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Osprey New Vanguard 17 : KV-1 and 2 Heavy Tanks 1939-1945
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Osprey New Vanguard 17 : KV-1 and 2 Heavy Tanks 1939-1945

This book examines in detail the design, development and operational history of the Soviet Union's monstrous KV series of tanks. Named after Klimenti Voroshilov, the People's Commissar for Defence, the KVs were slow and unmanoeuvrable but extremely heavily armoured. They proved a nasty surprise for German tank crews during the early days of Operation Barbarossa, but were increasingly outclassed as the war progressed, ultimately being replaced by the even more powerful Iosef Stalin series. Russian military thought on tank design between the mid-thirties and the end of World War 2 is discussed: the author examines the transition from multi-turreted tanks to heavy single-turret vehicles, consisting of the KV-1 and 2, and then the increased favour given to the heavy single-turret after the Germans began to develop ammunition using the HEAT principle capable of penetrating even the thickest armour. The shortcomings of the KV-1 and 2 are examined, including the poor turret layout, slow speed and lack of crew training which limited their effectiveness. On the other hand the tanks' strengths and successes are also given space: notable is the account of the single virtually impervious KV which played a prominent role in delaying the advance of Panzergruppe 4 on Leningrad in 1941. Variants of these enormous tanks are also looked at, including an ingeniously designed flame-throwing version and an assault gun. Text by Steven Zaloga and Jim Kinnear with illustrations by Peter Sarson.

    Contents
  • Design and Development
  • Inside the KV-1
  • Operational History
  • Improvements in Armament
  • Variants
  • Tactical Problems

 

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