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Soviet Union's T-28 medium tank
Nicknames: Betka (beetle), Betushka or Tri-Tankista (three tank men)

Design

In the early 1930s development started on Russia's first medium tank and production started in Leningrad. Several prototypes (T-12, T-24, and TG) were found to be substandard for production.

In 1931 the T-28 was designed by S. A. Ginsburg at the Leningrad "Bolshevik" Machine Factory. This was based on the design of the British Vickers, however, this tank was still secret so some have surmised that information on it was obtained through espionage. The T-28 was intended to break through fortified defensive zones and for exploitation by mechanized brigades. The BT series were to be its cavalry counterpart.

Smoke emitters were installed. In late production vehicles a device, designed by A. A. Prokofiev, was installed to help stabilize the main armament.

Suspension

The idler was in front with the drive in the rear. Most of the T-28's suspension was covered by skirts with mud chutes.

There were five 4-wheeled bogies on each side with a single pair at the front and the back. They were on coil springs without shock absorbers.

Crew

There was a crew of six to man the main and sub turrets and drive the T-28.

Radio

The T-28 had a 71-TK-1 radio set was initially installed when it was replaced in 1935 by the 71-TK-2 model.

Turret

The turret in the T-28 had a turning stage which made it easier for the crew to rotate.

Main Armament

The prototypes had a 45 mm 1932 tank gun as the main armament, which fired a 2.15 kg shell. However, when production started it was upgraded to a 76.2 mm 1927/32 tank gun. The 76.2 mm gun fired a shell weighing 6.2 kg. The elevation was +25° which allowed a range of 7,125 m for the 76.2 mm. There was a tank targeting scope and a panoramic targeting scope installed. 64 - 70 rounds of ammunition was carried.

The machine gun turrets had a traverse of 220°. In some models a DT machine gun was mounted in the rear of the turret. 7,38 - 8,320 rounds of machine gun ammunition was carried.

Staring in 1938 the T-28 had the 76.2 L-10 L/26.5 tank gun installed. It had a shell weighing 6.2 kg. To the right of the main gun a 7.62 mm DT machine gun was mounted that had a range in elevation of -30° to +30°. It only had a traverse of 60°.

Engine

The T-28's engine was based on a BMW aircraft engine and designated the M-17 L which could produce 500 HP.

There were 5 forward and 1 reverse gear. There was a lock that prevented the shifting of gears without the main clutch being engaged.

Armor

In 1940 it was decided to strengthen the T-28's armor protection. Plates were added to the hull and turret that were 50 - 60 mm thick. The side and rear armor was also upgraded to 40 mm. This increased the T-28's weight to 31 - 32 tons. These were designated the T-28 E or T-28 M.

Prototype

Testing was carried out in 1932. The prototypes had a 45 mm gun installed, with 2 smaller turrets with 7.62 mm DT machine guns. The driver was positioned between the two auxiliary turrets.

The T-28 prototype was released for trials in 1932. The prototype was constructed at the Kirov plant located in Leningrad.

The T-28 was adopted by the Red Army on August 11, 1933.

Production

In 1933 the first ten T-28s produced were shown in the May Day parade in Moscow.

  • T-28: 503, 600
    • Manufacturer: Kirov Works in Leningrad, Red Putilov Factory in Leningrad
    • Production: 1933 - ?, 1933 - 1940 , ? - 1939
      • 1933: 41
      • 1934: 50
      • 1935: 32
      • 1936: 101
      • 1937: 39
      • 1938: 96
      • 1939: 131
      • 1940: 12, 13
  • T-28 Model 1934:
    • Production: ? - 1938
  • T-28 Model 1938:
    • Production: ? - 1940

Mass production stopped after the cessation of the Russo-Finnish War, and was replaced by the T-34.

