    You appear to have missed the point entire[SIZE=3]ly, which is the article contra[SIZE=3]dicting its own argum[SIZE=3]ent.[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Calibri][SIZE=3][*******#000000]What point? The mythbuster piece said that from 1941-44 the T-34 takes huge losses despite having superior characteristics ‘on paper’ and even in 1944 with huge numerical superiority and further improvements (new 85 mm gun).[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]
    [SIZE=3][*******#000000][FONT=Calibri]
    You said: ‘The author in the second link (who can't spell losing, which is really annoying to read, lol) does his best to gloss over the collapse of his assumptions when talking about the T-34-85 from 1944 onwards, but its pretty obvious. Unlike the many acknowledged flaws of the T-34-76's design and layout, which are well known - he goes into no detail whatsoever about the T-34-85, because it rectified the majority of the problems of the previous version. So, if the T-34-76's combat performance was so poor because of its ergonomics, as he claims - why was there no commensurate improvement in the T-34-85's kill ratio? Oh sure, he claims that the 3 to 1 loss ratio of 1943 was actually 4 or 5 to 1, but he presents no evidence or citation for this claim at all, so I see no need to give it credence, and using his own logic - shouldn't the loss ratio in 1944 have also been actually 4 or 5 to 1?’
    [/FONT][/COLOR][/SIZE]
    [FONT=Calibri][SIZE=3][*******#000000]Because it was the SAME tank with all the negative factors but with a larger turret that was needed to field the new 85mm gun. There was a slightly better exchange ratio which you can attribute to the 3-man turret or (I think) mainly to the crushing numerical superiority.
    [/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Calibri][SIZE=3][*******#000000]Is your argument that the 3-man turret didn’t really lead to better performance? Then that would mean that the T-34 was so badly built and used that even a major improvement in target acquisition had no effect on field performance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Meatwad View Post
    The Panther has the advantage of being a later design than the T-34 and obviously copied many of its triats so it's no surprise it would be better, that much should be expected. It however did not serve in the war nearly as long and was not in service in any meaningful numbers till late 43 even beyond.

    .
    The only thing that Panther and T-34 had in common was that they were both tanks.[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]

  14. #59
    Senior Member DasVivo's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=paspartoo;6498886][FONT=Calibri][SIZE=3][*******#000000]What point? The mythbuster piece said that from 1941-44 the T-34 takes huge losses despite having superior characteristics ‘on paper’ and even in 1944 with huge numerical superiority and further improvements (new 85 mm gun).[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]
    [SIZE=3][*******#000000][FONT=Calibri]
    You said: ‘The author in the second link (who can't spell losing, which is really annoying to read, lol) does his best to gloss over the collapse of his assumptions when talking about the T-34-85 from 1944 onwards, but its pretty obvious. Unlike the many acknowledged flaws of the T-34-76's design and layout, which are well known - he goes into no detail whatsoever about the T-34-85, because it rectified the majority of the problems of the previous version. So, if the T-34-76's combat performance was so poor because of its ergonomics, as he claims - why was there no commensurate improvement in the T-34-85's kill ratio? Oh sure, he claims that the 3 to 1 loss ratio of 1943 was actually 4 or 5 to 1, but he presents no evidence or citation for this claim at all, so I see no need to give it credence, and using his own logic - shouldn't the loss ratio in 1944 have also been actually 4 or 5 to 1?[SIZE=3][/Q[SIZE=3]UOTE]

    Probably some of that might have to do wit[SIZE=3]h the fact [SIZE=3]that [SIZE=3]Defen[SIZE=3]ders tend to have an advantage of so[SIZE=3]rts o[SIZE=3]ver attackers?
    You are cher[SIZE=3]r[SIZE=3]y p[SIZE=3]i[SIZE=3]cking results it see[SIZE=3]ms.... German[SIZE=3] successes in '41 we[SIZE=3]re real, there is [SIZE=3]no doubt about it[SIZE=3], as they were in Summer '4[SIZE=3]2.[SIZE=3] That said They were enjoyed against a wholey incomparab[SIZE=3]le soviet force as opposed to the Soviet Offensives against the Wehrmacht during the [SIZE=3]'41, [SIZE=3]'42, '[SIZE=3]43 et[SIZE=3]c offensives... The Germans were a professional and highly motivate[SIZE=3]d force, they fought against all foes with tenacity[SIZE=3] and moti[SIZE=3]vation and their results showed amon[SIZE=3]g the[SIZE=3]mselves for the [SIZE=3]most part (Though they tended to resist far more fiercely against[SIZE=3] Soviet fo[SIZE=3]rces than [SIZE=3]against Wes[SIZE=3]tern)....

    Kill Ratios are all [SIZE=3]nice and good to a point, but whats the c[SIZE=3]r[SIZE=3]iteria of "Kills"? Tanks? AT Gun[SIZE=3]s? Supply Vehicles? Infantry? SPG[SIZE=3]? Artille[SIZE=3]ry? [SIZE=3]Co[SIZE=3]mpanies? Regiments?[/SIZE][/SIZE] [SIZE=3]etc.....

    Alot of this seems highly suspect at best..... That the T-3[SIZE=3]4 was the best [SIZE=3]Tank of [SIZE=3]the war might be que[SIZE=3]stionable dependin[SIZE=3]g upon par[SIZE=3]ameters (I am sure those who died in it against superior man[SIZE=3]euv[SIZE=3]ering/protected/f[SIZE=3]irepower[SIZE=3] tanks[SIZE=3] might object) but it did certain[SIZE=3]ly embody many of the desirable characteristics of a Tank in one, was available when needed and did its part in event[SIZE=3]ual Victory, that much is beyond Dispute.....

    You can argue many tanks were 'superior' for their crews, [SIZE=3]hell if you wish argue the [SIZE=3]the Centurion was superior, but it was not available to make any difference to allied Ar[SIZE=3]mies thus its [SIZE=3]a question of 'superiority' a[SIZE=3]nd how it[SIZE=3] is judged....
    [/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [/FONT][/COLOR][/SIZE]
    [FONT=Calibri][SIZE=3][*******#000000]
    Because it was the SAME tank with all the negative factors but with a larger turret that was needed to field the new 85mm gun. There was a slightly better exchange ratio which you can attribute to the 3-man turret or (I think) mainly to the crushing numerical superiority.
    [/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Calibri][SIZE=3][*******#000000]Is your argument that the 3-man turret didn’t really lead to better performance? Then that would mean that the T-34 was so badly built and used that even a major improvement in target acquisition had no effect on field performance.



    The only thing that Panther and T-34 had in common was that they were both tanks.[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]

  15. #60
    Member Fury 1991's Avatar
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    Some Russian tank crews actually prefered the M-4 Sherman over their own T-34. Dmitriy Loza sure liked the Sherman. German Panzer ace Otto Carius said the IS-2 was the tank he and his men most feared.

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