Book Review
T 34 NVA
Soviet Special T 34 NVA
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by: Adie Roberts [ IN_WAR_AND_PEACE ]


Identification of T-34 variants can be complicated. Turret castings, superficial details, and equipment differed between factories; new features were added in the middle of production runs, or retrofitted to older tanks; damaged tanks were rebuilt, sometimes with the addition of newer-model equipment and even new turrets.


This is a 64 page book with a quantity of photos and illustrations with 123 black and white photographs and 15 graphics in German and English.

T 34/ 76 Tanks of the East German People's Army.
Standard Tank of the 1950's T 34/85.
Sub titles.
T 34 / 85 Nishy Tagil.
T 34 / 85 Omsk.
T 34 / Gorky.
T 34 / 85 Amphibious Trials.
T 34 / 85m Modernisation.
T 34 / 85 From the Polish Labedy Factory.
T 34 / 85 Deep-Fording Trials.
Polish-production T 34 /85m Tanks.
Exports and Foreign Training Aids.
T 34 / 85 in Technical Manuals.
T 34-based Self-Propelled Guns.
T 34 Armoured Recovery Vehicles.
T 34 Crane Vehicles.
T 34 Mine-Clearing Vehicle.
T 34 Bridge-Layer.
T 34 Specialist Mining Vehicles.


With so many different subjects in this book it may seem overwhelming, but with the great way Tankograd layout their books and feel them full of incredible pictures it becomes compulsive reading once picked up.

T 34 / 76 Tanks of the East German People's Army is the start of this book and goes into some history surrounding the start of the build-up of T 34's. On July the 1st 1945 the East German Volkspolizei (VP) Police force was created based on the order of the Soviet military administration in the Soviet Occupied Zone in East Germany. The date, however, when the VP received first tanks is unknown. The fact that the first 19 tanks were received by the East German Police before the German Democratic Republic had been founded seems to point to the way the situation was running after the end of World War 2.

The first trial by fire for the Volkspolzei units was in July 1948 during the Berlin Blockade. Up till February 1950 the number of VP units was 24 infantry, eight artillery and three tank formations, by the November 1950 it was ordered that VP units be reorganised again into mixed units with 1,800 soldiers each. During 1950 the DDR took over a total of 85 T 34 /85 tanks to fully equip the mixed units. In 1951 the DDR received another 15 T 34 tanks from. From July 1952, VP readiness units were again reorganised into Kasernierte Volkspolzei (KVP) Paramilitary police with separate sub commissions such as VP-sea and VP-air.

With the foundation of the Nationale Volksarmee (NVA) Der DDR, or East German People's Army on the 1st March 1956. The information continues on from here but starts to become more picture heavy with pictures of Tank driving schools training to rail loading of T 34 to rail cars. Some of the pictures of the T 34 struggling but getting through the course are well done and although in black and white there is still a lot of material for the modeller. This section finishes with some nicely drawn cut detail pictures of various parts of the T 34.

Standard Tank of the 1950's : T 34 /85. Starts a new chapter, in 1953 the DDR received its first T 34 / 85 tanks from the Soviet Union stocks. By 1955 the KVP fielded 361 tanks of this type. This figure was supplemented in September the same year by another 155. During planning procedures for the NVA in 1956 /57, it was outlined that it would field 171 tanks in the MSDs and 209 by late 1957 the Group of Soviet delivered 300 more T 34 /85s to the NVA. After the building of the Berlin wall in August 1961 and the ensuing ramifications for the relationship between NATO and Warsaw Pact, The Soviet Army in Germany handed over an additional 200 T 34 / 85s. This chapter carries on about the build up of tanks and the worsening problems with relations between the NATO countries and the Warsaw Pact countries before going back to a photo heavy article with some incredible pictures.

Sub section follows called T 34 /85 Nishy Tagil then shows pictures of the T 34 / 85 of Zavod No 183 Nishy Tagil. A series of pictures show some manoeuvres with a motorised rifle unit and followed by further pictures showing tanks in the field and with some brush and scrub camouflaging parts of the tank. Some of these pictures are really spectacular and really show the punishment and that these tanks could endure.

Another sub section called T 34 /85 Omsk shows combat training with a T 34 / 85 manufactured in Zavod No 112 in Omsk. This is a small section of just three pictures.

