ISU-122 (China)

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This page is about the tank destroyer ISU-122 (China). For other versions, see ISU-122 and ISU-122S.
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The ISU-122 (Самоходная установка на базе танка ИС с орудием калибра 122мм, ИСУ-122) is a Soviet assault gun used primarily in anti-tank tasks during World War II. Unlike the ISU-152, the ISU-122 was primarily utilized for anti-armour missions with its 122 mm A-19 field gun, whereas the ISU-152 was used more for indirect fire support and anti-fortification operations with its devastating 152 mm ML-20S howitzer. Following the beginning of the Korean War, the Soviet Union committed to providing military assistance to China. China received 10 infantry division tank regiments from the Soviet Union in September 1950, with 300 T-34-85 medium tanks, 60 IS-2 heavy tanks, and 40 ISU-122 self-propelled artillery, as well as trucks and other support vehicles. More than 2,000 military vehicles were sent to China, along with three large and medium-sized repair factories and various ammunition.

Introduced in Update 1.91 "Night Vision", the ISU-122 is well-armoured and mounted with a 122 mm A-19 field gun. It has greater shell penetration and a slightly faster reload speed than the earlier ISU-152. On the right roof corner, a DShK heavy machine gun provides adequate deterrence against incoming planes and lightly armoured vehicles. Since both the 152 mm and 122 mm guns are installed on the same chassis, which was also utilized for the heavy tank IS-2, the other characteristics remain the same.

General info

Survivability and armour

Armourfront / side / back
Hull90 / 90 / 60
Turret90 / 75 / 60
Crew5 people
Visibility83 %

The ISU-122 is inadequately protected against most enemy tanks. The vehicle is armoured mainly with 90 mm of rolled homogeneous armour (RHA), covering the sides, back and front glacis. The only thicker armour section (100 mm) covers the curved gun mantlet. Against tank guns, this level of protection is inadequate as the ISU-122's armour plates are all poorly angled and not of an enough thickness. The main frontal weakspot of the ISU-122 is the large piece of 90 mm superstructure armour plate and the lower front plate. These plates occupy most of the frontal silhouette, and a penetration through there is very fatal. Other areas are harder to penetrate: the huge spherical gun mantlet might bounce/absorb some shells sometimes (still, never rely on that), and the outmost side armour of the superstructure form a very steep angle, bouncing most projectiles. Against most SPAA the ISU has very reliable armour, as most SPAAs' penetration are lower than 60 mm. The top of the vehicle is armoured with 30 mm of RHA, meaning that common aircraft armaments (e.g. 12.7 mm M2, 20 mm MG 151, Ho-5) will not penetrate it with ease.

In terms of survivability, the ISU-122's five crew members are somewhat spread out, meaning that with a frontal penetration by an explosive-filled shell, the chances of an instant crew-knock are smaller. The large gun breech can also block some shrapnel for the crew on one side. But with a side shot through the superstructure, or if a large-calibre shell penetrates, the crew are very likely to get knocked out instantly.

Armour type:

  • Rolled homogeneous armour
  • Cast homogeneous armour (Gun mantlet)
Armour Front Sides Rear Roof
Hull 60 mm (75°) Front glacis

90 mm (31°) Lower glacis

90 mm 60 mm (50°) Top

60 mm (39°) Bottom

30 mm
Superstructure 90 mm (30°) Front glacis

65 mm (7-69°) Gun mantlet case 100 mm Gun mantlet (0-45°)

75 mm (14-15°) 60 mm 30 mm


  • Suspension wheels are 20 mm thick while tracks are 30 mm thick.


