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

Throughout the 2nd World War, the German army captured numerous tanks and also armored vehicles from countries it invaded. The exact same was true during the invasion of the Soviet Union. The Germans frequently made upgrades and also modifications to fit your needs. This process spawned one of the larger armored car enigmas to come out of the War.This was the KV-1 the was captured and then re-armed v the 7.5cm KwK 40 gun. Not lot is known about the background of this improvisation, and there is just one known photo to prove its existence.It is no the only tank that the second World battle that was retrofitted in the field to accept a gun from an additional nation. Other examples encompass the Churchill NA 75 which to be a brother Churchill tank modified to expropriate the American 75mm Tank Gun and the Matilda II the was amendment to expropriate the 76mm ZiS-5 gun. In both of this cases, that course, they were not recorded vehicles.

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The just known picture of the modification KV-1.

Background, the KV-1

The KV-1 to be the unsuspecting winner that a Soviet contract for a new heavy tank to change the obsolete T-35A Multi Turreted hefty Tank. The KV tank win the SMK and T-100 to do it to mass production. Automatically prior to the intrusion of the USSR in June 1941, around 508 KV-1 tanks to be in Red military service.The KV-1 was an unpleasant surprised to the proceeding Germans in June 1941, because of its fantastic armor protection. The KV-1 easily gained a fearsome call on the battlefield, being able to stand up to point-blank shots indigenous the typical 37mm anti tank weapons fielded by Germany. Countless KV-1s changed from combat peppered with dents and also gouges native ricochets which had failed to permeate its armor. However, the KV-1s made tiny impact on the really fighting throughout the month of procedure Barbarossa through the exception of a small variety of engagements. Negative crew training, negative logistical support and also inept command and control intended that the Soviet tanks, consisting of the mighty KV-1, whereby deployed in tiny packets that were easily swallowed and also terminated by the better organized German units.The KV-1 tank sweet 45 tonnes, and also was powered by the 660hp V2K engine. The suspension to be the an initial Soviet use of torsion bars, and it included six road wheels, a rear drive wheel, a big front idler wheel and three return rollers. The tank had a crew the five. Soviet designers constantly updated the tank and, in between 1941 and 1942, the armor to be thickened indigenous 90mm come 200mm in places. The firepower was enhanced too, indigenous the 30.2 calibre lengthy F-32 76.2mm gun, to the 42.5 calibre lengthy 76.2mm Zis-5 gun. The F-32 gun can penetrate 50mm of armor in ~ 1,000m, conversely, the Zis-5 gun could penetrate 60mm of armor at the same range. In 1942, this make the gun a far-ranging threat to many German tanks. However, the total was similar to the one ~ above the T-34 tool tank, which to be far an ext mobile and also far cheaper come build.

KVs in German Service

When the Wehrmacht very first encountered the KV-1, they were horrified and greatly impressed with its capability to take too much punishment native the key German tank and anti-tank weapons of the time. Contrary to famous belief, over there were just a handful of KV-1 tanks that were ever pressed into German service. The caught tanks were recognized as ‘Beutepanzer’ or trophy tanks.In 1941, the Germans had a categorizing mechanism for those units captured from the enemy, this to be an “Ebeuten” number. The number for KV tanks of all sub-types to be “E I”. The overwhelming majority of this tanks were either dismantled at the roadside, or went back to the Reich for museums or testing. However, over there were some KV tanks pressed into Wehrmacht service.

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Beutepanzer KV-1 ‘1’ the the the the 8th Panzer Division. Photo: SOURCEThe earliest recognized Beutepanzer KV-1s, i beg your pardon in the German numbering system were recognized as the Pz.KpfW KV-1a 753 (r) (r = Russia) were deployed in the loss of 1941. German changes were minimal, with most Beutepanzer KV-1s retaining the initial Soviet radio and equipment, however, periodically German radios and tool sets were issued. The most exciting German acquisitions were the two OKV-1 tanks pressed into service. The Kirov works in Leningrad had manufactured 6 prototype fire throwing KV tanks, through a flame unit in the hull. All were used in combat, and two were ultimately pressed into Wehrmacht business after their capture.Between 1941 and also 1943, the German military likely faced thousands of lost KV tanks, the which perhaps several hundred were captured in working condition. That is thought yet that less than 50 KV-1 tanks were pressed right into German service. A multitude of factors can explain this, from absence of preventive parts, to German overconfidence in their very own tanks, come the Nazi ideological doctrine that regarded anything produced by a Slavic gyeongju to be inferior.

