Dragon DRA60249 Captured German T-34/85 Medium Tank - Unidentified Unit, Poland, 1944 (1:72 Scale)
"By powerful artillery fire, air strikes, and a wave of attacking tanks, we're supposed to swiftly crush the enemy."
- Marshal Georgi K. Zhukov
After the Battle of Kursk in the summer of 1943, panic began to spread in the ranks of Soviet tank units. They had met the German Panther for the first time on the field of battle, and the mighty Tiger I was being encountered in increasing numbers. The Soviets desperately needed a tank with a 'longer arm' so-to-speak, and the solution offered up by a crash development program was a T-34 with a larger turret and a larger gun. This new tank was known as the T-34/85, which featured an 85mm anti-tank gun (derived from an anti-aircraft gun of the same caliber) mounted in a larger three-man turret. This more powerful tank entered service from March 1944 onwards and it was an immediate 'hit' since it could now stand toe-to-toe with the more powerful tanks being fielded by the Wehrmacht.
This new title features a T-34/85 in service with an unidentified German tank unit fighting in Poland in 1944. As such, the tank still retains its original Russian green coloring, though the crew has hand-painted a rough balkenkreuze and vehicle number on the turret sides. Sold Out!
Length: 3.5 inches
Width: 1.5 inches
Release Date: September 2006
Historical Account: "Trial by Ordeal" - Beginning in 1938, the German Army used large numbers of captured equipment to augment their own arsenal. Beute Panzerkampfwagen ("Booty Panzers") were gathered at special collection points, where they were examined to see if they could be of any use to its new owners. If possible, useful tanks were taken to factories where they were repaired and/or modified then painted in distinctive German colors and markings. In May 1940, some of the foreign/captured tanks were pressed into service with specially formed tank units belonging to Panzer or Infanterie Divisions then used in a variety of roles, particularly reconnaissance. Some units, such as Panzer Abteilung 216 occupying the Channel Islands, and 7. SS Freiwillingen Gebirgs Division "Prinz Eugen" deployed to the Balkans, were equipped completely with captured equipment.
Although most of the foreign tanks were eventually converted into weapons carriers, some were converted and armed with captured weapons including Soviet 76.2mm ZIS-3 and F-22 guns. Many were converted into supplementary vehicles such as artillery tractors, while others were used for training purposes and/or internal policing duties in occupied territories (Polizei Panzerkampfwagen). Many were used as target practice or were simply handed over to Germany's allies to flesh out their armored formations. Other captured tanks, such as the inimitable Soviet T-34, were immediately pressed into service by German forces who recognized the tank for its superior design and excellent mobility.