Kliment Voroshilov KV - Heavy Tanks
The main drawback of the majority of tanks of the second half of the 1930s was weak armor, penetrated by the fire of anti-tank guns and heavy machine guns. KV-1 was different from them. It was created in 1939 under the leadership of J.Ya.Kotin. The tank had a 76 mm gun and three 7.62 mm. machine gun. The crew of the tank was 5 people. The first KV passed military tests during the Soviet-Finnish war, which was the first conflict where heavy tanks with anti-bullet armor were used.
Then at the front, Soviet KV heavy tanks and multi-turreted SMK and T-100, which operated as part of the 20th tank brigade, were tested. If in tank battles that were rare in the Finnish war, the newest machines did not take part, they turned out to be indispensable for breaking through enemy fortifications. KV-1 could withstand hits of virtually any anti-tank guns. At the same time, the 76-mm cannon was not powerful enough to fight the enemy’s pillboxes. Therefore, already during the war, on the basis of the KV-1, the development of a tank with an enlarged turret and an installed 152 mm began - the howitzer (future KV-2). At the same time, from the experience of the Soviet-Finnish war, it was decided to abandon the creation of heavy multi-turreted tanks, which turned out to be expensive and difficult to manage. The choice was finally made in favor of HF.
In the early days of the war, the appearance of the KV-1 and KV-2 tanks was a very unpleasant surprise for the Germans. The bulk of the anti-tank artillery and tank guns could not cope with them, but the most unpleasant fact was that the German tank industry could not supply anything equivalent at that time. It was possible to deactivate the HF only by destroying its running gear, but not all crews had the opportunity to do so in combat conditions. The divisions equipped with Czech light tanks Pz.35 (t) and Pz.38 (t), whose guns were only suitable for fighting lightly armored vehicles, were particularly hard hit. There is one more interesting fact - in the summer of 1941 the KV had a much greater effect on the Germans than the Thirty-Four. Unlike them, the heavy tanks were staffed with crews of officers, who had much better combat training.
As of June 1941, the KV could be considered one of the strongest heavy tanks in the world. In total, at the beginning of June 1941, there were 412 KV-1 units in the Red Army units, which were very unevenly distributed among the troops. The case of June 1941 in the Rasenyaya district is known, when one KV-1 bound the actions of the German division for almost two days. This KV was part of the 2nd Tank Division, which brought German troops a lot of trouble in the first days of the war. Apparently out of fuel, the tank took up a position on the road near the marshy meadow.
In one of the German documents noted: “There was practically no means to cope with the monster. Tank can not be circumvented around the swampy area. You can not bring ammunition, seriously wounded died, they could not take out. Attempting to eliminate a tank with a 50-mm anti-tank battery from a distance of 500 meters resulted in heavy losses in calculations and guns. The tank had no damage, despite the fact that, as it turned out, received 14 direct hits. From them there are only dents on the armor. When the 88-millimeter gun was brought up to a distance of 700 meters, the tank waited quietly until it was placed on the position, and destroyed it. Attempts by sappers to undermine the tank were unsuccessful. The charges were insufficient for huge caterpillars. Finally he fell prey to cunning. 50 German tanks simulated an attack from all sides to divert attention. Under cover, she was able to push and camouflage the 88-millimeter cannon from the rear of the tank. Of the 12 direct hits, 3 flashed armor and destroyed the tank. "
Unfortunately, most of the KV were lost not because of military reasons, but because of breakdowns and a shortage of fuel.
In 1942, the production of a modernized version, the KV-1s (high-speed), which was put into service on August 20, 1942, began. The mass of the tank decreased from 47 to 42.5 tons by reducing the thickness of the hull armor plates and the size of the turret. Tower - cast, acquired a slightly different appearance and was equipped with a commander's turret. The weapons remained the same as the KV-1. As a result, the speed and maneuverability increased, but the armor protection of the tank decreased. The installation of a more powerful 85-mm cannon was intended for the KV-1s (a similar prototype was preserved in Kubinka), but this tank did not go into series. Subsequently, the KV-85 was created on the base of the Kv-1s with 85 mm cannon, which however did not become massive due to the switch of production to the IS tanks. The soldiers called the tank "kvasok".
In tank battles, at least until mid-1942, German troops could not counterpose the KV-1. However, in the course of the fighting, the tank’s drawbacks also became apparent - relatively low speed and maneuverability compared to the T-34. Both tanks were armed with 76-mm guns. True, the KV had more massive armor compared to the thirty-four. Suffered from HF and from frequent breakdowns. When moving, the tank broke almost any road, and not every bridge could withstand a 47-ton tank. The heavy tank "Tigr" appeared among the Germans at the end of 1942, surpassing any heavy tank at that time of the war. And the KV-1 was practically powerless against the "Tiger", armed with a long-barreled 88-mm cannon. "Tiger" could hit the KB at great distances, and a direct hit 88-mm projectile disrupted any tank of the time.
Several tanks in the KV series - KV-10 and KV-11 - are un-attested in the literature. There are well over a dozen other projects with KV designators that were put to paper or wood, but did not amount to anything beyond trivia-buff clutter. The T-150 (sometimes referred to as the KV-150 or Object 150) was a Soviet experimental heavy tank of the KV family. KV-220 was another experimental Soviet heavy tank, produced in a single copy. It was also qualified as an assault tank and a breakthrough tank. Its second name was T-220. On the basis of the KV-220, an experimental SAU-212 was created, but already in 1941 the KV-3 was mentioned as a base for it.
In early 1942, the Chelyabinsk and Vagonka plants were given permission to develop new designs which would bring in a new generation of tanks. The new designs, called KV-13 and T-43 respectively, were quite different. The KV-13 was Kotin’s fourth attempt to kill the T-34 (the push for the KV over the T-32, the T-50, the T-34M project, and lastly, the KV-13) as the major Soviet tank. It was an effort to produce a heavy tank using the parameters of a medium; it was a compact KV which would be able to best the T-34 and replace it as a “universal” tank. The KV-13 was found to offer no material advantage over the T-34.
So, from the middle of 1943, the KV-1 was less and less common on the fronts of the Great Patriotic War - mainly near Leningrad. Nevertheless, the KV-1 served as the basis for the creation of a number of Soviet tanks and self-propelled guns. So, on the basis of the KV was created the SU-152, armed with 152 howitzer-cannon. To this day, only a few KV-1 units remain in Russia, which have become museum pieces.
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