The KV-85 is the heavily modified sixth variant of the KV-1 heavy tank family. It was a stopgap design comprised of a modified KV-1S hull connected to an IS-85 (IS-1) turret and mounted with an 85 mm D-5T tank gun. By the middle of the conflict, all existing KV-1 variants were considered obsolete. Its firepower was less effective than it had been in the early war. To fight the increasingly strong German tanks, the Soviet Union required a new heavy tank with enhanced firepower. By 1943, there were 21 heavy tank designs, but they were all cancelled due to assessments of weak firepower and poor mobility, which cost the Red Army dearly. The final KV-1 variant, the KV-1S, exacerbated things by being a substantially inferior tank that attempted to balance two opposed attributes: armour and speed. Kotin divided his TsKB-2 department in two in order to speed up the development of heavy tanks. The first team chose to upgrade the KV-1S variant, while the second began work on the IS-85 (later renamed IS-1), a considerably better balance of speed and armour. The original KV-85 design was substantially different from the one that was ultimately adopted. It was a slightly modified KV-1S with a forcibly mounted 85 mm D-5T tank gun in a KV-1S cast turret. There appears to have been only one prototype, which was found unsatisfactory. This is probably owing to the shortage of turret space. Fortunately, the IS-85 turret was available at this point, but not the IS hull. Due to severe technical delays in IS-85 manufacturing as well as urgent needs for more heavy tanks with heavier weaponry, a new tank was created by modifying an existing KV-1S chassis and putting an IS-85 turret on top. The KV-85 was accepted for service by the State Defense Committee on August 8th, immediately after trials, resulting in 148 KV-85s being constructed as a stopgap from September to December at Chelyabinsk. The fifth crew member (the radio operator) was no longer required due to increased demand for larger ammunition racks (70 rounds) and the size of the gun breech.
Introduced in the Closed Beta Test for Ground Forces before Update 1.41, the KV-85 is a unique heavy tank with significantly increased firepower when compared to the standard variants of the KV-1 heavy tank family. However, when faced with foes of its rank, the KV-85 armour will provide limited protection against other hostile vehicles. With only 75 mm front and 60 mm side armour, practically all adversaries and ammunition will pass through with ease. In comparison to other heavy tanks on the market, the KV-85's handling and combat style is very similar to the IS-1, making it an excellent jack-of-all-trades heavy tank: fast rate of fire, lighter weight, adequate mobility, fast turret traverse speed, fast targeting, good ammunition penetration, and explosive filler. Despite its limits, a skilled and experienced player of this vehicle may regularly tip the balance in their favour regardless of the battlefield, making the best use of the firepower while limiting the exposure of vulnerabilities at the same time.
Survivability and armour
The armour of the KV-85 is overall ineffective. Frontally, it does retain the 75 mm hull armour of the original KV-1, and a new 100 mm thick turret, but it can only be effective in a downtier against tanks with weak cannons. For the turret, the middle sections of the gun mantlet and turret cheeks can all be penetrated with ease, but outward sections will have very high effective thickness. This level of armour is inadequate to resist higher-tier opponents. The main weak spot of the KV-85 comes from the hull side. To house the larger turret ring for an 85 mm gun, there are 2 unapparent bulges right below the turret, 1 on each side. They are only 40 mm thick meaning even SPAA and low tier light tanks can easily penetrate there and result in the turret crew being cleaned or an ammo detonation. Due to this design flaw the KV-85 cannot angle, reducing its armour protection significantly. Roof armour is between 30-40 mm, which is not strong considering that around this BR there are some attackers equipped with high-penetrating cannons such as the Me 410 B-2/U4 and Hs 129 B-3, however these planes are not likely to perform vertical diving runs, rather they usually shallow dive, and your side armour is quite sturdy.
Post-penetration survivability is not good as the turret crew sit very close together, making them vulnerable to any explosive shells. The driver's port and gun mantlet has a chance to get penetrated without setting off a shell's fuse, creating minimal shrapnel.
