The T-34/76 was dominant in the early stages of the Second World War and came as a nasty surprise to the Germans in 1941.
The T-34/76 was a Russian medium tank which first saw service in 1940. It had a truly long lasting impact on the battlefield, with an impressive balance of firepower, armour protection and mobility. At the time, the T-34/76’s 76.2 mm gun was more than a match for any other tank in service at that time, and its thick sloped armour was unhindered by anti-tank weapons at this stage of the Second World War. Although its battle effectiveness was challenged later in the war, when the Germans first encountered the T-34/76 in 1941 during the invasion of the Soviet Union, it came as a nasty surprise to them. At the time, German General von Kleist called the T-34/76 “The finest tank in the world”.
The Tank Museum’s T-34/76
The Tank Museum’s T-34/76 is a very early example. It was captured by the Finnish forces in the Continuation War of 1941, with ongoing fighting against the Soviets. It was then pressed into service by the Finnish and later used as a training vehicle well into the 1950s.