Soviet Union (1940-1943)
Heavy tank – One prototype built
The KV-150, or more commonly named T-150, was an attempt to improve the armor of the KV-1 even before the KV-1 entered mass production. With 90 mm of armor all around and a 700 hp engine, it could have been a better option had it not been for some critical events during its development phase. It was, however, groundbreaking in what would become a series of KV heavy tanks, and the single prototype saw combat service until the end of 1943.
As one of the most iconic and recognizable tanks of the Second World War, the KV-1 (or simply KV, acronym for the People’s Commissar of Defense for the Soviet Union, Kliment Voroshilov), proved to have unmatched armor and a very potent gun at the start of the German invasion of the Soviet Union, on 22 June, 1941. It had been developed in the late 1930s and tested in combat alongside its 2 much larger competitors, the SMK and T-100, during the Winter War. As the latter 2 followed a much more complex and archaic breakthrough tank philosophy, namely multi-turreted “landships”, the KV-1 (at the time U-0) would be selected for further development. It was created at the Kirov Leningrad Plant (LKZ), where the previous T-28 and its own competitor, the SMK, were designed and built.
By 19 December, 1939, production of 50 KVs was ordered, with mass production to begin in 1941. But, during this time, the ugly side of the vehicle started to come to light. Truth is that, by that time, the KV was far from ready for production, and dozens of mechanical problems, mostly caused by the heavy weight, had to be sorted out. However, due to Stalin’s personal involvement and pressure on the project, the KV entered preseries production in February 1940, which were indexed with a “U” prefix. These differed from vehicle to vehicle and were tested thoroughly to diagnose any issues.
Naturally, Stalin’s patience would not last, and in June 1940, in what would be called “The Stalin Task”, a decree from the Council of People’s Commissars of the Soviet Union would increase the yearly production quota of the KV to 230 units of both variants (130 standard KV-1 and 100 KV-2s with 152 mm howitzers). This immediate increase in production strained the LKZ plant into mass producing what was effectively an unfinished tank. Naturally, corners and compromises had to be cut over all fields in order to streamline production and cut costs. As some KVs were built, others were still vigorously tested, and results showed that the reliability of the gearbox and transmission were poor. Although changes were made, this aspect would become the bane of the KV-1’s existence. From February to July, 32 KV tanks had been built, and production would increase to 20 during the month of August and 32 during September.
As early as May 1940, before the KV-1 even entered its shy mass production, the topic of improving the armor of the KV was discussed both by the GABTU (Main Directorate of Armored Forces) and by the People’s Commissariat of Heavy Engineering, where the LKZ plant was represented at. First mentions of thickening the KV tank’s armor came on 11 June, which claimed the need to up-armor the tank to armor between 90 and 100 mm. Furthermore, on 17 July, 1940, the Council of People’s Commissars of the Soviet Union adopted decree No. 1288-495cc, which stated:
- By November 1, 1940, the Kirov Plant will produce two KV tanks with 90 mm of armor: one with a 76 mm F-32 gun, the other with an 85 mm gun. The Izhora Plant will deliver one hull at the end of October, the production of the tank is scheduled to be completed by November 5. The second hull will be made by November 5th.
- By December 1, 1940, the Kirov Plant will produce two KV tanks with 100 mm of armor: one with a 76 mm F-32 gun, the other with a 85 mm gun. One hull will be delivered by the end of October and by the end in November.
In comparison to its predecessor, the KV-1, as being built in summer-autumn 1940, had 90 mm around the gun mantlet and 75 mm all around. These were exquisite levels of armor not just for Soviet tank standards, but also internationally, being able to withstand most anti-tank guns. It also put the weight of the KV at 44 tonnes, already a tonne increase from the U-0. The weight of the KV would keep on increasing, peaking at 47.5 tonnes by 1941.
