KV-1 (L-11)

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KV-1 (L-11)
KV-1 (L-11)
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Msg-info.png This page is about the heavy tank KV-1 (L-11). For other uses, see KV-1 (Disambiguation)


GarageImage KV-1 (L-11).jpg

The KV-1 (L-11) is a Rank II Soviet heavy tank with a battle rating of 3.7 (AB/RB/SB). This tank was introduced during the closed beta testing for Ground Forces before Update 1.41. The KV-1 L-11 is the first unlockable Soviet heavy tank which boasts raw firepower and armour at the cost of mobility.

The first heavy tank available in the Soviet branch. It's slow, difficult to manoeuvre and heavily armoured, and mounts the same gun of the T-34 1940, sharing its awful penetration. In Rank II battles, this tank is tough to penetrate so you can lead the assault and absorb shots that will quickly destroy your lighter and better-armed teammates. It's better to prefer short-range engagements, and you must aim for weak spots, but your best weapon is other players, so act like a steel wall and cover other tanks with better guns.

General info

Survivability and armour

Armour type:

  • Rolled homogeneous armour
  • Cast homogeneous armour (Gun mantlet)
Armour Front Sides Rear Roof
Hull 75 mm (31°) Front plate
70 mm (72°) Front glacis
25 + 70 mm (7-71°) Joint plate
75 mm (26-51°) Lower glacis
75 mm 60 mm (13-89°) Top
70 mm (14-57°) Bottom
30 mm
Turret 75 mm (15°) Turret front
90 mm (1-52°) Gun mantlet shield
75 mm (15-57°) Gun mantlet
75 mm (14-15°) 75 mm (16°) 40 mm


  • Suspension wheels are 20 mm thick, tracks are 30 mm thick.
  • Roof armour is quite excellent. 30 - 40 mm is nothing to ignore. It will reliably protect from most autocannons. Although aircraft with unique diving capability and +0 mm arms may still pierce it. More importantly, it makes the vehicle quite resilient against rocket strikes from vehicles such as the Calliope.
  • The lower glacies, unlike most other tanks, is not a weak spot! It is including your own turrets height significantly better angled than the upper frontal plate. Further, neither the MG port nor the drivers view slit are weak points. Discard them as targets.
  • Gun mantlet is an extra 75 mm bolted on to the turret, with some parts with an additional 90 mm added instead. This results in a spaced overlapped part with ~150 mm. Only the cheeks left, and right of the mantlet bulges should be shot! However, these areas are quite small and easily missed, if the turret is traversed.


Mobility characteristic
Weight (tons) Add-on Armour
weight (tons)
Max speed (km/h)
46.0 N/A 36 (AB)
34 (RB/SB)
Engine power (horsepower)
Mode Stock Upgraded
Arcade 775 954
Realistic/Simulator 531 600
Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)
Mode Stock Upgraded
Arcade 16.85 20.74
Realistic/Simulator 11.54 13.04


Main armament

Main article: L-11 (76 mm)
76 mm L-11
Capacity Vertical
111 -7°/+25° ±180° N/A
Turret rotation speed (°/s)
Mode Stock Upgraded Prior + Full crew Prior + Expert qualif. Prior + Ace qualif.
Arcade 7.1 9.9 _.__ _.__ _.__
Realistic 7.1 8.4 _.__ _.__ _.__
Reloading rate (seconds)
Stock Prior + Full crew Prior + Expert qualif. Prior + Ace qualif.
9.3 _.__ _.__ _.__
Penetration statistics
Ammunition Type of
Penetration in mm @ 90°
10m 100m 500m 1000m 1500m 2000m
BR-350A APHEBC 73 71 65 57 51 45
BR-350SP APBC 77 76 69 61 54 48
OF-350M HE 9 9 9 9 9 9
Sh-354T Shrapnel 37 35 29 25 20 17
Shell details
Ammunition Type of
in m/s
Mass in kg
Fuse delay

in m:

Fuse sensitivity

in mm:

Explosive Mass in g
(TNT equivalent):
Normalization At 30°
from horizontal:
0% 50% 100%
BR-350A APHEBC 615 6.3 0.15 10.0 150 +4° 48° 63° 71°
BR-350SP APBC 615 6.8 N/A N/A N/A +4° 48° 63° 71°
OF-350M HE 615 6.2 0.05 0.1 621 +0° 79° 80° 81°
Sh-354T Shrapnel 615 6.2 0.5 8.0 85 +0° 62° 69° 73°
Ammo racks
Ammo racks of the KV-1 L-11
rack empty
rack empty
rack empty
rack empty
111 107 (+4) 102 (+9) 82 (+29) (+110) Yes

