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How Did the Mark IV Special Tank Stack Up Against the T34-76 and -85?

Originally published under Ask Mr. History. Published Online: July 02, 2013 
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How did the German Mark IV Special tank stack up against the Soviet T-34/76 and T-34/85?

—A.B.

? ? ?

Dear A.B.

The Panzer IV Ausführung F2 and G, with their high-velocity 75mm KwK L43 and L48 guns were able to penetrate the T-34/76s they encountered at up to 1,000 meters, which combined with their superior mechanical reliability and ergonomics restored a degree of parity on the battlefield, especially during the summer campaigns. In fall and winter, however, the wide-track T-34's still-superior mobility over mud and snow asserted itself. Moreover, the added weight of the guns and thicker armor affected the Mark IV's performance, lowering its top speed to 25 mph compared to the T-34's 30 mph. Both tanks underwent increases in the thickness of their frontal armor, the Mark IV sacrificing side armor thickness to compensate for frontal armor increasing from 50 to 80mm. The emergence of the T-34/85, however, carried the Soviet medium tank out of the Mark IV's class and into the realm of the Tiger and Panther.

Sincerely,

 

Jon Guttman
Research Director
Weider History Group
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