Status Report: CZ Tree Part 7 - T-34/100
Hello everyone - after a delay, I am back with the Right then, tier 7. Tier 7 is the T-34/100 by Konštrukta Trenčín. This was not always so but - yea, it was the main variant I was always counting on (we were at one point thinking of stretching the TVP from tier 7 to tier 10 actually but that wouldn't go nearly as well as this vehicle because we'd be slowly running out of module options for the TVP - there are plenty of guns but engines? Well, not so much.
First, as usual, a bit of history.
Since early 50's, there have been attempts to improve the design of the T-34/85 to increase its combat value. In 1953, the army technical institute recieved an order to arrange the installation of the Soviet D-10S gun (resp. slightly improved Czechoslovak copy thereof under the name of 100mm vz.44 S, produced in Slovakia for the SD-100 - a Czech copy of SU-100) in the regular T-34/85 turret, if possible without changing the original turret parameters. In September 1953, the Slovak company Konštrukta Trečín was tasked with the development of this project. The initial evaluation of the project stated that the turret modifications would result in changes to depression and gun elevation (-3/+20 degrees), with the rate of fire of 8 rounds per minute.
On 6.4.1954, two design variants were presented by Konštrukta developers to the VTU (army technical institute), along with a preliminary price calculation. Both variants presumed the removal of TŠ-20 indirect fire sights. The gun was also modified by adding a coaxial DTM machinegun to its right side. Both variants differed by solving the gun mantlet and by positioning the gun. Both were also viable, but the price was far less space for the gunner and the loader in the turret. It was absolutely clear that the gun aiming and loading time would suffer. Worse still, it was found out that the ammunition load would suffer too - for both variants, only 6 ready rounds would be able to be stored in the turret itself. Both variants were however sound stability-wise and the designers hoped the handling characteristics of the tank wouldn't be diminished.
Despite this, the project was judged as fundamentally flawed. Even though the army command still wanted to increase the firepower of the T-34/85, it was clear this wouldn't be the way. In April 1954, one army general issued yet another demand for firepower increase for the T-34 for the production years 1955-1960, but this time, they had a completely different weapon in mind (an indigenous Czech 100mm autoloaded and fully stabilized cannon, possibly the still-developed AK1, originally meant for the TVP project). This demand however was not accepted by the high command and that was the end of the attempts to increase the firepower of the T-34. The project was officially cancelled on 30.6.1954 - the main reason for it (apart from the aforementioned flaws) being the successful negotiations about the T-54 production licenses.
Why this one and not the TVP?
This Slovak T-34/100 has nothing to do with its predecessor in the branch - the T 25 - apart from the fact that both vehicles were to be produced in Czechoslovakia. There is no continuity and all the modules are brand new. That gives the branch a certain degree of diversity - the rest of the branch is quite fast, the T-34 is more like "meh". As I wrote above, there was an idea to stretch the TVP program to tier 7 - early on the branch looked something like this:
Tier 7 - TVP Concept (which is now on tier 8 and for a good reason)
Tier 8 - T 50 (which Dubánek mislabeled, the model belongs to T 40)
Tier 9 - T 51 (which we only recently discovered the plans for, before we knew next to nothing about it)
Tier 10 - T 50/51
The advantage of this approach would be the module continuity, the disadvantage - well, that's obvious: tier 7 would look much like tier 8 and tier 9 would look like tier 10. Which is not really good for the attractiveness of the entire branch. Therefore I added quite early on the T-34/100 into the mix - it's a rather original vehicle after all. Yes, the hull is classic T-34 (with very small changes in Czechoslovak production - nothing game-significant though) but the turrets are indigenous and quite interesting. Take a look:
As you can see, there are two varians (quite distinctive) - I and II. Variant II clearly has less frontal armor (it overlaps less with the mantlet extension) and therefore will be stock. Variant I will be elite. But how thick is that armor exactly? Now THAT is a very good question.
You see, this is possibly the only tank that we didn't find any drawings for. The only source remains M.Dubánek book. We have no idea where he got his drawings from himself, they are not in the Czech archives. Very likely he has (since he is a member of the military) contacts on some Slovak archives but which exactly? Well, he wouldn't tell - in fact he wouldn't talk to me, Wargaming or Francev and Tintěra at all. Yes, we know why and what the problem was but that already overlaps too much to personal level so I am going to leave that out. Suffice to say he (like Pejšoch) was not interested in working with Wargaming. We - or rather, Mr.Tintěra himself - tried to contact several Slovak archives but they either did not reply at all or sent him to hell - this took roughly 8 months, after which we stopped trying. A part of the military archives disappeared in Slovakia after the Czech/Slovak split and we do not know what happened to it either. Many documents were lost in either case.
So, we have the book as his only source as I said. Unfortunately, his text does not mention any armor ticknesses (what it does mention is for example how many screws were used to mount the gun, I guess he focused on the "important" things).What is did was this: as you can see above, the drawing has a scale. I used a scanner to scan the book in extremely high resolution and then I measured them using a graphic program and converted the measurements to real life milimeters using the scale on the picture. This is not the last time I used the same method - using it on technical drawings is perfectly legitimate mind you. On drawings from books? Well... not so much (especially when Dubánek made a bunch of mistakes in the said book) but it's the best we got. And so the two drawings above along with the book are are the only resource that was used to create the vehicle. It's "kinda" acceptable once in a branch - if you had a whole branch of book drawings, you'd probably be sent packing.
In any case, the measures I took are:
Armor (turret, stock): 80/75/52
Armor (turret, elite): 92/75/52
Because of the "reliability" of such methods, it's possible Wargaming will adjust the thicknesses. They used basically the same method, only with applying (wherever possible) the values from T-34/85. The front of the turret is generally pretty thick, after it gets worse. Protection-wise, the hull is identical to regular T-34/85 though, so it's some 45mm.
The gun on the vehicle is 100mm tankový kanon vz.44S - which translated to English means... yea, it's a license-produced D-10T, nothing else. There are slight adjustments to the mount and optics but otherwise it's an identical gun so whoever remembers the old T-34/85 with 100mm gun before they removed it, this is it. "Thanks" to its size it has very bad depression (-3), which will very likely be buffed to -5 in World of Tanks. Stats such as penetration will therefore be copied from the vehicles carrying the D-10T:
Naturally the aimtime and accuracy will be balanced based on this vehicle.
And that's pretty much it, there's nothing too interesting about this vehicle. Somewhat heavier than the T-34/85, two T-34/85 engines (500, 520hp). Oh right, almost forgot, it has a stock gun - the 85mm S-53. On tier 7. Yay. But then the T-44 has it too and is one tier higher so we'll have to survive it.
Have you noticed that each branch has around tier 6-7 a vehicle the Russians have a loving name for: "kaktus"? Basically something that's crap and painful to play. This is the (intended) cactus of the Czechoslovak branch that will annoy people with poor mobility and gun depression while its hull armor is paper and the turret armor will likely not withstand any heavy fire. Unfortunately of all the other tier 7 candidates, this one is the best "documented" and so into the branch it goes.
Oh well, at least the tiers 8-10 are IMHO interesting and tier 9 is (again in my opinion) the prettiest tank in WoT.