Categories
WW2 Soviet KV-4

KV-4 K.T.T.

Soviet Union (1941)
Super Heavy Tank – Blueprints Only

The KV-4 program started in March of 1941 at LKZ (Leningrad Kirov Factory), after rumors of the development of German heavy tanks. Instead of undergoing a conventional design path, J. Y. Kotin, head of the project, suggested a competition between engineers and the best entries to receive rewards. Second place was originally given to a trio of engineers, but the entry was later disqualified as it lacked a turret.

As the designs never received individual designations, aside from the general KV-4 and 224 (Object 224), most KV-4 designs are differentiated by adding the designers’ name(s). In this case, Kuzmin, Tarotko, and Tarapatin (KTT). A common name to refer to this design is K.T.T.S., which adds the Russian word “самоходка” (samokhodka) meaning self-propelled gun. This is misleading, however, as this was a heavy tank, not a self-propelled gun.

Development

–Dear reader: A more detailed development analysis of the KV-4 program can be found in the KV-4 Dukhov article

KV-4 designs
Placement Name Drawings Mass (t) Dimensions (m) (LxWxH) Armament Crew Top speed (theoretical) Armor Reward /Rubles
1 Dukhov KV-4 82.5 8.150
3.790
3.153
-107 mm ZiS-6
– 45 mm K-20
– 2x 7.62 DT
6 40 km/h Front top plate: 135 mm
Front bottom plate: 130 mm
Side plate: 125 mm
Top and belly: 40 mm
5000
2 Kuzmin, Tarotko, Tarapatin KV-4 88 9.26
3.78
3.175
-107 mm ZiS-6
– 45 mm K-20
– 3x 7.62 DS-39
6 36 km/h Front: 125 mm
Side: 125-100 mm
Top and belly: 40 mm
3000
3 Tseits KV-4 90 8.85
4.03
3.62
107 mm ZiS-6
2x 7.62 DS-39
Unspecified flamethrower
7 45 km/h Front hul upper plate: 50 mm
Front hull bottom plate: 125 mm
Turret:130 mm
Side plate: 125 mm
Top and belly: 50 mm
2800
4 Sychev KV-4 95 – 100 9.23
4.00
3.40
107 mm ZiS-6 (F-42)
45 mm 20-K
2x DT machine guns
6 40 – 45 Turret: 135-125 mm
Hull: 105 mm
Top and belly: 40 mm
2000
4 Ermolaev KV-4 90 8.22
4.00
3.25
107 mm ZiS-6 6 35 130 mm
95 8.52
4.00
3.25
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
6 35 130 mm 2000
5 KV-4 Shashmurin 92 9.50
4.00
3.85
107 mm ZiS-6 (F-42) main cannon (112 or 102 rounds)
76 mm F-11 secondary cannon (120 rounds)
2x DT machine gun (400 rounds)
Unspecified flamethrower (hull)
7 35 km/h Front top plate: 125 mm
Side plate: 125 mm
Top and belly: 50 to 40 mm
1500
6 Buganov 93 7.70
3.80
3.90
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
6 50 km/h Front 125 mm 1000
6 Moskvin 101 9.573
4.03
3.74
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
6 40 km/h Front 130 mm 1000
7 Pereverzev KV-4 100 9.5
3.8
3.82
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
2x DT machine guns
6 39 km/h Front: 125 mm 500
7 Bykov 98.6 9.5
4.03
3.65
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
DS-39 machine gun
8 36 km/h Front 130 mm 500
7 Kalivod 500
N/A Fedorenko KV-4 98.65 8.10
4.03
3.70
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm M.1938
3x DT machine guns
Unspecified flamethrower
6 35 km/h Front upper plate: 140 mm
Side plate: 125 mm
Turret: 125 mm
Top and belly: 50 to 40 mm
N/A Kreslavsky KV-4 92.6 9
4
3.225
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm Mod.1937 20-K coaxial
3x DT machine gun
6 45 km/h Turret: 130 mm
Front hull plate: 130 mm
Front upper plate: 80 mm
Side plate: 125 mm
Rear plate: 130 mm
Top /bottom: 50 -40 mm
N/A Kruchenykh KV-4 107.7 9.13
4.03
3.78
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
4x DT machine guns
9 30 km/h Front: 130 mm
N/A Mikhailov KV-4 86.5 9
3.6
3
107 mm ZiS-6 (F-42)
45 mm Mod.1937 20-K (hull-mounted)
3x DT machine guns
6 50 km/h Turret: 130 mm
Hull: 130 mm
Belly and belly: 50 – 40 mm
N/A Marishkin KV-4 86.4 8.7
3.6
3.5
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
7 40 km/h Front: 130 mm
Upper frontal: 80 mm
N/A Pavlov & Grigorev KV-4 91 8.5
4.0
3.6
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
6 45 km/h Front: 100 – 125 mm
N/A Turchaninov KV-4 89.5 9.8
4.0
3.0
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
DT machine gun
7 35 km/h Front: 125 mm
N/A Strukov KV-4 92 8.6
4.0
3.8
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
6 50 km/h Front: 80 – 130 mm
N/A Unkown KV-4
N/A Unkown KV-4

Soviet intelligence services sent a report to the Main Directorate of Armored Forces (GABTU) on 11 March 1941, concerning the development of German tanks. Most noteworthy, or perhaps alarming, was the development of a 90 tonne heavy tank, armed with a 105 mm gun. With hindsight, we can say that these were some early plans of the Pz.Kpfw.VII or Löwe.

Soviet military officials immediately realized their lack of preparation in this regard. The only genuine heavy tank in service during the spring of 1941 was the KV-1. While it was good on paper, it had been rushed into service for propaganda purposes, more than as a direct combat weapon. Just a few months later, these critical shortcomings would come to haunt not just its LKZ designers, but the Soviet Army altogether, showing how unreliable, slow, and heavy the tank was. The KV-1, even on its best day, would not be enough in an all-out war. Thus, as early as 1940, work on heavier tanks commenced at LKZ, in the form of the T-150, the T-220, and later the KV-3. These were fine vehicles on paper, with guns and armor far superior to even the much later Tiger I, but they were very unreliable, i.e. the KV-220 broke 2 engines during its trials and weighed 62.7 tonnes.

A T-150 towing the KV-220 during trials.
Source: ofis-7andotherthings

Just 10 days after the initial report, on 21 March 1941, the GABTU sent the requirements for the development of the KV-4, designated Object 224 to LKZ, tasked with designing the vehicle, where it would be simply called “224”. The military required it to be a 70 to 72 tonne heavy tank, armed with the 107 mm ZiS-6 in the turret, as well as a secondary 45 mm 20-K and at least 3 DT machine guns. Armor was to be of 130 mm at the front and 120 mm towards the sides and rear. Propulsion was provided by a 1,200 hp M-40 engine, also developed at LKZ. Crew was to be of 6 men. The deadline for the blueprints was 17 July, after which they were to be sent to various factories responsible for component production, namely Plant No.92 for construction of armaments in September and to Izhora plant in October, in charge of hull and turret production.

At LKZ, specifically the SKB-2 design bureau, work had not even started when the GABTU changed their minds and altered the KV-4 requirements on 7 April, as well as those of the KV-3, which was now to be improved and act as a stopgap until the heavier KVs were made. Most surprisingly was the introduction of a new tank, even larger and heavier than the KV-4, the KV-5, with a mass of at least 90 tonnes and 170 mm of frontal armor. The KV-4 itself was also improved, its weight increased to 75 tonnes, frontal armor to 135 mm and side/rear to 125 mm.

Work on the KV-4 began on 10 April, with J. Y. Kotint as the head of the project. Due to the very loose requirements and ability to start from scratch, he decided to test his engineer’s creativity. Thus, with the approval of the factory director I.M. Zaltsman, he set up a competition for the KV-4’s designs. Engineers would brainstorm what the KV-4 would look like, encouraging original and innovative features.The top few designs would get a financial reward. Over 20 engineers competed, submitting over 20 individual designs. The winning design was that of N. L. Dukhov, which was essentially an enlarged KV-220, but with a peculiar semi-automatic loading system. Second place went to the trio of K. I. Kuzmin, V. I Tarotko, and P. S. Tarapatin, who designed a very unorthodox tank, resembling nothing seen before, with the gun mounted in a central rotating sponson, with a smaller turret on top, in a more ‘symmetric’ fashion compared to the American M3 Lee tank. Third place went to N.V. Tseits, with a more conventional design, but which sought to have as low a hull as possible, with a large cylindrical turret. Several other designers also received monetary compensation for their designs.

The Designers

This design was created by 3 different engineers working together, K. I. Kuzmin, V. I. Tarotko, and P. S. Tarapatin. The latter two had worked on the KV-1 as part of a trainee team of young design engineers, but also on the SU-152 and SU-122. In late 1944, alongside G.N. Moskvin, V.I. Tarotko would develop the “pike-nose” armor layout for the Object 252U and IS-2U, becoming an iconic design feature on Soviet post-war heavy tanks. After the war, he would work on the IS-4. K.I. Kuzmin first appears in relation to the KV-3, where he worked alongside others on the hull. After the war broke out, he was the design group leader on the KV-5 and was the hull designer of the KV-13. Worthy to note is that some documents mention S.V. Mickiewicz instead of V.I. Tarotko, though likely a mistake.

Design

The general layout of the KV-4 as proposed by the K.T.T. trio is one of the most unorthodox and unique amongst all other proposals. The driver and bow machine gunner sat in the hull, as on most other KV tanks. Yet right behind them was the engine and gearbox compartment, without any firewall or separation. Behind the powerpack was the fighting compartment, separated by a firewall. The main 107 mm ZiS-6 gun was mounted in a large, rotating sponson which could traverse 60° to both the left and right. Behind it, on the roof of the fighting compartment was a fully rotating turret, armed with a 45 mm 20-K gun. Right behind the fighting compartiment, separated by a partially curved firewall, was the air cooling system, which would both evacuate and intake air for the engine. While not ideal, there was simply no room to locate it closer to the engine. Thanks to the well integrated gun and low roof, the vehicle could have been relatively easy to transport (setting aside its weight) and presented a low profile, was it not for the small turret which placed it amongst the taller KV-4 designs, at 3.78 m. The engine was a M-40 V-12 aircraft engine, equipped with 4x TK-88 turbochargers, despite being a diesel engine. It had an output of 1,200 hp, and was connected to the gearbox which ran through the hull, in between the driver and bow machine gunner. Thus, the tank had frontal drive sprockets. It was estimated to reach a top speed of 36 km/h.

Due to its “turretless” layout, the tank is sometimes mistaken for a self-propelled gun, most notably, by Wargaming’s videogame World of Tanks. This is simply not the case. Similarly, N.F. Shashmurin had also opted to mount the main gun of his tank inside the hull, and after being forced (otherwise it would have been disqualified), he added a KV-1 turret on top. Truth is that there were plans on 18 April to design a KV-4 based SPG, but with just 60 mm of casemate armor and an improved 107 mm gun. The design by the K.T.T. trio is simply a heavy tank with the main gun mounted in the hull, albeit with a significant gun arc.

Side profile of the trio’s KV-4 proposal. The engine is situated between the driver and the fighting compartiment.
Source: ASKM

Crew

The crew was to be of 6 men, commander, gunner, 2 loaders, bow machine gunner, and driver. The gunner and one of the loaders sat within the fighting compartiment in the hull and manned the 107 mm ZiS-6 gun. The main gun shells were stowed on the floor of the tank and in racks to the rear of the compartiment. The tank’s commander and a second loader were in the turret. Here, the commander could scan the battlefield with the rotating turret, offering an excellent view, while also being able to independently engage targets. The second loader was also in the turret, but had to bend down from his seat to lift the light, 1.43 kg, 45 mm shells into the breech. Down into the hull, at the front, was the driver (left) and bow machine gunner (right), likely also tasked with operating the radio. Both had ball-mounted DS-39 7.62 mm machine guns at their disposal, for suppressive fire more than anything. Though lack of any other machine guns, especially one with an extended firing arc, in a “mostly” turretless vehicle is a major downside, especially as many other KV-4 designs had several turrets capable of rotating independently of each other.

Top down view of the KV-4 proposal where the 2 7.62 mm DS-39 bow machine guns can be seen.
Source: ASKM

Armor

Compared to other KV-4 designs, the tank in question’s armor was on the thinner side, with “just” 125 mm thick plates at the front, sides and rear. Top and belly plates were 40 mm thick. Curiously, despite being very similar to the T-50 or T-50-2 turret, the top turret was just as well armored, with what appears to be 125 mm thick plates all around, aside for the area around the gun mantlet and roof, which were 40 mm thick.

Armament

The main gun was the 107 mm ZiS-6, designed by V. G. Grabin in 45 days, at the request of Stalin himself for the new heavy tanks, although experiments and testing of similar guns started long before, in 1940. The shells weighed 18.8 kg and had a muzzle velocity of 800 to 840 m/s. Some sources claim it could penetrate 115 m of armor from 1,000 m.

The gun was mounted in a semi-rotating sponson. In other words, it was fixed on a rotating armored housing, where it could traverse 60° in both directions. Additionally, the gun had vertical movement of -5°. However, the elevation is unknown, as the document is damaged where the value is written. The crew would be required to move along with the gun, unless the gunner was attached to it, like in a conventional turret.

Regarding secondary armament, the tank had a single 45 mm 20-K Mod. 1938 gun, mounted in a smaller turret. It had 360° horizontal traverse and vertical elevation of +20°/-5°. This gun fired 1.43 kg shells with a velocity of 760 m/s. While this gun might seem underwhelming, in tandem with the 107 mm ZiS-6, it was more than useful. It was still the main gun in use on several Soviet tanks in service, from the BT-5, BT-7 and T-26, to the new T-50 and massive T-35. With hindsight, it is clear that this gun would quickly become obsolete, especially as a main weapon.

The KV-2 with the ZiS-6 107 mm gun and KV-3 mantlet during testing, June 1941.
Source: Thinky via WT forums

The tank only featured 2 DS-39 7.62 mm machine guns, both in fixed ball mounts in the hull, for the driver and bow gunner/radio operator. This opened large fire blindspots for the semi-turretless tank, increasing the dependence on the 45 mm gun, and in turn, strain on the commander, who acted as its gunner. Even so, the lack of any other machine gun meant that suppressive fire was impossible and the tank was vulnerable to rear infantry attacks.

Misinterpretation

The 3 engineers sought to create an eccentric vehicle, with several unique features, such as the sponson-mounted main gun or engine cooling layout. For these, Kotin and the judges initially awarded the design second place, landing the 3 men 3000 Rubles to share. However their joy was short-lived, as their design was later disqualified after concerns that it did not fit the GABTU’s requirements, which originally specified that the main gun was to be mounted in a fully-rotating turret. This detail was (likely) omitted in the second request. The result of their disqualification meant that the design by N.V. Tseits would be lifted to second place, which had a direct impact on the development of the KV-5, which used many aspects of Tseits’ KV-4 proposal. Oddly, Shashmurin’s design, which also mounted the main gun in a casemate, was not disqualified. Furthermore, he used the “wrong” gun, placing a KV-1 turret and gun on the roof of the casemate.

The KV-4 proposal as it is represented in the game World of Tanks, called KTTS. Note that it does not have the original 107 mm ZiS-6, but rather it has the 107 mm M-75, a gun which the KV-4 heavy tank was never intended to equip.
Source: Wargaming

The entire KV-4 project was rather hopeless. After the announcement in May of the competition’s winner, N.L. Dukhov, work on the KV-4 virtually stopped. Instead, the team shifted focus towards preparing blueprints for the KV-5. Work on these heavy tanks was slowed down by the German invasion of the USSR on 22 June, and eventually, completely halted in September, when German troops were approaching Leningrad and the SKB-2’s design bureau was evacuated to ChTZ, later renamed ChKZ, in Chelyabinsk.

The KV-4 as designed by Kuzmin, Tarotko, and Tarapatin (KTT). Illustration by Pavel Alexe.