- Rolled homogeneous armour (hull, gun mantlet, turret roof)
- Cast homogeneous armour (turret, turret cheeks, cupola, rear MG port)
|Armour||Front (Slope angle)||Sides||Rear||Roof|
|Hull|| 75 mm (30°) Upper plate
75 mm (70°) Upper glacis
25 mm (25-70°) Joint plate
75 mm (26-50°) Lower glacis
| 60 mm
40 mm Turret base
| 40 mm (cylindrical) Top
75 mm (cylindrical) Bottom
| 40 mm (0-8°) |
30 mm Radiator vents
|Turret|| 100 mm (spherical) Turret front
100 mm (cylindrical) Gun mantlet
|100 mm (8-20°)|| 100 mm (12-34°)
120 + 30 mm (spherical) MG port
| 30 mm (0-3°) |
35 mm Loader hatch
|Cupola||82 mm (cylindrical)|| 82 mm Outer ring |
35 mm Centre
- Suspension wheels are 20 mm thick and tracks are 30 mm thick.
- A 45 mm thick piece of armour lays on the boundary of the gun mantlet.
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
The KV-85's mobility is average for a heavy tank of its weight and size. Although it has a similar 600 hp engine and a matching weight with the earlier KV-1S, its top speed is significantly lower, at 34 km/h. Still, the average top speed on most terrain remains similar, at around 30 km/h. The KV-85 does start to feel more sluggish when accelerating and turning comparing to the more agile KV-1S, even on concrete roads, but this is beneficial for getting prepared for the later IS series tanks. A forward/backward acceleration is often needed prior to turning if the player wants to traverse the hull faster in response to flankers. The reverse speed is good at around 13 km/h, far better than other tanks like T-34 and Panther.
Modifications and economy
The KV-85, as the name suggests, is armed with a 85 mm D-5T cannon, the same gun as on the early T-34-85. Its standard BR-365K APHE shell has very good penetration, damage, and adequate velocity and shell drop, making it a nice jack-of-all-trades round. The unlockable BR-365A goes further in terms of explosive fillers and penetration against sloped armour, and can penetrate tough tanks such as the M4A3E2 and Panther at surprising angles, making it the backbone ammo of Soviet tanks around this BR. Both shells have no problem knocking out common opponents with a single shot. However, unlike the T-34-85, the KV-85 does not have access to APCR, but it generally does not face tanks that are too well protected (e.g. Tiger II, M26) while the T-34 has to.
While the cannon and ammunition make great firepower, the poor gun handling brings the firepower down. The gun depression is an awful -3 degrees, so the KV-85 can barely fight in a flat urban environment. Any sort of slope will prevent the player from aiming down at a target. The vertical and horizontal targeting speeds are not very fast too. The gunsight only has a maximum zoom of 3.5x, forcing the KV-85 to engage targets at a closer distance.
|85 mm D-5T||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)
|70||66 (+4)||51 (+19)||46 (+24)||41 (+29)||29 (+41)||17 (+53)||11 (+59)||1 (+69)||No|
- Shells in racks 1 to 7 are modeled by sets of 5 or 6 and are modeled as a set of 10 in rack 8.
- Shells disappear from the rack after all shells in the set having been shot or loaded.
- Turret empty: 51 (+19) shells.
- Turret and flanks empty: 41 (+29) shells.
|7.62 mm DT|
|Mount||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal|
The small calibre of the DT machine gun makes it largely ineffective against all armoured vehicles but the ones with an open compartment. It still can be used to ping targets as a rangefinding help or to mow down minor obstacles blocking your line of sight. The clip capacity is quite poor as it relies on a magazine of 63 bullets instead of a belt like similar machine guns from other nations.
