KV Tank

KV Tank

KV series of tanks were named after Klementi Voroshilov, the minister of defence in the Soviet Union during the Second World War. The KV-1 was first used in the Russo-Finnish War in 1939. Armed with a 76.2mm gun of 30 calibers in length, weighed 46 tons, had a crew of five men, and was propelled by a 550hp diesel engine. Its frontal armour was 77mm and made the KV-1 resistant to most anti-tank weapons.

An improved model, KV-1A, that had a longer (40 calibers) 76mm gun, was introduced in 1940. The following year the KV-1B was developed and was given additional armour at the front and sides to give a thickness of 100mm.

The German Army found it difficult to cope with the KV tank during Operation Barbarossa. Even so, the Soviets continued to improve the vehicle and in 1942 the KV-1C was introduced. It had a new 600hp engine and its armour was now 130mm thick. The tracks were made wider to give better performances in mud and snow.

In 1943 the Red Army got the KV-85. These used the same chassis as the KV-1C but was fitted with a high-velocity 85mm anti-aircraft gun. The tank remained in service until the end of the war.


Historical Accuracy: KV-220

Wargaming’s “legendary tank” turned out to be the KV-220. How appropriate that a “legend” should be worthy of what today’s hip youth would describe as an “epic fail”. First, some background.

The KV-220 (otherwise known as KV-220-2, T-220, Object 220, or just 220 in factory documents) was proposed in 1940, as a replacement for the KV-1 that was already considered inadequate by the Red Army. The T-150 was ordered in the same document. The T-150 was meant to have a 700 hp engine and KV-220 an 850 hp engine, but problems were encountered in building such powerful engines. By May of 1941, the KV-220 only had a V-5 engine turbocharged to 700 hp. The in-game T-150 gets that engine under the index V-5F (“forsirovanniy”, turbocharged). You’d think that the KV-220 would get its 850 hp engine too, right? Or at least the 700 hp one? Nope! It gets� hp. That’s kind of a downer, seeing as how the tank isn’t exactly tiny, and an extra 200 hp (or even 50 hp) would have come in handy.

The KV-220 and T-150 didn’t meet the Red Army’s expectations, and bets were hedged on the KV-3, 4, or 5 as the Red Army’s heavy tank for the years to come. However, the war began, and dreams of shiny new KVs vanished. As the Germans neared Moscow and Leningrad, everything with a gun and tracks was thrown into battle. Both SU-14s and the SU-100Y defended Moscow. The reject T-50, T-100Z, and other strange vehicles defended their factories at Leningrad. The would-be KVs were no different. The KV-220′s turret (available in game as the top turret of the T-150) defended the city separately from its hull, taking place in a gun battery. The tank itself fought with the 124th tank brigade.

From the reports of military representatives at the Kirov factory: “The T-150 tank, experimental, left for the 123rd tank brigade on October 11th, 1941, tank KV-220-1, factory number M-220-1, experimental, left for the 124th tank brigade on October 5th, 1941, tank KV-220-1, factory number M-220-2, experimental, left for the 124th tank brigade on October 16th, 1941. All tanks were armed with 76 mm F-32 guns.”

D.I. Osadchiy writes in his memoirs: “In the fall of 1941, we received several KV tanks as reinforcements, one of which was named “For the Motherland”. A single one was made at the Kirov factory. It had all abilities of the KV tank, but had thicker armour, weighed 100 tons, and had a more powerful engine with a turbine. It made a whistling sound at high gears, like a Junkers diving. We would even get air raid warnings in the first few days when it was moving around the brigade. The tank was assigned to my company, and they wanted to make me the commander, but then my assistant, Lieutenant Yahonin, an experienced tanker became the commander. The tank was considered nearly invincible for enemy artillery, and was meant for assaulting fortified positions.

In December of 1941 (I don’t remember the date), our brigade was ordered to penetrate the German defences at Ust-Tosna, at the railroad bridge, cross the river Tosna, and in cooperation with the 43rd infantry division, advance to the Mga. The 2nd tank battalion, commanded by Major Pankin, a tank platoon from the 1st battalion, and my company’s “For the Motherland” tank led the attack. My company was ordered to capture the bridge and hold it until reinforcements arrive. The battle was on open terrain. The upper layer of peat barely held the tank. When it neared the bridge, it came under fire from German heavy guns, and we lost radio contact. I was at the battalion HQ at the time. As soon as we lost contact, I tried to get to the battlefield along the railroad embankment. As soon as I crawled up to the tank, I saw that it was missing its turret and the crew was dead.”

“For the Motherland” was definitely the KV-220. An order assigning tanks to the 12th Special Tank Training Regiment lists a tank called “For the Motherland” with vehicle number 220-2.

And here we reach another contradiction. Two, in fact! One lies in Wargaming NA’s introduction of the tank in the Cyber Monday announcement:

“World of Tanks may possess historical accuracy, but it has its legends — the KV-220 is one of them. This prototype tank never saw combat in real life, much less in the game. But here is your limited chance to own this tier V marvel, with a 76mm gun among its powerful gear.”

