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Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by Lucky13, Oct 20, 2013.
How good, or bad, was those KV tanks?
The KV series were actually formidable tanks that the early Panzer types had great difficulty in stopping. Unless the Germans could get a point-blank shot or land a hit to the rear, they were difficult to kill. The "88" was effective against it, however.
The T-34 pretty much stopped mass production of the KV series because it was comparible in performance, but cost less to produce.
He's right on. Here's a bit more detail, just for fun.
Think of them to T-34s kinda of as the Tiger was to the Panther (in terms of relative roles in the field), only with a lot more range and a much simpler build. There were three types: KV-1 with a 76.2mm gun, KV-2 with a 152mm howitzer (and a turret the size of a small cottage), and the KV-85 with a 85mm gun used as a stop-gap until the IS-II entered service.
They were tough nuts to crack for the Panzers; until the PzIVF2 and the Tiger and long-barrel 50mm and 75mm AT guns, arrived on the scene about all the Wehrmacht had that could efficiently knock them out were the 88, Stukas and Hs 129s, and - under the right conditions - tank-hunting infantry. The long barrel 50mm was also somewhat effective if it got flank or rear shots. Basically they were SOBs during Barbarossa and the first half of '42. Once the Wehrmacht had a decent number of long-barrel PzIVs into the field, the KV was pretty well done for.
Even with all its deficiencies, for some reason I've always kinda liked them.
KV series heavy tanks were produced in Leningrad. German Army cut the rail lines to Leningrad during September 1941. Industry in that city ground to a halt as soon as stockpiled parts were used up.
KV production was reestablished at a new factory in Tankograd during 1942. However the heavy German Tiger tank showed up about that time and proved far superior to it's Soviet counterpart. Hence KV production continued but at a relatively low priority until finally replaced by Stalin series heavy tank during 1944.
Those KV-2's had such a high profile,... What a target!
Poor mechanical reliability didn't help matters any.
An immobile heavy tank was a magnet for every piece of heavy artillery within range. That applied to German Tiger tank as well as Soviet KV series.
The reality is, as the T-34's numbers increased on the battlefield AND as the newer German armor was arriving on the battlefield circa 1942, the importance of the KV series started fading.
The PzKfw II, III simply didn't have the range or barrel displacement to safely engage. The later, larger Panzers turned the tables on the KVs...the KV's armor wasn't as effective as the T-34's and had poor mobility. By 9142, they were already up-armoring the KV to try and protect it from the heavier German calibers that were being deployed.
In an attempt to match the T-34's performance, they released the KV-1S which had lighter armor and a smaller turret with expanded vision for the tank's commander.
And for the record, the KV tanks were produced at the Kirov plant in Lennongrad along with the T-34 and at the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant, located in Chelyabinsk which is located near the Ural mountains. The Chelyabinsk factory produced the T-34, T-34/85, KV, KV-85, JS and the SU-85
The T-34 didn't have as effective turret armor as the KV and could be taken out by hits there by most guns. Though it was a smaller target.
Not sure where that info comes from...it was considered one of the best armored tanks in the world unless you're referring to the earlier cast turret.
As the war progressed, the Germans made great efforts to counter the T-34 with larger weapons and heavier tanks.
But the T-34 was a medium battle tank, the KV was a heavy. This would be like comparing the Sherman to a Patton or a PzKfw IV to a Tiger
Surprised that they didn't produced more KV-85's, 255? Was that due to the arrival of the IS?
It comes from analyzing the turret armor either rolled or cast. If was considered that because of the front hull comparison to other tanks. The best is a myth.
The KV actually had a lot of similarities to the Tiger.
Once one the battlefield it's thick armor mad it difficult to destroy and in the early years it's gun was one of the more powerful on the battlefield.
But like the Tiger in had mobility problems, both in reaching the battlefield and once on the battlefield. It's weight meant it could not use bridges the T-34 could and it had no snorkel system. It used the same engine as the T-34 so mobility was lower even if it's transmission worked correctly, which it often did not. KV drivers were also issued mallets for shifting. Shifting was so difficult that drivers often used only only a few gears out of the 5 available further limiting performance. Blowing a shift could mean bringing the vehicle to a halt and starting from zero speed again, not good under fire. The steering system was of the "clutch and brake" type and while suitable for light tanks it left a lot to be desired on 45-56 ton tanks.
Just like the Tiger, more were lost trying to retreat than in actual combat.
examples from the Battlefield.ru website.
the 10th Tank Division, 15th Mechanised Corps, lost 56 of the 63 KV tanks it had on hand. Of these, 11 had been lost in combat, 11 went missing and 34 were abandoned by their crews due to mechanical breakdowns.
In the 8th Tank Division, 43 out of 50 KVs were lost – 13 were knocked out, 2 became stuck in a swamp, and 28 were abandoned or destroyed by their crews due to mechanical failure.
In the early years, the KV-1 had the same gun as the T-34 > 76.2mm F-34.
In 1941 nobody had a more powerful gun in any numbers (over 5-6?) IN a tank.
And the Germans didn't...
Yep.; The KV-85 was a stop-gap while the IS-II production was getting going.
I actually like the KV-85 better: I don't like that the IS-II only carries 22-28 rounds and this ammo was two-piece. Compare this to the Tiger, which as-manufactured carried 92 and with in-field clips added could actually carry like 120. I also don't like the small, cramped interior that seems to have become vogue - at least for a few years - for Russian tanks. IIRC the T-54/55 crew height limits was a max of 5'6".
More like decades.
While the 122mm had armor penetration it wasn't much, if any, better in point blank range, than the 85mm. It had a lower rate of fire and the low ammo storage already mentioned.
It also hits up against designing to averages. Somebody will point out that the 'average' tank only fired XX rounds before being knocked out while forgetting that for each knocked out after firing 1 or 2 shots (or none) another tank had fire just about 2 times XX to get the average up.
Now the main use of JS tanks was to blow up machine gun nets and open way to the infantry and in that 122mm gun was better than 85mm, 88mm or 75mm. Soviets had considered also 100mm cannon for JS series but because of possible lack of tubes and/or ammo decided fror 122mm gun because there were plenty of 122mm tube and ammo production and significant amounts in stocks.
Russian tanks usually carried a high proportion of HE shells which makes the small ammo capacity a much bigger concern in tank duels. However tank duels were not actually that common.
The problem from the tankers view point is that while performing infantry support (or attack on infantry positions) running out of HE usually doesn't mean destruction of the tank. Running out of AP ammo in a tank duel really means it is time to find reverse in the transmission.
From the commanding Generals view point he wants more HE so the tanks can act like force multipliers and shoot the infantry onto their objectives which AP ammo isn't very good at.
That's to be expected. Allied propaganda aside, WWII German did not have many tanks to shoot at.