The publication of any images or informations related to nazism, fascism or any other totalitarian regimes must be understood as the reproduction of historical accuracy and not as apology to these regimes, leaders or symbols.
A publicação de qualquer imagem ou informação referentes ao nazismo, fascismo ou quaisquer outros regimes totalitários deve ser entendida como reprodução do rigor histórico e não como apologia a estes regimes, líderes ou símbolos.

T-34/57 tank destroyer - case report

Братья с Урала!
(Brothers from the Urals!)
      And since we're talking about 57mm guns with high penetration, lets know a tank that used the same weapon and was extremely deadly: the T-34/57 tank destroyer. I built this kit in !!!
T-34/57 model 1941- prototype (notice the flat gun mantlet)
      The decision of increasing power of artillery tanks KV-1 and T-34 was taken up before the war - in the spring of 1940 discussion on possible options for the installation of new armaments was held at the highest level. As a result, it was concluded the futility of further work on 45-mm guns and their subsequent replacement by a gun with a caliber of 55-60 mm. This decision coincided with the creation of 57mm antitank high power gun ZIS-2, which is engaged in the development of OKB # 92 under the direction of Grabin.

      On June 13, 1940, the president of the Security Council S.Timoshenko referred to Central Committee of the Communist Party and SNK USSR the report "...about insufficient power of the armament of existing KV and T-34 tanks, and about other prospective tank projects". On June 27, the special session of the SNK was devoted to that question. 

