Thursday, May 26, 2016

IS-2 In Service Dates

My little initial Googling on the in service dates for the IS-2 heavy tank suggested it could have been used at the end of the Korsun Pocket action.  However, Richard Naylor was kind enough to volunteer some feedback and suggested that the IS-2 wasn't in action yet. So I've had another dig through my books and internet sources.

Tanks encyclopaedia says: 
"Their first action was in February 1944 at Korsun Chevchenkovski, Ukraine."

Flames of War agrees:
"It first saw combat in February 1944 during fighting around Korsun-Chevchenkovski pocket.

However, says:
“First combat action was recorded in April of 1944 when IS-2, operating under the banners of the 11th and 72nd Independent Guards Heavy Tank Regiments, fared well against German Panther tanks - for all intents and purposes, the legacy of the Joseph Stalin tank had begun.”

The Archive Awareness blog has signal to Marshal Konev on the first arrival of IS-2s with 2nd Ukrainian Front, the start of which reads:
Military Council of Armoured and Mechanized Forces of the Red Army
April 1st, 1944#481904SS

To the commander of the 2nd Ukrainian Front, Marshal of the Soviet Union, comrade Konev.

The heavy IS and ISU-152 regiments sent to your disposal contain the first batch of tanks and SPGs of this type.Both the tanks and SPGs have a series of small technical omissions. In addition, there is not yet sufficient experience regarding their use and application in combat.”

Peter Chen says:
"The IS-2 heavy tanks entered service in Apr 1944."

Meanwhile Mitch Williamson's Soviet Hammer blog says:
"By the end of 1943, the Kirov Factory had produced a total of 102 IS-2 heavy tanks and they were used for the first time in February of 1944 at Korsun Shevkenskovsky." 

Whilst at the same time he gives the production dates as "April 44 to June 45"!

I think I'll park this for now.  After all it's all irrelevant if no one brings an IS-2 model!


Counterpane said...

GRRRRRRRR! Bloody Blogspot! For some reason it's not letting me resize the text. Sorry for the microprint.

Richard Phillips said...

I've got 10 if you need any

Richard Phillips said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Richard Naylor said...

Judging by the report from the archive awareness blog I suspect they were in the area but as the units had only been recently reequipped with these new tanks they were probably training with them and/or correcting defects in them rather than actually fighting. I've read some of the accounts of Panzer Regiment Bäke which lead the relief attempt and I don't remember any mention of meeting any new heavy tanks but it is awhile since I read them. You'd of thought that the spearhead of the relief attempt would be a prime area to be deploying your heavy tanks in as they could easily blunt the spearhead.

For reference production figures are available here and you can find the heavy tank regiment histories - this last ones a very good site as it contains details on all armoured units but you will need to use google translate to decipher it. Some units have more data than others but they usually give a list of where they served and for how long.

Will McNally said...

I've got five put aside for a future late war winter project. I think adding an IS-2 to the game might be a bit OTT.

Counterpane said...

Will's right of course, having an IS-2 (let alone ten of them) awaiting the exhausted German infantry when they reached the Gniloi Tikitsch would be the act of a vicious, unfeeling umpire. Surely I would never do such a thing?

Andrew Canham said...

I'll leave my 5 at home then. Could still stick a KV 1 out, if there were any left at that stage.

Cheers, Andy