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  1. 1. Would You Like This Tank?

    • Yes
    • No
    • Maybe / I Don't Know
  2. 2. If Added, What BR Should It Be? (Bearing In Mind The Better Starting Shell & The APCR)

    • 4.3 (Same as Soviet SU-85)
    • 4.7
    • 5.0
    • 5.3 (Same as SU-85M)
    • I Don't Know / Don't Mind
    • Other (Please Comment)
    • I Don't Want It
  3. 3. If Added, How Should It Be Available To Players?

    • Researchable
    • Premium
    • Event / Tournament
    • Squadron Reward
    • I Don't Know / Don't Mind
    • Other (Please Comment)
    • I Don't Want It
  4. 4. If Added, Should The DDR Roundels Be Permament?

    • Yes (For Balance)
    • No (They Never Had Them Historically)
    • I Don't Know / Don't Mind
    • Other (Please Comment)
    • I Voted "No" Before

The 85mm Selbstfahrlafette (Self-Propelled Gun) SU-85, usually abbreviated SFL SU-85, was the East German designation for the ~50 SU-85 tank destroyers employed by the Nationale Volksarmee and its predecessor organisation, the KVP, during the 1950s. Externally identical to the wartime SU-85, the key difference between War Thunder's Soviet SU-85 and the ones used by the NVA is the ammunition available: whereas the USSR's SU-85 lacks the APCR round found on the SU-85M, the NVA's vehicles were delivered in 1952 along with supplies of that shell. The SFL SU-85's slightly improved killing power would likely place it a little higher in BR than its Soviet sibling, where it would play even more as a glass cannon, which should go some way to making it play differently. Whilst not particularly unique and used fairly briefly by the DDR, I'm suggesting this vehicle because it is one of only a few gun-armed tank destroyers operated by the NVA, and probably the one best suited to form a lineup with other early DDR tanks in an East German line or splinter tree. 






Derived from the T-34-based SU-122, the SU-85 was Uralmash's stop-gap measure intended to counter the latest generation of German tanks, namely the Panthers and Tigers, until the T-34-85 could be produced in the needed quantity. The SU-85 was built from 1943 to 1944, by which point over 2000 had been made, and whilst it was replaced from early 1944 onwards by more capable tank destroyers such as the up-armoured SU-85M and the SU-100, it nevertheless went on to see long careers with a number of Soviet allies both during and after the war.  One of the nations to receive this SPG was East Germany, whose paramilitary Kaisernierte Volkspolizei gained a hodgepodge of different wartime Soviet equipment, from the useless SU-76M and T-34-76 to the more capable T-34-85 and SU-85. The first vehicles were delivered around 1952, with more arriving around the time of the Nationale Volksarmee's formation in 1955, when they had 46, and according to some sources some further SU-85s arrived in 1956, giving a probable total of close to 50 SU-85s. One source claims instead that there was just one delivery, in 1952, of 46 vehicles; this lines up with the single delivery of 47 IS-2s to the KVP, and I'm inclined to believe it over the other, less detailed sources.



An SFL SU-85, and an SU-85-based T-34TB (SFL) recovery vehicle.


In the KVP, the SFL SU-85s mainly served with the so-called "C-Units", acting as some of their best non-tank armoured vehicles, but upon the NVA's foundation they were reassigned to a variety of groups, such as the 11th MSD, where they saw use both as stand-ins for real tanks and as part of genuine tank destroyer platoons. In this way, they were an important cog in the early NVA machine, allowing more efficient deployment of the more capable T-34-85s, and would have been one of their only second-line vehicles capable of engaging NATO tanks from the front. With the introduction of true MBTs like the MKPz T-54 in 1957 and MKPz T-55 in 1959, the NVA's previous workhorse, MKPz T-34-85, was pressed into more reserve and support roles, which included use as de-facto tank destroyers. The Nationale Volksarmee had never had many SU-85s, compared to the >1000 T-34-85s at their disposal, so it was in their interests to retire the SPG for conversion into recovery vehicles for their huge T-34 fleet. No SU-85s remained in NVA inventory after 1962. 




The one source I have that mentions specific ammunition used by the SLF SU-85 confirms some, but not all, of the possible rounds. In the interest of historical accuracy, it would be best to take the unconfirmed shells with a pinch of salt. It's plausible, even likely, that the in-game SU-85's BR-365A round might have been retired before the SFL SU-85s' delivery, and it adds little from a gameplay perspective, so unless a source is found that says the DDR used that shell, it'd be best both for accuracy and gameplay that it be omitted from SFL SU-85's loadout. Likewise, the basic O-365 shell is probably equivalent to or worse than the in-game O-365K shell that the NVA tanks also definitely used, so there's basically no point implementing it when HE shells already see so little use. 



UO-365 (O-365) HE-F                     - Penetration Unknown

UO-365 K (O-365K) HE-F               - 12mm flat RHA at 10m

UBR-365 K (BR-365K) APHE         - 147mm flat RHA at 10m

UBR-365 P (BR-365P) APCR         - 180mm flat RHA at 10m



BR-365A APHEBC                         - 135mm flat RHA at 10m






Length: 8.15m (including gun)

Width: 3.00m 

Height: 2.45m

Weight: 29.6 tonnes

Crew: 4 (Driver, Gunner, Loader, Commander)

Primary Armament: 85mm D-5S cannon (48 rounds: HE, APHE, APHEBC & APCR)

Armament Details: -5 to 25 degrees elevation, -10 to 10 degrees traverse

Secondary Armament: None

Armour: 70mm driver's hatch, 52mm mantlet, 45mm front, sides and rear, 20mm roof

Max Speed: 34 mph (55 kph)


Its Place In The Game:


This suggestion, just like my previous ones for DDR T-34s and IS-2s, is intended to work towards a fully fleshed-out Tier III / IV lineup of NVA tanks. Plans to split the tree or even have a separate DDR mini-tree can't be implemented until there are enough East German vehicles that they can be split off from the WWII and West German tanks and remain actually playable. No one is going to have much fun trying to run a lineup of just SPz BMP-1, or even multiple T-34-85s, but if we can offer a lineup several medium tanks, a heavy tank, multiple light tanks and SPGs, and an uptiered but still useful SPAAG, then perhaps the DDR line could survive on its own. Stuhlfleisch has done a great job covering the 7.7-upwards DDR tanks, which are numerous enough to form a fun and varied lineup, so I've been focusing my efforts on the set of vehicles below them, in the hope of proving that a separate DDR line could not only work, but actually thrive. This vehicle is perhaps one of the less interesting ones, essentially just an SU-85 with its worst round removed and an APCR shell added, but as part of an NVA Tier III lineup it would be a valuable inclusion that expands the range of playstyles available to DDR players, so I still see it as a worthwhile inclusion in that context. 


I hope you like this tank, and I look forward to hearing from you in the comments!


More Pictures (Recovery Tank Conversion):







Converted SU-85s as T-34T recovery tanks.





"Die Landstreitkräfte der NVA" (Kopenhagen 2003) [Photographed page in the spoiler shows SU-85 service numbers over time]






https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liste_der_Technik_und_Bewaffnung_der_NVA#Panzertechnik (Source in German)

http://www.militaertechnik-der-nva.de/Waffensysteme/Artilleriesysteme/Artillerie/SU85/SU85.html (Source in German)






Edited by Zombificus
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  • Technical Moderator

This would be a great lower ranking TD. +1 :good:

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