IS-2: performance, variants, cost, units.

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Alejandro_
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IS-2: performance, variants, cost, units.

Post by Alejandro_ » 25 Aug 2009 18:16

I open this topic to compile information on the IS-2. There are quite a few publications and websites like battlefield.ru, armor.kiev.ua and so on. I will start with a report on IS-2/ISU-152 deployment:
Indications
The military council
the 1st Ukrainian front
on the combat use
tank regiments IS -122 and
the self-propelled artillery regiments
IS -152
(On May 29, 1944.)


Copy:
SOV. SECRETLY

“I ASSERT”

Commander-in-chief of forces
the 1st Ukrainian front
Marshal of the Soviet Union
Konev Member of the military council
the 1st Ukrainian front
the lieutenant general
K. [KRAYNYUKOV]

On May 29, 1944.


Only: By commanders OF [BT] and mV by the armies
Commanding of the tank armies
To commander OF [BT] and mV KA

INDICATIONS
ON THE COMBAT USE OF TANK REGIMENTS IS -122 AND SELF-PROPELLED
ARTILLERY REGIMENTS [ISU]-152

The practice of the combat employment of heavy tank and self-propelled artillery regiments showed that the tanks IS -122 and ISU-152are the best combat means with the heavy tanks of enemy (“the Tigris”, “panther”), with his self-propelled units (“Ferdinand”), and also combat means with the artillery of enemy and destruction BUNKER and DOT.
Tank regiments IS -122 and self-propelled artillery regiments ISU-152are given for the strengthening to the predominantly tank, mechanized and in certain cases rifle corps.

Combat employment of tank regiments IS -122 and self-propelled artillery regiments ISU-152in the composition of the tank and mechanized compounds gives large combat effect, which is confirmed by the military operations of these regiments in the composition of the 1st Ukrainian front.

The I. examples of the combat use of tanks IS -122 and self-propelled units [ISU]-152
Enemy, beginning with 14.4.44 g., repeatedly attacks the parts of 135 SD and 53 guard tank [Fastovskie] red banner of the order of Bogdan [Khmelnitskiy] of the 2nd degree of brigade with the task of bursting open from the direction fortification, To [kupchintse] to its surrounded group in [Tarnopole].

On the night on 16.4.44 g. in the section of 53 [gv]. [TBr] arrived 11 [GTTP] IS -122: three companies of regiment took up defense in the southwestern and western outskirts To [pochapintse]. One company, attached into the subordination of the commander of 53 [GTBr], was located after the battle formations of medium tanks with the task by fire from stationary position of supporting the actions of medium tanks.
In 10.30 16.4.44 g. the enemy by forces to 25 tanks and two battalions of infantry, while into 16.00 the same day forces to 40 tanks attacked our parts.

With the price of large losses for enemy it was possible to make room the battle formations of 53 [GTBr].
Heavy tanks (one company), being located beyond the battle formations of medium tanks, opened sudden intensive fire from stationary position at the distance of 1500-2000 m on the tanks of enemy. As a result the artillery attack are burnt 13 tanks of enemy (of them three “Tigris” even ten “panthers”). Especially they differed in this battle the crew of the heavy tank of guards of Lieutenant comrade [Vovk], who lined 4 tanks of enemy, of them one “Tigris”, and the crew of guards of Lieutenant [Timokhin], who lined three tanks of enemy, also, of them one “Tigris”.
The attack of enemy was repelled, and his remaining tanks went away to the initial position.
72 [GTTP], attached for the strengthening 11 [GTK], obtained the task of acting from the ambushes in the second echelon from 1.5 to 2 km from the front edge of our troops: it engaged ambushes in the region of the farmsteads the North Of [gerasimuv].
11 hours 20.4.44 g. the enemy broke through the defense of our troops in the section To [podvertse], [Zhivachuv]: heavy and medium tanks continued advance to the southeast. Our tanks IS -122 from the distance of 1.5 km opened direct fire. As a result fire at the first moment of battle it was set fire by 6 and are hit 3 tanks of enemy, of them 6 “tigers”.
At dawn 21.4 tanks took up defense on the front edge, after the reverse slopes of heights, being advanced to the deliberate [poluzakrytye] positions. Tanks covered by infantry of 40 [GTBr] and by regular sub-machine gunners.
In two days of combat the regiment lined and destroyed 25 tanks of the enemy 399 [gv]. [TSAP] arrived at the disposal of the commander of 11 [GTK] into [Nazviska] and 7 hours was engaged OP in the section of 27 [MSBr] with the task allowing the breakthrough of the tanks of enemy from the direction Of [zhivachuv] to [Nazviska], [Gerasimuv].
In 12.00 20.4.44 g. after artillery preparation the tanks of enemy in a quantity of 7 units went over to the attack on the battle formations of 27 [MSBr] and rifle regiments.

