|This page is about the Soviet heavy tank IS-2. 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 Soviet heavy tank with a battle rating of 5.7 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced during the Closed Beta Test for Ground Forces before Update 1.41. The IS-2 introduces the heavy-hitting 122 mm D-25 gun as a tank armament, presenting massive firepower with a devastating post-damage effect. Its effect on the battlefield should not be underestimated.
Operational and visual characteristics of the IS-2, as its design and name suggest, is visually similar to its previous sister-tank, the IS-1 but with operational characteristics of a Tank Destroyer in its Rank and Battle-Rating. Players experienced in operating previous models of the KV series tanks, in particular, the KV-2 and SU-line of Tank Destroyers should have little to no difficulty in adjusting to this vehicle.
Survivability and armour
- Cast homogeneous armour (Hull front and side, turret)
- Rolled homogeneous armour (hull roof, engine compartment side & rear, turret and cupola roof, gun mantlet)
|Armour||Front (Slope angle)||Sides||Rear||Roof|
|Hull|| 120 mm (27-34°) Driver viewport
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 (cylindrical) Base
90 mm (spherical) Upper part
| 90 mm Outer ring |
30 mm Centre
- Suspension wheels and bogies 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 view port 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. 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 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)|
Modifications and economy
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 envorinment, observe carefully at the streets, since some curbsides lift up one of your tracks and you cannot even aim down like that.
|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)
| 19 (+9)
| 14 (+14)
| 9 (+19)
| 6 (+22)
| 3 (+25)
| 1 (+27)
- Centre rack emptied: 18 (+10) shells.
|7.62 mm DT|
|Capacity (Belt capacity)|| Fire rate
| 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 tanks heavy armour retains the similar properties of its IS-1 and previous KV line of battle-tanks but introduces some sloped armour on the front plate and turret mantlet. Differing from its IS-1 predecessor, the IS-2 comes equipped with the large 122 mm D-25T gun and a slightly more armoured but elongated turret. Although powerful, the D-25T main cannon of the IS-2 is encumbered by a slow reload time, mimicking that of the Soviet Tank-Destroyer line of vehicles at around the mid-20 seconds. Nevertheless, this vehicle with its powerful cannon and shell will commonly destroy almost all but the most heavily armoured vehicles with a single shot, behaving similarly to the older KV-2 predecessor, albeit with half the time required for reloading. In the tank's Battle-Rating and Rank, the armour of the IS-2 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 armour, 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 armour 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 (> the 20s). Hence why it's advised to use your improved reverse speed to quickly disengage after shooting and retreating 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. There is an added benefit to that because the following IS-3 and IS-4M mount the same gun (as does T-44-122 and KV-122, if you have them), and T-10M has similar bullet drop. Now, 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-44 or T-34-85) 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 and Rank. 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 re-positions 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.
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, Panthers will be common encounters at the IS-2's Battle-Rating and Rank, combined with the more threatening and heavier American T-Series tanks such as the T34 and M26. At this Battle Rating and Rank, 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 and Rank un-likes 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 122mm 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 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.
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 (80mm).
The Stock Grind
When grinding the first modifications, Arcade Battles might be more fun, because of faster-paced gameplay and the ability to see all threats. Now, it's a priority to research Parts and FPE (you may want to activate 3-5 universal vehicle back-ups to be able to respawn twice in one match if you really wish to upgrade this vehicle quickly).
General stock grind advice:
- Don't show your rear to any enemies, because a single fire will be your death.
- Your gun is still very effective, so don't be afraid to attack enemies frontally, just make sure to aim for weak-spots if possible.
- Shooting at planes in Arcade with your machine gun (or main gun) and scoring some hits can often award you a kill if the plane crashes, which grants points.
- Play as a support tank - push with your team and let them take fire, then poke out and take your shots, then retreat back into cover.
- Try to push into objectives with your team to gain those points as well.
