The T-35 was a Soviet multi-turreted heavy tank of the interwar period and early Second World War that saw limited production and service with the Red Army. It was the only five-turreted heavy tank in the world to reach production but proved to be slow and mechanically unreliable. Most of the T-35 tanks still operational at the time of Operation Barbarossa were lost due to mechanical failure rather than enemy action.
Outwardly it was large but internally the spaces were cramped with the fighting compartments separated from each other. Some of the turrets obscured the entrance hatches.
The T-35 served with the 5th Separate Heavy Tank Brigade in Moscow, primarily for parade duties, from 1935 until 1940. In June 1940, the question was raised whether to withdraw the T-35s from frontline service, with the option to either convert them to heavy self propelled artillery, or to assign them to the various military academies. The choice was made to use them up in combat instead and the surviving vehicles were collected together into the 67th and 68th Tank Regiments of the 34th Tank Division, which served with the 8th Mechanized Corps in the Kiev Special Military District.
During Operation Barbarossa, ninety percent of the T-35s lost by the 67th and 68th Tank Regiments were lost not to enemy action but through either mechanical failure or because they were abandoned and destroyed by their crews. The most common causes of breakdown were transmission-related. The last recorded action of the T-35 took place during the early stages of the Battle of Moscow. Four machines were used in training facilities in the Soviet rear. One of them is now available for spectators in Kubinka Tank Museum near Moscow.
The T-35 is sometimes cited as having participated in the Winter War against Finland, but according to Soviet sources it did not. In fact, a prototype (multi-turreted) SMK tank had been sent to the front for testing. This tank was disabled by a Finnish land mine and all attempts to recover the 55-ton behemoth failed. Finnish photographs of the previously unknown tank were mistakenly designated T-35C by German intelligence.
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|Place of origin||Soviet Union|
|Used by||Soviet Union|
|Wars||World War II|
|Designer||OKMO Tank Design Bureau|
|76.2 mm gun model 27/32|
|2 × 45 mm guns, 5 or 6 × 7.62 mm machine guns|
|Engine||12-cyl. petrol Mikulin M-17M
500 hp (370 kW)