T-44 was an armoured vehicle (tank, AFV or armoured fighting vehicle) in combat use during the Second World War (World War II or WWII) primarily on the Eastern Front. The T-44 was a fully tracked all-terrain vehicle designed for military operations. T-44 was produced and deployed by the Red Army of the Soviet Union (USSR). The technical drawing (plan, layout or profile) shows the general appearance characteristics of the specified model (version) of the T-44 tank for purposes of identification and reference. For more detailed information about this armoured fighting vehicle, refer to T-44.

Class Vehicle
Type Armoured Fighting Vehicle
Manufacturer Factory No.75 Kharkov Diesel Factory
Origin Russia (USSR)
Country Name Origin Year
Russia (USSR) 1945
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Factory No.75 Kharkov Diesel Factory 1945 200 View

By the end of 1940, when production of the T-34 started, there were already plans to improve the vehicle's reliability and operational capabilities by adopting more modern technology.

This design project was designated T-34M. It had enhanced armour protection, a three-man hexagonal turret, torsion bar suspension instead of Christie suspension, road wheels with internal shock absorption, increased fuel capacity, and more main gun ammunition (100 rounds instead of 77 in standard T-34). The bow machine gun and driver's hatch switched positions on the glacis plate. In addition to six smaller wheels, the suspension of the T-34M had four return rollers. The original model V-2 12-cylinder diesel engine developing 500 hp (373 kW) was replaced by a new 12-cylinder diesel engine which produced 600 horsepower (450 kW). It had a new 8-speed transmission system. It was the first tank design to feature transverse engine placement, which made it smaller than a standard T-34 and gave the crew more space.

The Zhdanov Metallurgical Factory manufactured five sets of armour plates for the hull of the T-34M and delivered them to Factory No. 183. However, early in 1941 work on the T-34M ceased as the production facilities were extremely busy with the mass production of the T-34. When the war with Nazi Germany broke out the only sensible solution was to gradually improve the existing design.

During the battles on the Eastern Front it became apparent that the Red Army needed a new medium tank. They requested that it should have better protection at a minimal increase of weight. In 1942 the T-43 tank design project began. It featured a new turret and shorter suspension which reduced the clearance between the roadwheels. However, it concentrated on increasing armour at a time when maintaining production and increasing firepower were more important. The T-43 was cancelled, but its new turret design was adapted to carry a larger 85 mm D-5T and later ZiS-S-53 gun in a new variant called the T-34-85. It marked the end of T-34 improvements as fitting 100 mm guns in T-34-100 prototypes proved unfeasible. (See T-34 variants article for details).

The T-44 was issued to three tank brigades mustered on 15 September 1944 for training purposes, but these formations (6th Guards, 33rd Guards, and 63rd Guards Tank Brigades) were re-equipped with T-34-85 tanks prior to entering the Battle of Berlin and Prague Offensive. The T-44A was not used operationally during World War II in Europe for several reasons, including the fact that the Red Army was not ready to accept a new tank because of lack of sufficient spares and technical specialists who could repair and maintain the new tanks as well as the fact that many of the tank crews would have to be retrained. However, three tanks were sent to the 100th Special Tank Company which tested them on the Eastern Front. Many T-44As were immediately sent after they were produced in the Far East regions of the Soviet Union. The first tanks arrived there before the end of the war and were used operationally during the last three days of fighting. They continued to arrive after the war and eventually around 600 T-44As were stationed there.

Due to the Cold War, the USSR decided to keep the tank secret. It was never shown publicly during military parades and pictures were never shown publicly until the secrecy was dropped. There is almost no photographic evidence of T-44s stationed in East Germany or during the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956 although it is known that T-44s were sent there (there are only a small number of photos of T-44As in Hungary in existence).

In 1961, a number of T-44As were modernized with parts from the T-54 main battle tank and other upgrades and received the designation T-44M. In 1963, some T-44Ms were converted into T-44MK command tanks. In 1965 some T-44Ms were converted into BTS-4A armoured recovery vehicles. In 1966, a number of T-44As and T-44Ms received the "Cyclone" gun stabilizer and the designations T-44S and T-44MS, respectively. According to most sources T-44S, T-44M and T-44MS tanks remained in service with the Soviet Army until the end of the 1970s, when their usefulness as tanks had ended. It is possible that they remained in storage until the beginning of the 1990s. Many T-44Ms were converted into artillery tractors, tank tractors and engineer tanks. A number of T-44A, T-44S, T-44M, T-44MK and T-44MS tanks were converted into fixed defensive positions; some of which are known to have been positioned on the border with the People's Republic of China. Unlike most Soviet made weapons the T-44 wasn't exported.

After the cloak of secrecy was lifted in the 1960s, when the tank was already becoming obsolete, it was used in the war movies: Father of a Soldier, Liberation, Battle of Moscow, Red Cherry, The Star, and Downfall. In the first, it was used to portray a T-34. In Liberation, Red Cherry, The Star, and Downfall it was visually modified with additional plates to resemble the Tiger I heavy tank. Some T-44 and T-34 tanks were visually modified to represent German Panzerkampfwagen IVs. They were made for Soviet era film studios and were used in a number of movies about battles on the Eastern Front. They were also used during a 2004 re-enactment of the Battle of Moscow. Some T-44As were given to military museums including one in Brest in today's Belarus, and one in the Museum of the Great Patriotic War, Moscow, Poklonnaya Hill Victory Park. One of two T-44-100 prototypes is in the Kubinka Tank Museum.

Other DesignationsT-44
Manufacturer(s)Factory No.75 Kharkov Diesel Factory
Production Quantity2001Production Period1945
TypeMedium TankCrew4
Length overall7.65 m (25' 1")Barrel Overhang1.60 m (5' 3")
Width3.10 m (10' 2")Height2.40 m (7' 10")
Combat Weight31500 kg (69500 lbs)Radio Equipment9RM
Primary Armament85mm Gun ZiS-S-53Ammunition Carried58
Traverse (degrees)360°Elevation (degrees)-5° to +25°
Traverse speed (360°)n.a.SightTSh-16
Secondary Armament2 x 7.62mm DTM MG (coaxial, bow2)Ammunition Carried1890

Engine Make & ModelV-44Track Links72/track
Type & DisplacementV12, n.a.Track Width50 cm (20")
Horsepower (max.)520hp@2000rpmTrack Ground Contact385 cm (152")
Power/Weight Ratio16.5 hp/tonneGround Pressure0.82 kg/cm2 (11.6 psi)
Gearbox5 forward, 1 reverseGround Clearance0.45 m (1' 6")
FuelDieselTurning Radius7.6 m (24' 11")
Range on/off road200+/140+ kmGradient32°
Mileage on road250 l/100kmVertical Obstacle1.0 m (3' 3")
Fuel Capacity500 (+150 external) lFording1.3 m (4' 3")
Speed on/off road50/26 km/hTrench Crossing2.5 m (8' 2")
Armor DetailFrontSideRearTop/Bottom

1Production continued afterward. This figure is the number produced in the production period noted.
2The bow MG was electrically operated.

ST, RT, OOBTr, RTAV, Russian Military Zone, George R. Bradford


End notes