IS tank family

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Iosif Stalin tank
IS-2 and IS-3
IS-2 model 1943 (fore) and IS-3 at the Great Patriotic War Museum, Minsk, Belarus
Type Heavy tank
Place of origin Soviet Union
Service history
Used by  Soviet Union
 North Korea
Production history
Designer Zhozef Kotin
Nikolay Dukhov
  • 1943 (IS-2)
  • 1944 (IS-3)
  • 1944–45 (IS-4)
Manufacturer Kirov Factory, UZTM
  • 1943–44 (IS-1)
  • 1943–45 (IS-2)
  • 1945–47 (IS-3)
  • 1945–46 (IS-4)
No. built
  • 130 (IS-1)
  • 3,854 (IS-2)
  • 2,311 (IS-3)
  • 250 (IS-4)
Specifications (IS-2 Model 1944[1])
Weight 46 tonnes (51 short tons; 45 long tons)
Length 9.90 m (32 ft 6 in)
Width 3.09 m (10 ft 2 in)
Height 2.73 m (8 ft 11 in)
Crew 4

Armor IS-2 Model 1944:
Hull front: 100 mm at 60° angle
Lower glacis: 100 mm at 30° angle
Turret front: 100 mm (rounded)
Mantlet: 155 mm (rounded)
Hull side: 90–130 mm at 9-25°
Turret side: 90 mm at 20° angle.
D25-T 122 mm gun (28 rounds)
DShK, 3×DT (2,079 rounds)
Engine 12-cyl. diesel model V-2
600 hp (450 kW)
Power/weight 13 hp/tonne
Suspension torsion bar
Fuel capacity 820 l (180 imp gal; 220 US gal)
240 km (150 mi)
Speed 37 km/h (23 mph)

The IS Tank was a series of heavy tanks developed as a successor to the KV-series by the Soviet Union during World War II. The heavy tank was designed with thick armor to counter German 88 mm guns and carried a main gun capable of defeating Tiger and Panther tanks. It was mainly a breakthrough tank, firing a heavy high-explosive shell that was useful against entrenchments and bunkers. The IS-2 went into service in April 1944 and was used as a spearhead by the Red Army in the final stage of the Battle of Berlin. The IS acronym is the anglicized initialism of Joseph Stalin (Ио́сиф Ста́лин, Iosif Stalin).

Design and production[edit]

Object 237 KV-85 and IS-85/IS-1[edit]

IS-85 Prototype (IS-1).

The KV-1 was criticized by its crews for its poor mobility and the lack of a larger caliber gun than the T-34 medium tank. It was much more expensive than the T-34, without having greater combat performance. Moscow ordered some KV-1 assembly lines to shift to T-34 production, leading to fears that KV-1 production would be halted and the SKB-2 design bureau, led by Kotin, closed.[2] In 1942, this problem was partially addressed by the KV-1S tank, which had thinner armor than the original, making it lighter and faster. It was competitive with the T-34 but at the cost of no longer having the heavier armor. Production of the KV-1S was gradually replaced by the SU-152[3] and ended in April 1943.[4]

The capture of a German Tiger tank in January 1943 led to a decision to develop a new heavy tank, which was given the codename Object 237.[5] Before the Object 237 had time to mature, intense tank fighting in the summer of 1943 demanded a response. Dukhov's team was instructed to create a stopgap KV tank, the KV-85, which was armed with the 52-K-derivative gun of the SU-85, the 85 mm D-5T, that proved capable of penetrating the Tiger I from 500 m (550 yd). The KV-85 was created by mounting an Object 237 turret on a KV-1S hull. To accommodate the Object 237 turret, the KV-1S hull was modified, increasing the diameter of the turret ring with fillets on the sides of the hull. The radio operator was replaced with an ammunition rack for the larger 85 mm ammunition. The hull MG was then moved to the opposite side of the driver and fixed in place to be operated by the driver. From September to October 1943, a total of 130 KV-85s were produced, before the assembly lines began to shift over. Like the KV-1S, the KV-85 served in dwindling numbers and was quickly overshadowed by the superior IS Stalin series.[6]

