IS-2 Heavy Tank ( Object 240 )
One of the most powerful tanks of the Great Patriotic War, the IS-2 was so successful that it not only destroyed the Nazis, but served the Soviet and Russian armies for another half a century. In mid-1942, the Soviet designers received the task to create a new heavy tank on the basis of the not very reliable KV-1 tank. By the end of the same year, several prototypes, differing in weapons (122-mm howitzer-cannon and 85-mm gun) were developed. After passing the tests, the tank with the 85-mm gun, which received the designation IS-1, went into the series (the IS abbreviation stands for “Iosef Stalin”). it could fight the Tiger at medium range. Still it was seen as a temporary solution — something more powerful was needed.
In August 1943, a more powerful IS-2 tank was developed, armed with a 122-mm D-25T cannon, capable of striking all the newest German tanks from a long distance. After passing the tests, the IS-2 was put into service, and in early 1944 it was put into mass production. Produced until the summer of 1945. A total of 3390 combat vehicles were produced.
Tank IS-2 had a very good armor protection: the front of the hull was protected by 120 mm armor, and the frontal armor of the turret reached 160 mm. The turret and the frontal armor plates were made of cast, which further increased the armor resistance. The IS-2 tank was the only large-scale tank of the anti-Hitler coalition, whose armor provided some protection against the famous 88-mm guns and long-barreled 75-mm guns, then like everyone else (with the exception of the later modifications of the British Churchill) "provided their crew with no more protection than a cardboard box."
Combat weight was 46 tons. The crew consisted of 4 people. The tank was armed with a very powerful long-barreled 122 mm D-25T cannon, which was the most powerful Soviet tank weapon of that time, had high armor penetration and a long direct shot range, but had a significant drawback — low rate of fire. Also, the tank was armed with three DT machine guns. The combat vehicle was equipped with a diesel engine B-2-IC with a capacity of 520 liters. and had a maximum speed of 37 km / h.
First of all, the IS-2 tank was intended to storm the cities and break through the fortifications of the enemy. Due to the high security and powerful armament, the IS-2 did an excellent job with this task. Also, the IS-2 tanks had to fight against the German heavy tanks "Tiger I" and "Tiger II", with which the lighter Soviet tank could fight on equal terms. The IS-2 was used in almost all military operations at the final stage of the Great Patriotic War. The IS-2 is the best assault tank (thanks to the enormous power of the 122-mm cannon) and one of the most powerful tanks of the Great Patriotic War.
The IS-2 was the most powerful and heavily armored of the Soviet serial tanks of the war period, and one of the strongest tanks at that time in the world. Tanks of this type played a large role in the battles of 1944-1945, especially having distinguished themselves during the storming of cities. After the end of the war, the IS-2s were modernized and were in service with the Soviet and Russian armies until 1995. Also, the IS-2 tanks were delivered to a number of countries and participated in some post-war armed conflicts.
The IS-2 in its essence was a further improvement of the IS-1 tank, which, in turn, was a deep modernization of the previous model of the heavy KV-1 tank. Compared with the IS-1, the armament was more than significantly strengthened, and on the modifications the arr. In 1944, with a straightened frontal armor, protection from enemy fire in the front sector was also increased. Like all other Soviet serial heavy and medium tanks of the time, the IS-2 had a classic layout. The armor hull from the bow to the stern was successively divided into a management compartment, a combat compartment and a power pack compartment. The driver was housed in the control department, three other crew members had jobs in the fighting compartment, which united the middle part of the armored hull and the turret. There was also a weapon, ammunition to it and part of the fuel tanks.
The desire of ChKZ designers to get the maximum armor with a relatively moderate weight and overall dimensions of the entire tank led to both positive and negative consequences. The economy and the relatively small material consumption of the IS-2 as a whole became a positive side - with the same mass of 46 tons, the Soviet tank was much more protected than the Panther, superior to the 55-tonne Tiger I and slightly lower than the 68-tonne "Tiger II". The drawbacks were a logical continuation of this approach - due to the tight layout, the driver’s hatch had to be abandoned and part of the fuel tanks was placed in the fighting compartment. As a result, with the defeat of the IS-2, there was a significant chance of ignition of diesel fuel and getting it on the tank crews.
