IS-2 in Czechoslovak Service

Hello everyone,

in today’s short article, we’re going to talk about the heavy IS-2 tank in Czechoslovak service.


I think I don’t need to introduce the IS-2 tank, the best Soviet heavy tank of Second World War. It was the evolution of the original IS, equipped with a powerful 122mm D-25 gun. This tank killed the German Big Cats and was as rugged as it got in the war.

During the war, the exile Czechoslovak army in the Soviet Union (1st Czechoslovak Tank Brigade) did not operate these monsters, having to make do with various tech, from the T-70 light tanks to the SU-85 self-propelled guns and T-34 tanks. Right before the end of the war however, the newly re-estabilished Czechoslovak army recieved 8 of the IS-2 tanks, that took part in the May parade in Prague on 17.5.1945. These tanks were from the “early” batch of the IS-122 tank series from late 1943/early 1944 with screw-type breech and in 1945, they were used by the 42nd Guards Heavy Tank Brigade, participating (in Soviet hands) in the battle of Ostrava.


After the parade, the tank unit was transferred to Ostrava (north Moravia), where it was re-organized to a corps level unit – 1st Tank Corps, a part of which was the Heavy Tank Batallion (the unit was however marked as “special” and was not counted in official tank numbers for some reason). In October 1945, the unit was moved to Moravská Třebová and later to Vysoké Mýto. It stayed active for some months, but it was disbanded in February 1947. At that point, the unit had only 7 IS-2 tanks, what happened to the eigth one is unclear. In fact, the numbers here are different in various sources (another source states the Batallion operated only 5 tanks at that point). The reason for the unit being disbanded was the fact that the vehicles were worn from use, there was a general lack of spare parts and even though the Czechoslovak army at first considered importing 20 more of these tanks, it never happened. The tanks were not “given” to any other unit and gotmothballed, but were a part of army reserves as late as in 1949.

After 1949, the vehicles were completely phased out and some were converted to memorials. The most famous is the one in Přelouč and the one in Prague. The Prague IS-2 memorial at Smíchov was the famous “pink tank”. Until 1991, it stood at Smíchov as a reminder of the Soviet liberation of Prague. In 1991, an “artist” called David Černý re-painted it to pink colour. The army re-painted it green, then it was re-painted pink again and finally it was moved to the Lešany museum, where it remains.


The Přelouč tank (military number 73704) was also a memorial from the town of Přelouč from 1949 to 1990, when it was given to the Military Historical Institute (VHU). Between 2013 and 2014, it was renovated by VOP CZ and it was introduced to public in August 2014 Tank Day at Lešany in running condition.

Here a video of that event (the IS appears at cca 2:00)




34 thoughts on “IS-2 in Czechoslovak Service

    • What makes an artist an artist? This guy’s only famous because he was a friend of Vaclav Havel and using this friendship, he got to promote his “art” for taxpayer money.

      • And? Known or unknown, promoted or not promoted, he makes art. I consider a local guy on the sidewalk being the same artist as someone promoted by Rotchilds. He makes new, creative pieces of what one could call an art, therefore he is an artist.

        • On the other hand, don’t you think there should be at least some level of quality involved? Sure I can try to break an atom with my sledgehammer, but is it enough for me to be considered a scientist? This is actually a pretty serious topic. Just look around. At work a guy handing you something from company warehouse is called manager, uneducated people with poor grammar writing nonsense for an internet mag are called journalists, everyone and his dog bashing a can with his tail is considered a musician and so on…shouldn’t we be a little more cautious with these designations and titles?

          • But what is “quality” in art? Some artists are only appreciated years after their death, does that mean that while they were alive their art wasn’t art enough? And it even seems that SS is against the concept of money being the appreciation of the art quality (which I slightly agree, but maybe in a different way).

            Let’s say it like this, D. Černý is considered an artist by:
            - his buyers
            - his peers
            - not a small part of public.

            Is that enough to be declared as an artist?

