T-55: why NATO was so afraid of the Soviet supertanka

Weapons 10/01/20 T-55: why NATO was so afraid of the Soviet supertanka

the international situation in the mid-1950s has continued to escalate. The growth of the nuclear arsenals of the USSR and the USA could lead to full-scale conflict using weapons of mass destruction. In this case, the main theater of war would be Europe. Especially for nuclear war, Soviet designers have created a T-55 tank, which became a real nightmare of our “sworn allies”.

a Breakthrough to the English channel

of the Soviet Union after the Second world war had the most powerful land army in the world. It is on the ground troops relied Soviet strategy in the event of a military conflict with NATO.

Expected a swift jerk to break through the defense departments of NATO and to enter the operating room, rapidly expanding area of control. Under these conditions, the main role was played tanks, thousands of armored vehicles had to crush the fortified defensive positions.

the brunt of the fighting to mobilize the troops of the countries of the socialist bloc had to be the Group of Soviet forces in Germany (gsvg). A huge group of about two million people, according to estimates of officers of NATO, was able not only to repel the first blow, but to go on the offensive and on the fifth day to reach the line Hamburg — Le Havre, that is to reach the English channel, occupying the North-Western territory of France and Germany as well as Belgium and the Netherlands.

Due to its “special mission” gsvg before anyone received the newest samples of arms. In 1958 there came one of the first batches of T-55 tanks. It was a versatile machine, fit for fighting in a nuclear Apocalypse. Reliable protection for the crew from radiation exposure, coupled with high speed, decent firepower and good armor made T-55 a real nightmare for Western strategists.


the Developmentdevelopment of the new machine began in 1957 at the factory No183 (now the Corporation) on the T-54. Soviet engineers showed efficiency only for the year they managed to create a prototype, which is radically different from its predecessor.

the Main innovation of the car was a complete system of radiation protection. The crew of four was in a completely sealed tank: the engineers have refined the seals on manholes and maintenance holes, removed from the tank and one fan.

in addition, the T-55 was built detectors that recognize the strong background radiation. In the case of triggering the system automatically disabled the on-Board electrical and engine of the machine. Airborne systems T-55 recorded the use of enemy nuclear weapons, the tank stopped and waited for the passage of the shock wave.

For additional protection of the crew inside was installed separator-blower. He created the excess pressure and does not leak radioactive dust. This same technology allows the tank without problems to overcome water obstacles.

the Universal machine

the Advantages in the battle at the scorched ashes provided the engine to 580 horsepower (60 HP compared to T-54), night vision devices, automatic fire-fighting system of “Rosa”. Ammunition of the T-55 consisted of 43 shells, was fired from a rifled 100 mm gun D-10. Compared to the T-54 was increased warranty period of the tank – with thousands of kilometers to two.

the Tank of a nuclear war had a lot of advantages compared to its main competitors — the us M60 (started in 1960) and the British Centurion Mk.10 — the same age as “fifty-fifth”.

a Soviet tank was easier — 38.5 tons against 54 M60 and almost 52 “Centurion”. In addition, the T-55 was more compact: 6.2 meters in length, 3,27 — wide, with the height of 2.21. The M60 has reached a length of almost seven meters, and “British” to eight. Lost to the Soviet machine of its Western competitors, and in the ratio of width-youSota.

of all Tracy T-55 was the speed. 50 kilometers per hour at maximum compared with 48 American and 34.6 from the British cars. Thus, “fifty-fifth” in its characteristics is perfectly suited for lightning-fast breakthrough of the enemy defense classes and more enemy territory in the shortest amount of time.

the Western military, especially the Europeans, knew the capabilities of the T-55, and therefore were not eager to see this machine in action. The Americans, in which case that could sit at the ocean, they were forced to listen to its allies from the Old world.

“Tank AK-47”

the T-55 was one of the most popular tanks in history. In the 21 years from 1958 to 1979, from the conveyor descended more than 50 thousand units. For reliability, simplicity and high fighting qualities of the military called it a “tank AK-47”.

Surprisingly, successfully fight the T-55 could with more advanced Western machinery, for example, the American tank M1 “Abrams”, production of which began in 1980. Well “fifty-fifth” during the operation “desert Storm” in 1991. American tankers avoided battles with Iraqi T-55 and tried to shift this task on the shoulders of artillery and aviation.

Ivan Proshkin

© Russian Seven

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