Zvezda 1/35 Soviet KV1 Heavy Tank Kit

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Zvezda 1/35 Soviet KV1 Heavy Tank Kit

Heavy Tank and “Deep Battle” Concepts in the USSR

The concept of “deep battle”, which contained the doctrinal use of the Soviet heavy tank, was first theorized during the late twenties, then refined and eventually adopted by the Red Army Field Regulations in 1936. The tactical deep battle doctrine advocated for fast battle tanks BT series and T-26), reconnaissance types T-27, T-37A, T-38> tanks and tankettes) and medium or heavy penetration tanks (“Tyazholy”). The latter were also called “siege tanks” and had to be able to resist most AT gun calibers, either deployed by enemy infantry or other tanks, and to destroy them as well. They were to be placed on key tactical positions to drag and concentrate enemy fire, or destroy enemy fortified positions while assisting infantry. Protection was therefore given priority over mobility.

After the T-28, which was considered a medium, infantry tank design, the T-35 became the first of these heavy tanks to enter service with the USSR. This was a true monster, influenced by the multi-turreted fad which came from Great Britain, but was quite complicated and unsatisfactory in operations.

A new 1937 specification gave birth to the two T-100s and the unique SMK prototype, showing a new arrangement of firepower, with tandem turrets. All three were tested in operations in Finland during the “Winter War” (September-December 1939). They proved resistant, but showed very poor reliability and mobility. They were also costly, over-complicated and difficult to maintain. Another prototype however, the KV, had been drawn by the same team which designed the SMK, as a single-turreted variant. During these operations, the two KV prototypes outperformed the others and the type was subsequently approved for a 50-unit pre-series under the name of KV-1.

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