KV-1 Soviet Heavy Tank of WWII - Early Variants
and KV-1 Soviet Heavy Tank of WWII - Late Variants

Tankograd Soviet Specials Nos 2002 and 2003
by Jochen Vollert.
Soft cover, A4 size, 80 pages each

Reviews by Peter Brown

These two books follow on from Soviet Special No 2001 on the KV-2 and between them give the story of the "small turret" KV series in its many variations. While each could be read on its own, the complete account can only be had from both books. Both have text and captions in German and English as is usual with Tankograd.

Early Variants describes the early development of the series and then covers most of the welded turret versions. These follow the changes as first new guns and later increased armour in the form of bolted-on plates were fitted as production progressed. It is very well illustrated with 155 photos including two in colour, many are German wartime souvenir shots which though they often show knocked-out and abandoned tanks include a lot of details. In several cases the same vehicles are pictured from different angles which is an added bonus. Others are close-up and walkround views of museum examples, covering a 1940 version in Moscow in the CIS and a 1941 e ekranami at Parola, Finland which both show small modifications which are pointed out. 1:35 plans are included of the prototype, original 1939 and 1941 s ekranami versions.

Late Variants covers the final welded turret type with reinforced armour, the two cast-turret versions on the heavy hulls, the lightened KV-1S with its sloped engine deck and cast turret with cupola, KV-1S-85 with 85mm gun which led to the final KV-85 with enlarged turret as well as the flamethrower tanks on earlier versions. Plans in 1:35 show the model 1941 with simplified reinforced welded turret, model 1942 cast turret on a hull with the sharp-edged rear hull and the KV-1S.

A chapter gives technical description including extracts from the original manual with drawings of suspension, wheels and engines plus interior views. There is also a summary of experimental versions and a list of vehicles in museums. Photo coverage is again extensive with over 160 photos including wartime shots and others of vehicles at Bovington, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Parola and the CIS including the KV-1S-85 at Kubinka which is typical of the production KV-1S and a KV-85 plinth exhibit.

Both books include sections with photos of Beutepanzer in German use, mostly as received but with a few additions and one photo of a tank with gun from a PzIV and other modifications.

Overall, highly recommended! Together they give detailed coverage of these tanks and will be very useful for anyone modelling them from the new Trumpeter or older kits. One problem with identifying KV versions is that many changes were made during production, not all of them at the same time and vehicles were built with features of earlier or later batches. In addition, damaged vehicles were often rebuilt with parts from other tanks so anyone who wants to be specific will have to see several features before they can be certain. Text, photos and drawings show the many details which will help in that process.

Available from Tankograd distributors, for more details contact the publishers Verlag Jochen Vollert on My thanks go to Justin Gainham at Bookworld for the review copy.

Page created November 23, 2005

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