KV-4 K.T.T. specifications

Dimensions (L-W-H) 9.26 – 3.175 – 3.78 m
Total Weight, Battle Ready 88 tonnes
Crew 6 (Commander, Gunner, Driver, Radio operator, loader, turret mechanic/loader assistant)
Propulsion 1,200 hp diesel/kerosene V-12 M-40 with 4 turbochargers
Speed 36 km/h (hypothetical)
Suspension Torsion bar, 7 wheels per side
Armament 107 mm ZiS-6 (F-42)
45 mm 20-K
2x DS-39 machine guns
Armor Front: 125 mm
Side: 125 mm
Rear: 125 mm
Top and belly: 40 mm
Total Production 0, blueprints only

Sources:

Breakthrough tank KV – Maxim Kolomiets
Supertanki Stalina IS-7 – Maxim Kolomiets
KV 163 1939-1941 – Maxim Kolomiets
KV heavy tank – compiled by E.V. Egers
Confrontation – Ibragimov Danyial Sabirovich
Bronevoy Schit Stalina. Istoriya Sovetskogo Tanka (1937-1943) M. Svirin
About the forgotten creators of Soviet armored power. (historyntagil.ru) – S.I. Pudovkin
German Lion | Warspot.ru – Yuri Pasholok
Tank building on the verge of common sense | Warspot.ru – Yuri Pasholok
Large caliber for large HF | Yuriy Pasholok | Yandex Zen – Yuri Pasholok
Tank Archives: Soviet 107 mm Guns – Peter Samsonov
Tank Archives: KV-3 Mulligan – Peter Samsonov
Tank Archives: Heavy Tank Costs – Peter Samsonov
Tank Archives: ZIS-6 Characteristics – Peter Samsonov
Tank Archives: Modernization on Paper
Опытный танк с боевой биографией | Warspot.ru
Тарапатин П.С. (famhist.ru)
Танкостроение на грани здравого смысла | Warspot.ru
Soviet heavy tanks series kv. History of creation External fuel tanks tank KV 1 (ezoteriker.ru)
About the forgotten creators of Soviet armored power. (historyntagil.ru)
Revolution Dingxin (1) – I love to look at the bib (wakwb.com)
Soviet heavy tanks 45-65 – 0020.htm (narod2.ru)

Categories
WW2 Soviet KV-4

KV-4 (Object 224) Kresavsky

Soviet Union (1941)
Super Heavy Tank – Blueprints Only

The KV-4 program can be regarded as one of the most unsuccessful and short-lived tank design ideas of the Soviet Union during the WW2 period. This is especially true considering its expectations, the caliber of the engineers behind it, J. Y. Kotin and N. L. Dukhov, to name a few, and those who ordered it to begin with, including Stalin himself. Many designs were proposed in what was essentially a drawing competition, some quite sensible, while some were less so. One rather forgettable design was that by young engineer M. I. Kresavsky, who did not receive any awards for his design. Big, heavy, and with no advantages over other designs, it remained, and still is largely, forgotten, with just minor recognition in Wargaming’s World of Tanks.

Development

–Dear reader: A more detailed development analysis of the KV-4 program can be found in the KV-4 Dukhov article–

KV-4 designs
Placement Name Drawings Mass (t) Dimensions (m) (LxWxH) Armament Crew Top speed (theoretical) Armor Reward /Rubles
1 Dukhov KV-4 82.5 8.150
3.790
3.153
-107 mm ZiS-6
– 45 mm K-20
– 2x 7.62 DT
6 40 km/h Front top plate: 135 mm
Front bottom plate: 130 mm
Side plate: 125 mm
Top and belly: 40 mm
5000
2 Kuzmin, Tarotko, Tarapatin KV-4 88 9.26
3.78
3.175
-107 mm ZiS-6
– 45 mm K-20
– 3x 7.62 DS-39
6 36 km/h Front: 125 mm
Side: 125-100 mm
Top and belly: 40 mm
3000
3 Tseits KV-4 90 8.85
4.03
3.62
107 mm ZiS-6
2x 7.62 DS-39
Unspecified flamethrower
7 45 km/h Front hul upper plate: 50 mm
Front hull bottom plate: 125 mm
Turret:130 mm
Side plate: 125 mm
Top and belly: 50 mm
2800
4 Sychev KV-4 95 – 100 9.23
4.00
3.40
107 mm ZiS-6 (F-42)
45 mm 20-K
2x DT machine guns
6 40 – 45 Turret: 135-125 mm
Hull: 105 mm
Top and belly: 40 mm
2000
4 Ermolaev KV-4 90 8.22
4.00
3.25
107 mm ZiS-6 6 35 130 mm
95 8.52
4.00
3.25
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
6 35 130 mm 2000
5 KV-4 Shashmurin 92 9.50
4.00
3.85
107 mm ZiS-6 (F-42) main cannon (112 or 102 rounds)
76 mm F-11 secondary cannon (120 rounds)
2x DT machine gun (400 rounds)
Unspecified flamethrower (hull)
7 35 km/h Front top plate: 125 mm
Side plate: 125 mm
Top and belly: 50 to 40 mm
1500
6 Buganov 93 7.70
3.80
3.90
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
6 50 km/h Front 125 mm 1000
6 Moskvin 101 9.573
4.03
3.74
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
6 40 km/h Front 130 mm 1000
7 Pereverzev KV-4 100 9.5
3.8
3.82
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
2x DT machine guns
6 39 km/h Front: 125 mm 500
7 Bykov 98.6 9.5
4.03
3.65
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
DS-39 machine gun
8 36 km/h Front 130 mm 500
7 Kalivod 500
N/A Fedorenko KV-4 98.65 8.10
4.03
3.70
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm M.1938
3x DT machine guns
Unspecified flamethrower
6 35 km/h Front upper plate: 140 mm
Side plate: 125 mm
Turret: 125 mm
Top and belly: 50 to 40 mm
N/A Kreslavsky KV-4 92.6 9
4
3.225
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm Mod.1937 20-K coaxial
3x DT machine gun
6 45 km/h Turret: 130 mm
Front hull plate: 130 mm
Front upper plate: 80 mm
Side plate: 125 mm
Rear plate: 130 mm
Top /bottom: 50 -40 mm
N/A Kruchenykh KV-4 107.7 9.13
4.03
3.78
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
4x DT machine guns
9 30 km/h Front: 130 mm
N/A Mikhailov KV-4 86.5 9
3.6
3
107 mm ZiS-6 (F-42)
45 mm Mod.1937 20-K (hull-mounted)
3x DT machine guns
6 50 km/h Turret: 130 mm
Hull: 130 mm
Belly and belly: 50 – 40 mm
N/A Marishkin KV-4 86.4 8.7
3.6
3.5
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
7 40 km/h Front: 130 mm
Upper frontal: 80 mm
N/A Pavlov & Grigorev KV-4 91 8.5
4.0
3.6
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
6 45 km/h Front: 100 – 125 mm
N/A Turchaninov KV-4 89.5 9.8
4.0
3.0
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
DT machine gun
7 35 km/h Front: 125 mm
N/A Strukov KV-4 92 8.6
4.0
3.8
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
6 50 km/h Front: 80 – 130 mm
N/A Unkown KV-4
N/A Unkown KV-4

Despite the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, and previous German-Soviet tank collaborations, in 1941, the situation in Europe was ugly, and German expansion was worrying for the Soviets. Things took a turn for the worse when, on 11 March, a report submitted by the Soviet Intelligence agencies regarding German armament development included a chapter on German heavy tanks. Here, amongst other tanks, a 90-tonne heavy tank armed with a 105 mm gun was mentioned. The Soviet military, recognising its unpreparedness against such a threat, ordered work on a Soviet tank that could match such an enemy tank.

Just 10 days after the initial report was sent, on 21 March, the GABTU (Main Directorate of Armed Forces) sent out the request for a new heavy tank, designated Object 224 or KV-4, as it was to be designed at the Leningrad Kirov plant (LKZ). The design of the tank was to be done by the SKB-2 design bureau, headed by the famous tank designer J. Y. Kotin. The Soviet state requested the tank to be a 70-72 tonne tank and armed with the 107 mm ZiS-6 main gun, a secondary 20-K 45 mm gun, 3 machine guns, and 1 flamethrower. Armor was to be of 130 mm at the front and 120 mm towards the sides and rear. Propulsion was to be provided by an M-40 aviation diesel engine, with 4 TK-88 turbochargers, outputting 1,200 hp. The crew was to be of 6. Deadline for the tank plans was 17 July.

It was not long until the GABTU changed their minds and, on 7 April, reordered the entire program. Firstly, the KV-3, which was previously under development, was reinstated and upgraded to act as a stopgap tank until the KV-4 and KV-5 were ready for production. The KV-5 itself was created, a 90-tonne tank which would have had 170 mm of armor at the front and 150 mm at the sides, though same armament and powerpack as the KV-4. The 2 would compete against each other, and the winning vehicle would be produced. The specifications of the KV-4 were also tampered with, increasing the weight to at least 75 tonnes, 135 mm of frontal armor and 125 mm on the sides and rear. The deadline for the tank’s drawings was narrowed to 15 June.

Work began on 10 April at LKZ, and Kotin, after seeking approval and funding from factory director I. M. Zaltsman, decided to let the engineers compete against each other. The best designs would be financially rewarded. The SKB-2 design bureau already had experience with heavy tank development. It was the same group of people behind the SMK, T-100, KV-1, T-150, KV-220, and KV-3. Over 20 engineers from SKB-2 competed against each other, some even teaming up, presenting well over 20 different tank designs. The winner was N. L. Dukhov, with a KV-4 that was essentially just an enlarged KV-220. Second place went to the trio of K. I. Kuzmin, V. I Tarotko and P. S. Tarapatin, which had the main gun inside the turret (and later got disqualified), and third place to N. V. Tseits, whose design featured a very low profile hull, but a massive turret. Though not all designs were as well received. Over 10 designs did not receive any rewards. One of these was the one by engineer M. I. Kresavsky.

M.I. Kresavsky

A young engineer from the Leningrad Politechnic institute, M.I. Kresavsky (also sometimes spelled Kreslavsky) was drafted by Kotin and worked for him for 30 years. Apart from his work on the KV-4, Kreslavsky worked on the SMK and the transmission of the KV-1, alongside V. A. Kozlovsky. He also participated in the design of the KV-2 and IS tanks.

A young M.I. Kresavsky at SKB-2.
Source: Constructor of Combat vehicles- N.Popov

Design

At first glance, the KV-4, as designed by Kreslavsky, was nothing special, other than its sheer size. At exactly 9 m in length, and over 4 m in width, it landed on the larger side of the KV-4 spectrum. Mass-wise, the 92.6 tonne design was around average, with the lightest design being 82.5 tonnes and the heaviest 107.7 tonnes. Yet, a couple of details make it into a rather strange design from a mechanical aspect. Primarily, the engine was mounted over the 3rd and 4th roadwheels, right behind the driver, separated by a firewall. The transmission protruded through the firewall towards the final drive, located at the driver’s feet. This, in turn, worked the front drive sprockets. In terms of propulsion, the tank was, as requested by the GABTU, equipped with an 1,200 hp M-40 engine, with 4 TK-88 turbochargers. For vision, the driver had a complex, rounded armored bulge, extending from the hull, made from several cast and welded components. The bow machine gunner had his own such “bulge” on the opposite side of the hull.

The turret and fighting compartment were behind the engine room, separated by another firewall. Inside the hull, ammunition was stowed. Above was the hexagonal turret, made from 125 to 130 mm plates pressed into shape and welded together. On top, a conical turret with several vision slits was attached. The main 107 mm ZiS-6 gun was mounted to the left of the center, while the 45 mm 20-K to the right. Back inside the hull, a 4th compartment was added, which housed the fuel tanks and engine cooling system, which was pulled through the fighting compartment. While seemingly complex, this entire layout offered several advantages. Firstly, it protected the crew, ammunition, and fuel tanks from frontal impacts. Secondly, the turret was offset far enough to the rear that the gun barely hung over the hull, easing transport and reducing potential barrel damage during maneuvers in areas such as cities or forests.

Cutout side view of Kreslavsky’s design.
Source: ASKM

Crew

The vehicle had a crew of 6: commander, gunner, 2 loaders, driver, and bow machine gunner/radio operator. The commander, seated in the back of the turret, operated the cupola, equipped with 6 vision slits and one 7.62 mm DT machine gun. The gunner sat to the right of the 107 mm main gun and was very likely able to remotely operate the 45 mm gun too. The 2 guns had individual loaders sat behind them. Another ball-mounted DT machine gun was mounted on the rear plate of the turret, likely to be used by one of the loaders. There are no visible entry/exit hatches, but a reasonable assumption would conclude that there would be 2 hatches, one on the cupola and another on the left side of the turret roof.

The driver and bow gunner were seated in the hull, each on either side of the gearbox. Both had their own armored, rounded protrusions, which allowed for more headroom and better visibility, equipped with at least 4 vision slits each.

Top view drawing of Kreslavsky’s KV-4. The tracks are missing from this scheme. Note the gun mantlet and the way the guns are placed.
Source: AKSM

Armor

In relation to other KV-4 designs, the armor on Kreslavsky’s KV-4 was nothing special. Frontal plates on both the hull and turret were 130 mm thick and rounded, increasing the effectiveness from certain angles. Only the frontal upper plate was thinner, at just 80 mm, though it was angled at 10° from horizontal, bringing it to an LoS thickness of 461 mm. Armor on the driver’s cupola varied from 125 mm at the front to 60 mm on the roof. Side and rear armor was 125 mm thick, while roof armor was 50 mm and belly armor was 40 mm thick.

Armament

The main gun on all KV-4 designs was the ZiS-6, with a 107 mm caliber, designed by the famous V. A. Grabin. By March 1941, the Soviets had already worked for several months on 107 mm caliber guns, and were proving to be very powerful, especially in regards to armor penetration. Thus, when the news of German heavy tanks came, Stalin himself rang Grabin, requesting the design of a new, powerful gun. Thus the F-42 was born, completed in just 45 days. In March, it was renamed to ZiS-6. Factory trials proved promising after delayed tests were conducted on a KV-2 armed with the gun and a KV-3 gun mantlet. Production started shortly after. However, according to Grabin’s memoirs, after the cancellation of the LKZ heavy tanks, over 800 such gun barrels had to be melted. The gun itself had an 18.8 kg one-piece shell, with a muzzle velocity between 800 to 840 m/s.

One of the first ZiS-6 107 mm guns produced.
Source: Yuri Pasholok via Warspot

The secondary armament, a 20-K 45 mm, was mounted coaxially, to the right of the center of the mantlet. There was no space in between the 2 guns for another gunner, so it is assumed that the main and single gunner sat to the left of the main gun, and could remotely operate the 45 mm gun too, using some form of mechanical system. The gun itself fired BR-240SP AP rounds, which weighed 1.43 kg, had a muzzle velocity of 757 m/s and a (artificially calculated) penetration of 73 mm at 0 m.

A total of 3 DT 7.62 mm machine guns were mounted on ball mounts in the tank, one by the bow machine gunner, in the hull, one in the commander’s cupola and one on the rear turret plate, likely operated by one of the loaders, when necessary.

Drawings og the 45 mm K-20 gun with its turret gun mount.
Source: Armored Wiki via VK.com

Dinosaur Extinction

The KV-4 program did not go far at all. The LKZ staff failed to present final blueprints in time, and the program was delayed. Without them, the Izhora plant, tasked with production of the tank prototype, could not begin work either. The truth is that the program slowly died after the competition, and work shifted towards the more exciting KV-5. With the German invasion of the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941, work still continued. Only in August, when the German forces were approaching Leningrad, did work on these tanks pause. The SKB-2 design bureau was evacuated to the ChTZ, later renamed ChKZ in Chelyabinsk, and work on the KV-4 never resumed.

Conclusion

Though one might see the KV-4 program as unlucky and doomed, Kresavsky’s own proposal was even more so. It failed to spark any interest from the ‘judges’ and brought nothing revolutionary enough, in what was actually quite a large tank, even compared to other KV-4 designs. Only in the recent decade has Kreslavsky’s proposal received some ‘love’, being introduced in the massively multiplayer online game, World of Tanks.

KV-4 Kresavsky as interpreted by Wargaming. Note that it does not have the original 107 mm ZiS-6, but rather it has the 107 mm M-75, a gun that the KV-4 heavy tank was never intended to mount.
Source: TheDailyBounce.net
Interpretation of Kresavsky’s KV-4 design by Pavel Alexe. Illustration funded through our Patreon campaign.

KV-4 Kresavsky Specifications

Dimensions (L-W-H) 9.0 – 4.0 – 3.225 m
Total weight, battle-ready 92.6 tonnes
Crew 6 (commander, main gunner, driver, secondary gunner, radio operator, & loader )
Propulsion 1,200 hp diesel V-12 M-40 with 4 turbochargers
Speed 45 km/h
Suspension Torsion bar, 7 wheels per side
Armament 107 mm ZiS-6 (F-42) (103 rounds)
45 mm Mod.1937 20-K coaxial (140 rounds)
3x DT machine guns (4,000 rounds)
Armor Turret: 130 mm
Front hull plate: 130 mm
Front upper plate: 80 mm
Side plate: 125 mm
Rear plate: 130 mm
Top: 50 mm
Bottom: 40 mm
No. Built 0, blueprints only

Sources

Breakthrough tank KV – Maxim Kolomiets
Supertanki Stalina IS-7 – Maxim Kolomiets
KV 163 1939-1941 – Maxim Kolomiets
Bronevoy Schit Stalina. Istoriya Sovetskogo Tanka (1937-1943) M. Svirin
Kreslavsky M.I. (famhist.ru)
Tank building on the verge of common sense | Warspot.ru – Yuri Pasholok
Tank Archives: Soviet 107 mm Guns – Peter Samsonov
Tank Archives: KV-3 Mulligan – Peter Samsonov
Tank Archives: ZIS-6 Characteristics – Peter Samsonov

Categories
WW2 Soviet KV-4

KV-4 (Object 224) Tseits

Soviet Union (1941)
Super Heavy Tank – Blueprints Only

The KV-4 heavy tank program was started in April of 1941, based on an illusion of Soviet Intelligence services, which claimed that the Germans were working on a 90-tonne heavy tank. Design was undertaken at the LKZ factory via a competition of engineers. Amongst them was senior engineer N. V. Tseits, who designed one of the most successful KV-4 designs, being awarded third, and later, second place.