Variants

  • Prototype: The weight was 17.3 tons with a crew of five. There was a single 45 mm gun and three 7.62 mm machine guns. It was protected by 20 - 30 mm of armor. It was able to go 37 kph with a 500 HP engine.
  • T-28: Main production model. Had 76.2 mm gun.
  • T-28A (1932), T-28V, T-28 Model 1933: Had thicker armor in the front. Suspension was modified to have twelve bogie rollers and four return rollers.
  • T-28(V): Commander's version with frame aerial around turret.
  • T-28 Model 1934:
  • T-28B (E, 1938), T-28M, T-28M-1, T-28 Model 1938: Produced starting in 1938. Longer gun, turret basket, and better vision for the driver. Had ball mounted machine gun placed in the rear of the turret. The main gun was upgraded. Had three machine guns. An elementary gun stabilizer was installed.
  • T-28C (M, 1940), T-28M-2: Extensive modifications. By adding additional armor, the front became 80 mm and the sides and rear 40 mm. Saw action in 1940 when the Mannerheim Line was penetrated.
  • T-28E, T-28 Model 1940, T-28M: After poor showing in Finland the T-28s were uparmored (ekanirovki). The updates were made right before the German invasion.
  • OT-28: Flame-thrower version.
  • IT-28: Bridgelayer. Used the chassis of a T-28E and had a crew of 5 and kept the MG turrets. Appeared in 1938-39. The metal bridge was 13 meters long and had a weight limit of 50 tons. It could be unloaded in 3 minutes. Were used in the Winter War with Finland in 1939 - 1940.
  • ???: Mine remover. Had two ton, 1/2 meter wide rollers. In an hour it could sweep 10 - 12 km.
  • SU-8: Prototype with a 152.4 mm coastal cannon or a 76.2 mm 1931 anti-aircraft gun. It was to weigh over 17.6 tons and a speed over 37 kph.
  • ???: Self propelled. Designed by A. A. Tolochkov. Was able to put a 152.4 mm coastal gun into position. A plate was lowered under the gun and it could be raised.
  • T-29:

Usage

First seen at the May Day parade in Moscow in 1933.

Heavy armored brigades had 136 and 47 BTs in them. The 5th Heavy Tank Brigade had 62 T-35s and 32 T-28s.

First used in the occupation of Ukraine and White Russia in September 1939.

Spanish Civil War

There is evidence that the T-28 was used in the Spanish Civil War though Soviet statements say they weren't.

Against Finland

The T-28 was used in Finland at Karelia in 1939-1940. They equipped two Heavy Tank Brigades, the 10th and 20th.

In Finland its thin armor became its biggest weakness.

Several were captured by Finland.

Uparmored T-28Ms were used to break through the Mannerheim Line in 1940.

Against Japan

They were also used against the Japanese in 1939.

Specifications

  T-28
Crew 6
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 62,720 lb
27.5 tons, 28 tons, 28.5 tons
28,500 kg, 28,509 kg
Length 18', 24' 4", 24' 5", 24' 4.8", 24' 9"
7.25 m, 7.44 m
Height 9' 3", 9' 4", 9.25'
2.75 m, 2.82 m
Width 9.2', 9' 2.75", 9' 4", 9' 5"
2.78 m, 2.81 m
Ground clearance 1' 5"
0.43 m
Ground contact length 19.18'
Ground pressure 10.24 psi
0.72 (kg/cm2)
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 76.2 mm
76.2 mm Model 1927/32 L/16.5
76.2 mm L/16
76.2 mm L/16.5
OR 76.2 mm L/25
Secondary  
MG 3: 7.62 mm MG
3: 7.62 mm DT MG
3: MG
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 69, 70
Secondary  
MG 7,938, 8,320
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 30, 10 - 30, 10 - 80
Hull Front, Upper 30
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper 20
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear 20
Hull Top 10 - 15
Hull Bottom 10 - 15, 20
Turret Front 11 - 20, 20
Turret Sides

