Dragon DRA60473 Russian T-34/76 Mod. 1941 Medium Tank - 1st Guards Armored Brigade, Eastern Front, 1942 (1:72 Scale)
"We have only to kick in the door and the whole rotten structure will come crashing down."
- Adolf Hitler, commenting on the imminent German invasion of Russia in 1941
The first generation T-34 medium tank made its debut in combat during the summer of 1941, when the Wehrmacht launched its invasion of the Soviet Union. The T-34 easily outclassed the German PzKpfw III and IV models, thanks to its hard-hitting 76.2mm main gun, thick frontal armor, wide tracks, and overall superior mobility. The first T-34s were assembled at Kharkov, Leningrad, and Stalingrad, then moved behind the Ural mountains when the German advance encircled Leningrad, overran Kharkov, and invested the "City of Stalin". Legend has it that some T-34s rolled off the Stalingrad assembly line unpainted and even unfinished to prevent the Nazi invaders from capturing the city.
The 1/72 scale model from Dragon Armor depicts a vehicle from the 1st Guards Tank Brigade, part of the 8th Guards Mechanized Corps. This unit was renamed from the 4th Tank Brigade on November 11th, 1941, and it was the first to be designated with the Guards name, something the Soviets had hitherto avoided because of its association with the Czars. The name Guards was conferred on units that had distinguished themselves in combat, giving such formations an elite status. The tank wears a most distinctive camouflage scheme consisting of yellow bands over the standard green paint. Red stars are also emblazoned on the turret sides. The appearance of this T-34/76 Mod.1941 is outstanding, and it will become even more sought after considering the fact that it has been some time since Dragon Armor released this type of T-34!
Length: 3.5 inches
Width: 1.5 inches
Release Date: December 2011
Historical Account: "Barbarossa" - Even though the Red Army of 1941 seemed at least the equal of the German army, the reality in the field was far different; incompetent officers, as well as a lack of equipment and poor training placed the Red Army at a severe disadvantage when facing the Germans.
One exception to this rule came with the T-34 tank, which was coming into service with the Red Army in 1941 just months prior to the invasion. The T-34 was a revolutionary tank design, setting new standards for maneuverability, firepower, and armored protection thanks to its sloped armor. It came as a rude surprise to the German army during the opening phases of Barbarossa, and the T-34 was arguably superior to any tank the Germans could field until 1943.
Despite these inherent advantages, few T-34s were at the front in 1941: the crews for those that did exist had received little training, and early versions of the T-34 had regular engine and drivetrain breakdowns. Therefore the T-34 was not a significant factor in the opening months of Operation Barbarossa, although it would soon become one in the months and years ahead.