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Soviet Union's KV-1 (Kliment Voroshilov) heavy tank

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KV-1 Heavy Tank in 1941.
Soviet Union's KV-1 Heavy Tank

KV-1 Heavy Tank:
Soviet Union's KV-1 Heavy Tank

KV-1 Heavy Tank:
Soviet Union's KV-1 Heavy Tank
KV-1 Heavy Tank:
Soviet Union's KV-1 Heavy Tank

KV-1 Heavy Tank:
Soviet Union's KV-1 Heavy Tank

KV-1 Heavy Tank in Leningrad going to the front
Soviet Union's KV-1 Heavy Tank in  Leningrad going to the front
KV-1 Heavy Tank:
Soviet Union's KV-1 Heavy Tank

KV-1 Heavy Tank:
Soviet Union's KV-1 Heavy Tank
KV-1 Heavy Tank:
Soviet Union's KV-1 Heavy Tank
Aberdeen Tank Museum
KV-1 Heavy Tank:
Soviet Union's KV-1 Heavy Tank
KV-8 Heavy Tank with flame thrower
Soviet KV-8 Heavy Tank with flame thrower
KV-13 prototype:
Soviet Union's KV-13 prototype
Hobby Master 1/72 Die Cast, 3001:
Russia's Hobby Master 3001 KV-1
Hobby Master 1/72 Die Cast, 3003:
Hobby Master HG3003 1/72 Diecast Armor, Soviet KV-1
Hobby Master 1/72 Die Cast, 3005:
Hobby Master 1/72 Armor, USSR KV-1 Heavy Tank
Hobby Master 1/72 Die Cast, 3010:
Hobby Master #3010, Russia's KV-1 Model 1941 Heavy Tank, 12th Tank Regiment, Western Front, 1942, Besposhadniy
Easy Models 1/72 Die Cast, 36289:
Easy Model 36289, Soviet KV-1 Model 1942

Design

After experience in the Russio-Finnish War with the T-100 and the SMK, it was found that they were too large and complex.1 Design work for the new heavy tank started in 1938.9 Kotin showed design plans for a single turreted heavy tank to Stalin in August 1939 and it was approved to construct a KV prototype.1

This vehicle was originally called the Kotin-Stalin but was officially changed to the Klimenti Voroshilov5,8 / Klementi Vorishilov / Marshal Klimenti Voroshilov4,7,10/ Kliment Voroshilov3 (KV) after the Defense Commissar.

The KV-1 borrowed the hull, transmission, optics, and torsion bar suspension from the SMK.1 The KV-1 was a redesign of the T-100 with only one turret.10

Initially the armor was welded.5

The KV-1s were used as assault or break through tanks.8,9

Crew

The driver sat in the middle.5,7 The radio operator / machine gunner sat on the left.5,7

The KV-1's vision was very limited for the commander and driver.1 The driver had a limited traverse periscope and a slit in the front that had laminated glass, but it was usually of poor quality and hard to see through.1 The commander of the KV-1 had two periscopes mounted in the top of the turret.1 He was also the gun loader.1

Engine

The engine was the same as the T-34 but with minor modifications.

Drive sprocket was at the rear.7

Armament

Initially the KV-1 was to have the 76.2 mm F-32, but due to delays the 76.2 mm L-11 was initially used.1

Type Name Weight Muzzle Velocity Penetration
500 m
AT2 BR-3502 6.3 kg2 612 m/sec2 66 mm2
HE2 F-342 6.23 kg2 610 - 635 m/sec2  

Prototype

N. L. Duchov was the responsible designer from the S. J. Kotin design bureau that started development of the KV-1 in February 1939.2

The prototype was built at the Kirov Factory in February 1939.3,5 A wooden mockup was ready in April 1939.5 By September 1939 the first prototype was show to the General Staff.2,3,5 It was accepted in December 1939 / December 19, 19392,3, with production starting in February 1940.5

The KV-1 prototype was tested at the Kubinka test grounds outside of Moscow alongside the SMK and T-100.1

Production

They came from the production lines in Leningrad and went straight to the front at Karelian.2 The factory was later moved to Chelyabinsk.2

  • KV-1: 3,0152
    • Production: February 1940 - ?5, 1940 - 19431, ? - 194310
      • 1940: 1412, 2433
      • 1941: 1,1211,2
      • 1942: 1,7531,2

Variants

  • Prototype: Short 76.2 mm main gun.8 Three or four 7.62 mm machine guns.8 Armor was 3.94" / 100 mm thick.8
  • KV-1: The first models were prone to clutch and transmission faults.
  • KV-1A, KV-1 1940: Armed with 76.2 mm F-32.1
  • KV-1B, KV-1 1941: Armed with 76.2 mm ZiS-5.1
  • KV-1C, KV-1 1942:
  • KV-1 S:
  • KV-8: Flamethrower.1 Had 45 mm M32 gun installed in place of main gun and an ATO-41 flamethrower installed coaxially.1 It had 670 liters of oil and gave 52 - 55 / 1071 bursts of flames.2 It's range was about 46 meters. Used KV-1C chassis. Had 116 round of 45 mm, 2,772 rounds of MG, and weighed around 44 tons.
  • KV-13: Prototype.1 Mounted 152 mm ML-20.1
  • KV-85:

Usage

Finland Trials

In February 1940, 22 / a platoon of KV-1s were sent to Finland4 for trials.9

The T-100, SMK, and KV-1 prototypes were apart of the 91st Tank Battalion of the 20th Heavy Tank Brigade and had their first combat near Summa from December 17 to 19.1

Despite hits from Finnish antitank weapons none were knocked out.3 It was also found that the diesel engine proved to be very reliable.3 The wide tracks allowed it to have excellent cross country performance.3

Invasion of the Motherland

By June 1941 there were 636 produced. By the Battle for Moscow (December 1941) 1,364.

Specifications

  KV-1
Crew Commander, gunner, auxiliary driver, driver/mechanic, radio-operator
Commander/loader, gunner, 2nd driver/mechanic, driver/mechanic, hull gunner/radio operator7
51,3,4,5,6,7,9,10
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 94,600 lb9, 104,791 lb5
42,910 kg1, 43,000 kg4,9,10, 47,500 kg5
42.23 tons1, 42.3 tons4,10, 43 tons1, 43.5 tons7, 46.35 tons3,6
Length 20.6'5, 21' 11"4,9,10, 22.6'3,6, 24' 3"1
6.3 m5, 6.68 m4,9,10, 7.41 m1
Height 7.9'5, 8' 8"'3,6, 8' 10.7"9, 8' 11"4,10, 9' 5"1
2.4 m5, 2.71 m4,9,10, 2.87 m1
Width 10.2'5, 10.65'3,6, 10' 10.7"9, 10' 11"4,10, 11' 5"1,
3.1 m5, 3.32 m4,9,10, 3.49 m1
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length 14.2'3
Ground pressure 10.68 psi, 10.7 psi5, 11.23 psi
0.7 kg/cm2 5
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main

1: 76.2 mm M1938/39 L/30.53
1: 76.2 mm L/30.57
1: 76.2 mm1,9
1: 76.2 mm L-111,2
1: 76.2 mm F-345
1: 76.2 mm L/41 ZiS-54,10

Secondary  
MG 3: MG3,6
4: 7.62 mm MG9
up to 4: 7.62 mm MG4,10
MG - coaxial 1: MG7
1: 7.62 mm DT MG1,2,5
MG - rear 1: MG7
1: 7.62 mm DT MG1,2 (some models)5
MG - hull 1: MG7
1: 7.62 mm DT MG1,2,3
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 1113,5
Secondary  
MG 3,0005, 3,0243
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 30 - 706, 754,10, 75+256, 75 - 1005, 90-1107, 1009
Front: 2.95"1
Front: 751
Hull Front, Upper 755, later models: 75+355, 1063
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper 75 - 773
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top 30 - 403
Hull Bottom 30 - 403
Turret Front 3.5"1
30 - 1003, 901
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) W-2-K2, V-27, V-2-K IS5, V2K4,9,10, V-2K1,3
Bore / stroke  
Cooling Water5
Cylinders V-121,4,9,10, 123,5
Capacity  
Net HP 5001, 5503,4,6,10, 6007,9, 600@2,000 rpm5
Power to weight ratio 12.6 hp/ton5
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type)  
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type) Diesel1,3,4,5,6,9,10
Octane  
Quantity  
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse 360°
Speed - Road 21.7 mph4,10, 21.75 mph9, 21.8 mph1, 22 mph3,6,7
35 kph1,4,9,10
Speed - Cross Country 8.1 mph1, 12.4 mph
13 kph1
Range - Road 93 miles4,10, 93.2 miles9, 99 miles1, 140 miles1,3, 210 miles7
150 km4,9,10, 160 km1, 225 km1
Range - Cross Country 62 miles1, 94 miles3
100 km1
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing 8' 6"9
2.59 m9
Vertical obstacle 3' 8"9
1.2 m9
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type) Torsion bar1,3
Wheels each side 6 twin steel7, 121
Return rollers each side 37
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width 2' 3.5"3,7
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. Airfix Magazine Guide 22 Russian Tanks of World War 2, John Milsom and Steve Zaloga, 1977
  4. The Illustrated Guide to Tanks of the World, George Forty, 2006
  5. Battle Winning Tanks, Aircraft & Warships of World War II, David Miller, 2000
  6. Tanks of the World, 1915-1945, Peter Chamberlain, Chris Ellis, 1972
  7. Tanks of World War II, Duncan Crow, 1979
  8. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  9. Armored Fighting Vehicles, 300 of the World's Greatest Military Vehicles, Philip Trewhitt, 1999
  10. World War I and II Tanks, George Forty, 2012
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site

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