Batteries opened the fire from distance 1400-1500 m. From the first shots several tanks of enemy caught fire. Rest, in spite of the fire of self-propelled units, suffering losses, approached batteries, trying to go around the flanks of regiment. On the left flank of 10 tanks of enemy they left to the flank and they began to go around OP of battery. For the liquidation of the threat it was by 9 advanced the backup battery, which lined three tanks by the first shots. The remained tanks of enemy hurried to be hidden.

Regiment for 7 hours conducted the stressed battle according to the reflection of the attacks of tanks and infantry of enemy. As a result attack [zakhlebnulas], enemy was stopped on the boundary of the highway Of [zhivachuv] - [Nazviska].

Losses of the enemy: 13 tanks (6 burnt and 7 hit) and to 100 soldiers and officers.
Heavy tank [yulki] and self-propelled units, acting under the cover of infantry and medium tanks, in four days of combat inflicted to enemy significant loss, after lining and after destroying 85 tanks of enemy.
THE II. The combat employment of official regiments IS -122
and self-propelled artillery regiments ISU-152
Passability, armor protection, mobility and constant readiness for opening fire make possible for self-propelled units to accompany tank and infantry units and to lend them constant and effective support by powerful fire.
Tanks IS -122 and self-propelled units ISU-152conduct direct fire to the distance to 2000 m. effective fire it is achieved to the distance of 1500 m and it is nearer.

Tanks conduct fire from the stoppages, from those opened, [poluzakrytykh] also on the possibility of sheltered firing positions. Tanks and self-propelled units follow the battle formations of medium tanks or infantry from one position to another, combining fire and maneuver, in this case they are not torn off from the battle formations. The delay of tanks and SU interfere withs their battlefield surveillance and knowledge of combat situation, which leads to late opening fire. In all forms battle the flanks of heavy tank subdivisions and parts must be covered by medium tanks or infantry with the artillery.
Furthermore, each heavy tank and SU must have direct cover from the sub-machine gunners.
The skillful use of a locality increases the effectiveness of weapon, decreases the losses and facilitates surprise fire attack on the enemy. Area relief, upper layer of soil and passability have a significant influence on the mobility and a battle of heavy tanks and SU. Swamps, wide deep streams and creeks, wet meadows are the heavily passable obstacles; therefore it is especially important to in proper time find out them.

Terrain reconnaissance and battlefield must begin from the moment of obtaining the operations order and it must not cease during entire battle. The tasks of terrain reconnaissance is the establishment of the passability of the terrain and roads, the presence of bridges and their load capacity, establishment of the possibility of the concealed rapprochement with the enemy, selection of the footholds and shelters. In the phase of combat the reconnaissance must mainly ensure from the surprise attacks of the tanks of enemy and refine objects and purposes for the fire of tanks and SU.
Thorough battlefield surveillance is necessary. In the regiment observe the staff officers from the observation points and connection ([PNS]), with Np of the commander of formation, to whom is attached the regiment. The commanders of machines and the commanders of subdivisions observe from the combat vehicles or out of the machine, leaving (creeping out) forward. The results of observation from the battlefield immediately must be transferred to regiment-commander for radio or to connected.

The connection of regiment-commander with the company commanders (batteries) is achieved on the radio, by connected, also, by means of the rockets. Wire-pulling of other branches of services (with whom it interacts) increases the reliability of control. In combat fire commands are, as a rule, transferred by the plain text, moreover the designation of subdivisions and parts, surname and the posts of commanders compulsorily are coded. First of all regiment-commander appears coupling constant with the connection, to which it is attached. In the process of battle it must be located in the battle formations of regiment, hence it can directly govern its companies (batteries), while at the decisive moment by a personal example more rapidly act on its battle formations.

