T-55 M



Manufacturer: Various: USSR, CS, PL, China.

This highly successful tank can trace its lineage back to the wartime T34 via the T44 and T54. The T55 was built in countless different derivatives, in very large numbers and in four countries: Russia, Czechoslovakia (as it then was), Poland and China.

The T55 was introduced in the late fifties. It was essentially a T54 with a new turret, but there were a great many other improvements as well. In sophistication, the T55 has been compared with its contemporary the American M60-A1.

Weight at 36 tonnes in combat condition was well controlled, allowing the 580hp V12 diesel to deliver a more spirited performance than was offered by contemporary British and American armour, as well as contributing to good manoeuvrability. Overall height of 2.4m gave the T55 a lower profile than, for example, the British Chieftain (2.9m) or Centurion (3.0m). The low-profile design allowed the crew of four little spare room to stretch, play ping-pong or any of the other time-honoured tank-crew activities.

Production of the T55 continued until 1981, by which time an estimated 50,000 examples had been built. Further development of the T55 resulted in the T62, but the T55 outlived its offspring, which was built from 1961 until 1975. Many T55s (and T54s) are still in service, their simplicity and reliability proving more significant in many territories than their lack of technical sophistication.


Technical specifications

Engine: V-12 water cooled dieseldeveloping 580bhp
Maximum speed: 50 kph
Fuel capacity & range: 812lt 510km
Armament: 1 x 100mm
Combat weight: 36,000
Length: 9m
Width: 3.27m
Height: 2.4m
Armour: 203mm max /Steel
Crew: Four


back