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T-54, T-55, T-62, and Descendants Thread

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In 1944 the Red Army began looking for a replacement for the battle proven T-34. Their initial action was to simply up-gun the T-34 again, this time with the 100mm D-10T from the SU-100. However deficiencies in the transmission prevented this plan from coming to fruition. As a result the Red Army turned to the T-44. Relying on experience gained from the T-44's own up-gun project they created what was called the T-44B. Given the major changes compared to the current T-44 they later changed the name to the T-54. Designed by A.A. Morozov between October 1944 and December 1944 it had reached sufficient development by November 1st 1944 that People's Commissar of Tank Industry of the USSR V.A. Malyshev ordered Factory 183 to produce a prototype. The factory built the original prototype by January 30th 1945 where until mid-February it underwent testing. On February 22nd it was sent to a NIBT training ground to undergo government testing. Despite identifying several flaws such as a lack hydraulic shock absorbers for the road wheels the T-54 was deemed superior to all existing domestic designs and recommended for eventual adoption.

 

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T-54 (first prototype)

 

They had reason for their claim; with a transverse mounted engine and a torsion bar suspension the T-54 was much smaller than the T-34. This size decrease allowed the Soviets to significantly up-armor the tank without greatly increasing the weight. The front hull was 120mm thick angled at 60 degrees, the turret was 150mm thick. Despite the armor increases the T-54 only weighed 35.5 tons. Despite the wishes of of the Soviets (who wanted a 700hp engine on their T-34 replacement) the venerable V-2 sill powered the T-54. With an output of 520hp the T-54 was capable of 43.5 km/h. In addition to the increased armor the T-54 was armed with the 100mm D-10T-K gun which was capable of 7-4 rounds a minute. Like other Soviet tanks the turret design limited gun depression with only -3. So despite only being 35.5 tons the T-54 had comparable firepower and armor protection to the 45 ton IS-2.

 

 

 

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Armor of the T-54 (first prototype)

 

 

In response to the deficiencies identified by the Red Army Factory 183 created another T-54 prototype. Still designated T-54, though by this point in time it would receive it's GABTU designation of Object 137. The tank was produced in July 1945 with government testing beginning in July and ending in November of that year. The T-54 second prototype had many changes, the hull and turret were redesigned, the transmission was replaced with a different one, the gun was replaced with the 100mm LB-1, among other changes. The new turret was up-armored to 200mm thick. In combination with the new gun and turret the T-54 second prototype had increased gun depression compared to the original with -5. All of these modification caused a weight spiral to 39.15 tons, which with the same V-2 engine as before the speed was reduced to 42.5 km/h. As before the Soviet Government recommended it for Red Army service along with the corrections of some defects.

 

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T-54 second prototype (Object 137) 

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With the conclusion of testing of the 2nd prototype in November 1945 AA Morozov set about designing what would become the third T-54 prototype or as it later became known as the T-54 Model 1946, the designing took until march 1946 to complete. Which by that point the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union (Sovet Ministrov) ordered the production of two tanks of this type. These two tanks would be called T-54 Prototype №3 and T-54 Prototype №4; eventually a third tank would be produced in September 1946 dubbed T-54 Prototype №5. The first two tanks underwent testing from July 21 to August 1 1946. Despite issues with the tank's transmission and running gear the tests confirmed the view of the superiority of the T-54 design to anything else currently in the Soviet arsenal.

 

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T-54 Model 1946, specifically the first tank of this model.

 

Prototype №3 was armed with the LB-1 whereas Prototype №4 and №5 where armed with the D-10T. The gun was paired with a coaxial SG-43 with 3500 rounds of 7.62 ammunition. The aummniton for the main gun consisted of 34 unitary rounds with combat ROF topping out at 8-9 rounds a minute. The elevation angles for the LB-1 was -4 to 17 degrees and for the D-10 -5 to 17 degrees. The gunner had access to the TS-19 telescoping sight for aiming in addition to a MK-4 for observation. The commander main sight consisted of the MK-4 and two other secondary sights in rotatable commanders cupola. The commander had access to a hunter killer system that caused the turret to rotate to the designated angle at the turret's maximum rotation speed of 13.2 degrees a second.


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The main gun (top LB-1 bottom D-10T) in the T-54 Model 1946

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I have a early 1980's Polish T-55AM here in Las Vegas. I love this tank but the clutch gives SUCH a workout as compared to my FV-433's or Chieftain. I was told that this was the second to last to come off the assembly line once T-55 production ceased in Poland. Don't know how true it is but the person that told me imported four of them and has a long history of importing armor into the country.

 

V/R

Ron

 

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I have a early 1980's Polish T-55AM here in Las Vegas. I love this tank but the clutch gives SUCH a workout as compared to my FV-433's or Chieftain. I was told that this was the second to last to come off the assembly line once T-55 production ceased in Poland. Don't know how true it is but the person that told me imported four of them and has a long history of importing armor into the country.

 

V/R

Ron

 

LqWhVIa.jpg

 

A Meardia right?

 

Nice 

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