For the Record: Buff My Tank: KV-1S/IS
Disclaimer: the contents of these articles merely illustrate the resources available for a historically accurate buff. This article does not imply that these changes should happen or will happen, either in combination or individually. Please pay attention to this disclaimer before being butthurt in the comments, thanks in advance.* Earlier this week, I did an article on the KV-1 tank. I was going to do the Kirov trinity in one go, but the KV-1 had enough material to stand on its own. The KV-1S and IS are too intertwined, however, so they will have to share an article. Let’s start with the small stuff: armour. The KV-1S actually has less armour than the KV-1, as the tank was supposed to be lighter. However, there were KV-1S tanks with as much protection as the KV-1. Due to a shortage of hulls, 70 KV-1Ses were built with KV-1 hulls. That’s a bit of a boost, I guess. The IS can get a bit more of an increase. The IS tank in the game is an IS-2 model 1943, with the same zig-zagging armour scheme as the KV-1. The armour plating thickness was 120 mm at 60 degrees from horizontal on the topmost plate (effective 139 mm), then 60 mm at 16 degrees from horizontal (effective 217 mm), and then 100 mm at 60 degrees from horizontal for the lower glacis (effective 115 mm). On December 21st, 1943, the “autobounce shelf” was thickened to 70 mm (effective 254 mm). In June of 1944, a change was made to straighten the hull, much like the T-34′s, in what is known as “IS-2 model 1944″ (and not IS-2M, like it is erroneously named in so many English language sources). Both cast and welded versions of this hull had 120 mm of armour at 30 degrees from horizontal (effective 240 mm) and the same 100 mm at 60 degrees from horizontal on the lower glacis. Upgrading the hull to the model 1944 standard would increase the armour everywhere but that one thin strip of the hull that is presented at a very high slope. That’s an almost two-fold increase for the majority of the upper glacis. The post-war modernization of the tank, which was actually called the IS-2M, also increased the ammunition capacity of the tank to 35 shells, but that’s another minor buff for a stat not many people care about. The top speed should be 37 kph, instead of 34 in-game. The gun could get a lot better, too. The D-25T had superior accuracy and comparable penetration*compared to the 88 mm L/71, even though it’s vastly inferior in both categories in game (SerB: “If we give the D-25 its real characteristics, there will be no tanks other than Soviet tanks left in the game“). However, that’s the gun that the tank actually had. This is World of Tanks. We can go further. OKB-172 developed a gun for the IS and KV tanks (the date on the document indicates that this was most likely the KV-1S) known as OBM-51, ballistically identical to another gun, the OBM-50. These names probably don’t mean anything to you, but you should know the gun by another name: BL-9. That’s right, the top gun on the IS-3 tier 8 tank was historically built for the KV-1S, a tier 6 tank. But it gets better. You know that gun the IS-4 has that’s entirely ahistorical, the M-62-T2? Did you ever wonder why it has it? Historically, the gun replaced the D-25T on the IS-8. The plan was to use that gun as a replacement for*all D-25T guns, on every tank. This includes the IS-2, and, since the KV-1S could take the IS-2 turret, KV-1S. Bam. Tier 10 gun on tier 6 tank, or a tier 7 tank with 240 mm effective armour on the front. So the next time you complain how the KV-1S is made up of Russian Bias, think about how bad it could have been if SerB was really out to get you.