KMDB
Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building
Design Bureau
Ukroboronprom
 
Oplot Main Battle Tank
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Late in 1942, the Design Bureau, along with re-developing the T-43 tank, which was actually a comprehensive upgrade of the T-34 tank, started concept studies for an entirely new tank. This tank was being designed in three versions: with either 122 mm or 100 mm or 85 mm gun.

Apart from artillery armament, the designed tank (later on it was designated the T-44) differed from the T-34 by the following design features:

  • the engine was mounted perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the vehicle; this made it possible to reduce the volume of the power pack compartment;
  • the turret was moved towards the rear; this made it possible to make the vehicle shorter;
  • overall height of the tank was reduced by 300 mm;
  • armour protection of the hull front part was improved by increasing the thickness of the front glacis plate and by removing the driver's hatch from the hull glacis plate to the hull roof;
  • torsion bar suspension was introduced;
  • radio operator/machine gunner was excluded from the crew in order to increase the number of rounds carried by the tank.

Design of the tank was essentially completed by the end of 1943. The first prototypes of the tank were completed in the first half of 1944. Tests of the prototypes showed clearly that for a number of reasons guns of increased calibre (122 mm and 100 mm) were unacceptable for the T-44 tank, and further development work on these ceased.

Throughout 1944 the T-44 tank fitted with a 85mm gun derived from the T-34/85 was further tested and refined and by the end of the year it the tests had been successfully completed. A new medium tank emerged.

 

T-44-122 and T-V Panter tanks during comparative evaluation trials
 

A New Tank


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