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Soviet Union's IS-2, JS-2 heavy tank
"Victory Tank"

Photos

IS-2 heavy tank:
Soviet Union's IS-2 Heavy Tank
Aberdeen Tank Museum

IS-2 heavy tank:
Soviet Union's IS-2 Heavy Tank

IS-2 heavy tank:
Soviet Union's IS-2 Heavy Tank
IS-2 heavy tank:
Soviet Union's IS-2 Heavy Tank

IS-2 heavy tank:
Soviet Union's IS-2 Heavy Tank

IS-2 heavy tank:
Soviet Union's IS-2 Heavy Tank
IS-2 heavy tank:
Soviet Union's IS-2 Heavy Tank

IS-2 heavy tank:
Soviet Union's IS-2 Heavy Tank

IS-2 heavy tank:
Soviet Union's IS-2 Heavy Tank
IS-2 heavy tank:
Soviet Union's IS-2 Heavy Tank

IS-2 heavy tank:
Soviet Union's IS-2 Heavy Tank

IS-2 heavy tank:
Soviet Union's IS-2 Heavy Tank
IS-2M heavy tank:
Soviet Union's IS-2M Heavy Tank
Hradec Kralove in Bohemia, Czechoslovakia, in May 1945
IS-2M heavy tank:
Soviet Union's IS-2M Heavy Tank
Berlin, April 1945

Design

After the Battle of Kursk it was realized that larger guns than 85 mm were needed.1 Kotin's team at Zavod Nr 9 initially placed an 85 mm gun in the IS series but it was then determined that a 100 mm or 122 mm gun was needed.1 The 100 mm BS-3 and 122 mm A-19 were put through tests in November 1943.1 The 100 mm was better at armor penetration but the 122 mm could rip off the armor of a captured Panther.1 The 122 mm was selected as it was available and the 100 mm was in very short supply.1,5

Based on the IS-1 with a longer turret to accept the 122 mm, which was designed by General A. A. Petrov.2 Initially had a single chambered muzzle brake which later became a double chamber after a test which almost fatally wounded Marshal K. E. Voroshilov.1

The A-19 122 mm gun was based on a naval gun.5 The ammunition was in 2 parts which slowed it's loading.5 An IS-2's crew could fire around two or three rounds a minutes.1 In 1944 the 122 mm D-25T gun was installed which had a better breech which helped its performance.1

Type Weight Muzzle Velocity Direct
Fire Range
Indirect
Fire Range
Penetration
500 m
    2,562'/sec8
780 m/sec8
     
  25 kg2 790 m/sec2     140 mm2
APHE10   2,600'/sec10      

Armor

The IS-2 had a cast hull front which was uniformly sloped, not bent as in the IS-1.1,7 The better sloping provided better protection without an increase in weight.1 The IS-2 could now withstand a direct hit by a 88 mm AP round at over 9,144 yards / 1,000 m.1

Turret

The design team wanted to provide more protection in the turret, but that would have resulted in the turret being unbalanced and there wasn't time to completely redesign it.1

Prototype

Was demonstrated to the Main Defense Commissariat and was accepted for production on October 1943.8

Production

The first one was finished in January 1944 at the Chelyabinsk factory.2

  • IS-2: 3,800, 3,8542
    • 1943: 1021,2, 359
    • 1944: 2,2109, 2,2521,2
    • 1945: 1,5001,2, 2,3507
      • to May 9: 9979, after May 9: 1,1509
    • Manufacturer: Soviet arsenals10

Variants

  • IS-2:
  • IS-2m: Improved fire control system which extended the effective range of the 122 mm. The driver had his observation hatch replaced by a sight slit.

Usage

A guard tank brigade had:

  • 3 regiments
    • 65 IS-2s each

First battle was in February 1944 at Korsun Shevcherkov (Chevchenkovski).2

Against Royal Tigers

In August 13, 1944, eleven IS-2s of the 71st Independent Heavy Tank Regiment blocked an attack by fourteen Royal Tigers (PzKpfw VI Ausf B) of the 501st Heavy Panzer Regiment.1 The battle was at 656 yards / 600 m and resulted in four of the Royal Tigers being destroyed and seven damaged at a loss of three IS-2s and seven damaged.1