Regarding the armament mentioned in the decree, the KV-1 was equipped, as a stopgap measure, with the L-11 76 mm gun until mass production of the more potent 76 mm F-32 could begin. As for the 85 mm gun, it was likely to be the F-30 gun developed by V.G. Grabin at plant No. 92 in Gorky, based on the 85 mm M1939 52-K. However, it is noteworthy that only one such gun had been built, and its testing had yet to conclude.
The first obstacle that the up-armored KV faced was the KV itself. By July, the design bureau tasked with its development, SKB-2 and the entire LKZ factory were busy producing and improving the KV, with little room to spare for a new development. The situation was worsened by the delayed delivery of the tank requirements from the military to SKB-2.
In August, head of the SKB-2’s design bureau, J.Y. Kotin, made two teams for the development of the two tanks. The 90 mm-armor KV was to be designed by a team led by Military Engineer L.N. Pereverzev and indexed as T-150 or Object 150 / KV-150. All 3 names were used in documents. For the sake of simplicity and consistency, it will be called T-150 in the article, with the exception of direct document translations. At this point, Pereverzev was still rather new to SKB-2, having just graduated from the Military Academy of Mechanization and Motorisation of the Red Army in 1939, and had only worked on the KV-1.
For designing the 100 mm-armored KV, the more experienced L.E. Sychev was appointed as chief designer. This variant would be indexed T-220 or Object 220 / KV-220. Sychev was a tank design veteran. He had worked on his bachelors at SKB-2 and then began his career in the same place, working on the T-28, SMK, and KV-1.
Once SKB-2 had sent over the documents (likely in September 1940) to the Izhora plant, the T-150 faced another issue. The Izhora plant was working at a very high capacity trying to increase its KV tank output. The 4 prototype KVs were to be built at Hall No.2, where 4 KV tanks were already being built at the same time. This meant that the October 1 deadline for the T-150 was missed, but not by much.
The Izhora plant delivered the hull of the T-150 and a turret on November 1 and LKZ completed the prototype by December. The T-220 was completed shortly after.
In November, during the latter stages of the development of the T-150, a new turret was proposed. It moved the commander to the rear of the turret and gave him a low cupola with a PTC rotating periscope. Other aspects remained the same as on the original T-150 turret. Only a simple sketch of it was done, with a slightly more detailed drawing of the new commander’s position. It was not considered, but it was used as the basis of the Object 222’s turret, which was essentially the T-150 with a completely new turret .
Object 221 – The T-150’s Bigger Brother
As per the request from 17 July, 1940, two tanks were supposed to be built with 90 mm armor, one with a 76 mm gun and one with an 85 mm gun. The first became the T-150, however, the latter had a more troubled development. When researching about the mounting of a 85 mm gun on the chassis of the KV-1, it was realized that it would not fit in the standard KV turret and a larger turret combined with additional armor would require a longer hull. This meant that both the 90 mm and 100 mm variants armed with an 85 mm gun would receive a longer hull, by one roadwheel (a total of seven). The 100 mm armored variant armed with the 85 mm gun became the T-220.
The 90 mm variant was named Object 221 or T-221. It was intended to mount the same turret and 85 mm F-30 gun as the T-220. However, there were serious delays, and the Izhora plant only managed to deliver hull components for the T-221 by 10 February 1941, and the F-30 gun and turret were not ready. On 19 February, Marshall of the Soviet Union G.I. Kulik proposed that the 76 mm F-27 gun be mounted inside a KV-1 turret instead, but nothing was done. The Object 221 remained abandoned until April, when it was used as the basis for the KV-3 (Object 223), though 30 mm of extra frontal armor were required for it to reach the specified armor thickness.
For the most part, the T-150 was identical to the KV-1. As the additional 15 mm of armor were added on the outside of the hull, the internal layout for the crew was unchanged. The main armament was, as requested, a 76.2 mm F-32 gun, coaxially paired with a 7.62 mm DT machine gun to the right of the main gun, with another DT machine gun at the rear of the turret and one in the hull, next to the driver. Both machine guns were mounted in ball mounts.
