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November 21, 1998

years to Mikhail Ilich Koshkin,

father of legendary T-34.



Born in 1898 Koshkin finished Industrial Institute in Leningrad in 1934 and till 1937 worked at the Kirov's Plant. He participated in designing of T-29, wheels/tracks version of T-28. Since 1937 Koshkin worked in Kharkov. He entered history as father of the legend, T-34, Soviet medium tank.

In October 1937 GABTU (Main Armor Directorate) issued a technical order for new tank to replace light BT. Actually, Kharkov Locomotive Plant was tasked to design mixed wheels-tracks tank, enhance. Additionally to BT like A-20, designers completed another project, tank with only tracks, A-32, at their own risk. Both projects were presented to the government.

The Commitee of the Defence was to make choice between the two. The historical decision was made by Stalin himself despite objections of cabinet generals. Work on A-32 was continued. Test tanks were completed in July, 1939. Final decision was in favour of A-32 was made on December 19, 1939. Already in February of 1940 first two tanks on own tracks arrived in Moscow. After extensive testing, mass production of T-34 was authorized in June.

This was not the end of the story as T-34 sustained more adventures before it became workhorse of the war.

The fate of Koshkin was sad. He got seriuosly ill during the trip of tanks to Moscow and died on September 26, 1940.


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