KV-1 Model 1939

The Kliment Voroshilov (KV) tanks were a series of Soviet heavy tanks named after the Soviet defense commissar and politician Kliment Voroshilov and used by the Red Army during World War II. The KV series were known for their extremely heavy armour protection during the early part of the war, especially during the first year of the German invasion of the Soviet Union.

They were practically immune to the 3.7 cm KwK 36 and howitzer-like, short barreled 7.5 cm KwK 37 guns mounted, respectively, on the early Panzer III and Panzer IV tanks fielded by the invading German forces. Until more effective guns were developed by the Germans, the KV-1 was invulnerable to almost any German weapon except the 8.8 cm Flak gun. Even then, the sloped and reinforced front armor and turret of the KV-1 caused some hits from the 8.8 cm Flak gun to ricochet.

Prior to Operation Barbarossa (the German invasion of the USSR), about 500 of the over 22,000 tanks then in Soviet service were of the KV-1 type. When the KV-1 appeared, it outclassed the French Char B1, the only other heavy tank in operational service in the world at that time. Yet, in the end, it turned out that there was little sense in producing the expensive KV tanks, as the T-34 medium tank performed better (or at least equally well) in all practical respects. Later in the war, the KV series became a base for the development of the IS (IS - Josif Stalin) series of tanks.

KV-1 Model 1939
Class Vehicle
Type Armoured Fighting Vehicle
Manufacturer Factory No.100 Kirovskiy Works in Chelyabinsk
Origin Russia (USSR)
Country Name Origin Year
Russia (USSR) 1940
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Russia (USSR) 1939 1945 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Factory No.100 Kirovskiy Works in Chelyabinsk 1940 100 View
Formal DesignationKV-1 Model 1939 [sometimes referred to as the "initial" Model 1940, KV is an abbreviation for Klimenti Voroshilov -- then Soviet Defense Commissar]
Manufacturer(s)Factory No.100 Kirovskiy Works in Leningrad (LKZ)
Production Quantityabout 1001Production Period1940
TypeHeavy TankCrew5
Length overall6.8 m (22' 4")Barrel Overhang0
Width3.3 m (10' 10")Height2.7 m (8' 10")
Combat Weight43500 kg (96000 lbs)Radio Equipment71-TK-3
Primary Armament76.2mm Gun L-11Ammunition Carried111
Traverse (degrees)360°Elevation (degrees)-4° to +25°
Traverse speed (360°)n.a.SightTOD-6, PT-6
Secondary Armament3 x 7.62mm DT MG
(coaxial, bow, turret rear)
Ammunition Carried3024

Engine Make & ModelV-2KTrack Links87-90/track
Type & DisplacementV12, n.a.Track Width65 cm (28")
Horsepower (max.)600hp@2000rpmTrack Ground Contact433 cm (170")
Power/Weight Ratio13.8 hp/tonneGround Pressure0.77 kg/cm2 (11.0 psi)
Gearbox5 forward, 1 reverseGround Clearance0.45 m (1' 6")
FuelDieselTurning Radius9.45 m (31' 0")
Range on/off road250 kmGradient36°
Mileage on road240 l/100kmVertical Obstacle1.0 m (3' 3")
Fuel Capacity600 lFording1.5 m (4' 11")
Speed on road35 km/hTrench Crossing2.7 m (8' 10")
Armor DetailFrontSideRearTop/Bottom
1Total KV-1 production during 1940 was 141 units.

End notes