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Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building
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Ukroboronprom
 
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As the volume production of the T-34-85 tank was well under way at the Uralskiy Tank Plant and the Second World War was not over yet, a decision was taken to manufacture the T-44 tank at the former Plant No 183 rebuilt after the liberation of Kharkiv. The plant received number '75'. Assembly of series production tanks of the T-44 type at this plant began in June 1945. The first batch of tanks of the T-44 type was shipped in August 1945 to the Far East, where military operations against Japan took place at that time.

At the end of the war the designers of the KB-520 Design Bureau, along with work on the T-34-85 and T-44 tanks, started designing a more advanced tank, in the design of which the wide practical experience of the use of tanks under battle conditions at the fronts of the Second World War was planned to be taken into account.

Design efforts were mainly concentrated on the following:

  • increasing the tank fire power;

  • enhancing its armour protection;

  • enabling the tank to cross deep water obstacles.

Two prototypes of the new tank that was designated the T-54 were manufactured in the first quarter of 1945 and tested in the same year. Final elaboration of the drawings and technical documentation to eliminate the drawbacks revealed during the manufacture and trials of the prototypes, was over early in 1946. The tank's main armament was a 100 mm gun, with a 12.7mm anti-aircraft machine gun, three 7.62mm bow machine guns and a 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun being used as secondary weapon systems. The tank turret was a cast one with the thickness of 190 mm at the front part. The hull front glacis plate was 100 mm thick.

To partially compensate for the increased weight the tank was fitted with a diesel engine of increased power (V-54).

The T-54 tank was put into series production at the Uralskiy Plant No. 183 in 1947 and at the Kharkiv Plant No. 75 in 1948. Thus, the Kharkiv Design Bureau (Department 520) headed by the Chief Designer Aleksandr A. Morozov, being in evacuation, created, apart from the T-34/85 tank, the T-44 and T-54 tanks as well. The evacuation of the Plant No. 183 and the Design Bureau to Nizhnyi Tagil made it possible to create one more large design bureau and tank plant in the Urals region. After the war was over and especially after the development work on the T-54 tank was completed, the tank designers, evacuated in 1941, started to return to Kharkiv from Nizhnyi Tagil.

 

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