Speedforward / back
AB39 / 15 km/h
RB and SB36 / 14 km/h
Number of gears8 forward
2 back
Weight46.0 t
Engine power
AB992 hp
RB and SB520 hp
Power-to-weight ratio
AB21.6 hp/t
RB and SB11.3 hp/t
Game Mode Max Speed (km/h) Weight (tons) Engine power (horsepower) Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)
Forward Reverse Stock Upgraded Stock Upgraded
Arcade 39 15 46 739 992 16.07 21.57
Realistic 36 14 460 520 10 11.3

Modifications and economy

Repair costBasic → Reference
AB3 026 → 3 743 Sl icon.png
RB3 518 → 4 351 Sl icon.png
SB4 929 → 6 097 Sl icon.png
Total cost of modifications46 700 Rp icon.png
85 100 Sl icon.png
Talisman cost1 500 Ge icon.png
Crew training52 000 Sl icon.png
Experts185 000 Sl icon.png
Aces710 Ge icon.png
Research Aces480 000 Rp icon.png
Reward for battleAB / RB / SB
110 / 180 / 230 % Sl icon.png
166 / 166 / 166 % Rp icon.png
Mobility Protection Firepower
Mods new tank traks.png
3 100 Rp icon.png
5 600 Sl icon.png
150 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank suspension.png
2 100 Rp icon.png
3 800 Sl icon.png
100 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank break.png
Brake System
2 100 Rp icon.png
3 800 Sl icon.png
100 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank filter.png
3 900 Rp icon.png
7 100 Sl icon.png
190 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank transmission.png
7 600 Rp icon.png
14 000 Sl icon.png
370 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank engine.png
7 600 Rp icon.png
14 000 Sl icon.png
370 Ge icon.png
Mods tank tool kit.png
Improved Parts
3 100 Rp icon.png
5 600 Sl icon.png
150 Ge icon.png
Mods extinguisher.png
Improved FPE
2 100 Rp icon.png
3 800 Sl icon.png
100 Ge icon.png
Mods tank reinforcement cn.png
Crew Replenishment
3 900 Rp icon.png
7 100 Sl icon.png
190 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank horizontal aiming.png
Horizontal Drive
3 100 Rp icon.png
5 600 Sl icon.png
150 Ge icon.png
Mods tank cannon.png
Adjustment of Fire
2 100 Rp icon.png
3 800 Sl icon.png
100 Ge icon.png
Mods tank ammo.png
2 100 Rp icon.png
3 800 Sl icon.png
100 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank vertical aiming.png
Elevation Mechanism
3 900 Rp icon.png
7 100 Sl icon.png
190 Ge icon.png


Main armament

Ammunition30 rounds
Reloadbasic crew → aces
26.0 → 20.0 s
Vertical guidance-3° / 22°
Horizontal guidance-3° / 7°
Main article: A-19 (122 mm)
122 mm A-19 Turret rotation speed (°/s) Reloading rate (seconds)
Mode Capacity Vertical Horizontal Stabilizer Stock Upgraded Full Expert Aced Stock Full Expert Aced
Arcade 30 -3°/+22° -3°/+7° N/A 6.16 8.53 10.40 11.50 12.19 26.00 23.00 21.20 20.00
Realistic 4.17 4.90 6.00 6.60 7.00

The ISU-122, like the ISU-152, is a vehicle created by adapting an artillery field gun design on an armoured vehicle. The A-19 gun has the same good ballistic characteristics as the 122 mm on the IS-2 (flat trajectory, high muzzle velocity, accuracy at long range) and the same available ammunition choice.

The gun stays reliably accurate until 1,300 m distance. Beyond 1,000 m your optics will limit your accuracy as your magnification is poor (unless you fire at huge targets like Ferdinand, Jagdtiger, Tiger II, etc.). The high muzzle velocity of your shells grants you pretty flat firing trajectories and thus helps fire at moving targets from a distance. In that regard, using the "sight distance control" feature can increase your chances of successfully hitting enemy tanks.

The gun has a limited traverse on the horizontal axis. That displacement is asymmetrical due to the commander's position limiting rotation towards the left side. This can make the tracking of a target difficult as the gun quickly reaches a stop. You should take that constraint into account when positioning your hull at a firing spot.

Additionally, the rotation speed is very slow compared to other tanks at the same rank or battle rating who can aim their gun in average 2 to 3 times faster than you do. Which means your targeting process will be longer than for other tanks if you aim to be accurate. Any enemy appearing outside of the area your gun covers will require hull movement and will make you restart your targeting process from 0.

