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In 1930, Russia started work on a heavy tank program. Initial designs, including some designed with the help of a German design team, were generally too complex for the fledgling Russian industry. A few prototypes were made, but none were accepted into production.

The first project to see series production was the T-35. The tank was a multi-turret design, typical of the mid-war theoretical designs, such as the German Neubaufahrzeug and the early twin-turreted T-26. The main turret, equipped with a short 76.2 mm howitzer, and the two machine gun turrets were taken from the T-28, and two of the secondary turrets, equipped with 45 mm tank guns, were derived from the turret of the BT-5 and T-26.

In addition to the inherent technical complexity of a five-turret tank, the 50 ton design was mechanically unreliable. The vast majority of the 61 T-35's build were lost to mechanical breakdowns, and after being used as mobile pillboxes around Moscow in 1941, the few remaining tanks were only used as training vehicles. The main feat of the T-35 was to instill awe in the Russian citizens over the superiority of the Russian industry at parades; a role in which they frequently served.

The T-35 eventually inspired the development of the double-turreted SMK heavy tank.

Technical Details

Crew 11
Physical Characteristics
Weight 49.2 t
Length 9.72 m
Width 3.2 m
Height 3.43 m
Armour (max) 30 mm
Speed (max) 30 km/h
Engine M17-M
Net h.p. 500
Cylinders 12
Primary weapon 76.2 mm KT-28 (1)
Secondary weapon
  • 45 mm Tank Gun Model 1932/38 (2)
  • 7.62 mm DT (6)


Drawing of a T-35
T-35s on parade
Right side
Captured T-35

Further Reading


  1. BEAN, Tim & FOWLER, Will. Russian Tanks of World War II : Stalin's Armoured Might. Surrey : Amber Books Ltd, 2002. 176 p. ISBN: 0-7110-2898-2.