|This page is about the Chinese heavy tank IS-2 (China). For other versions, see IS-2 (Family).|
- 1 Description
- 2 General info
- 3 Armaments
- 4 Usage in battles
- 5 History
- 6 Media
- 7 See also
- 8 External links
The ␗IS-2 is a rank IV Chinese heavy tank with a battle rating of 6.0 (AB) and 5.7 (RB/SB). It was introduced in Update 1.91 "Night Vision".
Survivability and armour
- Cast homogeneous armour (Turret, Hull front, Hull side)
- Rolled homogeneous armour (Hull roof, Engine deck side & rear, Turret roof, Gun mantlet)
|Hull|| 120 mm (27-34°) Driver's port
60 mm (74°) Front glacis
100 mm (28-36°) Lower glacis
| 90 - 100 mm (9-25°) Top
90 mm Bottom
| 60 mm (49-50°) Top
60 mm (38°) Bottom
|Turret|| 100 mm (7-72°) Turret front
100 mm (5-60°) Gun mantlet
|100 mm (12-22°)||100 mm (5-35°)||30 mm|
|Cupola||90 mm||30 mm|
- Suspension wheels are 20 mm thick while tracks are 30 mm thick.
The IS-2 has sufficient armour, but will not protect from the guns of its rank. The frontal plate has 120 mm of armour plating, which will not stop anything the IS-2 faces, making slight angle adjustments paramount survivability essential. However, due to a tendency for the driver's viewport to literally absorb the round, most players will not aim here. The LFP has a value of 100 mm angled at 27 degrees, and will not bounce any shots. Since behind the LFP is the driver and the 2 main fuel tanks, a penetrating round will have catastrophic results for the IS-2 (China). The side armour is 90 mm, and observing the front of the tank, it has a noticeable curvature to it. When viewed from the front, the 90 mm of armour will deflect or absorb a high number of shots contrary to the 120 mm plate. Angling with large adjustments will cause the IS-2 (China) to render this part useless and make the tank extremely vulnerable. The frontal turret armour is 100 mm with a distinctive "cheek" construction. As with any "cheek" construction, the lower part may act as a shot trap and the middle may absorb shots, but it is more than likely to fail against high-penetration guns.
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
The IS-2's mobility is overall average for a heavy tank. Powered by a 520 hp engine, it has adequate top speed on flat/hard surfaces allowing it to keep up with most medium tanks thus getting to battle positions on time. With enough acceleration, the IS-2 is able to reach ~40 km/h which is considerably faster than common heavily-armoured German vehicles such as Tiger II and Ferdinand, giving you a tactical advantage. Another pro is the great reverse speed at around -16 km/h, you should utilise this to quickly retreat back to cover when needed, which significantly increases your survivability and flexibility. However, the disadvantages of the IS-2's mobility is the low agility due to its weight of 46 tons. The tank starts off really sluggishly especially on loose surface or slopes, and takes quite a while to accelerate to its top speed, resulting in it struggling to manoeuvre quickly within a confined environment. Its hull traverse speed is also quite slow, so you will have to nudge forward/backward a bit before turning, to give the tank some momentum.
Modifications and economy
Many players find it hard to get used to similar Soviet cannons mainly due to their absurdly long reload. This can be caused by inaccurate aiming, resulting in the shell missing or not penetrating, so the player have to wait for half a minute to reload, which is of course frustrating. Players can overcome this by practising shooting and getting used to the ballistics, to make most if not every shell count. Once one is able to consistently one-shot opponents, the reload will not seem as long, since it generally takes quite a few minutes before the next target shows up.
Ammunition-wise, the best ammo is of course the BR-471B. The added ballistic cap can really make a difference when shooting angled armour. For example shooting at the UFP of an angling M4A3E2 with BR-471 might not penetrate, however with a BR-471B it will decrease the compound angle at which the shell impacts the armour for quite a bit, therefore easily pierce through. This can be the difference between getting a kill or getting killed. If you want to save silver lions, you can bring a mix of the two shells. The BR-471 works great as well.