Being originally an artillery field gun, the gun uses two-piece ammunition with projectiles and propellant bags. The breech mechanism was not designed to be operated by a limited crew inside a casemate, which explains the very long reload time (between 19 and 26 seconds, which is on average 3 times longer than other vehicles' at the same BR).

Your recoil is important but not powerful enough to throw your gun off target after firing: the damping cylinders on the gun are too weak to absorb most of the recoil power and the suspension will absorb much of it. Your reload time being very long, the recoil is not as much of a handicap as it could be.


The available choice of ammunition focuses on heavily armoured targets:

  • BR-471: APHE; an armour-piercing shell with high explosive mass and high muzzle velocity that will knock out any tank it penetrates with a single shot.
  • BR-471B: APHEBC; the same as the BR-471 but with increased penetration thanks to the ballistic cap. This shell can reliably penetrate the frontal glacis of a Panther from over 700 m.
  • OF-471: HE; for destroying open and lightly armoured vehicles. While it is a standard shell for a Soviet vehicle, prioritize using your heavy machine gun to deal with lightly armoured targets because of the long reload time of the ISU-122 (China).

Penetration statistics
Ammunition Type of
Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)
10 m 100 m 500 m 1,000 m 1,500 m 2,000 m
BR-471 APHE 205 201 182 161 143 127
BR-471B APHEBC 205 203 192 178 166 155
OF-471 HE 37 37 37 37 37 37
Shell details
Ammunition Type of
mass (kg)
Fuse delay
Fuse sensitivity
Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
0% 50% 100%
BR-471 APHE 795 25 1.2 19 246.4 47° 60° 65°
BR-471B APHEBC 795 25 1.2 19 246.4 48° 63° 71°
OF-471 HE 795 25 0 0.1 3,600 79° 80° 81°

Ammo racks

rack empty
rack empty
rack empty
rack empty
rack empty
30 Projectiles
25 (+5)
25 (+5)
19 (+11)
19 (+11)
13 (+17)
17 (+13)
Ammo racks of the ISU-122 (China)


  • The ISU-122 (China) uses two-piece ammunition, composed of propellant bags (orange) and projectiles (yellow). Both have separate racks.
  • To go into battle with the right flank depleted of propellant bags (racks 1 to 3), pack 17 (+13) shells.

Machine guns

Ammunition250 rounds
Belt capacity50 rounds
Reloadbasic crew → aces
10.4 → 8.0 s
Fire rate600 shots/min
Vertical guidance-5° / 85°
Main article: DShK (12.7 mm)

The 12.7 mm DShK heavy machine gun is located on a pintle mount and can act as both an offensive and anti-aircraft machine gun on the ISU-122 (China), giving it protection against aircraft and lightly armoured vehicles. Best use is within 500 m against lightly armoured vehicles. The 360° movement allows you to point quickly your MG in any given direction. However, the position of the MG high on the casemate and the poor depression angle make it difficult to shoot a low-profile tank when it is close.

12.7 mm DShK
Mount Capacity (Belt) Fire rate Vertical Horizontal
Pintle 250 (50) 600 -5°/+85° ±180°

Usage in battles

Offensive role

The ISU-122 should be played as a long range sniper, taking advantage of the APHEBC shell's high penetration values, high gun accuracy and good reverse speed. Find a shooting spot and engage targets from at least 1,000 m away to prevent enemy progress towards the objectives. You will also suppress enemy fire to prevent your team from being pinned down by enemy snipers attempting the same in return. Because of your high profile (casemate) and weak frontal armour, always stay away from the frontline to avoid being flanked or swarmed. While your gun is very powerful, your in-game performance will highly be dependent on the map you're playing. Open maps like Fire Arc, Kursk or Maginot Line will allow to play at the full extent or your capability whereas urban environments like Advance to the Rhine will be detrimental to your playstyle. In case you are playing a mixed map, privilege open spaces.

