|This page is about the tank destroyer ISU-152 (China). For the Soviet version, see ISU-152.|
- 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 Chinese tank destroyer with a battle rating of 4.7 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced in Update 1.91 "Night Vision".
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 giant gun mantlet and the hydraulic recoil housing might bounce some shells sometimes, especially when the ISU is bushed up and wiggling, but never count on that. However against SPAA the ISU has very good protection as most SPAAs' penetration are lower than 60 mm, and the ISU is protected by 60 to 90 mm of sloped armour all around the hull. The only possible weakness is the back of the fighting compartment, which is 60 mm unangled. 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 a small to medium calibre armour-piercing shell with explosive filler, the chances of an instant knock-out 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 AP shell with explosive filler 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
- 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.
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.
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
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 vaporising average targets 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 can be very powerful and entertaining too, as they can knock out crew members of almost any vehicle, from thinly armoured to heavily protected, with the over-pressure. However such over-pressure will lose its effectiveness when the point of explosion is too far from the crew members, thus the HE shells require precise aiming and suitable position of enemy to really show its power.
Many players find the long reload of Soviet large-calibre guns very harsh. If one misses or fails to knock out the target with one shell, 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 with a single 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 (China) uses two-piece ammunition, composed of projectiles (yellow) and propellant bags (orange). Both have separate racks.
The ISU-152 comes with a roof-mounted 12.7 mm DShK heavy machine gun. Like all heavy MG, this gun has adequate penetration that can go through most lightly-armoured vehicles such as the Sd.Kfz.234/2, Breda 501, T55E1, etc, giving the ISU-152 the ability to wipe those flankers out easily. The machine gun also has great elevation and horizontal traverse, being able to rotate around and aim up freely which is useful when targeting nearby aircraft. However its magazine of 50 rounds is very small, comparing to something like a M2HB, which leads to constantly disrupted fire. The depression angle of -5° is also insufficient to shoot at low obstacles in close proximity.
|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 destroy any target it penetrates with a single 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 one shell 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 the same tier.
With the introduction of volumetric shells, vehicles with large-calibre cannons are negatively affected, and that of course includes the ISU-152. The large calibre shells now will catch any obstacle in their flight path, and either ricochet away or keep flying after losing a significant amount of penetration, which is different from before where shells are just a pixel that can go through small gaps. This is especially obvious when shooting vehicles like the Tiger I, they have many edges and small slopes that will cause your 152 mm shells to bounce. Therefore you must ensure that your shell will land at an area without any obstruction (e.g. shoot at the dead centre of a Tiger I's frontal hull where the armour is clear, instead of shooting right next to the MG port where the spherical port might bounce off the shell)
Who doesn't love the excitement and sense of accomplishment when they destroy an advanced modern tank with a WW2 relic? The ISU-152 can be a great weapon to gain the God Mode award all because of its deadly howitzer. Since the award requires targets of 5.0 BRs higher, ground vehicles from 9.3 upwards will be your main choice. Tanks around this BR usually start to be protected by composite armour (e.g. T-72A), ERA (e.g. T-72B), spaced armour (e.g. Radkampfwagen 90), or a combination of these, meaning the conventional APHE (BR-540 and BR-540B) shells will be mostly powerless. The HEAT (BP-540) will also be mostly useless since even the early composite armour are very effective at resisting low-penetrating chemical warheads. While these rounds can indeed knock out light vehicles, they are harmless against well-protected MBTs which are more commonly seen. Thus, the OF-540 HE shell becomes the primary choice. Packed with a whopping 5.9 kg TNT filler, the HE is decent at knocking out crew members using overpressure.
The most kill-granting way to use the ISU-152 in high tier is when your team is about to lose and is being spawn camped. The worst scenario is when someone is ambushing the spawn from a distance, while the best scenario is when several enemies have pushed straight to the spawn point and are spotted on the minimap. This way there will be targets right when you spawn in, and the ISU-152's inferior mobility and target-searching ability is minimised as you don't need to manoeuvre a lot in order to engage anyone. If the opponent is at an open area without cover, great. Utilise the few seconds of spawn protection to get the gun on target. To maximise spawn protection, do not drive forward or reverse, only turn the hull or stay still. After firing a shot, immediately go to the nearest cover as the ISU will not have reloaded when the spawn protection ends. When you are out on the battlefield, be super cautious. Constantly scan suspicious areas with binoculars, range find potential kill zones early, and stick your ears up for engine noises, gunfire, and shell impact sounds. When a target is spotted, be quick and decisive on driving and aiming.