The weight of the T-150 reached 50.16 tonnes, around 6 tonnes heavier than a KV, and went past the weight threshold by over 2 tonnes. Due to the increased weight, the suspension was reinforced. Otherwise, the hull remained identical to that of the KV-1, with front idler, large rear sprocket and 6 steel-rimmed roadwheels.
The front of the tank had the same features as the KV-1, with 2 tow hooks on the lower plate, a single driver viewport in the center of the upper plate, with a driving light to its right and ball mounted machine gun to its left.
The turret was essentially a KV-1 turret with thicker armor, but certain changes were made to accommodate the commander’s cupola. It was fixed in place and of cast construction. At the front, a fully rotating PTC periscope was mounted, with 6 other triplex periscopes around the cupola. The commander’s cupola likely lacked a service hatch, meaning that the commander and loader would likely have to share a hatch. The turret also featured the standard KV-1 vision devices, a PTC rotating periscope for the gunner and another periscope to the side and 2 facing the rear. Direct vision slits were provided over the machine gun ports. This meant that, on paper, the T-150 offered better vision for the crew than the KV-1. The driver’s vision systems were not changed.
The main novelty of the T-150 was its 90 mm armor all around the turret and hull. The turret deck, hull deck and hull belly were 30-40 mm thick. The commander’s cupola was rather large, but was also 90 mm all around and, thus, was not a weak spot. Frontally, this was a 20% increase in raw thickness over the KV-1 in most areas.
The crew of the T-150 was the same as that on the KV-1, with 5 men: driver, radio operator/bow machine gunner, commander, gunner, and loader.
The commander was seated to the right of the gun, where he would be able to observe the battlefield from his cupola. He was also tasked with loading the coaxial DT machine gun on his side. The gunner sat on the other side of the gun, to the left of the turret. He would aim and fire the gun via a TOD sight. He had a rotating PTC and fixed periscope for external vision. He was able to rotate the turret via an electric system but also with a hand crank. Behind the commander sat the loader, on a removable seat (for easier maintenance/loading). He would load the main gun with shells stored on the side turret walls and in cases on the hull floor. He would also operate the rare turret machine gun, should the situation require.
In the center of the hull sat the driver, and to his left the radio operator, who also manned the bow DT machine gun. The radio was mounted underneath the frontal plate.
Engine and Propulsion
The engine installed on the T-150 (and T-220) was the four-stroke V-5 diesel, 12-cylinder in V-config with an output of 700 hp. It was essentially a boosted V-2K (600 hp), which itself was a boosted variant of the V-2. The main problem was that the V-2K was unreliable and barely guaranteed to work for up to 100 hours. Consequently, the V-5 was even less reliable. So much so that, during trials, the chief designer from Plant No.75 could not guarantee the function of the engines on the T-150 and T-220. Combined with the poor design of the engine’s cooling system done by SKB-2 engineers, the engine would have several major issues during the trials and only worked for 199 km, or 24 hours.
The fuel tank capacity remained the same as on the KV-1, at 615 liters, which reduced the range to 220 km (on roads).
The main armament on the T-150 was the 76.2 mm F-32 gun. It was developed by Plant No.92 in Gorky in the late 1930s and was tested on the BT-7. It could fire BR-350A and BR-350B (APHE), BR-350SP (AP), and OF-350M (HE). The shell weight varied between 6.2 kg and 6.78 kg, depending on the type. The muzzle velocity was between 613 and 621 m/s (figures vary depending on the source consulted). In January 1941, the KV-1 would enter production with the F-32 gun. It was ballistically very similar to the L-11 it was replacing on the KV-1, while the T-34 would receive the far more potent F-34 76 mm gun the same year.
For proximity and anti-infantry defense, three 7.62 mm DT machine guns were mounted, one coaxially, to the right of the gun, which could be used for ranging closer targets (muzzle velocity around 840 m/s). The front facing machine gun in the bow was for suppression of infantry and the machine gun in the rear of the turret was for defense against flanking infantry.