Turret empty: 102 (+9)

Machine guns

Main article: DT (7.62 mm)
7.62 mm DT
Coaxial mount
Capacity (Belt capacity) Fire rate
1,890 (63) 600 N/A N/A

Usage in the battles

First thing to know about the tank, just because it's a heavy tank does not mean you should charge headfirst into the enemy. While it may look intimidating as you watch the enemy's shells deflect off your vehicle as you move slightly forward to their front lines, you risk getting flanked as moving forward gives the enemy enough space to get around and hit you in the vulnerable rear area. Try to avoid letting the enemy get close enough to catch your turret ring and destroy each of your crew from there. Despite the 75 mm all-around armour, don't think for a second that you are invulnerable and play smart still.

One of the more common and dangerous enemies this vehicle will face is the Pz IV F2. The Panzer IV F2 has thin armour, but the long 75 mm cannon can easily pierce the KV-1 armour if it is not angled properly. The penetration for the PzGr 39 Shell, which is an APCBC and the stock shell for the Panzer IV F2, at normal combat ranges of 100 meters and 500 meters has 133 mm and 121 mm respectively.


Never charge into a KV-1 unless you are also playing as a heavy tank. The L-11 is a low-quality gun but can do devastating damage at short range. As a light tank, medium tank, or tank destroyer, always sneak around the KV-1 and get in shots from the back or side. It is not advised to engage with a KV-1 at all if you are playing as an SPAA.

As a heavy tank, if your gun is capable of penetrating the front of the KV-1's frontal armour, aim for the lower middle of the upper glacis, where the large ammo rack is located. If the shot penetrates, it almost guarantees a destroyed KV-1 as the ammo rack is huge.

As a light tank, medium tank or tank destroyer/SPG, use the advantage of cover (building, hill, trees, etc.) to flank or get behind a KV-1. It will be hard-pressed to turn quickly enough to angle its near-impervious frontal armour towards you. If you are not confident in your gun's ability to deal significant damage to the engine block or ammo racks, it is advised to fire at the tracks and disable the tank before rushing up to it and firing directly at the back. Shooting at the rear of the turret is also an option to attempt to hit one of the ammo racks on either side. However, smarter drivers will empty their turret of ammunition, so firing at the turret will not always work.


As usual, Parts and FPE first. Tracks is a good additional choice, a frequently targeted module. Also, it increases your turning capability a lot. After these, research Adjustment of fire and Brake System, because the accuracy of the L-11 cannon is slightly increased, even though it is still subpar. The suspension is useful for firing on the move, something particularly useless for a slow, heavy tank. Braking quickly and being able to fire a more accurate shot proves to be much more efficient. The BR-350SP does not see any use. The small gain in penetration is offset by the lack of any HE filler, and the round should be ignored entirely. Afterwards, all Tier III & Tier IV upgrades are equally useful.

Pros and cons


  • All points of armour are better than good at its rank
  • Angling your hull makes it virtually immune to most guns it faces
  • Virtually no weak spot except the small turret ring
  • Gun does decent damage upon penetration
  • Heavily armoured for a Rank II tank
  • One of the few Russian tanks that have a crew of five
  • Excellent rate of fire, useful for short-range engagements
  • Quicker and better armed than the other first-rank II heavy tank; the Matilda II


  • L-11 gun is very inadequate for its battle rating
  • Low speed, typical for heavy tanks
  • Slow turret traverse, if you need to change targets quickly you must rotate both the turret and the hull
  • Making turns, especially when playing as the stock KV-1, will decrease your speed dramatically
  • Penetration shots from the sides and below the turret are typically catastrophic
  • Heavy and slow, you can't relocate quickly, and you are vulnerable when climbing hills
  • Later variant of the Panzer IV can easily penetrate your armour, even from the front
  • Large fuel tanks lined up on the side.
  • Cannot reliably compete with other heavy tanks in its BR range.
  • Most British tanks can penetrate your armour even from long range.
  • Trying to knock out another KV-1 L-11 is just a waste of shells and time.



The start of the KV-1 heavy tanks began after the heavy tank T-35's flaws came to light. Designers were ordered to draw up new designs to become the basis of a breakthrough heavy tank needed for the Soviet doctrine. This made for a tank that was heavily armoured, but not very mobile as it was to be for siege warfare. The designs offered all had heavy armour, wide tracks, and used the torsion-bar suspension. The designs were the SMK, T-100, and what would be the KV tank, which was named after the then Soviet Defense Commissar Kliment Voroshilov.

