The F-34 was designed before the start of World War II by P. Muraviev of Vasiliy Grabin's design bureau at Factory No. 92 in Gorky. The gun was superior to the older F-32 and the Leningrad Kirov Factory's L-11 76.2mm guns, but the latter had already been approved for the new T-34 medium tank. The initial T-34 Model 1940 with its inferior armament was in production when Germany invaded the Soviet Union. The F-34 was ready for production, but Marshal Grigory Kulik's high-handed interference with tank appropriation had made the relevant bureaucrats too frightened to approve the better gun.
The first indigenous Soviet medium tank design, the T-28, incorporated multiple turrets and was intended for an independent breakthrough role. Inspired by the Vickers A6 (its suspension was a clear copy) and German Grosstraktor designs, it grew out of the 1932 Red Army mechanization plan and was first produced by the Leningrad Kirov Plant. Intended for an attack role, the T-28 had a central main gun turret and two machine-gun turrets in front and to either side. The T-28 weighed 28,560 pounds, had a six-man crew, and was powered by a 500-hp engine and had a road speed of 23 mph. It had only 30mm maximum armor protection. The prototype mounted a 45mm gun, but production vehicles had a 76.2mm low-velocity main gun and two machine guns. Combat experience with the T-28 led to changes. Armor was increased on the C version to 80mm for the hull front and turret. Some T-28s substituted a low-velocity 45mm gun in the right front turret for the machine gun normally carried there. The T-28 had a poor combat record, however.
Britain’s first cruiser design actually introduced during World War II was the Mark V Cruiser Tank (A13 Mk III), designated in 1940 as the Covenanter (thus beginning the British practice of naming tanks). The A13 originated in a 1936 trip to the Soviet Union by Lieutenant Colonel G. Le Q. Martel, assistant director of mechanization, and his inspection there of the T-28 Soviet tank, itself influenced by the British Vickers 16-Tonner of 1929.
First indigenous Soviet medium tank, but clearly influenced by both the Vickers A6 and German Grosstraktor designs. Intended for an attack role, it had a central main-gun turret and two machine- gun turrets in front to either side. Its suspension was copied from the Vickers tank. It served in the 1939–1940 Winter War with Finland and in the opening weeks of the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941 but performed poorly in combat. Subsequent variants included the T-28C with increased hull front and turret armor.
Manufacturer: Leningrad Korov Plant
Armament: 1 x 76.2mm (3-inch) low-velocity main gun M1927; 3 x 7.62mm DT machine guns (some T-28s mounted a low-velocity 45mm gun in the right auxiliary turret in place of the machine gun)
Weight: 62,720 lbs.
Armor: maximum 30mm; minimum 10mm (maximum 80mm on T-28C)
Power plant: M-17 V-12 500-hp gasoline engine
Maximum speed: 23 mph
Range: 137 miles
Vertical obstacle: 3’5”
Trench crossing: 9’6”
Special models: commander’s tank T-28 (V) with radio antenna frame around turret; small number of flamethrower tanks