The Object 237 prototype, a version of the cancelled KV-13, was accepted for production as the IS-85 heavy tank.[7] First deliveries were made in October 1943, and the tanks went immediately into service. Production ended in January 1944. Its designation was simplified to IS-1 after the introduction of the IS-122, later renamed as IS-2 for security purposes.[8]

Object 240 IS-2[edit]


By 1943 engineers had succeeded in mounting the 85 mm gun to the T-34 medium tank, making it as well-armed as the KV-85 heavy tank. Efforts to up-gun the IS-85 began in late 1943. Two candidate weapons were the D-25 122 mm tank gun, ballistic characteristics of which were identical to the A-19 122 mm gun,[9] and the D-10 100 mm gun, based on a naval dual-purpose gun. The D-10 had been designed for anti-tank fire and had better armor penetration than the A-19, but the smaller caliber meant it had a less useful high explosive round. Also, the D-10 was a relatively new weapon in short supply, while there was excess production capacity for the A-19 and its ammunition. Compared to the older F-34 76.2 mm tank gun, the D-25 delivered 5.37 times the muzzle energy.

After testing both the D-25 and D-10 on the IS-122, the former was selected as the main armament of the new tank. The D-25 used a separate shell and powder charge, resulting in a lower rate of fire compared to the single-piece ammunition used in most tanks, a serious disadvantage in tank-to-tank engagements. Soviet proving-ground tests showed that the D-25 could penetrate the front armor of the German Panther tank at 2,500 m (2,700 yd) while the D-10 could do so at a maximum range of 1,500 m (1,600 yd).[9][10] It was therefore considered an adequate anti-tank gun.

Projectiles and charges of the separate-loading ammunition of the A-19/D-25T 122mm gun. Left to right: cartridge case, high-explosive/fragmentation shell OF-471, armor-piercing high explosive shell BR-471, armor-piercing ballistic capped shell BR-471B. All shells are shown from two sides.

A Wa Pruef 1 Report dated 5 October 1944 has data on the penetration ranges of the 122 mm A-19 gun against a Panther tank angled at 30 degrees; this estimated that the A-19 gun was unable to penetrate the glacis plate of the Panther from any distance, could penetrate the lower glacis plate from 100 m (110 yd), could penetrate the mantlet from 500 m (550 yd) and could penetrate the front turret from 1,500 m (1,600 yd).[11] The Panther's 40–50 mm (1.6–2.0 in) thick side armor would have been exposed and vulnerable at such an angle; the sides at 30 degrees were penetrable from over 3,500 m (3,800 yd) according to the same Wa Pruef 1 report.[11] Testing with captured Tiger Ausf Bs in Kubinka showed that the 122 mm D-25T was capable of penetrating the Tiger Ausf B's turret from 1,000–1,500 m (1,100–1,600 yd) and the weld joint or edges of the front hull plates at ranges of 500–600 m (550–660 yd).[12] In 1944 the BR-471 was the sole armor-piercing round available. An improved version, the BR-471B (БР-471Б) was developed in early 1945, but was available in quantity only after World War II ended.[citation needed]

According to the same Wa Pruef 1 report, it was estimated that at 30 degree obliquity the hull armor of the Soviet IS-2 model 1943 would be defeated by Tiger I between 100 and 300 m (0.062 and 0.186 mi) at the driver's front plate and nose,[13] while the IS-2's 122 mm gun would penetrate the Tiger's front armor from between 500 and 1,500 m (0.31 and 0.93 mi).[13] A Panther had to close to 600 m (660 yd) to guarantee penetration of the IS-2's frontal armor (The Panther's 75 mm gun could penetrate the IS-2 model 1943's mantlet from 400 m (440 yd), front turret from 800 m (870 yd), and driver's front plate from 600 m (660 yd)[14]), while the IS-2 could penetrate the Panther at ranges of 1,000 m (1,100 yd).[15][Notes 1] However, in the summer of 1944, the Germans experienced a shortage of manganese and had to switch to using high-carbon steel alloyed with nickel, which made armor very brittle, especially at the seam welds. The performance of the 122 mm AP shells of the IS-2 against the Panther improved considerably. The reports from the front described cases where the BR-471 APHE round 122 mm projectile fired from 2,500 meters ricocheted off the front armor of a Panther, leaving gaping holes and cracks in it.[16][unreliable source?]

