The Soviet T-28 medium tank was an indigenous design that entered production in Leningrad during 1933. It was greatly influenced by current trends shown in German and British (Vickers) experimental designs, and so featured the fashionable multi-turret layout. The T-28 had three, the main gun turret being partially flanked by two smaller ones armed with machineguns, the driver's position being between the two auxiliary turrets. The prototype T-28 had a 45-mm (1.77-m) main gun, but on T-28 and T28A production models (the latter with thicker front armour) this was changed to a short 76.2-mm (3-in) gun, T28B production models after 1938 having a newer and longer 76.2-mm (3-in) gun with improved performance. The secondary armament was three 7.62mm (0,3-in) machine-guns. Overall the T-28 was a large and slab-sided brute but the Soviet tank design teams were still in the process of learning their trade, and experience with the T-28 was later of great importance. Construction of the original production model, the T-28 Model 1934, lasted until 1938 when the improved T-28B appeared with the new gun (see above), rudimentary gun stabilization and some engine modifications. This was the T-28 Model 1938, and manufacture of this version lasted until 1940, when production ceased in favour of later models. The armour of the different versions ranged from a minimum of 20mm (0.79 in) to a maximum of 80 mm (3.15 in) in thickness. There were several experimental versions of the T-28 including some self-propelled guns and specials such as bridging and assault engineering tanks. None of these expérimentais got past the prototype stage, but experience with them was of great importance when later variations on production tanks were contemplated.
In fact the T-28 was of more value as an educational tank than as a combat tank. Its service life was short, spanning only the years from 1939 to 1941, In 1939 it was used in action against the Finns during the 'Winter War'. In that short conflict the T-28s fared badly as their crews found out the hard way that the vehicle's armour was too thin for safety and those tanks that survived underwent a hasty course of modifications to add extra armour (up to 80 mm/ 3.15m). The modified T-28s were known as the T-28E (ekanirovki, or screened, i.e. uparmoured), but the crash programme proved to have been of doubtful effectiveness when the Germans invaded the Soviet Union in 1941. The T-28E was also known as the T-28M or T-28 Model 1940. In 1941 the surviving T-28s demonstrated themselves to be of only limited combat value. Their large slab sides and stately performance made them easy prey for German anti-tank weapons. They also proved vulnerable to mines, and during the 'Winter War' of 1939-1940 some T-28s were modified to carry anti-mine rollers in front of the vehicle. These rollers were not a success, but again the experience gained with them proved to be of great value later. Thus the T-28 passed from the scene, proving itself to belong to an earlier era of tank design.
The T-28 medium tank was one of the least success fui pre-war Soviet tank designs for in action in 1940 and 1941 it proved tobe cumbersome, inadequately armoured and undergunned. The main gun was a short 76.2-mm (3-in) weapon that was replaced in some cases by a longerbarrelled gun of the same calibre.
Specification T-28 Crew: 6 Weight: 28 tonnes Powerplant: one M-17 V-12 petrol engine developing 373 kW(500 hp) Dimensions: length 7,44 m (24 ft 4.8 in)width 2.81 m (9 ft 2.75 in); height 2.82 m (9 ft 3 in) Performance: maximum road speed
The Soviet T-28 heavy tank weighed 28 tons but was termed a medium tank. 11 had a crew of six and had a short 76.2-mm (3-in) gun as its main armament, plus machine-guns in the two extra turrets mounted in front of themain turret. They were clumsy vehicles with armour that proved to be too thin once in action. 37 km/h (23 mph); maximum road range 220 km ( 136,7 miles); fording not known; gradient 43°; vertical obstacle 1.04 m (3 ft 5 in); trench 2.90 m (9 ft 6 in)