T 34 76

Unit Card:

T-3476_Base_Set_AAMeditor_120317144909.jpg

Set - Rarity - Number

Base Set - Rare - 6/45
39-45 - Uncommon - 24/60

Historical Background:

It's not simply hyperbole to say that the T-34 is the tank that won the war. 57,000 T-34's were built during the war, compared to 67,000 tanks total for Germany.
Although it seems like a normal tank with the benefit of hindsight and the proven main battle tanks of the modern era, the idea of a multipurpose tank capable of simultaneously operating with infantry to create breakthroughs in the enemy defenses, exploiting the breakthrough and also meeting and blunting enemy advances was a startling one for designers of the 1930's.

In the west there was a sharp division between infantry tanks (designed to operate with the infantry and create a breakthrough) and cavalry tanks (designed to exploit the breakthrough.) In central Europe tanks were better designed to cooperate with infantry and also exploit breakthroughs, but were usually not designed for combat with enemy tanks.

This is why the Panzer IV was developed as an infantry support tank and the Panzer III was intended to fight other tanks. The United States also made this error, building tanks for infantry support and tank hunters to destroy enemy AFV's. Why designers seem to have thought that commanders would get to choose whether they were fighting tanks or not I can't say.
The T-34, on the other hand, combined the best features of every kind of tank. It had the heavy armor of an infantry tank, the speed of a cavalry tank, and a heavy (for that time period) 76.2mm dual purpose gun for attacking fortified infantry or tanks. Amazingly, it managed to combine all these features while still remaining inexpensive to produce.
Experiences in battle against Finland and Japan were taken into account when designing the T-34. These experiences led to the development of sloped armor, the use of a less flammable diesel engine, and the idea of a general purpose tank itself.

Unfortunately so many advantages came with a few shortcomings as well. The large quantity of sloped armor, combined with a large engine and gun resulted in cramped working conditions for the T-34's four man crew. Additionally, only commander tanks were initially given radios. There were also production delays early in the war as Soviet industry did not have enough manufacturing capacity for all the revolutionary features in the tank.
Because the new tank required so many new parts with a low rate of supply, early T-34's were often equipped with shoddy materials just to get them off the production line. This dramatically reduced the effectiveness of the early models of the T-34.
Other than the cramped crew conditions, all issues were eventually fixed, and economics of scale rapidly reduced the cost of manufacturing the T-34. On a value basis the T-34 was able to compete with even the late war tanks.

When the Wehrmacht first encountered the T-34 it had no effective counter for it other than the 88mm gun. However the early T-34's production issues caused at least half of them to be lost to equipment malfunctions. It wasn't until early 1942 that the T-34 really showed it combat potential.
From early 1942 until late 1942 the T-34 was the king of armored warfare in the eastern front. But in late 1942 the Tiger made its appearance on the battlefield, and at that point the T-34 relied more on numbers that the superiority of its design.
Soviet tactics did not match that of Germany in the first half of the Great Patriotic War (the eastern front.) if they had the T-34 might have made significant progress in defeating Germany in 1942. Instead the two sides settled into a bloody stalemate for the next two years, in which the production efficiency of the T-34 over the German tanks a major deciding factor.

Reviews:

Johnny_Thunders
The 28 point T-34 suffers in comparison to the 21 point Sherman and the 32 point KV-1. Although some people denigrate the T-34, I don't think this is deserved. The problem is not that the T-34 is a bad tank, just that it isn't as cost effective as two of the best tanks in the game. I would love to have the T-34 for my Italian, Japanese or even British armies.

Getting people to play the T-34/76 instead of the KV-1 is a bit of a challenge, though. You can make a house rule to adjust the T-34's cost down to 26 points. Alternatively you can play scenarios. I often play the T-34/76 in my Soviet armies simply because it feels right.

Maneuvering is more important with the T-34/76 than the KV-1, and you need to be prepared to face higher losses. As such it plays like a Sherman against heavy tanks.

Against medium tanks, the T-34/76 fares well in long range battles when fighting early war Panzer III's and IV's, as well as the Carro Armato M13/40. Beware engaging the Panzer IV G or other later war medium tanks in long range gunfights, though.

The T-34 is not as effective against infantry as the Sherman or KV-1, so make sure you bring something to help out against infantry. I love pairing the T-34's with the Fanatical Sniper. The T-34 can transport the sniper into position and then the sniper can take out antitank weapons like the PAK-42 or Panzerfaust. The Sniper is also a great counter for the troublesome SS-Panzergrenadier and SS-Haupsturmfuhrer.

Plastic Figure Notes:

tn_t34_jpg.jpg
39-45-T3476.jpg
pic264806_md.jpg
Rescaled Soviet T-34/76 from the 1939-1945 set (top, bottom)
compared to the original from the Base Set.
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