The assertion that the tank hasn’t seen combat in game is also false, I’ve seen KV-220s in game (although only three in my 22000 match tenure). But let’s keep reading, and look at that 󈬼 mm gun among its powerful gear”. Two paragraphs above, we have learned that the KV-220 entered battle with a 76.2 mm F-32 gun. Let’s look at that KV-220 model.

Look at that gun! Definitely 76 mm, definitely powerful, definitely an F-…nope, wrong again, that’s a ZiS-5.

“But Ensign!” you may say, “maybe the ZiS-5 somehow ended up at the factory, and the military representatives, due to their incompetence and being kept in the dark by factory workers, had no idea that it was being installed on the tank!” That isn’t really possible, seeing as how the question of producing the ZiS-5 was still undecided as of a few weeks before that. Production just started, the only ZiS-5s they could have gotten their hands on were at factory #92, in Nizhniy Novgorod, or factory #9, in Yekaterinburg, neither of which are exactly next door to the besieged Leningrad.

So there you have it, WG got the gun, engine, and introduction wrong. Nice one, Wargaming.


KV-1 (Klimenti Voroshilov)

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 05/22/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

In 1938, the Soviet Union developed a prototype heavy tank of 58 tons designated as the T-100. The type was a massive machine fitting two individual turrets - one armed with a 76.2mm main gun and the other with a 45mm cannon - and required a crew of up to eight personnel. Armor protection was upwards of 60mm in thickness and the tank was powered by a water-cooled 800 horsepower engine fitting. However, the engine proved underpowered and unwieldy for the vehicle's weight and intended battlefield role and its evaluation debut in the Russo-Finnish War (1939-1940) led to only two pilot vehicles ever being completed.

As such, another solution to fulfill the requirement for a new heavy tank for the Red Army was sought. The multiple turret/multiple gun arrangement was akin to World War 1 tank design doctrine and a more modern design was now the call of the day. Regardless, Soviet design bureaus in 1938 still introduced multi-turreted tank designs for consideration, though most of these in prototype form ultimately settled on just two primary turrets.

One design bureau took the T-100 design as a starting point and her engineers devised a single turret heavy tank that was smaller dimensionally, lighter in weight while being better armored and mobile and sharing more mechanically with the new T-34 Medium Tank series. Formal construction of the new tank began in February 1940. The resulting design initiative became the "KV-1" and, like the T-100 before it, the prototypes were also put into combat against the Finns with better results, tested under real-world combat conditions. Whereas T-28 and T-35 tanks fell to Finnish tactics and ambushes, KV-1 tanks with their improved armor protection shines despite mechanical issues. The mechanical issues stemmed largely from the gearbox and clutch system. Incidentally, the KV-1 designation stemmed from Klimenti Voroshilov, the then-acting Soviet Defense Commissar (Defense Minister). The KV-1 was then formally accepted for serial production in the Red Army and immediately replaced the outmoded T-28 medium and T-35 heavy tanks - these being of 1935 origins while sporting a multi-turret arrangement and weighing over 44 tons. Despite the KV-1s mechanical issues, the growing need for more war tanks spurred serial production forward, resulting in some 5,219 examples completed by war's end. The Soviet Union was the sole operator of the KV-1 (aside from captured systems reconstituted by the German Army).

Upon inception into formal service with the Red Army, the KV-1 was considered the most powerful tank in the world based on the combination of firepower and weight and went on to lay the foundation for Soviet/Russian tanks for decades to come. It arrived in some number at a most crucial time for the Red Army for the German invasion of the Soviet Union through "Operation Barbarossa" in June of 1941 took the national forces by surprise. Only some 500 to 635 KV tanks were in service at the time of the invasion and these were initial used in spread out formations as opposed to dedicated armored regiments. It proved extremely useful in the break out role where it could use its stout armor configuration and high-powered main gun to smash through German defenses, leading the thrust of Red Army offensives and opening gaps for following T-34 Medium Tanks. As speed was not essential to the role, the KV-1 was more or less designed for such a feat. By 1942, the Soviets had learned that their KV tanks were much more effective in dedicated tank regiments and fielded them as such for the duration of the war. German crews were quick to note the new Soviet tank and were surprised to find their anti-tank weapons proving ineffective against the full frontal armor protection of KZ-1s, forcing infantry squads to tackle tanks head-on by any means necessary. Even the fabled "88" artillery guns required some work against tackling KV-1 tanks head-on. It was only the arrival of the German Panther and Tiger I tanks that more or less unseated the KV-1 series.

Externally, the immense KV-1 showcased a most stout design. Her appearance was characterized by her track systems, each side fitted with six road wheels, three track return rollers, a rear-set drive sprocket and forward-set track idler. The hull sported a heavily-sloped glacis plate leading up to a shallow hull superstructure to which was mounted a heavy turret system along a circular bustle. The main armament was fitted to the turret backed by a collection of light machine guns throughout the design. The engine was held in a rear compartment. The KV-1 in all its variant forms was crewed by five personnel made up of the driver (seated front center in the hull), a bow gunner (front left hull), tank commander, gunner and dedicated machine gunner. A detrimental facet of the KV-1's internal design was that the commander doubled as the main gun loader, distracting him from critical goings-on on the battlefield.

