After the T-54/55 medium tanks were re-enlisted for the Ukraine war, it was suggested that the Russian Army should put its trust in the T-10 heavy tanks as they proved to be much more powerful and were only retired in the 1990s.
The T-10 is fully capable of being re-commissioned by the Russian Army. The T-10 is one of the longest-lasting tank designs in the world. Adopted in 1953, the tank served for over 40 years before finally being decommissioned in 1997.
The T-10 was also known as the Object 730, and entered service as the IS-10 as a continuation of the Iosef Stalin series of heavy breakthrough tanks that debuted during World War II. After Stalin’s death in 1953, it was renamed T-10. The T-10was in production between 1953 and 1966, with numbers up to about 1,500 units. The design underwent several revisions to keep it modern, from the T-10A to the ultimate variant, the T-10M.
The T-10 was better than its predecessors in almost every way: firepower, speed, armour and efficiency. It was a very promising breakthrough, that came too late. In the 1960s, the Soviets have realized that the concept of the main battle tank (MBT), was much more efficient. Guns of similar firepower, as well as reasonable armour, could be placed on a medium tank, which would be much more mobile than a heavy tank. That suited the Soviets because MBTs could be used in many more types of operations than the T-10, or a similar tank.
The biggest differences from its direct ancestor, the IS-3, were a longer hull, seven pairs of road wheels instead of six, a larger turret mounting a new gun with fume extractor, an improved diesel engine, and increased armour. General performance was similar, although the T-10 could carry more ammunition, from 28 rounds to 30 rounds.
The original idea was to develop the project to improve reliability and enhance armor protection, as well as cross-country maneuverability. The T-10 itself was a modernization of the IS-3, featuring the same “prow” front hull design, complete with the centrally situated driver’s position. The turret and hull were enlarged from the IS-3 to accommodate more armor. Frontally, the T-10M’s armour ranges from 200 mm to 250 mm, and over 300 mm around the turret. When compared to the Chieftains, the T-10M has more hull armour, and even a more evenly protected turret.
The main weapon of the T-10 is the new 122mm D-25TA main gun, which has a rate of fire of 3-4 rounds/minute, while in previous heavy tank models only 2-3 rounds/minute. Altogether, this made for an incredibly formidable tank in the 1950s, with very thick armor and impressive lethality to boot. While not as nimble as upcoming Western tank designs, the T-10 was meant to be able to survive a hit.
The final variant, the T-10M was adopted in 1962. It was an almost total overhaul of the design, with the original D-25 cannon being swapped out for a more modern M62T2 cannon which featured yet another new muzzle brake and fume extractor. It also had a newer, more effective stabilizer. The coaxial armament was also improved, swapping the 12.7mm DShK machine guns for 14.5mm KPV machine guns.
Other improvements on the T-10M include night vision equipment for the gunner and driver, improved nuclear protection measures, and better sights. But at that time the next generation of Western and Soviet tanks was well into development. The original T-10 had far better armor than the T-55s and T-54s that were its contemporary, but the T-10M didn’t possess significant advantages versus the T-62, much less the upcoming T-64 which utilized composite armor.
An interesting fact is that the T-10 has never participated in an actual war, although the T-10 has been deployed in several operations conducted by the Soviet Army. Some Western sources claim that the T-10M was exported to countries such as China, Egypt, and Syria, with Syria and Egypt using it in the Yom Kippur War to provide long-range support to the T-55 and T-62, with said sources claiming that the T-10s knocked out several M48 Pattons with none lost, indicating that the T-10 was used to some degree of combat success. However, the T-10 could have been mistaken for its near-identical counterpart, the IS-3. However, compared with the T-54/55, the T-10 tank also has disadvantages, complex operation and expensive. Calling for re-enlistment with a large number of these tanks is not feasible, and the ammunition for it is not much…