Development

–Dear reader: A more detailed development analysis of the KV-4 program can be found in the KV-4 Dukhov article–

KV-4 designs
Placement Name Drawings Mass (t) Dimensions (m) (LxWxH) Armament Crew Top speed (theoretical) Armor Reward /Rubles
1 Dukhov KV-4 82.5 8.150
3.790
3.153
-107 mm ZiS-6
– 45 mm K-20
– 2x 7.62 DT
6 40 km/h Front top plate: 135 mm
Front bottom plate: 130 mm
Side plate: 125 mm
Top and belly: 40 mm
5000
2 Kuzmin, Tarotko, Tarapatin KV-4 88 9.26
3.78
3.175
-107 mm ZiS-6
– 45 mm K-20
– 3x 7.62 DS-39
6 36 km/h Front: 125 mm
Side: 125-100 mm
Top and belly: 40 mm
3000
3 Tseits KV-4 90 8.85
4.03
3.62
107 mm ZiS-6
2x 7.62 DS-39
Unspecified flamethrower
7 45 km/h Front hul upper plate: 50 mm
Front hull bottom plate: 125 mm
Turret:130 mm
Side plate: 125 mm
Top and belly: 50 mm
2800
4 Sychev KV-4 95 – 100 9.23
4.00
3.40
107 mm ZiS-6 (F-42)
45 mm 20-K
2x DT machine guns
6 40 – 45 Turret: 135-125 mm
Hull: 105 mm
Top and belly: 40 mm
2000
4 Ermolaev KV-4 90 8.22
4.00
3.25
107 mm ZiS-6 6 35 130 mm
95 8.52
4.00
3.25
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
6 35 130 mm 2000
5 KV-4 Shashmurin 92 9.50
4.00
3.85
107 mm ZiS-6 (F-42) main cannon (112 or 102 rounds)
76 mm F-11 secondary cannon (120 rounds)
2x DT machine gun (400 rounds)
Unspecified flamethrower (hull)
7 35 km/h Front top plate: 125 mm
Side plate: 125 mm
Top and belly: 50 to 40 mm
1500
6 Buganov 93 7.70
3.80
3.90
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
6 50 km/h Front 125 mm 1000
6 Moskvin 101 9.573
4.03
3.74
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
6 40 km/h Front 130 mm 1000
7 Pereverzev KV-4 100 9.5
3.8
3.82
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
2x DT machine guns
6 39 km/h Front: 125 mm 500
7 Bykov 98.6 9.5
4.03
3.65
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
DS-39 machine gun
8 36 km/h Front 130 mm 500
7 Kalivod 500
N/A Fedorenko KV-4 98.65 8.10
4.03
3.70
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm M.1938
3x DT machine guns
Unspecified flamethrower
6 35 km/h Front upper plate: 140 mm
Side plate: 125 mm
Turret: 125 mm
Top and belly: 50 to 40 mm
N/A Kreslavsky KV-4 92.6 9
4
3.225
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm Mod.1937 20-K coaxial
3x DT machine gun
6 45 km/h Turret: 130 mm
Front hull plate: 130 mm
Front upper plate: 80 mm
Side plate: 125 mm
Rear plate: 130 mm
Top /bottom: 50 -40 mm
N/A Kruchenykh KV-4 107.7 9.13
4.03
3.78
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
4x DT machine guns
9 30 km/h Front: 130 mm
N/A Mikhailov KV-4 86.5 9
3.6
3
107 mm ZiS-6 (F-42)
45 mm Mod.1937 20-K (hull-mounted)
3x DT machine guns
6 50 km/h Turret: 130 mm
Hull: 130 mm
Belly and belly: 50 – 40 mm
N/A Marishkin KV-4 86.4 8.7
3.6
3.5
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
7 40 km/h Front: 130 mm
Upper frontal: 80 mm
N/A Pavlov & Grigorev KV-4 91 8.5
4.0
3.6
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
6 45 km/h Front: 100 – 125 mm
N/A Turchaninov KV-4 89.5 9.8
4.0
3.0
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
DT machine gun
7 35 km/h Front: 125 mm
N/A Strukov KV-4 92 8.6
4.0
3.8
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
6 50 km/h Front: 80 – 130 mm
N/A Unkown KV-4
N/A Unkown KV-4

On 11 March 1941, the Soviet intelligence services sent a report to the Main Directorate of Armed Forces (GABTU) regarding German tank development. Amongst several other topics, heavy tanks had been discussed, of which a 90 tonne heavy tank armed with a 105 mm gun which was apparently under development.

This came as a large surprise to the Soviet military officials, which immediately realized their lack of preparation in this regard. At the time, the KV-1 was the main heavy tank of the Soviet armored forces, but it was completely unprepared for service, let alone combat. Its problems would become apparent at the start of the German invasion of the USSR, highlighting its poor mobility and mechanical unreliability. Work began as early as 1940 on creating a heavier and better armored KV-1, most notably the T-150, KV-220, and later the KV-3. Here, it is relevant to remember that even the KV-220, armored with a 85 mm gun, could have stood up to even the Tiger I, which entered service over a year later, had its crucial mechanical problems been fixed.

Shortly after, on 21 March 1941, the GABTU sent out the requirements for the development of the KV-4, designated Object 224, or just 224. It was to be a 70 to 72 tonne heavy tank, armed with the 107 mm ZiS-6 in the turret, as well as a secondary 45 mm 20-K and at least 3 DT machine guns. Armor was to be of 130 mm at the front and 120 mm towards the sides and rear. Propulsion was provided by a 1,200 hp M-40 engine, also developed at LKZ. Crew was to be of 6 men. On 27 March 1941, the deadline for the tank design was set to 17 July, not including the prototype building and armament testing, which were set as late as October of the same year.

Yet, in an unanticipated turn of events, on 7 April 1941, the GABTU rethought the requests on the KV-4. The weight was raised to 75 tonnes, and armor as thick as 135 mm. Side and rear armor was to be 125 mm thick. The blueprints’ deadline was also narrowed, to 15 June. It was at this time that the KV-5 was requested, a tank that was to weigh at least 90-tonnes, have 170 mm of armor at the front and 150 mm at the sides. Additionally, the KV-3 was ‘revived’ and improved to fulfill a stopgap role until the KV-4 and KV-5 tanks were ready for production.

At LKZ, the SKB-2 design bureau began work on 10 April. Head of the project was the famous J. Y. Kotin, who, after seeking approval and funding from factory director I. M. Zaltsman, decided approach the design of the tank in an unusual way, by creating a competition between the SKB-2 engineers. The top few designs would get a financial rewards. Over 20 engineers competed, submitting over 20 individual designs. The winning design was that of N. L. Dukhov, which was essentially an enlarged KV-220. Second place went to the K. I. Kuzmin, V. I Tarotko and P. S. Tarapatin trio, who submitted a tank with the main gun in the hull and secondary gun in a small turret. Third place went to N. V. Tseits, who submitted a tank with a very low hull, but large turret, to offset the lack of hull space.

N.V. Tseits

Nikolai Valentinovich Tseits* was born in Moscow in 1884 and studied engineering at the Bauman Moscow State Technical University, graduating in 1922. In 1925, he started working at the Ordnance-Arsenal Trust and from 1928 onwards worked in the Kazan German-Soviet tank facility. In 1930, he was arrested on counter-revolutionary charges and sentenced to 10 years in labor camps, but the charges were dropped in 1932, after working at a automobile and tractor design bureau. From 1934, he worked at the experimental plant No.185 and, from 1937, at the SKB-2 design bureau of LKZ, where he was the oldest, most knowledgeable and, in turn, most respected engineer. Through his tank design career, he worked on the T-28, T-29, T-35, SMK, KV-3, KV-5, and, lastly, the KV-13. In 1942, after working non-stop for months on the KV-13, he was granted 1 week leave by head engineer J. Y. Kotin, which he used for hunting. Upon his return to ChKZ in Chelyabinsk, he felt unwell and died shortly after at the factory medical office from an unidentified cause. According to the memoirs of N. F. Shashmurin, who was in the room before his death, Tseits had gifted him a slide ruler to remember him by. Tseits was 68 years old at the time. He was awarded the Order of Lenin and Order of the Badge of Honor.

*the spelling Tseits is an anglicized version of the Cyrillic name Цейц.

Nikolai Valentinovich Tseits.
Source: Wikimedia commons

Design

In terms of general layout, Tseits kept his design traditional, with the engine towards the rear and turret in the center of the hull. What was not traditional, at least for a Soviet tank, was the final drive, which had been moved to the front, as opposed to having it combined with the engine. Another unusual feature was the very low hull roof. In order to offset the low hull, the turret was large in all directions, so much so that it had to be ‘lowered’ into the hull, with the turret ring being below the level of the driver’s head. The height of the turret allowed for the main gun ammunition to be stowed vertically, in great numbers, with 100 to 120 rounds stowed on the turret side walls and underneath the turret ring. A secondary turret was placed on top, armed with a DT 7.62 machine gun.

The 1,200 hp M-40 engine, with 4 TK-88 turbochargers, was housed at the rear of the hull, resembling modern MBTs, as opposed to a design from 1941. The air cooling was directed via a protruding chamber, at the rear, as opposed to a curved plate, as on most KV tanks. The driveshaft ran from the engine over the torsion bars and underneath the fuel tanks that were in the center of the hull, underneath the turret ring. The final drive, brakes and gearbox were placed at the tip of the hull, at the feet of the driver and bow machine gunner.

Side view of Tseits’ KV-4 design. Note just how short the hull is in comparison to the turret height.
Source: ASKM
Top view of Tseit’s design. The circular turret can be seen, as well as part of the ammunition layout.
Source: ASKM

Crew

As designed, the tank was to have a crew of 7 men: commander, main gunner, main loader, loader assistant, driver, bow machine gunner and radio operator/secondary turret operator.

Unfortunately, exact positions for all the crewmen are not given, so some speculation is required. The driver and bow machine gunner were both seated inside the hull. Here, the hull roof was lifted to allow for placement of the 7.62 mm bow machine gun in a ball mount and to give room for the 2 crewmen’s heads. The driver had 3 periscopes for vision, in addition to the vision slit in the hull. The rest of the crewmembers were likely placed in the roomy turret. The gunner was to the left of the gun and the commander to the opposite side, on the right. Behind them were the 2 main loaders, each tasked with loading the gun from the opposing sides of the turret walls. The ammunition stowage did not have any rotation system, similar to later autoloaders, thus requiring several loaders to reach all sides.

Armor

The turret was made from curved armor plates into a semicircle 125 mm thick. The only exception was the front of the turret, which consisted of a single, angled, flat plate, 130 mm thick. On it was the gun mantlet. The roof of the turret was partly angled at the front and 50 mm thick. The lower frontal plate was 130 mm, as was the front of the driver’s cubicle. The upper frontal plate, angled very steeply, sas just 50 mm thick. Hull sides and rear were 125 mm thick. Other areas were 50 to 40 mm thick.

Armament

The main armament was the ZiS-6 107 mm gun, previously named F-42. It was designed by the famous V. G. Grabin in record time at Stalin’s personal request for the new heavy tanks. The gun was tested, after many delays, in June 1941 on a KV-2 with a KV-3 mantlet, and after good performances, entered production. According to Grabin’s memoirs, around 800 barrels had been built, and subsequently melted down after the failure of the KV-3, KV-4. and KV-5 programs. The gun could fire an 18.8 kg one-piece shell at 800 to 840 m/s.

KV-5

Tseits’ design was greatly appreciated and placed 3rd in the competition, losing only to Dukhov’s design and the design by the K. I. Kuzmin, V. I. Tarotko, and P. S. Tarapatin trio. However, shortly after, the latter design, which placed second, was ‘disqualified’, likely due to the design not respecting original technical specifications and requirements. This, in turn, moved Tseits’ design up to second place.

On 7 April, in addition to changing the specifications of the KV-3 and KV-4, the GABTU requested an entirely new tank, larger and heavier than the already 80 to 90 tonne KV-4. It was to weigh at least 90 tonnes, have armor as thick as 170 mm at the front and 150 mm at the sides. J. Y. Kotin initially intended to start its development in the same way as on the KV-4, via a competition between engineers. But, as the requirements were similar (and equally vague) to the KV-4, it was decided to save time and use the results from the KV-4 competition. As a result, Tseits’ design, now being on second place, was chosen as the basis for the KV-5, and N.V. Tseits was chosen as senior machine designer of the project. Other engineers that placed high in the competition were given different roles in designing different segments, such as K.I. Kuzmin (head of design group), L. E. Sychev, A. S. Ermolayev, L. N. Pereverzev, and V. Bykov among others.

The design was kept very similar to Tseits’ KV-4 design, such as the large turret and low hull, but major changes were made, including moving the final drive to the rear, making the turret a pentagonal shape (much easier to weld straight plates compared to stamping them into a curve), as well as the driver and bow machine gunner being seated into individual ‘pods’.

Original blueprints of the KV-5 showing the hull.
Source: ASKM

Conclusion

The KV-4 design created by N.V. Tseits was, arguably, the most successful KV-4 design. While N.L. Dukhov’s design did win the competition and was to become the final variant of the KV-4, Tseits’ design was the basis of an even more powerful tank, in the form of the KV-5. However, considering the KV-5s nearly pointless birth, short life and unmourned death, it is not much of a gratification to a series of projects considered by the designers themselves as madness.

Interpretation of Tseits’ KV-4 design by Pavel Alexe. Illustration funded through our Patreon campaign.

KV-4 Tseits Specifications

Dimensions (L-W-H) 8.85 – 4.03 – 3.62 m
Total Weight, Battle Ready 90 tonnes
Crew 7 (Commander, gunner, driver, machine gunner, radio operator, loader, turret mechanic/loader assistant)
Propulsion 1,200 hp diesel V-12 M-40 with 4 turbochargers
Speed 45 km/h (hypothetical)
Armament 107 mm ZiS-6 (F-42)
2x DS-39 7.62 mm machine guns
Unspecified flamethrower
Armor Front hull upper plate: 50 mm
Front hull bottom plate: 125 mm
Turret front:130 mm
Side plate: 125 mm
Top and belly: 50 mm
Total Production 0, blueprints only

Sources

Breakthrough tank KV – Maxim Kolomiets
Supertanki Stalina IS-7 – Maxim Kolomiets
KV 163 1939-1941 – Maxim Kolomiets
Confrontation – Ibragimov Danyial Sabirovich
Bronevoy Schit Stalina. Istoriya Sovetskogo Tanka (1937-1943) M. Svirin
About the forgotten creators of Soviet armored power. (historyntagil.ru) – S.I. Pudovkin
German Lion | Warspot.ru – Yuri Pasholok
Tank building on the verge of common sense | Warspot.ru – Yuri Pasholok
Large caliber for large HF | Yuriy Pasholok | Yandex Zen – Yuri Pasholok
Tank Archives: Soviet 107 mm Guns – Peter Samsonov
Tank Archives: KV-3 Mulligan – Peter Samsonov
Tank Archives: Heavy Tank Costs – Peter Samsonov
Tank Archives: ZIS-6 Characteristics – Peter Samsonov
Танкостроение на грани здравого смысла | Warspot.ru
Branch of RGANTD | (archive.org)
About the forgotten creators of Soviet armored power. (historyntagil.ru)
Revolution Dingxin (1) – I love to look at the bib (wakwb.com)
Tanks are a war of minds. Designer of combat vehicles (wikireading.ru)

Categories
WW2 Soviet KV-4

KV-4 (Object 224) Mikhailov

Soviet Union (1941)
Super Heavy Tank – Blueprints Only

The KV-4 program started in spring 1941 as the response to rumors of German heavy tank development. A design competition between engineers at LKZ in Leningrad was held, with several designs awarded, though most others were ignored. One of these was the design proposed by P.P. Mikhailov, which brought several innovative features to the table, such as tracks within the hull, conical turret, and sideskirts. Who P.P. Mikhailov was, and his role at LKZ, is yet to be uncovered.

