The Soviet T-34 is widely considered one of the best tanks ever built. It was not the fastest or most heavy tank in Red Army service but designers struck a winning balance with the T-34, equipping the medium tank with a large cannon and thick, sloping armor while still allowing for mobility and speed. Typical of Russian war machines, the T-34 is simple and rugged—able to function efficiently in harsh weather and battlefield conditions.
One of the keys to the success of the T-34 was the fact that Soviet designers continued to develop and improve the T-34 over time. This example, a T-34/85, was developed as the result of encounters with large German tanks during the Battle of Kursk in mid-1943. The upgraded T-34 had a large 85 mm gun and room in its heavily-armored turret for up to three crewmen.
Even with improvements, the T-34-85 was not equal to a German Panther or Tiger tank, but the Soviets overcame their enemies with sheer numbers. More T-34s were produced during World War II than any other tank by any nation, with over 57,000 built by the end of war in Europe. After World War II, T-34 production continued in Russia and Soviet-controlled nations. The last of over 84,000 T-34s drove off the assembly line in 1958.