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Soviet Union's SU-85 (Samoknya Ustanokova) tank destroyer:


SU-85 tank destroyer:
Soviet Union's SU-85 Tank Destroyer
Aberdeen Tank Museum

SU-85 tank destroyer:
Soviet Union's SU-85 Tank Destroyer
Aberdeen Tank Museum
SU-85 tank destroyer:
Soviet Union's SU-85 tank destroyer
Imperial War Museum

SU-85 tank destroyer:
Soviet Union's SU-85 Tank Destroyer
Imperial War Museum
SU-85 tank destroyer:
Soviet Union's SU-85 Tank Destroyer
School of Tank Technology

SU-85 tank destroyer:
Soviet Union's SU-85 tank destroyer
Imperial War Museum
SU-85 tank destroyer:
Soviet Union's SU-85 Tank Destroyer
Imperial War Museum
Dragon Armor diecast 1/72 armor 60091:
Dragon 1/72 Diecast Armor 60091, Soviet SU-85M
Dragon Armor diecast 1/72 armor 60092:
Dragon 1/72 Diecast Armor 60092, Soviet SU-85M


At the Uralmash works in Chelyabinsk a project was lead by the development bureau of General F. F. Petrov to develop a self-propelled gun on a T-347 chassis with an 85 mm gun.2 The designers were S. N. Machinowa, L. I. Gorlickiego, and L. S. Trojanowa.7

From the beginning it was designed as a tank destroyer to take on the German Panthers and Tigers.1

The SU 85 was based on the superstructure that was used in the SU-122.


The front plate had a driver's hatch to the left of center.7 This was mounted in a gimbal mount.7

On the right side of the fighting compartment is the commander's station.7 There was a fixed periscope in the hatch.7

The gunner is on the left side behind the driver.7 The loader is in the rear of the compartment and can move around behind the gun.7

The driver had three foot controls, from left to right, clutch, footbrake, and accelerator.7 The hand controls were a lever for the brakes in the right hand and in the left a change speed lever.7 There was a hand operated air pump for priming the fuel system for starting.7 In front of him were gauges that showed oil temperature and pressure.7 To the left was a revolution counter, speedometer, ammeter, voltmeter, starter and electrical switches, and an air pressure gauge for the air starter.7


The V2 engine was at the rear of its own compartment.7 On each side was a radiator and a fuel tank.7 There were a total of eight fuel tanks that could hold 135 gallons.7 An additional four auxiliary fuel tanks, that could hold 30 gallons each, were located on the outside of the engine compartment.7

The block, cylinder head, and crankcase were made of aluminum.7

Bosch type injectors were used in the SU-85's engine.7 The injectors were between the banks of cylinders.7


There are 5 rubber tired wheels on each side.7 The rear three wheels are evenly spaced while the front have larger gaps with the largest being between the second and third wheel.7 This was to distribute the weight evenly to the wheels.7

The wheels are independently sprung.7


The tracks are made from cast manganese steel.7 On alternate links are a guide horn.7 The plates were drilled and slotted to assist in going through mud and snow.7

Links weren't secured.7 The pins had a rounded head and when it started to wiggle loose it would strike against a double wedge shaped cam to push it back in.7

Main Armament

The 85 mm gun was based on an anti-aircraft gun and was mounted in a ball mantlet. The main armament was mounted to the right of center in the front plate.7 The breech block was semi-automatic.7 There was a Goertz dial sight that allowed for indirect firing.7

Ammunition is stored around the fighting compartment vertically and horizontally.7 Two clips hold each round in place.7

Ammunition used by the D-5S:6
Type Name Overall Weight Shot Weight Muzzle Velocity
HE6,7 O-3656 15.95 kg6 9.2 kg6  
O-365K6 16.3 kg6 9.54 kg6  
O-365KV6 14.95 kg6 9.54 kg6  
O-365G6 14.95 kg6 9.54 kg6  
AP6 BR-3652,6 16 kg6 9.2 kg6 792 m/sec2,6
APC6 BR-365K6 16 kg6 9.2 kg6 792 m/sec6
APCR (subcaliber)6 BR-365P6 11.42 kg6 4.99 kg6 1,050 m/sec6
APHE7   33 lb7 20 lb7  
AP-T5       2,575'/sec5
HVAP5       3,650'/sec5


There were three prototypes constructed:6

  • SU-85-I: An SU-122 with a C-18 gun.6
  • SU-85-II: An SU-122 with a D-5S gun.6 After tests it went into production with the SU-85 name.6
  • SU-85-IV: An SU-122 with a C-18 gun in a modified superstructure.6


Production was cancelled in July 1944 when SU-100 production started.6

However, due to a lack of 100 mm APC ammunition, the SU-85M was produced from August to December 1944.6 It was the SU-100 with an 85 mm D-5S gun.6

  • SU-85
    • May - December 1943: 1007, 7501,2, 2,050
      • Manufactured by: Soviet Arsenals5
    • 1944: 1,3001,2
    • ? - September 1944: 2,0003
    • Manufactured by: Uralmashzavod1, Kirov1, Uraimasz i Czelabinskie factory7
  • SU-85M
    • August - December 1944: 3156


First 100 appeared in September 1943 on the Dneiper.6,7 By early 1945 it had been withdrawn from the front and replaced by the SU-100. Used in all self-propelled gun regiments or brigades.