Development

–Dear reader: A more detailed development analysis of the KV-4 program can be found in the KV-4 Dukhov article

KV-4 designs
Placement Name Drawings Mass (t) Dimensions (m) (LxWxH) Armament Crew Top speed (theoretical) Armor Reward /Rubles
1 Dukhov KV-4 82.5 8.150
3.790
3.153
-107 mm ZiS-6
– 45 mm K-20
– 2x 7.62 DT
6 40 km/h Front top plate: 135 mm
Front bottom plate: 130 mm
Side plate: 125 mm
Top and belly: 40 mm
5000
2 Kuzmin, Tarotko, Tarapatin KV-4 88 9.26
3.78
3.175
-107 mm ZiS-6
– 45 mm K-20
– 3x 7.62 DS-39
6 36 km/h Front: 125 mm
Side: 125-100 mm
Top and belly: 40 mm
3000
3 Tseits KV-4 90 8.85
4.03
3.62
107 mm ZiS-6
2x 7.62 DS-39
Unspecified flamethrower
7 45 km/h Front hul upper plate: 50 mm
Front hull bottom plate: 125 mm
Turret:130 mm
Side plate: 125 mm
Top and belly: 50 mm
2800
4 Sychev KV-4 95 – 100 9.23
4.00
3.40
107 mm ZiS-6 (F-42)
45 mm 20-K
2x DT machine guns
6 40 – 45 Turret: 135-125 mm
Hull: 105 mm
Top and belly: 40 mm
2000
4 Ermolaev KV-4 90 8.22
4.00
3.25
107 mm ZiS-6 6 35 130 mm
95 8.52
4.00
3.25
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
6 35 130 mm 2000
5 KV-4 Shashmurin 92 9.50
4.00
3.85
107 mm ZiS-6 (F-42) main cannon (112 or 102 rounds)
76 mm F-11 secondary cannon (120 rounds)
2x DT machine gun (400 rounds)
Unspecified flamethrower (hull)
7 35 km/h Front top plate: 125 mm
Side plate: 125 mm
Top and belly: 50 to 40 mm
1500
6 Buganov 93 7.70
3.80
3.90
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
6 50 km/h Front 125 mm 1000
6 Moskvin 101 9.573
4.03
3.74
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
6 40 km/h Front 130 mm 1000
7 Pereverzev KV-4 100 9.5
3.8
3.82
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
2x DT machine guns
6 39 km/h Front: 125 mm 500
7 Bykov 98.6 9.5
4.03
3.65
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
DS-39 machine gun
8 36 km/h Front 130 mm 500
7 Kalivod 500
N/A Fedorenko KV-4 98.65 8.10
4.03
3.70
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm M.1938
3x DT machine guns
Unspecified flamethrower
6 35 km/h Front upper plate: 140 mm
Side plate: 125 mm
Turret: 125 mm
Top and belly: 50 to 40 mm
N/A Kreslavsky KV-4 92.6 9
4
3.225
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm Mod.1937 20-K coaxial
3x DT machine gun
6 45 km/h Turret: 130 mm
Front hull plate: 130 mm
Front upper plate: 80 mm
Side plate: 125 mm
Rear plate: 130 mm
Top /bottom: 50 -40 mm
N/A Kruchenykh KV-4 107.7 9.13
4.03
3.78
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
4x DT machine guns
9 30 km/h Front: 130 mm
N/A Mikhailov KV-4 86.5 9
3.6
3
107 mm ZiS-6 (F-42)
45 mm Mod.1937 20-K (hull-mounted)
3x DT machine guns
6 50 km/h Turret: 130 mm
Hull: 130 mm
Belly and belly: 50 – 40 mm
N/A Marishkin KV-4 86.4 8.7
3.6
3.5
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
7 40 km/h Front: 130 mm
Upper frontal: 80 mm
N/A Pavlov & Grigorev KV-4 91 8.5
4.0
3.6
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
6 45 km/h Front: 100 – 125 mm
N/A Turchaninov KV-4 89.5 9.8
4.0
3.0
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
DT machine gun
7 35 km/h Front: 125 mm
N/A Strukov KV-4 92 8.6
4.0
3.8
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
6 50 km/h Front: 80 – 130 mm
N/A Unkown KV-4
N/A Unkown KV-4

The KV-4 program was born from a letter sent by the Soviet Intelligence Services to the Soviet military. This letter, sent on 11 March 1941, had information regarding a German heavy tank, weighing 90 tonnes, and armed with a 105 mm gun. The Main Directorate of Armed Forces (GABTU) was alarmed, as the heaviest tank in Soviet service was the 45 tonnes KV-1, which at the time was mechanically unreliable, and entirely unfit for production. Over at LKZ (Leningrad Kirov Factory) in Leningrad, at the SKB-2 design bureau, where the KV-1 was created, several heavier tanks had been designed, such as the KV-220 and KV-3, but these were still no match for the suspected German heavy tank.

Thus, on 21 March, the GABTU sent LKZ the original requirements for the KV-4. It was to weigh around 70 tonnes and armed with the 107 mm ZiS-6 in a turret and a 45 mm 20-K in a secondary turret. The engine was to be a 1,200 hp enhanced aviation diesel V-12 M-40. Armor was set between 130 and 120 mm at the front, sides, and rear. On 27 March, the deadline for the complete blueprints was set to 17 July.

However, by 7 April, the requirements were changed again. The KV-3 was to be revived, and its specifications vastly improved. In turn, the KV-4 would also weigh 75 tonnes, and have its armor increased to 135 mm. The deadline was also brought forward to 15 June. Most interestingly, LKZ was also assigned the development of the KV-5, a 90 tonne tank, with 150 to 170 mm of armor but also armed with the 107 mm ZiS-6. It would compete against the KV-4, with trials expected to be held in the beginning of 1942. In the meantime, until either entered mass production, the KV-3 would act as a stopgap.

Chief Designer of the program was J.Y. Kotin, who, considering the liberal requirements for the program, decided to approach the design in a unique fashion. He set up a competition between the engineers at SKB-2. For encouragement, he offered financial rewards for the top 7 best designs. By 9 May, the competition was over and the winners were announced. In total, between 24 and 27 proposals were submitted, and 11 prizes were awarded to 13 designers, as several designs were given the same spot and some designers teamed up.

First place went to N.L. Dukhov, second to Kuzmin, Tarotko and Tarapantin, and third to Tseits. Mikhailov’s design was less fortunate, and was one of the many who did not receive any awards for his creation, despite a handful of creative features.

Unfortunately, unlike some of the other competitors, so far, there is no information on who P.P. Mikhailov was, his position at LKZ, what he worked on later on, or his life in general.

Design

In terms of general layout, Mikhailov had a standard approach, with the driver in the hull front, centrally mounted turret, and powerplant package in the rear. Yet the design of these components was very bizarre. The turret was inspired from that of the KV-3, having a large conical shape. Inside, the main 107 mm gun was mounted.

Cutout side view of the design. Note the pattern of the track being forced down by the two return rollers at the base of the hull, right above the roadwheels.
Source: ASKM

The hull is where the design gets more bizarre. The tracks were pushed into the hull, a unique feature, as most Soviet (and modern Russian tanks) have them mounted outside the hull, including the KV-1. Consequently, as moving the tracks inside the hull removed significant usable space the hull, the tracks were forced down onto the roadwheels, instead of laying straight in the center of the hull. This allowed for more space, increasing the hull width in those areas where ammunition and fuel tanks would be placed. Yet the hull was still shorter than many other KV-4 designs. The front of the hull was standard for a KV tank, but the driver and radio operator compartiment were raised in relation to the rest of the hull. The rear was a single plate, stamped into shape.

The KV-4 was powered by a M-40 V12 diesel engine outputting 1,200 hp, also developed at LKZ from 1938 (after the original designer was arrested and killed). It was mounted in the rear of the hull, separated from the crew compartment by a designated firewall. The V12 power plant was coupled to the transmission and final drive, which in turn drove the sprockets. To compensate for the bizarre angling of the tracks and their incorporation within the hull, the air cooling vents had to be angled at the same plane as the tracks, from where the air housing would protrude from the hull. As for air intakes, these were mounted on the engine deck, behind the turret.

Top view drawing of Mikhailov’s KV-4. Notice how the tracks are underneath the hull, and not outside of it.
Source: AKSM

The sprocket and idler were mounted at a “normal” level in relation to the hull. This allowed for adequate angles of attack, and in turn, the off-road capabilities were unharmed by the deviation of the track path. To lower the tracks down, two guide wheels were mounted on the external side of the track. These would also allow for smoother track travel, lowering the chance of the track hitting the hull and potentially hopping out of its travel path. Furthermore, the track’s guide pins would enter the roadwheels, which in turn acted as return rollers. There were 7 roadwheels per side, sprung by torsion bars. These were far larger in diameter compared to the standard KV wheel, while the idler was the same size.

Cutout rear view of Mikhailov’s design. Note the side skirts, which act as the side armor in itself.
Source: ASKM

Crew

The crew was to be of 6, consisting of the tank commander, main gunner, main loader, driver, secondary gun operator, and radio operator. They would communicate with a 10-R intercom.

The commander, main gunner, and loader were placed in the turret, with the gunner to the left of the gun, commander to the right, and loader behind the commander. The loader had to stand up and load the shells mounted in the hull, underneath the turret and to the sides. The drawings only show a single entry/exit hatch, right above the breech of the main gun. If the commander and gunner would not have their own hatches, this would have posed a great issue, not only in emergency exit situations, but in standard service and operation of the tank, with the 3 crewmembers having to wait for the others to enter and exit. The amount of periscopes and/or vision slits is unspecified, but if it were to follow a typical KV design, the commander and gunner would receive their own rotating periscope, in addition to various fixed periscopes around the turret. In contrast to other KV designs, the commander was also the operator of the radio, allowing for direct communication with other tanks.

The driver’s position was to the left of the side of the hull, while the secondary gun operator was to the right. He was quite overburdened, having to aim, fire and load the hull-mounted 45 mm 20-K gun. The two had their own individual entry/exit hatches, situated right above their seats, in the roof of the hull. Notable is that the roof was elevated in their positions, offering more room. The driver also had a ball-mounted DT machine gun. The radio operator was likely situated further in the hull or inside the turret.

Armor

At 86.5 tonnes, it would have been the third lightest design submitted. Yet despite its lower mass and smaller dimensions, it had the thickest plate out of all designs, regarding sheer thickness. The entirety of the turret was 130 mm thick. Measurements of the drawings reveal that the frontal turret plate was 130 mm (the mantlet had the same thickness, resulting in a cumulative of 260 mm). The turret did not have the shape of a homogenous cone, as it was angled at 75º at the front and rear, resulting in 135 mm of effective thickness, and 60º at the sides, resulting in 150 mm. The hull protection was standard, with 130 mm at the front and sides. Here, it is important to highlight that the side armor was on the external side, acting as a side skirt, a feature common on heavy tanks of the 1930s. Belly armor was 50 mm and roof and deck armor was 40 mm. The design of the turret resembles that of the KV-3, but rounder.

Wooden mock-up of the KV-3 tank in its later stages.
Source: Tank Archives

Armament

The main gun, just like on all the other KV-4s, was the 107 mm ZiS-6 gun. It was first designed by V.G. Grabin for the KV-3, after Stalin himself reached out, concerned about the armaments of the KV series of tanks. It was designed in just 38 days, based on the already existing F-42, but renamed ZiS-6. In March of 1941, the Izhora plant was tasked with building a test turret fitting the ZiS-6 in a KV-2. After tests in that summer, the gun was ready to enter production, but the tanks themselves were not ready. It has a muzzle velocity of 88 to 840 m/s and a shell weight of 18.8 kg. Ammunition appears to have been stored exclusively in the hull, underneath the turret. The gun could elevate to +20 and depress to -5. The B-420 rounds had a muzzle velocity of 830 m/s and could penetrate a 120 mm plate angled at 30° from vertical, from 1,600 m. These rounds weighed 18.8 kg.

One of the first ZiS-6 107 mm guns produced.
Source: Yuri Pasholok via Warspot

The secondary armament, a 20-K 45 mm, was mounted in the hull, with limited traverse. Its ammunition was stowed to the right of the gun, in between the track and fuel tank. It used BR-240SP AP rounds, which weighed 1.43 kg, had a muzzle velocity of 757 m/s and a (artificially calculated) penetration of 73 mm at 0 m. An unspecified flamethrower was also mounted in the hull, on the left side over the track.

Drawings of the 45 mm K-20 gun with its turret gun mount.
Source: Armored Wiki via VK.com

Scattered around the tank were three ball-mounted DT 7.62 mm machine guns, one in the hull, operated by the driver, and two in the turret, facing the rear. These would have been operated by the loader and commander, and offered some protection against approaching infantry.

Failed Program

After the competition was completed, progress on the KV-4 virtually halted. The situation worsened when Germany started their invasion of the USSR in June 1941. Work instead shifted to the KV-5, which had complete detailed blueprints by August. However, the German forces were getting closer and closer to Leningrad and the factory workers and engineers were evacuated to ChKZ in Chelyabinsk. The KV-4 and KV-5 programs were canceled, as they would not be of any immediate military use, and divert necessary funds for the war effort.

Conclusion

The entire KV-4 program ended up as a failure, but Mikhailov’s design was not considered as having any beneficial features, and was not taken in consideration or awarded in the competition. Mikhailov did add a series of interesting features, such as bringing the returning track links down, for a wider hull. But one of the most sensible decisions, and unique features of the program, was moving the tracks within the hull altogether, as opposed to having them on the outside. This allowed for a more compact tank and less overall mass.

Special thanks to Zinoviy Alexeev

P. P. Mikhailov’s KV-4 proposal. Note the cylindrical turret and sideskirts. Illustration by Pavel Alexe, funded through our Patreon campaign.
Side view of Mikhailov’s KV-4 with the sideskirts removed, showing the interior of the hull and running gear.

KV-4 Mikhailov Specifications

Dimensions (L-W-H) 9 – 3.6 – 3 m
Total Weight, Battle Ready 86.5 tonnes
Crew 6 (commander, main gunner, driver, secondary gunner, radio operator, & loader )
Propulsion 1,200 hp diesel V-12 M-40 with 4 turbochargers
Speed 50 km/h (hypothetical), 35 km/h (realistic)/td>
Suspension Torsion bar, 7 wheels per side
Armament 107 mm ZiS-6 (F-42)
45 mm Mod.1937 20-K (hull-mounted)
3x DT machine guns
Unspecied flamethrower
Armor Turret: 130 mm
Front hull plates: 130 mm
Side plate: 130 mm
Belly: 50 mm
Top: 40 mm
Total Production 0, blueprints only

Sources

Breakthrough tank KV – Maxim Kolomiets
Supertanki Stalina IS-7 – Maxim Kolomiets
KV 163 1939-1941 – Maxim Kolomiets
Bronevoy Schit Stalina. Istoriya Sovetskogo Tanka (1937-1943) M. Svirin
Tank building on the verge of common sense | Warspot.ru – Yuri Pasholok
Tank Archives: Soviet 107 mm Guns – Peter Samsonov
Tank Archives: KV-3 Mulligan – Peter Samsonov
Tank Archives: ZIS-6 Characteristics – Peter Samsonov

Categories
WW2 Soviet KV-4

KV-4 (Object 224) Fedorenko

Soviet Union (1941)
Super Heavy Tank – Blueprints Only

In the spring of 1941, with the alleged new of a new German super-heavy tank under development, the Soviets triggered the development of several heavy tank programs. One of them was the KV-4, or Object 224. The LKZ factory in Leningrad was tasked with developing these via a competition amongst factory engineers. One of them was S.V. Fedorenko, the SKB-2 design bureau armament specialist. Yet despite his knowledge and vast array of tanks worked on, his KV-4 design was not taken into consideration.