Usage in battles
At its rank and battle rating, the KV-85's armour is no longer up to par against newer and more powerful weapon systems of opposition vehicles it will face. Although unlike the IS-1 successor of which is unable to protect itself by angling due to the rounded turret mount causing a vulnerability, the KV-85 has less of this issue as the entire front portion of the front and lower-plate is designed to be straight and rectangular and allowing it to deflect or ricochet some shots when angled optimally. The tactical usage and efficiency sit somewhere between the IS-1 and the T-34-85 (D-5T); it is almost as armoured to par as the IS-1 in some aspects but is not as fast as the T-34-85 whilst still retaining the same armaments. Although of an older design, the KV-85 makes a crude, yet still effective jack-of-all-trades vehicle sufficient in holding its own on the battlefield in many situations by experienced users.
Another significant note of this vehicle is its considerably fast reverse rate, the second highest of its rank and battle rating for the nation's heavy tank line, topping at 14 km/h behind the IS-1's 17 km/h. Players can use this advantage to cross from cover to cover whilst engaging hostile targets or to make a tactical retreat. During situations where close-quarters engagement is expected, an unorthodox strategy can be utilized when the operator of the KV tank re-positions the vehicle 180 degrees and drive in reverse towards the enemy. By driving in reverse with the rear facing the opposition, the engine blocks make a crude yet somewhat effective shield and protecting the more delicate crew. Many opponents the KV-85 will face will fire APHE as its main ammunition armament; the engine blocks and fuel tanks act as spaced-armour and causing APHE to detonate prematurely prior to reaching the crew compartment. In situations where the operator wants the best chance of victory in a 'round-the-corner' head on engagement, the surviving crew after a first-shot volley may be given the opportunity for a retaliatory strike and second-volley after being hit. This tactic should only be utilized in a case-by-case situation basis where it is an absolute necessity, as the engine compartment will almost certainly catch fire when struck. This is of little consequence if the user has Fire Extinguisher equipped. Be aware that this tactic is not suitable against opponents who fire solid-shot armour piercing shells such as certain British and American vehicles, as these will go straight through the rear, into the crew compartment and out the other side without stopping.
Although equally capable and effective in operating alone, the KV-85 also operates efficiently with other friendly vehicles. Of note are vehicles that act as bullet magnets such as the Churchill Mk VII with its heavy armour and large target to act as a distraction or to soak up shots, whilst the user of the KV-85 or other friendly vehicles may trail behind it and fire off shots 'over-the-shoulder' to dispatch more powerful opponents of which the guns of the Churchill may have difficulty dealing damage against.
Japanese tanks faced by the KV-85 are of little concern as their armour protection is largely inferior, as well as being relatively rare to tanks of other nations. Vehicles of American and British of the same Rank and Battle Rating are also less of a concern as their weapons and armour (excluding the Churchill Mk VII) are also generally inferior to some extent. When situation persists, hostile vehicles of German and Soviet origins should be prioritized first. Tiger tanks should be targeted 'between-the-eyes' of the front plate between the MG and driver's viewport, or to the left or right side of the same front plate to set off ammunition racks. All Panzers models IV and below are of little concern - a single shot anywhere and everywhere will almost always guarantee to penetrate and destroy them. The Panther of which it may occasionally face will be invulnerable in its sloped front plate. Target instead of the turret, or flank to the side and destroy with a single APHE shot.
Pros and cons
- Good firepower with the 85 mm gun
- Fast targeting and tracking
- High rate of fire
- Rectangular armour shape allows for good angling effectiveness
- Good mobility, identical to KV-1 (L-11)
- Significantly fast reverse speed
- Player skill compatibility between older and newer T-34, KV and IS models
- Insufficient flat armour that would be penetrated if not angled
- Poor gun depression of -3°
- Large gun turret silhouette and profile
- Max speed relatively slow and inferior compared to contemporary tanks
- Limited crew (4 maximum)
- Vehicle center hull is a mass of ammunition, fuel, and crew that can all be damaged with a shot to the area
During World War II, the USSR developed the KV-85 (originally known as Object 239) as an interim heavy tank solution to counter the emerging German Wehrmacht Panther medium tank. The Panther is a ground-breaking design that provides an excellent balance of mobility, protection, and firepower. It proved to be more than a match for the early T-34 medium tank.