The last aspect to overcome is the painful gun depression. Make sure to fight on flat ground so you do not have to aim down. Even if you fight in an urban environment, be careful in the streets, since some curbsides lift up one of your tracks and may prevent you from aiming at an opponent.
|122 mm D-25T||Turret rotation speed (°/s)||Reloading rate (seconds)|
|Ammunition|| Type of
|Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)|
|10 m||100 m||500 m||1,000 m||1,500 m||2,000 m|
|Ammunition|| Type of
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive Mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
| 13 (+15)
| 1 (+27)
- The IS-2 (China) uses two-piece ammunition, composed of projectiles (yellow) and propellant bags (orange). Both have separate racks.
- Shells are modeled individually and disappear after having been shot or loaded.
- Centre floor rack emptied: 11 (+17) shells.
|7.62 mm DT|
|Mount||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal|
Usage in battles
As the tank's design purpose suggests, the IS-2 is a heavy tank built with an emphasis on engaging hostile armoured vehicles as well as a breakthrough tank. The tank's heavy armour retains the similar properties of the IS-1 and KV line of battle-tanks but introduces some sloped armour on the front plate and turret mantlet. It is armed with a powerful but slow reloading 122 mm D-25T cannon, mimicking that of the two Soviet assault guns, the ISU-152 and ISU-122 at around the mid-20 seconds. Nevertheless, its gun will commonly destroy almost all but the most heavily armoured vehicles with a single shot. At the IS-2's battle rating, the armour no longer stands up to much punishment with the advent of opponents with more powerful weaponry, and caution should be taken. Close-quarters combat and brawling against more than one target at a time is highly discouraged due to the long reload speed unless the tank operator is trapped and situation requires this as an absolute necessity. Alternatively, if escorted and accompanied by other friendly tanks, the IS-2 can be supplemented and perform better in dire close-quarters situations.
If you are to apply bushes onto the IS-2, consider putting most of them on upper frontal hull and the curved sides next to it. This is because that quite some opponents will automatically target the curved armor, knowing that area is a common weakspot when the IS is angling. By covering up the hull front and the curves, the IS's frontal hull will now look flatter, somewhat resembling the hull of an IS-2 1944. This will cause some confusion and delay the enemy's reaction & aiming time, as they now cannot directly see where your curved armor is, gifting you a few precious seconds before they open fire. For any leftover bushes, the turret front and the lower front plate are also good spots to put them on.
In Arcade, the IS-2 proves to be quite mobile when fully upgraded. This can be used effectively to get into superior positions to engage enemies early in the match when they haven't yet set-up camp in well-covered positions and/or presented their strongest armour. Thus, it's easy to gain a kill at the start of the match, if you are comfortable with the 122 mm gun.
Close quarters combat proves even more deadly in Arcade Battles because all opposing vehicles will be able to easily overrun a single IS-2, especially after it has shot and is now waiting through its long reload (>20s). Hence it's advised to use your improved reverse speed to quickly disengage after shooting and retreat towards your teammates, who will likely be able to return fire. If the map forces you to fight in close quarters, attempt to get into a position where your teammates can cover your sides, while you can face forwards and clear the road. If the map allows, you can try taking 5 rounds of ammunition and camp at a capture point (usually one that's given to your team) to snipe all enemies that enter your line of sight while reducing your chances of blowing up at the first incoming shot.
In rare cases, it's possible to rush with the IS-2 and surprise lighter vehicles at a contested capture point in the early stages of a game. This strategy relies on the capture point being unpopular and being lucky to face only one enemy vehicle at a time. Some light tanks are unable to penetrate the IS-2 frontally, especially if they are from a much lower rank (e.g. BT-7, the Puma or the R3), so that's an added benefit of being a decently mobile heavy tank. If successful, the IS-2 can then flank to other objectives or advance to the enemy spawn to destroy another enemy or two. You shouldn't expect a lot of easy targets with this strategy, because it exposes your tank to potentially a lot of enemy fire.