Development

–Dear reader: A more detailed development analysis of the KV-4 program can be found in the KV-4 Dukhov article–-

KV-4 designs
Placement Name Drawings Mass (t) Dimensions (m) (LxWxH) Armament Crew Top speed (theoretical) Armor Reward /Rubles
1 Dukhov KV-4 82.5 8.150
3.790
3.153
-107 mm ZiS-6
– 45 mm K-20
– 2x 7.62 DT
6 40 km/h Front top plate: 135 mm
Front bottom plate: 130 mm
Side plate: 125 mm
Top and belly: 40 mm
5000
2 Kuzmin, Tarotko, Tarapatin KV-4 88 9.26
3.78
3.175
-107 mm ZiS-6
– 45 mm K-20
– 3x 7.62 DS-39
6 36 km/h Front: 125 mm
Side: 125-100 mm
Top and belly: 40 mm
3000
3 Tseits KV-4 90 8.85
4.03
3.62
107 mm ZiS-6
2x 7.62 DS-39
Unspecified flamethrower
7 45 km/h Front hul upper plate: 50 mm
Front hull bottom plate: 125 mm
Turret:130 mm
Side plate: 125 mm
Top and belly: 50 mm
2800
4 Sychev KV-4 95 – 100 9.23
4.00
3.40
107 mm ZiS-6 (F-42)
45 mm 20-K
2x DT machine guns
6 40 – 45 Turret: 135-125 mm
Hull: 105 mm
Top and belly: 40 mm
2000
4 Ermolaev KV-4 90 8.22
4.00
3.25
107 mm ZiS-6 6 35 130 mm
95 8.52
4.00
3.25
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
6 35 130 mm 2000
5 KV-4 Shashmurin 92 9.50
4.00
3.85
107 mm ZiS-6 (F-42) main cannon (112 or 102 rounds)
76 mm F-11 secondary cannon (120 rounds)
2x DT machine gun (400 rounds)
Unspecified flamethrower (hull)
7 35 km/h Front top plate: 125 mm
Side plate: 125 mm
Top and belly: 50 to 40 mm
1500
6 Buganov 93 7.70
3.80
3.90
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
6 50 km/h Front 125 mm 1000
6 Moskvin 101 9.573
4.03
3.74
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
6 40 km/h Front 130 mm 1000
7 Pereverzev KV-4 100 9.5
3.8
3.82
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
2x DT machine guns
6 39 km/h Front: 125 mm 500
7 Bykov 98.6 9.5
4.03
3.65
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
DS-39 machine gun
8 36 km/h Front 130 mm 500
7 Kalivod 500
N/A Fedorenko KV-4 98.65 8.10
4.03
3.70
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm M.1938
3x DT machine guns
Unspecified flamethrower
6 35 km/h Front upper plate: 140 mm
Side plate: 125 mm
Turret: 125 mm
Top and belly: 50 to 40 mm
N/A Kreslavsky KV-4 92.6 9
4
3.225
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm Mod.1937 20-K coaxial
3x DT machine gun
6 45 km/h Turret: 130 mm
Front hull plate: 130 mm
Front upper plate: 80 mm
Side plate: 125 mm
Rear plate: 130 mm
Top /bottom: 50 -40 mm
N/A Kruchenykh KV-4 107.7 9.13
4.03
3.78
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
4x DT machine guns
9 30 km/h Front: 130 mm
N/A Mikhailov KV-4 86.5 9
3.6
3
107 mm ZiS-6 (F-42)
45 mm Mod.1937 20-K (hull-mounted)
3x DT machine guns
6 50 km/h Turret: 130 mm
Hull: 130 mm
Belly and belly: 50 – 40 mm
N/A Marishkin KV-4 86.4 8.7
3.6
3.5
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
7 40 km/h Front: 130 mm
Upper frontal: 80 mm
N/A Pavlov & Grigorev KV-4 91 8.5
4.0
3.6
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
6 45 km/h Front: 100 – 125 mm
N/A Turchaninov KV-4 89.5 9.8
4.0
3.0
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
DT machine gun
7 35 km/h Front: 125 mm
N/A Strukov KV-4 92 8.6
4.0
3.8
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
6 50 km/h Front: 80 – 130 mm
N/A Unkown KV-4
N/A Unkown KV-4

A letter sent to the Soviet authorities by the Soviet Intelligence Services regarding German tank development on 11th March 1941 included a section on the development of German heavy tanks. Here, 3 different models were described, a 30-tonne Pz.Kpfw.V, a 45-tonne Pz.Kpfw.VI, and lastly, a 90-tonne Pz.Kpfw.VII. Which exact tanks these were is unclear, as the real Pz.Kpfw.VII, nicknamed Löwe, did not appear in official documents until November of the same year. Previous tank designs fitting (loosely) descriptions would be the VK30.01 series, VK36.01 and VK65.01.

The idea of a 90-tonne German tank was alarming and the GABTU (Main Directorate of Armed Forces) would quickly request the development of a new super-heavy tank. It was designated Object 224 or, more commonly, KV-4, as called by the factory that would develop it- the Leningrad Kirov plant (LKZ) at its SKB-2 design bureau. The factory had not only designed the KV-1 and SMK heavy tanks, but also heavier variants, such as the T-150, KV-220, and KV-3.

It is important to note that the heaviest tank in service with the Soviet army at the time was the KV-1 itself, which, once the war broke out, would prove a great disappointment. This came as a result of the political rush to push it into military service, even when it was not completely ready. Thus, KV tanks suffered from constant breakdowns from the poorly designed gearbox. They were slow and crews generally preferred the T-34. The situation reached a point where Stalin himself wanted to remove it from production if the issues would not be fixed. To compound the problems with the KV-1, at the time, it was only equipped with the F-32 76 mm gun, a gun inferior to the F-34 on the lighter and more reliable T-34.

On 21st March 1941, the GABTU requested that the KV-4 would be a 70-tonne heavy tank, armed with the ZiS-6 (previously called F-42) 107 mm gun, a 45 mm 20-K secondary gun, 3 DT 7.62 mm machine guns, and even a flamethrower. Armor was to be as thick as 130 mm at the front and 120 mm at the sides and rear. The engine would be a M-40 1,200 hp V-12 engine, with 4 turbochargers. The crew was to be around 6 men. Only 6 days later, the LKZ plant was ordered to complete the blueprints by 17th July, the Izhora plant to complete the prototype turret and hull by 1st October and Plant No. 92 to deliver the necessary armament by 1st September.

However, by 7th April, the GABTU changed their minds. They would request heavier parameters for the KV-3, up to 68 tonnes and the same ZiS-6, while the KV-4 would be increased to 75 tonnes weight, armor improved to 135 mm at the front and 125 mm at the sides and rear. The deadline was also tightened to 15 June. In the same request, the GABTU requested an even heavier vehicle, the KV-5, with 170 mm at the front and 150 mm at the rear, and weight of 90 tonnes. The sudden changes in design, and the increased time pressure, as well as the pressure of Stalin’s interest in the project served to make the design process more problematic and have knock-on effects.

LKZ began work on the KV-4 on 10th April. The head engineer was J.Y. Kotin. Here, the requirements would be changed once again, placing the mass between 80 and 100 tonnes. Considering the loose specifications, Kotin approached the design in a unique manner. With approval from the factory director I.M. Zaltsman, Kotin would make the design of the KV-4 a competition between the best engineers of the SKB-2 design bureau. To encourage seriousness, the top places would even receive monetary compensation. By 9th May, the competition was over, and up to 27 different designs were submitted by over 23 different engineers. The first place went to N.L. Dukhov, who received the first prize of 3,000 Roubles. Second prize went to a design by 3 engineers working together, K.I. Kuzmin, P.S. Tarapanin and V. I. Tarotko, who split the 3,000 Roubles award. Third place went to senior engineer N.V. Tseits who received 2,800 Roubles. Another 8 designs would receive awards. However, S.V. Fedorenko’s design would not receive any awards for his bizarre but innovative design.

S.V. Fedorenko

Born in Chernihiv in 1907, Sergey Vasilyevich Fedorenko graduated from the Leningrad Polytechnic Institute in 1930. At just 23, he began working at the Krasniy Putilovets tractor plant, later renamed to Kirov Leningrad plant (LKZ). By 1937, he was head of SKB-2 artillery and armament section at LKZ. After the transfer to ChKZ in 1941, he was deputy chief designer, on which he worked on tanks like the IS-4. Post-war, he had various jobs, but would settle down for the last two decades of his life as a teacher on tanks at the KGM institute at the South Ural State University. He would pass away a few hours after holding lectures, in 1986, aged 79.

Working mostly with tank armaments and their implementation, S.V. Fedorenko was the man behind various aiming systems, tank optics, turret turning mechanisms, (he was the designer of the entire gun mount, aiming system and overall integration of the armaments on the first KV-1 U-0 prototype, which had a 76 mm gun and dual 45 mm ones) as well as the flamethrowers for the KV-8 and KV-8S. He would also work under leadership of N.L. Dukhov on the IS-4. During his career, he was awarded 2 Orders of the Badge of Honour, the Order of the Red Star, the Medal for Labour Valour, the Medal for Defence of Leningrad, and the Medal for Valiant Labour during the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945.

S.V. Fedorenko while working as a professor on tanks and armament at the South Ural State University.
Source: Sergey Fedorenko – SUSU Encyclopedia

The KV-4 (Object 224) Fedorenko’s Design

In terms of the hull, Fedorenko’s KV-4 design approach was revolutionary, barely resembling that of its forebears. Firstly, the entire front consisted of a large single upper frontal plate, akin to that on the later variants of the IS-2. As for the lower plate, it too was a single plate, stamped to form a curve connecting the upper plate to the hull belly, similar to the style used on the American Sherman tanks. The rear was also unique, with the air intake hole being narrower and composed of two welded plates, as opposed to a single, curved steel sheet, as on other KV tanks. The sides were flat and vertical, forming a simple and efficient internal volume in which to install components as well as to mount the 8 road wheels per side, sprung by torsion bars. The sprocket was in the rear and the idler in the front. Armor on the lower frontal plate was 125 mm thick, while the upper was thinner, at just 100 mm, but being angled at 45°, it had a line-of-sight thickness of circa 141 mm. The side and rear plates were 125 mm thick, but were mostly flat. The driver and radio operator sat next to each other in the hull, with the driver in the centre and the radio operator to his left. To his right, he had the fuel tanks. Direct vision slits were cut through the hull armor. The radio operator had his communication equipment on the side walls, and a ball-mounted DT machine gun in the front.

The engine was the M-40 V-12 diesel engine, with 4 turbochargers, delivering 1,200 hp. A hypothetical top speed was to be circa 35 km/h. Fuel tanks were on the right side wall, next to the driver and ammunition. The engine and fighting compartment were separated by a firewall. It was mounted rather high in the hull, which required a protrusion in the engine deck and belts for the final drive.

Multi-view plans of Fedorenko’s KV-4. The front view shows the unorthodox profile of the vehicle.
Source: ASKM
Cutout view of the hull. Note the ammunition storage racks and fuel tanks.
Source: ASKM

Turret

As an armaments implementation engineer, Fedorenko let his creativity loose when it came to the turret and armaments. The turret had a distinctive and unusual rhomboid shape, allowing for a unique weapons layout and turret positions. It was centrally mounted in relation to the hull, but it had more overhang on the right side of the hull than on the left. The main armament was mounted centrally (with regards to the turret face) and had a coaxial DT machine gun. Behind the gunner’s seat, on the rear turret face, a ball-mounted DT machine gun was added. Additionally, a flamethrower was placed in a ball mount at the ‘corner’ of the turret cheek. Next to it, the tank for ignition fuel was placed, On the opposite side, the turret slanted towards the rear, creating a curved edge. Here, a spherical secondary turret was mounted, armed with a 45 mm gun. This turret would be able to move 360° on the horizontal axis, while the gun itself could elevate to 75°, presumably with an eye to engaging airborne or highly elevated targets, such as on the top floors of buildings. The secondary turret had no gun depression due to the recoil mechanism being mounted as low into the turret as possible. This turret can be seen as similar to a ball turret found in bombers.

Frontal view of the design. Note how the hull has been made as narrow as the engine allows. This causes a significant overhang of the turret.
Source. ASKM

Crew

The tank was intended with a crew of 6, tank commander, main gunner, 2x loaders, driver and radio operator. How exactly the crew operated this turret and how they were seated is unspecified and complex. Estimation and study of the drawings can reveal some possibilities. The gunner was seated to the left of the main gun, but would also be tasked with manning the flamethrower. The first loader would load the gun and probably operate the rear-facing DT machine gun. The commander would likely sit in the secondary turret, where he would not only have better vision but also rotation independent of the main turret. He would operate the 45 mm gun by himself, as the turret is too small to allow for a second crewmember. There are no periscopes drawn in on the secondary turret, so likely eye-level vision slits were intended. The second loader was likely in a position ‘between’ the turret and hull, and would be tasked with passing the ammunition for the various armaments, which was stowed in the hull. The driver and radio operator sat in the hull, with the driver in the center and the radio operator to his left, having a ball-mounted DT machine gun at his disposal.

The bizarre shape of the turret proposed by Fedorenko. Note that the rear-facing machine gun has had the armor pushed outwards to allow for additional room in the turret.
Source. ASKM

Armaments

As required by the state, the main armament was the 107 mm ZiS-6 (previously named F-42) gun, designed by V.G. Grabin a few months prior. It was mounted centrally (with regards to the hull) in the turret, and had a DT 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun. Circa 100 rounds for the main armament were stored in a horizontal ammunition rack placed against the left wall, with 8 more being stored between the torsion bars, running across the floor. The gun had a muzzle velocity between 800 and 840 m/s. Ammunition weighed 18.8 kg and was of the one-piece (unitary) type.

Secondary armament, as required, was a 45 mm 20-K gun model 1938 placed in an independently rotating turret. This iconic weapon was used on the vast majority of Soviet light tanks, such as the BT-7 and T-26, but was obsolete for fighting tanks in 1941. Even so, it would still have had considerable fighting value against lightly armored vehicles and other soft targets, where the ZiS-6 would have been ‘overkill’. Also, with HE rounds, it could have been very effective against infantry. The gun featured an electrical trigger and vertical plane gyroscopic stabiliser. It had a muzzle velocity of circa 760 m/s, and an elevation of 75°. A total of 150 rounds were carried for this gun.

Other weapons scattered around the tank were a coaxial 7.62 mm DT machine gun, a rear-facing DT machine gun in the turret, a ball-mounted DT machine gun in the front hull and a flamethrower of unspecified type in the turret cheek, facing the front. Its implementation was interesting, as it was vaguely required by the GABTU and, as a result, many designers left it out completely.

War!

After the end of the competition, the KV-4 progress was slow and focus shifted more to the drawings of the KV-5. The situation got so bad that on 12th June, Marshall of the Soviet Union G.I. Kulik requested LKZ to speed up work. Yet, just 10 days later, the German invasion of the USSR began. Work continued at LKZ, but the heavy tanks were no longer any priority. Nonetheless, the drawings of the KV-5 were complete by the time the Germans reached Leningrad in August. Then the SKB-2 design bureau would be evacuated to the ChKZ plant in Chelyabinsk. Work on these heavy tanks would not resume.

Conclusion

Fedorenko’s design was one of the many ‘unsuccessful’ KV-4 designs, as he did not receive any placement and monetary awards, though this may seem unjustified. His turret design had one of the most interesting and unusual turret layouts, being a rhomboid. He exploited this unusual shape to mount a variety of weapons in different positions. The hemispherical secondary turret is another interesting addition that did not feature a machine gun, as commonly seen on later tanks, but a full-fledged 45 mm gun. Even the hull had its own merits, employing a flat, slanted upper frontal plate, and elevating the engine deck for a shorter overall hull length. It is safe to say that Fedorenko presented a ‘delicate’ KV-4, as opposed to many other designs which were rawer, though this seemingly did not impress Kotin or Saltzman.

The KV-4 design as drawn by S.V. Fedorenko. Illustration by Pavel Alexe, funded through our Patreon campaign.

KV-4 (Object 224) Fedorenko specifications

Dimensions (L-W-H) 8.10 – 4.03 – 3.70 m m
Total Weight, Battle Ready 98.65 tonnes
Crew 6 (Commander, Gunner, Driver, Radio operator, loader, & turret mechanic/loader assistant)
Propulsion 1,200 hp diesel V-12 M-40 w/ 4 turbochargers
Speed 35 km/h (hypothetical)
Suspension Torsion bar, 8 wheels per side
Armament 107 mm ZiS-6 (F-42) (110 rounds)
45 mm M.1938 20-K
3x DT machine guns
Unspecified flamethrower
Armor Front upper plate: 140 mm
Front lower plate: 125 mm
Side plate: 125 mm
Turret: 125 mm
Top and belly: 50 to 40 mm
Total Production 0, blueprints only

Sources

Breakthrough tank KV – Maxim Kolomiets
Supertanki Stalina IS-7 – Maxim Kolomiets
KV 163 1939-1941 – Maxim Kolomiets
Confrontation – Ibragimov Danyial Sabirovic
Bronevoy Schit Stalina. Istoriya Sovetskogo Tanka (1937-1943) M. Svirin
Gunsmith S.V. Fedorenko (famhist.ru)
About the forgotten creators of Soviet armored power. (historyntagil.ru) – S.I. Pudovkin
German Lion | Warspot.ru – Yuri Pasholok
Tank building on the verge of common sense | Warspot.ru – Yuri Pasholok
Large caliber for large HF | Yuriy Pasholok | Yandex Zen – Yuri Pasholok
Tank Archives: Soviet 107 mm Guns – Peter Samsonov
Tank Archives: KV-3 Mulligan – Peter Samsonov
Tank Archives: Heavy Tank Costs – Peter Samsonov
Tank Archives: ZIS-6 Characteristics – Peter Samsonov

Categories
WW2 Soviet KV-4

KV-4 (Object 224) Shashmurin

Soviet Union (1941)
Super Heavy Tank – Blueprints Only

The KV-4 program was launched in the spring of 1941 as a response to the rumor of a German super heavy tank. Thus the LKZ factory in Leningrad was set to design a heavy tank capable of challenging the alleged German tank. A design competition was started, with over 20 different tanks presented by engineers at LKZ. One of them was N.F. Shashmurin, who presented a vehicle with a KV-1 trurret over a casemate which housed the 107 mm ZiS-6 gun. For this design, he was awarded 5th place in the competition. However due to his personal disputes with the chief engineer, J.Y. Kotin, he did not participate in the development of the KV-5.

