The army always needs tanks that can cross water obstacles. There are two ways of solving this issue: the tank can either swim or drive underwater. The Soviet T-54 tank went with the second option.
The topic of researching and studying underwater driving equipment was a very important one at the NIIBT Proving Grounds after the war. Experience gathered during WW2 showed that it was important to find methods of crossing water obstacles as quickly as possible. The proving grounds at Kubinka became one of the main developers of various underwater driving systems.
|T-54 tank with underwater driving equipment installed, three quarters view.
|T-54 with underwater driving equipment installed, top rear view.
|Engine deck seal.
|Rope that held the turret ring seal.
|Metal casing for sealing the barrel of a gun with a fume extractor.
|Coaxial machine gun opening cover.
|Fan opening cover.
|T-54 tank driver in a waterproof gas mask.
|One of the tanks enters the river.
|Driving at a depth of 4.5 meters.
|A rescue tank approaches a "stalled" tank. The "stalled" tank has a fume extractor on its barrel, the rescue tank does not. Note the difference in seals.
|A diver hooks up tow cables between the two tanks. The towing tank has an evacuation pipe.