T-35 is a heavy tank of the 1930s made in the USSR. It is the only five-turret tank of mass production. In the period since 1933 to 1939 61 units were produced. It had not participated in battles till 1941 however was used for military parades being the symbol of the Soviet power. T-35 took part in early battles of WWII however it was lost too soon because of multiple occuring failures.
They started to develop the tank in the end of the 20s. But Soviet engineers didn’t have enough experience in this sphere so they invited the German specialists who came to the USSR in 1930 and helped to design the tank.
The first tank, T-35-1, was made in August, 1932. Its weight was 42 tons, its armour was 30-40 mm thick. The tank was equipped with one 76 mm gun, two 37 mm guns and three more guns. The crew consisted of 10-11 persons. The dimensions of the tank were 9720 x 3200 x 3430 mm. The travel speed of the tank was 28 km/h. The top of the main turret had a rounded shape.
T-35-1 showed good results during the first trials in 1932 however some disadvantages were also noticed in the power package. Besides, the construction of the pneumatic control and transmission was too complicated and expensive for mass production. The designers were offered to refine the project.
T-35-2 was assembled in April, 1933 and in May it already participated in a military parade in Leningrad.
As opposed to the first model of T-35 the new one had a diffrent main turret, another engine, cover skirt and had some other small changes.
At the same time there was being designed a T-35A, which was much different from T-35-1(2). Its chassis was lengthened with one more truck, small machine gun turrets had a different design, average turrets of the enlarged shape were equipped with a 45-millimeter cannons 20K.Tthey also changed the form of the body, and made some other differences. In fact, it was a completely new machine.
During the production period the design of the tank was modified many times. They were changing armour thickness, engine power, weight of the tank, number of crew members etc.
The body of the tank had a complex configuration. It was welded and partially riveted from armor sheets 10-15 mm thick. The armor of the turrets was 25-30 mm. The driver could get in and out through the hatch over his working place.
The last serial tanks T-35 had conical turrets.
During Operation Barbarossa, ninety percent of the T-35s lost by the 67th and 68th Tank Regiments were lost not to enemy action but through either mechanical failure or because they were abandoned and destroyed by their crews. The most common causes of breakdown were transmission-related. The last recorded action of the T-35 took place during the early stages of the Battle of Moscow. At least one captured T-35 was shipped to Germany for evaluation at the Kummersdorf military proving ground
The T-35 is sometimes cited as having participated in the Winter War against Finland, but according to Soviet sources it did not. In fact, two other prototypes of multi-turreted heavy tanks had been sent to the front for testing: T-100 and SMK. The SMK tank was disabled by a Finnish land mine and all attempts to recover the 55-ton behemoth failed. Finnish photographs of the previously unknown tank were mistakenly designated T-35C by German intelligence.
Four T-35 machines were used in training facilities in the Soviet rear. One of these still exists and is accessible to visitors at the Kubinka Tank Museum near Moscow.
“Long live Workers ‘and Peasants’ Red Army – the faithful guardian of the Soviet borders!”
Despite the fact that T-35 was not widely used in battles it became the embodiment of strength of the Red Army. It was often depicted on the agitational posters and on medals.