23

Turret Rear 23
Turret Top 11
Engine (Make / Model) M-17 L
M-17
M-17L Liberty
Bore / stroke  
Cylinders 12, V-12
Net HP 500
Transmission (type) 4 forward, 1 reverse
Fuel (type) Gasoline
Octane  
Capacity  
Power to weight ratio 18.2 hp/ton
Performance  
Traverse 360°
MGs: 60°
Speed - Road 20 mph, 23 mph
35 kph, 37 kph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 136.7 miles, 137 miles, 118 miles,
190 km, 220 km
Range - Cross Country 100 miles
Turning radius  
Elevation limits +25°
MGs: -30° to +30°
Fording depth 1' 9"
0.8 m
Trench crossing 9' 6"
2.9 m
Vertical Obstacle 3' 5"
1.04 m
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type) Coil Springs
Wheels each side 12
Return rollers each side 4
Track length  
Tires 8 rubber, 4 steel
Track width 1' 2 "
260 mm
Track centers/tread  
  T-28 1932
Crew 6
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 25.2, 27.5-28.5 tons
Length 7.36 - 7.44 m
Height 2.62 - 2.82 m
Width 2.81 - 2.87 m
Ground clearance 0.5 - 0.56 m
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure 0.72 kg/(cm)
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 76.2 mm 1927/32 L/16
Secondary  
MG  
MG - front turrets 2: 7.62 mm DT MG
MG - turret rear 1: 7.62 mm DT MG
MG - coaxial 1: 7.62 mm DT MG
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 64 - 70
Secondary  
MG 7,938 - 8,320
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm)  
Hull Front, Upper 30
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper 20
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear 20
Hull Top 10 - 15
Hull Bottom 10 - 15
Turret Front Main: 30
MG turret: 20
Turret Sides

Main: 20
MG turret: 20

Turret Rear Main: 20 - 30
MG turret: 20
Turret Top Main: 15
MG turret: 10
Engine (Make / Model) M-17 or M-17 L
Bore / stroke 4 stroke
Cylinders 12
Net HP 500
Transmission  
Fuel type Gasoline
Octane  
Capacity 650 liters
Power to weight ratio 17.5 - 17.9 hp/ton
Performance  
Traverse 360°
Speed - Road 37 - 40 kph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 140 - 220 km
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth 0.8 m
Trench crossing 2.7 - 3.3 m
Vertical Obstacle 0.96 m
Climbing ability 43°
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Track length  
Tires  
Track width  
Track centers/tread  
  T-28 1934
Crew 6
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 32,000 kg, 31.5 tons
Length 7.44 m
24' 5"
Height 2.86 m
9' 3"
Width 2.86 m
9' 3"
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 45 mm
OR 76.2 mm
Secondary  
MG  
MG - front turrets 2: 7.62 mm DT MG
MG - coaxial 1: 7.62 mm DT MG
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 0.79" - 3.14"
20 - 80
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) M-17L
Bore / stroke  
Cylinders V-12
Net HP 500@1,400 rpm
Transmission  
Fuel type Gasoline
Octane  
Capacity  
Power to weight ratio  
Performance  
Traverse 360°
Speed - Road 22 mph
37 kph
Speed - Cross Country 12.4 mph
20 kph
Range - Road 135 miles
220 km
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical Obstacle  
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Track length  
Tires  
Track width  
Track centers/tread  
  T-28 Model 1938,
T-28 E,
T-28 M
Crew 6
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 31 - 32 tons
Length 7.36 - 7.44 m
Height 2.62 - 2.82 m
Width 2.81 - 2.87 m
Ground clearance 0.5 - 0.56 m
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure 0.77 kg/cm2
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 76.2 mm L-10 L/26
76.2 mm L-11
76.2 mm T-28 Ob. 1938 L/26
Secondary  
MG  
MG - front turrets 2: 7.62 mm DT MG
MG - turret rear 1: 7.62 mm DT MG
MG - coaxial 1: 7.62 mm DT MG
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 69, 70
Secondary  
MG 7,939
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 80
Hull Front, Upper 58-80
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper 40
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear 40
Hull Top 23
Hull Bottom 23
Turret Front Main: 80
Turret Sides