In Realistic, the IS-2 begins to feel like a heavy tank. Its mobility is heavily reduced and its speed is outmatched by practically everything, mostly due to poor acceleration off-roads. However, this should be used as an advantage to gauge where the enemies are set-up, by looking where your teammates are killed from. You can then decide to return fire, although sometimes opponents don't show themselves until later in the match, in which case you should stay passive and try to remain behind your team's front lines.
Due to generally increased map size in Realistic, you will have to get comfortable with the bullet drop. The IS-2 performs decently well at longer ranges, but it will cost you a lot if you miss or don't penetrate, because the reload is so long. Often, you will need to rely on the rangefinder, the teammates or map knowledge to gauge how high you need to shoot, so it might be a great idea to take out another vehicle first (such as the T-34-85 Gai) remember the distance and then take the IS-2 out. However, on larger maps, it is generally a better idea to take out other vehicles.
A more reliable strategy for the IS-2 is to camp nearby an objective and pick off any enemies who pose a threat. Just make sure to find a flat spot with cover, because your poor gun depression and long reload will be your death in hilly or open areas. It's also a good idea to target heavy enemies, because they are easier to hit, and also will likely pose a larger threat to your general team (e.g the Ferdinand, the Ho-Ri or the Tiger II (H) ).
Although classified as a heavy tank and an upgraded improved design over the KV predecessor, the IS-2's armour will no longer hold up to its more common and heavier opponents of its battle rating. Compared with other vehicles such as the new German Tiger II, American heavy T-series tanks; most of which can easily deflect even the most powerful shots of the IS-2 unless targeted specifically and known weak-spots. Because of this, it is recommended to always travel and fight in groups of two or more vehicles. The slow and difficult in the manoeuvring of the vehicle (especially in confined spaces) will more than once place the IS-2 in significant danger. It is recommended to field the IS-2 into a fire-support role, peeking over the shoulder of friendly, more heavier vehicles and firing a shot against the opposition in tandem.
Another significant note of this vehicle is the IS-2's considerably fast reverse rate, the highest of its rank and battle rating for the nation's faction inherited from its IS-1 predecessor, topping at 17 km/h. During situations where engagement is expected, an unorthodox strategy can be utilized where the operator of the IS-2 tank repositions the vehicle 90 degrees and drive in reverse with the rear-facing towards the enemy. By driving in reverse this way, the engine blocks make a crude yet somewhat effective shield to protect the more delicate crew members. As the fuel tanks are mostly stored at the front on the left and right side of the driver's station, the risk of fire and fuel-tank explosion is reduced significantly (but not completely eliminated) and thus, the tank is able to resist even the most powerful of shots. Be aware that more experienced players may attempt to instead fire at the more exposed turret of the IS tank and instantly knocking out the crew with a common APHE penetrating shell in this way.
Despite the overall below-average protection for a heavy tank, the IS-2 can actually act as a shell magnet without being penetrated. The IS-2 can take advantage of the tactic of "side-scraping" thanks to its sturdily thick side armour and fast reverse speed. First find some solid cover and hide the entirety of the tank's front behind it, then point the rear hull outside a bit so you can reverse and peek the back half of the hull side out at an extremely tiny angle from the direction of incoming shots. Now what the enemy should see is a part of your hull side forming a very small angle of incidence. Due to the fact that not a lot tankers know this tactic, they will take the bait and fire at your side armour. The shell will either hit the side armour and ricochet away, or damage the track but not break it. This way, you can safely lure the enemy to fire first, then poke out and finish them with your powerful cannon. However, do note that in an uptier, there will be vehicles equipped with HEAT/HEATFS shells (eg. ST-A1, M56, T114, Type 60) that can easily penetrate you regardless of how hard you angle. So if you know they are present, do not use this tactic. Your engine/fuel tank will get damaged. Rather, wait until they fire at a teammate or are distracted.