Another sub section called T 34 / 85 Gorky shows another T 34/85 from Zavod No112 Gorky with a two- piece commanders gun mantlet. More pictures show the Gorky tanks in different situations all of them showing good detail for modellers wanting to build these type of tanks.

T 34/85 Amphibious Trials in 1959 the NVA carried out trials to make the T 34/85 amphibious. At least one tank from Zavod No 112 production in Gorky was converted to make a floating tank. The outcome of trials showed the specialised eqiupment to be to complicated, the system was not introduced.

T 34/ 85m Modernisation covers a section in this book about some of the modernisation that went on with the T 34/85. One of the promising features was seen in the usage of the Mixed diesel/ petrol fuels and heavy oils, as well as the fitting of the V2 54 engine of the T 54 into the T 34/85. Various other upgrades modernising the T 34/85 continued. More pictures of some of these new improved tanks follow the chapter making some great ideas for dioramas and different versions of the T 34/85 continue on for some further pages.

T 34/85 from the Polish Labedy Factory a chapter on the Polish state-operated KUM Bumar Labedy tank factory built the T 34/85 under licence between 1951 and 1964 In general, Polish- produced T 34 produced were much better production quality than Soviet-built ones. More pictures followed from various settings.

T 34/85 Deep-fording Trials one small article and two pictures show some of the trials taking place.

Polish -production T 34/85m Tanks is a small picture section on the Polish tanks which is picture heavy before it moves onto the next chapters.

Exports and Foreign Training Aids. The chapter is about the DDR between 1967 and 1985, around 200 T 34/85 and T 34/85m tanks giving these to third-world countries as development aid. These included Egypt (1967), Ethiopia (1978,79 and 81), Guinea (1971), Mozambique (1977, 79 and 80), Nicaragua (1984) Somalia (1975-76) and Vietnam.

T 34/85 in Technical Manuals a small article on showing drawn pictures showing some of the limitations like the degree angles, temperatures, ramming, obstacle crossing, ground clearance amongst other pictures and diagrams.

T 34-based Self-Propelled Guns another small section that covers the SU tank destroyers like the SU - 85 which is based on the chassis of a T 34 a few pictures are included.

T 34 Armoured Recovery Vehicles with the DDR having so many T 34's armoured recovery vehicles were required to aid field repair or towing. At the beginning however, there were only 15 T-34 Schlepper tow tractors (basically turret less tanks). It goes in to some depth how the DDR used surplus SU 100 tanks to convert in to tow tractors plenty of pictures again cover a lot of information and show them in the field of operation.

T 34 Crane Vehicles In late 1964 the NVA received a total of six SPK 5 crane tanks based on the T-34 chassis. A small amount of history and some pictures follow.

T-34 Mine Clearing Vehicle an improvised T-34T with an unusual device mounted on the bow that was intended to clear mines. There is two pictures showing the tank in the field.

T 34 Bridge layer was trialled in 1958. Due to the massive weight of the bridge it had to have a second tank to act as a counter balance, the project was subsequently dropped.

The last chapter of the book is on T 34 Specialised Mining vehicles, between 1978 and 1988, the East German Ministry of National Defence provided DDR State run plants with a total of 115 T 34/85 hulls for civilian applications. Some further pictures accompany the article.


I believe this to be of great use to anyone into Soviet cold war armourment in particular the T-34 series of tanks or if you are into history then this source will be of great use to you. For modellers in general I would certainly recommend any of the Tankograd books that I have read the way it is written and the picture heavy articles make it a must.

Highs: The information I have got from reading this book and the quality of the articles and the pictures some of which I am sure have not been published before.
Lows: It sometimes crosses back and forth on the writing about the history.
Verdict: Excellent book for lovers of T-34's well presented and a must read a thumbs up from me.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: No 2011
  Suggested Retail: 14.95 Euros
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Oct 04, 2016

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About Adie Roberts (In_War_and_Peace)

I am disabled after a terrorist bomb I have in the past made models for TV and film and work with local museums making new models for display. I also take on commission builds for people

Copyright 2021 text by Adie Roberts [ IN_WAR_AND_PEACE ]. All rights reserved.


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