The Russian KV-1 & KV Series Of Heavy Tanks

The Russian KV-1 & KV Series Of Heavy Tanks Development

In 1940 the T-100/SMK project to replace the T-35 Heavy Tank was cancelled in favour of the new KV1 Heavy Tank. Lieutenant-Colonel Kotin, who headed the Heavy Tank design team, did not like the T-100 design, so he managed to get Stalin’s permission to develop a single turreted tank version of the SMK. This new design was named the KV after Klimenti Voroshilov, who was the Defence Commisar and friend of Stalin at the time.

The new tank was intended to be fitted with a new version of the 76.2mm gun, but this wasn’t available yet. In September 1939, the KV outperformed the T-100 and SMK designs during trials at Kubinka. They were then sent north for combat trials during the Winter War against Finland. It performed very well and only 1 was lost to the Finns, who managed to take a picture of it. This was passed on to the Germans, who, fortunately, mistook it for a T-35.

The KV was produced in two major versions; the KV-1 with the 76.2mm gun and the KV-2 with a much larger turret and armed with a 152mm howitzer for close support. Initially, the two versions were named KV Small Turret and KV Large Turret, but were then re-designated the KV1 and KV2.

The KV-1

The KV-1 was fitted with a 550hp engine, had a top speed of 22mph and weighed 46.35 tonnes. It had the standard WW2 crew of 5; commander, gunner, loader, radio operator and driver.

KV-1A was the improved 190 model with the L/40 gun and new mantlet.

KV-1B of 1941 was up-armoured with 25-5mm or extra armour on the hull front and sides. Extra armour was also bolted onto the turret.

KV-1C had an improved, cast turret, thicker armour up to 120mm and a more powerful 600hp engine. It also had wider tracks.

The KV-2

The KV-2 had a crew of 6, weighed 53 tonnes, had the same 550hp engine and was slower than the KV-1, with a top speed of 16mph.

KV-2A of 1940 which was fitted with the 152mm howitzer in a large, unwieldy turret. However, some of these were fitted with a 122mm howitzer.

KV-2B was an improved version fitted with a better gun mantlet. It was 4 tonnes heavier and 18 inches higher.

The Russian KV-1 & KV Series Of Heavy TanksCombat History

The KV series of heavy tanks saw service throughout WW2, including the famous Kursk Offensive (known as Operation Citadel by the Germans). Later on in the war, they were replaced by the IS series of heavy tanks. It was, however, the KV, along with the T-34, which prompted the Germans to develop the Panther Medium and Tiger 1 heavy tanks.

The KV-3

Prototype heavy tank Click here to launch vehicle page

The KV-1S

Lighter armoured version that entered production in 1942 – Click here to launch vehicle page

The KV-4

Proposed design for a Heavy Tank – Click here to launch vehicle page

The KV-5

Proposed design for a Heavy Tank – Click here to launch vehicle page

The KV-13

No image available

Prototype tank (vehicle later developed in to the IS-1 & IS-2) – Click here to launch vehicle page

The KV-85

Limited production stop gap tank whilst IS-1 & IS-2 were being developed to deal with Tiger tanks – Click here to launch vehicle page