|This page is about the Soviet tank destroyer ISU-152. For the Chinese version, see ISU-152 (China).|
- 1 Description
- 2 General info
- 3 Armaments
- 4 Usage in battles
- 5 History
- 6 Media
- 7 See also
- 8 External links
The ISU-152 is a rank III Soviet tank destroyer with a battle rating of 4.7 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced during the Closed Beta Test for Ground Forces before Update 1.41. Wielding the same infamous 152 mm gun as on the SU-152, the ISU-152 presents better armour, mobility, and firepower with the addition of the heavy-hitting HEAT round for the gun.
Survivability and armour
The ISU-152 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-152's armour plates are all poorly angled and not thick enough. The gun mantlet might bounce some shells sometimes, but never count on that. However against SPAA the ISU has very good armour, as most SPAAs' penetration are lower than 60 mm. The top of the vehicle is armoured with 30 mm of RHA, meaning that most cannon-calibre aircraft projectiles will not penetrate it with ease.
In terms of survivability, the ISU-152'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. The main weakness in the ISU-152's protection are its ammo racks. The vehicle has two large ammo racks (shells on the left side, charges on the right side) that sit directly underneath the side 90 mm RHA belts. This means that any shot that penetrates the side of the hull will likely cause an ammo rack detonation. The engine is located at the very rear of the vehicle, covered by fuel tanks.
- Rolled homogeneous armour (hull, casemate)
- Cast homogeneous armour (gun mantlet)
|Hull|| 60 mm (75°) Front glacis
90 mm (31°) Lower glacis
|90 mm|| 60 mm (50°) Top
60 mm (39°) Bottom
|Superstructure|| 90 mm (29°) Front glacis
65 mm (7-69°) Gun mantlet case
100 mm Gun mantlet (0-45°)
|75 mm (14-15°)||60 mm (1°)||30 mm|
- Suspension wheels are 20 mm thick while tracks are 30 mm thick.
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
The ISU-152's mobility is adequate, but isn't particularly impressive. It can reach an average forward speed of 40 km/h on hard road, while a lower top speed can be expected in off-road manoeuvres, especially when crossing rough/soft terrain. The hull traverse is somewhat lacklustre, since by moving track on one side the ISU can barely turn, thus a short forward/backward acceleration is often needed to get it turning. The tank also has relatively good reverse speeds (~15 km/h), much more than Soviet tanks such as the T-34 series, allowing the player to quickly back down when necessary. The power-to-weight ratio is quite competitive, but should not be relied on., as the ISU starts to behave sluggishly when on a slope or on bad terrain. Overall the ISU-152 can keep up with most tanks at this BR, and can get to a required position in time.
Modifications and economy
The ISU-152 carries, as the vehicle name suggests, a massive 152 mm gun. The gun has a massive 20+ second reload time, and packs a similarly-massive punch. The ML-20S is a Soviet WWII-era howitzer, developed from a WWI-era howitzer. The weapon can fire an extremely powerful APHE shell with 170 mm of penetration, while still packing 740 grams of TNT filler. The tank can also fire HE shells with 5.9 kg of explosive, as well as an APHEBC shell with more TNT filler. In addition, a HEAT shell is available to deal with any heavily-armoured tank in an uptier, thanks to the amazing 250 mm penetration. Thus, the shells can easily penetrate the frontal armour of almost all tanks at the ISU-152's BR. In particular, the APHE/APHEBC shells can come as a nasty surprise, as they pack an impressive punch combined with strong penetration ability.
Recommended ammunition to bring is a combination of APHEBC and HEAT rounds. The APHEBC is great at knocking out medium tanks at the ISU-152's BR (e.g. Pz.IV H, Chi-Ri, M4A3, etc). The HEAT, on the other hand, is for heavy tanks when you are in a full uptier. For example, the frontal armour of M4A3E2, Panther A/D, and Churchill VII can all be easily penetrated with the shaped charge. HE shells are not very useful, as they cannot penetrate tanks, and HEAT can do a similar job at destroying light vehicles with overpressure.
Many players find the long reload of Soviet large-calibre guns very harsh. If one misses or fails to knock out the target with a single shot, they must wait for another half a minute reloading. However if one masters the trajectory and velocity of such guns, it can become very effective at knocking out enemies in one shot. In most cases, after destroying a target there would be quite some time before the next target shows up, eliminating the disadvantaged reload time. Nevertheless, vehicles with this reload speed like the ISU-152 is definitely not suitable to hold down a line where multiple enemies are charging simultaneously.
The last aspect to overcome is the extremely poor gun depression of only -3 degrees. This requires the player to only fight on flat ground, preferably in an urban environment, to avoid having to hull down. In a hilly map (e.g. Karelia) find spots where there is absolutely no slopes.
|152 mm ML-20S||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)
| 11 (+9)
| 1 (+19)
- The ISU-152 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.
|12.7 mm DShK|
|Mount||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal|
Usage in battles
The ISU-152 is a tank destroyer with a huge 152 mm cannon which can knock out any target that it penetrates with one shell. In an uptier, the gun is equipped with a HEAT shell that has enough penetration to destroy even the most armoured heavy tanks. However, the gun comes with its drawbacks. Its reload time is long, shell velocity is low, and on top of that, shell drop must be accounted for when aiming. This makes aiming and leading at long ranges difficult--indeed, the ISU-152 is best at close and medium ranges.