Development

–Dear reader: A more detailed development analysis of the KV-4 program can be found in the KV-4 Dukhov article

KV-4 designs
Placement Name Drawings Mass (t) Dimensions (m) (LxWxH) Armament Crew Top speed (theoretical) Armor Reward /Rubles
1 Dukhov KV-4 82.5 8.150
3.790
3.153
-107 mm ZiS-6
– 45 mm K-20
– 2x 7.62 DT
6 40 km/h Front top plate: 135 mm
Front bottom plate: 130 mm
Side plate: 125 mm
Top and belly: 40 mm
5000
2 Kuzmin, Tarotko, Tarapatin KV-4 88 9.26
3.78
3.175
-107 mm ZiS-6
– 45 mm K-20
– 3x 7.62 DS-39
6 36 km/h Front: 125 mm
Side: 125-100 mm
Top and belly: 40 mm
3000
3 Tseits KV-4 90 8.85
4.03
3.62
107 mm ZiS-6
2x 7.62 DS-39
Unspecified flamethrower
7 45 km/h Front hul upper plate: 50 mm
Front hull bottom plate: 125 mm
Turret:130 mm
Side plate: 125 mm
Top and belly: 50 mm
2800
4 Sychev KV-4 95 – 100 9.23
4.00
3.40
107 mm ZiS-6 (F-42)
45 mm 20-K
2x DT machine guns
6 40 – 45 Turret: 135-125 mm
Hull: 105 mm
Top and belly: 40 mm
2000
4 Ermolaev KV-4 90 8.22
4.00
3.25
107 mm ZiS-6 6 35 130 mm
95 8.52
4.00
3.25
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
6 35 130 mm 2000
5 KV-4 Shashmurin 92 9.50
4.00
3.85
107 mm ZiS-6 (F-42) main cannon (112 or 102 rounds)
76 mm F-11 secondary cannon (120 rounds)
2x DT machine gun (400 rounds)
Unspecified flamethrower (hull)
7 35 km/h Front top plate: 125 mm
Side plate: 125 mm
Top and belly: 50 to 40 mm
1500
6 Buganov 93 7.70
3.80
3.90
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
6 50 km/h Front 125 mm 1000
6 Moskvin 101 9.573
4.03
3.74
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
6 40 km/h Front 130 mm 1000
7 Pereverzev KV-4 100 9.5
3.8
3.82
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
2x DT machine guns
6 39 km/h Front: 125 mm 500
7 Bykov 98.6 9.5
4.03
3.65
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
DS-39 machine gun
8 36 km/h Front 130 mm 500
7 Kalivod 500
N/A Fedorenko KV-4 98.65 8.10
4.03
3.70
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm M.1938
3x DT machine guns
Unspecified flamethrower
6 35 km/h Front upper plate: 140 mm
Side plate: 125 mm
Turret: 125 mm
Top and belly: 50 to 40 mm
N/A Kreslavsky KV-4 92.6 9
4
3.225
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm Mod.1937 20-K coaxial
3x DT machine gun
6 45 km/h Turret: 130 mm
Front hull plate: 130 mm
Front upper plate: 80 mm
Side plate: 125 mm
Rear plate: 130 mm
Top /bottom: 50 -40 mm
N/A Kruchenykh KV-4 107.7 9.13
4.03
3.78
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
4x DT machine guns
9 30 km/h Front: 130 mm
N/A Mikhailov KV-4 86.5 9
3.6
3
107 mm ZiS-6 (F-42)
45 mm Mod.1937 20-K (hull-mounted)
3x DT machine guns
6 50 km/h Turret: 130 mm
Hull: 130 mm
Belly and belly: 50 – 40 mm
N/A Marishkin KV-4 86.4 8.7
3.6
3.5
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
7 40 km/h Front: 130 mm
Upper frontal: 80 mm
N/A Pavlov & Grigorev KV-4 91 8.5
4.0
3.6
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
6 45 km/h Front: 100 – 125 mm
N/A Turchaninov KV-4 89.5 9.8
4.0
3.0
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
DT machine gun
7 35 km/h Front: 125 mm
N/A Strukov KV-4 92 8.6
4.0
3.8
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
6 50 km/h Front: 80 – 130 mm
N/A Unkown KV-4
N/A Unkown KV-4

On 11th March, 1941, the Soviet Intelligence Services provided a letter to the state discussing the development of German tanks. One of the subsections focused on development of heavy tanks, and showcased 3 main types; a Mark V weighing 36 tonnes and armed with a 75 mm gun, a Mark VI weighing 45 tonnes and armed with a 75 mm gun and 20 mm, and finally, a Mark VII, weighing 90 tonnes and armed with a 105 mm gun and dual 20 mm guns.

This was slightly bizarre, as, during the spring of 1941, the Pz.Kpfw.VII, commonly known as the Löwe, did not exist. It would only appear in documentation in November. Other German heavy tanks however existed, such as the VK30.01, VK36.01 and VK65.01. What exactly was ‘discovered’ by Soviet agents remains a mystery and may have been little more than speculation.

The Soviets only had the KV-1 in service as anything even remotely close to the above mentioned German tanks. Yet the KV-1 was armed with rather lacklustre guns, the 76 mm F-11 and later F-32, and its gearbox would prove very unreliable. The original gearbox was designed by N.F. Shashmurin, but Kotin favored N.L. Dukhov’s gearbox, which proved to be a disaster. Other Soviet heavy tanks, the T-150 and KV-220, were still under development when the news of new German heavy tanks came in. Even so, their development would not continue, as the improvements in armament and armor they would have brought were not seen as significant enough. With hindsight, the KV-220, with its 85 mm L-30 gun and 100 mm of armor, would have been on par with the German Tiger tank entering production in August 1942, well over a year later.

Naturally, the prospect of even more heavily armored and armed German tanks potentially coming out raised an alarm at the GABTU (Main Directorate of Armed Forces), which did not have a heavy tank on par with these parameters. As a result, on 21st March, the GABTU released a set of requirements for a new tank which was to receive the index Object 224 and general name KV-4. This would have a weight of around 70 tonnes, armed with an 107 mm ZiS-6 gun in a fully rotating turret, and a coaxial 45 mm gun. Additionally, at least 3 DT 7.62 mm machine guns and potentially a flamethrower had to be added. Armor was to be 130 mm at the front and 120 mm at the sides and rear. The engine for this new tank was to be one capable of producing 1,200 hp. Unfortunately, there were no engines powerful enough at that moment, so temporarily, a 850 hp V-2SN would be used. The crew was supposed to be of 6 men; commander, gunner, driver, radio operator, and 2 loaders. On 27th March, GABTU requested that the blueprints be finished by 17th July.

However, by 7th April, the requirements were changed. The armor was increased to 135 mm and 125 mm to the front and sides, respectively. With increased armor, the prospective weight of the vehicle was increased to 75 tonnes. Submission date for the blueprints was also brought closer, to 15th June, nearly a month earlier than had been asked for previously and indicating the urgency of the work at hand. It was also on this day that the KV-3 requirements were improved, and the KV-5 was born. Both the KV-4 and KV-5 were expected to enter testing in 1942.

It was the LKZ, Leningrad Kirov Plant, headed by I.M. Zaltsman, that was tasked with designing the new heavy tank. LKZ had previously worked on the SMK, KV-1, T-150 and KV-220 heavy tanks, but none came to the sheer mass and size that the KV-4 had to reach. The lead engineer of the project was J.Y. Kotin. The Izhora plant had to construct a turret and hull prototype, while plant No.92 was tasked with supplying the main gun

Work at LKZ started 3 days later, on 10th April. Since it was an entirely new project with relatively loose requirements, J.Y. Kotin decided to make the general design of the tank a competition between the engineers at the SKB-2 design bureau. The result was that over 24 designs were submitted by 9th May. First place was awarded to N.L. Dukhov, receiving 5,000 Roubles. Shashmurin received the 5th place, with an award of 1,500 Roubles.

Unfortunately, much confusion surrounded the actual winner of the KV-4 competition. This was caused by a segment in N.F. Shashmurin’s memoirs, from which readers interpreted that he had won. This is incorrect, as his design had received 5th place, for which the 1,500 Rubles award was given. Below is the relevant translation. It must be noted that, throughout his memoirs, titled ‘50 years of Confrontation’, Shashmurin makes a series of mistakes and inaccuracies, but this is to be expected, as he wrote it in 1987, 50 years later.

Having received, along with other leading employees at the design bureau (SKB-2), the task of developing a project for such a cyclops*, obviously multi-turreted, I, without sharing the same optimism considering the previous circumstances (multi-turreted, how long ago have we given up on the ‘Muir & Mirrielees’**, crumbled by the SMK) made a ‘knight’s move’. Basically, the turret was removed, and the process as when installing the M-10 152 mm on the KV-1 was repeated, that is, a casemate superstructure on the hull. And since a new, practically super-heavy KV-3 had already been created,*** I decided to not be smart about the ‘supernova’ tank. Having dropped the turret, the process was repeated from previous high-power self-propelled guns, but this time with a 107 mm Grabin gun. Notiyfing in an explanatory note that, under specific conditions, the gun can be removed and instead a rifle squad of infantrymen can be placed in the fighting compartiment. This option was not accepted, as the requirements were not met – (it required) higher protection, weight between 80 – 100 tonnes, turreted (multi-turreted) gun placement. To avoid an unnecessary confrontation, I complied. Considering that a superheavy tank cannot be a (true) tank, to fulfil the specified protection parameters, (I) had to invest into about 90 tonnes, kept the casemate mounted main gun, and installed a serially produced KV-1 turret on the now shortened (casemate) roof. It ended up that I.M. Saltzman really liked the variant, (given its ‘sensibleness’, or as he put it, ‘versatility’) and I received the second prize with the amount of 1000 Roubles.**** That was great. I bought my wife a fur coat with this money.

– Nikolai Fedorovich Shashmurin, extract from ‘50 years of Confrontations’.

*Referring to ancient Greek mythology where Odysseus blinds the giant cyclops Polyphemus.
**Scottish-owned Trading company in then St. Petersburg, started by Muir and Mirrielees, famous for its two devastating fires.
***Probably referring to designs by his fellow engineers.
****Documents from the time prove him wrong. He had in fact received 5th place and 1,500 Roubles.

Interestingly, Shashmurin disliked the KV-4, not only his own creation, but the entire program. According to historian Dr. Gennadiy Petrov, who knew Shashmurin personally, he had written on the back of his drawings the letters Б.С. (B.S.) acronym for Бред сумасшедшего, translating to “delirium of a madman”. This unconfirmed, but plausible detail gives insight to Shashmurin’s long-lived jealousy and dislike for J.Y. Kotin, Chief Engineer at LKZ. His strong feelings were made public again in a magazine interview taken by Sergey Ptichkin in the 1990s, which was mostly aimed at answering questions regarding the shortcomings of the KV-1, though the KV-4 was once again mentioned. A translated extract:

“Instead of eliminating the identified defects (of the KV-1) at the Kirov plant, they (in regards to the GABTU, I.M. Zaltsman and J.Y. Kotin) began to design a series of armored mastodons: KV-3 weighing 65 tonnes, KV-4 – 80 tonnes, KV-5 – 100 tonnes! Regrettably, we showed clear signs of technical madness much earlier than in Germany, where only at the end of the Second World War they tried to create weapons of retaliation like the ‘mouse’ tank, weighing 180 tonnes.* The first days of the Great Patriotic War only confirmed that the KV-1 in the form in which it was produced, was not fit for fighting, since it did not have a reliable powerplant. So there was this tragic paradox; the armor was strong, but it was not a fast tank. It would seem that faith itself pushed for an urgent modernization of the KV, for the replacement of the inoperable gearbox**, but, alas, in the most difficult time for the country, from the end of the summer of 1941 to the spring of 1942, we continued to spend huge material resources and human forces for further scientific and technical research. In the autumn of 1941, an attempt was even made to remove the KV-1 from production and replace it with the KV-3, a powerful, but completely “raw” and unnecessarily heavy machine.”

– N.F. Shashmurin, extract from ‘Soviet Warrior’, interview by Sergey Ptichkin, 1990s.

*With hindsight this is wrong, German superheavy tank development started long before WWII, more or less simultaneously with Soviet superheavy tank projects. However, in pre-internet, post-Soviet Russia, this was not common knowledge.
**The iconically unreliable gearbox and transmission of the KV-1 was a sensible spot for Shashmurin, as he had designed the original gearbox, but the production gearbox was designed by N.L. Dukhov.

In a way, Shashmurin was conservative in regards to tank design. From his post-war works, he made it clear that he preferred a more controlled testing and development of the KV-1, which was more or less rushed into production. He had wished for modernising and improving its faults. He liked the KV-1S but greatly despised the KV-13, which he considered redundant, despite the fact that he was its Chief Designer, after the death of N.V. Tseits, which Shashmurin once again blamed Kotin for. He was also Chief Designer of the IS-2, which he believed was a very worthy tank and should have been upgraded and improved upon, instead of rushing new tanks into production like the IS-3 and IS-4, which he called “impressive but unreliable”.

In hindsight, Shashmurin was correct in this regard. Oddly though, he was very proud of the IS-7, of which he was Chief Designer, and claimed Western tanks would not match its capabilities for decades, and blamed its cancellation on Khrushchev’s* obsession with rockets and missiles.

(*Nikita Khrushchev, First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union 1953 – 1964)

Prototype of the SMK, the tank for which N.F. Shashmurin designed the torsion bar suspension.
Source: TsAMO via Maxim Kolomiets

N.F. Shashmurin

Born in 1910 in what was called at the time St. Petersburg, Nikolai Fedorovich Shashmurin started his engineering studies at the Leningrad Polytechnic Institute in 1930, and graduated in 1936. By 1937, he had started to work at LKZ as an engineer for both the SKB-2 design bureau and the VNII-100 research institute. He designed important elements of mechanical components, such as torsion bars and transmissions. Likewise, he worked on the development of the majority of LKZ wartime developed tanks, such as the SMK, KV-1, KV-1S, KV-13, KV-85, IS, and IS-2. Postwar, he worked on tanks like the IS-7 and PT-76, as well as various tractors (LKZ partly resumed civilian tractor production).

By the 1970s, he was a PhD in technical sciences and worked as a professor at the Leningrad Polytechnic Institute. He died in 1996, aged 86. During his career, he received 2 Stalin Prizes, the Order of Lenin, the Order of the Red Star, and the Medal for Victory over Germany during the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 (II Degree).

N.F. Shashmurin in the 1930s. He was an important part of many tanks developed at LKZ.
Source: Bronetechnikamira.ru

Shashmurin’s design

Original layout

If his memoirs are to be believed, Shashmurin originally intended to have an enclosed casemate for the main armament, without the additional turret. The casemate would have also been taller, resulting in something akin, a parallel he drew himself, to the KV-1 with M-10 152 mm howitzer. This suggests a much taller casemate to what was used on the final design. The driver and radio operator were likely placed within the fighting compartment, instead of being ‘pushed out’. He had also intended that the gun could be removed and a rifle squad of infantrymen be carried instead. However, this variant was not approved as it was ‘too light’, did not have at least one turret-mounted armament and the armor was too thin.

Final design

When designing his final KV-4 proposal, Shashmurin had a different approach. As per the original state requirements, the main gun had to be mounted in a fully rotating turret, but after the additional requirements (some of which were contradicting with each other) set by the GABTU, several designers decided to install the 107 mm ZiS-6 main gun in a limited traverse mount.

Shashmurin, however, would decide to add what appears to be a KV-1 mod.1939 turret on top, armed with an L-11 76.2 mm gun. The fighting compartment was moved towards the centre of the hull and morphed with the engine compartment, which was kept more or less identical to the previous KV series of tanks. His design would have been a colossal vehicle. Weighing in at 92 tonnes, it would have also been the longest KV-4 designs, at 10 meters long including the barrel.

The blueprints of the KV-4 drawn by N.F. Shashmurin. They provide extensive detail to technical specifications of the vehicle, including internal and external views.
Source. ASKM

The type of armament layout Shashmurin decided upon had a series of advantages and disadvantages over methods employed by other engineers. Firstly, the KV-1 style turret allowed for engaging armored vehicles completely independently of the 107 mm main gun. In addition, the usage of a readily available turret in combination with a simple casemate construction meant the production cost would have been significantly lower compared to that of many large KV-4 proposals. The silhouette of the tank was also lower.

Having a limited main gun traverse significantly decreased the battle value of the 107 mm gun, although horizontal traverse was kept at an acceptable range of 15° to both sides. Nonetheless, other issues were created by this weapon arrangement, such as an extra crewman and a cramped interior complicated coordination and communications. Also, the lack of the coaxial 45 mm gun meant that there was no way to range in the main gun, leading to longer target engagement times and more ‘wasted’ 107 mm shells.

Other than the superstructure and upper hull, Shashmurin kept his design simplistic in terms of the lower hull. Most components were identical and reused from the previous KV series of tanks. The idler was in the front, sprocket in the rear, and 9 road wheels on each side, sprung by torsion bars. The engine used would have been the aviation diesel 4x turbocharged M-40 V-12 1,200 hp engine, partially developed at LKZ after the original designer was arrested in 1938.

Armor was, for the most part, straightforward. The frontal facing elements were 125 mm thick, with side and rear plates also at 125 mm thick. The lower plate was bent into a rounded shape. Top and roof plates were all 40 mm, while belly plates were 50 mm up to the first 3 wheels, from after which they decreased to 40 mm. The rear was stamped in the classic KV style, with a curved cover of the cooling intake.

KV-1 turret mystery

As aforementioned, there was, seemingly, a KV-1 turret added on top of the main superstructure. Yet what model this was is a mystery. From the side, it appears to be an original turret from 1939 and 1940, with rounded edges. However, the top view brings additional details of the turret. Instead of being mostly flat, aside from the rounded edges and rear bustle, the turret bustle angled inwards sharply, resembling the turret of the T-28 and T-35A. The implementation of a L-11 gun is equally strange. As early as 1940, this gun was replaced with more powerful 76 mm guns. The pig nose gun mantlet was also kept. To the right of the gun, on the same axis, a 7.62 mm DT machine gun was mounted. Likewise, a DT machine gun was mounted at the back of the turret, in a ball mount.