1. March
Regiment-commander and its staff ensure the free bringing of march by the thorough reconnaissance of route and places for the arrangement.
The speed of motion along good roads 20 km an hour, with the average speed not below 15 km an hour, on the mountainous country 10 km in hour weather and the special feature of roads cause significant fluctuations in the speed. With the march on the mountainous country, along the twisted roads with the sharp turns, with the descents should be assigned the more prolonged periods of march, since stoppages for the technical inspections must be assigned through the shorter time intervals. Regiment accomplishes march by companies ([pobatareyno]). One company (battery) follows for another after the specific time interval. Under the effects in the operational depth and absence the contact with the enemys of battery must be ready to the reflection of the counterattacks of enemy.

2. the offensive
Tanks IS and self-propelled units ISU-152possess the same passability and capability for maneuvering as medium tanks. Therefore they can persistently accompany tanks and motorized infantry in the offensive. The commander of formation, to whom is attached the regiment, and the commander of tank regiment organize battle in the locality, determine tasks and sequence of their fulfillment, the place of regiment in the common battle formation, the united system of orientation and the order of connection.
Regiment, as a rule, acts in the second echelon, after the medium tanks and the infantry in the removal 300-500 m. its place - in the direction of main attack; the front of offensive - 1000-1500 m. basic tasks for the tanks IS and [ISU] is the destruction of tanks, self-propelled units and the reflection of the counterattacks of enemy.
The closed country in the connection with the uneven relief and good possibilities for the observation is especially favorable with the offensive. Locality with the uneven relief frees tanks IS and [ISU] from the danger to be the disabled means of the close battle of enemy.
With the breakthrough of the strong defensive zone of enemy the tanks IS and [ISU] can act in the first echelon for the destruction BUNKER, DOT.
The part of the tanks is included in the composition of assault teams; in this case they are given to rifle regiments and are distributed on the assault battalions. Tanks, thoroughly adapting to the terrain, attack BUNKER and DOT in the composition of assault teams, suppressing BUNKER by fire on the embrasures from the distance of 1500 m and nearer.

3. The defense
Tank subdivisions and parts IS and ISU adapt as the powerful means of antitank defence and as mobile antitank reserve; its place - in the direction of the probable attacks of the tanks of enemy. In the defence the tanks, as a rule, are arranged taking into account the mutual fire connection between themselves and anti-tank field guns.
Tank regiment IS -122 and self-propelled artillery regiment ISU-152take up defence in checkerboard formation along the front to 2.5 km and the open country before the gun barrels and the possibility to conduct fire because of the shelters is advantageous into the depth to 2 km with the defence.

In the first line the infantry, artillery and medium tanks, after them 500-600 m two-three of company of tanks IS and [ISU] and further on 800-1000 m are located the remaining tanks of regiment as mobile reserve.
The crews prepare two-three firing positions for each tank, one of which is basic. The concealed ways of approach to them are planned. All selected firing positions must be equipped, are dug out the entrenchments, which conceal the housing of tank or SU, and it is thoroughly disguised. For the precise and effective shooting at the tanks of enemy prepare firing data and are comprised fire cards.

It is expedient tanks to hold in the shelter and since the beginning of the tank attack of enemy to advance on the firing positions. If there were no time for the equipment of firing positions, it is profitable, using natural terrain, to advance tanks to the firing positions then so that it would be evidently only the part of the tower. Thorough battlefield surveillance from each tank and SU in both cases is established. Always one should consider the possibility of the appearance of tanks of enemy; IS and ISU must be with any situation ready to the reflection of the tanks of enemy.
It is expedient to allow the tanks of enemy as nearer as possible.

Fire IS and ISU from the distance of 1500 m and nearer destroys any heavy tank of enemy. It is especially favourable, when the tanks of enemy it is possible to approach from the board.
With the reflection of the attacks of enemy one of the methods is the action of tanks “in pairs”: one conducts fire according to the tanks of enemy, the second follows because of the shelter the manoeuvre by tanks of enemy and it supports the operations of the first tank with fire.

The method of anti-tank ambushes justified itself. Tank ambushes are organized in the direction of the probable attacks of enemy, with the task to allow to approach the tanks of enemy to the close distance and to destroy by their sudden aimed fire.