Line drawing of IS-2

The large 122 mm HE shell was its main asset, proving highly useful and destructive as an infantry-killer. In extremis the IS-2 engaged enemy heavy armor with OF-471 (ОФ-471) high explosive projectiles. These shells had a mass of 25 kg, a muzzle velocity of 800 m/s, and were equipped with a 3.8 kg TNT charge. When fired at German tanks at any range, OF-471 caused cracking and could even completely tear off the front armor plate at the seam weld.[17][18] Mechanical shock and explosion was often enough to knock out enemy heavy tanks without any armor penetration[17]

The most recognizable disadvantage of the D-25T gun was its slow rate of fire due to the large size and weight of the shells; only one to one and a half rounds per minute could be fired, initially.[19] After some design improvements, including a semi-automatic drop breech over the previously manual screw breech, the rate of fire increased to 2–3 rounds per minute.[19] According to Steven Zaloga, the increase amounted to 3–4 rounds per minute.[20] Another limitation imposed by the size of its ammunition in a relatively small vehicle was the ammunition stowage; only 28 rounds could be carried inside the tank, with a complement of 20 HE rounds and 8 AP rounds the norm.[21][22]


The IS-122 prototype replaced the IS-85 and began mass production as the IS-2. The 85 mm guns could be reserved for the new T-34-85 medium tank and some of the IS-1s built were rearmed before leaving the factory and issued as IS-2s. It was slightly lighter and faster than the heaviest KV model 1942 tank, with thicker front armor and a much-improved turret design. The tank could carry thicker armor than the KV series, while remaining lighter, due to the better layout of the armor envelope. The KV's armor was less well-shaped and featured heavy armor even on the rear, while the IS series concentrated its armor at the front. The IS-2 was slightly lighter than the Panther, much lighter than the Tiger I and Tiger II and had a lower silhouette than both. Western observers tended to criticize Soviet tanks for their lack of finish and crude construction. The Soviets argued that it was warranted, considering the need for wartime expediency and the typically short battlefield life of their tanks.[23]

Armor plan of IS-2, models 1943 and 1944 top and bottom, respectively.

Early IS-2s can be identified by the 'stepped' front hull casting with its small, opening driver's visor. The early tanks lacked gun tube travel locks or anti-aircraft machine guns and had narrow mantlets. According to Steven Zaloga, the IS-2[15] and Tiger I could knock each other out in normal combat distances below 1,000 m (1,100 yd). At any range, the performance of each tank against each other was dependent on the crew and combat situation.[24]

In late 1944, the stepped hull front was replaced with an improved single casting of 120 mm thickness angled at 60 degrees. This new nose lacked the opening driver's visor. It is sometimes incorrectly referred to as the IS-2M, but that designation actually refers to a much later modernization program from the 1950s. Other minor upgrades included the addition of a travel lock on the hull rear, wider mantlet and, on very late models, an anti-aircraft machine gun.

In the mid-1950s, the remaining IS-2 tanks (mostly model 1944 variants) were upgraded to the IS-2M standard, which introduced fittings such as external fuel tanks on the rear hull (the basic IS-2 had these only on the hull sides), stowage bins on both sides of the hull and protective skirting along the top edges of the tracks.

Object 703 IS-3[edit]


There are two tanks known as IS-3: Object 244 was an IS-2 rearmed with the long-barrelled 85 mm cannon (D-5T-85-BM) and developed by LKZ (in Leningrad), which was never series-produced for service use.

