T-34-85 (DPRK)

Would you like to see this in-game?
  • Yes
  • No
0 voters
Where would you like to see this?
  • North Korean sub-tree in China
  • United Korea tech tree
  • Other
  • I said no
0 voters
How would you like to see this added?
  • With optional slat armour and HEAT-FS (BR 6.0-6.3)
  • With only optional slat armour (BR 5.7)
  • With only HEAT-FS (BR 6.0-6.3)
  • With neither of them (BR 5.7)
  • I said no
0 voters

T-34-85 (DPRK)


Brief History
The T-34 was part of North Korea’s first arsenal of tanks, provided to them by the Soviet Union in 1948, before the outbreak of the Korean War only 2 years later. These vehicles had old parts replaced with newly manufactured ones before their import to the DPRK, thus giving the Koreans, effectively, brand-new vehicles. However, by 1948 the T-34 was already starting to become severely outclassed. However, the DPRK had no ability to produce any new vehicles (with the first unique tank produced by North Korea being the M1981 Sinhŭng at some point in the 70s), and so the T-34 stayed in North Korean service. It is estimated they had around 1000 by the end of the 50s, as their only tank. Only in the 60s did they begin to be replaced (they stayed in service, but were relegated to second-line vehicles) by T-54/55s and Type 59s, and in the 70s by the first Ch’ŏnma’s (T-62s).

The T-34-85s began to receive some modifications in the late 60s, extending into the 80s. These vehicles are what this suggestion will focus on. The vehicles only appear to have left service in 2017, but are still in use with the Worker-Peasant Red Guards (paramilitary militia) or in reserve, along with other antiquated tanks like the SU-100.

The first modernised T-34-85s received new roadwheels – the ‘starfish’ model, that were also given to post-war versions in Soviet service. In the next decade, these tanks received new sprocket wheels, and also new all-steel tracks (themselves slightly reminiscent of the T-54/55s), which also received rubber pads. The vehicles also probably received new radios, and a snorkel system was added. The hull machine gun may also have been replaced.

It is unknown what ammunition the vehicle used in North Korean service. They would have been sold with standard APHE and HE, but anything else is conjecture. They share ammunition with the previously mentioned M1981 Sinhŭng light tank, but again, we don’t know its ammunition loadout. They may have used Soviet 85mm HEAT-FS, like Yugoslavia did on their ‘T-34Bs’. This would provide valuable firepower, increasing the uses of the aging WW2 cannon and ammunition. There is no reason the tank couldn’t fire HEAT shells, so I will suggest them. The ZiS-S-53 can fire BK-367, BK-367M, 3BK2 and 3BK2M HEAT-FS shells, which were all produced in the Soviet Union in or before the 50s, while T-34s were still being imported to North Korea.

The T-34-85 also received provisions for slat armour, similar (or identical) to that seen on the North Korean T-55 with slat armour. The vehicles have never been photographed with slat armour, but they have been equipped with mounting points for it, and we (vaguely) know how the slat armour should look. This would provide the vehicle with some HEAT protection, although it won’t be amazingly effective, much like on the Soviet T-34-85E already in game.

The T-34-85 would be one of the few early medium tanks in a future North Korean sub-tree, and yet could still be distinct from its Soviet and Chinese cousins. I think there are multiple options (reflected in the poll), which could be: only with slat armour, but with normal ammunition (so remaining at 5.7), with only HEAT-FS as something new, as slat armour hasn’t been photographed, and so moving up in BR to maybe 6.0-6.3, or with both, at 6.0-6.3 (or with neither, as purely copy-paste). I personally prefer slat armour + HEAT-FS, to make it one of the most unique T-34s currently in game, but let me know what you think!


  • 85mm ZiS-S-53
    • BR-365K APHE
      • 148mm at 10m at 0°
    • BR-365A APHEBC
      • 135mm at 10m at 0°
    • BR-365P APCR
      • 195mm at 10m at 0°
    • O-365K HE
      • 19mm at 10m at 0°
    • BK-367 HEAT-FS
      • ~165-170mm at 10m at 0° (estimated)
    • BK-367M HEAT-FS
      • ~220-225mm at 10m at 0° (estimated)
    • 3BK2 HEAT-FS
      • ~220-225mm at 10m at 0°
    • 3BK2M HEAT-FS
      • ~300mm at 10m at 0°


  • Hull
    • Front
      • 45mm at 60°
    • Sides
      • 45mm at 40° + slat armour
    • Rear
      • 45mm at 48°
  • Turret
    • Front
      • 90mm
    • Sides
      • 52-90mm + slat armour
    • Rear
      • 52mm


  • Speed
    • 55km/h
  • Weight
    • 32.2t (+ slat armour)
  • Engine power
    • 500hp, 15.5hp/t




  • Parade vehicles with new wheels, tracks and mounts for slat armour


  • Illustration by Tanks Encyclopedia of a T-34 with the slat armour (and other upgrades)


  • T-55 with slat armour – one of the very few photos of the actual armour

  • Illustration of the T-55s with slat armour, showing the general design



The Armed Forces of North Korea: On the Path of Songun – Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
KPA Journal - Vol. 2, No. 12 – 12 December 2013 – Slat armour
Russian HEAT shells (of interest for the game), a full (ish) list. - General & Upcoming - War Thunder - Official Forum – 85mm HEAT-FS

1 Like

+1 for United Korea tree with optional slat armour and HEAT-FS
Let’s make it stand out!


What is the RHA equivalent of 70 years worth of shiny green paint?

In order to make it stand out among the many T-34s already in the game, it needs the newer ammo and slat armor. +1 for DPRK sub-tree but only with all the extras.

1 Like

There is no evidence that it uses HEATFS, so I want the two options (‘Vanilla’ and the one with slat armor) excluding HEATFS.

I’m approaching it from the idea that Gaijin already gives vehicles ahistorical ammo (e.g. Ariete’s firing DM53), so compatible HEAT-FS will make the vehicle stand out more instead of being a copy-paste. This is especially important if North Korea is a Chinese sub-tree, because there’s already 2 T-34-85s at 5.7, no need for a third. If it’s United Korea tree, then yeah I could see 5.7 being fine but HEAT-FS still makes it more unique.

1 Like

+1. I love how it looks with the slat armor

1 Like