In other respects to be guided by regulations [BT] and mV KA, the part of the I and THE II.
The application of tanks IS -122 and self-propelled units ISU-152 in front of the battle formations of medium tanks and infantry as the fixed instruments on the front edge or in the defence zone is forbidden.

Commander OF [BT] and mV
the 1st Ukrainian front
the lieutenant general of the tank troops
NOVICES Substitutes of the commander OF [BT] and mV
the 1st Ukrainian front
the Major General of the tank troops
Petrov
http://ww2doc.50megs.com/Issue02/Issue02_07.html

studiosus
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Re: IS-2: performance, variants, cost, units.

Post by studiosus » 28 Aug 2009 09:51

Very interesting account.

More generally, is there information available in English / German / French on the combat doctrine and organization (incl. OOB) of soviet self-propelled artillery ?

Was self-propelled artillery systematically part of the artillery or of the tank/armoured corps? Put in other words were the crews and personals always recruited in the artillery?

Many thanks

Studiosus
Last edited by studiosus on 28 Aug 2009 14:32, edited 1 time in total.

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F/PAUL
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Re: IS-2: performance, variants, cost, units.

Post by F/PAUL » 28 Aug 2009 13:06

Battlefield Russ. is a nice site for the pro-soviet crowd. Most of the information on the site should be taken with a huge grain of salt (unless you are into the soviet superman image).

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Re: IS-2: performance, variants, cost, units.

Post by Art » 28 Aug 2009 13:42

Alejandro_ wrote: 72 [GTTP], attached for the strengthening 11 [GTK], obtained the task of acting from the ambushes in the second echelon from 1.5 to 2 km from the front edge of our troops: it engaged ambushes in the region of the farmsteads the North Of [gerasimuv].
As I understand it was the same episode as discussed here:
http://www.feldgrau.net/forum/viewtopic ... 45&t=28925
It is also mentioned in the memoirs of Katukov and in the history of the 1st Tank Army. According to the last source the 399 Guards SP Regiment had 16 ISU-152, 72 Guards Heavy Tank Regiment - 10 IS-2 when they were attached to the 1st Tank Army. On 20 April when repulsing the attack of the German 17 Tank Division at Gorodenka they claimed to knock out 40 of 48 attacking tanks.
http://nkosterev.narod.ru/vov/mem_3/luki_4.html
By the way, I saw somewhere the list of losses of the 72 Guards Regiment in these battles. Is it of interest?

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Re: IS-2: performance, variants, cost, units.

Post by Oleg Grigoryev » 28 Aug 2009 19:03

F/PAUL wrote:Battlefield Russ. is a nice site for the pro-soviet crowd. Most of the information on the site should be taken with a huge grain of salt (unless you are into the soviet superman image).
Just out of sheer curiosity what image are you into?

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Re: IS-2: performance, variants, cost, units.

Post by Alejandro_ » 30 Aug 2009 11:47

More generally, is there information available in English / German / French on the combat doctrine and organization (incl. OOB) of soviet self-propelled artillery?
There is some information in Jentz books as I recall (A colosus reborn). I will have a look when I get back home. There is another report by an IS-2 unit, much better known than the one I posted and in English. The link:

http://www.battlefield.ru/content/view/180/87/lang,en/
By the way, I saw somewhere the list of losses of the 72 Guards Regiment in these battles. Is it of interest?
Yes, that would be of interest.

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Re: IS-2: performance, variants, cost, units.

Post by randwick » 31 Aug 2009 09:30

.

The IS2 was the finest tank out of WW2 , only the Pershing come anywhere close .
the British designs were disappointing while Germany was going for the monstrous

The IS2 was in the same weight range as the Panther !

and the lines are beautiful .


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Re: IS-2: performance, variants, cost, units.