Defensive role

In case of an enemy breakthrough, your role is to contain the enemy advance by pinning them down. The enemy will be moving the front line, so engagements will take place at a closer range than you're comfortable with. You should identify and target in priority choke points, narrow passages and corridors of the map that the enemy will be forced to take. Your limited gun traverse only allows you to monitor an area spanning 175 m at 1,000 m distance without having to reposition your hull. Position the left side of your casemate behind an obstacle to let only your gun exposed.

Other roles

If you try to use the ISU-122 in a different role on the battlefield, you will be confronted with the following:

  • If you try to play as a front-line tank, you will be quickly disabled by any type of fire coming from enemy tanks. Your frontal armour is pretty thin for a tank at close range and a successful penetrating shot from the front will greatly handicap your crew sitting in line. Your gun traverse is very limited and your turning speed is also too poor to manoeuvre quickly enough in close combat.
  • If you attempt to play support tank, your high profile will make it difficult to stay hidden behind obstacles without taking fire. Your good reverse speed can be an advantage but the enemy will flush you out with artillery strike (which can be accurate enough from middle ranges to disable you). Even with an escape route planned and cover to hide behind, your chances of survival are meagre. You will also be at risk of being flanked by light tanks or armoured cars, especially if they swarm you. Anyone who manages to get behind you has a very high chance to destroy you. In that role, an undetected flanking enemy, artillery strikes or CAS will be great threats to the ISU-122.
Notable enemies
  • Any tank will disable you with little effort in a close range encounter because of your weak and vertical casemate armour.
  • For long range engagements, the cannons able to penetrate an ISU-122 from 1,000 m are:
    • USA: M4 tanks equipped with a long 76 mm gun, M36 GMC
    • Germany: any vehicle equipped with a 75, 88 or 128 mm gun like Panthers. Tigers I, Sturer Emil, etc.
    • USSR: any vehicle equipped with a 85, 122 or 152 mm gun like the IS-2, T-34-85, ISU-152, etc.
    • Great Britain: any vehicle equipped with APDS like the Comet, Challenger, Centurion & Charioteer
    • Japan: Chi-Ri II & US tank imports
    • China: vehicles similar to US and USSR ones
    • France: ARL-44
    • Sweden: Ikv 103 & Strv 74
Differences between non-volumetric shells and volumetric shells hitting a Tiger I

An important note when engaging tanks, especially Tiger Is, 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 122 mm calibre of your shells will result in it catching on an armour plate's edge very often, losing all of its penetration. For example, a Tiger I has some edges that can absorb your shell unexpectedly, despite having flat armour. Thus you must always make sure that where you are aiming at is absolutely free of obstruction, or it may result in a non-penetration or a ricochet. This can be seen in the diagram to the right.

Defeating an ISU-122
  • Wait for ISU-122 to shoot before engaging it: its long reloading time is a big weakness as it is defenseless for at least 15 seconds like an IS-2. It can however retreat quickly thanks to its good reverse speed. Be careful not to get baited into open field trying to follow your prey.
  • The ISU-122 has a rather thin armour when compared to tanks at the same BR: iIf you have a very high penetrating power, aim for the casemate.
  • In a frontal encounter, the right side of the frontal armour plate is the biggest weak spot. A successful penetration will most likely knock out 3 out of 4 crew members because they sit in line along that axis.
  • In a flanking manoeuvre, the center of the casemate is the place to shoot to knock most crew members out.
  • From behind, the left side of the casemate is the best spot to disable the ISU-122.
  • If you are alone, flanking a ISU-122 undetected remains your best chance to destroy it. But it is difficult because the ISU-122 ideally positions itself very far from the frontline.
  • Force it out of position with indirect fire (artillery strikes) if you're at relative close range.
  • In case of a frontal attack (choke point/corridor), try blinding the ISU-122 with smoke and then swarm it with several tanks to saturate its defensive capacities.
  • Engage the ISU-122 while it is moving: it takes a long time to brake, turn, bring the gun to a stable position and target precisely. With a reload time over 15 seconds, no player will take a shot that has little chance to hit.
  • Do not take pot shots or shoot on the move, aim precisely at the weak spots (casemate walls). Your chance of ricochet is increased at long range as your penetration power decreases and the ISU-122 can angle its hull in a defensive manoeuvre.

