|Manufacturer||Factory No. 75, Kharkov, Ukraine|
|Primary Role||Medium Tank|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseIn the fall of 1943, A. A. Morozov began to work at Stalin Ural Tank Factory No. 183 at Nizhny Tagil, Russia on a new medium tank design that would combine the mobility of the existing T-34 tanks and a greater firepower; this new design was designated T-44 in Nov 1943. The first prototype with an 85mm D-5T gun was completed in Jan 1944, followed by two more in Feb 1944, one with an 85-millimeter D-5T gun and the other a 122-millimeter D-25-44T gun. The first three prototypes caused concerns particularly involving the perpendicular placement of the large-displacement 12-cylinder engines, which they thought might cause mechanical failures over time. The second generation of T-44 prototypes was tested at Kubinka, Russia in the summer of 1944, while the third generation was tested in Kharkov, Ukraine in Aug and Sep of 1944. In Sep 1944, three Soviet tank brigades received T-44 tanks for training purposes. The production design, T-44A, with an 85-millimeter gun, began production in Oct 1944 and entered service with the Soviet forces on 23 Nov 1944, but development efforts continued in search of a medium tank with a larger gun, ultimately resulting in the post-war T-54/55 main battle tank. Production took place at Factory No. 75 in Kharkov, Ukraine, using equipment relocated from Nizhny Tagil. By the end of 1944, 25 were built, which was far below the earlier optimistic estimate of 300 tanks. 940 additional units were built in 1945. The about 1,000 T-44 tanks built during the European War did not see any combat.
ww2dbaseT-44 medium tanks continued to be in production until 1947. When production ceased, a total of 1,823 were built. The short production life of the T-44 design was due to its inability to carry a 100-millimeter gun as well as the success of the T-54 design which spawned from this project.
ww2dbaseIn 1961, a small number of T-44A medium tanks were modernized with T-54 parts and were redesignated T-44M. A few of them were further upgraded into T-44MK command tanks in 1963. In 1966, some T-44A and T-44M tanks received new gun stabilizers and were redesignated T-44S and T-44MS, respectively. These modernized T-44 tanks remained in service until the 1970s.
|15 Sep 1944||Soviet 6th Guard Tank Brigade, 33rd Guard Tank Brigade, and 63rd Guard Tank Brigade were assigned T-44 prototype medium tanks for training purposes.|
|23 Nov 1944||T-44 medium tanks officially entered Soviet Army service.|
|Machinery||One Model V-44 12-cyl diesel engine rated at 520hp|
|Armament||1x85mm ZiS-S-53 tank gun (58 rounds), 1x7.62mm fixed hull DTM machine gun, 1x7.62mm coaxial turret DTM machine gun|
|Armor||75mm hull front, 90mm turret front, 45mm sides|
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Captain Henry P. Jim Crowe, Guadalcanal, 13 Jan 1943