Object 703 was developed in late 1944 by ChTZ (in Chelyabinsk) and left the factory shop in May 1945.[25] This tank had an improved armour layout, and a semi-hemispherical cast turret (resembling an upturned soup bowl) which became the hallmark of post-war Soviet tanks. While this low, hemispherical turret improved protection, it also significantly diminished the headroom, especially for the loader. The low turret also limited the maximum depression of the main gun, since the gun breech had little room inside the turret to elevate, and this limited the extent to which the IS-3 could take advantage of hull-down positions compared to higher Western tanks.[26] The IS-3's pointed prow earned it the nickname Shchuka (Pike) by its crews. It weighed slightly less and stood 30 centimetres (12 in) lower than previous versions. Wartime production resulted in many mechanical problems and a hull weldline that had a tendency to crack open.[27]

The IS-3 came too late to see action in World War II. The first public demonstration of the IS-3 came on 7 September 1945 during the Allied victory parade on Charlottenburger Straße in Berlin, with the heavily reinforced 71st Guards Heavy Tank Regiment of the 2nd Guards Tank Army.[25] Starting in 1960, the IS-3 was slightly modernized as the IS-3M, in a manner similar to the IS-2M.

Object 701 IS-4[edit]


There are two tanks known as IS-4: Objekt 245 and Objekt 701. Objekt 245 was an IS-2 rearmed with a long 100 mm D-10T cannon. The other IS-4 was a new vehicle projected by LKZ in parallel with the IS-3 known as Objekt 701 by the same design and development bureau. For the latter, the IS-2 hull was lengthened, with an extra set of road wheels added and an improved engine. Both hull and turret armor were increased. Several alternative armaments were explored in paper studies but ultimately the IS-2's original 122 mm gun was retained. An effort was also made to make use of technical data derived from study of the German wartime Panzer V Panther tank, which influenced the layout of the Objekt 701's engine cooling system. The tank was approved for mass production from 1947 to 1949 but, due to disappointing speed and mobility, only 250 were built. Most of these were transferred to the Russian Far East. In 1949, production was cancelled and later these tanks were removed from service.

Object 252/253 IS-6[edit]

There existed two different IS-6s: the Object 253 was an attempt to develop a practical electrical transmission system for heavy tanks. Similar systems had been tested previously in France and the United States and had been used with some success in the German Elefant/Ferdinand tank destroyer during World War II. The experimental transmission proved unreliable and was dangerously prone to overheating, and development was discontinued. The alternative Object 252 shared the same hull and turret as the Object 253, but used a different suspension with no return rollers, and a conventional mechanical transmission. The design was deemed to offer no significant advantages over the IS-2, just the reload time was less, and the IS-6 project was halted.

Object 260 IS-7[edit]

An IS-7 tank during trials (1948)

The IS-7 heavy tank was developed in 1948.[28][29] Weighing 68 tonnes, thickly armoured and armed with a 130 mm S-70 long-barrelled gun, it was the largest and heaviest member of the IS family.[30] The armour was engineered in a similar fashion to the IS-3, with a pike nose on the upper glacis. When shot at frontally, the extreme angle that the pike nose presents results in a much higher likelihood of a ricochet. Thus, the armour protection could be enhanced without having to use excessive amounts of materials. However, if the pike nose was shot at a sideways angle, it would not have a relative thickness high enough to ricochet the shell. In spite of its weight, it was easy to drive due to numerous hydraulic assists. The loaders noted that the IS-7 was comfortable and that the autoloader was easy to use. It was also able to achieve a top speed of 60 km/h thanks to a 1050-horsepower engine giving it a power to weight ratio of 15.4 hp/tonne, a ratio superior to most contemporary medium tanks. Its armour was not only immune to the Jagdtiger's 12.8 cm Pak 44 but was even proof to its own 130mm. Due to the reasons unknown, most likely because of the considerable issues arising from its mass (bridges, rail transport - no Soviet/Russian tank accepted into service afterwards exceeded 55 t), the tank never reached the production lines.[31][unreliable source?]

Object 730 T-10[edit]

The IS-10[32] (also known as Objekt 730) was the final development of the KV and IS tank series. It was accepted into service in 1952 as the IS-10,[32] but due to the political climate in the wake of Stalin's death in 1953, it was renamed T-10.

The biggest differences from its direct ancestor, the IS-3, were a longer hull, seven pairs of road wheels instead of six, a larger turret mounting a new gun with fume extractor, an improved diesel engine, and increased armour. General performance was similar, although the T-10 could carry more ammunition.

