The T-34/76 first saw action in late 1941, and was a significant leap forward in tank design – a rugged, no-nonsense anatomy and wide tracks enabled it to cope with the mud and snow of the Eastern Front. It married the perfect combination of thick, sloped armour and an efficient gun, along with extreme sturdiness, reliability, ease of manufacturing and maintenance.
The T-34 series, with its sloping armour, changed the principles of tank design during the war. The sloping, angular layout of the T-34 increased the effective armour thickness and also saw a larger proportion of shells deflected away than penetrated its armour. The introduction of the T-34 into action saw German tank design follow suit with similarly angled armour on the likes of the Panther and King Tiger. As German tank design came to the fore, the Soviet war machine once again raised the bar with the T-34/85.
What do you do when you are told to upgrade an already giant metal monster that took a whole new generation of tank to actually deal with? You make it bigger and make it louder. The IS-2 is that very same beast, made as a competent replacement for the KV series and it was a far better designed machine than its predecessor.
The KV-1 is a huge monster of a vehicle weighing at 45 tonnes it was one of Russia’s first heavy breed of tanks used within the second world war, it was famed for it’s near impregnability. The German anti-tank weaponry of the time had nearly no way of penetrating its armour, only the lack of training and manoeuvrability allowing it to fall foul of superior German tactics.