In terms of armor, it is unclear if Shashmurin kept the original KV-1 turret armor values of 75 mm all around the turret. If this was the case, it would have made it more vulnerable compared to the rest of the vehicle.

Side view of the KV-1 turret. Note the clear L-11 gun with its iconic gun mount.
Source. ASKM
Top view of the KV-1 turret. The sides are not flat, but rather curve towards the rear, like on a T-28 turret. Note the coaxial DT machine gun.
Source. ASKM

Crew

The crew consisted of 7 men. The driver and radio operator were seated in two protrusions from the main casemate, with the main gun barrel between them. Study of the blueprints shows that the two would have had plenty of space all around. Further inside the casemate were the main armament’s gunner and loader. In many KV-4 designs, two loaders were dedicated to manning the ZiS-6, however, as the ammunition was placed close by and there was no coaxial armament, it required only one loader. In the KV-1 turret, another gunner and loader were seated, manning the L-11 gun. Inside the turret was the commander as well, a position which would have offered great vision. Nonetheless, commanding the tank would have been a true challenge. The commander had to prioritise and coordinate target acquisition and engagement of both guns. He was completely isolated from the driver and radio operator, who relied upon the commander for orders. Additionally, as is the case with many turretless AFV, the main gunner and driver had to have good communication and synchronisation for engaging targets. This communication was provided by a 10-R intercom.

Armaments

The main armament used was a ZiS-6 (F-42) 107 mm gun, designed by V.G. Grabin between December 1940 and early months of 1941. It had a muzzle velocity of 800 to 840 m/s. Ammunition was one-piece and weighed 18.8 kg. The breech lock was mounted vertically and was semiautomatic. It could allegedly penetrate 115 mm of armor at 1,000 m. Gun elevation was of +13° and depression of -4°, while horizontal traverse was 15° to both sides. Ammunition was stowed vertically, with circa 112 or 102 (according to Shashmurin’s blueprints) rounds stowed inside. Armament in the turret was the L-11 76 mm gun, used on the first production variants of the T-34 and KV-1. It had a muzzle velocity of 610 m/s and a shell weight of 6.5 kg. Its gun elevation was +26° and depression was -7°. Around 120 76 mm rounds were stowed horizontally in the hull. Additionally, there was a coaxial DT 7.62 machine gun and one ball-mounted in the back of the turret, with +25° and -15°. A flamethrower was also mounted in the radio operator’s location, in a ball mount, with ’20 shots”.

Unlucky Cyclops

The KV-4 program as a whole was unsuccessful. After Dukhov’s design was named as winner, work should have started on detailed blueprints, allowing for the other factories involved to start prototype production. However, by the deadline (15th June), the blueprints were not submitted. Just a week later, on 22nd June, 1941, Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union. Work continued at the SKB-2 design bureau, especially on the KV-5, but the KV-4 seems to have been forgotten. By August, German forces were approaching Leningrad, and SKB-2 was evacuated to ChKZ. Work on these heavy tanks would not resume.

With the KV-1 engaging in full-fledged battles, its weaknesses were immediately apparent. It suffered countless gearbox failures, was slow and bulky and crews preferred the T-34. The situation was so bad that it was threatened to be put out of production. Hearing about the gearbox disaster, which he expected, Shashmurin was furious. Kotin would adopt his design, not after a fair share of arguments, for the gearbox of the KV-1S, a very well liked development of the KV-1. Shashmurin would later head the development of the KV-13 and IS as well.

Shashmurin’s KV-4 design was even less successful. While he did receive the 5th place in the competition, none of his design features would be reapplied in the KV-5. It was indeed one of the more distinctive and unusual designs, though its combat value would have been questionable.

Final variant of Shashmurin’s KV-4. Illustration by Pavel Alexe.

KV-4 Shashmurin specifications

Dimensions (L-W-H) 10.00 (9.50 without barrel) – 4.00 – 3.85 m
Total Weight, Battle Ready 92 tonnes
Crew 7 (Commander, main Gunner, turret Gunner, Driver, Radio operator, main loader & turret loader) )
Propulsion 1,200 hp diesel V-12 M-40 with 4 turbochargers
Speed 35 km/h
Armament 107 mm ZiS-6 (F-42) main cannon (112 or 102 rounds)
76 mm F-11 secondary cannon (120 rounds)
2x DT machine gun (400 rounds)
Unspecified flamethrower (hull)
Armor Front top plate: 125 mm
Side plate: 125 mm
Top and belly: 50 to 40 mm
Total Production 0; blueprints only

Sources

Breakthrough tank KV – Maxim Kolomiets
Supertanki Stalina IS-7 – Maxim Kolomiets
KV 163 1939-1941 – Maxim Kolomiets
Confrontation – Ibragimov Danyial Sabirovic
50 years of Confrontation – Nikolai Fedorovich Shashmurin
Soviet Warrior (magazine), 1990 – Sergey Ptichkin
Bronevoy Schit Stalina. Istoriya Sovetskogo Tanka (1937-1943) M. Svirin
About the forgotten creators of Soviet armored power. (historyntagil.ru) – S.I. Pudovkin
German Lion | Warspot.ru – Yuri Pasholok
Tank building on the verge of common sense | Warspot.ru – Yuri Pasholok
Large caliber for large HF | Yuriy Pasholok | Yandex Zen – Yuri Pasholok
In the shadow of the Leningrad grandees | Warspot.ru – Yuri Pasholok
Tank Archives: Soviet 107 mm Guns – Peter Samsonov
Tank Archives: KV-3 Mulligan – Peter Samsonov
Tank Archives: Heavy Tank Costs – Peter Samsonov
Tank Archives: ZIS-6 Characteristics – Peter Samsonov

Categories
WW2 Soviet KV-4

KV-4 (Object 224) Dukhov

Soviet Union (1941)
Super Heavy Tank – Blueprints Only

Tank design in the 1930s Soviet Union was a period of great experimentation and versatility, with designs ranging from jumping and flying tanks to super heavy multi-turreted ones. Yet as the Soviet tank industry matured, tank designs became more sensible and, by the late 1930s, some very promising vehicles were in development, such as the T-34 and KV-1. Nevertheless, with tensions rising in Europe after the German invasion of Czechoslovakia, Poland, and then France through the Benelux, Soviet engineers had to fall back to some older drastic ideas. One of these was the KV-4, one of the most curious heavy tank programs in Soviet tank history, as it involved a competition between dozens of designers.

Development

KV-4 designs
Placement Name Drawings Mass (t) Dimensions (m) (LxWxH) Armament Crew Top speed (theoretical) Armor Reward /Rubles
1 Dukhov KV-4 82.5 8.150
3.790
3.153
-107 mm ZiS-6
– 45 mm K-20
– 2x 7.62 DT
6 40 km/h Front top plate: 135 mm
Front bottom plate: 130 mm
Side plate: 125 mm
Top and belly: 40 mm
5000
2 Kuzmin, Tarotko, Tarapatin KV-4 88 9.26
3.78
3.175
-107 mm ZiS-6
– 45 mm K-20
– 3x 7.62 DS-39
6 36 km/h Front: 125 mm
Side: 125-100 mm
Top and belly: 40 mm
3000
3 Tseits KV-4 90 8.85
4.03
3.62
107 mm ZiS-6
2x 7.62 DS-39
Unspecified flamethrower
7 45 km/h Front hul upper plate: 50 mm
Front hull bottom plate: 125 mm
Turret:130 mm
Side plate: 125 mm
Top and belly: 50 mm
2800
4 Sychev KV-4 95 – 100 9.23
4.00
3.40
107 mm ZiS-6 (F-42)
45 mm 20-K
2x DT machine guns
6 40 – 45 Turret: 135-125 mm
Hull: 105 mm
Top and belly: 40 mm
2000
4 Ermolaev KV-4 90 8.22
4.00
3.25
107 mm ZiS-6 6 35 130 mm
95 8.52
4.00
3.25
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
6 35 130 mm 2000
5 KV-4 Shashmurin 92 9.50
4.00
3.85
107 mm ZiS-6 (F-42) main cannon (112 or 102 rounds)
76 mm F-11 secondary cannon (120 rounds)
2x DT machine gun (400 rounds)
Unspecified flamethrower (hull)
7 35 km/h Front top plate: 125 mm
Side plate: 125 mm
Top and belly: 50 to 40 mm
1500
6 Buganov 93 7.70
3.80
3.90
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
6 50 km/h Front 125 mm 1000
6 Moskvin 101 9.573
4.03
3.74
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
6 40 km/h Front 130 mm 1000
7 Pereverzev KV-4 100 9.5
3.8
3.82
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
2x DT machine guns
6 39 km/h Front: 125 mm 500
7 Bykov 98.6 9.5
4.03
3.65
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
DS-39 machine gun
8 36 km/h Front 130 mm 500
7 Kalivod 500
N/A Fedorenko KV-4 98.65 8.10
4.03
3.70
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm M.1938
3x DT machine guns
Unspecified flamethrower
6 35 km/h Front upper plate: 140 mm
Side plate: 125 mm
Turret: 125 mm
Top and belly: 50 to 40 mm
N/A Kreslavsky KV-4 92.6 9
4
3.225
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm Mod.1937 20-K coaxial
3x DT machine gun
6 45 km/h Turret: 130 mm
Front hull plate: 130 mm
Front upper plate: 80 mm
Side plate: 125 mm
Rear plate: 130 mm
Top /bottom: 50 -40 mm
N/A Kruchenykh KV-4 107.7 9.13
4.03
3.78
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
4x DT machine guns
9 30 km/h Front: 130 mm
N/A Mikhailov KV-4 86.5 9
3.6
3
107 mm ZiS-6 (F-42)
45 mm Mod.1937 20-K (hull-mounted)
3x DT machine guns
6 50 km/h Turret: 130 mm
Hull: 130 mm
Belly and belly: 50 – 40 mm
N/A Marishkin KV-4 86.4 8.7
3.6
3.5
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
7 40 km/h Front: 130 mm
Upper frontal: 80 mm
N/A Pavlov & Grigorev KV-4 91 8.5
4.0
3.6
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
6 45 km/h Front: 100 – 125 mm
N/A Turchaninov KV-4 89.5 9.8
4.0
3.0
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
DT machine gun
7 35 km/h Front: 125 mm
N/A Strukov KV-4 92 8.6
4.0
3.8
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
6 50 km/h Front: 80 – 130 mm
N/A Unkown KV-4
N/A Unkown KV-4

On 11th March, 1941, the GABTU (Main Directorate of Armoured Forces) was informed by the Soviet Intelligence services of the existence of new German heavy tank projects. The report, naturally, was a mixed bag of real information and rumours. It is important to note that, while the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany were more or less allies during this period, tensions were high and any sort of technological advancement of the opposition had to be met with a proportional (or, in this case, disproportional) response.

The document received was titled “The direction of development of the German armed forces and changes in their state” and discussed several tank projects. When it came to heavy tanks, a chart presenting 3 tank models was shown:

  1. Mark V (36 tonnes, 75 mm gun, 2x machine guns, ≤ 60 mm of armor)
  2. Mark VI (45 tonnes, 75 mm gun, 20 mm gun, 3x machine guns, ≤ 70 mm of armor)
  3. Mark VII (90 tonnes, 105 mm gun, 2x 20 mm gun, 4x machine guns, unknown armor)

The report also mentioned, based on unconfirmed information, 72 tonne French tanks (possibly the Char 2C, which weighed 69 tonnes) present at the occupied Renault factory, in addition to 60 and 80 tonne tanks being built at Škoda and Krupp.

On the one hand, the Germans had indeed begun development of several heavy tanks, such as the 30-and 36-tonne projects (VK30.01(H) and VK36.01(H)). A month after the original Soviet report, in May, the Germans decided that, for 1942, the armor of future heavy tanks had to be improved. This would consist of 100 mm of frontal armor and 60 mm at the side. In terms of heavier vehicles, the VK65.01 appeared in January 1939.

Interestingly, the Pz. Kpfw. VII, commonly known as the Löwe, with its many variants and stages, would not appear until November of 1941, with development starting in December. Mentions of a tank armed with a 15 cm L/40 existed earlier on. This begs the question on what the Soviet report was based on. It was very likely a combination of several tank designs and proposals, alongside rumours and speculations, likely cherry picked to sound as alarming as possible.

To put things into perspective, during this period, the best heavy tank in Soviet service was the KV-1, armed with the 76 mm L-11, meant as a stopgap until the introduction of the F-32 gun, which was not a significant improvement anyway. These guns were seen as problematic, especially by armament designer V.G. Grabin, but the political rush to push the KV-1 into production and military service left it with considerable faults and problems, including the armament and the infamous gearbox, which, it must be noted, was designed by N.L. Dukhov himself. The most important aspect of the KV-1 was its armor, with 90 mm at the front of the turret and 75 mm at the front of the hull. By 1941, the Soviets had several improvements of the KV-1 in the works, including the T-150 and KV-220, which brought more armor and better armament. With hindsight, the KV-220, with its 85 mm F-30 gun and 100 mm of armor all around, would have been (on paper) on par with the German Tiger I, which entered production only in August of 1942, 1.5 years later. It seems it would have been rather reliable, running 967 km with the V-5 700 hp engine (only needing 2 idlers, a torsion bar, 6 idler axles replaced and shearing 2 teeth in the transmission and destroying the eyelet of the clutch) after the 2 V-2N supercharged experimental engines broke.

Nonetheless, the Soviet authorities did not take the report lightly and immediately ordered work on an even heavier tank. It was expected that the gun used would be the 105 mm Flak 39. The Soviets had previously purchased this gun in 1940 for testing and, after firing trials, it was noted that a tank required 130 mm of armor or more to withstand fire from it. The Kirov Leningrad plant’s SKB-2 design bureau was tasked with the design of the new tank. At the same time, they were working on the KV-3, at the time a 50-tonne heavy tank, already superior to any German tank at the time. The Kirov plant had also worked on the T-150 and KV-220 tanks, which were further developments of the KV-1.

Technical requirements

Design and technical requirements were given only 10 days after the initial report, on 21st March, 1941. The new super heavy tank was named KV-4 (the acronym KV stands for Kliment Voroshilov, People’s Commissar for Defense of the Soviet Union until 1940) and received the GABTU designation Object 224. It was to weigh around 70 to 72 tonnes, with a frontal armor of 130 mm, side armor of 120 mm, and 40 mm on the belly and top. The main armament was to consist of the ZiS-6 F-42 107 mm gun. It was meant to have a full traverse range of 360° (though a handful of designs would mount the gun in a casemate with limited traverse). Elevation was to be between 15° to 17° and depression between -2° and -3°. Secondary armament would consist of a 45 mm gun (model 1937 or 1938) and 3 DT machine guns; one coaxial, one in the turret bustle and one at the front of the hull. Mounting of a 76 mm ZiS-5 gun was also desired as an alternative to the ZiS-6, though this was eventually dropped. A flamethrower was also mentioned for protection against approaching infantry.

The powerplant was meant to be a 1,200 hp engine, with the tank reaching an estimated top speed of 35 km/h. However, since there were no such powerful engines available at the moment, the 850 hp V-2SN was to be used as a temporary fix. For the KV-5 (and potentially the KV-4 as well), mounting 2 V-2SN was also considered until the M-40s were ready. Eventually, LKZ managed to produce 58 M-40 engines by August. Another variant was considered, the M-50, giving out 1,000 hp, which was meant for torpedo boats. The fuel was meant to last for 10 hours of continuous driving, in conditions between -40° and 40° Celsius. The gearbox had to be an automatic planetary type and the brakes had to hold up the tank’s weight on a 45° slope angle. The crew was to be composed of 6 men: Commander, gunner, loader, turret mechanic (loader assistant), driver, and radio operator, with the last two in the hull.

On 27th March, the Council of Ministers of the USSR released the plans for the development of the heavy tanks, presenting the deadlines of the development process. The LKZ plant was to provide drawings by 17th July, Plant No. 92 to deliver a 107 mm ZiS-6 and 76 mm ZiS-5 by 1st September and Izhora plant in Leningrad to build the hull and turret by 1st October. In terms of powerplants, the V-2SN and M-40 engines were considered. From a letter dated 30th May, the development (from blueprints to prototype testing and improvement) of the KV-4 was expected to cost 3,100,000 Roubles, while the KV-5 was estimated at 3,600,000 Roubles. Just the construction and factory trials of the KV-4 were estimated at around 1,800,000 Roubles. To put this into perspective, the production of a single KV-1 was around 295,000 Roubles (May 1942).

