What is the external differences between the T54 and T55?

I know the T 55 has a bore evacuator and different road wheels. What are any other obvious features?

The T-54 will have a dome armored fan cover on the top of the turret in front of the loaders hatch. That is the definitive external visual cue between the two types. Also the shape of some of the engine deck hatches will be different between the two types.



On this T-54 you can see the fan cover in front of the the AA MG, but also see that it has been upgraded with the gun with bore evacuator, but has the older original road wheels still in 1968.

From the chieftains hatch video on the T-54, the mushroom fan cover is the only definitive difference. T-54 existed both with and without bore extractors as they were upgraded.

Most differences between the T-54 and T-55 were internal. T-55s were initially built with no AA MG, but later had them added. And the T-54s later received the newer gun type and road wheels.

Again, 1968, T-54 with refitted later wheels and main gun.

The bore evacuator is not a definite features since te T-54A (one plane stabilizer) and the T-54B (2 planes stab) both need to have it as a counter weight for the stabilizer. It was then transferred to the T-55s.

The vent on top of the turret is indeed the only significant and definitely exterior difference.

Thank you, that’s what I need to know.

At the end of the day it is a T54/5 when you are looking down the scope of a millan

In fact, there are much more differences. Look at the main ones here at this link - the text is in Russian, but it’s understandable without translation.

I have always been impressed with the service life of a T 54/55. Still in service today. If the trend continues with the current strategic planning and tanks are on the wain, The T 54/55 has a place in the future as armor is downsized. They just need to update the fire controls. A Bradly or Warrior hit by a T 55’s 100 mm gun is toast. Like with the IDF, it can be upgraded with the 105 mm and that works well against most everything on the battlefield with the exception of the latest generation of tanks.

And yet even that site apparently misses the bow machine which was removed from the T-54.

The early 54 had them I thought? The later 54 have the hole in the bow, but no gun

The fixed glacis plate machine gun port was eliminated fairly early in the production run.

Do you know if they went back and retrofitted this? The one in the chieftains hatch has later features, in that it has a bore extractor, but has a hole in the hull for the Mg, but the MG isn’t present

I’m assuming they just left the hole on old ones, and didn’t bother welding it up. The one in the chieftains video has a rubber plug in it for weather

Just a guess on my part, but the MG was likely removed during an overhaul. And the later features such as the “starfish” road wheels and main gun w/bore evacuator were added during overhaul(s). A T-54 with the glacis MG should have been built with the early style gun & “spider web”road wheels.

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The front glacis plate is different were it joins with the lower hull. Straight for the T-55, indented for the T-54.
T-54 : you can see weld seams on top of the glacis near the mudguards.