KV1 - early model 1939
T34s  in field - early models - 1940
         At that time, Grabin's design bureau was working already on 57 mm antitank gun (ZIS-2), that's why it was ordered to develop a tank variant of that 57 mm gun, but first drafts of such gun was already developed by Grabin's initiative. The version of Zis-2 for installation in tanks was named Zis-4.
      The manufacture of the first prototype of 57mm tank gun had launched in September 1940, following approval of a proactive move by the Marshal Kulik had been issued the appropriate order and began building a prototype. But until December manufactoring preparations were slow because improvement and mass production of the 76.2 mm F-34 tank gun overloaded factory. Nevertheless, in the beginning of December 1940, the very first prototype of 57 mm tank gun was manufactured.
      The gun was put into service this year and not waiting for the official follow an order to develop a tank variant Grabin started working through the options for installing it on the medium tank T-28.
       However, this work quickly failed, as the plant and design were heavily loaded development of mass production of tank shells F-34 caliber 76,2 mm. The first prototype of the T-28 with the ZIS-4 L/73 was collected in early December and in April 1941, on a trial basis, this instrument was installed in the T-34 turret. 
T28  prototype with Zis-4 57mm L/73 gun
      Tank range tests VMS version 4 by and large could not resist. After 100-150 rounds there was a strong fouling of the barrel, and sight distance was only 1,000 meters, which was lower than short-tank gun F-34. Those trials have revealed an extremely short life of its barrel (overheated after 100-150 shots) and low accuracy.
      After the improvements, which included the use of phlegmatizer and change the slope cutting, the tank was passed on July 6 at Sofrinsky tank training ground. This time the results were much better - revised version of the tank ZIS-4 was now able to hit targets on the sighting distance of up to 2000 meters. For armor piercing weapon that has surpassed all: the distance of 500 meters - 98 mm armored plates (angle 90 °) and 83 mm armored plates (angle 60 °) range of 1000 meters - 90 mm armored plates (angle 90 °) and 78 mm armored plates (angle 60 °) distance 1500 meters - 82 mm armored plates (angle 90 °) and 73 mm armored plates (angle 60 °) Since work on the more powerful tools, which can be set to medium tanks, moving not so fast, Commissariat ordered to take the ZIS-4 on the arms, but only after the new improvements. Improvements were limited to the unification of the ZIS-4 with a 76.2-mm tank gun F-34, resulting in a 57mm cannon was different for the most part only a longer pipe stem, wedge bolt, and adding special balances the total weight of 180 kg.
     Because of its penetrating power, the Zis-2/Zis-4 L/73 gun family was used in other self propelled antitank guns (SPAG), like the Zis-30 and the Zis-41(the armored version of Zis-42).
Zis-30 SPAG 57mm
Zis-41 SPAG 57mm
      In July 1941, the improved ZIS-4 gun was installed in T-34 and tested again on Sofrino proving ground. Trials were successful and gun was recommended for service in spite of its cost price. The ZIS-4 was too expensive mostly because of very long barrel. Nevertheless its price, gun was accepted for service because of high demand of powerful antitank guns. ZIS-4 was intended to rearm some production T-34 to convert them into "tank-hunters" (T-34-75). Following the order of NKV, ZIS-4 was set up for mass production on factory #92.
       Mass production of those guns started in August 1941. In September 1941 it was temporary delayed and on December 1, 1941, it was cancelled. That was because of shortage of 57 mm ammunition and productional expenses.
T-34/ 57 - 1941
T-34/ 57 - 1941
      According to report of Ministry of Ammunition (Narkomat Boepripasov), in 1941 the Factory # 92 has manufactured 133 ZIS-4 guns. Until evacuation, KhPZ had received 21 guns for reaming some production T-34s.
Zis-4 57mm L/73 - early gun tank
      STZ had the gun mantlet of the T-34-57. Additional armor ring was added to compencate different diameters of the F-34 and the ZIS- 4. received 20 guns. From October 1, 1941, T-34-57 must been manufactured on "Krasnoye Sormovo" Factory.
T34- 57mm mantlets - notice the flat surface in the prototype
and the armor ring and angled surface in the production tank
      The project of 57 mm gun was resumed in 1943, when it become clear that all existing guns could 
not combat with German heavies. In May 1943, the "T-34 tankhunter" and "KV tank-hunter" were accepted for service again.
KV1 / 57 prototype - heavy tank destroyer - Notice the "flat face" gun mantlet
KV-1 -1941 57mm - Notice the production gun mantlet
T 34 / 57 - Notice the differences
T34 / 57 - 1943 - bird view
      They were armed with modernised ZIS-4M L/73 tank gun that distinguished from its base model by following: 
- the gun received a new breech-block that was unified with F-34, ZIS-2, ZIS-3 and ZIS- 5; 
- the semi-automatic mechanism of the breech-block was simplified; 
- the muff's fastening was improved. 
Zis-4M gun tank
      The ZIS-4 wasn't provided with panoramic sight, T-34-57 was one of the first tank, that received the MK-4 periscope. Tank didn't have commander's cupola. Specially for successful combat with German heavy tanks, "tank-hunters" had "the armour piercing round of the extra power" that achieved the muzzle velocity of 1010 m/s. However, usage of that ammunition decreased significantly the barrel's life. So, after manufacturing of small party of these rounds (less than 2800 rounds total), all these ammunition was removed from mass production and withdrawn from the Red Army. 
The T-34-57 in Action. 
      Precise data on the number of "tank-destroyers" T-34-57 did not survive (fewer than 324). The "tank-hunters" first party that have participated was the Battle for Moscow in 1941-1942. In particular, there were 10 T34-57 in the 21st Tank Brigade, that was formed in Vladimir. On October 14, the brigade has been deployed at Demidov rail station and a day later it was ordered to advance on Turchinovo-Pushkino-Troyanovo and make a flank strike on German troops deployed near Kalinin. Starshiy politruk (Soviet rank) E.Gmurya drove his tank along the Volokolamsk highway had met with big column of German trucks. His tank has destroyed the whole column of 3-km length. After that, tank rushed in German aerodrome and has destroyed a heavy bomber. After that, tank was knocked out by German artillery, two crewmembers were killed. Politruk Gmyrya and sergeant Ishenko escaped and rejoined Red Army. After 4 days, 21st Tank Brigade destroyed 3 German staffs, about 1,000 soldiers, 34 tanks, 210 trucks and 31 guns. Brigade has lost its commander - Hero of the Soviet Union, major Mikhail A. Lukin and commander of the 1st battalion Hero of the Soviet Union captain M. P. Agibalov.
T34 / 57 1941 "White 20" of major Mikhail A. Lukin
T34 / 57 1941 "White 20" of major Mikhail A. Lukin
destroyed at Troyanovo
T34 / 57 1941 "White 20" of major Mikhail A. Lukin
destroyed at Troyanovo
   An example of the most successful use of tanks T-34-57 in this period may serve as a raid on German rear, perpetrated by the crew of "tank-destroyer" under the command Politruk Hmyrya. His car suddenly appeared in the Volokolamsk highway when it is carelessly was a big column of German vehicles with the soldiers. Having shot almost at point-blank column and sowing panic Hmyrya moved on and left on a busy German airfield where several shells completely destroyed the bomber was standing on the ground. Only by joint efforts of aircraft and artillery were able to stop "amok" T-34-57. Of the four men managed to break their only tank commander and sergeant Ishchenko.
      Despite the bravery and the skillful mastery of the technique he has shown in the battles of the 21st Brigade, all T-34 tanks, 57 were lost to the November 25, 1941 have been preserved as information about the presence of eight T-34-57 in the 8th Armored Brigade Kalinin Front. These machines arrived October 19, 1941, and had no ammunition, so use them in battle was not possible. On the fate of the T-34-57 no information.
      The new T-34-57 "tank-hunters" had appeared on the frontline in August 1943. They've been attached to "special tank company 100". That company had three T-34-57s in its first platoon from August 15 to September 5, 1943.
T34 / 57 1943 
T34 / 57 1943
   Unfortunately, "tank-hunters" were unlucky. During all those weeks, the company would meet German tanks only once, but in that time the 1st platoon was in reserve and didn't engage the battle. So, "tank-hunters" were unable to prove their efficiency against German armours. Nevertheless, commander of that company captain Volosatov and delegate of the GABTU colonel Zaitzev, have praised T-34-57 very high after shot practice on knocked out German tanks and captured pillboxes and bunkers. 
      The main drawback of the ZIS-4 and the ZIS-4M tank gun was very low quality of HE projectiles: they either exploded partially or didn't explode at all. During 1943, the Factory #92 had manufactured 172 ZIS-4M guns, then it mass production was cancelled in favour of 85 mm guns. Although, according to factory's report on 1944, it had manufactured additional 19 ZIS-4Ms. Perhaps, for repair some existing "tank-hunters".