Pros and cons


  • Deadly cannon provides superior destruction capacity of any target upon penetration
  • Powerful stock AP penetrates up to 205 mm which is very effective in a full up-tier; weak spots of the early Centurions, Ferdinand, Tiger II H can all get penetrated with ease
  • The huge gun mantlet and its complex armour layout is capable of deflecting quite some shells sometimes
  • 30 mm roof armour resists popular aircraft weapons well, like the 12.7 mm M2 with ground target belt and the MG 151
  • All-round protection provides good resistance against flanking SPAAs; the M19 / M42 are very common flankers
  • 14 km/h reverse speed allows it to retreat from danger quickly


  • Long reload of more than 20 seconds and the curved trajectory demands very precise aiming and can be a challenge to use for first-time users
  • Front armour is only 60-100 mm and is not well-angled; easily penetrated by common guns at the battle rating, like the 76 mm M1, 17 pdr, 75 mm and 88 mm
  • Closely packed crew all easily knocked out when an explosive shell penetrates
  • Very inadequate gun depression of -3° combined with the sluggish mobility makes it only capable of fighting in urban (flat) areas, but never the hills
  • Turretless layout and the sluggish mobility makes it very vulnerable to surprise flankers, for example, the infamous M18, T20, T25 and Puma
  • Gun breech often gets damaged while under enemy fire



When the ISU-152 began production in 1943 with the large 152 mm ML-20S gun, production of the chassis and hull soon exceeded the supply of the ML-20S gun, which caused a decrease in the production of self-propelled guns for the Soviet military. It was determined to speed up self-propelled gun production, the ISU chassis were to be mounted with the 122 mm A-19S gun. Work on this mounting already began before the supply issue in December 1943 at the Chelyabinsk Kirov Plant (ChKZ), which had a design team simply take the ISU-152 chassis and hull and only changing out the armament with the 122 mm gun, but this prototype - Object 242 - was not immediately put into production despite successful testings. When the supply issue arose, the prototype was then adopted by the Soviet Defense Committee for increased production and also that the 122 mm gun had better accuracy against tanks than the 152 mm gun. The ISU armed with the 122 mm gun, designated the ISU-122, began production in April 1944.

People's Liberation Army (PLA) service

40 ISU-122 self-propelled guns were delivered to the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1950, forming a total of ten regiments along with a multitude of other Soviet armour. Each regiment had a total of four ISU-122s in it. At least 6 ISU-122 vehicles took part in a military parade in Beijing in 1954.



See also

Vehicles equipped with the same chassis
Other vehicles of similar configuration and role

External links

Paste links to sources and external resources, such as:

  • topic on the official game forum;
  • other literature.

Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant (Челябинский тракторный завод)
BMP-1  BMP-1
Heavy Tanks 
KV  KV-85 · KV-122
IS-1/2  IS-1 · IS-2 · IS-2 (1944) · IS-2 "Revenge" · IS-2 No.321
T-10  T-10A · T-10M
Other IS Tanks  IS-3 · IS-4M
Tank Destroyers 
KV Derivatives  SU-152
IS Derivatives  ISU-152 · ISU-122 · ISU-122S · Object 268
IS-2  ␗IS-2 · IS-2 No.402 · ␗IS-2 (1944)
ISU  ␗ISU-152 · ␗ISU-122
See Also  Leningrad Kirov Plant

China tank destroyers
Gun vehicles  PLZ83 · PLZ83-130 · PTZ89
Missile vehicles  AFT09
Missile vehicles  CM25
Gun vehicles  ␗M8 HMC · LVT(A)(4) (ZiS-2) · ␗M10 GMC · ␗M36 GMC
Missile vehicles  ␗M113A1 (TOW)
Gun vehicles  ␗SU-76M · ␗ISU-152 · ␗ISU-122 · ␗SU-100