On 14 January 1941, the People’s Commissariats of Defence and People’s Commissariats of Heavy Engineering requested that the T-150 and T-220 be tested at the LKZ proving grounds. A commission, headed by the Military Engineer 1st Rank Glukhov and with representatives from the GABTU, would monitor the testing of the tanks. According to the commission for field testing, the following goals were intended.
- Determining the tactical and technical characteristics of the tank.
- Identifying the shortcomings in the designs and their elimination prior to mass production.
- Judging whether it is possible to conduct military tests.
- Accumulating data for operating and repairing the tanks.
The tests would begin the following day on both tanks. During this time, several issues were quickly identified. On 25 January, the two prototype tanks were weighed, with the T-150 weighing 50,160 kg and the T-220, 62,700 kg. The problem here was that the GABTU specifically requested the T-150 to weigh a maximum of 48 tonnes and the T-220 56 tonnes. A report written by Military Engineer 1st Rank Glukhov on 28 January to the Head of Armored Department of the GABTU, Military Engineer 1st Rank Korobov, in the midst of the trials, showed that the commander’s cupola was poorly made (the observation devices were located too high, vision was inconvenient) and was placed in the loader’s position, who is not in command of the tank. Comically, the Chief Designer of Plant No.75, T. Chuptakhin, who was present at the trials, was not able to guarantee the operation of the engines installed on the T-150 and T-220 tanks. One of Glukhov’s reports included the following passage:
“The T-150 tank, after replacing the engine that failed during the factory run on 21 January, has not yet been brought back to the accepted state required by the Quality Control Department and military representatives.”
The gunshield was crudely made and provides only 3º of gun depression, instead of the 6.5º, as specified by the drawings.”
Due to the breakdown of the experimental V-5 engine provided by Factory No.75, the T-150 traveled only 199 km, or 24 work hours. Several issues were found and once again reported by Glukhov:
“The engine’s oil cooling system prevents the tank from driving at high speeds in the 3rd and 4th gear (at an outside temperature of 9° to 12°, the temperature of the injected engine oil increased rapidly after 5 minutes of motion in 3rd and 4th gears). Normal operation of the engine (inlet oil temp. 70°-80°). Due to the poor design of the cooling system, driving trials on the T-150 would cease.”
Instead, focus shifted towards firing trials, especially relevant as the F-32 gun had just replaced the L-11 gun on the KV-1’s production lines. Firing while stationary and firing during short stops went as expected (considering the 4-5 second aiming time), but firing on the move was unsatisfactory, though many of these results were entirely based on circumstances such as terrain and gunner skill, and the gunner conducting the trials, although experienced, was still not entirely familiar with the gun and tank.
Simultaneously, loading times were measured, depending on where the rounds were stowed. When loading shells from the right turret side (9 rounds), 5-7 rounds per minute were sustained. When loading shells from the left side of the turret (9 rounds), the rate of fire dropped to 3 rounds per minute, as the loader had to lean to the other side of the turret. The situation got worse when loading via casings that held 3 rounds. These would have to be lifted up and opened before the shells could be loaded in. This process slowed the rate of fire to 1-2 rounds per minute. In contrast, although not practical, when the shells were simply laid on the floor, 11 rounds per minute could be sustained. Furthermore, the ammunition cases, stowed on the hull floor, would often catch on one another when attempting to lift them, and on 6 separate instances, rounds were jammed inside. The sharp edges of the cases also injured the loader’s hands. Consequently, the commission noted that the ammunition stowage system had to be reworked.
Several issues had been noted with the crew’s positions as well. Firstly, the commander’s seat (combined with the cupola) were criticized for being fixed in place, preventing the commander from viewing out of the periscopes while seated. Likewise, he could not stand, as there was no room, but rather the commander had to stand with his knees slightly bent, in a semi-squatting position (naturally very tiring) to see out of the cupola. Other complaints included that he had to turn very frequently to communicate to the rest of the crew and he was also charged with loading the coaxial DT machine gun.
