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Apr 3, 2013

T-39 Soviet Super-heavy Breakthrough Tank

Author: EnsignExpendable

The T-39 tank was designed to be a breakthrough tank. With a rather ridiculous 4 turrets, and up to 90 mm of armour, the tank was even more powerful than the KV-1 and KV-2 that would follow it 6 years later. A number of options were presented. Two options were deemed the most viable, and made it as far as wooden models.

In real life, the T-39 was exceptionally unrealistic, and all work on it stopped in favour of the (also pretty useless) T-35 tank. However, World of Tanks is just the place to go to see how well ill-conceived prototypes would perform! Let's take a look. 

90 tons, 12 man crew, 4 107 mm guns (two per turret), 2 45 mm guns (in the front turrets). 24 kph with a 970 hp engine or 33 kph with 1150-1300 hp engine.

The powerful 107 mm guns don't show up until tier 6, with the KV-2 and T-150. The T-150 has a comparable amount of armour, so you'd think that a T-39 would fit in the same tier. However, four 107 mm guns would mean four times the rate of fire, and 300 damage from each gun (or 1200 in total) would melt any tank of that tier, as well as most tier 7 vehicles. Even if the 45 mm turrets are completely vestigial (like the machine gun turrets on the T-28), this tank would be massively OP at tier 6. 

The "gentle giant" KV-5 has a 107 mm gun at tier 8. However, it has much more armour, even with the vulnerable turret. With a mere 90 mm at its thickest, the T-39 would be horrible at tier 8. 

Perhaps, at tier 7, the T-39 could find a reasonable home. The turret placement requires it to show its side before it can use all 4 of its guns, and even if it doesn't, that driver's box in the front is an excellent weak spot. It could be like a TOG: huge and slow, with no armour, but lots of hit points. It would probably have to be restricted to its initial engine configuration, and travel at 24 kph, at most.

90 tons, 12 man crew, 152 mm howitzer in the main turret, 3 secondary 45 mm guns in smaller turrets, 4 7.62 mm machine guns, flamethrower. 24 kph with a 970 hp engine or 33 kph with 1150-1300 hp engine.

This one is a lot more reasonable. Instead of two main turrets, there is only one. Plus, due to the 45 mm turret, it can't point backwards. The gun is more like the 152 mm gun on the SU-152, longer, faster, and more accurate, than the KV-2's gun. A slower KV-2 that can't shoot backwards would settle in nicely at tier 6 or 7 as a premium. At this tier, there is no use for the 45 mm guns either.

Despite powerful armament, this tank does not have very much armour. The sloped 90 mm plate in the front doesn't do very much to compensate for its sides (20-50 mm thick) or its lower glacis (45 mm thick). There is also a glaring weak spot that the driver sits in, inviting any opponent to make your slow tank even slower. 

While the 152 mm gun option is more likely (it doesn't even need multiple turrets), both would be excellent crew trainers. 12 crewmen means you can train as many as 3 Soviet heavy crews at once!

Read more about tank history at my blog.

Yet another addition

A short notice: I am pleased to announce that Ensign Expendable (US forums) decided to join the ranks of For The Record crew. He'll be writing about Soviet tanks - and judging from his article I have in my mail, it's going to be VERY interesting :)

"Buff my tank!" - E-100

By Zarax

Hello and welcome to the second edition of "Buff my tank!"

The "Buff my tank!" articles are meant as an historical way to look at some tanks considered underpowered in game and ways to improve their combat abilities discussed by the original german engineers.
Beware that while being sometimes ironic in tone, the article treats about both costs and benefits of every choice and it most likely will never be listened by WG as suggestion.

The E-100 is often defined as "Gold Ammo" tank in game due to high reliance on the expensive HEAT shells.
In this article we will use Panzer Tracts 6-3 to explore the most extreme features the german engineers discussed during the tank implementation, while for the tank's history SilentStalker's article provides already excellent information.

As the E-100 never reached operational status and only a half-finished hull was done, we have no battlefield experience outside of virtual one to gather information from.
In the end it's likely E-100 and Maus would have worked as propaganda tanks or used as bunkers during the defence of Berlin rather than actively on the battlefield due to their logistics issues as those tanks did not exactly sip fuel which was extremely scarce in 1945 and I wouldn't want to be assigned to their maintenance.