T34 / 57 tank destroyer

Medium tank
Place of origin
Soviet Union
Service history
In service
Used by
Soviet Union
World War II
Production history
1940 -43
Number built
324 (?)
30900 Kg
3.00 m 
2.45 m

Hull front 47 mm /60° (upper part)[
45 mm /60° (lower part)
Hull side 40 mm/41°(upper part),
Hull rear 45 mm,
Hull top 20 mm,
Hull bottom 15 mm;
Turret front 60 mm
Turret side 52 mm/30°,
Turret rear 30 mm,
Turret top 16 mm
Main armament
57mm L/73 Zis-4/Zis-4M tank gun
2 × 7.62 mm (0.308 in) DT machine guns
Model V-2-34 38.8 L
V12Diesel engine
500 hp 
17.5 hp/tonne
Ground clearance
0.4 m 
Operational range
400 km 
53 km/h
The kit:
      To do this project, I used the awfull Maquette T-34 tank destroyer #3503.
Kit Maquette 3503 - T34 tank destroyer
      And you should be asking, "Why use this thing??" It was in 2003 that the only possible option. The much better Dragons 6092 and 6205 were not born,  yet !!!

      The building was a nightmare. The kit is awful and the instructions booklet a truly bad joke. I recommend the use of dry-runs to avoid errors and mistakes in the building...
Cutting details of other versions
Horrible (and visible...) injection marks...
Surgery in the front glacis...OMG !!!
       In 2003, There wasn't the option of metal gun to replace the rough and terrible Maquette plastic gun. I had to order a barrel in brass, turning in a workshop.
Original barrel (cano original do kit): unusable
Metal barrel in brass (too long for aluminium)
      Today, there are several options for these metal barrels, such as RB Model, Aber and Panzer Art.
adding weld seams with sprues
using an electronic welder to characterize the weld seams.
I used the production type mantlet
    Scratch and old school modeling techniques to turn this witch in a cheerleader!!!

rear deck details...
Surgery in the MG bulge...IThe kit was indescribable 
The MG barrel replaced by a needle...Old times...good times???
Surgery to adapt the driver's hatch frame...amazing !!!
The final result. Things were ugly, in the old times!!!
       Using dental acrylic to give a rusty surface on the exhaust pipe: You dilute PVA glue 50% water and "paint" the outside of the pipe. Wait 1 minute and immerse the tube in acrylic powder
The exhaust pipe with PVA glue in the external surface...
The tube submerged in acrylic powder...
The two pipes ready for paint...
adding texture with putty diluted in acetone...
       Painting and markingss of the glorious T34 / 57 1941 "White 20" of major Mikhail A. Lukin, Hero of Soviet Union.

Tracks LBL...
In segments...
      And the T34 / 57 1941 "White 20" of major Mikhail A. Lukin, Hero of Soviet Union, was done:
T34 / 57 1941 "White 20" of major Mikhail A. Lukin, Hero of Soviet Union
Russian Front  - Moscow Battle, 1941

T34 / 57 1941 "White 20" - left side

T34 / 57 1941 "White 20" - rear view

T34 / 57 1941 "White 20" - right side

T34 / 57 1941 "White 20" with Kojak and Rover, the dog
T34 / 57 1941 "White 20" of major Mikhail A. Lukin, Hero of Soviet Union
 and  Zis-30 57mm - SPAG, vehicle nbr. 3 from
18th Separate Tank Brigade - Russian Front, Summer, 1941.

      Given the precariousness of the kit and the lack of resources at the time (2003), I even liked the final results and I think that I hit my target ...I hope !!!
Lyudmila Pavlichenko, sniper (left)
Spasibo, Comrades !!!!

6 comentários:

  1. Hi Marcos. Very intersting post. The T-34 is one of my favorite tank and you have done a great job to make something correct with this ugly kit. Thanks again for the historical background, I like always to know what about the real thing.

  2. Thanks, Alain... The Maquette kit was horrible, but with good will and tons of patience, the thing was cool!!!

    Hugs, Alain !!!

  3. Marcos, thank you for this presentation. With great interest I read the historical information, so detailed. The pictures show thrilling moments of the building process.
    Also, SPASIBO comrade for the Russian girls!

  4. Spasibo, Sergei...And the "Russian wave" does not end here ... Keep an eye on the new buildings, the new projects ....

    Take care and big hug, my friend !!!!