Main armament of the KV-1 in 1942 was a 76.2mm main gun (originally L-11 series) fitted to the traversing turret. A 7.62mm DT general purpose machine gun was fitted next to the system in a coaxial mount. Another 7.62mm DT machine gun was added to the rear turret wall to counter enemy infantry attempting to advance upon the tank from the vulnerable rear areas. A third 7.62mm DT machine gun was manned at the front left hull of the design, intended as an anti-infantry defensive gun. Some KV-1 production models ultimately added a fourth 7.62mm DT machine gun at the commander's cupola for both anti-infantry usage and to counter the threat from low-flying strike aircraft.

Where the KV-1 lacked was in battlefield mobility. Engineers were key to upgrade all facets of the KV-1 during its evolution, however, they neglected to increase its engine output. This made for a slow and plodding KV-1 devoid of agility and limited in a tactical sense. Considering the wide open plains of the Russian frontier, cross-country mobility was at a premium and the KV-1 disappointed in this area.

The initial KV-1 production models (141 examples produced) eventually gave way to the KV-1A variant of 1940. Original models fitted the short-barreled 76.2mm main gun whilst the KV-1A was completed with the longer 76.2mm F-32 L/41 series and the gun mantlet was now either bolted or welded onto the turret. Operating weight was 46 tons with armor thickness ranging from 37mm to 78mm. The variant was powered by a V-2K series V12 diesel-fueled, water-cooled engine of 550 horsepower to help it reach rather optimistic speeds of 22 miles per hour with a 140 mile range. The vehicle stored 111 x 76.2mm projectiles as well as 3,024 x 7.62mm rounds of machine gun ammunition.

The KV-1A was then superseded along Soviet production lines in 1941 by the KV-1B which added applique armor to a now-cast turret (over armor plates of earlier marks) for improved crew protection. Additionally, some were finished with additional armor along the hull sides and welded armor plating along the critical frontal hull facings, increasing protection by as much as 100mm in thickness. Of course this additional weight worked against engine performance which directly dictated limitations in overall road speeds, cross-country speeds, power-to-weight ratio and engine life. These vehicles weighed in at over 52 tons, sported the standard operating crew of five and were powered by a V-2K V12 diesel fueled, water-cooled engine of 600 horsepower. Top speed was 19 miles per hour (12 miles per hour cross country) with a 155 mile road range. Armament was 1x F-34 L/41 series main gun with 3 x 7.62mm DT machine guns (bow, coaxial and turret rear).

In 1942, the KV-1C was unveiled with armor up to as much as 130mm in thickness. This time, engineers addressed powerplant issues and added a 600 horsepower engine while the hull sat upon a wider track set for improved weight displacement and control. A limited number of KV-1C models were stripped of their added applique armor to help increase their speeds, resulting in the little known designation of KV-1(s) to indicate the jump in "speed". 1,370 S-models were produced.

While a true heavy tank, the ever-changing face of war dictated an improvement in the KV-1's primary armament. An attempt was made to fit a 107mm main gun (and actively trialed) into the design but this endeavor ultimately fell to naught, resulting in simply lengthening the 76.2mm gun barrel.

The KV-1 design culminated in the arrival of the KV-85, a revised interim heavy tank form that mated the KV-1 structure to a more potent 85mm DT-5 main gun (based on an anti-aircraft cannon) in a T-34/IS-1 style cast turret. The bow-mounted machine gun was removed. KV-85s were delivered beginning in 1943 and existing KV-1 tanks were upgraded to this new standard for KV-85 tanks were more or less based on the KV-1C production mark - making the two systems highly interchangeable in terms of engines and running gear. However, the arrival of the T-34/85 nixed the KV-85 legacy for it mounted the same 85mm main gun. The KV-85 weighed in at 45 tons, was powered by a V-2K diesel engine of 600 horsepower and made 21 miles per hour out to 93 miles.

Within time, the KV-1's usefulness had reach its zenith for the T-34 was available in countless numbers and further backed by the improved IS-1 and excellent IS-2 "Josef Stalin" heavy tanks with their stout armor and 122mm main guns. A "KV-13" actually served as the prototype for a redesigned KV tank initiative which directly led to the development of the IS-2. German tank frontline tank offerings included the aforementioned Panther and Tiger I series which proved impervious to the 76.2mm Soviet gun at most frontal angles. The time of the KV-1 has officially come and gone.

The KV-1 chassis was used as a flamethrowing platform as the KV-8. This mated the KV-1 hull with an ATO-41 series flamethrower in the turret as well as a 45mm M1932 gun and some 42 examples of this tank variant were produced. The KV-8S was similar in scope yet fitted the ATO-41 flamethrower in the coaxial machine gun position. A KV-1 prototype - designated as the "KV-14" - fitted the Soviet 152mm field gun onto a fixed superstructure, leading to the development of the SU-152 self-propelled gun system.

