The Red Army, Russian Tanks, German Tanks


SU-152, ISU-152

The success of the SU-152, coupled with the development of the IS (Josef Stalin) heavy tank hull, led the NKTP to order design teams at Chelyabinsk, in cooperation the Mechanized Artillery Bureau (BAS) and General F. Petrov, to design two new heavy assault guns based on the IS-2 tank is hull and chassis. The initial vehicle, designated Object 241, or ISU-249, was similar to the SU-152, except for a higher superstructure and more rectangular with less sloped side armour.

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The Zavod Nr 592 design, designated SG-122, proved less successful than the UZTM SU-122. The vehicle was a mixand-match design, placing a Soviet-designed hull and gun atop a captured German Panzer III chassis. This attempt to graft native technology onto foreign proved imperfect; the SG-122 was difficult to maintain in forward army depots because of lack of spares for the Panzer III chassis, whilst its performance was far below the rival UZTM design. These handicaps meant that although it was accepted for service in July 1942, the SG-122 was quickly withdrawn

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Within the First Five Year Plan (1929-1934) the Red Army had idenrified the need for self-propelled artillery guns to support tank and infantry forces. The self-propelled weapons were known by the designation SU (Samakhodnaya Ustanovka). Initial designs, such as the SU-2, mounted a 76.2mm (3in) gun on the chassis of a Kommunar tractor, while a number of T-27 tankettes were equipped with a 37mm (1.46 in) gun for use in an antitank role.

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Heavy Tank

In 1943 the course of World War II underwent a decisive shift in favour of the Allied powers in both Europe and the Pacific. Primarily this change was caused by two factors. Firstly, the maturing of Allied economic plans began to deliver weapons and materiel in an abundance, far greater than Germany and Japan could manage. Winning the war of production gave the Allies a numerical superiority that doomed their opponents to eventual defeat. Critically related to production was the second factor: the emergence of British, American and Soviet military formations which were capable of using the new and vast amounts of resources to defeat enemy forces in combat.

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Heavy Tank KV-1, KV-1-S

Constant increases in the armour of the KV-1 between 1941 and 1942, resulting in greater weight and lower speed, began to have a serious impact on the ability of Soviet armoured formations to operate the KV-1 alongside the T-34. Grouping the KV-1 into separate armoured brigades for purely assault and infantry support roles in October 1942 solved part of the problem. However, it left open the need for heavy-tank support for the mobile units now facing increasingly more effective German tanks and anti tanks guns, armed with more sophisticated and lethal munitions. Ultimately the dilemma was only resolved in late 1943 when the T-34 was up-gunned with the DT-5 85mm (3,3in) and the heavier Josef Stalin models introduced.

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