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The T-34 was the mainstay of the Soviet army beginning in 1940. Its general specifications remained nearly unchanged until early 1944, when it received a firepower upgrade with the introduction of the greatly improved T-34-85 variant. Following the 1952 revolution, the United Arab Republic (as Egypt became) pursued an anti-colonial policy which received enthusiastic support from the Soviet Union, including substantial quantities of military hardware.

By 1967, the United Arab Republic and Syrian inventories of armor were predominantly of Soviet origin. Initially, the most numerous tank was the T-34/85, one of the most common tanks in the world in the post-war era. Stocks came from Czechoslovakia which produced them until the late 1950s.

The Soviets and Chinese gave the North Vietnamese a healthy amount of armored vehicle, including T-54/55 and PT-76 tanks, to built up some sizable armored units. These came in most notable in three independent tank battalions, the 297th with 33 T-54/55s, the 198th with 22 PT-76s, and the 397th with 33 T-34s.

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