Minichamps MIN350020000 Soviet 1943 Production T-34/76D Medium Tank - Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front, Summer 1943 (1:35 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.
Now Minichamps is proud to roll out its own 1:35 scale rendition of the Soviet T-34/76D medium tank. This stunning recreation features a rotating turret, elevating gun, working suspension, and treads that are made of flexible metal links! The T-34/76 is the first vehicle in the Minichamps military series to feature an opening hatch located in the front of the vehicle. This will enable collectors to seat a 1:35 scale figure within the driver's compartment. Note: vehicle does not come with an antenna.
Length: 7.50 inches
Width: 3.50 inches
Height: 3 inches
Release Date: May 2002
Original Issue Price: $99.99
Historical Account: "Salvation" - The Red Army had begun planning for their own summer offensives for 1943, and had settled on a plan that mirrored that of the German assault at Kursk. Attacks in front of Orel and Kharkov would flatten out the line, and potentially lead to a breakout near the Pripyat Marshes. However, Soviet commanders had considerable concerns over the German plans.
All previous German attacks had left the Soviets guessing where it would come from, but in this case Kursk seemed obvious for the Germans to attack. Moscow received warning of the German plans through the Lucy spy ring in Switzerland. This was almost unnecessary, since Marshal Zhukov had already correctly predicted the site of the German attack as early as April 8th, when he wrote his initial report to Stavka (the Soviet General Staff), in which he also recommended the strategy eventually followed by the Red Army.
Stalin and a handful of Stavka officers wanted to strike first. The pattern of the war up until this point had been one of German offensive success. Blitzkrieg had worked against all opposing armies, including the Soviets'. None had succeeded in stopping a German breakthrough. On the other hand, Soviet offensive actions during both winters showed their own offensives now worked well. However, the overwhelming majority of Stavka members, most notably Zhukov himself, advised waiting for the Germans to exhaust themselves, first. Zhukov's opinion swayed the argument.
The German delay in launching their offensive gave the Soviets four months in which to prepare, and with every passing day they turned the salient into one of the most heavily defended points on earth. The Red Army and thousands of civilians laid about one million land mines and dug about 5000km (3000mi) of trenches, to a depth of 175km (95mi). In addition, they massed a huge army of their own, including some 1,300,000 men, 3,600 tanks, 20,000 artillery pieces and 2,400 aircraft. The Red Army could build up forces faster than the Germans; each month they pulled further ahead in men and material.
Many of the troops assigned to the defense of the salient were recent veterans of Stalingrad, but the Red Army also added over one million new men to its ranks in the first half of 1943. Thus, the Soviet Army was larger than in 1942, even after the losses at Stalingrad. The long delay between the identification of the likely site of the German attack and the beginning of the offensive gave the new units an unusually long time to train, training that would become exceedingly important in the battle to come.