The gunner’s position also required improvements. The sight was deemed too far forward and slightly to the left, and the seat required more adjustment. The footrests and pedals required work as well. The knee would be bent too much. Additionally, the heel rest was too far down, requiring the gunner to keep his heel in the air in order to maintain his toes on the pedal, or overextend his ankle, both very tedious tasks.
The loader, aside from the aforementioned loading problems, would have his workspace cramped up by the commander’s seat, only 6-8 ammunition cases were easily accessible, and the machine gun drums were in the way when lifting rounds from the left turret wall.
Testing of the T-150 was concluded on 14 February. The trial results were reported back to the GABTU and People’s Commissariat of Heavy Engineering. Although the aforementioned issues were noted (and such problems were understandable for a prototype vehicle), it was decided to move forwards with the T-150 project, but in an altered form. Based on reports during this time, both the T-150 and T-220 were sometimes called KV-3. The more common use of this name came with the Object 222 and later with the Object 223, the KV-3 commonly known today.
On 21 February, a commission was made for analyzing the reason for the failure of Plant No.75’s engines on both the T-150 and T-220, and estimating a time of arrival of the fixed engines. The deadline was set for 10 April.
During the same period, between 18 and 24 February, Plant No.75 tested the V-5 engine on KV tank U-21, and it broke down once again, after 40 hours of operation.
On 1 March, the T-150 was officially canceled. The V-5 engine was still unrefined, and the tank was deemed to have several issues necessary to fix, but there was no point in doing so. Instead focus was shifted to the Object 222, which was based on the T-150.
Many of the issues of the T-150 that were discovered during the factory trials were identified far earlier on. As a result, the SKB-2’s design bureau started work on a new tank in January-February, 1941 to fix these issues. The new tank, which used the same hull as the T-150, would be indexed Object 222. Originally, the differences between it and its predecessor consisted of a new cooling system and a new turret. This new turret was slightly larger, had flat sides (as opposed to 15° angled inwards on the KV-1 and T-150), and a slightly sloped frontal plate. The commander and his cupola were moved to the back of the turret as well.
By the end of February, the People’s Commissariat of Defence and the Central Committee of the Communist Party proposed accepting the KV-3 (Object 222) into service. Additionally, the topic of improving the main armament to the 76.2 mm F-34 was also raised. This gun had improved ballistics over the previous F-32 on the T-150. As for the propulsion, the tank was to use the same V-5 engine.
On 3 March 1941, a commission was formed, consisting of Military Engineers 2nd Rank I.A. Burtsev and I.A. Shpitanov, Military Engineer 3rd Rank Kaulin, LKZ Director I.M. Zaltsman, SKB-2 Director J.Y. Kotin, Director of LKZ 1st Dept. A.Y. Lantsberg, and NII-48 research institute engineers V. Dalle and A.P. Goryachev. Together, they reviewed the drawings and a full-scale wooden mock-up turret of the Object 222 turret mounted on a KV-1 (for simplicity’s sake). Turret armor would have been 90 mm all around and 40 mm on top. Several issues were identified, such as the flat turret walls, which were deemed to decrease protection, the less than ideal commander position, and the lack of hatch on the cupola for the commander. Despite these issues, the commission concluded that the turret should be built anyways, since there was little time to redesign it.
On March 15, the Council of People’s Commissars of the Soviet Union and the Central Committee of the Communist Party gave decree No. 548-232§, which imposed that LKZ had to switch mass production to the KV-3 (Object 222) in June.
The officials were confident that, by then, the new turret could be tested and refined. As for the T-150’s hull, with the new cooling system and properly tuned V-5 engine, it would run smoothly, as it was essentially just an up-armored KV-1 hull.