Crew Commander, gunner, loader, radio operator, driver7
41,3,5, 57
Physical Characteristics  

65,408 lb
29,200 kg3, 29,600 kg1
28.7 tons3, 29 tons7, 29.13 tons1, 29.2 tons1, 29.6 tons5

Empty weight 28 ton7
Length w/gun 21' 7"1, 21' 10"5, 26' 8"7, 27' 2"
6.58 m1, 8.15 m1
Length w/o gun 19' 5"7
Height 7' 4"3,5, 7' 9"7, 8' 4"1
2.25 m3, 2.45 m1, 2.54 m1
Width 9' 9"5, 9' 10"1,3,7, 10'
2.99 m1, 3 m1,3
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance 15"5, 1' 4"7
Ground contact length 158"5
Ground pressure 10 psi5, 11.2 psi7
Turret ring diameter  
Main 85 mm DS-S-857, 52 calibres7
Late models: 85 mm D-5 S-85 A2
85 mm D-5S1,3
85 mm5
Side arms  
Main 45, 481,5,7
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 2.1"1
20-543, 541
Hull Front, Upper 3"@0°5, 451, 45 @ 50°7
Hull Front, Lower 45 @ 50°7
Hull Sides, Upper 1.75"@0°5,
451, 45 @ 90°7
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear 1.75"@0°5,
451, 45 @ 50°7
Hull Top 201
Hull Bottom 201,7
Engine (Make / Model) V27
W-2, V-21,3
Model W-25,7
Bore / stroke  
Cooling Water5,7
Cylinders 125, V-121,7
Capacity 38.88 liters7
Net HP 5001,4,5, 500@1,800 rpm7
Power to weight ratio 17 bhp/ton7
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type) Constant mesh5, Sliding mesh7
4 forward, 1 reverse5,7
Steering Clutch brake5
Steering ratio  
Starter Electric and compressed air7
Electrical system Starter: 24 volt7
Lighting and communication: 12 volts7
Fuel (Type) Diesel5,7
Quantity 135 gallons7, 100 gallons + 104 gallons in auxiliary tank5, 178 gallons1
810 liters1
Road consumption 2.3 mpg5
Cross consumption  
Traverse 20° each way2,7, Hand7
Speed - Road 29 mph1,3, 30 mph1, 34 mph7, 35 mph5
47 kph1,3, 48 kph1
Cross country sped  
Range - Road 200 miles1, 210 miles5, 248 miles3, 249 miles1, 250 miles
320 km1, 400 km1,3
Range - Cross Country 124 miles1, 186 miles7
200 km1
Turning radius  
Elevation limits -5° to +20°2,7
Fording depth 2' 11"5, 4' 3"7
Trench crossing 8' 2"5,7
Vertical obstacle 2' 3.5"7, 2' 6"5
Climbing ability 35° slope5,7
Suspension (Type) Christie7, Christie coil spring torsion bar5
Wheels each side 55,7
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type) Steel, dry pin5
Cast manganese steel7
Width 20"5,7
Number of links 725,7
Pitch 6.9"7, 7"5
Track centers/tread 8' 2"7, 97"5
  SU-85 19432 /
Crew 42
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 29.2 -29.6 tons2
Empty weight  
Length w/gun 8.15 m2
Length w/o gun 5.93 m2
Height 2.4 m2
Width 3 m2
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance 0.4 m2
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure 0.81 kp/ cm2 2
Turret ring diameter  
Main 85 mm D 5-S-852
Side arms  
Main 482
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm)  
Hull Front, Upper 45-752
Hull Front, Lower 452
Hull Sides, Upper 452
Hull Sides, Lower 452
Hull Rear 452
Hull Top 202
Hull Bottom 202
Engine (Make / Model) W-2/342
Bore / stroke 4 stroke2
Cylinders V-122
Net HP 500@1,800 rpm2
Power to weight ratio 16.8 hp/ton2
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type)  
Steering ratio  
Electrical system  
Fuel (Type)  
Quantity 865 liters2
Road consumption  
Cross consumption  
Speed - Road 47-55 kph2
Cross country sped  
Range - Road 350 km2
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth 1.3 m2
Trench crossing 2.5 m2
Vertical obstacle 0.73 m2
Climbing ability 35°2
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type)  
Number of links  
Track centers/tread  


  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. Removed
  5. Tank Data 2, Aberdeen Proving Grounds Series, E. J. Hoffschmidt and W. H. Tantum IV, 1969
  6. Peter Porai-Koshits, Sudden Strike team member
  7. Armour in Profile #21 SU 85 and SU 100 Tank Destroyer, Colonel E. F. Offord, DSO, MBE, ?
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site