Amercom ACBG32 PzKpfw KV II Heavy Tank - 754 Panzerkompanie (zbv) 66, Malta Invasion Force, 1941 (1:72 Scale)
"By powerful artillery fire, air strikes, and a wave of attacking tanks, we're supposed to swiftly crush the enemy."
- Marshal Georgi K. Zhukov
When the Soviets entered the Winter War, the SMK, KV and a third design, the T-100, were sent to be tested in combat conditions. The heavy armour of the KV proved highly resilient to Finnish anti-tank weapons, making it more effective than the other designs. It was soon put into production, both as the original 76-mm-armed KV-1 Heavy Tank and the 152 mm howitzer-mounting assault gun, the KV-2 Heavy Artillery Tank.
The 45-ton KV outweighed most other tanks of the era, being about twice as heavy as the heaviest contemporary German tanks. The KV's strengths included armor that was impenetrable by any tank-mounted weapon then in service except at pointblank range, good firepower, and good floatation on soft ground. Along with these strengths, its flaws were quite serious. It was very slow and difficult to steer. The transmission was unreliable. The ergonomics were poor, with limited visibility and no turret basket.
By 1942, when the Germans were fielding large numbers of long-barrelled 50-mm and 75-mm guns, the KVs armor was no longer invincible, and other flaws came to the fore. While its 76.2 mm gun was adequate, it was the same gun as carried by smaller, faster, and cheaper T-34 medium tanks. It was much more difficult to manufacture and thus more expensive than the T-34. In short, its advantages no longer outweighed its drawbacks.
Nonetheless, because of its initial superior performance, the KV-1 was chosen as one the few tanks to continue production following the Soviet reorganization of tank production. Due to the new standardization, it shared the same engine, gun and transmission as the T-34, was built in large quantities, and received frequent upgrades.
When production shifted to the Ural mountain 'Tankograd' complex, the KV-2 was dropped. The KV-2, while impressive on paper, had been designed as a slow-moving bunker-buster. It was less useful in the type of highly mobile, fluid warfare that developed in WW2. The turret was so heavy it was difficult to traverse on non-level terrain, and it was expensive to produce. Only about 250 KV-2s were made, all in 1940-41, making it one of the rarer Soviet tanks.
Shown here is a 1:72 scale replica of a redesignated PzKpfw KV II heavy tank that was attached to the German 754 Panzerkompanie (zbv) 66, then assigned to the proposed Malta Invasion Force, during 1941.
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Release Date: April 2014
Historical Account: "The Maltese Cross" - During the Spring of 1941, Germany was debating whether to attack the British stronghold of Crete or Malta. Newly acquired tanks captured from Russian forces were going to be used for the operations. T- 34s and KV-2s were combined into a special company designated (z.b.v.) 66. This company was to be used specifically for the invasion of Malta where the KV-2s would make perfect bunker busters. In March of 1941in preparation for the Malta invasion the captured KV-2s were painted in tropical camouflage schemes of Gelbraun (yellow-brown) and Graubraun (grey-brown) along with a small Balkenkreuz (black cross - national symbol) on the side of the turret. Another modification made to the KV-2s was the addition of a PzKpfw III Commander's cupola.
The decision was made to assault Crete first and on May 20th, 1941, Germany launched an airborne assault on the island. This assault was the first attempt to capture a large area using only airborne forces instead of using them to support the Wehrmacht. Crete was defended by Greek partisans and Allied forces and along with the geography this attack became very costly for the Germans. Because of the high cost during Operation Merkur the invasion of Malta was cancelled. In August of 1942 these same KV-2s were assigned to fighting around Demyansk.