The KV-2 was developed in conjunction with the KV-1 and thusly utilized the same hull and running gear but instead mounted a 155mm howitzer in a boxy, slab-sided turret emplacement. This form was used more as a mobile field gun for artillery fire support than a true tank killing machine, meant to work in conjunction with the KV-1. The German Army eventually captured the KV-2 assembly lines and production of the type was never resumed. The KV-2 proved more limiting in its tactical usefulness for its turret was large and heavy, presenting a most ponderous target to enemy guns. Therefore, the KV-1 and KV-2 were decidedly different tank systems within the Red army inventory and is detailed elsewhere on this site.

Captured KV-1 tanks were placed back into service by the Germans under German military designations. This included the Panzerkampfwagen KV-IA 753(r) and Panzerkampfwagen KV-IB 755(r) denoting various marks and their "Russian" origins.


Russia's World War II KV-1 Tank Blundered Its Way Into History

A day after the German blitzkrieg into the Soviet Union in June 1941, more than 200 Nazi tanks were powering through Lithuania on a race northward to Leningrad.
The Luftwaffe knocked out the Soviets’ nearby air bases, leaving counter-attacking armored columns easy prey for German bombers.
Desperate to staunch the bleeding, on June 23 the Red Army sprang its KV-1 and KV-2 tanks — which at the time packed some of the heaviest tank armor in the world — on the advancing Germans near Raseiniai.
Soviet tanks were renowned for their ruggedness and reliability— though not their comforts — during World War II. And early in the war, the lumbering Kliment Voroshilov tanks could easily deflect the shells from most of Germany’s field weapons.

But the 47-ton KVs were unwieldy, leaving them vulnerable to German troops maneuvering close on the flanks. While individual KVs absorbed terrific punishment during the clash, the Wehrmacht went on to destroy 29 of them, among the more than 200 Soviet tanks lost at Raseiniai.

At times, the Wehrmacht knocked out the beasts with explosive charges, or lured them within range of direct-fire artillery.

“The Germans … herded the Russian giants towards their own heavy artillery, whose barrels were brought down to the horizontal to fire point-blank at the advancing behemoths,” military historian Michael Jones wrote in his book Leningrad: State of Siege.

“The bulk of the Soviet armored forces in the Baltic countries were annihilated and any threat to the German advance from the flanks removed.”

The KV tank is a curiosity. In 1941, it was physically tougher than any tank the Germans could throw at it. But it failed to inflict decisive damage during those brutal early months.

The KV was a product of tank designer Josef Kotin. His competitor, Mikhail Koshkin, would develop the T-34. Kotin, however, embraced the theory that success on the battlefield meant dominating the enemy with the heaviest armor available.

Some of his designs worked better than others. Kotin’s multi-turreted T-28 suffered from weak suspension and, oddly for a large tank, had thin armor. Most were destroyed during the opening months of Operation Barbarossa. His gigantic T-35 — crewed by 11 people packed inside like sardines — was mechanically unfit for combat.

The KV was … better. But rushed.

“In fact, it was ordered off the drawing board this point was later glossed over by sending the prototypes to the Karelian Isthmus for testing at the end of the Finnish War,” Stephen Sewell wrote in a history of Soviet heavy tanks for Armor magazine.

Kotin abandoned a multi-turreted configuration for the KV. Instead, he included had a single turret with a 76-millimeter cannon, with three 7.62-millimeter machine guns rounding out the weapons.

Most importantly, the tank boasted formidable armor — 90-millimeters thick in the front and around 70-millimeters on the side and rear, far outclassing the German Panzers of the time.

The KV-2 kept the KV-1’s chassis, but swapped the turret and cannon for a 152-millimeter howitzer. A terrifying weapon, to be sure, but even heavier and more unwieldy. Kotin produced relatively few of these up-gunned variants — around 200–250 in total.

Kotin’s design bureau would produce more than 5,000 KVs during the war in more than two dozen different variants. The most (relatively) successful was the KV-1S, which sacrificed armor for speed and included an upgraded transmission.

The KV-1’s transmission, which Kotin borrowed from a U.S.-made tractor, simply sucked. But one of the tank’s biggest problems was the fact the crew could barely see out of damn thing.

“Once the war broke out, the KV-1 was soon revealed to be a deathtrap,” Sewell wrote. “Fear of angering Kotin prevented many commanders from telling him how bad the tank really was. Finally, after many senior leaders complained about its failings, Kotin ordered the problems fixed.”

That job fell to engineer Nikolay Shashmurin, who designed the speedier KV-1S. Kotin, impressed by Shashmurin’s work, later assigned him to develop the intimidating IS-1, which proved to be among the war’s most successful heavy tanks.

Yet heavy tanks would ultimately fall out of favor after World War II, and Koshkin’s medium T-34 series secured the more lasting legacy. The T-34 went on to influence a later class of mainbattle tanks which are standard around the world today.

But the IS-1— which led the Soviet charge into Berlin four years after the debacle at Raseiniai — nevertheless owed itself to Kotin’s KV blunder.


