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Versions Colors Marking
Some things were done in the USSR in the specifically Russian way, which can mislead an unprepared soul because they are not easily explained. I tried to find some explanations below but the most reasonable thing is to take them for granted.
One of them is that the Red Army never cared about clear designation of the versions of
tanks. That is, T-34 was always T-34, to give an example. Only the year of the event can
give a key to the understanding which version it, most likely, was . Although strange at
the first glance, it nevertheless has some twisted logic behind it, in my humble opinion.
Still, it has to be understood that all models 1943, etc. , 1B and the like were
introduced after the war. You can work out your own designation, if you want to.
This is purely my guesswork that during the war the difference between versions just was not all that important. The point is that, tactically, T-34 always was a medium tank, in 1940, 1943, 1945 and between, it was a medium tank, not a KV or IS or SU. The rate of losses proves that with such percentage of losses of tanks, the majority of tankers were to drive this year model almost for sure.
The possible misunderstanding during the short periods when, for example, T-34 model 1943 were still alive but the production of T-34-85 already started, could have been easily avoided by referring to the T-34-85 as "new" (a company of new T-34).
There was no tactical difference in the employment of earlier versions at all as all had the same armor (well, nearly the same) and the same gun. The difference between models 1940/41, 1942 and 1943 was not all that big to make fuzz about it.
Remark: I don't mean the exterior, which varied considerably between tanks made at the different plants AND versions. I mean the tactical employment.
During the designing this or that weapon, it was "Item No.xxx" (xxx-means the number, not, normally, the porno) or later "Object No.xxx". Feel the secrecy: Intensify the works on the Object No.220 at the Plant No.112. Just a sample, 220 was one of KV family, 112 - plant Red Sormovo (only T-34).
Camo and finish.
Of course, there were technical norms and standards, which prescribed to finish tanks
in the standard base color, called "4BO". In the real
life, not only the paint itself was of the different shades, but it was not always
available. Still, the front needed tanks, many and yesterday. The production could not be
delayed and the expected outcome was that the tanks were finished in any reasonable color
from khaki brown to grass green. The black and white wartime photos do not help the exact
color identification. Neither the camouflage nor the camo pattern were obligatory. Camo
colors followed the above logic and were any.
This honorable tradition persisted to our days. AFV of all possible and, sometimes, strange colors could be seen in Tshcechnia. If you see two photos of Mig-29 with the same camo pattern, you almost for sure have two photos of the same plane. Sometimes factory new Hinds were overpainted in the units, as the surrealistic camo pattern did not coincide with the feeling of the beauty of the local commanders (and the terrain).
It must be already clear that with tanks (and airplanes) of unnamed version, painted in who-knows what color, the tactical marking received as much attention. Although the tactical marking was introduced in the beginning of 30ties, very often no tactical marks of any type were painted. The tactical signs consisted of two stripes on the top of the turret and the number in the square frame. The color reflected to which company the tank was attached. During the war, the marking changed to the number in triangle, circle, etc. The most popular was just the number, despite the emblems (wolf, arrows, bears, etc.) appeared in the second half of the war. Often the patriotic slogans were painted on the turret, most popular being "For Stalin", "For Motherland", "Kill Fascists" and others.
Unlike in the Wermacht, in most cases it is impossible to determine from the photo to which unit the tank was attached, hence "T-34 in 1944" or "KV on the 2nd Baltic Front" and the like labels under the photos.
The Soviet tanks and, in most of cases, aircraft were painted in whatever colors.
Nobody cared about versions and tactical marks.
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