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 (as most Russian tankers will be accustomed to)
- Very low rate of fire demanding every shot to count
- Sub-par armour for a heavy tank, inherited from the IS-1
- 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
The effort began on another heavy tank after the IS-1's 85 mm gun no longer had a firepower advantage after the standard T-34 medium tank was upgraded with the same gun into the T-34-85. Due to that, the IS-1 was discontinued in January 1944 with about 107 units produced. Those in storage still awaited upgrade to become a more powerful heavy tank.
In late 1943, the upgrade of the IS tank began and the choices available were rounded down to two weapons, the 122 mm A-19 gun and the 100 mm D-10 gun. Both guns had their advantages and disadvantages in their specifications, the 100 mm D-10 had a much better armour penetration capabilities and uses a single-piece ammunition, the 122 mm A-19 has a better high-explosive round and used a two-piece ammunition In the end, the 122 mm A-19 (adopted as the D-25T) gun was chosen as the gun of the new IS tank due to larger supply of the gun available for use (the D-10 was a newly produced gun) and the better high-explosive round available. The better high-explosive round is due to the heavy tank's specification as a "breakthrough" tank than an anti-tank role, so it was meant to fight fortifications more than against armour. Nevertheless, against armour, the 122 mm gun proved a very lethal cannon against armour, having the capacity to knock out any German tanks fielded in the war, even the Tiger II, though the ease of knocking them out vary from their armour protection.
The 122 mm gun's two-piece ammunition was perhaps the gun's worst drawback, this along with the heavy shells and charges that it uses causes reloading speed to only be one and a half rounds per minute maximum. Even after some modernization to the gun including a semi-automatic breech, the firing rate only increased to two to three rounds per minute. Another drawback of the gun was the size of the ammunition that the 122 mm gun uses, the IS tank interior could only hold 28 of such ammunition, which restricts the time the IS could last in battle before requiring a resupply. In battle, the usual distribution of the shells is 20 high-explosive and 8 armour-piercing rounds.
The finished IS tank with the 122 mm gun, first called the IS-122, was finally approved and renamed the IS-2 heavy tank, some were rearmed IS-1s from the factory with the 122 mm gun. The IS-2 tank, like the IS-1, was superior to the previous KV-1 tanks used in the Red Army. Production of the IS-2 started in October or November 1943 and by the end of World War II when production ended, a total of 3,854 units were produced.
The IS-2 tank hull was similar to the IS-1 tank, but the turret was modified to accommodate the larger 122 mm D-25T gun. The suspension was a torsion-bar suspension system and the tank was powered by a diesel V2-IC engine. The drivetrain and the engine were taken from the KV-1 tank, yet was considerably more mobile. The armour on the IS-2 was a 120 mm thick front plate sloped at 60 degrees with a small step in the front for the driver's hatch. This "early version", developed from the KV-13 design, was produced from the initial production lines until some time in late 1944, where a IS-2 mod. 1944 version was modified with the front plate now a single sloped 120 mm plate at 60 degrees with no interruptions in order to eliminate shot traps and weaknesses in the armour design. Other design changes when the IS-2 was upgraded to the 1944 model was a stronger gun mount, wider mantlet, and an addition of a Dshk machine gun on the turret. The formidable armour of the IS-2 is able to withstand the 88 mm shells from the Tiger I at 1,000 meters out, yet the whole tank weighs less than the Panther at only 46 tons. Despite its construction, the IS-2 was still quite crude in quality and can have signs of being hastily built from the factories. This did not affect its battlefield performance greatly and the crude construction is merely a side effect of the fast production of the tanks to fill battlefield demands.
The IS-2 first saw action in early 1944. The IS-2 was organized in heavy tank regiments, each with 21 tanks. Their role was to spearhead the offensives launched at each sector, breaking through enemy emplacements and supporting the infantry by destroying enemy fortifications, they were not meant to exploit breakthroughs and this role was given to the lighter T-34 tanks. Their first reported action was in April 1944 in the 11th Special Guards Heavy Tank Regiment near Tarnopol, Ukraine. The IS-2 presented such a surprise to the Germans as no Soviet tanks before could engage with accurate fire from more than 3 kilometres away. A bigger shock was when they found out the 88 mm of the Tiger I couldn't adequately penetrate their armour. The IS-2 initial combat experience was limited due to the inexperienced crew and organization, but more and more IS-2 started to come in to reinforce the Soviet forces.
