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KV-1S: development history Print E-mail

KV-1S Fast Heavy Tank

KV-1S Heavy Tank Model 1942. Berlin, April 1945.

According to one of the KV-1 designers: "During 1942 we were still in need of a reliable heavy tank. That's why we were defeated in Crimea and at Kharkov. The KV-1 completely discredited the concept of a heavy tank."

Some Red Army high commanders demanded that all production of heavy tanks be stopped. Others suggested development of an "universal tank," something between a heavy and medium tank. By the way, in the 1960's-1970's tank designers around the world came to the conclusion that it was the right decision.

Soviet tank builders tried to develop such a tank. This tank was named the KV-13. It contained many brilliant ideas (some of those ideas were applied in the JS-2 tank), however it never served in the Red Army.

At this time, a new decision was made to fully re-design the KV-1. Soviet tank designers wanted to develop a new KV with lighter armor and higher speed - like the T-34-76 Medium Tank. The new tank was named KV-1S where "s" letter means "skorostnoy" or "speed". The KV-1S was lighter than its predecessor by up to 5 tons. The thickness of the frontal armor was lowered from 90 mm to 75 mm. The rear hull was re-designed. The existing road wheels were replaced with newer, lighter ones. The KV-1's transmission was re-designed as well.

KV-1S Heavy Tank Model 1942 of the 5th Independent Guards Tank Regiment. Stalingrad, December 1942.

The old gear-box was replaced with a new one and the tank received a new turret with a commander's cupola (the first Soviet tank with a commander's cupola was T-50 light tank). Both ZIS-5 or F-34 guns could be mounted on this turret. In addition, the new tank was armed with four machine-guns: the coaxial MG, the bow MG, the AA machine-gun, and the MG in the rear of the turret. Also, new tracks (608 mm width) were designed specially for this tank.

In the summer of 1942, the KV-1S prototype was tested. On August 20, 1942, the production of this tank had begun. However, when the KV-1S appeared in the war theatre, the Red Army was already in need of a tank with thicker armor and better protection. A total of 1370 KV-1S were built. In April 1942 its production was cancelled. Many tanks were sent in tank brigades because the reorganization of the Red Army had not begun yet. The KV-1S took part in all major operations of the Red Army including the Berlin operation.

"M-Hobby" #5-6 1997
V.Gagin "Heavy breakthrough tank Klim Virishilov" Poligraph 1996
"Bronekollektsiya" #1 1998
"Soviet heavy tanks in WWII" Tornado

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