Specifications

  IS-2
Crew Driver, loader, commander, gunner
43,4,5,6,8,9,10,11,12,13
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 101,200 lb12, 101,963 lb8
45 tons6, 45.3 tons3,11,13, 45.5 tons7 46 tons4,5,9, 50.6 tons10
46,000 kg3,11,12,13, 46,250 kg8
Length w/gun 31' 6"6, 31' 6.75"10, 32' 5.8"5,12, 32' 6"3,11,13, 32.8'8, 33' 10.75"
9.83 m9, 9.9 m3,4,5,11,12,13, 10.7 m8
Length w/o gun 21' 10"7
Height 8.9'6,8, 8' 11"3,11,13, 8' 11.5"5,12, 9'7,10
2.73 m3,4,5,9,11,12,13, 2.9 m8
Width 10' 1.6"5,12, 10' 2"3,11,13, 10' 3"6,7, 14' 3.25"10
3.07 m9, 3.09 m3,4,5,11,12,13
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance 13.75"10, 1' 4.5"
0.42 m4, 0.47 m9
Ground contact length 14' 3.25"10, 14.3'6
4.3 m9
Ground pressure 11.25 psi, 11.3 psi8, 11.66 psi, 12.6 psi10
0.8 kg/cm2 8, 0.81 kg/cm2 9, 0.82 kg/cm2 4
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 1: 122 mm D-253,11,13
1: 122 mm M1943 (D-25) L/438
1: 122 mm4,5,12
1: 122 mm L/437
1: 122 mm M19436
1: 122 mm M1943 (D-25)10
Secondary  
MG 3: 7.62 mm DT MG3
4: MGs4
1: 7.62 mm MG5,12
1: 12.7 mm MG5,12
1: 12.7 mm DShK-38 MG10
3: 7.62 mm MG11,13
MG - coaxial 1: 7.62 mm DT MG7
1: 7.62 mm DT or DTM MG10
1: 12.7 mm M1938 DshK8
MG - rear turret 1: 7.62 mm DT MG7
1: 7.62 mm DT or DTM MG10
MG - hull 1: 7.62 mm DT MG7
1: 7.62 mm DT or DTM MG10
1: 7.692 mm DT or DTM MG8
MG - antiaircraft 1: 12.7 mm DShK7
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 281,4,5,6,8,10
Secondary  
MG 12.7: 35010
7.62: 3,02410
2,3306, 2,6314
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 19 - 1328, 1203,11,13, 1325,12
Turret: 1007
Hull: 1057
Hull Front, Upper 4.3"@0°10, 90-1204, 1206,9
Hull Front, Lower 90-95
Hull Sides, Upper 3.5"@0°10
89 - 906, 90 - 954, 909
Hull Sides, Lower 90
Hull Rear 2"@0°10, 604,9
Hull Top 20 - 304, 256, 309
Hull Bottom 20 - 304,9, 256
Turret Front 3.9"@0°10, 1604, 30 - 1009, 30 - 1026
Turret Sides 3.7"@0°10, 160 - 1004
Turret Rear 904
Turret Top 304
Engine (Make / Model) V-2-IS3,4,5,8,11,12
1943: V-2-IS2
V-2K10
V-2-IS (V2K)6
V2-IS13
Bore / stroke  
Cooling Water8,10
Cylinders V-125,8,10,12, 126,11,13
Capacity  
Net HP 5136,11,13, 6005,10,12
520@2,000 rpm8
Power to weight ratio 11.3 hp/ton9, 13 hp/ton8
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type) 8 forward, 2 reverse
2x4 forward, 2 reverse4
5 forward, 1 reverse10
Sliding mesh10
Steering Clutch brake10
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type) Diesel5,6,8,10,11,13
Octane  
Quantity 217 gallons, 158 gallons + 104 gallons in auxiliary tanks10
820 liters4
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse 360°10
Electric or hand10
Speed - Road 23 mph3,5,6,8,11,12,13, 25 mph10, 27 mph7
37 kph3,4,5,8,9,11,12,13
Speed - Cross Country 15 mph
Range - Road 94 miles8, 120 miles7, 149 miles3,5,11,12,13, 150 miles6, 160 miles10
130 - 240 km9, 150 km8, 240 km3,4,5,11,12,13
Range - Cross Country 130 miles6
110 - 125 km9, 210 km4
Turning radius  
Elevation limits -4° to +20°10
Fording depth 4' 3"10
1.3 m4,9
Trench crossing 8.1'8, 8' 2"5,10,12
2.49 m5,12, 2.5 m9, 2.9 m8
Vertical obstacle 3' 3"5,10,12
1 m5,9,12
Climbing ability 24° slope10
Suspension (Type) Torsion Bar4
Torsion arm10
Wheels each side 64,10
Return rollers each side 310
Tracks (Type) Cast allow steel, dry pin10
Length  
Width 1' 9", 2' 1.5"10, 2' 1.63"6
650 mm4
Diameter  
Number of links 87-9010
Pitch 6.25"10
Tire tread Steel4
Track centers/tread 97.25"10
  IS-2 1944
Crew 41,2
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 46 tons2
Length w/gun 9.83 m2
Length w/o gun 6.77 m2
Height 2.73 m2
Width 3.07 m2
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance 0.46 m2
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure 0.8 kp/cm2 2
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 1: 122 mm 1943 D-25 T2
Secondary  
MG - coaxial 1: 7.62 mm DT MG2
MG - rear turret 1: 7.62 mm DT MG2
MG - hull 1: 7.62 mm DT MG2
MG - antiaircraft 1: 12.7 mm DSchK 382
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 282
Secondary  
MG 7.62: 2,3302
12.7: 2502
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm)  
Hull Front, Upper 120-1602
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper 902
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear 60-902
Hull Top 20-302
Hull Bottom 20-302
Turret Front 1002
Turret Sides 902
Turret Rear 60-902
Turret Top 302
Engine (Make / Model) W-2-IS2
Bore / stroke 4 stroke2
Cooling  
Cylinders V-122
Capacity  
Net HP 600@2,000 rpm2
Power to weight ratio 11.3 hp/ton2
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type)  
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type) Diesel2
Octane  
Quantity 800 liters2
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse 360°
Speed - Road 37 kph2
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 150 km2
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth 1.3 m2
Trench crossing 2.5 m2
Vertical obstacle 1 m2
Climbing ability 30 - 36°2
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width  
Diameter  
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread  
  IS-2 M
Crew 41,2
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 49.6 tons1, 45,000 kg1
Length 33' 6"1, 10.33 m1
Height 2.92 m1, 9' 6"1
Width 3.36 m1, 11'1
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 122 mm1
Secondary  
MG 3: 7.62 mm MG1
MG - antiaircraft 12.7 mm AA1
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm)  
Hull Front, Upper 1201
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper 951
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear 601
Hull Top 301
Hull Bottom 301
Turret Front 1601
Turret Sides 1101
Turret Rear 1001
Turret Top 301
Engine (Make / Model)  
Bore / stroke  
Cooling  
Cylinders  
Capacity  
Net HP  
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type)  
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type)  
Octane  
Quantity  
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 37 kph1, 23 mph1
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 155 miles1, 149 miles1
250 km1, 240 km1
Range - Cross Country 130 miles1
210 km1
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical obstacle  
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width  
Diameter  
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread  

