Infoguide by yours truly. Please read up on the KV-1S for more exact numbers, I am not here to talk about radio range and accuracy ratings, I'm here to tell you how to work with what you've got.
Why Choose the KV-1S:
-Very high, easily obtainable DPG.
-Forgiving HP pool.
-KV chassis and tracks allows for great survivability despite low armor, translating well into high-tier games.
-It's Russian, comrades.
The Gun Rammer is absolutely crucial to this vehicle and helps immensely in punching out as many 122mm shells you can in a given timeframe. If you're on this website, this should be a given.
A GLD is nearly as important due to the tremendous issues the KV-1S can have with accuracy and aimtime. Truly also a must-have, this will help you better project your damage by ensuring you can snap shots off more quickly, and hit more often.
Vents are recommended because of how they work in conjunction with the crew skill BIA, providing a small but generous bonus to every facet of the tank, including it's aimtime, overall accuracy, and mobility.
Suggested Crew Skills:
It's highly recommended that you run this tank with Brother's in Arms for the first completed crew skill for the entire crew, as it will work well with the Vents to provide a considerable boost to your performance. Your second skill choices should be repairs, followed by a retrain of the commander back to Sixth Sense as soon as possible. Pretty standard for a heavy.
If you have a third crew skill, at that point I'd advise you to pick camouflage over the rest of the skills. Being Russian, the 1S has a pretty high natural camoflage rating that benefits from camo training nicely. It's also one of the only skills that allow you to overcome your blindness.
How To Use: The Armor
Before we talk about armor values, we have to fully understand the shape and features of the KV chassis itself. Boxy, wide, but relatively flat to the ground, the KV-1S hull is simple to angle. The tracks are also an important defense that you will have to take advantage of. Frontally, they take up around 1/3 of the tank's profile, and are often the target of shots that have not been well placed. The autobounce plate is a very important feature of the KV chassis. This slab of well sloped armor smack dab in the middle of the chassis will eat shots from almost any opponent you face. Sloped at 70 degrees, this will be mostly impenetrable in all but extremely close-quarters combat.
Now, onto the actual armor. The hull is given a uniform 75/60/60mm while the turret is graced with 100/90/90mm and a 60mm (overlapping) mantlet. These are probably the armor values you'd expect for a heavium of this tier, so there's no real surprises here. The armor's raw thickness is capable against things you'd expect it to be capable of - bouncing tier 4 and 5 tanks off the hull and tier 6 and 7 tanks off the turret face. The uniform hull is a big help and allows you to do a lot of angling. Important to note is that your side armor actually has a higher effective thickness than the front, so angle well when you can bounce your opponent through sheer armor thickness, but only angle slightly against opponents who you rely on crits and ricochets to bounce.
So, at the end of the day, what does this all mean? The KV-1S is a non-traditionally armored heavy that relies on critical hits and ricochets to survive. And it works. This results in superior survivability against high tier tanks than tanks that rely on sheer armor thickness.
How To Use: The Gun
There is no question as to which gun we're going to be using. The 122mm D-2-5T is the last surviving relic of the days of old, where Russian tanks were equipped with hilariously high damaging cannons. This cannon dishes out 390 damage per shot with 175mm penetration - in other words, this thing's hard stats are insane.
We're going to talk about the alpha, and this is probably the most important part of the KV-1S. You have the same alpha-for-tier as behemoths such as the Jagdpanzer E-100, and you really have to make use of it as often as possible. Most of your peers will die in two shots, whilst lower tier tanks (all tier 4 tanks and all tier 5 TDs) will die with just one. You need to take weak tanks off the battlefield as quickly as possible. This is one of the only tanks that can take powerful, game changing tanks off of the field in one shot, but your sustained DPM is horrible. Your job is to create situations where alpha is all that matters.
When the match starts, identify where you can go to create these situations. Each (and every) map has a place for it, be it the hill on Malinovka, town in Ruinburg, or the large dunes of Sand River. For the most part, getting your gun into position is pretty standard - look for early, uncontested shots, preaim and then reverse into cover, etc.
So what is carrying games all about, anyway? Well, to put it simply, your damage ratio. The more you deal in proportion to how much you take, the better you can carry games. This is where the KV-1S is king. You have awesome alpha, a good platform to get it where it needs to be, and good enough gun depression to avoid unnecessary damage.
