The T-54AMZ is a tank modernised by East Germany during the years of 1967 to 1970 as a result of order-number 57/67, which was given out from the minestry of national defense as part of the modernisation and standardisation program, that aimed to standardise equipment and armament of all T-54 and T-55 MBTs used by the NVA. The order also commanded an increase in overall combat-effectiveness, in form of night-firing capabilities.
This order included both the T-54 and T-55, mainly because economical issues restricted east-Germany from buying bigger quantities of T-55 MBTs.
A planned modernisation of the T-54s was already documented in the PFW “Plan Wissenschaft und Forschung” (plan science and research) in 1964, which included a smoke-system and radioactive dust filter for both the T-54 obr. 1951 and T-54A.
Furthermore, the PFW included plans to upgrade the fording-equipment and add night-firing capabilities for the T-54 obr. 1951, T-54A and T-54AM in 1965.
The role-model of all these changes was the T-55A, which at the time was the best MBT of the NVA.
The tanks that underwent this modernisation-process received the additional designation “Z”, standing for “Zusatzausrüstung” (additional equipment), which consisted of three categories:
Z1: Standardisation of the fording-equipment
Z2: Addition of the night-firing and observation ability
Z3a: Improvement of the smoke-system
Furthermore, the amount of external fuel-tanks was increased to 5 (2x 80 liters, 3x 95 liters).
The modernisation of the T-54 obr. 1951 was restricted to just the upgraded fording-equipment by the RWN in May 1965, because of capacity-constraints.
The equipment to increase combat-effectiveness was only added to the T-54A and T-54AM, which were upgraded with the TPN-1-11-22 night-sight for the gunner and the TKN-1, or TKN-1S infra-red sight for the commander. Both of these sights were also present on the T-55. This spawned three new tanks that were unique to the NVA and east-Germany, the T-54Z, T-54AZ and T-54AMZ.
The T-54AMZ had these notable upgrades over the T-54AM:
Improved fording-tube with periscope
Infra-red gun-sight TPN 1-11-22
Infra-red commander-sight TKN-1 or TKN-1S
TPK-2/5 WS gun-sight
TDA exhaust-smoke system
5 instead of 3 external fuel-tanks
About the fording-upgrade, instead of having to wrap a special foil around the engine-deck, the modernised T-54s now had dedicated hatches, that seal the engine-compartment, for added speed in preparing the tank for fording operations.
Total lenght: 9m
Hull-armor in mm (Front/Sides/Rear/Floor): 100mm / 80mm / 46mm / 20mm
Turret-armor in mm (Front/Roof): 200mm / 39mm
Engine: W-54G (520HP)
Armament: 1x 100mm D-10TG L/56 (34 RPG), 1x 7,62mm SGMT coaxial-MG (3500 RPG), 1x 12,7mm DSchK (500 RPG)
Elevation/depression: +17° / -4°
I personally think the T-54AMZ would be a very interesting and unique MBT for the German tech-tree, given that it is one of the few vehicles, that were modified by the NVA. I think it would be quite fitting at 8.0.
The last photo of the T-54AMZ is of one standing in the Panzermuseum in Munster.
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