T-10s (like the earlier tanks they replaced) were deployed in independent tank regiments belonging to armies, and independent tank battalions belonging to divisions. These independent tank units could be attached to mechanized units, to support infantry operations and perform breakthroughs.

The T-10M is the final iteration of this type. It featured a longer gun barrel than previous models with 5-baffle muzzle brake and 14.5 mm machine gun. This was the last Soviet heavy tank to enter service. When the advanced T-64 MBT became available it replaced the T-10 in front line formations.


Soviet heavy tanks of World War II[33]
T-35 T-100 SMK KV-1
M1945 [clarification needed]
IS-3[34][unreliable source?][35]
Crew 11 7 7 5 5 5 5 4 4 4
Weight (tonnes) 45 58 55 43 45 47 42.5 46 46 46.5
Gun 76.2 mm
M. 27/32
76.2 mm
76.2 mm
76.2 mm
76.2 mm
76.2 mm
76.2 mm
85 mm
122 mm
122 mm
Ammunition 100 111 111 114 114 70 28 28
Secondary armament 2×45 mm
5×7.62 mm
45 mm 45 mm DT 4×DT 4×DT 4×DT 3×DT 3×DT, DShK 2×DT, DShK
Engine 500 hp
M-17M gasoline
500 hp 850 hp
600 hp
V-2K diesel
600 hp
600 hp
600 hp
600 hp
600 hp
600 hp
Fuel (litres) 910 600 600 600 975 975 820 520 + 270
Road speed (km/h) 30 35 36 35 35 28 45 40 37 37
Road range (km) 150 150 335 335 250 250 250 240 150 (225)
Armor (mm)[clarification needed] 11–30 20–70 20–60 25–75 30–90 20–130 30–82 30–160 30–160 20–220

Operational history[edit]

The IS-2 tank first saw combat in early 1944. IS-2s were assigned to the elite Guards Heavy Tank Regiments and had a total of 21 IS-2 tanks, formed into four companies with five tanks each.[36] These regiments were reserved for special purposes and offensive operations. They were often employed to spearhead tank attacks and to break through heavily fortified German defensive positions.[36] Their role included to support infantry in the assault and by using concentrated fire to destroy bunkers, buildings, dug-in crew-served weapons, and other 'soft' targets. They were also capable of taking on any German AFVs if required. Once a breakthrough was achieved, lighter, more mobile tanks would take over the exploitation.

The IS-2 tank first action was in February 1944 at Korsun-Shevchenkivskyi, Ukraine. A single unit of 10 IS-2s from the 72nd Regiment engaged and claimed to have destroyed no less than 41 German tank and SPGs (including many of Tiger I), three AFVs and 10 anti-tank gun in several engagements between April and May 1944, claiming the loss of eight IS-2 tanks.[37][unreliable source?] The 72nd Tank Regiment saw further action in the Vistula–Oder Offensive where, from January 14 to January 31, they destroyed 19 enemy tanks, 41 guns, 15 machine-gun points, 10 mortars and 12 dugouts, without any Soviet losses.[38][unreliable source?].

Frontal view of an IS-3. The squat, solid-looking front profile and pike nose armor shape are highly distinctive. US Army Ordnance Museum, Aberdeen Maryland (2008)

The 78th Tank Regiment, in the Battle of Debrecen (October 1944), destroyed 6 Tigers, 30 Panthers, 10 Panzer IV tanks, 1 Ferdinand, 24 self-propelled guns, 109 guns, 38 armored personnel carriers, 60 machine-gun points, 2 warehouses with ammunition and 12 aircraft at the airport. The losses of the regiment during this period: two IS-2 tanks were destroyed, and 16 more were damaged.[38][unreliable source?].

In the Vistula–Oder Offensive, The 72nd Tank Regiment was also successful. From January 14 to January 31, 1945, they destroyed 19 enemy tanks, 41 guns, 15 machine-gun points, 10 mortars and 12 dugouts, without any Soviet losses.[38][unreliable source?].