Post by Art » 01 Sep 2009 13:27

As promised, here is info suffered by the 72 Guards Tank Regiment in April-May 1944:

From 20 April to 10 May while being attached to the 1st Guards Tank Army the 72nd Guards Heavy regiment lost 8 IS-2 as total write-offs and claimed 42 German tanks and assault guns. The losses included:
- tank #40347 on 20 April was engaged by a “Ferdinand” assault gun from a distance of 1500-1200 meters. The crew managed to make only one shot before the firing mechanism of the gun failed. Trying to avoid the fire of the assault guns the tank received 5 hits in the front armor which didn’t cause any damage. At the same time another assault gun came to it to a distance of 600-700 meters from a flank and pierced with an AP shell the right side near the engine. The crew abandoned the tank which was soon set on fire.
- Tank #40255 received a hit of a Tiger’s 88-mm shell from a distance of 1000-1100 meters in a lower front sloped armor plate, as a result the left fuel tank was penetrated, the driver was wounded, and other tankers received light burns. The tank burned down.
- Tank # 4032 sustained three hits from a ”Tiger” in a hull’s front from a 1500-1000 meters distance, was knocked out by another “Tiger” from a distance of 400-500 meters. 88-mm AP shell penetrated lower front plate from the right, powder in casings was set on fire and then fuel as well. The crew abandoned the vehicle evacuating a wounded driver.
- Tank #4033 after its lower front plate was penetrated by a Tiger’s shell from a distance of 400 meters was evacuated to a collection point for damaged vehicles for major repair.
- Tank #40260 burned down after being hit by a Tiger’s 88-mm shell from a distance of 500 meters. The shell whrecked the engine, the tank was set on fire, the commander and gunner were wounded.
- Tank #40244 was hit by a Tiger’s shell from a distance of 800-1000 meters in the hull’s right side. The driver was killed; fuel flowing from a crushed right fuel tank was set on fire. The tank was evacuated on then exploded by engineers.
- Tank #40263 burned down as a result of two shells hitting the side.
- Tank #40273 operated detached from the regiment. On 30 April near Igzhiska village it participated in repulsing of an attack made by 50 Pz-III,IV,V tanks supported by aircraft and artillery. The tank received two hits: the first - in the turret, and just after it the second - in the armor plate near the engine compartment. Tankers in the turret were killed and the driver was wounded. The tank was left on the enemy territory.
- Tank #40254 was knocked out by a “Fedrinand” assault gun from an ambush. The first shell didn’t penetrated under-turret box and the second pierced the hull’s side and knocked out the engine. The crew was evacuated and the tank burned down.
- Tank #40261 was hit in the gun barrel. After the combat the barrel was changed.
In addition one tank was evacuated for major repair, and five more damaged in combat were repaired by the regiment.
That is from "Combat employment of IS tanks" by Zheltov et al.(in Russian):
http://otvaga2004.narod.ru/publ_w1/2006-06-26_is2.htm

As a comment: “Ferdinands” were most likely Stugs or Marders, which is supported by the fact that a shell fired by an alleged “Ferdinand was unable to penetrate the front armor. “Tigers” can raise some doubts as well, but at least their presence in some cases is confirmed by references to 88-mm shells. And it should be noted that quite real “Tigers” from the German 506th Heavy Tank Battalion were present in this area. It’s interesting that W. Schneider (“Tigers in combat”) mentions a capture of “IS-1” in the same area on 1 May. It can be supposed that this tank was in fact IS-2, for there were only two IS regiments in the OOB of Soviet armies operating south of Dniester River, these were 11th and 72nd Heavy Regiments and both were equipped with IS-2 tanks. In this case this tank was most likely IS-2 #40273 abandoned on the Axis territory. It would interesting to know what happened with this tank after that.

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Re: IS-2: performance, variants, cost, units.

Post by Art » 01 Sep 2009 16:04

studiosus wrote: Was self-propelled artillery systematically part of the artillery or of the tank/armoured corps? Put in other words were the crews and personals always recruited in the artillery?
The first self-propelled units were formed in the winter of 1942/43 as aprt of the Red Army's artillery. In April 1943, however they were taken over by Tank and Mechanized Forces, incuding training and replacements. There were special schools and replacement units organized for training of the self propelled artillery personnel. As concerns tactical doctrine, contrary to what the name suggests, Soviet self-propelled units acted like assault guns supporting infantry and tanks with direct fire. SU-85/100 were rather a dedicated tank destroyers, although, of course they could engage unarmored targets when needed

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Re: IS-2: performance, variants, cost, units.

Post by Alejandro_ » 01 Sep 2009 21:19

these were 11th and 72nd Heavy Regiments and both were equipped with IS-2 tanks. In this case this tank was most likely IS-2 #40273 abandoned on the Axis territory. It would interesting to know what happened with this tank after that.
This IS-2 was -apparently- captured in Rumania. It could be a candidate as its an early obr 1943 model

ImageImage

By the way, it says something "Tiger" on one side. Can anyone tell?

