Land Weapons

Uralmash

SU-85

The SU-85 was the Soviet Union's first true tank destroyer, designed to carry a gun capable of taking on the new generation of German tanks like the Tiger and Panther that the T-34/76 was finding much more difficult to defeat. Development of the SU-85 was hastened thanks to the use of the existing SU-122 assault gun (which was itself based on the T-34) as a basis. Rather than a 122mm howitzer, however, the SU-85 mounted a powerful 85mm D-5 gun, which was based on an existing anti-aircraft gun and had considerably superior penetration power than the 76.2mm of the T-34. However, no secondary armament was provided. Being a derivative of the legendary Soviet tank, the SU-85 also inherited its excellent speed and mobility, and could also be fitted with external fuel tanks on the sides to increase combat range. Great efforts were made to rush the SU-85 into production during the second half of 1943 and it participated in numerous Soviet offensives from that point onwards. Production eventually ceased, however, in favor of the T-34/85 (which was armed with the same gun) as well as its direct successor, the SU-100, which was essentially the same vehicle but armed with a much more powerful 100mm gun.

The SU-85 was designed by a team led by L.I. Gorlits and General F.F. Petrov to fulfill a requirement for an easy to build and highly mobile tank destroyer. Trials took place in August 1943 and production commenced thereafter. No variants were built but later vehicles had numerous improvements such as a special cupola for the commander.

SU-85
SU-85

Preceded by:

SU-76 (1943)

Related:

T-34 (1940)

Succeeded by:

SU-100 (1944)

Datafile

DesignSU-85
TypeTank Destroyer
Year1943
Crew4
Dimensions
Length (w/Gun)5.92 m (8.15 m)
Width3.00 m
Height2.45 m
Weight
Loaded29,200 kg
Ground Pressure0.70 kg/cm²
SuspensionTorsion bar
Performance
Speed (Off-Road)47 km/h
Range (Off-Road)400 km (200 km)
AmphibiousNo
Fording0.89 m
Vertical Obstacle0.75 m
Trench2.50 m
Gradient57%
Powerplant
Engine1 x 500-hp
V-2-34
FuelDiesel
Power/Weight17.12 hp/t
Armament
Main1 x 85-mm L/52
D-5S
Anti-Tank Gun (70)
↑ 24° / ↓ -5° / ↔ 360°

Secondary-
Armor
TypeSteel
Thickness20 - 75 mm
Max Effective75 - 90 mm RHAe
Hull Upper Front45 mm / 50°
Hull Lower Front45 mm / 60°
Hull Upper Sides45 mm / 40°
Hull Lower Sides45 mm
Hull Lower Rear45 mm
Hull Top20 mm
Hull Bottom20 mm
Turret Mantlet75 mm / Round
Turret Front45 mm / 50°
Turret Sides45 mm / 20°
Turret Rear45 mm / 20°
Turret Top20 mm
Production
Built2,344
Total2,659

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