KV-1 1942

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The Kliment Voroshilov (KV) tanks were a series of Soviet heavy tanks named after the Soviet defence commissar and politician Kliment Voroshilov and used by the Red Army during World War II. The KV series were known for their heavy armour protection during the early stages of the war, especially during the first year of the German invasion of the Soviet Union. In certain situations, even a single KV-1 or KV-2 supported by infantry was capable of halting large German formations. German tanks at that time were rarely used in KV encounters as their armament was too poor to deal with the "Russischer Koloss" – "Russian Colossus".[2]

The KV tanks were practically immune to the 3.7 cm KwK 36 and howitzer-like, short barreled 7.5 cm KwK 37 guns mounted, respectively, on the early Panzer III and Panzer IV tanks fielded by the invading German forces. Until more effective guns were developed by the Germans, the KV-1 was invulnerable to almost any German weapon except the 8.8 cm Flak gun.[3]

Prior to Operation Barbarossa, about 500 of the over 22,000 tanks then in Soviet service were of the KV-1 type. As the war progressed, it became evident that there was little sense in producing the expensive KV tanks, as the T-34 medium tank performed better (or at least equally well) in all practical respects. In fact the only advantage it had over the T-34/76 was its larger and roomier three-man turret.[4] Later in the war, the KV series became a base for the development of the IS (Iosif Stalin) series of tanks and self-propelled guns.

KV-1
  • Model 1939 – First production models, these tanks were prone to frequent breakdowns, but were highly resistant to anti-tank weapons during the Winter War. Armed with the 76 mm L-11 tank gun, recognizable due to a recuperator above a barrel. Most tanks were lacking the hull machine gun. 141 were built.
  • Model 1940 (German designation: KV-1A) – Used the F-32 76 mm gun and a new mantlet. The main production model by the time of the German invasion.
  • Model 1940 s ekranami ("with screens") or KV-1E – with additional bolted-on appliqué armour and F-32 gun.
  • Model 1941 (German designation: KV-1B) – Up-armoured with 25–35 mm (0.98–1.38 in) added to the turret, hull front and sides. Turret was now cast instead of welded. This tank was armed with the longer-barreled ZiS-5, tank gun.
  • Model 1942 (German designation: KV-1C) – Fully cast turret with thicker armour or welded turret with thicker armour, again up-armoured, using an improved engine and the 76 mm ZiS-5 tank gun.
  • KV-1S – A variant with higher speed, but thinner armour. A new, smaller, cast turret and redesigned rear hull with a new planetary transmission. 1370 built.
KV-2
  • KV-2 (334) – A heavy assault tank with the M-10 152 mm howitzer, the KV-2 was produced at the same time as the KV-1. Due to the size of its heavy turret and gun, the KV-2 was slower and had a much higher profile than the KV-1. Those captured and used by the German Army were known as (Sturm)Panzerkampfwagen KV-II 754(r)[citation needed]. Few were produced due to its combat ineffectiveness, mainly the decreased speed due to the weight of the new gun and turret. Due to an increase in turret weight from the expanded dimensions and a heavier gun, the turret traverse mechanism could work only on level ground.

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