Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Klimenti Voroshilov 1

by Phil Gardocki

KV-1 "White Mammoth."
As photographed by the author.
Used with permission from the US Army Ordnance Museum.
The Klimenti Voroshilov 1, aka the White Mammoth.

The KV-1 had a checkered career. It was the first tank to have 10 cm of armor, and was all but impossible to stop in the early days of the war. It actually caused "Tank Panic" among German soldiers.

It also had numerous mechanical problems. It was difficult to steer, which sometimes caused it to charge without warning. It’s transmission was not up the task of moving its weight and was a high failure item throughout the war. It had the same 7.6cm caliber gun as the T-34.  Soviet bridging units could not support its 46 ton bulk, so a KV-1 could only advance as far as the first large creek or ditch. Sometimes impromptu bridges were built from the carcasses of other tanks.

The transmission problem was eventually fixed. It turned out that there were two gears of the same size, one was specially hardened for the transmission, the other not. They were stored in adjacent barrels at the factory, and when one barrel ran out, the other was used.

In order to bring the tank in line with the logistics that would support it, the KV-1s was designed. It was 11 tons lighter, most of the weight savings came from turret size reductions, but also from reduction of frontal and side armor. The tank became faster, but was more vulnerable to the now more numerous and heavier antitank guns. There was a short run of KV tanks that were up gunned with the 8.5cm/L51 gun of which only 85 models were created. By then the KV series was discontinued in favor of the Ioesph Stalin series.

Klimenti Voroshilov 2, aka the Dreadnought.
This was an adaptation of the KV-1.  The KV-2 was designed to act as an assault gun, to run up to an enemy position and blow it to smithereens with it’s 15.2 cm gun. It broke Finland’s Mannheim line in 1940. It was subject to all the mechanical problems of the KV-1 and could not fire its gun its gun at some angles or inclines lest it tip over.

Gun7.62cm L42Gun15.2 cm L53
Weight45 tonnesWeight56 tonnes
Max Hull Armor10 cmMax Hull Armor11 cm
Top Speed35 kphTop Speed28 kph

KV-1 "White Mammoth."

As photographed by the author.
Used with permission from the US Army Ordnance Museum.

KV-2 "Dreadnought"
Image shamelessly stolen from the internet.

No comments:

Post a Comment