Main: 40

Turret Rear Main: 40
Turret Top Main: 15
Engine (Make / Model) M-17 or M-17 L
Bore / stroke 4 stroke
Cylinders 12
Net HP 450 - 500@1,400 - 1,450 rpm
Transmission  
Fuel type Gasoline
Octane  
Capacity  
Power to weight ratio 15.6 - 16.1 hp/ton
Performance  
Traverse 360°
Speed - Road 23 kph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 140 - 180 km
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth 0.8 m
Trench crossing 2.7-3.3 m
Vertical Obstacle 0.96 m
Climbing ability 43°
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Track length  
Tires  
Track width  
Track centers/tread  
  T-28V,
T-28A
Crew 6
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 31 tons
Length 23.62'
Height 9'
Width 9.2'
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length 21' 4"
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 76.2 mm L/16.5
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 70
Secondary  
MG 7,938
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm)  
Hull Front, Upper 30
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper 20
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top 10 - 15
Hull Bottom 10 - 15
Turret Front 11 - 40
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) M-17L Liberty
Bore / stroke  
Cylinders 12
Net HP 500
Transmission  
Fuel type Gasoline
Octane  
Capacity  
Power to weight ratio  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 23 mph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 112 miles
Range - Cross Country 90 miles
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical Obstacle  
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Track length  
Tires  
Track width 1' 2"
Track centers/tread  
  T-28M-1,
T-28B
Crew 6
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 31 tons
Length 24.45'
Height 9' 4"
Width 9.2'
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length 21' 4"
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 76.2 mm
76.2 mm L/26
Secondary  
MG 3: MGs
3: 7.62 mm DTMG
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 70
Secondary  
MG 7,938
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm)  
Hull Front, Upper 35
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper 20
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top 10 - 15
Hull Bottom 10 - 15
Turret Front 11 - 40
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) M-17L Liberty
Bore / stroke  
Cylinders 12
Net HP 500
Transmission  
Fuel type Gasoline
Octane  
Capacity  
Power to weight ratio  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 14.4 mph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 110 miles
Range - Cross Country 85 miles
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical Obstacle  
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Track length  
Tires  
Track width 1' 2"
Track centers/tread  
  T-28M-2,
T-28C
Crew 6
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 32 tons
32,513 kg
Length 24.45'
Height 9' 4"
Width 9.2'
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length 21' 4"
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 76.2 mm L/26
Secondary  
MG 3: 7.62 mm DTMG
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 70
Secondary  
MG 7,938
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm)  
Hull Front, Upper 50 - 80
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper 20
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top 23
Hull Bottom 23
Turret Front 20 - 80
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) M-17L Liberty
Bore / stroke  
Cylinders 12
Net HP 500
Transmission  
Fuel type Gasoline
Octane  
Capacity  
Power to weight ratio  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 14.4 mph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 110 miles
Range - Cross Country 85 miles
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical Obstacle  
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Track length  
Tires  
Track width 1' 2"
Track centers/tread  

Sources:

  1. Russian Tanks of World War II Stalin's Armored Might, by Tim Bean & Will Fowler, 2002
  2. Russian Tanks and Armored Vehicles 1917-1945, by Wolfgang Fleischer, 1999
  3. The Encyclopedia of Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles - The Comprehensive Guide to Over 900 Armored Fighting Vehicles From 1915 to the Present Day, General Editor: Christopher F. Foss, 2002
  4. Panzer Truppen The Complete Guide to the Creation and Combat Employment of Germany's Tank Force 1933-1942, Thomas L. Jentz, 1996
  5. Tanks of the World, 1915-1945, Peter Chamberlain, Chris Ellis, 1972
  6. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  7. Airfix Magazine Guide 22 Russian Tanks of World War 2, John Milsom and Steve Zaloga, 1977
  8. Tanks of World War II, Duncan Crow, 1979
  9. Armored Fighting Vehicles, 300 of the World's Greatest Military Vehicles, Philip Trewhitt, 1999
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