** World War II European Theater -- Soviet weapons T-34 tank

World War II: Soviet Weapons--T-34 Tank

Figure 1.--Here is a Soviet war plant whiich looks to be building T-34 tanks. The banner reads, "Produce more tanks for the war". The poster at the right was one of the most popular ones. It pictures a mother and child with the exortation, "Soldiers of the Red Army, save us! While many at the time might have seen it as crude propaganda, we now know it was in fact a shockingly realistic appeal. Hitler and his cohorts were planning a major genocidal campaign at the Soviet people..

Many assessments of World War II focus on the German Panzers. The NAZIs assumed that the Soviet Union was a backward country incapable of producing the same high quality as Aryan supermen. The appearance of the T-34 tank on the battlefield in late 1941 was a shock to the Wehrmacht Panzer commanders as it was in fact superior to the German Panzers. The T-34 tank in fact is considered by many to be the finest tank of the War. The T-34 was the perfect balance of mobility (wide tracks, excellent speed), firepower (76mm or 85mm cannon) and armour protection (low profile and inovative sloped armour). The T-34 tank was also relatively inexensive to build and easily mantained. This was in sharp contrast to the much more complicated German tanks. Unbeknown to the Germans, even as the Wehrmacht was driving into the Soviet Union during the Summer of 1941, T-34 tanks were rolling out of production lines in far greater numbers than German tanks. Soviet tactics in using the T-34 were at first poorly conceived, but gradually improved as the War continued, but at great cost. A major problem was that as part of Stalin's Great Terror, most of the Red Army's competent armored commanders were shot or slowly dying in the Gulag. The narative of The Terror was that many Soviets were conspiring with the Germans. As a result, the NKVD went after anyone who had contacts with the Germans. Many of the Red Army officers who had contact with the Germans were those who participated in the Rapallo Program where the German and Soviet military coopearatively developed mobil armored tactics. The Red Army officers involved were thus primary NKVD targets.


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Created: 5:42 AM 3/15/2005
Last updated: 5:43 AM 3/15/2005