Contents

Army Group North, commanded by Field Marshal Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb, and staging in East Prussia prior to the commencement of the offensive, was the northern of three army groups participating in Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union. Army Group North controlled the 18th Army and the 16th Army, along with the 4th Panzer Group (General Erich Hoepner). The Germans had 20 infantry divisions, three Panzer and three motorized infantry divisions. [4] Air support was provided by Luftflotte 1 (1st Air Fleet). [5]

The Soviet military administrative control over the Baltic republics area where the Army Group North would be deployed was exercised by the Special Baltic Military District which after the invasion was renamed into the Northwestern Front (Colonel General Fyodor Kuznetsov). The front had the 8th and 11th Armies with the 27th Armies in its second echelon the Northwestern Front had 28 rifle, 4 tank and 2 motorized divisions. [6]

On 22 June 1941, the Northwestern Front had two mechanised corps, the 3rd Mechanised Corps (Major General Alexey Kurkin) had 31,975 men [7] and 669 [a] – 672 tanks [b] and the 12th Mechanized Corps (Major General Nikolai Shestapolov) had 28,832 men [7] and 730 [c] – 749 tanks [d] only BT-7s and T-26 tanks were available. [e]

Initial assault Edit

The 4th Panzer Group advanced in two spearheads, led by the XLI Panzer Corps (General Georg-Hans Reinhardt) and LVI Panzer Corps (General Erich von Manstein). Their objective was to cross the Neman and Daugava, the most difficult natural obstacles in front of the Army Group North and to drive towards Leningrad. German bombers destroyed many of the signals and communications centers, naval bases and the Soviet airfields from Riga to Kronstadt. Šiauliai, Vilnius and Kaunas were also bombed. Soviet aircraft had been on one-hour alert but were held on their airfields after the first wave of German bombers passed. [8]

At 9:30 AM on 22 June, Kuznetsov ordered the 3rd and 12th Mechanized corps to take up their counter-attack positions, intending to use them in flanking attacks on the 4th Panzer Group, which had broken through to the river Dubysa (Dubissa). [9] By noon, the Soviet divisions began to fall back and the German columns then began to swing towards Raseiniai, where Kuznetsov was concentrating his armor for a big counter-attack on the next day. By the evening, Soviet formations had fallen back to the Dubysa. North-west of Kaunas, forward elements of LVI Panzer Corps reached the Dubysa and seized the vital Ariogala road viaduct across it. [10]

By the end of 22 June, the German armoured spearheads over the Niemen had penetrated 80 km (50 mi). The next day, Kuznetsov committed his armoured forces to battle. Near Raseiniai, the XLI Panzer Corps was counter-attacked by the Soviet 3rd and 12th Mechanised Corps. The concentration of Soviet armour was detected by the Luftwaffe, which immediately attacked tank columns of the 12th Mechanised Corps south-west of Šiauliai. No Soviet fighters appeared and the Soviet 23rd Tank Division sustained particularly severe losses, Ju 88s from Luftflotte 1 attacking at low level, setting 40 vehicles, including tanks and lorries on fire. [11]

German forces encountered a unit equipped with the Soviet KV heavy tanks for the first time. On 23 June, Kampfgruppe von Seckendorff of the 6th Panzer Division, consisting of 114th Panzergrenadier Regiment (motorized infantry), Aufklärungsabteilung 57 (Panzer Reconnaissance Battalion 57), one company of Panzerjäger Battalion 41 and Motorcycle Battalion 6 was overrun by the 2nd Tank Division (General Yegor Solyankin) from the 3rd Mechanised Corps near Skaudvilė. [12] [f] The German Panzer 35(t) tanks and anti-tank weapons were ineffective against the Soviet heavy tanks, some of which were out of ammunition but closed in and destroyed German antitank guns by driving over them. [13] [14] [g]

The Germans fired at the tracks of the KVs, bombarded them with artillery, anti-aircraft guns or sticky bombs. A report of the 1st Panzer Division described the engagement,

The KV-1 and KV-2, which we first met here, were really something! Our companies opened fire at about 800 yards, but it remained ineffective. We moved closer and closer to the enemy, who for his part continued to approach us unconcerned. Very soon we were facing each other at 50 to 100 yards. A fantastic exchange of fire took place without any visible German success. The Russian [sic - Soviet] tanks continued to advance, and all armour-piercing shells simply bounced off them. Thus we were presently faced with the alarming situation of the Russian tanks driving through the ranks of 1st Panzer Regiment towards our own infantry and our hinterland. Our Panzer Regiment therefore about turned and rumbled back with the KV-1s and KV-2s, roughly in line with them. In the course of that operation we succeeded in immobilizing some of them with special purpose shells at very close range 30 to 60 yards. A counter attack was launched and the Russians were thrown back. A protective front established and defensive fighting continued. [15]

The lone Soviet tank Edit

A single KV-1 or KV-2 tank (accounts vary) advanced far behind the German lines after attacking a column of German supply trucks. The tank stopped on a road across soft ground and was engaged by four 50 mm anti-tank guns of the 6th Panzer Division's anti-tank battalion. The tank was hit several times but fired back and destroyed all four enemy AT guns. A heavy 88 mm gun of the divisional anti-aircraft battalion was moved about 730 m (800 yd) behind the lone Soviet tank but was knocked out by the tank before it could manage to score a hit. During the night, German combat engineers tried to destroy the tank with satchel charges but failed despite possibly damaging the vehicle's tracks. Early on the morning of June 25, German tanks fired on the KV from the nearby woodland while another 88 mm gun fired at the tank from its rear. Of several shots fired, only two managed to penetrate the tank. German infantry then advanced towards the KV tank and it responded with machine-gun fire against them. Eventually, the tank was knocked out by grenades thrown into the hatches. According to some accounts, the dead crew was recovered and buried by the approaching German soldiers with full military honors, while in other accounts, the crew escaped from their crippled tank during the night. [17]

