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Tank T-34 attacked the Wehrmacht as a monster
Material posted: Publication date: 06-05-2017
The reaction of the German troops were horrified when in July 1941 the Soviet tanks easily broke through their defense line. The new medium tank T-34, just arrived to the troops, inspire the greatest concern.

Faith is a powerful weapon, especially if we are talking about their own superiority. But there is, however, only when faith wavers. This is what happened on 8 July 1941 in the Northern part of Belarus, near the Dnieper river.

On this day a column of tanks Panzer III advanced German 17th Panzer division found a Soviet tank with a strange silhouette. As usual, the German gunners opened fire to bring the enemy out of the game. However, with the horror they were forced to admit that the shells fired in direct fire of the 37-millimeter guns just bounced off the Soviet tanks.

A similar situation has arisen from a group of anti-tank artillery, which from their anti-tank guns Cancer 36 of the same caliber over and over again to hit the target, but did not observe result. Instead, the Soviet fighting vehicle on wide tracks came closer, rolled over the German gun and broke through the defensive line of the 17th armored division. Only 15 miles to the West was able to knock out of the old 100-mm field guns during the First world war.

Absolutely the same around the same time experienced anti-tank unit 42, assigned to the 7th armored division. One of his battery was attacked by "a tank completely unknown type". The soldiers reacted as in hundreds of other cases: shot at the enemy — but initially to no avail: "We immediately opened fire, but the armor fought only with the distance of 100 meters. With 200 meters of armor-piercing shells simply stuck in the armor".

Another platoon leader has chosen in its communication the metaphor: "Shooting a dozen Cancer 36. It's like a drum roll. But the enemy as surely as the prehistoric monster, moves on."

Sometimes the German 37-millimeter shells have not achieved success at a distance of 40, even 20 meters. On the contrary, the Soviet shells struck the enemy, as described by this officer anti-tank units 4 belonging to the 14th tank division: "Our tanks again and again amazed direct hits. Tower tanks Panzer III and IV were just stray shots".

This had its consequences: "Former offensive spirit evaporates — reported to the officer — instead, he spreads a feeling of insecurity, as the crews know what the enemy tanks can knock them from a far distance".

A new enemy, "prehistoric monster", had the designation T-34/ 76. In the summer of 1941 the Red Army had about a thousand copies. At this time it was about the best tank in the world.

It was, first of all, the various benefits, combined in a tank: broad tracks of steel allowed him to move even on marshy terrain. Beveled wall of the housing rejected the shells of the enemy. Suspension, based on the project of the American John Walter Christie (John Walter Christie) from 1928, was a simple, but reliable. Relatively lightweight diesel engine was the perfect combination of power and torque and was significantly higher than all the other tank engines in 1941.

Short 76-millimeter cannon of the first T-34 1940 model year and 80 centimeters longer gun of the same caliber of the model 1941 was superior to all used by the time the German tank guns. The Soviet war machine thus by the beginning of the "Plan Barbarossa" was more mobile, better armed and with more firepower than all its German counterpart.

Because besides the Red Army had twice as many tanks (T-34) than in the Eastern group of the German troops (and we are talking about the best by the time the German tank Panzer IV with short 75 mm gun), battle in Belarus and Ukraine clearly had to be crowned by the victory of the Soviet troops.

But the opposite occurred. Why? Chief of the General staff Franz Halder (Franz Halder) after 1945, explained it this way: "the characterization of the Soviet drivers were insufficient." T-34 tanks avoided riding in the valleys or along the slopes, as is often done by the drivers of German tanks; instead, "they sought ways along the rolling hills which make it easier to enter". But in the hills they was a easier target, and they were easier to fight as field guns, and rebuilt under ground fire antiaircraft guns caliber 88 millimeters, the famous "eight-eight".

In July 1941 German anti-tank troops realized that they should regroup and to keep ready a few "eight-eight", so that from a distance appears to strike the T-34. Because their silhouette was significantly different from the profile of other Soviet tanks, for example, from the powerful but slow KV-1 or lighter than T-26, T-28 and BT tactics of the German tanks began to meet a T-34 at long range fire powerful anti-tank guns.

"German troops for the most part could fire at the Russian tanks and deal damage, only from a far distance," said Halder. This uncertainty inspired the crews of the T-34, and technical superiority was neutralized by psychological factors.

However: the shock of the T-34 was strengthened deeply. However, various French and British tanks in the West in 1940, in purely technical terms was equivalent to the German types III and IV, if not surpassed them. However, the Soviet tank easily eclipsed them, besides having great potential for optimization.

Perhaps that is why the officers of Panzer group 2 directly demanded of its commander Heinz Guderian (Heinz Guderian) "just to do the tanks on the model of T-34". But before business is not reached, although in the summer of 1941, several dozen more or less damaged, and even a few almost as much as the T-34 came at the disposal of the Wehrmacht.

Instead, it was upgraded already designed a heavy tank type VI "Tiger", and added upgraded tank V "Panther". But, together, until 1945 it had produced only about 7,500 of the cars, in contrast to almost 50 thousand copies of the T-34.

Johann Althaus (Johann Althaus)


Tags: AME , USSR

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