During the developmental progress, the prototypes of all these heavy tanks were made, and the Winter War with Finland was on its way. The Soviets sent these tanks into Finland for combat testing, to which the KV design outperform in every way with its superior armour and firepower. The armour on the KV tank was impenetrable by a tank cannon in service and most anti-tank guns as well; the 76.2 mm cannon also gave it a colossal firepower boost compared to the usual 37 mm in use by other countries. However, the design was found to be challenging to steer, the transmission was unreliable, ergonomics were weak, and vision was limited, plus with its 45-ton weight, it was a weighty tank for its time. In truth, while formidable in power and protection, courageous crew member willing to curse the name would speak out about the trouble the KV tank was. The first variant of production before World War II broke out was the KV-1 model. The first model production was equipped with the L-11 cannon, but this was deemed insufficient in performance and was later replaced in subsequent production models by the improved F-34, or the ZiS-5 cannon.

Combat usage

When Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, the Red Army had 508 of the KV tanks. With that many KV tanks available, the Russians shocked the German forces as their anti-tank and tank forces had few weapons capable of defeating it, having to rely mostly on the 88 mm Flak guns and the 5 cm Pak 38 with APCR rounds. But by 1942, Germany fielded large amounts of long barreled 50mm and 75mm cannons in both tanks and towed format, making the KV lose much of its armour advantage.

Perhaps the most memorable moment of glory for the KV-1 was at Krasnogvardeysk near Leningrad on the 19th of August 1941 when 5 KV-1s, led by Lt Zinoviy Kolobanov, ambushed the German 8th Panzer Division (a light panzer division consisting mainly of Panzer II, III and 38(t)). But there are some contradicting stories about what happened, and even if it indeed did happen. One story that supports the claim goes like this: each of the five KV-1s was hiding at different locations, came out one by one to fire at the incoming German tanks, then retreat before the next tank could come out. Such tactic boxed an entire tank and ended with 43 tanks destroyed before the KV-1 tanks retreated from running out of ammo, all in a span of about half an hour. During this battle, one of the KV-1 tanks was struck 135 times with no penetration. For their feat, Lt Z. Kolobanov and a few officers were decorated with the Order of Lenin and Order of the Red Banner medal.

The KV-1 continued to serve until the end of the war, though in dwindling numbers as they were lost due to mechanical failures, combat, and being superseded by more modern tanks. Some KV-1s built in 1941 still saw service in 1944 at the Leningrad front before being replaced by IS-2 tanks, then they saw service in Manchuria in 1945 before retired altogether at the end of World War II.


Many variants of the KV tank would be produced in the span of World War II as the Soviet try to keep it in production as long as possible, the initial version was called the KV-1 and remained most part as the main Soviet heavy tank for the first part of World War II. A bunker-buster variant mounting a 152 mm howitzer after experiences in Finland brought the monster KV-2 assault tank, which is very turret heavy that it must be on a flat surface to properly rotate. After complaints of its mechanical issues and lack of performance compared to the lighter T-34 medium tank was heard, the factory lightened the tank in 1943 and designated as the KV-1S which presented some good features into the tank like a commander's cupola. But the KV-1S introduction was a little too late as then the better German tanks such as the Panther tanks could knock them out with ease. An attempt to up-gun the KV-1S was to give it the 85 mm D-5T gun then in use on the SU-85. This variant was called the KV-85. Though it was seen favourable for a nice increase in firepower among the armoured forces, soon even the lighter T-34 began mounting the 85 mm gun as the T-34-85. It was determined that the heavy tank would have a much bigger gun than the medium tanks, but at the time the KVs were falling out of favour in preference to the newer IS-1 and IS-2 heavy tanks coming into service, which were based off the KV-13 prototype tanks developed in 1942 as a medium tank.


Several KV-1s survive after the war, most as monuments, but also in museums. Only one genuine KV-1 was restored to running condition in Russia after it was found in the bottom of the Neva River.


Skins and camouflages for the KV-1 L-11 series from live.warthunder.com.

Read also

Official War Thunder article: [Historical] Tanks of Kliment Voroshilov


Paste links to sources and external resources, such as:

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

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
Other  Object 279
Multi-turreted  SMK · T-35
Lend-Lease  ▂MK-II "Matilda"