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The F-34 was the standard gun on the T-34 medium tank. Shown here is a T-34 Model 1943, recognizable by its cast hexagonal turret and bulging gun mantlet.
Side view

The F-34 76.2-millimetre calibre gun was a Soviet rifled tank gun used on the T-34 and KV-1 tanks during World War II. The ZiS-5 was a version of this gun modified specifically for the KV-1 heavy tank.

The F-34 was designed before the start of World War II by P. Muraviev of Vasiliy Grabin's design bureau at Factory No. 92 in Gorky. The gun was superior to the older F-32 and the Leningrad Kirov Factory's L-11 76.2mm guns, but the latter had already been approved for the new T-34 medium tank. The initial T-34 Model 1940 with its inferior armament was in production when Germany invaded the Soviet Union. The F-34 was ready for production, but Marshal Grigory Kulik's high-handed interference with tank appropriation had made the relevant bureaucrats too frightened to approve the better gun.

Grabin and the director of the Kharkov Locomotive Factory (KhPZ), the centre of T-34 production, conspired to produce the F-34 anyway, and began to install the gun on new tanks. The new T-34 Model 1941 tanks issued mostly to company and platoon commanders were immensely popular with their crews. Letters from tank units reached Stalin's State Defence Committee (GKO), which officially authorized production.

Also due to Kulik's meddling, the KV-1 heavy tank model 1940 had ended up mounting Grabin's older F-32 gun, more poorly-armed than the T-34 medium tank. Chief Designer of Tanks Joseph Kotin convinced the GKO to allow the use of the F-34 gun on the KV-1 heavy tank Model 1941. The ZiS-5 was a version of the gun designed to better fit the KV-1's turret.

In 1943, the long-range firepower of the new German Tiger and Panther tanks had rendered the F-34 gun obsolete, and experiments were conducted to find a replacement. The better-penetrating 57 mm ZiS-2 high velocity antitank gun was installed on some T-34/57 tanks, but the smaller-bored gun couldn't fire an adequate high explosive round for general use. A more heavily-armoured T-34 prototype was built, the T-43, but it was still vulnerable to the Tiger's 88, and its mobility suffered too much from the weight of armour.

In the end, the F-34 was replaced by the D-5T and ZiS-S-53 85 mm calibre guns on the T-34-85 tank, and by 122 and 152 mm guns in new IS-2 heavy tanks and tank destroyers.

Some F-34 guns were also installed in Lend-Lease M4A2 Sherman tanks, known as the M4M, but there was no need for this conversion as U.S. 75 mm ammunition was in good supply (Zaloga 1984:217).

Comparison of guns

The L-11 gun was mounted on the initial T-34 Model 1940 medium tank, and KV-1 Model 1939 heavy tank. The F-32 was on the KV-1 Model 1940. Subsequent models of both tanks mounted the F-34, until they were replaced by the T-34-85 medium tank and IS-2 heavy tank.

Comparison of Soviet 76.2mm guns and ammunition
Gun L-11 F-32 F-34
Length (calibres) L/30.5 L/31.5 L/42.5
F-534 high explosive (HE)
weight (kg) 6.23  ? 6.23
muzzle velocity (m/s) 610  ? 680
OF-350 high explosive fragmentation (HE-Frag)
weight (kg) 6.21  ? 6.21
muzzle velocity (m/s) 610  ? 680
BR-353A high explosive anti-tank (HEAT)
weight (kg) 6.21  ? 6.21
muzzle velocity (m/s) 610  ? 680
penetration (mm) 75  ? 75
Armour-piercing (AP)
weight (kg)  ?
muzzle velocity (m/s) 612
penetration at 500 m (mm) 60
penetration at 1,000 m (mm) 52
BR-350/BR-350A armour-piercing high explosive (APHE)
weight (kg) 6.3  ? 6.3
muzzle velocity (m/s) 612  ? 655
penetration at 500 m (mm) 62  ? 69
penetration at 1,000 m (mm) 56  ? 61
BR-350P armour-piercing, composite rigid (APCR)
weight (kg)  ? 3.0
muzzle velocity (m/s)  ? 965
penetration at 500 m (mm)  ? 92
penetration at 1,000 m (mm)  ? 60



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