During the defense of the Narevsky bridgehead in January 1945 the crew of the one IS-2 tank (30th Guards heavy tank brigade) under the command of Lieutenant Ivan Ivanovich Khitsenko (Иван Иванович Хиценко) encountered a group of 10 Tiger I tanks. They destroyed 5 enemy tanks, before being killed by enemy fire .[37][unreliable source?]

The IS-2 proved to have surprisingly good anti-tank capabilities due to the D-25T's extremely heavy HE projectiles. Standard doctrine for purpose-built anti-tank guns of the period universally relied on small, dense solid projectiles propelled to high velocities, optimized for punching through armor. However, the 122mm HE shell would easily blow off the turret, driver sprocket and tread of the heaviest German tank even if it could not penetrate its armour.[17][18] Between 12 and 13 August 1944 (when the Tiger II was first used on the Eastern Front), up to six Tiger II were lost in Baranów Sandomierski to fire of Soviet IS-2 tanks, which opened fire HE shell at ranges from 700 to 1.000 meters, without any Soviet losses.[39][unreliable source?]

By the 1950s, the emergence of the main battle tank concept—combining medium-tank mobility with the firepower and armor of the heavy tank—had rendered heavy tanks obsolete. In the late 1960s the remaining Soviet heavy tanks were transferred to Red Army reserve service and storage. The IS-2 Model 1944 remained in active service much longer in the armies of Cuba, China and North Korea. A regiment of Chinese IS-2s was available for use in the Korean War, but saw no service there. In response to border disputes between the Soviet Union and China, some Soviet IS-3s were dug in as fixed pillboxes along the Soviet-Chinese border. The IS-3 was used in the 1956 Soviet invasion of Hungary and the Prague Spring in 1968.

Chinese IS-2 tanks in the country's 1956 National Day parade

During the early 1950s all IS-3s were modernized as IS-3M models. The Egyptian Army acquired about 100 IS-3M tanks from the Soviet Union.[40] During the Six Day War, a single regiment of IS-3M tanks was stationed with the Egyptian 7th Infantry Division at Rafah and the 125th Tank Brigade of the 6th Mechanized Division at Kuntilla was also equipped with about 60 IS-3M tanks.[40] Israeli infantry and paratrooper units had considerable difficulty with the IS-3M when it was encountered due to its thick armor, which shrugged off hits from normal infantry anti-tank weapons such as the bazooka.[40] Even the 90 mm AP shell fired by the main gun of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) M48 Patton tanks could not penetrate the frontal armor of the IS-3s at normal battle ranges.[40] There were a number of engagements between the M48A2 Pattons of the IDF 7th Armored Brigade and IS-3s supporting Egyptian positions at Rafah in which several M48A2s were knocked out in the fighting.[40] However, in one engagement between a battalion of IS-3s and 90 mm gun-armed M48A3's, 7 IS-3s were destroyed. The slow rate of fire, poor engine performance (the engine was not well suited to hot-climate operations), and rudimentary fire control of the IS-3s proved to be a significant handicap, and about 73 IS-3s were lost in the 1967 war.[40] Most Egyptian IS-3 tanks were withdrawn from service, though at least one regiment of IS-3 tanks was retained in service as late as the 1973 October war.[40] The IDF itself experimented with a few captured IS-3M tanks, but found them ill-suited to fast-moving desert tank warfare; those that were not scrapped were turned into stationary defensive pillbox emplacements in the Jordan River area.[40]

After the Korean War, China attempted to reverse-engineer the IS-2/IS-3 as the Type 122 medium tank. The project was cancelled in favor of the Type 59, a copy of the Soviet T-54A.


