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T-72 in Poland

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T-72 in Poland - 12/12/2020 11:44:22 PM   


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As I have complete data for T-72 production in Czechoslovakia I am irritated that I cannot find details about T-72 production in Poland. Worse I am puzzled by polish designations.

Starting information about Czechoslovak and Polish production is that at the same time they were producing same version of T-72. The reason for that is that production of many parts was shared. But designation of final product was not always same.

So far I have these informaton which I would like to clarify:

- Poland received 20 basic T-72 from the USSR in 1978 (optical rangefinder, turret armor steel only), hull armor 80+105+20, 39 rounds for gun).

- Domestic production started in 1981. Soviet designation was T-72M, it differed from basic T-72 with laser range finder. Czechoslovak designation for this variant was just T-72 but in polish sources it was designated as T-72A. Polish army received probably 183 tanks (I am not sure with this).

- Probably in 1985 new variant was produced. Soviet export designation was also T-72M but it added side skirts, smoke launchers and has 44 rounds for gun. It has still steel only turret but one polish source claims that front hull armor was changed to 60+105+50. Czechoslovak and Polish designation is T-72M. Polish army received probably 218 tanks.

- From 1986 T-72M1 was produced with improved armor. Polish army probably received 352 tanks before production was switched to PT-91.

I will be glad if somebody clarifies this.

< Message edited by PN79 -- 12/12/2020 11:46:32 PM >
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RE: T-72 in Poland - 12/23/2020 8:23:36 PM   


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So after trying to find more information in polish language it seems that polish designations for T-72A and T-72M are reversed:

Designation according to production model in Poland:
model 1981 --- in one official document is named just as T-72 (czechoslovak designation T-72, soviet T-72M) --- 218 tanks received
model 1985 --- in same document this variant has designation T-72A (czechoslovak designation T-72M, soviet also T-72M) --- 183 tanks received
model 1986 --- in same document designated as T-72M1 --- 352 tanks received (including polish command variant T-72M1D)

But I am still not confident.

(in reply to PN79)
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RE: T-72 in Poland - 12/24/2020 3:00:28 AM   

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Iraq reportedly received Polish-made T-72M from 1982. Since they got coincidence rangefinder equipped T-72 (Urals) directly from USSR, it would would have made sense that Polish tanks got LRFs, which would bode well with T-72M designation. Maybe Poles were not yet aware that T-72A didn’t have monolithic steel turret, which was replaced on T-72M1.


Armored Brigade Database Specialist

(in reply to PN79)
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RE: T-72 in Poland - 12/28/2020 7:59:05 PM   


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As I see it the biggest problem is different designation used by every country despite producing same thing. Both Czechoslovakia and Poland got same basic T-72 with coincidence rangefinder in 1978 and all of them named them just T-72.

But then problems started. I have often read about polish T-72A which otherwise we now understand to be Soviet production model later exported as T-72M1. Polish sources are also quite confusing as somewhere it was used for the model produced in Poland and Czechoslovakia in 1981 but I am now quite confident that this information is wrong based on official polish documentation.

Both Czechoslovakia and Poland started production in 1981 originally just assembly of parts delivered from the USSR later full production but with close cooperation (all engines from Poland, all guns from Czechoslovakia, some other things from East Germany and Bulgaria). This model 1981 had laser range finder, monolithic steel turret and front hull armor 80+105+20, ammo 39 rounds. In Czechoslovakia always named just T-72, in Poland in official document also just T-72 but sometimes also T-72M and some unofficial sources named it incorrectly T-72A. Soviet export name was always T-72M.

Model 1985 differed by adding more ammo to 44 rounds, smoke dischargers and side skirts. Some Polish sources said also armor change in front hull to 60+105+50 but I think that this is wrong as all photos of this variant in Poland I could recognize had just old armor setting. Soviets designated this same as previous one as T-72M, Czechoslovakia also T-72M but in Poland in official documentation this is T-72A. And that created so much confusion at least for me as trying to go through polish sources without this understanding is so confusing.

Both Czechoslovakia and Poland started to produce T-72M1 in 1986 so previous model had only limited production.

Further confusion especially in western sources is that designation of just T-72 for model produced in 1981. Many people thus assumed that it was version with coincidence rangefinder which however was never produced outside the USSR.

Czechoslovak sources also says that model 1981 was licensed from the USSR in 1978 but it took years to start production. Model 1985 was licensed already at the end of 1981 but again it took so much time before it get in to production. Though I don't know when documentation for T-72M1 was acquired but it could be already in 1982 or 1983. Both Poland and Czechoslovakia had quite problems to start production of T-72.

(in reply to nikolas93TS)
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