The 6th Panzer Division Kampfgruppe commander, General Erhard Raus, described it as a KV-1, which was damaged by several shots from an 88 mm anti-tank gun fired from behind the vehicle, while it was distracted by light Panzer 35(t) tanks from Panzer Battalion 65. [h] The KV-1 crew were killed by a pioneer engineer unit who pushed grenades through two holes made by the AT gun while the turret began moving again, with the other five or six shots having not fully penetrated. Apparently, the KV-1 crew had only been stunned by the shots which had entered the turret and were buried nearby with military honors by the German unit. [18]

In 1965, the remains of the crew were exhumed and reburied at the Soviet military cemetery in Raseiniai. According to research by Russian military historian Maksim Kolomiets, the tank may have been from the 3rd Company of the 1st Battalion of the 4th Tank Regiment, itself a part of the 2nd Tank Division. It is impossible to identify the crew because their personal documents were lost after being buried in the woods north of Raseiniai during the retreat, possibly by German troops. [19]

Conclusion of the battle Edit

In the south, by 23 June, Lieutenant-General Vasily Ivanovich Morozov, the 11th Army commander, ordered the units falling back to the old fortress town Kaunas on the Nemunas river (Neman in Russian) to move on to Jonava some 48 km (30 mi) to the north-east. By the evening of 25 June, the Soviet 8th Army was falling back towards Riga and the 11th Army towards Vilnius and the Desna, a gap opening in the Soviet front from Ukmergė to Daugavpils. By 26 June, the 1st Panzer Division and 36th Motorised Infantry Division of the XLI Panzer Corps and following infantry divisions had cut through the rear of the Soviet mechanised corps and linked up. The Soviet 3rd Mechanised Corps had run out of fuel and the 2nd Tank Division was encircled and almost destroyed. [20] In the encirclement, Solyankin was killed in action. [21] The 5th Tank Division and 84th Motorised Division were severely depleted due to losses in vehicles and personnel. [22] [i] The 12th Mechanized Corps pulled out of the trap but was very short of fuel and ammunition. [23] [j] The Soviet Baltic Fleet was withdrawn from bases in Liepāja, Ventspils and Rīga by 26 June and LVI Panzer Corps dashed for the River Daugava and in a remarkable coup seized bridges near Daugava intact. [24]

The battle is known in Soviet historiography as the Border Defensive Battles (22–27 June 1941), forming part of the larger Soviet Baltic Strategic Defensive Operation. After the battle, the leading formations of LVI Panzer Corps began to enlarge the bridgehead after the seizure of the Dvina bridges and the fall of Dvinsk. On 25 June, Marshal Semyon Timoshenko ordered Kuznetsov to organize a defense of the Western Dvina, by deploying the 8th Army on the right bank from Riga to Livani while the 11th Army defended the Livani–Kraslava sector. Kuznetsov also used the 27th Army (Major-General Nikolai Berzarin), moving troops from Hiiumaa and Saaremaa islands and Riga to Daugavpils. At the same time the Soviet (Stavka) released the 21st Mechanised Corps (Major-General Dmitry Lelyushenko) with 98 tanks and 129 guns, from the Moscow Military District to co-operate with the 27th Army. [25]

At 5:00 a.m., on 28 June, Lelyushenko attempted to destroy the German bridgehead near Daugavpils. Manstein halted on the Dvina but attacked the next day, striking along the Daugavpils–Ostrov highway. At Riga on the afternoon of 29 June, the Germans crossed the railway bridge over the Dvina. On 30 June, Soviet troops withdrew from the right bank of the river and by 1 July were retreating towards Estonia. Instead of rushing Leningrad, the panzer divisions were ordered to wait for infantry reinforcements, which took almost a week. [26]

Kuznetsov was sacked by Timoshenko and Major-General Pyotr Sobennikov, the 8th Army commander, took over the front on 4 July. On 29 June, Timoshenko ordered that if the Northwestern Front had to withdraw from the Daugava, the line of the Velikaya, was to be held and every effort made to get Soviet troops dug in there. The line at Velikaya fell rapidly on 8 July, with rail and road bridges remaining intact and Pskov fell on the evening of 9 July. The 11th Army was ordered to move to Dno but the collapse of the Northwestern Front on the Velikaya and the German sweep to Luga were serious defeats, forcing the 8th Army towards the Gulf of Finland. The German pause had given time for more troops to be rushed to the Siege of Leningrad, a long and hard battle. [26]


The KV-1 Tank Blundered Its Way Into History

A day after the German blitzkrieg into the Soviet Union in June 1941, more than 200 Nazi tanks were powering through Lithuania on a race northward to Leningrad.

The Luftwaffe knocked out the Soviets’ nearby air bases, leaving counter-attacking armored columns easy prey for German਋ombers.

