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History of Soviet tanks


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1 hour ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

It's eve more tragic when you remember Bovington has no T64s.

Does any Western museum actually have a T-64?  That would indeed be quite a prized item in any collection (public or otherwise)!

I will visit Bovington one day.  Getting a close look at a T-62 is certainly something I've wanted to do for a long time.  Obvously seeing the interior won't happen though... 😒

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On 4/8/2019 at 3:37 PM, RETAC21 said:

Going back to tanks, where did Bulgaria, Hungary, Syria and Lybia got their T-72s from, until 1990?

Czechoslovak T-72 export to these countries:

Bulgaria

76 T-72M (early) in 1982-85

16 T-72M1 in 1986-87

 

Hungary

43 T-72M (early) in 1984-85

3 T-72M1 in 1987

3 command T-72MK

2 command T-72M1K

 

Syria

50 T-72M (late) in 1985

199 T-72M1 in 1990-91 (including 78 originally ordered by Czechoslovak army but released for export)

9 command T-72M1K

 

Libya

119 T-72M1 in 1986-88

 

Note:

T-72M (early) - steel turret, 80+105+20 hull, laser rangefinder, 39 rounds for gun, side with gill armor, no smoke grenade - in Czechoslovak army designated just T-72 but in Polish army designated T-72M

T-72M (late) - same armor as previous, 44 rounds for gun, continuous side skirts, smoke grenades on turret - in Czechoslovak army designated T-72M but in Polish army designated T-72A

(I am still not 100 % sure with polish designations so corrections welcomed)

 

Edited by Pavel Novak
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10 hours ago, bojan said:

Get one, there are more then enough written off examples in ex-Soviet lands.

They havent got any late Soviet Heavies either, JS1 through JS3. Im not sure why, im pretty sure I recall back in the 2000's someone swapping a Conqueror for a JS.

OTOH, they do have a KV1, which I cant imagine many others do, so there is that.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

They havent got any late Soviet Heavies either, JS1 through JS3. Im not sure why, im pretty sure I recall back in the 2000's someone swapping a Conqueror for a JS.

OTOH, they do have a KV1, which I cant imagine many others do, so there is that.

 

 

Stuart, faintly out of the mists of memory comes the name - Duxford Museum near Cambridge, part of IWM I think. Didn't they have two Conquerors and did a deal with one of them.

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5 hours ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

They havent got any late Soviet Heavies either, JS1 through JS3. Im not sure why, im pretty sure I recall back in the 2000's someone swapping a Conqueror for a JS.

OTOH, they do have a KV1, which I cant imagine many others do, so there is that.

 

 

There is an IS-2 in Duxford. IIRC the KV-1 was a UK - USSR wartime exchange? 

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1 hour ago, Old ROF said:

Stuart, faintly out of the mists of memory comes the name - Duxford Museum near Cambridge, part of IWM I think. Didn't they have two Conquerors and did a deal with one of them.

 

31 minutes ago, cbo said:

There is an IS-2 in Duxford. IIRC the KV-1 was a UK - USSR wartime exchange? 

Well done fellas, I think it must have been Duxford.

The KV1 arrived with a T34/76 as part of an exchange during the war. At some point the T34 was scrapped, but they held onto the main gun.

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On 2/14/2021 at 12:48 AM, Pavel Novak said:

Czechoslovak T-72 export to these countries:

Bulgaria

76 T-72M (early) in 1982-85

16 T-72M1 in 1986-87

 

Hungary

43 T-72M (early) in 1984-85

3 T-72M1 in 1987

3 command T-72MK

2 command T-72M1K

 

Syria

50 T-72M (late) in 1985

199 T-72M1 in 1990-91 (including 78 originally ordered by Czechoslovak army but released for export)

9 command T-72M1K

 

Libya

119 T-72M1 in 1986-88

 

Note:

T-72M (early) - steel turret, 80+105+20 hull, laser rangefinder, 39 rounds for gun, side with gill armor, no smoke grenade - in Czechoslovak army designated just T-72 but in Polish army designated T-72M

T-72M (late) - same armor as previous, 44 rounds for gun, continuous side skirts, smoke grenades on turret - in Czechoslovak army designated T-72M but in Polish army designated T-72A

(I am still not 100 % sure with polish designations so corrections welcomed)

 

