Soviet heavy tank KV-2 (KW-2)
“… There was a hollow rumble across the ground, and on the outskirts of the village of Sitna, huge armored vehicles of an unusual bright yellow color have appeared. Blinking tongues of shots, slowly rolled towards us.
Rheinmetall! – I guessed, recalling the silhouettes of the German tank in the school album. "Heavy, the gun seventy-five, simple shot eight hundred, armor forty ... "
So, 45-mm gun of our BT is unlikely to penetrate the frontal armor of such a tank … But there was nowhere to withdraw.
– get ready! Fire! – I threw it to the mechanic and stuck to the sight. Hoping, that I will be able to overtake them, I placed the sight on the rib tower and depressed the descent pedal.
You can hear the thunder of the gunshot. Instead of the tower, a cloud of smoke swirls in front of our eyes.
"What an obsession? Where is the tank? – I think. – And why is the pedal so tight? I look at my feet – or horror! A case is stuck under the trigger pedal. So I wasn't shooting? ”
I look through the hatch. In place of, where the German tank stood, a black stain smoked, and all around are distorted armor, and behind the huge tower of our KW it turns right confidently. Here it turns out, who shot!
Meanwhile, the KV was occupied by another enemy vehicle. Shot, explosion – another tower flies away, the body slips off. A shot is heard from behind the ridge. The daredevil's armor splashes a beam of sparks, and the missile ricochets over our heads. In response, the shot of the KV – and another heavy German tank staggered, he crouched down and seemed to grunt in surprise … ”
Thus, the Hero of the Soviet Union G. Penezhko recalled his first encounter with the heavy Soviet tank KV-2.
During the war, few knew about this car. Fame came to the armored hero with a huge turret and a powerful short-barreled rifle much later, when many guests of the Central Museum of the Armed Forces of the USSR saw him at the exhibition.
The need for such tanks arose at the end of the years 30. It was then that the battles on the Mannerheim Line during the Soviet-Finnish conflict revealed the limited ability of our tank equipment to break through long-standing defenses with reinforced concrete firing posts and caps. On the one hand, the 45-mm guns of the T-26 and BT tanks could not, according to their ballistics data, suppress sheltered firing points. On the other hand, the bulletproof armor did not allow these vehicles to get close to the shooting ranges, ensuring reliable fire damage. Even the 76 mm gun of the new experimental KV-1 tank did not fully solve this problem. It was also impossible to direct large-caliber field cannons into direct fire – The terrain conditions and the influence of enemy fire according to undisguised calculations disturbed.
They were looking for a way out in creating self-propelled installations, dressed in armor, with caliber guns 152, 130, 210, 230 mm. As part of the "Big Triplex" program, Soviet designers developed a number of experimental vehicles, both based on the existing T-35 heavy tanks, as with an independent chassis, which received the general name "self-propelled artillery installations". Such were the SU-14Br-2 and SU-100Y ("Igrek"). The first was equipped with a howitzer 152 mm. The second was armed with a cannon 130 mm. However, the prototypes turned out to be cumbersome, little maneuverable and, most importantly, not resistant to anti-tank artillery fire. All this made it difficult to effectively use their firepower. An unexpected solution was proposed by the main developer of the KV-1 anti-tank tank, Nikolai Leonidovich Dukhov. He undertook to install a 152-mm howitzer on his heavy tank, which has already demonstrated immunity to anti-tank missiles in combat operations against Finnish troops.
This has never happened before! caliber 76 mm was considered the best for tanks – it was the F-32 gun, which was installed on the KV-1. There were many doubts: whether the car will overturn after being fired, whether the chassis and gearbox can withstand the heavy load, will the tower fall?
Nevertheless, they decided to make a new tank. Basis, KV-1 tank, has already been tested. The wide tracks rested on six steel track rollers and three support rollers. Driving wheels, that is, as they were called then, The "stars" were at the stern, where the engine and gearbox were located. The torsion bar suspension and planetary shuttle mechanisms have proven to be reliable and insensitive.
New, high-speed V-2K diesel engine with power 600 KM at 2000 rpm. according to. of the Trashutin project was distinguished by increased reliability. Armor, which he achieved 75 mm in front of the fuselage, it was not penetrated by anti-tank missiles from any distance. To mount a 152-mm ML-20S gun in a tank, it was necessary to make a high tower, which increased the front ejection of the vehicle and slightly reduced the speed – not the main quality. Its task is to strengthen the firepower of main battle tanks.
The crew of the KV-2 consisted of 6 people. There was a commander in the command department, driver-mechanic and radio operator-machine gunner with a DT machine gun. The specificity of the ML-20S service was, apart from the gunner and loader, also the slide (because the lock was of the piston type, it did not open or close automatically).
The first tests in the factory dashboard dispelled all doubts: the strength of the structure was sufficient. Preparation of two experimental KV-2 tanks for shipment to the front began.