King Tiger vs IS-2
ISBN: 978 1 84908 404 8
Contributor: Andrew Nguyen
Review Date: 3 Sep 2014
As the war on the Eastern Front raged on, both the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany upgraded their forces, particularly their armored units with larger and deadlier weapons. This arms race started during Operations Barbarossa when the Germans encountered the Soviet T-34 medium tank, which proved far more powerful than the standard German tanks. In response, the Germans already had the Tiger under development and once they found out the T-34, immediately developed an additional response in the form of the Panther.
Even immediately, after the Tiger had received approval, a new German heavy tank underwent development due to the Tiger already being six years old (design wise). This new Tiger, called the King Tiger, had a more powerful version of its legendary 88mm gun along with more armor, particularly at the front. Furthermore, the design of the tank had similarities to that of the Panther and T-34 in terms of it being sloped to enhance protection.
For the IS-2, it had undergone originally developed as part of the KV series of tanks. After the downfall of the namesake of the KV tanks, the named changed to JS, the initials of Joseph Stalin. At first the 85mm gun would have been the IS series main weapon but in the aftermath of Kursk, attention focused eventually on mounting a 122mm gun onto the new heavy tank. It resulted in the JS-2, which along with the T-34s would spearhead the Red Army's drive to Berlin.
As with all of the Duel series, King Tiger vs IS-2 discusses the capabilities of the two vehicles along with their development histories and the crews that operated these vehicles. With all of the information laid out, the main section of the book focuses on the fighting that involved these two machines. In this case, it was the fighting in eastern Germany during the last weeks of the war as they attempted to halt the Russian advance to Berlin.
Despite the number of pages, it provides excellent detailed information about the vehicles and their crews as well as the battle that they had participated in as it concerned with their respective strengths and weaknesses. Both vehicles also had their own books in the New Vanguard series back when it first started so this particular book serves as to provide updated information, particularly in the case of the IS-2. Overall, it serves as a good update for the two vehicles as well as giving small but vital glimpse on what it was like fighting in a tank on the Eastern Front during the war's last and in some ways truly terrible days.
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