As a continuation of the KV series, the Soviets began production of the IS series of tanks in 1943 named after Josef Stalin – actually written Иосиф Сталин (Iosif Stalin) in Russian hence the abbreviation.
The first model, the IS-1, was based on a further development of the KV, the KV-85. Early models featured the exact same gun as the T-34/85. This gun, however, proved to be incapable of efficiently dealing with the ‘Tiger thread’. Later on, IS tanks were fitted with larger caliber guns. Trials conducted using IS-1 tanks modified to fit 100 mm D-10T and 122 mm A-19 guns eventually resulted in the creation of the IS-2, which used the latter gun.
In the images below we see the IS-2 at Oorlogsmuseum Overloon, The Netherlands. This vehicle is a model 1943 variant – the earliest model IS-2 – which actually uses a virtually unchanged IS-1 hull with the typical stepped armour plating at the front. The later model 1944 replaced the step for a single angled glacis plate.
The rear of the tank sports a large amount of bolts. Two large round hatches provide limited access to part of the machinery in there. With most of the bolts removed, a larger hatch in the back plate could be folded backwards providing better access to engine and transmission.
Both sides of the vehicle have place for two additional fuel tanks that together could store some ~270 liter of extra fuel on top of the tank’s own 520 liter tank. Note that the last two photos (taken 2008) show a shovel mounted at the side of the tank. It the remainder of the photos – taken two years later – this shovel is absent.
This vehicle had been acquired by the former Liberty park in 1990 from the Dresden war museum and exhibited in the park until it was brought inside the museum halls in 2015. Subsequently the IS-2 has been bought by the Collings Foundation in 2016. The vehicle was shipped to the US and underwent extensive restoration to running condition with the help of a T-34 engine. It is currently located in the ‘American Heritage museum’. The tank can be seen at 12:03 in the video below by ‘The Chieftain’.