The gun has a very small gun depression, which means that the ISU-152 is unsuited for hilly maps and for firing from behind ridgelines. Flat, urban terrain lets this vehicle use its gun to the greatest potential.
Of course, the ISU-152 is not a turreted vehicle, and this means that flankers such as the M18 Hellcat are extremely dangerous. Worse, the ISU-152 is quite sluggish in the mobility department. Repositioning in order to face an enemy takes a considerable amount of time, which means that it's necessary to keep a careful eye out for flankers, and to plan escape routes in dangerous situations.
As for armour, the ISU-152's protection is average. Its roof armour can protect against aircraft machine guns and some 20 mm cannons, and its side armour protects well against SPAA guns. However, the frontal armour is easily penetrated by many of the guns at this tier. And, the tightly-packed arrangement of the crew inside the vehicle means that being knocked out by a single shot is not a rare occurrence in this vehicle.
Provided you have the HEAT shell unlocked, the ISU-152 is a exceptional machine to use in a full uptier and even beyond, with up to 250 mm of armour penetration. The HEAT shell on the ISU-152 is identical to the one on the Object 268, a BR 7.3 tank destroyer, with the same armour penetration stats to boot. With the extra silver lions obtainable from the "Rank does not matter" achievement, the ISU-152 may actually be more effective in a uptier then at tier.
Pros and cons
- Powerful cannon that can take out any target with a single shot upon penetration
- Powerful HEAT penetrates up to 250 mm which is very effective in a full uptier
- 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
- Equipped with a .50 calibre machine gun, good for dealing with lighter vehicles like SPAAs, or some light tank destroyers like the M18 Hellcat
- Long reload of more than 20 seconds and the rather curved trajectory demands very precise aiming, which isn't beginner friendly
- Front armour is only 90 mm and is not well angled and can be penetrated easily by commonly encountered guns
- Closely packed crew all easily get killed 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
- 12.7 mm heavy machine gun only has 250 rounds
Development of the ISU-152 already started alongside the SU-152, its predecessor. The SU-152 was based off the KV-1S tank, which itself is a lighter version of the KV-1 heavy tank. The vehicle, while highly praised in its performance, saw a need for modernization with the KV-1's phasing out of the Soviet inventory and being replaced with the new IS heavy tanks. The modernization process began on May 25, 1943, with the goal of using the IS tank as the basis of the vehicle and also increasing armour protection alongside other improvements. Development began in July under Joseph Yakovlevich Kotin, a chief designer of Soviet heavy tanks, who worked alongside G. N. Moskvin as the main designer. The designing of the improved vehicle went on for a month before the first variant was ready, designated the IS-152. This was tested in September 1943, which revealed defects and deficiencies with the design, so it was redone into a second variant called Object 241 in October 1943. Trials began on Object 241, which was successful through the factory and state trials and adopted on November 6, 1943, as the ISU-152. Production began in December at the Chelyabinsk Kirovsk Plant, producing 3,242 units from then all the way until 1947, with 1,885 units made by the end of World War II.
The ISU-152 was the successor to the SU-152, retaining the same 152 mm ML-20S howitzer needed to destroy enemy fortifications in offensive operations. The vehicle was run on a torsion-bar suspension system from the IS tank chassis. The crew consists of four or five men in the vehicle, the optional crew member being a loader. The crew had external views through periscopes and two gun sights, a panoramic and a telescopic one. Crew communication was possible with an intercom system and a 10R or 10RK radio was available to communicate between vehicles. The crew had access to two PPSh submachine guns and grenades in the tank to defend themselves against infantry.
A drawback to the vehicle's design was the gun ammunition and internal storage. The large ammunition pieces were limited to about 20 rounds in the vehicle, and each round was extremely heavy and large that reloading the tank can take up to 40 minutes and lots of strength. Rate of fire was also reduced by the ammunition's heavyweight.
The ISU-152 was issued in a similar manner to the SU-152 in independent Heavy Self-propelled Artillery Regiments. Each regiment, of which 53 were formed from May 1943 to 1945, had 21 guns divided into four batteries of five vehicles and a commander vehicle. These regiments were supported by other military units to be flexible against threats. In December 1944, the Guards Heavy Self-propelled Artillery Brigades were formed to provide heavy fire support. These brigades had up to 65 vehicles, which would consist of ISU-152s or ISU-122s.