The KV-85 is an interesting combination of several tanks: it is a KV-1S chassis with an Object 237 (IS-85; later known as IS-1) turret that was still in development, while mounting an early version of the 85 mm (D-5T) gun. The 85 mm gun, capable of penetrating the Tiger I from 1,000 m, was a vast improvement over the previous 76 mm F-34 gun. However, production is extremely limited, with only 148 built between August and October 1943 as more resources are allocated to developing Object 237. Because the armament of choice was the 85 mm D-5T gun (the same model as fitted to the SU-85), the new stopgap heavy tank was eventually designated the KV-85. Lessons learned during the development and operational use of the KV-85 paved the way for the creation of a Soviet war classic - the IS heavy tank series.
Although the KV-85 was an excellent improvement over the previous KV-1 and T-34, capable of engaging Tigers and Panthers on relatively equal terms, it was designed from the start to be a stopgap tank, and thus was built in limited numbers. The Object 237 was completed later and entered service as the IS-85 (later changed to IS-1) in the autumn and winter of 1943-44. When the more powerful IS-2 version was developed, production of the IS-1 was eventually halted by the spring of 1944.
The KV tank series was eventually succeeded by the Iosef Stalin (IS) series heavy tanks in 1943, with the first IS-1, which featured the same turret and 85 mm gun as the KV tank series.
This tank was created based on the KV-1S due to delays in the IS-1's development. It was equipped with the turret developed for the IS-1 with an enlarged traverse circle, strengthened armour and an 85 mm cannon. The new vehicle was the next step on the path to creating a heavy tank significantly different from a medium tank not only in its armour, but in its firepower as well. The new cannon required a new ammo rack, and the ammunition complement had to be reduced to 70 shells. The tank's main armament was an 85 mm D-5T-85 cannon with a rate of fire of up to 8 shots per minute. Standard ammunition for the 85 mm Mod. 1939 air defence gun was used in the cannon. Instead of a frontal machine gun, a fixed bow machine gun was installed in a socket mount to the right of the driver, which he used to lay down unaimed fire. This allowed the gunner/radio officer to be removed from the crew. Part of the ammunition complement and an additional fuel tank were installed in his place.
Owing to the fact that the tank was an intermediate model, it was manufactured for a relatively short time. In total, 130 of them were made.
KV-85 tanks served in guards assault tank regiments. The first regiment of these new tanks reached the front as early as the first days of September 1943 during battles to liberate Left-bank Ukraine. Alongside other vehicles, the heavy tank was tasked with breaking through enemy positions and fighting armoured vehicles. When used correctly, it could oppose the newest German heavy tanks, which previously technically surpassed it. The tank had insufficient hull armour for the end of 1943, providing adequate defence only against German guns below with a calibre below 75 mm.
The KV-85 was an important intermediate link between pre-war heavy tank designs and the powerful IS tanks built to replace them.
- RideR2's Realistic and semi-realistic gunsight reticles for Soviet vehicles.
- Caff_Gunner's (Soviet) Historical and semi-historical gun reticles.
- Vehicles equipped with the same chassis
|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 (1944)|
|ISU||␗ISU-152 · ␗ISU-122|
|See Also||Leningrad Kirov Plant|
|USSR heavy tanks|
|KV-1||KV-1 (L-11) · KV-1 (ZiS-5) · KV-1E · KV-1S|
|KV-2||KV-2 (1939) · KV-2 (1940) · KV-2 (ZiS-6) · KV-220|
|Other KVs||KV-85 · KV-122|
|IS-1/2||IS-1 · IS-2 · IS-2 (1944) · IS-2 No.321 · IS-2 "Revenge" · Object 248|
|Other IS tanks||IS-3 · IS-4M · IS-6 · IS-7|
|T-10||T-10A · T-10M|
|Multi-turreted||T-35 · SMK|