The T-54M served as an early cold war example of Czechoslovakia modernising their vehicles to keep them up to date with the current top vehicles they could produce at the time of their production in the 1960’s. The tank itself often gets confused for the Soviet T-54M which is upgraded from the base T-54 models whilst the Czech is upgraded from T-54A’s. Although to many people this would be just another T-54 for a possible Czech tree or united eastern European tree this vehicle would serve as a great way to branch to the T-54AM and T-55AM modernisations from the 1980’s.
After World War 2 Czechoslovakia was a Soviet satellite state which still had a large industry in which the Soviets wished to utilise. From 1947 onwards Czechoslovakia would start to produce military equipment from the Avia S-199 to the licensed production of T-34/85’s. Czechoslovakia’s strong industry would eventually lead to the licensed production of the T-54A between 1955 to 1966 which would be the mainstay of the Czechoslovakian tank force alongside the T-55 until the T-72 models would enter production in the 1980’s. By the mid 1960’s a total of approximately 2700 T-54A models had been produced by Czechoslovakia which included the T-54AR a deep wading variant of the T-54A as well as the T-54AK a command variant.
With the production of the T-55 starting in the late 1950’s that by 1964 it had become apparent to the Czechoslovakians that the T-54A could be modernised to the same standards of the newer tank. The deputy chief general staff of the Czechoslovak army alongside experts from TEES Martin would hold a meeting in Spring of 1964 in regards to the modernisation. Later in July 1964 the issue of the modernisation would be brought up with representatives from the MNO, ministry of general Engineering. Discussions with a variety military, technical and engineering officials would continue between 1964-1966. A prototype from the discussions of a modernised T-54A would eventually lead to the prototype being produced in November of 1965 with the prototypes completion at the end of April 1966. At first it suffered malfunctions to the engine, stabiliser and fire fighting equipment which would be fixed allowing the tank to successfully complete it’s trials after an intensive driving and shooting tests had been completed. A second prototype would be completed at the beginning of 1967 which also successfully completed it’s trials.
With the prototypes being successful two plants would begin to modernise the T-54A to the T-54M with 1200 in total being modernised between 1968-1975. Compared to the T-54A the tank received a two-plane stabilised gun derived from the D-10TG, an improved and more powerful engine, better crew protection from the effects of WMD, new night devices for night shooting, liquid boosters for steering control and "REKA " which was a deep wading device present on the earlier produced T-54AR’s. Some T-54M’s could be equipped with bulldozer blades and wheeled deminers. All T-54M models between 1973-1980 would receive the 12.7mm Vz.36/48M Dshkm machine gun for anti air purposes. All T-54M’s were still in service by 1989 however 1990 onwards they would start to be withdrawn with the majority of the vehicles would be scrapped between 1992-1994.
Dimensions (L-W-H): (9.00m gun forward) 6.04m x 3.27m x 2.75m ((gun forward 29’5’‘)19’18’’ x 10’7’’ x 9’ ft)
Total Weight: 36 tons
Propulsion: V-54M V12 , 573 (472.616)hp at 2000rpm engine
Transmission: 5 forward 1 reverse
Power to Weight Ratio: 15.92hp/ton
Suspension: Torsion Bar
Top Speed: 50km/h (31 mph) (27km/h off road (16.8mph))
Main Armament: 100mm D-10TGM (43 rounds)
Fire Rate: 7 rounds a minute (stationary) 4 rounds per minute (on the move)
Vertical Guidance: -5/18 (same as any T-54A
Secondary Armament: 1x 7.62mm SGMT (4000 rounds) (Coaxial) 3000 rounds
1x 12.7mm vz. 36/48M DŠKM (Dshkm) (Anti-aircraft) 300 rounds
Night Vision: Yes
Armour: 100mm frontal, 80mm sides and 45-30mm rear (Hull)
160mm frontal (200mm gun mantlet), 115-155mm sides and 65mm rear (Turret)
(based on Type 59 armour (T-54A) in-game)