OT-34 Flamethrower Tank

The OT-34 was the designation given to over 1,500 T-34 Medium Tanks armed with a flamethrower in the hull. The idea of installing a flamethrower in the T-34 originated in 1939, but work on designing the flamethrower itself did not start until November 1940, when the GKO issued a specification for a weapon with a range of 90 metres.

A number of designs were submitted. After trials in May 1941 Factory No.174’s design was judged to be the winner and was given the designation ATO-41. This had the required range of 90 metres, using compressed air to propel the flame. On the T-34 it was used with a 105 litre fuel tank, which allowed it to fire ten bursts. The design was improved in 1942-43 to produce the ATO-42, which had a range of 130 metres, a larger fuel tank and carried more compressed air. This was then replaced by the ATO-43, which used fumes from the engine to direct the flame, reducing the need for compressed air cylinders. These weapons weighted between 130 and 150 kg.  The flamethrower replaced the bow machine gun in the T-34, leaving the turret and main gun intact. It also used up the space allocated to the radio in the standard T-34, so from 1943 the radio in the OT-34 was moved to the turret.

A prototype of the OT-34 (OT standing for Ogniomietnyj Tank – Flamethrower Tank) was built in June-July 1941, but in the chaotic situation after the German invasion production did not start until the summer of 1942. Flamethrower tanks were produced at the Krasnoje Sormowo factory, and were built on whichever version of the T-34 was in production at the time. By the end of the war the factory had produced 1,170 OT-34s and 210 OT-34-85s, with another 190 following in the second half of 1945.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (19 September 2008), OT-34 Flamethrower Tank , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_OT-34_flamethrower_tank.html

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