The T-34 is a Soviet medium tank introduced in 1940, famously deployed during World War II against Operation Barbarossa. Its 76.2 mm high-velocity tank gun was more powerful than its contemporaries while its 60 degree sloped armour provided good protection against anti-tank weapons. The T-34 had a profound effect on the conflict on the Eastern Front in the Second World War, and had a lasting impact on tank design. After the Germans encountered the tank in 1941, German general Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist called it "the finest tank in the world" and Heinz Guderian affirmed the T-34's "vast superiority" over German tanks.
The T-34 was the mainstay of Soviet armoured forces throughout the war. Its general specifications remained nearly unchanged until late 1944, when it received a firepower upgrade with the introduction of the greatly improved T-34/85 variant. Its production method was continuously refined and rationalized to meet the needs of the Eastern Front, making the T-34 quicker and cheaper to produce. The Soviets ultimately built over 80,000 T-34s of all variants, allowing steadily greater numbers to be fielded despite the loss of tens of thousands in combat against the German Wehrmacht.
In 1943, T-34 production had reached an average of 1,300 per month; this was the equivalent of three full-strength Panzer divisions. The single largest producer was Factory No.183 (UTZ), building 28,952 T-34s and T-34-85s from 1941 to 1945. The second-largest was Krasnoye Sormovo Factory No.112 in Gorky, with 12,604 in the same period.