To counter that threat, Soviet factories churned out 148 KV-85s, a stopgap model upgraded with an eighty-five-millimeter gun. However, tank designers were already working on installing the gun on the T-34 tank, while the more heavily armed and armored Joseph Stalin series of tanks took over the KV’s role. Still, small numbers of surviving KV-1s would serve through the remainder of the war, including in the siege of Leningrad, the recapture of Crimea and the invasion of Japanese-held Manchuria in August 1945.
Despite their superior armor, the KV tanks simply sacrificed too much mobility, reliability and cost-efficiency to equal the success of the T-34. However, that doesn’t change the fact that the formidable tanks and their crews served as a vital bulwark in the desperate early months of the Nazi invasion.
Sébastien Roblin holds a Master’s Degree in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing, and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. He currently writes on security and military history for War Is Boring.
This article first appeared several years ago.
Image: Wikimedia Commons