A stopgap model built from a modified KV-1S hull mated to an Object 237(IS-1)'s turret and armed with the 85 mm D-5T.[41]
IS-85 (IS-1)
1943 model armed with an 85 mm gun. When IS-2 production started, many were re-gunned with 122 mm guns before being issued.
A prototype version armed with a 100 mm gun; it went into trials against the IS-122 which was armed with a 122 mm gun. Though the IS-100 was reported to have better anti-armor capabilities, the latter was chosen due to better all-around performance.
IS-122 (IS-2 model 1943)
1943 model, armed with A-19 122 mm gun.
IS-2 model 1944 (sometimes "IS-2m")
1944 improvement with D25-T 122 mm gun, with faster-loading drop breech and new fire control, improved simpler hull front.
1950s modernization of IS-2 tanks.
1944 armor redesign, with new rounded turret, angular front hull casting, integrated stowage bins over the tracks. Internally similar to IS-2 model 1944, and produced concurrently. About 350 built during the war.
(1952) Modernized version of IS-3. Fitted with additional jettisonable external fuel tanks and improved hull welding.
1944 design, in competition against the IS-3. Longer hull and thicker armor than IS-2. About 250 were built, after the war.[42]
Prototype with an experimental electrical transmission. Chassis tested further with a conventional transmission after failure of the experimental system, but not deemed a significant enough improvement over existing heavy tank designs to warrant mass production.[43]
1946 prototype, only three built. The IS-7 model 1948 variant had a weight of 68 metric tons and it was armed with the 130 mm S-70 naval cannon (7020 mm long barrel). The automatic loader can achieve up to 8 rounds per minute. Other equipment included stabilizers, infrared night scopes, and 8 machine guns. The hull armor was 150 mm placed at 50-52 degree angles. On the turret, the frontal thickness was 240–350 mm at an angle of 45-0 degrees. The IS-7 had a crew of five, with the driver in the hull, the commander and gunner in the front of the turret, with both loaders in the rear of the turret. A Slostin machine gun was to be installed as its AA armament.[30][31]
[32] 1952 improvement with a longer hull, seven pairs of road wheels instead of six, a larger turret mounting a new gun with fume extractor, an improved diesel engine, and increased armor. Renamed T-10 as part of the Destalinization of the Soviet Union in the 1950s.


  • People's Liberation Army: 60 IS-2s delivered in 1950–1951. Operated during the Korean War and in concrete bunkers along the Sino-Soviet border.
  • Czechoslovak Army: 8 IS-2/IS-2M in service between 1945-1960. Two IS-3 delivered in 1949 were used only for trials and military parades.
  • Egyptian Army: 100 IS-3M operated from 1956-1967, some in use in the Six Day War 1967.
 Nazi Germany
  • IDF: IS-3M, 3 captured from Egypt in 1967. Reused as indirect fire artillery on the Sinai's Bar Lev line and as fixed turret bunkers fortifications along the Jordan Valley frontier.
 North Korea
  • Polish Land Forces: Approximately 71 IS-2s used in combat between 1944-1945. 180 IS-2s survived as of 1955, and remained in service until the 1960s; some later were converted to armoured recovery vehicles. Two IS-3s were bought in 1946 for trials only.
 South Ossetia
  • Red Army: Heavy Breakthrough Tank from 1944-1945.
  • Soviet Army: Phased out of service in the early-1970s.

Surviving vehicles[edit]

There are several surviving IS series tanks, with examples found at the following:

  • Os. Górali [standing tank], Kraków, Poland
  • Polish Army Museum, Warsaw, Poland
  • Museum of Arms in Fort Winiary, Poznań, Poland
  • Museum of Armoured Weapon in Training Center of Land Forces, Poznań, Poland (operational, see movie)
  • Tank Museum of the People's Liberation Army, Beijing, China.
  • Liberty Park, Overloon, The Netherlands.
  • Museum of The History of Ukraine in World War II, Ukraine
  • Kurzeme Fortress Museum, Zante, Latvia.
  • Diorama Battle of Kursk, in Belgorod, Russia.
  • IDF Armoured Corps Museum, Israel.
  • Museum of Armoured Arms, Training Center of Land Forces, Poznań, Poland (still operational)
  • Army Technical Museum, Lešany, Czech Republic (operational).[50]
  • Polish Army Museum, Warsaw, Poland. (Fort Czerniaków branch of the Museum).
  • National Armor and Cavalry Museum, Fort Benning, Georgia, United States.
  • Victory Park in the northern part of Ulyanovsk, Russia.
  • Ulyanovskoe SVU, Ulyanovsk, Russia
  • Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and of Military History, Brussels, Belgium. (still operational)
  • Military Glory Museum, Gomel, Belarus.
  • Diorama Battle of Kursk, in Belgorod, Russia.
  • At least one IS-3 is being used by the separatist government in Donbass.