In an interesting turn of events, by 7th April the plans were changed entirely. The KV-3 program was revitalized, with the weight increased to 68 tonnes, armor increased to 120 mm and mounting a 107 mm gun. Consequently, in a letter to LKZ factory director I.M. Zaltsman, the KV-4 requirements were increased to a weight of 75 tonnes, 135 mm (some sources claim as much as 140 to 150 mm) of armor on frontal areas, and 125 mm on the sides and rear. The deadline for the blueprints was brought forward to 15th June. The hull and turret were expected on 15th August. Simultaneously, the KV-5 was brought to life. It was to be a response to the so-called ‘Pz.Kpfw.VII’, with a mass of 90 tonnes, frontal armor 170 mm thick, and 150 mm thick on the sides. It was to be built by 10th November.

The turrets had to be of welded and stamped construction, as castings at these thicknesses were not technologically possible at the time. Another issue with the armor was the connection. The Soviet armor industry could barely handle welding 75 mm armor plates, let alone anything above 125 mm. This issue was partially solved on the KV-5 (which got further into its developmental stage), where steel rods would be pushed and welded in holes drilled through the two armored plates, which in turn would be laid onto one another.

The main gun required between 70 and 80 rounds of ammunition. To top it all off, in a letter from the chief or the Main Auto and Armour Directorate of the Armoured Forces to the LKZ and Izhor factories, the prototypes of KV-4 (and KV-5) were expected to be completed and enter the testing phase by 1942.

Connecting pins for the large steel plates. This system was used on the KV-5, and likely on the KV-4 as well. The German Maus used them as well. Note, however, that the Soviet counterparts did not use interlocking plates, but rather L-shaped connections.
Source: Andrew Hills

Drawing competition

Work began on the KV-4 at Kirov on 10th April. The head designer was J. Y. Kotin. Considering that the tanks were to be designed from scratch, Kotin decided upon doing a competition. After getting Zaltsman onboard, they decided to even give prizes for the best designs. Most of the engineers at the Kirov SKB-2 design bureau would participate in the competition. No details were given about the layout, prompting a variety of unique and creative designs. However, a bit of confusion seems to have risen regarding specific details, as the specifications set up at LKZ did not entirely match the ones requested by the GABTU. The mass was set between 80 and 100 tonnes, armament consisting of the ZiS-6 107 mm and a 45 mm gun mod.1937, with the second gun meant for zeroing in the main gun and for dealing with softer targets. The Soviet military allegedly requested a flamethrower as well, but some designs lack it.

By 9th May, the competition was over and the winners were announced by I.M. Saltzman. In total, 27 different designs were submitted (excluding different variations of the same design). In first place came N.L. Dukhov, who received 5,000 Roubles. Second place was given to a design made by 3 engineers, K.I. Kuzmin, P.S. Tarapatin, and V. I. Tarotko, who received 3,000 Roubles to be split between them. On third place came N.V. Zeits, who received 2,800 Roubles. The list continues to the 7th spot, with many places having several designs. Unfortunately, some designs have been lost to time, and some designs have unknown authors, or some lost drawings. From the 11 ‘winning’ designs, only Kalivoda’s project is missing blueprints. Kotin himself received 3,100 Rubles for leading the engineering team. To put these sums in perspective, a soldier would be awarded 500 rubles for destroying an enemy tank on the front.

Designer name Place Prize received (Rubles)
N.L. Dukhov 1 5,000
K.I. Kuzmin, P.S. Tarapanin and V. I. Tarotko 2 3,000
N.V. Tseits 3 2,800 (2,000 according to another archive document)
L.E. Sychev 4 2,000
A.S. Ermolaev 4 2,000
N.F. Shashmurin 5 1,500
K.I. Buganov 6 1,000
G.N. Moskvin 6 1,000
L.N. Pereverzev 7 500
V. Bykov 7 500
Kalivoda 7 500

Other engineers who presented designs but did not receive any awards were F.A. Marishkin, S.V. Federenko, M.I. Kreslavsky, V. Pavlov and D. Grigorev, P. Mikhailov, G. Turchaninov, N. Strukov, and 2 other unnamed designers.

Despite the exciting competition, the progress was slow. By 12th June, 3 days prior to the deadline, Marshal of the Soviet Union G.I. Kulik sent a letter to LKZ demanding the speed-up of the design process. Yet the drawings were never submitted. Just 10 days later, on 22nd June 1941, German forces began their invasion of the Soviet Union.

The GABTU decided that the KV-3, which was in an advanced stage, would continue development and be implemented as a stopgap measure until the KV-4 and KV-5 were ready. These two would be tested against each other and the winner would be produced. Development of the KV-5 continued until August, albeit at a much slower rate, when the Germans had already reached Leningrad. The workers and engineers at LKZ, including SKB-2, were moved to ChKZ in Chelyabinsk.

KV-4 SPG

In a decree dated 18 April 1941, from the Council of Comissars, a KV-4 based SPG was mentioned, having 60 mm of armor and a lengthened KV-4 chassis (why lengthening the chassis was deemed necessary is a mystery). It was to be armed with a 107 mm gun using a 152 mm ML-20 mod.1937 howitzer gun mount, and was to have a muzzle velocity of 1100 m/s, developed and produced at plants No. 172 and No.92. Theoretical calulations from the time gave the armament a penetration of 188 mm, angled at 30° from 1000 m. Later calulations reduced the muzzle velocity to 1020 m/s. The first experimental guns were expected by 1 July. Work was carried on in parrallel to the Object 212 and SU-B-13 SPGs, but the KV-4 SPG never reached the blueprint stage.

N. L. Dukhov

The winner of the KV-4 competition, Nikolai Leonidovich Dukhov, was born in 1904 in Veprik, in modern day Ukraine. He was behind several Soviet tank projects. In his first years as an engineer, he worked at the Putilovets tractor factory, on the Universal tractor. In 1936, he worked on his first tank project, a modernization of the T-28. A few years later, his team at the LKZ (Kirov) SKB-2 design bureau was responsible for designing the KV-1 heavy tank. After the Siege of Leningrad, SKB-2 was moved to ChKZ, from where he continued designing tanks. Other noteworthy tanks designed under his leadership were the KV-1S, KV-2, KV-85, KV-13, IS, IS-2, IS-3, and IS-4.

After 1948, he was involved in the Soviet nuclear program, being deputy chief designer at KB-11 (since 1992 known as the ‘Russian Federal Nuclear Center’) and participated in the development and testing of the RDS-6s thermonuclear hydrogen bomb, with a yield between 400 to 500 kt. In 1954, he became chief director and supervisor at branch No.1 of KB-11, which still bears his name to this day. He led it until his death in 1964, at just 59 years. He received 3 Hero of Socialist Labour medals, 4 Lenin Orders, 5 Stalin Prizes, the Lenin Prize, the Order of Suvorov, the Order of the Red Banner of Labour, the Order of the Red Star, the medal for Labour Valour, the Medal For the Victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945, the Medal for Valiant Labour in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945, the Jubilee Medal 30 Years of the Soviet Army and Navy, and the Jubilee Medal 40 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR.

Nikolai Leonidovich Dukhov, one of the most important Soviet tank designers of the Second World War, in charge of designing some of the most iconic Soviet tanks, like the KV-1.
Source: Wikipedia.ru

Dukhov’s design

Dukhov presented at least 4 drawings of his proposal, one side view of the entire tank, one cutout top view of the turret, one partial cutout of the hull and one showing the automated round lifting system. The design was very similar to the KV-220, a tank designed with L.E. Sychev and B.P. Pavlov (both of whom submitted KV-4 designs), but much larger. The hull was essentially an up-armored and lengthened KV-1 hull, with 8 wheels per side, sprung by torsion bars. Other details and components remained mostly identical to those of previous prototypes and of the KV-1 mod.1941. The exact number of return rollers is unknown, but comparing to previous designs, 4 appears most likely. Curiously, the rear engine deck plate was angled downwards, similar to the KV-1S. His design was the lightest of all KV-4 designs, estimated at ‘just’ 82.5 tonnes.

The single KV-220 prototype, armed with an 85 mm F-30 gun. It served as a basis for the KV-3 tank, and as a great inspiration for Dukhov and his KV-4 drawings.
Source: Tank Archives, colorized by Smargd123

The main engine considered was the M-40 aviation engine, developed at LKZ (after the original designer, A.D. Charomsky, was arrested in 1938, during the Purges). It had an output of 1,000 horsepower (later improved to 1,200) with 12 cylinders arranged in a V-shape, and 4 TK-88 turbochargers. Displacement was of 91.07 liters. Since it was based on an aviation engine, it could run on both diesel and kerosene, allegedly even gasoline. With such a powerplant, Dukhov expected his design to reach an optimistic 40 km/ top speed. There was also an upgraded version, the M-40F, delivering up to 1,500 hp. The other engine considered was the V-2SN, which was an upgraded variant of the classic V-2 12 cylinder engine. It was boosted with a turbocharger to 850 hp.

Side cutout view of Dukhov’s KV-4. The similarities to the KV-220 are very clear.
Source: ASKM

The turret designed by Dukhov was also similar to the KV-220, with the main difference being that the frontal plate (mostly covered by the mantlet) was angled, as opposed to flat like on previous KV tanks. A total of 4 plates were used for the turret, with the frontal plate angled at circa 20° and 130 mm thick. The side armor plate would have been circa 125 mm thick and stamped into shape. The rear plate was flat and 125 mm thick. On top of the main turret, a smaller turret was added armed with a DT machine gun. This turret had circa 3 vision periscopes for the commander. Another 4 periscopes were scattered around the turret to give vision to the rest of the crew members.

Top view of the turret, with view of the two guns and turret floor.
Source. ASKM

In terms of placement of the 6 crewmen, the driver and radioman were placed in the hull, in identical positions to other KV series tanks. The gunner was seated to the right of the 107 mm gun, while the commander was standing behind him, operating the cupola. As for the loaders, one was seated to the right of the 45 mm gun and was tasked with loading it and lifting ammunition for the 107 mm. The other loader was standing behind the main gun and had the task of loading the main gun. They used a 10-R intercom for communication between each other.

Top view of Dukhov’s hull, the front of the hull has been cut out. The ammunition loading system can be seen, using special components holding the shells by the ends.
Source: ASKM

Armament

The KV-4 used the F-42 ZiS-6 107 mm as the main gun. It was designed by the iconic V.G. Grabin at factory No.92. First appearing in documentation in December 1940 as the F-42, but renamed to ZiS-6 in March 1941. The gun was ready by 14th May, taking only 38 days to design according to Grabin himself, after both Marshal of the Soviet Union Kulik and Stalin spoke to Grabin about the issue, though a phonecall between Grabin and Stalin revealed that the gun had to be designed in 45 days. Plant No-92 was forced to work ahead of schedule, and on 27th May, sent a gun to LKZ for mounting on the KV-2 for testing. Yet the Izhora plant, tasked with making the turret for the test ring, using a KV-3 gun mount, was progressing very slowly. On 18 June, Marshal Kulik had to intervene (again), for the Izhora plant to finish the turret. Testing finally began on 25th June and ended on 5th July. After the initial test, faults were fixed, and the gun was deemed ready for production. Serial production began at the New Sormovo plant in July. But, according to Grabin’s memoirs, the lack of cooperation and work from the tank factories was a large dissapointment.

The production of the ZiS-6 increased daily. But there was still no sign of the tank for which the gun was intended. Even after the beginning of the war, the Kirov plant did not deliver a single tank. The lack of the new tank forced us to limit production and eventually, cancel it. It is difficult and embarrassing to write about this, in those days when everything that could shoot, even museum pieces, were sent to the front, around 800 gun barrels had to be sent back to the melting furnace

– V.A. Grabin, extract from his memoirs.

In September, the ZiS-6A was discussed for the KV-4, which involved the mounting of a 45 mm gun coaxially, but it remained just an idea, mostly because of the abandonment of the KV-4.

The KV-2 fitted with an 107 mm ZiS-6 and the KV-3 gun mantlet in June 1941.
Source: Thinky via WT forums

In terms of technical data, the ZiS-6 had an muzzle velocity of 800 to 840 m/s. Ammunition was one-piece and weighed 18.8 kg. The breech lock was mounted vertically and was semiautomatic. It could allegedly penetrate 115 mm of armor at 1,000 m.

Regarding secondary armament, Dukhov fitted his design with a coaxial 45 mm mod.1937. With a muzzle velocity of 750 m/s, it would be used for ranging in the main gun, while also engaging targets that would not require the main 107 mm gun. Loading would be done by any of the two loaders. There was no firing mechanism designed for it, but it was likely fired independently from the main gun by the gunner. The tank also had at least two DT machine guns, one mounted in a ball mount in the hull, and the other in the secondary turret on the top of the main turret. Ammunition for it was stowed in the hull, on both sides of the turret ring.

Dukhov had envisioned 2 ways to load the main gun. The first was the classic way, by simply lifting the ammunition stored in the floor of the tank’s hull. There must have been a form of turret floor, as the entire hull floor was peppered with ammunition. This was in no way a simple endeavour, but with two loaders, it was a realistic task. The second option was a semiautomatic loader system, which had a system that would lift up the shells from the hull to the same level to the gun breech, from where the loader could load them in. The shells would be lifted by a chain-like system, in-line with the gun breech. These would be stored across the hull, and would have been required to be placed manually in the lifting system.

View of the loading layout and system proposed by N.L. Dukhov for his KV-4.
Source: ASKM

German invasion

Even after the German attack on the Soviet Union, work on tanks continued at LKZ. For the KV-5, the engineers who had received the top places in the KV-4 competition (except the 3 in second place) would work together on the KV-5. This gained traction and blueprints were being drawn, including the turret, hull and running gear components. As for the KV-4, there was barely any progress. Dukhov’s design was awarded as the best, but what this truly meant for the KV-4 is all speculation. Whether Dukhov’s would have been the main layout of the final KV-4 prototype is unknown. Work continued on the KV-5 and KV-3 until August, by which time the Germans were quickly approaching Leningrad. To deal with this, the SKB-2 design bureau was evacuated to ChKZ in Chelyabinsk. There, work on the KV-4 and KV-5 would not resume, as they were seen as a large waste of time and money when the Soviet Union needed tanks yesterday.

With the KV-1 seeing combat against the Germans, it was truly confirmed how unprepared for service it truly was. Dozens of reports came in about transmission and gearbox failures, the vehicle being too heavy and slow, and crews preferring the T-34. The situation got so serious that Stalin himself said that, if the issues would not be fixed, the KV production would be discontinued. This obviously came as a serious blow to LKZ engineers, which immediately began improving the KV.

Additionally, the conspired German heavy tanks never came. Thus, all unnecessary heavy KV projects were left behind and work was focused on improving the KV-1. The work eventually resulted in the heavily praised KV-1S, experimental KV-13 and, finally, the iconic IS.

The KV-4 designed by Dukhov, as represented in the MMO World of Tanks by Wargaming.net.
Source: Wargaming.ne

Conclusion

Arguably one of the most interesting Soviet heavy tanks of the Second World War, the KV-4 was not just a massive vehicle, but also involved the interesting competition tactic which would not be applied again by Soviet designers. This brought a variety of interesting and unique ideas. However, no matter how advanced or revolutionary the KV-4 designs were, the entire program was simply too expensive and worthless, especially once the Soviets had entered war against the Axis. The program was not without its merits.

Dukhov’s KV-4 incorporated an efficient and trialed design into what was seen as the most successful KV-4 variant. It was the lightest, simplest, and almost a natural evolution from the KV-220. Equally interesting, he envisioned a partially automated loading system, with shells being lifted to the level of the gun breech. This gave him the victory against all the other engineers, but it was to no avail.

The KV-4 as designed by N. L. Dukhov. Illustration by Pavel Alexe.

KV-4 Dukhov’s variant specifications

Dimensions (L-W-H) 8.150 – 3.790 – 3.153 m
Total Weight, Battle Ready 82.5 tonnes
Crew 6 (Commander, Gunner, Driver, Radio operator, loader & turret mechanic/loader assistant)
Propulsion 1,200 hp diesel V-12 M-40 with 4 turbochargers
Speed 40 km/h (hypothetical)
Suspension Torsion bar, 8 wheels per side
Armament 107 mm ZiS-6 (F-42)
45 mm Mod.1937 coaxial
2x DT machine guns
Armor Front top plate: 135 mm
Front bottom plate: 130 mm
Side plate: 125 mm
Top and belly: 40 mm
Total Production 0; blueprints only

Sources

Breakthrough tank KV – Maxim Kolomiets
Supertanki Stalina IS-7 – Maxim Kolomiets
KV 163 1939-1941 – Maxim Kolomiets
Confrontation – Ibragimov Danyial Sabirovich
Bronevoy Schit Stalina. Istoriya Sovetskogo Tanka (1937-1943) M. Svirin
About the forgotten creators of Soviet armored power. (historyntagil.ru) – S.I. Pudovkin
German Lion | Warspot.ru – Yuri Pasholok
Tank building on the verge of common sense | Warspot.ru – Yuri Pasholok
Large caliber for large HF | Yuriy Pasholok | Yandex Zen – Yuri Pasholok
Tank Archives: Soviet 107 mm Guns – Peter Samsonov
Tank Archives: KV-3 Mulligan – Peter Samsonov
Tank Archives: Heavy Tank Costs – Peter Samsonov
Tank Archives: ZIS-6 Characteristics – Peter Samsonov