The T-72 is the most widely used main battle tank in the world. It has been manufactured in six countries, is in service with the armies of 35 nations and has fought in all the major wars of the last 20 years.
The striking feature of T-72 is the low profile. This is achieved by careful design but in particular by the elimination of the loader who, because he has to work standing up, largely dictates the height of a tank. He is replaced in this vehicle by an auto-loader, which can feed the gun at any angle with a separate projectile and charge case. The ammunition is arranged around the turret rather like the carousel of a slide projector. Ammunition stowage is limited, the rounds are unprotected so there is a high fire risk, the mechanical equipment is prone to break down and the rate of fire, due to the action of the auto-loader, is slow.
The Tank Museum’s T-72
The Tank Museum’s vehicle is a T72M1 that was used by the former East German Army, (NVA, Nationale Volks Armee). It was built in Poland and is fitted with a snorkel.