Thanks for this, if I get my numbers right, Czechoslovakia produced:

556 T-72s

277 T-72Ms

949 T-72M1s

and exported to 

GDR: 64 T-72s & 69 T-72Ms

Bulgaria: 76 T-72s & 16 T-72M1s

Hungary: 46 T-72Ms & 5 T-72M1a

Syria:  50 T-72Ms & 208 T-72M1s

Libya: 119 T-72M1s

Czecholovakia got 30 T-72s and 1 T-72K from the Soviet Union, and ended up the Cold War with 815 T-72s (don't have the breakdown so:

T-72: 30+556-140: 446

T-72M: 277-165:  112

T-72M1: 949-348: 601

815-1159 = 344 tanks missing, could these go to Iraq?

 

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Czechoslovakia evaluated T-62 but it was rejected and was not produced here. Dunno where this myth started but you know the West thought that Soviets had T-72 in their units in eastern Germany. 

Also time to time you can find another myths about czechoslovak production of MiG-17 and Il-28 which are also incorrect.

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T-72 in Czechoslovakia:

 

30 basic T-72 and 1 command T-72K received from the USSR in 1978

 

1981-85 - production of T-72M (early) designated by CS army just as T-72

- 2 tanks of this version imported from the USSR as models for domestic production

- the first production run was just assembly of imported parts (but I don't know exactly how much)

- total number produced in Czechoslovakia was 556

- CS army got 305 T-72M (early) - 303 from domestic production and 2 imported models

- Export was to Bulgaria (76 in 82-85), Hungary (43 in 84-85) and East Germany (134 in 82-85)

 

1985-86 - production of T-72M (late) and command T-72MK

- total number produced in Czechoslovakia was 251 T-72M (late) and 26 T-72MK

- CS army got 176 T-72M (late) and 18 T-72MK

- Export was to Hungary (3 T-72MK), East Germany (25 T-72M (late) and 5 T-72MK) and Syria (50 T-72M (late) in 1985)

 

1986-91 - production of T-72M1, production of command T-72M1K started in 1987

- total number produced in Czechoslovakia was 912 T-72M1 and 37 T-72M1K

- CS army got 276 T-72M1 and 13 T-72M1K with last delivered in 1989, the 1990 order for 78 tanks was released for export

- Export was to Bulgaria (16 T-72M1 in 87-88), Hungary (3 T-72M1 in 87 and 2 T-72M1K), East Germany (91 T-72M1 and 5 T-72M1K), Algeria (106 T-72M1 in 87-88 and 8 T-72M1K), Iraq (90 T-72M1 in 86-87), Libya (119 T-72M1 in 86-88) and Syria (199 T-72M1 in 90-91 and 9 T-72M1K). The East Germany also bought another 12 T-72M1 in 1989 but these were for reexport to some third country (I don't know where they ended.) - they were not registered in East German army.

 

The USSR was not importing Czechoslovak T-72 battle tanks but was importing VT-72B engineer tanks.

 

 

 

Edited by Pavel Novak
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1 hour ago, Pavel Novak said:

T-72 in Czechoslovakia:

 

30 basic T-72 and 1 command T-72K received from the USSR in 1978

 

1981-85 - production of T-72M (early) designated by CS army just as T-72

- 2 tanks of this version imported from the USSR as models for domestic production

- the first production run was just assembly of imported parts (but I don't know exactly how much)

- total number produced in Czechoslovakia was 556

- CS army got 305 T-72M (early) - 303 from domestic production and 2 imported models

- Export was to Bulgaria (76 in 82-85), Hungary (43 in 84-85) and East Germany (134 in 82-85)

 

1985-86 - production of T-72M (late) and command T-72MK

- total number produced in Czechoslovakia was 251 T-72M (late) and 26 T-72MK

- CS army got 176 T-72M (late) and 18 T-72MK

- Export was to Hungary (3 T-72MK), East Germany (25 T-72M (late) and 5 T-72MK) and Syria (50 T-72M (late) in 1985)

 

1986-91 - production of T-72M1, production of command T-72M1K started in 1987

- total number produced in Czechoslovakia was 912 T-72M1 and 37 T-72M1K

- CS army got 276 T-72M1 and 13 T-72M1K with last delivered in 1989, the 1990 order for 78 tanks was released for export

- Export was to Bulgaria (16 T-72M1 in 87-88), Hungary (3 T-72M1 in 87 and 2 T-72M1K), East Germany (91 T-72M1 and 5 T-72M1K), Algeria (106 T-72M1 in 87-88 and 8 T-72M1K), Iraq (90 T-72M1 in 86-87), Libya (119 T-72M1 in 86-88) and Syria (199 T-72M1 in 90-91 and 9 T-72M1K). The East Germany also bought another 12 T-72M1 in 1989 but these were for reexport to some third country (I don't know where they ended.) - they were not registered in East German army.

