Forces of Valor 80018 Russian T-34/85 Medium Tank - 2nd Guards Tamanskaya Motor Rifle Division, Eastern Front, 1945 (1:32 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
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.
This particular 1:32 scale replica of a Russian T-34/85 medium tank was attached to the 7th Guards Tank Army operating on the Eastern Front in 1945.
Length: 9.5 inches
Width: 3.25 inches
Height: 3 inches
Release Date: September 2004
Original Issue Price: $39.99
Historical Account: "Death Throes" - By April 1st, 1945, the rampaging Red Army had reached the outskirts of Berlin. Knowing full well that Berlin would be heavily defended, Russian commanders decided to delay their attack by two weeks in order to build up their strength before making a final attack. Meanwhile, the Western Allies had planned to drop paratroops near Berlin to take the capital, but decided against it. Eisenhower saw no need to suffer heavy casualties taking a city that would fall within the Soviet sphere of influence once the war was over.
Adolf Hitler, who never thought Berliners supported him the way he imagined, decided to remain in the city. Some think he stayed to punish the city for its lack of support in the early days of Nazism; more likely there was nowhere else for him to go once the Allies had begun closing in.
The offensive began with a tremendous barrage of artillery, which included 'Stalin's Organs' - ground-launched rockets known for their hideous shrieking noise. On April 16th, the First and Second Belorussian Fronts, in conjunction with the First Ukrainian Front, attacked, striking from the north, west and south. By April 24th, the three army groups had completely encircled the city and began infiltrating the city proper. The next day, the Fifth Guards Tank Army linked up with the US First Army at Torgau, Germany on the River Elbe. On April 20th, Hitler ordered the Twelfth Army facing the Americans and the Ninth Army to break into Berlin to relieve the siege. Neither force was able to penetrate the Soviet defenses so the Berliners were on their own.
Although Berlin's fate was sealed, the resistance continued. Fighting was heavy, with house-to-house battles oftentimes devolving into savage hand-to-hand combat. By battle's end, the Soviets had lost 305,000 dead; Germans casualties amounted to 325,000, including many civilians. On April 30th, Adolf Hitler married his mistress Eva Braun, took cyanide, then shot himself, refusing to be taken alive by the Allied powers. Berlin surrendered three days later on May 2nd and with it came the end of the Third Reich.