The Josef Stalin Tank

by Daniel Russ on October 25, 2015

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The trade off in tank manufacture is always weight and armor versus mobility. The heavier the armor, the harder it will be penetrate it. Heavy armor isn’t very nimble over bridges, or difficult terrain, and it consumes gas rapidly and lowers the range of the vehicle. So the M-4 Sherman was a lightly armored but highly mobile tank. So was the T-34. But at Kursk, heavy and medium German tanks were impervious to most rounds fired from the T-34s. Mark V Panthers and Mark VI Tigers and Elephants either required artillery or mechanical failure to defeat.


So in late 1943, Stalin order his tank, his namesake tank as a mobile armored goliath that could trade with heavy panzers and win. The Mark VI Panzers had the formidable 88mm PAK gun. The IS-2 had a 122mm gun that could open a Tiger like a can of beans. The A-19 122mm gun the Russians used had a separate charge and shell component. So loading was slower than usual.


The Russians built around 3880 IS-2s and they fought well in the final year of the war.






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