Tuesday 8 September 2015

IS-3 Prototype Usability Problems

Some people insist that Soviet tank designers paid no attention to comfort and usability, but that is far from the case. For instance, this report on early IS-3 prototype trials is almost entirely concerned with comfort of the crew.

"Report on results of trials of the Kirovets-1 #2 prototype by the military representative, performed on February 16th, 1945

The vehicle travelled 50 km on a dirt road. The average movement speed was 27.3 kph.
  • Maximum water temperature: 75 degrees
  • Maximum oil temperature in the engine: 60 degrees
  • Ambient temperature: -14 degrees
Complaints regarding various components of the vehicle and their location:
  1. The driver's compartment is cramped. The driver is constricted by the machinegun disk magazine holders to the left and right, propellant casings, shells, and toolbox.
    When driving with the hatch open, the observation device carrier impedes switching gears.
  2. The driver's seat needs to be improved, as it lowers itself on bumps. It must be more robust.
  3. The driver's hatch is too small. Entering and exiting while wearing warm clothing is difficult.
  4. The hatch needs padding on the perimeter, as the driver can be injured while driving with the hatch open.
  5. There are two propellant casings on the wall between the fighting compartment and engine compartment that make access to the engine difficult.
  6. The placement of the 10-RK radio station is difficult, as its size makes it stick out of the turret bustle.
  7. The new turret makes installation and removal of the engine difficult in field conditions.
The turret covers the engine. When taking out the engine, one must remove the gearbox, radiators, 2-4 torsion bars, and then carefully lift the engine around the turret."


  1. More comfort because, in this tank, the crew may actually last more than a skirmish or two.

  2. Thanks for this post - i'm an ergonomist and was looking for historical examples and have found a great one here. I also liked your earlier post which posted a chapter from "Samusenko's book Foundations of Design of Armament for Self Propelled Guns and Tanks" Do you have the year of that book? Really great stuff!