In regards to shells, the D-25T cannon is also equipped with powerful High Explosive (HE) shells which should not go ignored. Firing a HE shell with precise aim directly underneath the chassis of enemy vehicles were the armour, like on the top of the vehicle if thinnest, can cripple or instantly destroy said enemy vehicles. In rare instances, the HE shell of the D-25T is so powerful to the point two or more medium or heavy tanks close to each other can be destroyed with a single exploding HE Shell. Alternatively, the powerful armour-piercing capability of the D-25T cannon's APHE rounds has also been documented to pierce two or three light-armoured targets without exploding, claiming hull-break wins. 
Specific enemies worth noting
German Tiger IIs and Panthers will be common encounters at the IS-2's battle rating, combined with the more threatening and heavier American T-Series tanks such as the T34 and M26. At this Battle Rating, more powerful British tanks such as the Centurions will be encountered. As previously specified above, the IS-2 no longer retains its armour advantage in this battle rating unlike its IS-1 predecessor and thus, it is important to identify and fire on targets first before they do. In this rank, tanks such as the Panthers, Tiger II and similar vehicles will be present with sloped armour, strong enough to even withstand the might of the 122 mm shells of the D-25T gun. A common design flaw, however, is the turret of said vehicles, commonly being mostly blunt and flat and easy to penetrate. A patient and well placed aim and shot against these surfaces will destroy the target with no more than a single shot. Be aware that most opposition vehicles at this rank have the lower calibre and puncturing power than the D-25T of the IS-2, but come with an improved reload speed, a reload speed commonly faster than the IS-2. Japanese line of tanks at the same rank as the IS-2 is of little concern; their poor armour and armaments at the same rank will render them relatively easy to destroy.
An important note when engaging tanks, especially Tiger I's, is that, with the implementation of volumetric shells, you can no longer expect your shells to pierce through small openings or right past an obstacle. The large 122mm caliber of your shells will result in it catching on an armor plate's edge very often, losing all of its penetration. For example, a Tiger I has quite some edges that can absorb your shell unexpectedly, despite having flat armor. Thus you must always make sure that where you are aiming at is absolutely free of obstruction, or it will result in a magical non-penetration or a ricochet. This can be seen in the diagram to the right.
Another specific enemy vehicle worth noting is the German Ferdinand tank destroyer. Most new players in Rank IV battles fielding the IS-2 may commonly mistake the front armour of the Ferdinand as appearing as thin as similar-looking tank destroyers such the Nashorn and are commonly caught unaware that almost the entire front of the Ferdinand consists entirely of heavy 100 mm and 200 mm plate armour, the largest being the fighting compartment located behind the driving compartment. Due to it being such a large target, many players including both IS-2 users and other vehicle type users alike will be tempted into firing at that portion expecting easy wins, only for almost all shots to be absorbed, even the powerful shells of the D-25T. It is recommended to avoid engaging the Ferdinand or ignore it entirely. If the opportunity arises, Ferdinand's weaker side and rear armour should be targeted (80 mm).
Pros and cons
- Excellent firepower with nearly unmatched one-shot potential
- Considerably good speed for a heavy tank: around 40 km/h on road
- Very fast reverse speed at 15 km/h
- Repositioning of fuel tanks reduces chances of fires
- Players proficient with the KV-2 and Soviet heavy tank destroyers will feel comfortable with the IS-2
- Has quite a low profile for a heavy tank
- Extremely poor gun depression (like most Soviet tanks)
- Very low rate of fire demanding every shot to count
- Sub-par armour for a heavy tank, and cannot angle
- Poor manoeuvrability, very bad hull traverse speed, often needing forward acceleration before turning
- Slow turret traverse speed
- Big weak spots that directly lead to the driver or an ammo rack
People's Liberation Army (PLA) Service
The People's Republic of China (PRC) received a total of 60 IS-2 heavy tanks from the Soviet Union in 1950 and another 22 in 1954, for a total of 82. The Chinese IS-2 heavy tanks saw service in the Korean War from 1950 to 1951, equipping four or more tank companies with 5 IS-2s each according to American intelligence. The IS-2 was removed from active service with the PLA by the end of the 1950's.
- Vehicles equipped with the same chassis
- Vehicles equipped with the same gun
|China heavy tanks|
|USSR||␗IS-2 · IS-2 No.402 · ␗IS-2 mod.1944|