The IS-2's next great effort was in Operation Bagration in July 1944. By this time period, the heavy tank regiments were allocated to one for each tank corps. During Operation Bagration, the IS-2 combat effort contributed to the decimation of the German Army Group Center. The IS-2 was able to deal with the troublesome German Panther and Tiger I tanks with ease. By December 1944, enough IS-2 was produced that the Soviets began outfitting them to Guards heavy tank brigades, consisting of 65 IS-2 tanks with other vehicles for support. Though the number of these brigades were still limited, they proved valuable in breaking through German lines, as used in January 1945 against the German in the Oder Offensive. It should be noted that despite having a role similar to the Tiger heavy tank battalions in the German service, they are produced in far greater numbers to enforce every tank corp with one heavy tank regiment that allowed even the IS-2 to overwhelm German defences. The IS-2 continued to see combat service for the Red Army all the way to the Battle of Berlin and the end of World War II. T
After World War II, the IS-2 production was replaced by the more heavily armoured IS-3, but the IS-2 stayed in service up until 1982 due to modernization efforts on the IS-2. This modernized IS-2 was named the IS-2M and were done in the mid-1950s. These modernization efforts added external fuel tanks and stowage bins onto the hull and protective skirts on the edges of the tracks. The IS-2 was finally placed into storage in the 1990s and were kept in reserves or sold out as scrap metal.
Like most of Soviet Union's military hardware, the IS-2 was given out to the Warsaw Pact nations as supplies. The IS-2 was thus lent out to Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, China, North Vietnam, and maybe North Korea. Later in 1960, a shipment of IS-2 was also sent to Cuba, these were converted into bunkers and coastal defences as spare parts for the tank never made it to Cuba due to the US blockade imposed in 1962.
The most powerful tank deployed in combat in World War II. The Iosif Stalin IS-2 was developed in the summer of 1943 at the same time as the IS-1 heavy tank armed with an 85 mm cannon. Thanks to its thick armour and high firepower, the IS-2 was a worthy opponent to German heavy tanks. The vehicle's basic armament consisted of the powerful 122 mm D-25T cannon with separate shell loading. The 122 mm weapon's penetration and firing accuracy were quite high. The standard-issue BR-471 sharp-nosed armour-piercing shells allowed it to penetrate the frontal armour of all German tanks.
The tank's layout was standard, with the transmission in the rear. The tank's hull was a fully welded armoured box made of cast and rolled armour.
The hull's nose and the under turret box were made of cast pieces. It's base, sides, rear and roof were rolled steel. The turret had a streamlined shape and was cast steel. Its sides contained small hatches with armoured covers for shooting through with small arms.
Around 450 of them were made between December 1943 and May 1944.
Tanks of this model played a large role in the battles of 1944-1945, particularly excelling in storming cities.
The IS-2's flaws limiting its anti-tank capabilities included its small ammunition supply consisting of 28 shots and its cannon's separate loading, which decreased its rate of fire. Its first battles revealed that the tank's frontal hull armour was insufficient.
The new heavy tanks were provided to Czechoslovakian units and the Polish Army, which participated in the final stage of the Great Patriotic War.
- Vehicles equipped with the same chassis
- Vehicles equipped with the same gun
- [Vehicle Profile] Iosif Stalin 2
- [Wikipedia] IS-2
- [Tanks Encyclopedia] IS-2
- [Military Factory] IS-2 / JS-2 (Josef Stalin)
|USSR heavy tanks|
|KV||KV-1 (L-11) · KV-1 (ZiS-5) · KV-1E · KV-1S · KV-85 · KV-122 · KV-220|
|KV-2 (1939) · KV-2 (1940) · KV-2 (ZiS-6)|
|IS||IS-1 · IS-2 · IS-2 (1944) · IS-2 "Revenge" · IS-3 · IS-4M · IS-6 · IS-7 · T-10A · T-10M|
|Multi-turreted||SMK · T-35|