Desperate to staunch the bleeding, on June 23 the Red Army sprang its KV-1 and KV-2 tanks — which at the time packed some of the heaviest tank armor in the world — on the advancing Germans near Raseiniai.

This piece originally appeared in 2016.

Soviet tanks were renowned for their ruggedness and reliability— though not their comforts —𠂭uring World War II. And early in the war, the lumbering Kliment Voroshilov tanks could easily deflect the shells from most of Germany’s field weapons.

But the 47-ton KVs were unwieldy, leaving them vulnerable to German troops maneuvering close on the flanks. While individual KVs absorbed terrific punishment during the clash, the Wehrmacht went on to destroy 29 of them, among the more than 200 Soviet tanks lost at Raseiniai.

At times, the Wehrmacht knocked out the beasts with explosive charges, or lured them within range of direct-fire artillery.

“The Germans … herded the Russian giants towards their own heavy artillery, whose barrels were brought down to the horizontal to fire point-blank at the advancing behemoths,” military historian Michael Jones wrote in his book Leningrad: State of Siege.

“The bulk of the Soviet armored forces in the Baltic countries were annihilated and any threat to the German advance from the flanks removed.”

The KV tank is a curiosity. In 1941, it was physically tougher than any tank the Germans could throw at it. But it failed to inflict decisive damage during those brutal early months.

The KV was a product of tank designer Josef Kotin. His competitor, Mikhail Koshkin, would develop the T-34. Kotin, however, embraced the theory that success on the battlefield meant dominating the enemy with the heaviest armor available.

Some of his designs worked better than others. Kotin’s multi-turreted T-28 suffered from weak suspension and, oddly for a large tank, had thin armor. Most were destroyed during the opening months of Operation Barbarossa. His gigantic T-35 —𠂬rewed by 11 people packed inside like sardines — was mechanically unfit for਌ombat.

The KV was … better. But rushed.

“In fact, it was ordered off the drawing board this point was later glossed over by sending the prototypes to the Karelian Isthmus for testing at the end of the Finnish War,” Stephen Sewell wrote in a history of Soviet heavy tanks for Armor magazine.

Kotin abandoned a multi-turreted configuration for the KV. Instead, he included had a single turret with a 76-millimeter cannon, with three 7.62-millimeter machine guns rounding out the weapons.

Most importantly, the tank boasted formidable armor —�-millimeters thick in the front and around 70-millimeters on the side and rear, far outclassing the German Panzers of the time.

The KV-2 kept the KV-1’s chassis, but swapped the turret and cannon for a 152-millimeter howitzer. A terrifying weapon, to be sure, but even heavier and more unwieldy. Kotin produced relatively few of these up-gunned variants —𠂪round 200� in total.

Kotin’s design bureau would produce more than 5,000 KVs during the war in more than two dozen different variants. The most (relatively) successful was the KV-1S, which sacrificed armor for speed and included an upgraded transmission.

The KV-1’s transmission, which Kotin borrowed from a U.S.-made tractor, simply sucked. But one of the tank’s biggest problems was the fact the crew could barely see out of damn thing.

“Once the war broke out, the KV-1 was soon revealed to be a deathtrap,” Sewell wrote. �r of angering Kotin prevented many commanders from telling him how bad the tank really was. Finally, after many senior leaders complained about its failings, Kotin ordered the problemsਏixed.”

That job fell to engineer Nikolay Shashmurin, who designed the speedier KV-1S. Kotin, impressed by Shashmurin’s work, later assigned him to develop the intimidating IS-1, which proved to be among the war’s most successful heavy tanks.

Yet heavy tanks would ultimately fall out of favor after World War II, and Koshkin’s medium T-34 series secured the more lasting legacy. The T-34 went on to influence a later class of main battle tanks which are standard around the world today.

But the IS-1— which led the Soviet charge into Berlin four years after the debacle at Raseiniai — nevertheless owed itself to Kotin’s KV਋lunder.


Buy ‘KV-1 & 2 Heavy Tanks 1939-45’

“In fact, it was ordered off the drawing board this point was later glossed over by sending the prototypes to the Karelian Isthmus for testing at the end of the Finnish War,” Stephen Sewell wrote in a history of Soviet heavy tanks for Armor magazine.

Kotin abandoned a multi-turreted configuration for the KV. Instead, he included had a single turret with a 76-millimeter cannon, with three 7.62-millimeter machine guns rounding out the weapons.

Most importantly, the tank boasted formidable armor — 90-millimeters thick in the front and around 70-millimeters on the side and rear, far outclassing the German Panzers of the time.

The KV-2 kept the KV-1’s chassis, but swapped the turret and cannon for a 152-millimeter howitzer. A terrifying weapon, to be sure, but even heavier and more unwieldy. Kotin produced relatively few of these up-gunned variants — around 200–250 in total.

Kotin’s design bureau would produce more than 5,000 KVs during the war in more than two dozen different variants. The most (relatively) successful was the KV-1S, which sacrificed armor for speed and included an upgraded transmission.

The KV-1’s transmission, which Kotin borrowed from a U.S.-made tractor, simply sucked. But one of the tank’s biggest problems was the fact the crew could barely see out of damn thing.

