Soviet Heavy Tank KV-1 (Klim Voroshilov - 1)
"A small column of hitler's tanks was seen ahead. There were seven of
them. Grigorjev drove his tank to the advantageous position and after
the Shabunin's order Stupin opened fire. He burned the enemy tank with
the first hit. The second one was enveloped by smoke. It stopped. But
the third one was closing fast. Suddenly the strong hit shattered the
Grigorjev's machine. Tank was unable to shoot any longer. Through the
watching hole Grigorjev saw, that the closing fascist tank began to turn
gun barrel to the damaged KV. Two anti-tank guns were taking their
positions to the right. Of course, there was a chance to flee. But that
meant to open the way for the enemy.
- I'm going to taran! - shouted Grigorjev, as he throwed his tank forward.
- Do it, - Shabunin answered.
An enemy shell bounced off the tank's armour. Grigorjev's tank was
charging forward. After a while, it collided by all its 50 tons with an
enemy machine and overturned it." - 32nd tank brigade during Moscow
counterattack, December of 1941 as it was described. During the war,
driver Grigorjev became Hero of the Soviet Union. It was one of the
first tarans (planned collisions made by own vehicle with an enemy one)
made by a tank during the battle under Moscow.
During the Soviet-Finnish conflict, 2 KV tanks went to front straightly
from the factories. 17th December they have proved their qualities in
battle. Their main strengths were thick armour and strong firepower. The
mass production of KV-1 began during the summer of 1940.
At the beginning of 1941 tank KV-1 was modernizated. It had more
powerful 76.2mm/41.5 gun and increased its front hull armour to 105mm.
The weight also increased a lot. It received a cast turret of 7 ton. The
cast turret of such weight was a technological progress at these times.
During the 1940 factories made 243 and during the first half of 1941 -
393 tanks KV-1 and KV-2. KV-1 was superior than T-34 in armour, had the
same armament and was inferior in speed and mobility. Its superiority on
German tanks was even higher than its of T-34. Soviet authors say that
no one German tank or anti-tank gun was able to pierce armour of KV. The
facts tell us, that German 88mm Flak cannon could.
At the beginning of Great Patriotic War (22th June, 1941) Kirovskij
factory was transferred to Cheljabinsk and was renamed to Cheljabinskij
Kirovskij zavod. Nevertheless during the second half of 1941 front
received 933 KV tanks.
During the battles the need of better mobility and some better details
was found. During the second half of 1942 tank was modernizated by
N.F.Shashmurin. New model, called KV-1S ("S" meant "skorostnoj" -
"speedy") had the weight of 42.5 ton. The lesser weight cost the
decrease of armour and the length of hull. Motor section was also
modernizated. Commander's cupol was installed. Speed increased up to
42km/h. KV-1S was producted for the one year. During the same time, KV-8
tank was produced. It had the flamethrower and a 45mm gun.
Soviet Heavy Tank KV-2 (Klim Voroshilov - 2)
During the summer of 1940 some of KV-2 tanks with the 152mm howitzer were
made. The gun was installed in a quiet bulky turret, the height of the model
increased up to 3.25m. Tanks KV-2 were self-propelled artillery after
all. They could shoot while not moving only. Their weight was 52 ton,
crew consisted of 6 men and its speed was lesser than of KV-1.
Soviet Heavy Tank KV-85 (Klim Voroshilov - 85mm)
The last mass modification of KV tank was the KV-85 model,
produced during the autumn of 1943. On slightly changed hull of KV-1S the cast
turret made for the later produced IS-1 was installed, armour of 100mm
and 85mm gun. Weight was increased up to 46 ton, crew decreased to 4
members and machineguns to 2. Speed remains as it was.
At the end of 1943 tank KV was replaced by the new heavy tank IS-1.
KV was the good construction of a heavy tank. Thanks to its superiority
KV were seeking the encounters with the enemy tanks, while the German
vehicles tried to avoid them. Soviet authors say that it always had the
iniciative during the tank battles and that it was the mightiest tank of
the world up to the end of 1942.