For the second Tank Myths article I have decided to talk about some myths on the Russian T-34. It’s considered by many a revolutionary tank and by far the best tank ever built during World War II. My personal opinion is that it was highly overrated and exaggerated.
Myth #1 – T-34 was the first tank ever to use sloped armour and nothing could penetrate it.
It is widely believed that the T-34 was the first tank ever to use sloped armour. However this is not true, French tanks like SOMUA S35 and R35, which had fully cast hulls and turrets, already had sloped armour. In World War I, sloped armour had been partially implemented by the French on their first tank, the Schneider CA1.
Other countries, like Germany, did some studies on the use of sloped armour before World War II and had several reasons not to use it:
- Sloped armour reduces the tank volume, resulting in reduced space for internal modules and crew space.
- It limits the gun size, one of the major points against sloped armour.
- Sloped armour changes the center of gravity in the tank.
We can correctly say, that it was the first mass produced tank to fully use the advantages of sloped armour, but it’s highly incorrect to say it was the first tank ever to use it.