Russian Company Builds Replica T-35 Tank

The Kubinka Tank Museum's T-35 (2011)
Source: Prised/ CC BY-SA 3.0/ Wikipedia
The Kubinka Tank Museum's T-35 (2011) Source: Prised/ CC BY-SA 3.0/ Wikipedia

A metal-working company in Russia’s Ural region has recreated the Soviet T-35 tank by referring to Soviet-era drawings. The replica tank will sit in the Museum of Military Equipment of the Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company (UMMC), according to Fred Khafizob, the head of the motor-road transport department of OAO Uralelectormed (a UMMC subsidiary).

“The work on the creation of the T-35 tank lasted for five months. More than 1,000 parts were created at UMMC enterprises from the Soviet drawings. The tank is a replica of the original – its weight is 55 tons, its hull length is almost 10 meters, its height is 3.5 meters. Only it has no engine, so the tank is a nonrunner,” he said.

The T-35 is a Soviet tank that was designed in Kharkiv in the 1930s. 59 total T-35s were produced. “The tank has five turrets with guns. The tank had an aircraft engine made under BMW license, but its maximum speed was just 8-10 km/h. T-35 lacked maneuverability; only a few of these tanks participated in combat, while the rest broke down on their way to the front,” he added.

In 1939, when WWII was just getting started, the T-35 served with the Soviet 5th Separate Heavy Tank Brigade from Moscow.  The tanks were mostly used in a ceremonial capacity – they were used in parades and non-combat situations. In June 1940, the decision was made to keep the tanks on active duty despite the fact that they were starting to show their age. Then in June of 1941, when Nazi Germany invaded Russia, the tanks were used in combat for the first time. Many were lost, not due to enemy fire but because of equipment malfunction.

Today, there is only one original T-35 in existence. “Now the tank we have recreated is the second T-35 sample in the world. T-35 was a symbol of the military and industrial might of the Soviet Union because serially-produced, five-turret heavy tanks did not exist in the world in the 1930s. It is this tank that is depicted on the USSR Medal for Valor,” said Alexander Yemelyanov, the Director of UMMC Museum of Military Equipment.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE