This installment of the tank primer series covers the Russian team, which fields a total of 15 tanks! My happiness with this team’s makeup and tactics is only surpassed by my love for the fact that they sang Katyusha in Russian. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go put it on loop while I write this post.
The Pravda team makeup consists of two different types of T-34 medium tank, and the heavy tanks IS-2 (or JS-2, as named in the show), and a KV-2 (too bad there wasn’t a kv-1 as well, but the kv-1 is basically a slow t-34 with heavier armor so oh well).
First in line are the two t-34 models, the t-34/76 and the t-34/85. They look very similar, but the easiest way to tell in this series is that the 85 is the one with the bigger turret and a sizeable commander’s cupola.
The T-34/76. Note the rather streamlined silhouette and the lack of a 360 degree vision block/cupola
The T-34/85, however loses the rather streamlined sides for a larger, rounder turret for more crew space and capable of equipping a bigger gun. Also notice the larger commander’s cupola with a 360 degree vision block.
The T-34 is the most produced tank of WWII and largely considered to be the most successful. Having been produced throughout the war, the T-34 was also being constantly revised and innovated upon, whether that be for technical improvements or production improvements.
Over the course of the war, the Russians managed to reduce the number of parts required for a T-34, while more than halving both its production cost as well as production time, even though experienced factory workers were constantly being sent to the front lines, to be replaced with women and children.
In addition, the T-34 was also evolving technologically. Featuring top of the line optics, the T-34 also ran into several drive train problems that were later fixed, as well as a couple turret design changes which gave crew more room, etc. This resulted in several models of T-34, such as the T-34/85 in the show.
The initial production model, the T34/76 equips a 76.2mm gun (similar to the KV-1), and has about 45mm of hull armor. While on the thin side, this tank has decent sloped armor and high mobility as well as a moderately effective gun (especially against early war tanks.) While inadequate against the Tigers of Black forest, they are more than enough to deal with Ooarai.
The T-34/85, however, retains its armor thickness but gains a larger profile for a bigger turret that mounts an 85mm gun. While not quite on the level of a panther, the T-34/85 is more maneuverable and is fantastically dangerous with that 85mm if used correctly. As the 85mm is able to penetrate a panther’s armor, this tank would make short work of Ooarai’s tanks.
However, as cheap and plentiful as the T-34 was, the tank was without its shortcomings. Even though it is considered one of the most successful tanks of WWII, it is also the tank with the highest mortality rate (in respect to the number produced), whether through mechanical failure or otherwise.
The t-34/76 early on was plagued with transmission and drivetrain problems, even with several fixes in early production. The driver’s vision blocks were insufficient, and the KV-1 wasn’t the only tank that needed to be gearshifted with a mallet.
As for the Turret, it was a 2-man affair, where the commander’s vision blocks were also wholly insufficient (fixed in the T-34/85). The commander also had to gun, which was distracting when one had to command a tank, man a gun, and also possibly command a tank platoon at the same time. The loader also suffered from ergonomic problems concerning shell storage placement. Overall the T-34 was hell to drive.
The t-34/85 fixes most of these problems, making the turret a 3-man affair (with the addition of a dedicated gunner) as well as 360 degree vision blocks for the commander. The addition of a larger, longer gun had its own problems however, as they had to be careful not to let the gun dig into the ground when dealing with unlevel ground.
Also of note: the T-34/76’s usually were not equipped with radios due to a lack of supply (only commanders would get them). Most tanks had to signal with flags, which limited a tank’s operational range. I wonder if this will pop up during the fight.
Overall, these tanks are more than enough to take on the Ooarai team, but there are enough individual mechanical problems with these tanks that I have to wonder if they are going to feature in (and maybe cause the downfall of) Pravda’s match with Ooarai.
By the way their flag tank is a T-34/76, and I mock them for this decision.
One of the most hilarious additions to the Pravda team is the KV-2 tank. Built on the KV-1 chassis, the KV-2’s weight makes it even slower. The cause of this weight is a combination of the 152 mm Howitzer (fuck huge) and the house sized turret needed to mount the monstrosity.
The reason for the KV-2’s unreasonably large size is because it was meant to bust bunkers. However, with the fluid tank on tank combat that developed during WWII the KV-2 quickly lost its place. That’s not to say, though, that any tank (of sufficient early design) hit by this thing wouldn’t instantly be reduced to a burning wreck of tears and sadness.
The KV-2’s success in this scenario (the match between Ooarai and Pravda) hinges on if it manages to get in the battle. The KV-2 is turtlish enough that it can’t keep up with even the other heavy tank, the IS-2 (although in the show they don’t seem to have a problem with that…lol speed issues again), because if it manages to find something to hit (and then manages to hit it), there’s no doubt it’ll blow up.
Fortunately Pravda seems adept at luring patsies into traps and counterattacking, so the KV-2 is right at home.
Last but not least, is the powerful IS-2 (Or JS-2, depending on what country you’re in) heavy tank. Developed as a solution to the German Panther and Tiger, the IS is sprung off of the KV line. However, while having better armor in the front, the IS has a much better weight ratio due to better armor design as well as lightening the armor on the sides and rear of the tank.
The IS-2 retains moderate speed and mobility while still being a heavy tank. The evidence is not just in its armor, though, as the IS-2’s 122mm gun is nothing to sneeze at. The IS-2 featured in girls und panzer seems to feature the D25-T, as seen by the existence of (what looks like to me, but I’m no expert at recognizing muzzle brakes, as with my earlier snafu with St. Gloriana’s Churchill) a double baffle muzzle brake. This means that it is a later model IS-2, as earlier models were equipped with the A-19 122mm gun, which loaded much slower due to using a separate shell and powder charge.
While the D25-T is obviously more dangerous, both guns will do serious damage to Miho’s team, seeing as how it can easily penetrate both the Panther and the Tiger at combat ranges (although the A19 has serious trouble if the panther sits at an angle). I look forward to seeing how they conquer this beast (although more than likely they’ll just run away from it).
As an aside, I’m finding it rather hilarious how the teams just get more and more dangerous for Ooarai while they just kind of add another shitty tank to their roster. Saunders was hard enough, by all means Pravda should just be impossible with their mid-to late-war tech. I’m starting to sound like a broken record with “this tank could wipe the board with Miho and friends”, but then again if they didn’t it wouldn’t be a show I guess. At some point though it really does have to get impossible though.
Also, a link to an article that proves that although the british may have had a hand in naming the M3 Lee/Grant, the americans did in fact name their tanks: http://worldoftanks.com/news/1833-chieftains-hatch-whats-name/
As well as a link to a series of videos of a very interesting panel on WWII tank history: http://worldoftanks.com/news/1771-chieftains-hatch-operation-think-tank-youtube/