First of all, E-100 is already somewhat above historical specs as side turret armor was planned to be a scant 80mm unlike the 150mm thickness in game, this removes a quite large potential weak spot as even scouts could have hurt it.

Of course, one could consider the original Krupp Tiger-Maus turret:

It has however the "slight" drawback of being 12.5 tons heavier and having a decently sized cupola as weakspot plus the viewports on the side, limiting tank agility and likely being slower to turn.

Another option that was considered is the MB501 engine planned at 1500HP output, which would bring the power to weight ratio from approximately 9.2HP/ton to 11.5HP/ton, making the tank slightly more agile although the torpedo boat engine was quite a bit bigger than the Maybach HL 234/295.
This means that the engine module would get bigger (would it even fit without major hull modifications? It was meant for the earlier, longer-hulled project) and I'd be willing to bet WG would also slap an higher fire chance.

Now, about firepower, what is often considered the biggest problem.
First of all, longer 15cm cannons and the 17cm one were considered for the STUG E-100, aka the Jagdpanzer E-100 we have in game.
On the contrary, during development the 128 L/55 cannon was strongly suggested as an alternative as the shells were lighter and easier to handle while more than adequate against anything it was planned to face.

The answer here probably lies in ammunition choice, but as the 15cm L/38 (which is often mentioned as L/37) does not have a penetration table from WWII we cannot realistically say. In my opinion, by the time the gun would have been ready it would have used either a modified 15cm SFH 18 concrete-piercing round or just a mix of HEAT and HE ammo, which was enough to mission kill any WWII era tank as shown by the russian 152mm howitzers.

 So, here comes the final verdict:

Very little room for improvement is left.

Unfortunately the fact that it was meant from the start to be a cheaper, easier to produce Maus means that engineers focused on things that could have been produced sooner with available means rather than making a super-tank, especially as the E-series were often seen with hostility by many both in the army and in competing firms.

Thank you for reading and see you in the next article!

Silentstalker's Top 10 Wargaming Fails

Author: Silentstalker

Hello everyone,

here are (in my opinion) the worst Wargaming fails, in a very general order. Most refer to the EU server (I have no idea what sort of crap is going on on the RU one and only vaguely understand the NA server issues). These things however do influence everybody.

10 - SerB trolling

SerB is the main developer and the creative director (I think), seated in Minsk. He quite often answers the questions to the developers. Nothing bad with that - only one thing: he likes to troll. A lot. Answers like "go play Tetris" and "go back to school" are popular in RU regions (SerB is vastly popular there), but when translated to English other languages (as they do, not only by me, but by other people too), they sound just rude and offensive. It's not that big of a deal, but a lot of people on EU server would just get insulted.

Storm is usually not trolling, but even he can be really rude:

"Hahaha. Suffer, faggot, your suffering makes us happy!"

9 - Russian historical bias

Everybody knows that nazi names, pictures and symbols are not allowed in the game and on Wargaming forums - and rightfully so, the nazi ideology is one of the worst evils that ever happened in mankind's history. However, at the same time, we have Wargaming developers naming themselves "KGB" and using Smersh avatars. I think we all can agree that Smersh and KGB were no "regular" organisations - they murdered thousands of people, dragged thousands more to die in Soviet Gulags and the only difference between KGB/Smersh and Gestapo/SS is that the nazis lost the war. The shameful Soviet propaganda is illegal in some European countries (Czech republic included, the 1948-1989 Communist party was banned here) and the "Stalinist" Soviet tank decal, promoting the mass murderer Stalin is as nasty as if the Germans wrote "SS Mann" on their tanks.

8 - Broken Clanwars

Clanwars are supposed to be the ultimate endgame World of Tanks equivalent to Warcraft's raiding, yet somehow, even after more than a year, they are still in beta phase and simply don't work. Everything gets broken down and there is hardly a month without Clanwars freeze. Now, I am no expert on Clanwars and I don't even like this sort of stuff, but it's absolutely clear that something's really wrong with them. The inability of Wargaming to produce a working endgame mechanism in 2 years is... not good.

