Tank biathlon 2020, WW2-era T-34-85 (Czech-made for Laos, bought recently by Russia) medium tanks taking part in the exercises. 

Notice the struggle the driver is going through just keeping the tank moving. 


I spoke to the drivers at Bovington. They said that the Shermans were the best to drive because, while smooth, the Tiger is so precious that you are in constant anxiety of breaking it, and the T-34 85 is such a shaking, hot, loud, backbreaking experience that you never want to get in it again.

T34 tank – great for strategic warfare and it’s designs helped to win the war, but you sure as fuck wouldn’t want to be in one. True/False?





True, now that was a disposable tank…

Common myth, one that even the Bovington tank museum keeps spreading incorrectly:

“The T-34 was designed to be easy to build and easy to repair, because the Russian concept of reliability is in ease of fixing.” This is usually accompanied by some analogy about swiss watches vs a Russian alarm clock or something.

Reality is the T-34 was not easy to repair at all. It used Christie suspension, which was sealed behind the armour, and almost all the covers were bolted shut. The engines would tear apart after 600 miles, the track guide horns tended to break off, the gearbox could get stuck in highest gear and require a sledgehammer to get it out again, and there were gaps between welds and armour plates wide enough to fit several fingers. This was all considered acceptable, even though almost no field repair was possible by the crew, because repairs were rarely bothered with. A broken tank was discarded and replaced with a new one off the last train from the factory.

Using tanks like hand grenades has always been the Russian doctrine. If the crew comes back, great! If not, no problem, they were barely trained anyway. It’s why their tanks have always emphasised smaller crew numbers (3 on all modern ones), ease of use for conscripts or relatively untrained crews, low profile, low weight, heavy frontal armour and firepower, at the expense of refinement and ease of maintenance. They aren’t expected to come back, so they’re designed to be available in huge numbers, and as effective a tank-on-tank weapon as possible until they’re destroyed.

this is blowing my mind right now

@lockheed-martini​, what is the best tank of the war?

It’s getting cliche at this point, but I’d be denying facts if I didn’t say the M4 Sherman. The crew survival rates speak for themselves, the armour and gun were (mostly) adequate for all threats it regularly faced, and the ample supply of machine guns, plenty of good optics, and an early gyro-stabiliser made it a super vehicle for fighting an advancing war against the axis, where the range of an engagement was not in your favour and ambushes were expected and had to be reacted to quickly.

It had large hatches for every crew member, spring loaded on later models, and 1944 and 45 versions began to use wet ammo stowage that reduced “cookoffs” to around 10% of knocked out vehicles, saving many more lives. Compile all this with manufacturing numbers that come pretty close to the far more crude, and longer running T-34 series, and you have a war winner.

I will add though, it’s hard to argue with the Tiger 1 in early 1943, but by that logic I could say the KV-1, just only in 1941, so I won’t be a wehraboo on this occasion.