      • No one can answer that. It is too subjective. Art is annoying in this way you see…

        For example I still wonder why the hell people like games like Bioshock and Bioshock Infinite… when Metro:Last Light was superior.
        Why YOU like Skyrim… when games like The Witcher and STALKER exist…

        *Differences in themes and gameplay not included, only overall game impressions and some small-medium similarities in game design*

        Truth is… there is no simple answer… apart from taste/informed opinions.

      • To kind of make a comparison – I might call you a blogger or a “blogger” – the former just describes you as a blogging person, the other takes a nudge at your position or how you got to it (connections, wealth, whatever) – but IMO is stupid, because after all you are a blogger, no matter how you came to it. It’s unnecessary bias inserted into a written text just to make a nudge. I might have personal feelings against you (well, not me, but as an example), but I should still call you blogger normally, because the personal feelings towards you shouldn’t mix with your objective position of blogger.

        • Exactly. I don’t say I find D. Cerny art something special, but he is an artist, the same way you are a blogger. Or “blogger”?

          Could you, SS, tell us who, from contemporary Czech art scene, you consider true artist and who is known beyond his/her hometown namepost? I’m just curious.

  1. “Right before the end of the war however, the newly re-estabilished Czechoslovak army recieved 8 of the IS-2 tanks”

    So they gathered them from free XP

  2. Silent.

    I have been wondering, was the 122mm M62 T2 EVER considered for the IS-2? As a sort of modification to help it out as it was getting older?

    You once confirmed that the M62 T2 could be installed on ANY tank that can use the D-25T, so it seems like its technically possible.

    I was envisioning a tier 8 premium IS-2 with this gun (similar to the US T34 Heavy). Gameplay wise, if balanced well (soft stats mostly) it can be awesome IMO.

  3. My Grandfather served on IS-2-122 as commander in Polish Army after the WWII just before his demobilization (before that he was commander of T-34-85). He was stationed in Słubice, Poland, just at East German border. He said that driving an IS-2 (“Stalinowiec” as he called it) was a lot easier and “lighter” than T-34, generally he was quite positive about them.

    But does really that russian POS “killed” The Big Cats? I’m not sure if IS-2 was the real reason…

    • Not the only reason of course, but its firepower was brutal, it was capable of going against Tiger II, something the T-34/85 was technically not able to do (at least not at long distances)

      • Brutal firepower for sure, that 122mm gun is a beast… but with that reaload time (1.5 shots per minute?) and (correct me if I’m wrong) need to lower the gun to actually load it with new shell, duell with Tiger / King Tiger should be more or less equal? If IS was spotted first, or it missed, L53/L71 should do it’s job…?

        SS, are there any known 1vs1 fights beetween Tiger/KT and IS tanks…?

        Funny enough, Grandpa said they were, in Officers School, taught about how to fight with West armour forces (as Iron Curtain was dividing us from Europe), but a lot of materials “where to shoot”, “how to fight with” etc. were about Panthers and Tigers – relict from WW II.

        “Where was Greenpeace, when those Cats were shot” :P

        • The elevation thing is wehraboo bullshit. It is not true and it never was. The practical rof during stop is about 3,5 rounds per minute, the 1,5 goes for on the move loading. Also the firepower of the 122 just rips off the frontal plate, or spalls it catastrophically. Even ZiS-S-53 kills KT through frontal armor by spalling on the inside at about 300m. There is no need to pen the german overhardened armor. Western guns did not have enough caliber to do so, but Russians, who relied on big guns did not have many problems.

  4. You mention these being early IS-2′s, but the glacis is the smooth one of the Mod. 1944 instead of the stepped one of early IS-2′s …

    • Actually, I do not know about this much. I know that the museum description of this vehicle states that it belonged to a batch made in very late 1943 to early 1944 and that it’s na “older” variant with screw breech.

      • One of them, the one that now drives in Lešany is an early one, but the others were late tanks made in early 1945 that did not even make it to combat once.

  5. Can we talk about that anti-tank rifle the three soldiers (first in white) are holding as the IS-2 drives by them?