The German tanks had gas tanks located outside the habitable places of the vehicle (although they also had a number of units with flammable liquids). The absence of the driver's hatch more than once led to the fact that the wounded tanker could not quickly leave the burning vehicle (it was necessary to get out through the turret after other crew members) and died from flame or choking.
One drawback can be attributed to the arrangement of the location of the turret in the bow of the hull. Together with a long gun, this made it difficult to overcome obstacles such as ditches and counter-scarpes. Some of them could be forced only by turning the turret back with a gun, that is, in a battle with such obstacles, the IS-2 lost its firepower.
The turret was mounted on a shoulder strap with a diameter of 1,800 mm in the armored roof of the crew compartment and was fixed with hooks in order to avoid stalling with a strong roll or overturning of the tank. The surface of "contact" of the lower shoulder strap of the turret and the upper shoulder strap of the armored hull was somewhat sunk into the roof of the fighting compartment, which excluded the jamming of the turret during the shelling. The epaulet of the turret was marked in thousandths for firing from closed positions.
For ease of repair and maintenance of the engine-transmission unit, the roof of the engine-transmission compartment was made removable, and the upper aft armored plate could be hinged on the hinges.
The driver was located in the center in front of the tank armored hull. Compared with the KV-1s tank, the dense layout of the IC tank’s habitable space did not allow the fifth crew member, the radio operator, to be placed in it. His functions were distributed between the commander and the driver-mechanic: the first one worked with the radio station, and the second one fired an unmarked fire from a course gun by pressing the trigger on an electric trigger mechanism on one of the control levers. The machine gun itself was located to the right of the driver and was rigidly fastened in a special armored pipe, which was welded to the frontal armor of the tank. Subsequently, due to the low effectiveness of obscure fire and the weakening of frontal armor, the exchange gun was completely abandoned.
Three crew members were located in the turret: to the left of the gun were the gunner’s and tank commander’s jobs, and to the right of the loader. The commander of the vehicle had a cast observation turret with a thickness of vertical armor up to 82 mm. The landing and exit of the crew were made through the hatches in the turret: a round double-wing hatch commander's turret and a round single-door hatch loader. The hull also had a bottom hatch for emergency evacuation by the crew of the tank and a number of hatches, hatches and technological openings for loading ammunition, access to the throat of the fuel tanks, other units and aggregates of the machine.
A number of parts were welded to the armored body — limiters for the balancers and brackets for the torsion bar, support for rollers and dirt cleaners, a stopper for mounting the caterpillar tensioning mechanism.
The IS-2 became a real headache for the Germans. To hit this powerful Soviet tank, the Tiger had to approach it at a distance of no less than 800 meters, which significantly reduced its chances of victory. For this reason, the Wehrmacht command ordered its tank crews to avoid duels with the IS-2. “The Joseph Stalin tank that we encountered in 1944 was at least equal to the Tiger. It was significantly better in terms of shape (like the T-34),” wrote German tank ace Otto Carius in his memoirs Tigers in the Mud.
The IS-2 was designed not only as a Tiger hunter. In 1944, the Red Army left the vast plains of the Soviet Union and entered numerous fortified European towns and cities, where its “breakthrough” tanks gave it their best shot. IS-2 rapidly advanced along the narrow streets, smashing enemy fortifications, barricades and pillboxes on their way. Reaching the central square, Soviet assault groups of machine-gunners, snipers and flamethrowers jumped off the tanks and took up defensive positions. In this manner, it was the IS-2 that first opened fire on the Reichstag in Berlin.
Further work on enhancing the protection of heavy tanks was carried out in parallel by two teams — engineers of ChKZ and experimental plant No. 100. Interestingly, the head of both design bureaus was J. Ya. Kotin. Each of the teams promoted their projects, but in 1945, under the index of IS-3, the joint object “Object 703” went, which, in fact, was IS-2 with a radically redesigned armor protection taking into account the experience of the Great Patriotic War.
Before the war came to a close, a total of 3,395 IS-2 tanks were built. However, military service for these tanks did not end in 1945. Modernized, they remained in the ranks of the Soviet (and later Russian) army until 1995, and were also used by the armies of Czechoslovakia, Poland, China, Vietnam and North Korea. Even in the early 2000s, these tanks could be seen as immobile firing points in the Cuban coastal defense.
Joseph Stalin himself was very satisfied with his own “branded” tank. After examining the IS-2, he is reported to have said: “With this tank we will finish the war.”
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