German Heavy Tanks
However, 4 days earlier, on 11 March, the Soviet Intelligence services had just released a report regarding the German Reich’s tank developments. Notes of several heavy tanks were highlighted, notably three new tanks that were under development. One of them was labeled Mark V, was to weigh 36 tonnes, and be armed with a 75 mm gun. The Mark VI was to weigh 45 tonnes and be armed with a 75 mm gun, and, finally, the Mark VII was to weigh 90 tonnes and be armed with a 105 mm. The first 2 tanks can be confidently identified now as the VK.30.01(H) and VK.36.01(H) and early Tiger mentions. But the latter can only be described as some early proposal to what would become the Pz.Kpfw.VII Löwe, which was first mentioned officially in German documents in November 1941.
This new German heavy tank was nearly double in weight of the KV-3 and considerably above the T-220. The 105 mm gun was far more alarming than the 76.2 mm F-34 that the KV-3 (Object 222) was to be equipped with and the 85 mm F-30 on the T-220.
On 21 March, the GABTU requested the urgent development of a new heavy tank from SKB-2 at LKZ, capable of matching the supposed German heavy tanks. It was to weigh up to 72 tonnes, have 130 mm of frontal armor, and be armed with the 107 mm ZiS-6 gun. It was indexed Object 224 / KV-4. On April 7, the GABTU would rework their approach, requesting that the KV-3 be based on the T-220 (Object 220) and armed with a 107 mm ZiS-6 and weigh 68 tonnes. The new KV-3 was indexed Object 223. An even heavier tank was also conceived, the KV-5 (Object 225), with 170 mm of frontal armor and 150 mm of side and rear armor, weighing over 100 tonnes.
After the invasion of the Soviet Union and the Siege of Leningrad in September, much of the SKB-2’s design bureau and its prototype tanks were evacuated to the ChTZ plant in Chelyabinsk, which was now renamed ChKZ, or Tankograd.
Most of the work on the heavy tanks was stopped in order to focus on more sensible topics at ChKZ. The only exception was the Object 222 (which had now been renamed to KV-6) and the Object 223 (KV-3). The GABTU was against the KV-6 and insisted on improving the armor of the T-150 to 120 mm and adding a new ZiS-5 gun. These were the last efforts on these tanks. The Object 223 (KV-3) progressed until December 1941.
These experimental tanks were incredibly expensive. A letter sent on 30 May 1941 to Military Engineer 1st Rank Korobov by A.Y. Lantsberg described the development costs of the major KV series of heavy tanks (Object 150, Object 220, Object 221, Object 212, Object 218, Object 223, Object 224, and Object 225). These had a total development sum of 5,350,000 rubles. The T-150 project would cost in total 1,500,000 rubles. In perspective, a KV-1 in 1941 would cost between 523,000 to 635,000 rubles.
|Stage of T-150 Development||Price (thousands of rubles)|
|Prototype construction and factory trials||900|
|Proving ground trials||100|
|Drawing correction after trials||25|
|Repair of prototypes and improvements||375|
Source: CAMO RF 38-11355-101
One of the more sensible alternatives was the KV-1E (the E is a post-war addition and derives from the Russian word meaning shield or screens), a regular production KV-1 with 30 mm to 25 mm additional armor plates, making the protection of the KV-1E superior to that of the T-150. The idea of the KV-1 with appliqué armor appeared on 19 June, 1941 and would be given to troops by July.
The work on Object 222, Object 223, Object 224, and Object 225 tanks did not mark the end of the T-150 prototype’s career. During the month of June 1941, the T-150 was retested with a worked-out V-5 engine and improved cooling system. This time, it traveled 2,237 km by 19 June. In total, 5 different V-5 engines had been installed on the tank during its trials. Amongst the issues noted were:
Oil leaks from the gearbox’s primary oil retainer.
Teeth from the 3rd and 4th gear as well as conical gear were sheared off.
Collar bracket of the 2nd and 4th gears were worn out by 4 mm.
2 rubber shock absorbers had been destroyed.
Paper fuel filters failed
Several new production methods had also worked well, such as hot-pressing the torsion bar with the torsion arm together, and the gearbox casing, made out of recycled aluminium, did not show sign of damage or failures after 1671 km.
