IS-2 Iosif Stalin Heavy Tank
The IS (Iosif Stalin) heavy tank in often referred to as the “tank of victory” in Soviet sources. The development of the IS series of tanks started in late 1942, but only really gained momentum in 1943 as a response to the performance of the German Panther and Tiger tanks at the battle of Kursk.
The KV series of Soviet heavy tanks was criticized by their crews for their low mobility, and lack of any heavier armament than the T-34 medium tank. The speed issues were addressed with the introduction of the KV-1s, but even this retained the same 76mm gun that armed the medium T-34.
The initial response to up-arming the heavy tanks was the KV-85, but this was only seen as a stopgap measure while development of a new heavy tank design continued. The design program set about creating a tank with more advanced armour design and a heavier, harder hitting gun.
The IS-85 prototype was accepted for production as the IS-1 heavy tank, but this was still only armed with the 85mm gun.
The design team continued to look into alternative armament. Two weapons were considered, the A-19 122mm gun and the BS-3 100mm gun.
The 100mm gun (later used to arm the SU-100) had better armour penetration (185mm compared to 160mm), but a less powerful high-explosive round than the 122mm gun.
100mm gun was a new weapon and in short supply, while the 122mm gun was in abundant supply.
Further testing confirmed that the 122mm A-19 could penetrate the front of German Panther tank. The IS-122 prototype replaced the IS-85, and began mass production as the IS-2 obr 1943. The few IS-1 tanks built were mostly rearmed before leaving the factory, and issued as IS-2 tanks.
The main disadvantage of the gun was its huge, two-part ammunition, which were difficult and slow to load, and only allowed 28 rounds to be carried.
The IS-2 proved slightly lighter and faster than the heaviest KV model 1942 tank, with thicker front armour and an improved turret design.
The later improved IS-2 obr 1944 introduced a faster-loading version of the gun, the D25-T with a double-baffle muzzle brake and better fire-control. It also featured a simpler hull front without a "step" instead using a flat, sloping glacis armour plate.
The IS-2 obr 1944 is sometimes referred to as the IS-2M, but this official designation was not used until the modernisation of the tank by the Soviets in the 1950s (IS-2M).
It first saw combat in February 1944 during fighting around Korsun-Chevchenkovski pocket. IS-2 heavy tanks were assigned to separate heavy tank regiments, normally of 21 tanks each. These regiments were used to reinforce the most important attack sectors during major offensive operations. Tactically it was mainly a breakthrough tank, firing a heavy high-explosive shell that was useful against entrenchments and bunkers, and supporting infantry.
They were also capable of taking on any German Panzer they came against. Once a breakthrough was achieved the mobile T-34 medium tanks would take over the exploitation.
IS-2 Heavy Tank
Length (with gun): 10.74m
Weight: 46,250 kg
Engine: V-2 IS 12cyl. diesel-engine/520hp
Armour: 20mm - 160mm
122mm M1943 D-25T L/43 gun
1 x 12.7mm M1938 DShK machine-gun
1 x 7.62mm DT/DTM machine-gun
28 x 122mm shells
2331 x DT rounds
300 x DShK rounds
IS-2 obr 1943 in Flames Of War
The IS-2 is available in the Guards Heavy Tank Company as a Corps Support choice in Festung Europa, Fortress Europe, and Hammer and Sickle. You can also take it in its very own force with the Gvardeyskiy Tyazhelyy Tankovy Polk (Guards Heavy Tank Regiment) from Stalin's Onslaught. The IS-2 has Fully-tracked mobility, but is a slow tank reducing its normal cross-country movement to 8”/20cm. It has excellent armour: Front 10, Side 8 and Top 2. It is armed with the 122mm D-25T gun with a range of 32”/80cm, ROF 1, Anti-tank 15 and Firepower 2+. In Addition it has a Co-ax and a Turret rear machine-gun and a .50cal AA MG (12.7mm DShK) can be added for +5 points per tank.
Designed by Evan Allen
Painted by Jeremy Painter