Tank Illustrations "Artist's Choice" Part 1: IS-3 / Shibafu

IS-3 / しばふ

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We are proud to present you the second illustration column project "My Favorite Tanks" where popular illustrator and manga comic artists draw their favorite vehicles from World of Tanks!

Up first this time is Shibafu, up-and-coming artist, who has strong interest in depicting detailed military illustrations. He brings us the Soviet Tier VIII heavy tank "IS-3," which happens to be his favorite tank to use in-game.

Take a look at the powerful, yet strangely tranquil looking scene with the "IS-3," equipped with the "122mm BL-9 tank gun," a devastating weapon that can be equipped in-game, but was not adopted for use historically.



Artist’s Comments

Hi everyone, I'm Shibafu.

I initially started the Soviet tech tree, because I wanted to drive around the T-34. But seeing the larger-than-life heavy tanks on the battlefield made my desires for a heavy tank grow, until I eventually ended up entering the heavy route through the KV-13.

Among the Soviet heavy tanks, I especially like the IS-3. With its unique shaped hull, it repels most enemy attacks, and on top of that you can use the powerful, high-penetration “BL-9,” which is much more capable than previous gun and can land the almighty 122mm shell on enemy tanks! This is the heavy tank I dreamed of, and now it’s become the tank I use the most often.

Historically, the “BL-9” was not adopted for use on the IS-3, but in WoT, the “BL-9” is a savior for those of us who were disappointed by the low penetration of previous gun. I was extremely impressed and happy at the same time when first researched and mounted the gun.

The IS-3 here faces some fateful feline archenemies.


About the Artist – Shibafu

Shibafu is known for soft composed illustrations of girls in military setting. He mainly posted pictures on illustration SNS and sometimes wrote for miliitary publications, but sprang into fame after drawing characters for the popular Japanese browser game Kantai Colleciton.


About the Vehicle

The appearance of the Tiger I heavy tank eliminated the qualitative advantage Soviet tanks had over the German tanks. The T-34 medium tanks and KV-1 heavy tanks that put a dent in the pride of the German Panzer Corps in June 1941 were no longer effective in front of the retaliatory measure that the German Army invested around a year to prepare.

Since then the Red Army was obsessed with trying to develop a tank to counter the Tiger heavy tanks. It took until the 1944 before the completion of the IS-2 tank, developed based off the KV series tanks. Until the IS-2 was completed, the Red Army endured against the new threats by building large quantities of T-34s and variations of other conventional vehicle designs. In order to avoid the falling into the difficult situation again, the designers of the IS-2 tank, the SKB-2, the Chelyabinsk Kirov Plant's design bureau, immediately began work on the heavy tank with the ultimate protection.

However, this had to be done on the same technology as the IS-2 tank. A tank with increased protection had to be built on with the same weight. As a result, a tank with maximum armor thickness of 220 mm and the memorable hemispherical turret was born, but this wasn't just created from some random idea. The design bureau researched the remains of destroyed Red Army tanks lying around almost everywhere in the Soviet Union and created a list of hits taken from enemies in all different directions to figure out the cause of the critical shots. The optimum armor layout that remained after removing all the possible weak spots is the IS-3.

It just so happened to be that the Tiger II heavy tank started appearing in the summer of 1944, and the production of the IS-3 was rushed as it shared components with the IS-2. Even with the sped-up production, only 29 were completed before Germany surrendered on May 8, 1945, and it did not see action in the Second World War.

The existence of the IS-3 first became public during the Allied Victory Parade in Berlin in September of the same year. The compact heavy tank with the 122mm gun struck terror among the Western military personnel, and designs such as the M103 and the Conqueror heavy tanks were frantically put into development. The tank development race that epitomized the Cold War was initiated by the IS-3 heavy tank..

The IS-3, however, was neither comfortable or maneuverable for the crew. The hemispherical turret created a lot of dead-space, and the even the ready rounds were hanged on to rings on the side of the turrets in a somewhat cramped manner. The loader had to load the large 122 mm round in an uncomfortable position, and the rate of fire suffered as a result. This weakness became apparent in the Six-Day War a.k.a. 1967 Arab–Israeli War when the Egyptian IS-3s were defeated by the Israeli M-51 Shermans. The powerful protection of the IS-3 drove back the initial Israeli attacks, but they were soon outflanked due to the slow reload speed and taken out one by one.

It was fortunate for the IS-3 that a successor was developed before these weaknesses became apparent. In the battlefields of World of Tanks, you can see for yourself how this compact heavy tank performs in the conditions it was supposed to fight in.

You can go to battle with an easy mind, as the loader in World of Tanks won't get a strain in the back from the ten-minute work-out in an uncomfortable half-crouched position.

Commentary by: Tadamasa Miyanaga (Phalanx), Military Advisor of Wargaming ASIA

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IS-3 スクリーンショット IS-3 スクリーンショット IS-3 スクリーンショット