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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 mm DT machine guns
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
2x 7.62 mm DS-39 machine guns
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 mm DS-39 machine guns
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 7.62 mm 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 Shashmurin KV-4 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 7.62 mm DT machine guns (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 KV-4 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 KV-4 101 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 7.62 mm DT machine guns
6 39 km/h Front: 125 mm 500
7 Bykov KV-4 98.6 9.5
4.03
3.65
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm 20-K
7.62 mm DS-39 machine gun
8 36 km/h Front 130 mm 500
7 Kalivod KV-4 500
N/A Fedorenko KV-4 98.65 8.10
4.03
3.70
107 mm ZiS-6
45 mm M.1938
3x 7.62 mm 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 7.62 mm DT machine guns
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 7.62 mm 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 7.62 mm 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 Unknown KV-4
N/A Unknown 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 7.62 mm 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

2 replies on “KV-4 (Object 224) Kresavsky”

ANOTHER KV-4!!! YES!!! Thank you for bringing these designs to light with more specifics on stuff like internal modules of the vehicles!

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