Wednesday 14 January 2015

Upgunned KV-1

"To State Committee of Defense member, comrade Beria

There are 250 KV-1 and KV-1S tanks undergoing major repairs in GBTU KA and NKTP factories with 76 mm ZiS-5 guns.

The 76 mm ZiS-5 gun cannot combat Panther, Tiger, and Ferdinand tanks with its ballistics.

I deem it necessary to order the People's Commissariats of Tank Production and Armament to re-arm 250 KV-1 and KV-1S tanks with the 85 mm S-53 gun, increasing the combat potential of the KV tanks, with superior armour to the T-34.

I propose this project for GOKO's approval.

Colonel-General of Tank Forces, Fedorenko
Lieutenant-General of Tank Forces, Biryukov"

CAMD RF 38-11355-2722

What a reasonable proposal! Attempts to put an 85 mm gun on a KV-1 aren't exactly a revolutionary idea. Indeed, this proposal was approved, and a decree drafted to modernize 150 tanks and produce parts to modernize 250 more, including 250 additional guns above quota.

One exception though: the date was 1944, not 1942. The KV-1 was out of production, its successor was out of production, and IS-2 tanks were significantly superior to KV tanks in many, many ways. A KV-1S with an S-53 gun was built and tested (not a KV-85, which used a D-5 gun), but this grandiose plan was never brought to life.


  1. So the standardization of amunition and production rate was more important than lifes of experienced crews? No matter if kv was heavy tank and t34 medium? T34 had better mobility and would flank and destroy enemy tank from the side but what about kv 1s?
    In my opinion the thinning out kv 1 s armour is worst idea which was ever made by joseph kotin. WHY?
    Because new kv was faster than older kv not mainly because lowe weight but cause better tansmision!! Many people says the biggest problem of kv 1 was low rate in power to weight. But compare power to weight of heaviest kv 1 (model 1942) 46 tones for 600 hp with another tanks!!! KV 1 had smaller armour plates than german tanks and his thickening didnt increase in gross weight.
    SO what would happen if they put turret with S31 gun to the kv 1 hull model 1942 with better tansmision? Or if Kotin realy needed decrease weight of tank why does he didnt offset front hull plate? Like on T34 or Panther.
    If this small improvements would be made that tank would be brutal oponent for STUGs and PZIVs H and whould be balanced to Tiger in mutual combat (Tiger better gun and optics and Kv better armour). Would this improvements slow production so much that the tanks with low armour and weak gun would be preferable?
    What do you think?

    1. Yes, standardization and production rates are very important. Tank battles are not one on one duels that exist in a vacuum. If you cannot get ammunition to your tanks, those experienced crews are even worse off than if they used slightly worse guns. I say slightly, since the vast majority of the time, a KV would not be fighting enemy tanks, but breaking through defensive lines where the only threats are infantry and AT guns. The effectiveness of 85 mm HE is not significantly higher than 76 mm HE, definitely not enough to warrant a radical shift in production.

      Better transmissions were proposed for the KV before it was ever made. They were rejected for reasons that they were too complicated an expensive. The army realized that they needed a radically new tank fairly quickly (the KV-1S was just a temporary measure), and engineers' efforts were better spent on this tank than trying to breathe life into the KV.

    2. And what about front armour? It wasnt better than on T34 and the most used german antitank gun was 7,5 cm pak 40 should penetrate it at 1000 m. If they let at least on the frontal armour original thickness from model 1942 it wouldnt hurt that tank in mobility because as I said the frontal armour area is small. And one or two extra tonnes would decide whether It can be penetrated by pak 40 at 1000 m or It will have great trouble with it even with APCR.