ARM: CMD 76mm F-34 Barrel for DML T-34 Model 1941

Product Review: Chesapeake Model Designs 1/35 scale Accessories; Soviet 76mm
F-34 Gun; 1 turned aluminum barrel; price $8
Advantages: right barrel for the new DML Model 1941 kit; matches photos and
scale drawings
Disadvantages: specific product for a specific function; will require other
kits to be used in other situations (e.g. KV-1 Model 1941 or Tamiya, Maquette
or Zvedza offerings)
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for replacing all F-34 barrels
Following up on the heels of their very nice L?11 barrel, CMD now offers the
76mm F-34 "long" barrel in 1/35 scale as well.
As noted earlier in both the article I did for "Military Modelling" (UK) that
looked at the development histories of the Soviet tank guns prior to WWII, the
Soviets had decided initially that the short L-11 gun produced in Leningrad
would be the standard tank gun for medium tanks. This was a 30.5 caliber weapon
barely able to fire a round faster than 612 meters per second, not a good set
of numbers for armor-piercing functions.
The L-11 was a very short barreled weapon on purpose. The Soviets felt that if
the gun barrel overhung the hull it would soon be damaged or cause the tank to
get stuck in a ditch or trees and thus be lost. But it suffered badly in regard
to accuracy due to the fact that the barrel was suspended from its cradle, not
riding on top of it like most guns. As a result, it tended to wobble in the
cradle, preventing any real accuracy beyond a few hundred meters.
While it was designed for the KV tank and was used in the KV Model 1939, the
designers from Khar'kov also used this gun in their T-34 Model 1939 and later
in the Model 1940. As a result, it placed both a strain on production and
caused divisiveness among the plants. Leningrad was told, after a shooting
competition, to drop the L-11 in favor of the Grabin-designed F-32. While only
one caliber (e.g. 76mm) longer, this gun used a cradle under the barrel and was
far more accurate. But its top muzzle velocity was only 613 meters per second,
not a major improvement.
After weeks of fighting, Leningrad lost and had to adopt it. But when they
did, they demanded all production support the KV-1 Model 1941 and the Khar'kov
designers were out of luck. Fortunately, as they had no problems with overhang,
they were offered the 76mm F-34 (41.5 calibers long).
The initial version of the F-34 had a muzzle velocity of 662 meters per
second, and later got bumped up to around 800. With the later tungsten cored
"arrow" shell this remained a reasonably potent antitank round up until late
1943-early 1944. More than 25,00 tanks were fitted with this gun, and the KV
had to adopt the modified ZIS-5 gun based on the F-34 to become at least
tolerable on the battlefield.
As with their L-11, CMD has nailed this gun and purpose-made it to drop-fit
right into the DML kit without a single modification. As such, it's hard to
find such a "modeler friendly" accessory. Other barrels, such as Jordi Rubio,
usually need drilling out to fit, but then again they are "universal" barrels.
Note that the F-34 barrel is based on the one found on the Aberdeen Proving
Ground T-34 Model 1941 that was the subject of the article mentioned above.

Thanks to Bill Miley of CMD for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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