See also[edit]

Tanks of comparable role, performance and era[edit]

  • German Tiger I heavy tank – comparable to IS-1/IS-85
  • German Tiger II heavy tank – comparable to IS-2 model 1944 and IS-3
  • United States M26 Pershing medium tank – comparable to IS-2 model 1944
  • British Centurion heavy cruiser tank
  • British Conqueror heavy tank designed after World War II
  • French AMX 50 prototype heavy tank – comparable to IS-2 model 1944 and IS-3


  1. ^ The German military intelligence journal for tank crews "Nachrichtenblatt der Panzertruppen Nr.12, June 1944 p. 34" reported that the IS-2 could be successful attacked at approximately 500 m at the angle of 30 degrees. This calculation was derived from firing tables "Pz. Beschusstafel" created against the KV-85. Steven Zaloga makes therefore an unfavorable comparison (30° to 90° for the range of destruction) for the Panther over its adversary


  1. ^ Zaloga 1984, p 176.
  2. ^ Zaloga 1994, p. 4.
  3. ^ Zaloga 1996, p. 44.
  4. ^ Zaloga 1996, p. 42.
  5. ^ Zaloga 1994, p. 5.
  6. ^ Zaloga 1996, p. 45.
  7. ^ Zaloga 1994, p. 6.
  8. ^ Zaloga 1994, p. 7.
  9. ^ a b Tolochkov; Volosatov (September 12, 1944). "Report on the results of testing of the 100 mm and the 122 mm tank guns at the Kubinka proving grounds". The Russian Battlefield. Retrieved 27 October 2014. 
  10. ^ Zaloga 1984:172
  11. ^ a b Jentz, Thomas (1995). Germany's Panther Tank: The Quest for Combat Supremacy. Schiffer Military History. p. 128. ISBN 0887408125. 
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  13. ^ a b Jentz & Doyle 1993, pp. 19–20.
  14. ^ Jentz 1995, p. 128
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  21. ^ Zaloga 1984:175
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  44. ^ Das letzte Jahr der deutschen Heeres 1944-1945 " von Wolfgang Fleischer / Podzun-Pallas Verlag
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  • Baryatinsky, Mikhail (2006). The IS Tanks. Hersham, Surrey: Ian Allen Publishing. ISBN 0711031622; (13)9780711031623
  • Glantz, David M.; House, DJonathan M. (2015). When Titans Clashed. How the Red Army Stopped Hitler (revised and expanded (Kindle) ed.). University Press of Kansas. ISBN 978-0-7006-2152-1. 
  • Jentz, Thomas (1995). Germany's Panther Tank: The Quest for Combat Supremacy. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing. ISBN 0-88740-812-5
  • Jentz, Tom; Doyle, Hillary (1993). Tiger 1 Heavy Tank 1942–45. illustrated by Sarson, Peter. Osprey. ISBN 978-1-85532-337-7. 
  • Perrett, Bryan (1987). Soviet Armour Since 1945. London: Blandford Press. ISBN 0-7137-1735-1. 
  • Sewell, Stephen ‘Cookie’ (2002). “Red Star – White Elephant?” in Armor, July–August 2002, pp 26–32. Fort Knox, KY: US Army Armor Center. ISSN 0004-2420
  • Zaloga, Steven (1994). IS-2 Heavy Tank 1944-1973. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-85532-396-4. 
  • Zaloga, Steven (1996). KV-1 & 2 Heavy Tanks 1939–1945. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-8553-2496-1. 
  • Zaloga, Steven; James Grandsen (1984). Soviet Tanks and Combat Vehicles of World War Two. London: Arms and Armour Press. ISBN 0-85368-606-8. 
  • Железный марш [Iron March] (in Russian). 

External links[edit]