Photograph of KV-5 prototype “Победа” shortly before it tipped over and exploded during pre-production trials, 1943. After the German seizure of Leningrad and subsequent two-pronged advance toward Moscow, Soviet industry went into overdrive, creating increasingly bizarre stopgaps as supplies of raw materials began to dry up.
The KV-5 was one of these. Intended to be a mobile artillery battery, it instead proved to be a massive failure. The first prototype, shown here, fell over during maneuver testing. Poor design of the ammunition storage racks caused the vehicle to explode, killing the crew as well as the photographer.
The second KV-5, “Родина” survived maneuver testing, but the recoil of the upper main guns broke the turret in half during weapons testing. By that time, 50 KV-5s had already been produced. Most saw success, laid on their sides, as roadblocks during the 1945 Battle of Moscow.
1) T-34-85M: The T-34 was the standard medium tank of the Soviet Army during WWII. It was the best Russian tank of the war, combining good armament, sloped armor, decent mobility and a reliable chassis. It was also easier and cheaper to manufacture than its main German counterpart, the Panther. The T-34-85 was introduced at the end of 1943 and benefited from a three-man turret and a powerful 85mm gun (originally the D-5T model, later the ZiS S-53). There were several different production models built at different factories. This is a Model 1945 with Model 1969 upgrade program modifications.
2 & 3) T-35 Heavy Tank: M-1933 variant. The multi-turreted T-35 design was inspired by the British Vickers-Armstrong A1E1 Independent of 1926 and was first seen in a Red Square parade in 1932. This T-35 is the only surviving example.
4) SU-14BR-2: A massive SPG, the SU-14BR-2 mounted the M1935 152mm Br-2 naval gun
which could fire 48.9 kilogram shells at ranges up to 25 km. Its armor was minimal at 20 to 30 mm thick. Overall the vehicle weighed in at 65 tons and had its own custom chassis utilizing components of the T-28 and T-35 heavy tanks. Only one was built as a prototype in 1939 and took part in the defense of Moscow.
5 to 7) SU-100Y: After introducing the T-100 heavy tank, the Soviets used one chassis as the basis of the SU-100Y (also known as the SU-130Y ‘Igrek’). This prototype mounted a 130mm Br-13 gun. It served as a T-100 in Finland in 1940; later as an SU-100Y near Kubinka defending Moscow.
8) KV-1S-85: At the same time as the T-100 was being built, a more conventional single-turreted tank was being designed. This proved to be the better design and was manufactured in large quantities as the KV-1 and, with design changes to reduce weight, as the KV-1S. A prototype, the KV-1S-85, was developed armed with the 85mm gun from the forthcoming Iosef Stalin tank, the IS-1. The idea proved successful and as an interim measure some 130 KV-1S vehicles were put into production as the KV-85. They were fitted with complete IS-1 turrets as these had become available.
9) IS-2M: The IS tank was planned to replace the KV series and it was soon decided that even an 85mm gun would not be sufficient for it. Trials were conducted with experimental IS tanks, the IS-100 and IS-122, armed with 100mm and 122m guns. In November 1943 the IS-122 was demonstrated at Kubinka. The first round fired at a range of 1,500 meters ripped through the frontal armor of a captured Panther and blasted out through the rear hull armor. Not surprisingly, the GKO ruled in favor of the design, and it entered production in December 1943 as the IS-2. This is an early model IS-2, an M1943, that has been upgraded to an IS-2M.
Following the introduction of the IS series, the SP mountings formerly built on KV chassis were produced on the IS as the ISU-122 and ISU-152. The chassis was also used in 1944 as the basis for another SP gun, the ISU-130 (Obiekt 247, according to some sources), mounting a 130mm gun. It did not enter large scale production and only a small number were built.
Soviet KV-2 of the 2nd Armored Division of the 3rd Mechanized Corps of the 11th Army of the North-Western front was stuck in a creek (Zieduplis?) and captured by German troops. Most likely this tank was lost in the vicinity of the city of Sheth in Lithuania. Note the howitzer barrel stuck in maximum recoil, possibly sabotaged by crew, and shots of various calibres received from MT-1 model tower . Eastern Front, in June 1941.