7 - EU Moderators

Moderators are not Wargaming's employees in strictest sense. They are recruited from regular players and paid some chump change (200 Euro or so?) to police the forums. Naturally, that reflects their quality. Much like the "private security" mallcop companies, that accept simply anyone, Moderator corps on EU server specifically are swarming with (in better case) powertripping idiots, in worst case small people getting even their enemies thru power abuse. Complaints against moderators are not taken seriously, the appeal system does not work and the selection process is dubious (Remember the Czechout affair? A part of it was Czechout pushing thru a moderator called Idahou by making his warning points "disappear". That guy's still there and there were several complain threads opened in last months alone in the Czechoslovak section). Other common "feature" is different punishment for the same offense. Only yesterday I've seen a moderator on EU1 general chat ban a guy for saying two words in Polish, while literally in seconds, some other guy was spamming in German - he didn't get banned.

6 - Dysfunctional EU Q&A

Enough said here. While RU server gets answers and explanations from developers daily (and NA has The_Chieftain, who does an amazing job), EU is left in the dark. There is some guy named Quasar, who is allegedly a developer and who runs a joke of a Q&A (with a rate of 5 answers per month). It used to be much better, when Overlord (a really great guy by the way) used to operatively (immediately, imagine that!) answer the questions - and all that while being (now comes the big shock) very polite. Insane, right? Well, I guess I should thank them, most of the readers of this blog probably come here for the Wargaming news :)

5 - Fake tanks

Enough has already been written on the topic of Failowe being fake. Of course, it's not the only case - the T28 Prototype is mostly made up, E-50 Ausf.M is nearly made up, some German tanks have unhistorical armor and guns, the T71 is a mashup of two models as far as I know, the ingame Chaffee is a historian's nightmare and so on. Of course, it wouldn't be such a problem.... IF Wargaming didn't fanatically enforce historical data on other vehicles. Buff an underperforming vehicle? "Why, it's historical!"

4 - Impotent Wargaming Paris community section

This is something I criticized for a long time, both before my ban and after. The EU community section is completely impotent. They can't do anything on their own, they have absolutely no power (all decisions that matter are taken in Minsk) and their PR is a nightmare. Now, I don't think they are bad people. Supercharge has some nice articles, Challenger is great (what I do somehow see as a problem is that it is my impression he doesn't talk to us "common folks", but only to the cadre of soldiers/war veterans in his section). Blanchard I have absolutely no idea about - seems like a nice guy, not posting very much. Ectar - again, probably a nice guy in real life, but by GOD, they are all so... I don't know... empty? No improvisation, no changes, everything has to be scheduled from Minsk - in the past, this led to some pretty funny fails. Remember that time the random battles were flooded with (fresh in the shop) Type 59 tanks? It was a disaster, there were like 15 vs 15 Type 59 battles and at one point I just quitted for a while, because for someone grinding a regular T7 tank it was unplayable. A few weeks into this nightmare, Wargaming EU made a post on the portal about how wonderful Type 59 is and how to play it. A perfect shot in the foot, forums started raging that the players are getting trolled and from what I know, the EU community organizers *facepalmed* at the post, but they HAD to post it, because it was sent from Minsk. Eventually, the post was removed, but not before a huge backlash.
Another case was the "Stalinec" issue. A player posted in the general section that he finds the Soviet decal "Stalinec" offensive. Naturally, a debate was started and in the end, Ectar promised he would personally pass the complaint to Minsk. He kept his promise - only to be openly mocked by SerB (or Storm) in the Russian Q&A thread. Says a lot about how much Minsk respects WG Paris.
And don't let me even get started about the "Voroshilov was a strategic mastermind" affair, that didn't make the Polish players very happy...

Oddly enough, Wargaming US seems to be a LOT more different and independent. They have The_Chieftain (a sort of military expert and developer mix), who - while he probably hates my ass - actually REPLIES daily on stuff the way Overlord did - so don't tell me it isn't possible.

3 - 83mm HE shell fiasco

A quick recap: from the RU version of patch 0.8.4 it was found out, that 83mm HE shells would basically quadruple in price, making a huge profit possible. This info did spread like a wildfire and people bought a LOT of 83mm HE shells, only for WG Europe to announce the price wouldn't quadruple, but only double, so those who "invested" like this wouldn't be getting crap. Subsequently a LOT of people raged, because some invested literally millions of credits and some even sold their vehicles in order to make profit.
The price reduction itself was not that big of a problem. The biggest problem was the fact that - unlike the Europeans, the Russians DID get the price quadrupled (it was lowered weeks after the Russians recieved the 0.8.4 patch) and some made quite a lot of money on this. Apparently, all players are equal, but some are more equal than others.
The second issue was the PR handling of the situation. EU staff was completely clueless, only Ectar was actually attempting to explain and they let the shitstorm get into giantic proportions - it took two days for the forums to calm down somewhat and I bet some people still feel pretty crappy when they remember the whole damn thing.

