The T-35 Heavy Tank was a multi-turreted heavy tank used by the Soviet Union during the early phases of World War II.


The original production model of the T-35 series was designated the Model 1935. It had a gasoline powered, 12-cylinder Mikulin M-17 engine that was capable of propelling the T-35 at speeds of up to 28.9 km/h. The T-35 had a crew of eleven and its most notable feature was its five different turrets. The complete armament was a 76.2 mm main gun, two 45 mm guns, and six machine guns.

The T-35 also had a coil spring suspension system and a five speed forward, one speed reverse transmission. Armor thickness varied between 30-10 mm in the whole tank and the weight was about 45,000 kilograms.[1] The length of the T-35 was 9.7 meters and the width was 3.2 meters. The T-35 could also store up to ten thousand rounds of machine gun ammunition, two hundred twenty-six rounds of 45 mm ammunition, and ninety-six rounds of 76.2 mm ammunition.[2]

Because of how large the tank was, all of the crew members were forced to communicate via phones and this became quite a problem for the tank commander. Also, reliability of the tank was low and in combat situations, the tank would often be put out of action due to mechanical failure.[3] Ergonomics were very bad as the tank was extremely cramped. The tank itself was very dangerous for the crew to operate as most of the exits were out in the open, blocked most of the time, or are hard to get through.[4]


There was only one variant of the T-35 that reached production and saw some combat. It was the Model 1938 and the only difference between it and the original Model 1935 was that the Model 1938 had sloping armor equipped for its turrets. However, only about six were ever produced. The other variants like the SU-7 never got past the prototype stage. The SU-7 itself was largely impractical; it was designed to have a 25.4 cm cannon, a 30.5 cm howitzer, and 40 cm mortar fitted.


T-35 2

A Red Army tank crew next to their T-35

The T-35 was first developed in 1930 and by 1933 production began. Production was slow and prototypes were often displayed at parades to show off military strength. The first two prototypes were designated the T-35-1 and the T-35-2.

The T-35 was first used in combat in 1939 against Finland where it saw little success. Again in 1941 during Operation Barbarossa, the T-35 was sent into combat, but many broke down before they even reached the front lines. The Battle of Moscow was the last time T-35s were used by the Red Army. In total, about sixty T-35s were ever made.


  3. Lüdeke, Alexander. Weapons of World War II. Parragon Books Ltd. (2007), Page 116

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