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The ISU-152 (Russian: Istrebitelnaja Samokhodnaya Ustanovka, Iosif Stalin-based self propelled installation) was a Soviet self-propelled heavy howitzer/tank destroyer.

History

At the end of the battle of Stalingrad (Operation Uranus), it was realized that, unlike the Germans, the Russian infantry lacked some mobile heavy artillery support. The standard tracked 203 mm (8 in) howitzer was totally unprotected and certainly not suited for the kind of operations necessary in an open battlefield, dealing with direct fire against buildings, concrete fortifications, bunkers and pillboxes. And the mass-produced SU-76 was too light for the purpose. This need became more urgent following the battle at Kursk, when the Soviet Army was preparing for a series of massive counter-offensives.

The effort to design such a vehicle had been already kickstarted by the State Defense Committee in November 1942, ordering plans for a heavy SPG capable of carrying the 152 mm (5.98 in) ML-20 howitzer. The bad experience from the KV-2, already carrying the short barrel, ML-10 version, was useful. Too tall and unstable, the KV-2 concept had to be abandoned and the new project had to keep, above all, a low profile. The longer barreled ML-20, which came as a requirement, had to be hull-mounted due to its massive recoil. The lack of a turret would also have positive consequences in terms of cost, maintenance and ease of mass-production.

The ISU-152 followed the same, fully enclosed case mated design as other Soviet self-propelled guns (except the SU-76). The ISU-152 was the successor of the SU-152 built from the KV-1 chassis, as the KV-1 production was discontinued the Russians had to modernize the vehicle by using the new IS tank chassis.

On May 25, 1943, the administration of Factory No. 100 ordered the modernisation of the SU-152, which included increased armour protection and other improvements. Development began in July 1943, and the new design, now designated as IS-152 (ИС-152), was tested from September to November, 1943. Testing revealed a large number of deficiencies, which sent it back for further improvement. On November 6, 1943, an order was issued for adoption of the improved variant, under the ISU-152 (ИСУ-152) designation, and in December production began at the Chelyabinsk Kirovsk Plant, replacing its predecessor the SU-152.

The ISU-152 was in various roles near the end of the war. As a heavy assault gun in urban combat operations, using it front armor as a protection to advance under German AT guns, such as Budapest, Königsberg or Berlin. As a tank destroyer as its gun was able to destroy nearly all german tanks and its protection that negated the Tiger's long range superiority and forcing it to close or medium range. And then as heavy self-propelled artillery, providing better protection compared to towed artillery but suffered of a very limited ammunition storage that needed to be replenished every 40 minutes and required a very strong loader.

In Girls und Panzer

Trivia

  • The ISU-152 was unofficially nicknamed Zveroboy (the Beast Slayer) due to its ability to destroy the heaviest German tanks such as the Tiger, the Panther or the Elefant.
  • In the "Saga of Pravda" the ISU-152 was misidentified as a SU-152.
  • The name Istrebitelnaja Samokhodnaya Ustanovka translates as Iosif Stalin based self-propelled gun.

Gallery

Tanks ☰ 
Light Tanks and Tankettes Poland7TPFranceAMR-35FinlandBT-42UKCrusaderItalyCV.33FranceFT-17UKHarry HopkinsUnited StatesM22 LocustUnited StatesM24 ChaffeeUKMark VIGermanyPanzer IICzechoslovakiaPanzer 38(t)FranceR35SovietT-60SovietT-70UKTetrarchPolandTK TanketteJapan2Type 94 TanketteJapan2Type 95 Ha-GoJapan2Type 97 Te-Ke
Medium Tanks UKCenturionUnited StatesM3 LeeUnited StatesM4 ShermanItalyM13/40UKMatilda IIItalyP26/40GermanyPanzer IIIGermanyPanzer IVGermanyPanzer V "Panther"FranceSOMUA S35SovietT-34SovietT-44Japan2Type 89BJapan2Type 3 Chi-NuJapan2Type 97 Chi-Ha
Heavy Tanks FranceARL 44FranceB1 BisUKBlack PrinceUKChurchillSovietIS-2SovietKV-2United StatesM26 PershingUKMark IVGermanyPanzer VI "Tiger"GermanyPanzer VI Ausf. B "Tiger II"GermanyPanzer VIII "Maus"GermanyVK45.01 Porsche Tiger
Tank Destroyers GermanyElefantGermanyHetzerSovietISU-152GermanyJagdpanzer IVGermanyJagdpantherGermanyJagdtigerRomaniaMareșalItalySemovente da 75/18GermanyStuG IIIUnited StatesT28 Super-Heavy Tank
Self-Propelled Artillery GermanyKarl-Gerät 040
Main Battle Tank Japan2Type 10
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