“Once the war broke out, the KV-1 was soon revealed to be a deathtrap,” Sewell wrote. “Fear of angering Kotin prevented many commanders from telling him how bad the tank really was. Finally, after many senior leaders complained about its failings, Kotin ordered the problems fixed.”

That job fell to engineer Nikolay Shashmurin, who designed the speedier KV-1S. Kotin, impressed by Shashmurin’s work, later assigned him to develop the intimidating IS-1, which proved to be among the war’s most successful heavy tanks.

Yet heavy tanks would ultimately fall out of favor after World War II, and Koshkin’s medium T-34 series secured the more lasting legacy. The T-34 went on to influence a later class of main battle tanks which are standard around the world today.

But the IS-1— which led the Soviet charge into Berlin four years after the debacle at Raseiniai — nevertheless owed itself to Kotin’s KV blunder.


Protect Leningrad

The early stages of the Great Patriotic War saw the Soviet Army in a rapid retreat. Wehrmacht troops pushed ruthlessly into the heart of the Communist empire killing anyone who opposed their advance. Due to being heavily outnumbered, the Soviets couldn’t do much against the advancing force.

The one saving grace of the Red Army was the KV-1. This tank could withstand the shells of the Panzer II and Panzer III tanks and thus was key to the initial defensive effort. One such tank would delay the German push towards Leningrad.

Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) was a key objective for the German army. Not only was it the biggest Soviet port with access to the Baltic sea but it also held the name of the highest regarded Soviet figure, Lenin. Capturing the city of Leningrad would mean a two-fold defeat for the Soviets, both morally and militarily, as such it was crucial to delay its capture for as long as possible.

Лейтенaнт Зиновий Григорьевич Колобанов (Anglicised: Lieutenant Zinoviy Grigorevich Kolobanov) decided to take this task into his own hands and commanded his KV-1 division to set up an ambush in Krasnogvardeysk (now Gatchina, a settlement near Leningrad).


TankNutDave.com

The Russian KV-3 Heavy Tank was intended to be the replacement of the KV-1. Development had started during 1940 (prior to Operation Barbarossa) of an up armoured and up gunned heavy tank by the Kirov tank factory.

Two prototypes were built and trialled:

Prototype 1. Designated the T-150, it was an up armoured KV-1 with 90mm thick frontal steel and a 76mm main gun. It had an improved cupola and a new 700hp engine.

Prototype 2. Designated the T-220, it was fitted with a new turret mounting the 85mm F-30 main gun and had 100mm of thick frontal steel. It had a longer hull with an additional road wheel.

Trials of both vehicle in early 1941 high-lighted a number of issues with the 700hp engine of the T-220 not being able to cope with the vehicles 62 tonnes weight. The army went with the T-150 design and was designated the KV-3 in March 1941.

However on the 7th of April 1941 the army set new requirements for the KV-3, which included the front-slope armour was to be thickened to 115mm(+), the turret armour was to be 115mm thick and it was to be armed with the ZIS-6 107mm main gun which had a muzzle velocity of 800 m/s.

This revised KV-3 design resulted in a heavier tank of roughly 70 tonnes. So the T-220 prototype aka the KV-220 was fitted with a 800hp engine and used for testing the new assemblies and aggregates of the revised design. By the end of May 1941 it had completed over 1000km’s of trials, with limited success. The vehicle was then repaired and fitted with a 850hp V-2SN diesel engine. This prototype was recorded as KV-220-1.

A second prototype was built at some stage and recorded as KV-220-2.

It is not clear which of the two prototypes was fitted with the new turret developed to mount the 107mm main gun and pictured at the top of the page as a completed tank, but it is most likely to be KV-220-2, as this is recorded as the incomplete KV-3 tank at the plant.

Neither the earlier KV-3 design which was the T-150, nor the revised KV-3 design entered production. However all three prototypes were later fitted with the KV-1 production turret mounting the 76mm main gun and were issued to the army in late 1941 and were used in active service.


7 Most Overpowered Tanks in the History of World of Tanks

These tanks used to be the most overpowered tanks in the history of World of Tanks.

The KV-1 Soviet Union tank is considered to be the most overpowered tank in the history of World of Tanks.

The overwhelming response from the World of Tanks community was that the KV-1, the Soviet Union Tier 5 Heavy tank, was one hell of a beast. Back in the day, tankers were given the opportunity to upgrade their main armaments to 107mm and 152mm guns, giving them the ability to demolish anyone who opposed them in Tier 5 matches.

Not only was the KV-1 extremely powerful in-game, it was extremely useful when Lieutenant Kolobanov used 5 KV-1s to destroy over 40 German tanks during an ambush. These days, the KV-1 still offers a wide variety of guns to choose from. Unfortunately, none of them quite live up to the alpha damage the KV-1 was once capable of dishing out.

Whether these tanks were too fast, too powerful, too heavily armored, or a combination of the three, they were some of the most overpowered tanks in the history of World of Tanks. What do you remember about these tanks during their reign &mdash were you around to witness their might?

Think we've missed a tank? Let us know in the comments what you believe is the most overpowered tank in World of Tanks history.


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