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Russia Urals city marks 70th anniversary of Soviet heavy tank IS-2 mass production

January 17, 2014, 23:03 UTC+3 YEKATERINBURG
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Russian Urals city of Chelyabinsk has marked the 70th anniversary since the city’s world-famous tractor plant launched mass production of the IS-2 heavy tank, the plant’s press service said on Friday.

The Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant is one of Russia’s largest enterprises manufacturing machines and military vehicles. During World War II, the plant (called Tankograd or the Tank City) used its own facilities and pooled efforts with the Leningrad and Kharkov tractor plants that had been evacuated to the Urals so as to be located far away from the battlefields.

During the war, the plant designed and streamlined the mass production of 13 models of armoured combat vehicles, including the IS-2 heavy battle tank.

The Tankograd veterans recount to the city’s students the stories about the war years, the events and the people who were the contemporaries of the tank abbreviated after the Soviet leader Josef /or Iosif in Russian transliteration/ Stalin, the press service said.

The plant manufactured the first IS-2 tanks over a record-short term of 51 days in late autumn 1943 and at the beginning of 1944 it launched batch manufactruring of the vital battlefield vehicles.

The Tankograd designers succeeded in creating a combat vehicle that was 10 tonnes lighter than the much-acclaimed German Tiger but its armour appeared to be more solid and 50% more powerful. The tank’s 122-mm gun blasted the hulls of Nazi tanks quite easily.

Assessing the IS-2 test samples, Josef Stalin gave an order: “We’ll finish the war on this tank.”

In January 1944, first 127 IS-2 tanks were dispatched to the frontline and by the end of the year they were numbered by the thousands.

Very soon the soldiers dubbed the vehicle ‘the Tank of Victory’ and that name remains written in the history of the Great Patriotic War -- the battles of the Eastern Front that lasted from the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941 and ended in Berlin in May 1945.

Renowned designers Josef Kotin, Nikolai Kotin and Ivan Trashutin led the development of the IS-2 tank, the manufacturing of which continued through to 1953.

The vehicle had differentiated anti-shell armour protection welded from 90-, 60-, 30- and 20-mm-wide rolled armour sheets. Since 1944 when its "nose" became moulded, not assembled, the tank successfully withstood shelling by the German tank destroyer Elephant - a heavy duty self-propelled artillery unit, the terror of all the contemporary armour vehicles.

The 46-tonne IS-2 was equipped with a 12-cylinder V-shaped diesel engine of 520 horse powers that accelerated the tank up to 37 km/h on a paved road and up to 15 km/h in cross-country conditions.

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