Nazi Germany (1942-43)Improvised hefty Tank – 1 Built

Throughout the 2nd World War, the German army captured hundreds of tanks and also armored vehicles from countries it invaded. The exact same was true throughout the intrusion of the Soviet Union. The Germans generally made upgrades and also modifications to fit their needs. This procedure spawned one of the bigger armored automobile enigmas come come out of the War.This was the KV-1 that was captured and then re-armed through the 7.5cm KwK 40 gun. Not lot is known around the history of this improvisation, and also there is only one recognized photo to prove the existence.It is not the just tank the the 2nd World battle that was retrofitted in the field to accept a pistol from another nation. Other examples include the Churchill NA 75 which to be a british Churchill tank amendment to accept the American 75mm Tank Gun and also the Matilda II that was amendment to expropriate the 76mm ZiS-5 gun. In both of this cases, that course, they were not captured vehicles.

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The only known image of the modified KV-1.

Background, the KV-1

The KV-1 was the unsuspecting winner the a Soviet contract for a new heavy tank to change the useless T-35A Multi Turreted heavy Tank. The KV tank win the SMK and also T-100 to make it come mass production. Instantly prior to the invasion of the USSR in June 1941, approximately 508 KV-1 tanks to be in Red army service.The KV-1 was an unpleasant surprised to the progressing Germans in June 1941, due to its terrific armor protection. The KV-1 easily gained a fearsome call on the battlefield, being able to stand up to point-blank shots from the conventional 37mm anti tank guns fielded by Germany. Countless KV-1s changed from combat peppered v dents and gouges from ricochets which had failed to permeate its armor. However, the KV-1s made small impact on the yes, really fighting throughout the months of operation Barbarossa through the exception of a small variety of engagements. Poor crew training, bad logistical support and also inept command and control expected that the Soviet tanks, including the mighty KV-1, where deployed in small packets the were easily swallowed and also terminated through the better organized German units.The KV-1 tank weighed 45 tonnes, and also was powered by the 660hp V2K engine. The suspension to be the very first Soviet usage of torsion bars, and also it had six roadway wheels, a rear drive wheel, a big front idler wheel and also three return rollers. The tank had actually a crew the five. Soviet engineers constantly update the tank and, between 1941 and also 1942, the armor to be thickened from 90mm come 200mm in places. The firepower was enhanced too, native the 30.2 calibre long F-32 76.2mm gun, to the 42.5 calibre long 76.2mm Zis-5 gun. The F-32 gun might penetrate 50mm of armor at 1,000m, conversely, the Zis-5 gun could penetrate 60mm that armor in ~ the exact same range. In 1942, this make the gun a significant threat to many German tanks. However, the pistol was similar to the one on the T-34 tool tank, which to be far more mobile and far cheaper come build.

KVs in German Service

When the Wehrmacht an initial encountered the KV-1, they to be horrified and also greatly impressed through its ability to take too much punishment native the main German tank and anti-tank firearms of the time. Contradictory to popular belief, there were just a handful of KV-1 tanks the were ever pressed into German service. The recorded tanks were known as ‘Beutepanzer’ or trophy tanks.In 1941, the Germans had a categorizing mechanism for those units recorded from the enemy, this to be an “Ebeuten” number. The number because that KV tanks of every sub-types was “E I”. The overwhelming bulk of these tanks were either dismantled at the roadside, or returned to the Reich for museums or testing. However, over there were some KV tanks pressed right into Wehrmacht service.

Beutepanzer KV-1 ‘1’ of the the the 8th Panzer Division. Photo: SOURCEThe earliest well-known Beutepanzer KV-1s, i beg your pardon in the German numbering system were well-known as the Pz.KpfW KV-1a 753 (r) (r = Russia) were deployed in the autumn of 1941. German alters were minimal, with most Beutepanzer KV-1s retaining the initial Soviet radio and also equipment, however, sometimes German radios and also tool sets were issued. The most exciting German acquisitions to be the two OKV-1 tanks pressed right into service. The Kirov works in Leningrad had actually manufactured 6 prototype fire throwing KV tanks, v a flame unit in the hull. All were offered in combat, and also two were consequently pressed right into Wehrmacht organization after their capture.Between 1941 and 1943, the German army likely encountered thousands of lost KV tanks, that which possibly several hundred were caught in functioning condition. The is thought but that less than 50 KV-1 tanks were pressed into German service. A multitude of components can explain this, from absence of spare parts, to German overconfidence in their own tanks, to the Nazi ideological doctrine that perceived anything produced by a Slavic race to it is in inferior.