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Re: IS-2: performance, variants, cost, units.

Post by Art » 03 Sep 2009 15:55

And was that place in Romania exactly? "Our" IS was lost on the territory which belonged to pre-war Poland, so I think it was another one. I somehow vaguely remeber that there was one IS captured at Targul-Frumos in early May, probably this one is on the photo. That is what Schneider writes about the event in the section of 506th Tiger Battalion:
Image
Note that the same Igrzyska/Igzhyska is mentioned as a place where the battalion operated on that day, so almost for sure it was IS #40273. It is interesting that one Tiger is said to knocked out by "IS-1". It should be repated that by all probability it was actually IS-2 from 11th or 72nd Guards Heavy Tank Regiment.

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Re: IS-2: performance, variants, cost, units.

Post by Alejandro_ » 07 Sep 2009 18:57

Note that the same Igrzyska/Igzhyska is mentioned as a place where the battalion operated on that day, so almost for sure it was IS #40273. It is interesting that one Tiger is said to knocked out by "IS-1".
True, I did not realize that. I would not be that sure if those IS-1 were actually IS-2. Germans often used different terms. In any case, captured does not mean that they managed to evacuate it, especially in 1944 when Germany was always retiring. When the war ended some photos of the testing range at Kummersdorf appeared. They show an IS-2 with similar damage to the one shown in the photo above.

Image

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Re: IS-2: performance, variants, cost, units.

Post by randwick » 08 Sep 2009 06:21

.

the tanks designation of the new models got seriously confused
IS-2 is the result of the competition for a replacement of the KV , there was a fast KV , one with a new turret , the first failed design then the final type even temporarily with some previous variants circulating in various phase of refitting .

could this be linked ?
From S.T.Zaloga
" They were often used to spearhead tank attacks through heavily protected positions during major offensive operations "
"The first operationnal use of the IS-2 took place in April 1944 when the newly formed 11th Separate Guard Heavy Tank Regiment commanded by Col. Tsiganov fought several skirmishes with the Tiger I of the s.Pz.Abt. 503 near Tarnopol .
A single IS-2 was knocked out , but the Germans had little time to examine their new adversary before being forced to retreat . The Wehrmacht got a closer look a month later near the Rumanian town of Tirgu Frumos .
At least one IS-2 regiment was used during a Soviet offensive in May 44 , a strategic feint intended to distract the Germans from the main offensive in Bielorussia .
The IS-2 came as a surprise to the German troops in the area who had never encountered a Soviet tank capable of engaging them with such heavy firepower at range of over 3000 meters .
A company of Tiger I tanks from Panzer Grenadier Division Grossdeutchland openned fire at 3000 m ,and were shocked to see their 88mm rounds harmlessly ricochet off the thick frontal armor of the IS-2's .
A counter-attack by Hptm. B. Klemz's company knocked out three IS-2 heavy tanks , and resulted in Klemz's decoration with the Knight's Cross ."


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Re: IS-2: performance, variants, cost, units.

Post by Alejandro_ » 09 Sep 2009 15:50

could this be linked ?
From S.T.Zaloga
I have checked the locations of Tarnopol and Chomicierz and they don't really match. They must be different actions. What is Zaloga's book? is it the Osprey volume on IS tanks?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chocimierz

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarnopol_Voivodeship

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Re: IS-2: performance, variants, cost, units.

Post by randwick » 10 Sep 2009 09:39

.

Yes ,Osprey is great for this stuff

the first use of the new tank seems to have been to the south ,
they were used later to great effect by Rokosovsky and Bagramian during operation Bagration ,
around Vitebsk they overwhelmed the ( weak Luftwaffe divisions ) defense,making the German line snap clean cut
I'm also thinking about all the IS-2 reported lost with thorough fire destruction
a fair guess is that as a Soviet Guard Tankist telling your commander you've lost your brand new super secret tank to the Germans is the kind of stuff which is getting you in front of a firing squad real quick ,
there could have been tanks reported burned out who were in fact abandoned
but it put a good IS-2 tank in German hands by mid May or around

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