 

The USSR was not importing Czechoslovak T-72 battle tanks but was importing VT-72B engineer tanks.

 

 

 

Thanks Pavel,

It seems that GDR tanks don't match this break down

The 1989 T-72 force level of 549 tanks was broken down by supplier and model as:
T-72 from Czechoslovakia – 64
T-72 from Soviet Union – 134
T-72 from Poland – 85
TOTAL T-72: 283
T-72M from Czechslovakia – 69
T-72M from Soviet Union – 30
T-72M from Poland – 31
Total T-72M: 130
T-72M1 from Soviet Union – 96
T-72M1 from Poland – 40
Total T-72M1: 136

https://www.alternatewars.com/WW3/DDR_AFV/DDR_AFV_1950-1990.htm

Where Soviet and Czech tanks seem to be switched around

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Definitely the CS and Soviet numbers switched. I have these data for East Germany from Yahoo discussions back in 2006:

T72 - 64 (USSR), 134 (Czechoslovakia), 85 (Poland)
T72M - 69 (USSR), 30 (Czechoslovakia), 31 (Poland)
T72M1 - 96 (Czechoslovakia), 40 (Poland)

and delivery:

1978: 35 T-72
1981: 31 T-72
1982: 5 T-72
1983: 69 T-72M and 35 T-72
1984: 79 T-72
1985: 9 T-72M and 100 T-72
1986: 53 T-72M
1987: 63 T-72M1
1988: 43 T-72M1
1989: 30 T-72M1

 

It doesn't distinguish basic T-72 from T-72M (early) and command versions but it matches Czech sources.

Sum of year's delivery is 552 against 549 from first table. But from another source the East German army discarded 2 T-72 (dunno basic or early M) in 1982 and 1 T-72M (late) in 1987 (I don't know why).

But that means there is still missing info on origin of 3 imported tanks.

 

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1 hour ago, RETAC21 said:

...

https://www.alternatewars.com/WW3/DDR_AFV/DDR_AFV_1950-1990.htm

Where Soviet and Czech tanks seem to be switched around

It is bad translation:

"1989 – 549 (davon: T 72 aus SU 64 Stück, CSSR 134. Polen 85; T 72M SU 69. CSSR 30, Polen 31; T72M1 CSSR 96. Polen 40)."

CSSR is Czechoslovakia - alias Czechoslovak Socialist Republic

 

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On 2/13/2021 at 11:03 PM, Gavin-Phillips said:

Does any Western museum actually have a T-64?  That would indeed be quite a prized item in any collection (public or otherwise)!

I will visit Bovington one day.  Getting a close look at a T-62 is certainly something I've wanted to do for a long time.  Obvously seeing the interior won't happen though... 😒

Museums AFAIK not, but there is one T-64B (at least until october 2017) as gateguard at the National Ground Intelligence Centre in Charlotteville, Virginia. The coordinates are; N38 09.427 W 078 24.781. Should be visible from the public road.

Another T-64 was/is at the 203rd Military Intelligence Battalion in Aberdeen. 

Regards

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10 hours ago, RETAC21 said:

Thanks, that's clear now. 

Do you have anything on Poland, by chance?

Unfortunately nothing new from what was already posted i.e. numbers in Polish army (below) but I have never seen any data on Polish export (apart of that East German info).

20 basic T-72

218 T-72M (early) - in one polish official document designated just as T-72 but more often in Poland designated as T-72M

183 T-72M (late) - in that same document designated as T-72A

352 T-72M1 including command T-72M1D

 

 

 

 

 

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On 2/16/2021 at 3:27 PM, Lesley said:

Museums AFAIK not, but there is one T-64B (at least until october 2017) as gateguard at the National Ground Intelligence Centre in Charlotteville, Virginia. The coordinates are; N38 09.427 W 078 24.781. Should be visible from the public road.