Sources:

  1. Russian Tanks of World War II Stalin's Armored Might, by Tim Bean & Will Fowler, 2002
  2. Russian Tanks and Armored Vehicles 1917-1945, by Wolfgang Fleischer, 1999
  3. The Encyclopedia of Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles - The Comprehensive Guide to Over 900 Armored Fighting Vehicles From 1915 to the Present Day, General Editor: Christopher F. Foss, 2002
  4. Panzer Truppen The Complete Guide to the Creation and Combat Employment of Germany's Tank Force 1943-1945, Thomas L. Jentz, 1996
  5. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  6. Airfix Magazine Guide 22 Russian Tanks of World War 2, John Milsom and Steve Zaloga, 1977
  7. Tanks of World War II, Duncan Crow, 1979
  8. Battle Winning Tanks, Aircraft & Warships of World War II, David Miller, 2000
  9. Russian Armour Volume 1: The IS Tanks IS-1, IS-2, IS-3, Mikhail Baryatinskiy, 2006
  10. Tank Data 2, Aberdeen Proving Grounds Series, E. J. Hoffschmidt and W. H. Tantum IV, 1969
  11. The Illustrated Guide to Tanks of the World, George Forty, 2006
  12. Armored Fighting Vehicles, 300 of the World's Greatest Military Vehicles, Philip Trewhitt, 1999
  13. World War I and II Tanks, George Forty, 2012
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site

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