German Modification

The specific model that KV-1 that this conversion was based upon to be a 1942 model, made at factory 100 Chelyabinsk (ChTZ) and was probably manufactured in the first or 2nd quarter that 1942. It to be fitted through the applique armor on the nose, and also on the glacis key which increased the armor as much as 200mm (7.9 in) special in places. It was equipped v the lightweight cast turret. Sometimes, this model likewise carried a heavyweight cast, or simplified welded turret. Typical armament remained the same, gift the 76mm ZiS-5 gun. In German service, this was designated together the Pz.Kpfw KV-1B 755(r). This modified variation was designated Pz.Kpfw KV-1B 756(r). The building work was brought out by the maintenance battalion the Panzer Regiment 204 that the 22nd Panzer Division.

Gun

The many drastic change to this solitary KV was the modification made to the key armament. The original Soviet 76mm ZiS-5 total was eliminated to make way for the German’s own 7.5cm KwK 40 L/43.

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Diagram of the L/43 gun in its typical mounting, the Panzer IVThis total was acquired from the 7.5cm PaK 40, a towed anti-tank gun the entered company in 1942. In 1942-43, the gun to be also placed on Germany’s key medium tank, the Panzerkampfwagen IV, instead of the brief barreled 7.5cm KwK 37 howitzer. Tanks through this new armament were designated together the Panzer IV Ausf.F2. It to be a deadly weapon, with a range of ammunition types. These had Armour Piercing Capped Ballistic lid (APCBC), Armor-Piercing Composite strictly (APCR) and High-Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT). The APCBC to be its most deadly round, maybe to penetrate a maximum of 99mm (3.9 in) of armor.At this time, the 7.5cm KwK L/43 was a rare gun, as just 135 Panzers were equipped through it. One these tanks must have been irreparably damaged in action, yet retained one operable gun that had the ability to be cannibalized. Though the ZiS gun was removed, the mantlet was retained. The new gun was posted with the void breach first and mounted into position, finish with that is coaxial MG 34 maker gun. The is unknown as to what internal modifications took place worrying the placement of the trunnions and also elevation/depression gears. Gift the much more powerful gun, the KwK 40 was larger in the breach 보다 the ZiS. The 7.5cm shell was 100mm much longer than the 76mm shell of the ZiS, meaning the breach was likewise 100mm longer. Recoil length would additionally have been longer, definition there was even less room behind the gun.

Turret Changes

Minor modifications were also made come the turret. A salvaged commander’s cupola from either a Panzer III or Panzer IV (It is unclear i m sorry one the is) was added atop the turret. This was not added over the initial commander’s flower at the behind of the turret. A brand-new hole was reduced in the roof towards the right front the the turret, and the cupola added over it. This cupola provided the command far much better visibility, allowing him to spot targets, navigate terrain and observe friendly systems easier.On the left, an air filter was added, through a sheathe salvaged native a T-34.

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But, Why?

A great deal of time was invested theorizing this issue by both writer of this article. The switch of simply this one vehicle would have been time and resource consuming. Other vehicles that were modification in such a way, such as the Churchill NA 75 and also Matilda II with ZiS-5 which are stated in the introduction, had a designed purpose. The idea behind the Churchill NA 75 to be to manipulate guns native wrecked tanks, and give the poorly armed Churchill more Anti-Armor and also High-Explosive firepower. The exact same was true because that the Matilda, the original 2-Pounder gun of i beg your pardon was thought about useless by the Soviets.This KV, however, appears to lack any kind of recorded intention. The German 7.5cm KwK 40 to be a much much better gun 보다 the Soviet ZiS-5 76mm. At 1000 meters, the ZiS could only permeate 61mm that armor, in ~ the very same distance, the 7.5cm can punch v 82mm. Ammunition may also have been a factor, together it would’ve to be far easier for the Germans come resupply with 7.5cm ammunition than 76mm ammunition.These room the only practical benefits of adding this gun come the KV. The KV, at this time, was one of the ideal heavy tanks in the war, and as currently discussed, the Germans currently had a number of captured instances in their arsenal. It may be the this to be intended as rather of one ‘Anti-KV’ or ‘Anti-T-34’ vehicle. The Soviets’ very own 76mm Gun might not penetrate the former of a traditional KV-1 (without 200mm armor) or T-34 in ~ 1000m. The German 7.5cm might handle both. Placing this pistol on a chassis the 76mm might not pass through would prove deadly to any Soviet vehicle facing it.There is, however, an facet of redundancy in the project worth highlighting. At the moment this automobile was built, German vehicles such together the Panzer IV (with long 75mm), Panzer V Panther, Panzer using Tiger, and also Panzerjager Tiger (P) were appearing. Every one of these, while tho teething, to be adequately equipped so the the armor top top the T-34 and also KV-1 go not carry out the advantage they had. With the 8.8cm pistol or high velocity 7.5cm total both the T34 and also KV-1 to be much an ext vulnerable.The most logical conclusion as to why this KV was modified in this method is because of this that that was simply a culmination of spare parts and ingenuity.This KV was apparently active at Kursk, however further details of this are scarce.