Another T-64 was/is at the 203rd Military Intelligence Battalion in Aberdeen. 

Regards

Thanks for that information!  I bet how the T-64's were acquired would be a very interesting discussion thread all by itself; if the full story is actually known and documented that is.

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I did a search but could not find it on this forum but I was under the impression that there were a limited number of models of T-72 in the eighties; a T-72A early, standard and rebuild. Only for Soviet army use.

And for export, including Warsaw Pact states, the T-72M, the T-72M late production and the T-72M1. The East Germans had a T-72UV1 (31 received in 1981) and T-72UV2 (23 in 1986) which was a variant of the the T-72M late production build by Bumar-Łabędy" S.A. in Poland. UV meaning UbergangsVersion/intermediate version.

If I go on the hullnumbers for Polish and Czechoslovak production it is only T-72M, M1 and UV.

For example the Czechoslovak system is;

All serials starts with a three letter code (for example MHY), followed by a letter indicating the type; T – T-72M, TM - MTU-72 and VT is a T-72TK. The next two are the production number followed by a letter indicating the month of production; A – January, B – February, C- March, H – May, K – June, M – July, N – August, P – September, T – November, Z- December. The last two letters indicating the year of production; MP – 1979, MS – 1980, NA – 1981, NB – 1982, NC – 1983, ND – 1984, NH – 1985, NK – 1986, NM – 1987, NN – 1988, NP – 1989. An example of a serial number; MHY T 17 T NA; November 1981 built, T-72M This particular serial was delivered to the East German army.

The Polish system;

The first letter is indicating the year of production. Known letter – year combinations are; A – 1983, B – 1984, C – 1985, D – 1986, E – 1987 and F – 1988. The next two digits are the month of production followed by a letter/cipher combination possible indicating the sub variant; JN,JLK – T-72M, JLN[?]  – T-72M Interim and LM1N – T-72M1. As last a three digit number which is probably the production number.

Could be that I'am completely wrong so please enlighten me..

Regards,

Lesley

 

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Officially we had in the Eastgerman Army the versions T-72M and later T-72M1. The term UV1 od UV2 is completely unknown. UV1 / UV2 is also never used in the ministerial documents available to me.

Regardless, it was most likely a transitional version. Because the T-72M had the original turrets with a marginal front side filling (or without filling). There were no side skirts, but the TPD-K1 was built in.

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20 hours ago, Lesley said:

I did a search but could not find it on this forum but I was under the impression that there were a limited number of models of T-72 in the eighties; a T-72A early, standard and rebuild. Only for Soviet army use.

...

 

I agree with this. But problem is that Polish army uses "T-72A" designation for its late T-72M. Also when Czechoslovakia and Poland negotiated for licence production in second half of 1970s the name often mentioned was T-72A and that already in 1977 before tanks with such designation were in service in Soviet army (at least I think).

The issue with designations is probably further complicated by using different designations by factory production and army's designation. That could explain the factory codes vs army documents. Nice example of this from Czechoslovakia is so confusing "OT 64A2" vs "OT-64A" which are same thing but the first come from factory designation and the second is military designation.

Unfortunately I don't have anything on factory numbers for T-72 to compare with your information. But to me it seems problematic designation TM - MTU-72 as "MTU" is for bridge lying tank and that was not produced in Czechoslovakia (it was in development but cancelled with one or two prototypes built).

 

 

 

 

Edited by Pavel Novak
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To fill in some blanks, from the CIA:

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP86T01017R000201460001-7.pdf

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP91T01115R000100240002-7.pdf
https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP85T00283R000500120005-5.pdf
https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP88T00706R000500410003-2.pdf

Soviet exports by year of the T-72

Syria

T-72

1981 - 463
1982 - 148
1983  - 42

T-72M1

1985 - 150

1986 - 25

Algeria (T-72)

1983 - 61
1984 - 30
1985 - 32

Iraq

T-72

1981 - 156
1982 - 216
1983 - 91

1984 - 200

T-72M1

1986 - 260

Lybia (T-72)

1981 - 89

1985 - 31

India (T-72)

1981 - 80

1982 - 90

1983 - 90

T-72M1

1985 - 175

1986 - 48

Re Polish exports, by difference between the Czech+USSR and the total inventory it would seem the following went to WP countries:

Hungary: 56

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