2 - EU supertest handling

Where to start? I have been talking to a few supertersters for some time and it is my impression the Supertest was a mess. Everything was in Russian (the english translations were done by volunteers) and EU players were generally treated like 2nd class citizens. A lot of Russians displayed an anti-European attitude and at least one moderator went from what I know on a nasty anti-European rant. Needless to say, this backfired by disgruntled supertesters starting to leak stuff. Make no mistake: it wasn't only Europeans who leaked stuff, at least one of the leaks I got was a Russian and no, it was not the one of the two who got punished (so we can expect more leaks in the future). In the end, all the EU supertesters were sacked, which might seem a logical step, but then again, the question is, whether the leaks were the result of bad people being bad, or of Wargaming's attitude towards EU supertesters.
Naturally, another reason is the fact that Wargaming just keeps too many secrets. A sneak peek here and there would do wonders...

1 - Czechout affair

Need I say more? A quick summary: a WG employee was fixing competitions (plus a bunch of other stuff), it was made public and the employee was kicked out after an epic shitstorm. I am sure all of us from the EU server remember that.

Honorable mentions: some might remember the "Design your Porsche vehicle" contest from last year, that was a disaster (took 3 months or so to pick "winners" and in the end, they appeared to be picked at random, which caused a rage). Czech "Design your own competition" contest - the results simply disappeared and noone heard of it ever again. Ingame illogical bugs (0 damage hits), that can be seriously annoying. The Red Screen of Death - that was fortunately fixed, but not before haunting the game for months. The Pearl River map screenies - Wargaming gave out "exclusive" content to some bloggers and streamers and told everyone it's exclusively for them - much to their surprise, the same screenies appeared all over the internet at the same time and boy did the people feel stupid.

I am sure there are many more you could mention. Truth to be told, there is a lot of room for improvement. But it's not all bad. World of Tanks is a great concept and a good game - and I personally enjoy it. Let's hope these "thingies" get fixed in the future.


Americans have a 8.5 tank preview on their server (didn't notice the same thing on EU server, hence the US link)

- according to SerB, there is no corellation between shooting distance and damage done (a player was complaining that when shooting over 300m, shells do less than average damage more often)
- regarding the rule where a player is not allowed by the MM to play as a top team tank for too long: in one-tier battles (battles where all the tanks are f.x. tier 1 or 2), this rule does not apply (SS: conclusion - it works with a tier position, not balancing weight)
- Q: "what will happen to VK3002DB tier-wise in 0.8.5?" A: "For now you can only guess"
- Indienpanzer has the Bundeswehr cross, because it's a post-war vehicle
- there won't be any copyrighted decals on vehicles
- the ability to spot a tank does not depend on how much of the tank you can see (eg. a fully uncovered tank has the same chance to be spotted as a tank completely covered by an obstacle with only one visibility checkpoint sticking out)
- there are plans to introduce Soviet lowtier tank destroyers, such as GAZ-75 or SU-45
- there are no plans to introduce additional gun to SU-101
- SerB wrote that some maps are removed when they are unfit for gameplay. A player then asked if that is so, why do they stay in company battles? Answer: "Clarification - they are unfit for gameplay in random battles."
- Tank "121" is not WZ-121 or Type 69
- Indienpanzer confirmed to have a 90mm gun
- Q: "Indienpanzer's gun has the same parameters as Pershing's T15E2M2, why was it written in the review that it's ´heavily armed´?" A: "It's a really heavy gun :)"

IS-7 - history and development

Author: Viktor Kitov (EU forum)
Published and slightly redacted by: Silentstalker

Today, we have a guest article here by Vikto Kitov about the IS-7. Enjoy!

