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As the SU-122 was meant to be an assault gun, the SU-85 was a pure tank-destroyer. Designed in August 1943, it was based on the earlier SU-122, and had the same structure as the SU-100 and SU-122. It's 85mm Model 1943 D-5S L/53 gun was based on an anti-aircraft gun, and was mounted in a ball mantlet with limited traverse. The series production of SU-85's began at UZTM in August 1943. By August -43, the first SU-85's was delivered to tank-destroyer battalions. It made it's combat debut in the Red Army's offensive on the Dniepr River in the Ukraine. The limited traverse showed decisive in close combat which had to be avoided. The SU-85 lacked machine-guns, which made it vulnerable to infantry attacks. When the T34/85 appeard using the same gun, the SU-85 quickly became obsolete. When production ceased in favor of the SU-100 in late -44, some 2.050 SU-85 tanks had been built. SU-85s were also used in the late war/postwar years by Poland, Czechoslovakia, Korea and China. Few also saw action in the arabwar of 1967.

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A company leader is planning with a crew of a Polish SU-85.