The Kliment Voroshilov series of tanks were one of the best armored vehicles in the earlier stages of World War II. The Kliment Voroshilov series, known simply as the KV series, were a series of Soviet tanks manufactured during the earlier half of the Second World War, and were very effective against early Nazi armor. Built as primarily a replacement to the disappointing massive multi-turreted T-35 tank (designed in the 1920s as a break-through tank) the earlier and most produced KV tank, known as the KV-1, featured extensive armor and a powerful 76mm cannon, like that of the T-34. The KV series, however, didn’t last as long as the T-34, given that the T-34 was a simpler design, and that the T-34 performed just as well, and even exceeded the KV’s in some respects. However, the KV series did help slow the Wehrmacht armies in Operation Barbarossa and came in many variants, which helped the Soviet tank industry along.
The Kliment Voroshilov-1 (named after the political commissar of the same name) came about after the disappointing T-35 giant, a well-armed and armored tank, but extremely slow and horrendously un-maneuverable, and difficult for the crews to escape out of in an emergency. This, along with experience cultivated in the Spanish Civil War in 1936-1939, called for a new main battle tank, one with strong armor and armament, like the T-35, but not as sluggish or impractical. The KV-1 wasn’t the only design submitted; several others were submitted to the government, the two main competitors being the SMK and the T-100. The SMK was essentially a twin-turreted version of the KV-1 tank, almost a hybrid between the KV-1 and earlier T-35. There is little information of the T-100 available, but what could be recovered stated that it was similar to the SMK in design.
With the world plunged into war, the Soviet government felt it was appropriate to take the three designs by each firm and test them in battle. In August of 1939, just before the invasion of Poland, the Nazi and Soviet governments both signed the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, a treaty of cooperation. In this treaty, land was guaranteed to the Soviet government, including that of Finland. It was this invasion of Finland that began the Winter War of 1939-1940. In this brief war, each of the three submitted designs, built in extremely low quantities (as in one or two apiece) were placed in battle, testing their strengths and weaknesses. Eventually, due to its advantage of its smaller size and being more maneuverable, the KV-1 was chosen for mass-production.
The KV-1 was the main variant of the KV series, and the most produced. Yet there are still some variants worthy of mention. The next KV tank in line was the stupendous KV-2, a massive tank designed for artillery purposes. This tank shared the chassis of the KV-1, but had, instead of the average KV-1 turret, had a giant box frame as a turret, housing a massive 152mm D-10T Howitzer cannon. Since these tanks were not the most practical, only 300 were produced, making it one Continue reading Tanks in History That Made The News