Developed right after World War II, the T-54 is still a viable combat weapon, used today by over 50 countries and armies around the globe. The T-54 and T-55 series remains the most-produced tank of all time, with over 100,000 units, including Soviet, Chinese, Polish, and Czech versions.
Heavy, dependable, and readily adaptable, the T-54 has seen combat in many areas of the world, most notably Vietnam, the Middle East, and Iraq. An improved version of the tank, the T-55, was developed in the late-1950s and could withstand heavier nuclear, biological, and chemical attacks. The T-54M (M for “modernized”) included the T-55’s improvements along with upgraded weaponry and an improved engine.
History of the Artifact
The T-54 is relatively small and is equipped with a notably squat turret holding its powerful main gun. The tank’s compact frame has advantages in combat, but a few disadvantages too. The vehicle is notoriously cramped inside and an average crew can fire just four rounds a minute. (A modern Western tank can fire six or more in the same amount of time.) The small turret also restricts the depression of the gun to no lower than 5 degrees. As a result, T-54 crews cannot easily conceal the tanks in the traditional “hull down” position in which the vehicle’s chassis is concealed behind a hillcrest or berm.