It was based on the chassis of the KV-1 Heavy Tank, with a large M1938 Howitzer (152mm) replacing its main gun.[N 1] It was also armed with three DT machine guns. The KV-2 also had a 5 speed forward, 1 speed reverse transmission system. The KV-2 had a top speed of 25.5 kilometers per hour, which was provided by a W-2 engine. It had a range of 140 kilometers. The vehicle was 6.8 meters long, and weighed 48,800 kilograms. Armor protection on the vehicle could be as much as 110 mm in some places.
Though, even the same thick armor as the KV-1 Heavy Tank before it could not save the mechnically unstable KV-2. Furthermore, even if the vehicle could keep running, it was incredibly slow and the ill designed turret proved to be too large a target. [N 2]
The first variant of the KV-2 series was the KV-2B which was upgraded model fitted with the KV-1B chassis and was also given an additional 35 mm of armor to the turret for crew protection. The next variant produced was the flame version which utilized the large size of the turret to store fuel for a flamethrower on board.
The KV-2 was first developed in 1939-1940 and in just two weeks, prototypes had already been produced. The first combat action that the KV-2 saw was in the Winter War against Finland. Here it proved semi effective, but early on problems had arisen. The 152mm howitzer packed a powerful punch against armored vehicles, but it was an impractical weapon that was more well suited for the anti-position role, but it proved quite ineffective at that as well. The size and horrible mobility did not serve it well on the battlefield. Its huge silhouette made it easy pickings for German anti-tank guns. One slightly amusing problem with the KV-2 was that the gun could not fire in every direction due to the fact that the recoil could jam or completely destroy the turret ring.
Possibly the most notable action of any KV-2 was at the Battle of Raseiniai, which saw a single KV-2 hold up the entirety of the 6th Panzer Division. The KV-2 had destroyed about two-dozen tanks by the end of the engagement. Although this was a great achievement, the KV-2 was not a practical weapon that could not be used very effectively. The speed and poor traverse of KV-2 made it unsuitable for spearheading attacks in a way that the T-34 could. Eventually, the KV-2 was phased out of service due to it's impracticality and terrible mobility. In total, around 330 models were built by the end of the war.
- ↑ Though originally, the vehicle was armed with a 122 mm howitzer
- ↑ In fact, examples captured by German forces were often used until they literally stopped working and were then abandoned because of the fact that it was oftentimes not worth the trouble to repair the vehicles
- ↑ http://wwiivehicles.com/ussr/tanks-heavy/kv-2.asp
- ↑ http://www.militaryfactory.com/armor/detail.asp?armor_id=210