Against MBTs, the closer the better. This can minimise their superior fire control and increase the ISU's accuracy. Against poorly protected targets like a BMP-2, any range is worth a try. Some unexpected targets would be your true opponents: those who also use WW2 tanks (e.g. M22, ZiS-30, ASU-57, Sd.Kfz.234/2, etc) in high tier. Since they usually fire explosive shells or are extremely fast/small, they can cause the same trouble just as modern tanks. Luckily they are also way easier to destroy.
Overpressure generally works when the explosion point is close to a weak spot, for example near the turret ring, turret roof, hull roof, etc. Aim at these locations as accurately as possible, and avoid hitting areas with composite armour and/or ERA. Another weak spot is the belly. If the target tank is not hull-down, it means that your shell's trajectory can reach the ground directly below them. Fire at the ground and the overpressure will either destroy the tank or cripple it, though it is better to range find the distance if it is far away prior to firing. For weakly protected vehicles like 2S25, M3A3, M163, etc, the HE shell can generally destroy them upon hitting anywhere close to their crew compartment.
Enemies worth noting:
- Tiger H1 / E: the Tiger 1 can be quite hard to knock out if the wrong shell type is used. The ISU-152's APHE can easily go through a Tiger 1's frontal and side hull and take it out with a single shot, however most of the times they will attempt to angle the hull, which can bounce the APHE off. The turret is hard to penetrate and has many obstacles that the shell might catch therefore it is not recommended to target there. The 152 mm HEAT can easily pierce an angled Tiger's hull or even the gun mantlet, but given its poor post-penetration damage the ISU-152 may usually fail to knock out the target with a single shot. The HE shell, however, can knock out all its crew when hitting the right spot. It is recommended to target the lower parts of the turret where the explosion will be close to the thin roof armour of the hull. But be careful not to shoot at tracks, side skirts or anywhere far away from the crew, these areas will absorb the overpressure resulting in minimal crew damage.
- T55E1, Sd.Kfz.234/4: these vehicles are arguably fast and nimble, meaning they can easily flank an unaware ISU-152. The best solution against this type of vehicle might be HE. As they are turretless, they will usually attempt to circle around the ISU-152. Reverse and turn at the same time to point your gun at them while gaining some separation. Don't forget to also fire your 12.7 mm HMG at them, their armour cannot stop the bullets. If you cannot keep up with them and aim directly at them, an indirect shot of HE can also get the job done if the explosion is close enough. Fire a HE shell at the ground next to them, the overpressure and shrapnel are very likely to knock out some of their crew and modules if not straight up destroying them. Those wheeled vehicles' wheels and transmissions are also poorly protected meaning you can expect to immobilise them. With them not able to move, comfortably load the next round to send them back to the garage. Obviously your APHE and HEAT can also destroy them effortlessly, but they require a direct hit which is sometimes impossible given the ISU-152's poor agility.
Pros and cons
- Deadly cannon provides excellent destruction capacity with any target upon penetration
- Powerful HEAT penetrates up to 250 mm which is very effective in a full uptier. For example the early Centurions, Ferdinand, Tiger II H can all get penetrated with ease
- Destructive anti-personnel effect of HE can knock out crew of almost all target
- Fast reverse of -15 km/h allows flexible tactics and retreats
- 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
- Roof-mounted 12.7 mm heavy MG rotates 360° around, allowing the ISU to fight back at a lightly armoured flankers even when immobilised
- 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 75 mm and is not well angled. Gets penetrated easily by common guns at the BR, like the 76 mm M1, 17 pdr, 75 mm and 88 mm
- 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 Sd.Kfz.234
- Gun breech often gets damaged while under enemy fire
- 12.7 mm heavy MG has a very small magazine size (50 rounds). Reloads are constant
In PLAGF service
Although it was deemed that the ISU-152 (aka 苏-152; the letter I was omitted in PLAGF naming) was a tank destroyer from a decade ago, it still had a 152 mm ML-20S howitzer as its main weapon, which could serve as mobile artillery platform and destroy enemies fortification as it did during WWII. A few dozens of ISU-152 were transferred from the Soviet Army after they had retreated from Dalian among with SU-100s and T-34/85s. Due to the lack of records, the only known case of ISU-152 in operation was during a military exercise in the mid-1960s. The remaining records claimed that both ISU-122/152 were used until 1970s.
- 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|
|China tank destroyers|
|PLA||PTZ89 · AFT09|
|USA||␗M8 HMC · LVT(A)(4) (ZiS-2) · ␗M10 GMC · ␗M36 GMC · ␗M113A1 (TOW)|
|USSR||␗SU-76M · ␗ISU-152 · ␗ISU-122 · ␗SU-100|