German Modification

The particular model the KV-1 the this conversion was based upon was a 1942 model, manufactured at factory 100 Chelyabinsk (ChTZ) and also was probably manufactured in the first or second quarter of 1942. It was fitted through the applique armor top top the nose, and also on the glacis key which increased the armor approximately 200mm (7.9 in) special in places. It to be equipped through the lightweight cast turret. Sometimes, this model likewise carried a heavyweight cast, or streamlined welded turret. Traditional armament continued to be the same, gift the 76mm ZiS-5 gun. In German service, this was designated as the Pz.Kpfw KV-1B 755(r). This modified variation was designated Pz.Kpfw KV-1B 756(r). The building and construction work was carried out by the maintain battalion that Panzer Regiment 204 the the 22nd Panzer Division.


The most drastic change to this single KV was the alteration made to the main armament. The initial Soviet 76mm ZiS-5 gun was removed to make means for the German’s own 7.5cm KwK 40 L/43.

Diagram that the L/43 pistol in its typical mounting, the Panzer IVThis gun was acquired from the 7.5cm PaK 40, a towed anti-tank gun that entered service in 1942. In 1942-43, the gun to be also placed on Germany’s main medium tank, the Panzerkampfwagen IV, replacing the short barreled 7.5cm KwK 37 howitzer. Tanks with this brand-new armament were designated together the Panzer IV Ausf.F2. It to be a deadly weapon, through a variety of ammunition types. These contained Armour Piercing Capped Ballistic cap (APCBC), Armor-Piercing Composite rigid (APCR) and also High-Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT). The APCBC was its most deadly round, may be to pass through a best of 99mm (3.9 in) that armor.At this time, the 7.5cm KwK L/43 to be a rare gun, as just 135 Panzers were equipped through it. One this tanks must have actually been irreparably damaged in action, yet retained one operable pistol that was able to be cannibalized. Despite the ZiS gun to be removed, the mantlet was retained. The brand-new gun to be posted through the void breach an initial and placed into position, finish with that is coaxial MG 34 device gun. That is unknown as to what internal modifications took place concerning the location of the trunnions and also elevation/depression gears. Gift the much more powerful gun, the KwK 40 was bigger in the breach than the ZiS. The 7.5cm shell was 100mm much longer than the 76mm shell of the ZiS, definition the breach was also 100mm longer. Recoil length would additionally have been longer, meaning there was also less room behind the gun.

Turret Changes

Minor adjustments were additionally made come the turret. A salvaged commander’s cupola from one of two people a Panzer III or Panzer IV (It is unclear i beg your pardon one that is) was included atop the turret. This was not included over the original commander’s flower at the behind of the turret. A brand-new hole was cut in the roof towards the appropriate front of the turret, and also the cupola added over it. This cupola gave the command far far better visibility, permitting him come spot targets, navigate terrain and observe friendly systems easier.On the left, an wait filter to be added, with a cover salvaged from a T-34.

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But, Why?

A an excellent deal the time was spent theorizing this issue by both writer of this article. The counter of simply this one vehicle would have been time and source consuming. Various other vehicles the were modified in together a way, such as the Churchill NA 75 and Matilda II v ZiS-5 i beg your pardon are mentioned in the introduction, had actually a designed purpose. The idea behind the Churchill NA 75 was to exploit guns indigenous wrecked tanks, and also give the poorly equipped Churchill more Anti-Armor and High-Explosive firepower. The same was true for the Matilda, the original 2-Pounder pistol of i beg your pardon was taken into consideration useless by the Soviets.This KV, however, seems to lack any type of recorded intention. The German 7.5cm KwK 40 to be a much better gun than the Soviet ZiS-5 76mm. At 1000 meters, the ZiS could only pass through 61mm that armor, at the very same distance, the 7.5cm might punch v 82mm. Ammunition may additionally have to be a factor, as it would’ve been far less complicated for the Germans to resupply through 7.5cm ammunition than 76mm ammunition.These are the just practical benefits of including this gun to the KV. The KV, in ~ this time, was one of the finest heavy tanks in the war, and as already discussed, the Germans currently had a number of captured instances in their arsenal. It might be that this to be intended as rather of an ‘Anti-KV’ or ‘Anti-T-34’ vehicle. The Soviets’ very own 76mm Gun might not penetrate the front of a traditional KV-1 (without 200mm armor) or T-34 in ~ 1000m. The German 7.5cm can handle both. Putting this pistol on a chassis the 76mm can not penetrate would prove deadly to any Soviet car facing it.There is, however, an element of redundancy in the project worth highlighting. At the moment this vehicle was built, German vehicles such as the Panzer IV (with long 75mm), Panzer V Panther, Panzer vi Tiger, and Panzerjager Tiger (P) were appearing. All of these, while still teething, to be adequately equipped so that the armor top top the T-34 and KV-1 walk not administer the benefit they had. V the 8.8cm total or high velocity 7.5cm total both the T34 and KV-1 were much much more vulnerable.The many logical conclusion as to why this KV was modified in this means is because of this that the was simply a culmination of preventive parts and ingenuity.This KV to be apparently active at Kursk, however further details that this room scarce.