In the spring of 1944 after  lifting the siege of Leningrad at the Kirov plant which was partially destroyed, it was decided to manufacture the ISU-152 self-propelled artillery. Tank designers were returning to the Experimental Plant № 100, after the evacuation. The leader of the team was chosen to be J. Kotin. Under his leadership, the development of a new heavy tank which was to be well armed and heavily heavy armored. Itreceived the factory designation "Object 260", and later - the index "IS-7"

-A wooden model of the IS-7-

The high level of protection of IS-7 was provided not only by an increase in the thickness of armor plates, but also due to their significant slope. The form of the front was similar to the IS-3 - "pike nose," with somewhat smoothed contours. The mass of IS-7 reached 68 tons, to ensure adequate mobility it was needed to increase the capacity of the engine. It was planned to install two diesel V-11 or B-16 with a total capacity of 1200 hp, using an electric drivetrain similar to the tried and tested on the prototype tank IS-6 ("Object 253"). However, before making the first prototype of the IS-7 the design was canceled and only a full sized wooden mock-up was build. In 1946 work on the second version started. In the same year it was decided to build two prototypes. The lead designer of the machine was engineer G. Efimov, and overall management was done by A. Ermolaev. A second version of the IS-7 would be created, rather diffrent from its predecessor.


Since work on the B-16 engine failed. The TD-30 diesel engine was installed, developed  on the ACh-300 aircraft engine. Instead of an electric transmission a traditional mechanical one was used. A serial V 12-cylinder diesel engine M-50 1050 hp at 1850 RPM was installed (used on fast offshore boats). The TH-30 aircraft engine established on the basis of ACH-300, revealed a number of significant drawbacks during the tests. The M-50 engine was distinguished by its rather large dimensions, requiring new design solutions for its installation in the tank without increasing the height of the housing. They had to develop a new short torsion suspension (so-called "beams"), consisting of seven thin rods, and such that was enough space for the engine crankcase. The case height of 2426 mm was even lower than the 300 mm on the IS-2, and 24 mm lower then the IS-3.

-Engine specifications-

Engine Type: M-50T

Manufacturer: Plant № 800
Brand: M-50T
Type: Diesel
Volume: 62,400 cm3
Maximum power: 772 kW (1050 hp) at 1850 rev / min
Maximum torque: 4606 Nm
Configuration: V12 Cylinders: 12
Bore: 180 mm Stroke: 209.8mm
Degree of compression: 13.5
Cooling: Liquid
Stroke(number of cycles): 4
Recommended fuel: DL, DZ, DA

Speed​​  60 kp/h; Cross-country speed 32 kp/h
Range- 300 km
HP per tone- 15.4
Suspension- Individual torsion
Ground pressure kgf / cm ² 0,97
Fire fighting equipment with automatic thermo sensors which activate at 100-110 ° C


The transmission for the tank was designed in two versions. The first, which was manufactured and tested in the IS-7, was a six-speed manual shift with synchronizers. Turning mechanism - a planetary, a two-step. Steering was done via a hydraulic servo.Tests showed good traction transmission quality, ensuring high average speed of the tank. The second version of the manual transmission had been developed in conjunction with the Bauman Moscow Higher Technical School.It was a planetary, 8-speed. Steering was done by hydraulic actuators with progressive gears. For the first time in the soviet tank design tracks were made with rubber-metallic hinges, hydraulic double acting shock absorbers, road wheels with internal shock absorbers operating at high loads and torsion beams.

-Electric Drive planned for the IS-6-

The first copy of the prototype was ready on September 8, the second - December 25, 1946. On field tests they showed remarkable speed for such machines- 60 km/h maximum speed and an average speed on rough road was 32 km/h. None of the heavy tanks of that time could boast with such high-speed characteristics.

Throughout 1947 in parallel with the long trials of the first two IS-7s work started on the creation of the next - better - option.

Increased armour and slope for the hull and turret after firing 88-mm, 122 mm and 128-mm shells at the prototypes on the NIIBT site at the Izhora factory. The thickness of the frontal plate was increased to 150 mm, placing them under  vertical angles of 50 ° - 52 °. The turret was given a less vulnerable form - it became more rounded, the thickness of the front was adjusted to 240 - 350 mm at an angle of 45 ° - 0 °, the side plates - to 185 - 240 mm at angles of 30 ° - 45 °. Even the most powerfull guns existing at that time (128-mm and 130-mm armor-piercing projectiles) failed to penetrate the armour.


