Tankograd on T-80

The Tankograd blog has released another of their in-depth posts examining a Soviet era armored vehicle.  This new post takes a look at the T-80 MBT.


T-80B applique armour front viewAlthough nowadays the T-80 isn’t nearly as famous as the T-72 and the T-90, it was understandably the most highly regarded item in the entirety of the vast Soviet tank fleet, and though they had T-72s stretching as far as the eye could see, it was the T-80s and the T-64s that formed the vanguard of the Soviet tank armies of the Rhine. However, it wasn’t planned out this way in the beginning.
As one should come to expect from anything on the other side of the Iron Curtain, the T-80 has a rather intriguing story of inception. While the designers were still ironing out issues on the 5TDF opposed-piston engine for the T-64, experiments on mounting a turboshaft engine were already in full swing. It was requested that production expand from just Kharkov (KMDB) to Kirov (LKZ) and Nizhny Tagil (UKBTM) as well. Both of the latter plants struggled to produce some of the more complex parts for the T-64 – namely the engine – due to a lack of personnel familiar with the intricacies of the fundamentally different engines, and hence, created their own variations of the basic T-64. UKBTM (today a part of UralVagonZavod) and LKZ split design elements and ended off designing what came to be known as the T-72 and T-80 respectively. LKZ’s progeny were defined by their signature turbine engines and more robust suspension, hybridized with the turret of the T-64A, thus forming the original model T-80.
This new vehicle was more extravagant and expensive than the ones preceding it, making the
T-80 much less common than the T-64 and T-72. It also came off as being a more ambitious project than UKBTM’s T-72 (evidenced by a far longer development span). The T-80 came too late for its’ own good. The instant it entered low-rate production in 1976, it was already surpassed in capability by both the T-64B and T-72A: a troubling situation for a vehicle meant to replace and supplement them, made worse by its excessive price tag. As a result, the T-80B was quickly ushered into service a mere two years after the T-80, boasting the ability to fire ATGMs from the cannon while on the move with the Kobra system, and an updated armour layout that had better prospects against the latest and future anti-tank munitions, and beginning from 1980, a more powerful 1100 hp GTD-1000TF engine. These upgrades along with the addition of Kontakt-1 explosive reactive armour – and a further enhanced armour package, formed the basis of the T-80BV, which arrived in 1985. The most advanced direct T-80 variant – the T-80U, also arrived in 1985, while . This new model presented improvements to just about everything; a new digital fire control system, engine, explosive reactive armour, and some other tidbits.

Read the full article here.

Tankograd blog on the T-10

The Tankograd blog has posted a new article examining the history of the Soviet T-10 heavy tank. The authors of the piece engage is a bit of myth-busting, putting forth their opinions on the vehicle. All in all, an entertaining read.


Russian T-10 heavy tank 12During the final years of the Great Patriotic War the Red Army’s generals had perfected combined arms operations utilizing withering artillery fire and the devastating salvos from Shturmoviks to create decisive combined arms attacks that smashed through enemy lines.

The weapon of choice for these assaults was the Joseph Stalin 2 or JS-2, an impregnable tank that marked a complete departure from its predecessors. It also foreshadowed the possible terrors of the next Great War when the Soviets had to duke it out against the Allies in Central Europe using main battle tanks on battlefields sown with radiation.

The Joseph Stalins were the antithesis of the earlier T-34’s. Despite the latter’s fame they suffered greatly from German tanks, aircraft, and anti-tank guns, not to mention their own mechanical and ergonomic faults.

The Joseph Stalin had better armor than the heaviest German tanks, had a larger main armament, larger dimensions, greater range, and better everything. Its only shortcomings were an uncomfortable interior and a 600 horsepower diesel engine whose mobility issues Soviet engineers never completely solved. This is why succeeding iterations like the Joseph Stalin-3 and 4 were never popular with the Red Army.

A spectacular success on the battlefield, more than 6,000 JS-2, 3, and 4’s were built and kept as the Red Army’s most lethal tanks during the early Cold War years. Clearly a favorite of their bloodthirsty namesake, when he passed away in 1953 the most recent and last iteration of this near-invincible lineage became the T-10.

Spacious and extremely heavily armed, it was the most atypical tank ever made in the Soviet Union. Yet it never enjoyed the same success as its cost-efficient (and weaker) replacements the T-55 and the T-62.


Read the full article here.

Book Alert: Conqueror Heavy Gun Tank

ConquerorLater this month Tankograd Publishing will be releasing a new book on the Conqueror Heavy Gun Tank by Carl Schutze.  This will be a softcover book of 64 pages with 12 color and 94 b&w photos and 17 graphics.  Text is in both English and German.

Publisher’s Description:

The FV214 Conqueror heavy gun tank was developed and fielded by the British Army in the early years of the Cold War to counter the threat caused by Soviet heavy tanks such as the IS-3 and the T-10. If the Cold War had turned hot, the Conqueror would have served as a tank destroyer to knock out enemy armor at a range superior to that of the Centurion main battle tanks.

This publication describes the development history, the technology, variants and the only eight year long in-service life of the Conqueror heavy gun tank. Also covered is the Conqueror armored recovery vehicle.

Blog Profile: Tankograd

1023367375People interested in Soviet tanks and armor may find the blog “Tankograd” worth checking out.  Authored by Tiles Murphy, this blog features extremely long and detailed posts focused on a specific Soviet vehicle.  So far the author of the blog has posted three entries, looking at the BMP-3, BTR-80, and the T-72.  These posts are quite possibility the most detailed and extensive descriptions of these particular vehicles on the internet in English.  In fact, they probably contain as much or more information than many of the books written on these vehicles.  If ever a blog entry could rightfully be called “epic”, this is it.

BMP-3: The Under-appreciated Prodigy

BTR-80: Modest Overachiever

T-72: Soviet Progeny