Like its predecessor the SU-152, the ISU-152 also served as a multi-role vehicle as a heavy assault gun, tank destroyer, and self-propelled artillery. As an assault gun, the vehicle was valuable during the Soviet's offensive operations assaulting fortified cities held by the Axis forces. The 152 mm gun was very successful in demolishing fortifications and strong points. The greater armour protection on the ISU-152 compared to the SU-152 (90 mm vs. 65 mm) made the vehicle very durable against German anti-tank weapons, even forcing the Tiger to come within close range to penetrate the vehicle. Usual tactics of the ISU-152s in urban combat was to act in one or two vehicle groups with infantry to deter infantry anti-tank weaponry like the Panzerfaust. As a tank destroyer, the ISU-152 worked its unintended role well enough that it inherited the nickname Zveroboy ("Beast Killer") from the SU-152s. The ISU-152 was very capable of destroying many of the more armoured German tanks like the Panthers, Tiger Is, and Tiger IIs. Though not as rapid-firing or as accurate as dedicated anti-tank guns, the rounds of the 152 mm howitzer could blow the turret off a Tiger tank, and a direct hit would definitely cause extensive internal damages to the tank's internal mechanisms or kill the crew due to spalling of the hull due to the explosive force. The tank destroyer role was phased out with the introduction of dedicated vehicles like the SU-100. As a self-propelled artillery piece, the ISU-152 is able to successfully fire in indirect bombardments against enemy targets up to 7,000 m away. Though it was not really a specialized vehicle for the role, it was better than typical towed artillery pieces due to being able to move and being an enclosed vehicle to protect the crew. The ISU-152 served in all these roles in all of the Soviet offensive operations into German territory all the way until the Battle of Berlin.
Many ISU-152s were exported by the Soviets after World War II to assist its allies and other Warsaw Pact members. Countries that had access to the ISU-152 in their military were Finland, Poland, China, Czechoslovakia, North Korea, Egypt, Iraq, Yugoslavia, and Romania. All of which used the ISU-152s up until the 1970s at the latest.
In the autumn of 1943, the KV-1S heavy tank was removed from mass production along with the successful SU-152 SPG based on the KV tanks. However, the fact that the KV and IS chassis were similar meant that a new SPG could be built based on the new heavy tank.
The SPG's layout was standard. A cabin made from rolled armour plates was installed in the front of the vehicle, combining the driving compartment and fighting compartment into one section. The engine compartment was placed in the rear of the vehicle. Because of the smaller width of the IS in comparison to the KV, the side plates' vertical slope was decreased from 25° to 15°, and its rear plate's slope removed altogether. At the same time, the cabin's frontal armour thickness was increased to 90 mm and its side armour to 75 mm. The gun mantlet was 60 mm thick, subsequently increasing to 100 mm. The vehicle was armed with a 152.4 mm ML-20 Mod. 1937/43 gun-howitzer with a 28 calibre barrel length and an ammunition capacity of 21 shells. After the war, the SPG's ammunition capacity was increased to 30 shots during modernisation. Starting from October 1944, an anti-tank turret equipped with a 12.7 mm DShK machine gun was attached on a traversing base on the commander's hatch.
From November 1943 until the end of mass production in 1946, 3,242 of them were manufactured.
The ISU-152's main role in battle was providing fire support to advancing tanks and infantry. These heavy SPGs were sometimes used in artillery preparation strikes. They could fire both directly and from cover. The SPGs were indispensable in urban battles. ISU-152s were used to suppress the Hungarian Uprising of 1956.
ISU-152 SPGs served in the Polish Army. After the war, Czechoslovakia received these vehicles. At the beginning of the 1960s, an Egyptian army regiment had an ISU-152 in service.
Among the vehicle's drawbacks, poor fighting compartment ventilation was noted. The shells' high weight demanded good physical endurance from the loader, and even then, the SPG's rate of fire was unsatisfactory. Its small on-board ammunition capacity and internally placed fuel tanks were also seen as serious flaws.
- Vehicles equipped with the same chassis
- Other vehicles of similar configuration and role
|Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant (Челябинский тракторный завод)|
|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|
|IS-derivative||ISU-152 · ISU-122 · ISU-122S · Object 268|
|IS-2||␗IS-2 · IS-2 No.402 · ␗IS-2 mod.1944|
|ISU||␗ISU-152 · ␗ISU-122|
|See Also||Leningrad Kirov Plant|
|USSR tank destroyers|
|SU-76M||SU-76M · SU-76M (5th Gv.Kav.Corps) · SU-85A|
|SU-57B||SU-57B · SU-76D|
|T-34 Derivatives||SU-122 · SU-85 · SU-85M · SU-100 · SU-122P|
|Heavy Tank Derivatives||SU-100Y · ISU-122 · ISU-122S · SU-152 · ISU-152 · Object 268|
|SU-100P and Derivatives||SU-100P · Object 120 · 2S3M|
|Airborne||ASU-57 · ASU-85|
|Rocket||BM-8-24 · BM-13N|
|ATGM||IT-1 · Shturm-S · Khrizantema-S|
|Other||SU-5-1 · ZiS-30 · SU-122-54|