The trick is (and this is where most people screw up) not take take damage in a 1:1 ratio. Hell, I won't even take damage in a 1.5:1 ratio. At the same time, taking damage can mean avoiding damage. Stay aware of what your damage ratio will be after the entire encounter, not just what your damage ratio will be after you trade shots. If throwing yourself in front of a 300 damage gun is going to save you 600 hp down the line, for god's sake, do it. At the same time, don't throw yourself in front of a 300 damage gun just because "mine does 90 more!". That's not how carrying works.
Take uncontested shots, fight opponents that cannot react, and minmax your damage ratio. Bam, you just carried.
The Alexander Nevsky, my trusty T-34-85, has been a solid, fun tank for a big chunk of my time in WoT. This month's Tank Focus has inspired me to make it my most-played tank, and as I bring this chapter to a close (25 more games to go at the time of this post) I thought I'd share my thoughts about this superlative Jack of All Trades.
Equipment, Skills and Loadout:
Equipment: GLD to help with the poor aim time. Rammer of course. Vents for an overall boost to all-around decent tank. Standard consumables - a hit that will set you on fire will probably mess you up too much for an Auto Extinguisher to be worth it.
Skills: Sixth Sense of course. I like Deadeye for the gunner, though Snap Shot is also a solid choice. The Driver could use Off-Road Driving first. Safe Stowage is always a good choice on a Loader. The Radioman can go straight for camo/repairs, as you are not seeking vision control in this tank.
Brothers in Arms is an excellent perk for this tank, and its cumulative effect with other skills and equipment should not be underestimated.
Finally, I have prioritized Repairs over Camouflage for my crew, as I tend to be close in to mitigate the 85mm's relatively poor accuracy.
Loadout: I played 46 AP and 2 HE before premiums for credits, then went to 36/12. As the '85 is the Tank of the Month for May, I have found that I can afford to shoot more APCR, and so I'm using 30/18.
Hints for playing this tank stock:
-Play the T-34 until you have enough free xp to research all the modules.
Notable features of the T-34-85 and how to use them:
Robust turret front. The T-34-85 has 90mm of frontal armor, coupled with a narrow mantlet and a lozenge-shaped turret that offers highly-sloped turret cheeks. This tank *will* bounce shots off its turret front thanks to this combination of strong armor and sharp angles. In all situations it's worth seeking locations that allow you to fight from cover. Remember to use destructible terrain to your advantage - cars and walls can soak the shot you need to return fire and find a new spot to fight from!
The ideal place to fight from is behind a piece of vertical, sloping cover, like the rubble piles in Himmelsdorf. The front of your tank emulates this slope and allows you to 'pop-out' while exposing the minimum possible surface. Your profile is your best armor!
'Utility' depression. 7 degrees won't help you attain a hull-down firing position, but it is useful in maintaining target acquisition in rough terrain. This is most useful in a point-blank dogfight, where you have to keep moving to maximize the chance of forcing a bounce or a clean miss. Avoid hilly terrain, however, lest you find yourself aiming at the sky in a critical situation.
Rate of fire. When you were in the T-34 you probably learned the joys of the 57mm, and the efficiency of the sudden flanking maneuver, appearing suddenly at close range and clicking madly until the enemy blows up.
Don't do this in the T-34-85.
Make no mistake, the D5T-85BM has an excellent RoF for a gun with its alpha (highest among Tier 6 mediums!). But it's no spamcannon like the M1A2 on the Shermans or the 75L70 on the Panzers. Its ~5s reload time is, however, perfect for a rocking maneuver: aim, fire, and duck under cover until your reload is half done (about 2-3 seconds), then pop out again for just long enough to aim carefully. You can repeat the maneuver ad infinitum or use the momentum of a 'duck' to reposition fully.
Here I'm playing an attrition and spotting game, mostly waiting for my teammates to get in gear, then deciding that vision and arty are going to win the game. Note that this is not an ideal spot for the T-34-85, but it's such an important strategic position that I make it work, mostly by staying constantly in motion and engaging very carefully.
In this game I use the brawling capacity of the '85 and some fortuitous teamwork to take apart the enemy. When I am engaged in the open by the Churchill, I know that my only hope is to click my way out, as his rate of fire can keep me permatracked.
A somewhat pedestrian game but I think a good example of how to fight from the bottom. I'm in the front at first, but I make myself a very difficult albeit attractive target. I move to stay with the 8s in the endgame and help ensure victory.
Feel free to ask me any questions you like about this tank.