The Russian T-34 was the most influential tank design of World War II, with its sloping armour, heavy hitting firepower and rapid mobility. It first saw combat in the summer of 1941, and its qualities soon set it apart from other medium tanks of the period. However, its battlefield superiority did not last long, and it was soon matched by German designs such as the Panther.
Several models, designated by years, were produced between 1940 and 1943, featuring changes such as up gunning (model 1941) and redesigning the turret (model 1943). This new cast hexagonal turret, nicknamed “Mickey Mouse” by the Germans because of its appearance with the twin, round turret-roof hatches open had less sloped sides than previously and it was slightly taller, increasing the amount of internal space, but it was still a cramped two-man turret.
This version of the T34 also had the ability to mount external fuel tanks for increased range.