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76 mm vs T-34

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Even though the T-34 was not designed to withstand 76 mm AP shells, trials with various kinds of 76 mm ammunition were still included in the tests of defective hulls and turrets.

"d) Firing 76 mm type 2-03545 armour piercing shells

Trials of the 2-03545 shell, accepted into service, are shown in table 11 and on figure 50. The table shows data for two different hulls: shots 21-24 and 155-168 were fired at the first hull, shots 48-58, 113-125, 140-146, and 149 were fired at the second hull.

Component

Thickness, mm

Bearing

Plate angle

Impact angle

Limit of partial penetration

Limit of complete penetration

m/s

equiv. distance at V0=655 m/s

m/s

equiv. distance at V0=655 m/s

Front hull

45

0-90

60

60+

Cannot penetrate at any angle

Vertical side

45

40

0

50

650

Point blank

-

-

45

45

0

45

-

-

650

Point blank

45

50

0

40

545

800



45

70

0

20

-

-

545

800

Sloped side

40

40

40

60.5

650

Point blank

-

-

40

55

40

51

545

800

-

-

40

70

40

44

545*

800

-

-

40

75

40

42.5

-

-

545

800

Rear sloped hull

40

180

45-47

45-47

550

800

-

-

Cast turret

52

-

30

30

520-540

800-1000

650

Point blank

Welded turret

45

-

30

30

550

800

-

-

* At 75 degrees there is no penetration, but the back of the plate shows the impact.

The table and the diagram show that the armour of the T-34 tank, not designed to withstand hits from 76 mm shells, has several components that offer satisfactory resistance. 

First of all, note that the new front hull resists 76 mm shells even at point blank range with the stock muzzle velocity. The hull cannot be penetrated at a bearing of 0-70 degrees by the 76 mm gun with a muzzle velocity of 655 m/s from a distance of 800 meters, and from a distance of 50-100 meters from a bearing of 0-40 degrees. The rear armour cannot be penetrated from a distance of 800 m and higher at a bearing of 180 degrees.

Other angles offer a safe zone that allows for maneuvering in battle conditions (see diagram 50).

The turret of the tank offers less resistance and can hold hits from the 76 mm anti-tank gun only at ranges of 800 m or more. The difference in protection when firing at the front between the hull and the turret is large. 

The T-34 has some features that allow it to effectively combat anti-tank guns up to and including 76 mm in caliber, as only penetration of the turret is possible at a range of 800 meters or less.

e) Firing 76 mm type 3-06969 (sharp tip) proof shells

The 76 mm type 3-06969 sharp tipped proof shell was only used to fire at the front plate to establish its qualities when hit with high penetration rounds (see shots 147-148 of the second hull). 

The results show that the sharp tipped type 3-06969 shell does not penetrate the front armour at muzzle velocity (V0=655 m/s). These trials once again confirm the results of trials with type  2-03545 shells.

f) Firing 76 mm HE fused shells

Due to HE ammunition arriving late, shots at hull #314-45 were fired only after all other calibers were tested. 3 shots were made (see shots 228-230 on the second hull). The results were as follows:
  1. When hitting the bottom part of the turret the shockwave broke the 20 mm thick roof and knocked out the floor of the turret.
  2. When hitting between the bottom of the pannier and the track, the shockwave broke the pannier floor.
  3. When hitting the running gear or nearby (100-150 mm above the track) the damage to the running gear is severe enough to stop the tank.
  4. The main 40-45 mm armour cannot be penetrated by the HE shell shell when firing at point blank range."

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