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It is a splash board to stop the driver getting sprayed with water and mud when driving with the hatch open. Can be wood or metal.
About markings. I think the only official ones are the eagle and number plus the Polish red and white chequered diamond (see photo below) . On the web the named ones are mostly tv series or film tanks.
The cupola is a strange one in so far as i have seen T34-76 cupolas with two small hatches that open outwards as did some of the T34 -85 D-5T variations. I imagine the inner cupola ring can be turned to face however you want it to, the photo shows an offset Polish T34-85M2 inner cupola ring just as an example.
Thank you so much for the information and the links to the excellent articles.....my quest to identify them is complete
The articles you linked to describe everything far better than anything i could find online
once again many thanks 922F
Thanks a lot for your help with this Eddie.
What exactly is that piece that I tried to describe in point 1 of my original post? I did buy a book on T34's and although I found pictures of it on some models I never found any reference to what it was called, what it was made of (some look wooden/some metal), or what it did.
I have seen similar on other later model soviet tanks but again no mention of what it did...