The crew of the IS-7 consisted of five men and four of them were placed in the turret:

Commander - Right
Gunner - Left
Two Loaders - In the back, they also operated the machine guns.
The Driver was the only one to be located in the hull.


The first prototype was armed with a 130-mm S-26 gun. It used separate-case ammunition, the mass of the projectile was 33 kg. To increase the rate and ease the work of the crew a pneumatic loading mechanism was installed, developed in conjunction with the Institute of artillery.

The next version of the IS-7, was armed with a new 130-mm naval gun S-70 (7020mm long) a 54 caliber barrel and it's weight was 4225kg. The shell had a mass of 33.4 kg and an initial velocity of 900 m/s with the ability to punch through 163-mm armor, mounted at an angle of 30 °, at a distance of 1000m and 143 mm - 2,000m. Rare of fire was from 6 to 8 shots per minute thanks to the naval style "rammer" (Unconfirmed)

-S-70 Penеtration values-

Shell \ Distance--------------------------------->500---1000---1500----2000---3000 (m)
БР-482 (Angle of impact 30°)----------------->205-----195-----185----175------145 (mm)
БР-482 (Angle of impact 90°)----------------->250-----240-----225----210------180 (mm)

Keep in mind that at different times and in different countries, different methods for determining armor penetration were used. As a consequence, a direct comparison with similar data from other sources is often impossible or incorrect

-Details about the IS-7s guns-

Ammunition for the S-70 consisted of 30 shells. Rather then the bulky pneumatic loading mechanism that was used on the first machine, a smaller chain mechanism with the electric drive was developed. The characteristic difference between guns was the muzzle brake design: The C-70 used small holes, and a C-26 has a slot design.

The tank fire control unit  provided guidance, regardless of the position of the gun and fired automaticly as soon as there was a target lock. The number of machine guns on the IS-7 reached eight: Two - large caliber, and the rest - 7.62 mm RP-46. A second CPV-44 was aded on the roof of the turret for firing at air and ground targets. Aditionally two 7.62 mm machine guns and a 14.5mm were mounted in the gun mantlet. All of them had a remote control. Ammunition for the machine guns consisted of: 400 rounds of ammunition for the CPV and 2500 for the ER.

-The End-

During 1948 LKZ produced four prototypes of the new IS-7.

Following the factory tests they were handed over to the state. Chairman of the State Commission was appointed Major-General A. Owl. The main test of the Ministry of Transport Engineering of the USSR E. Kulchitsky well remembered these trials: "I was honored, I was asked first to give this remarkable machine"...With speeds exceeding 60 km/h, this heavy machine is easy to respond to the slightest force applied to the levers and pedals.The machine is totally submissive to the driver."
During a test run one of the tanks caught on fire after exeeding the period for the trials. The automatic fire extinguishing system activated twice, but the fire could not be contained. The crew had to leave the tank, and it was completely destroyed. The plastic fuel tanks, which the designers installed instead of the normal metal ones to save weight, turned out to be the source for an additional fire hazard.

Despite the outstanding performance, the IS-7 failed to receive the approval of the State Commission.

In addition to a number of failures during the test, a negative opinion of the commission affected, first and foremost, it is was too heavy. The attempt to provide the highest level of protection brought the machine to a record 68 tons - instead of the planned 65.5 tons.

The "Object 260" was not accepted for service. However, in the course of the project designers  accumulated experience, and in the later types of Soviet tanks you can see many of the tried and tested to IS-7 components.


A definite negative role in the fate of the IS-7 played another heavy tank -the 60-ton IS-4, developed and put into production at the CHKZ in 1947, after the cessation of production of IS-3. The IS-4, at the time of its creation, had the most best armor, but the  transmission wasnt reliable. It was armed with the same guns as the IS-2 and IS-3. The biggest drawback of the IS-4 was the fact that its mass was greater than the capacity of railway platforms, and highway bridges simply couldnt withstand its weight. As a result the IS-4 effectively discredited the idea of ​​a tank weighing 60 tons, which caused the skepticism of military experts regarding the IS-7.

Another explanation for the rejection of the IS-7 is that at that time the concept of increasing the role of tanks in a probable nuclear war, called for an early deployment of a large number of armored units, and thus to produce the greatest possible number of tanks in peacetime.

Blueprints and comparison

The last IS-7 (Model 1948) is in the Museum's collection of armored vehicles in Kubinka.