The Kliment Voroshilov (KV) tanks were a series of Soviet heavy tanks, named after the Soviet defense commissar and politician Kliment Voroshilov. The KV series were known for their extremely heavy armour protection during the early war, especially during the first year of the invasion of the Soviet Union in World War II. Almost completely 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, until better guns were developed often the only way to defeat a KV was a point-blank shot to the rear. Prior to the invasion, about 500 of the over 22,000 tanks in Soviet service at the time were of the KV-1 type. When the KV-1 appeared, it outclassed the French Char B1, the only heavy tank used in the world at that time. Yet in the end it turned out that there was little sense in producing the expensive KV tanks, as the T-34 medium tank performed better (or at least equally) in all practical respects. Later in the war, the KV series became a base of development of the Josif Stalin tanks or IS tanks.
KV-1 Mod 1940Edit
After disappointing results with the multi-turreted T-35heavytank, Soviet tank designers started drawing up replacements. The T-35 conformed to the 1920s notion of a 'breakthrough tank' with very heavy firepower and armour protection, but suffered from poor mobility. The Spanish Civil War demonstrated the need for much heavier armor on tanks, and was the main influence on Soviet tank design just prior to World War II. Several competing designs were offered, and even more were drawn up prior to reaching prototype stage. All had heavy armour, torsion-bar suspension, wide tracks, and were of welded and cast construction. One of the main competing designs was the SMK, which in its final form had two turrets, mounting the same combination of 76.2 mm and 45 mm weapons. The designers of the SMK independently drew up a single-turreted variant and this received approval at the highest level. Two of these, named after the People's Defence Commissioner were ordered alongside a single SMK. The smaller hull and single turret enabled the designer to install heavy frontal and turret armour while keeping the weight within manageable limits.
When the Soviets entered the Winter War, the SMK, KV and a third design, the T-100, were sent to be tested in combat conditions. The KV outperformed the SMK and T-100 designs. The KV's heavy armour proved highly resistant to Finnish anti-tank weapons, making it more difficult to stop. In 1939 production of 50 KV was ordered. During the War, the Soviets found it difficult to deal with the concrete bunkers used by the Finns and a request was made for a tank with a large howitzer. One of the rush projects to meet the request put the howitzer in a new turret on one of the KV tanks. Initially known as Little Turret and Big turret, the 76-mm-armed tank was designated as the KV-1 Heavy Tank and the 152 mm howitzer one as KV-2Heavy Artillery Tank.
KV-1 Model 1940 PillboxEdit
After KV-1's have been damaged and impossible to drive, the turrets were removed and used as stationary pillbox. Place on a concrete bunkers, those turrets are powerfull in defence lines. The same firepower but not possible to move from possition. An advantage is that they are not very easy to be spot when they are hidden in bushes. We know there are tank turrets used during the war as pillbox, like the Renault FT-17, Panzer V and many more, but it is not sure the Russians and Finnish use the KV-1 turret as pillbox. If you have a picture during the war of this pillbox or any further historical information, please load it up here so we can accept this as historical fact because now we accept this now only as fiction weapon.
KV-1E "S ekranami"Edit
The KV's strengths included armor that was impenetrable by any tank-mounted weapon then in service except at point-blank range, that it had good firepower, and that it had good traction on soft ground. It also had serious flaws: it was difficult to steer, the transmission (which was a twenty year old Caterpillar design) was unreliable (and was known to have to be shifted with a hammer), and the ergonomics were poor, with limited visibility and no turret basket. Furthermore, at 45 tons, it was simply too heavy. This severely impacted the maneuverability, not so much in terms of maximum speed, as through inability to cross many bridges medium tanks could cross. The KV outweighed most other tanks of the era, being about twice as heavy as the heaviest contemporary German tank. KVs were never equipped with a snorkeling system to ford shallow rivers, so they had to be left to travel to an adequate bridge. As applique armor and other improvements were added without increasing engine power, later models were less capable of keeping up to speed with medium tanks and had more trouble with difficult terrain. In addition, its firepower was no better than the T-34. It took field reports from senior commanders "and certified heroes", who could be honest without risk of punishment, to reveal "what a dog the KV-1 really was." The KV-1E "S ekranami" was a variant of the mod 1940. This was the mod 1940, updated with armored plates, with a thickness of 35mm, that were bolted on the front and sides of the hull and the sides of the turret of the tank.
KV-1 Mod 1942Edit
By 1942, when the Germans were fielding large numbers of long-barrelled 50 mm and 75 mm guns, the KV's armor was no longer invincible. The KV-1's side, top, and turret armor could also be penetrated by the high-velocity MK 101 carried by German ground attack aircraft such as the Henschel Hs 129 "Panzerknacker", requiring the installation of additional field-expedient appliqué armour. The KV-1's 76.2 mm gun also came in for criticism. While adequate against all German tanks, it was the same gun as carried by smaller, faster, and cheaper T-34 medium tanks. In 1943, it was determined that this gun could not penetrate the frontal armour of the new Tiger, the first German heavy tank, fortunately captured near Leningrad. The KV-1 was also much more difficult to manufacture and thus more expensive than the T-34. In short, its advantages no longer outweighed its drawbacks. Nonetheless, because of its initial superior performance, the KV-1 was chosen as one of the few tanks to continue being built following the Soviet reorganization of tank production. Due to the new standardization, it shared the similar engine (the KV used a 600 hp V-2K modification of the T-34's V-2 diesel engine) and gun (the KV had a ZiS-5 maingun, while the T-34 had a similar F-34 main gun) as the T-34, was built in large quantities, and received frequent upgrades. When production shifted to the Ural Mountains 'Tankograd' complex, the KV-2 was dropped. While impressive on paper, it had been designed as a slow-moving bunker-buster. It was less useful in highly mobile, fluid warfare that developed in World War II. The turret was so heavy it was difficult to traverse on non-level terrain, and it was expensive to produce. Only about 300 KV-2s were made, all in 1940-41, making it one of the rarer Soviet tanks. Many KV-2s were converted into KV-1s. As the war continued, the KV-1 continued to get more armour to compensate for the increasing effectiveness of German weapons. This culminated in the KV-1 model 1942 (German designation KV-1C), which had very heavy armour, a 76.2 mm ZiS-5 with PT4-13 gunsight, but lacked a corresponding improvement to the engine. Tankers complained that although they were well-protected, their mobility was poor and they had no firepower advantage over the T-34 medium tank.
In response to criticisms, the lighter KV-1S (Russian language: КВ-1С) was released, with thinner armour and a smaller, lower turret in order to reclaim some speed. Importantly, the KV-1S also had a commander's cupola with all-around vision blocks, a first for a Soviet heavy tank. However, the thinning-out of the armor called into question why the tank was being produced at all, when the T-34 could seemingly do everything the KV could do and much more cheaply. The Soviet heavy tank program was close to cancellation in mid-1943.