T-150 in Combat
As the Soviet Union was suffering rapid defeats against the Axis powers, prototype tanks were pressed into service. The T-150 would be no exception. It entered service with the 123rd Tank Brigade on 11 October 1941. A week later, on 18 October, the brigade, part of the 8th Army, fought around Neva Dubrovka and later crossed the Neva river. On 18 May 1943, the T-150, by then part of the 31st Guards Heavy Tank Regiment, was listed as knocked out beyond repair. But the need for tanks was there and it was sent to Plant No.371 for repairs and entered service with the same regiment in July. The commander was Guards Junior Lieutenant I.A. Kuksin and driver-mechanic was Technician-Lieutenant M.I. Shinalsky and the tank received the number 220 and callsign “Som” (Catfish).
Shortly after, Kuksin’s tank would partake in the Mga Offensive or Third Battle of Lake Ladova, and on 22 July 1943, the 31st Guards Heavy Tank Regiment, alongside 63rd Guards Rifle Division, engaged enemy forces south-east of Leningrad. During the fighting between July 22 and August 6, the 31st Guards Heavy Tank Regiment recorded kills of 10 enemy tanks (allegedly 5 Tiger tanks, 3 Panzer IVs, and 2 Panzer IIIs), 10 pillboxes, 34 foxholes, and 750 enemy personnel. Kuksin’s T-150 and his crew also performed well. During this period, they recorded the destruction of 5 foxholes, 2 light machine gun posts destroyed, and 36 soldiers. Their tank was also hit in the track and immobilized, yet the crew managed to get the track together and continue fighting. The tank held its position for 4 days, for which Kuksin and his crew received the Order of the Red Star.
On 12 August, the Regiment was assigned, with the 73rd Marine Rifle brigade, to capture the village of Anenskoye. The 1st and 4th companies attacked on 18 August at 04:55. The companies suffered heavy losses and, by 06:00, 9 out of the 10 tanks were taken out of battle, with only tank 206 being in working order. Amongst these casulties suffered on that day, the T-150 was one of them. Junior Lieutenant I.A. Kuksin, gunner Senior Sergeant A.S. Yurdin, driver Technician-Lieutenant M.I. Shinalsky, and loader Guards Seargant I.M. Brezhak were killed in action on 18 August and the T-150 was sent back to Plant No.371 for repairs.
Alternatively, a document dated 18 November 1943 shows that a new driver was assigned to the T-150 (noted as KV No.T-150, raising the question as to if the T-150 was ever given number “220”), and was still commanded by Kuksin.
It is worth highlighting that the T-220 also saw combat service, but its new turret and 85 mm F-30 gun were replaced with a regular KV-1 turret. The tank was knocked out during the defense of Leningrad.
The T-150 (KV-150 / Object 150) was, on paper, a minor upgrade to the KV-1, with just 15 mm of additional frontal armor, a more powerful 700 hp engine, and a new commander’s cupola. While the implementation of these changes proved problematic at first, the T-150 proved to be a very important step towards the design of even larger and heavier KV tanks. These ultimately proved to be a waste of money, time, and resources, assets which the Soviet tank industry did not have, especially with the Axis invasion. Like many Soviet pre-war prototypes and its larger brother, the T-220, the T-150 prototype saw combat service well into 1943, but what happened after is unknown.
T-150 / KV-150 / Object 150 Specifications
|Dimensions (L-W-H) (approx.)||6.76 x 3.33 x 3.01 m|
|Total weight, battle-ready||50.16 tonnes|
|Crew||5 (Commander, gunner, loader, driver, radio operator)|
|Propulsion||V-5 12-cylinder diesel, outputting 700 hp.|
|Suspension||Torsion bar, 6|
|Armament||76.2 mm F-32
3x 7.62 mm DT machine guns
|Armor||Front/sides/rear of hull and turret: 90 mm
Top/Belly: 30 to 40 mm
|No. Built||1 prototype built and saw service|
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