IS-10 / T-10 (Josef Stalin) Heavy Tank
The IS-10 / T-10 was the last of the Josef Stalin heavy-caliber, heavy-armor tank designs dating back to the Second World War.
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The T-10 can be considered the pinnacle "Josef Stalin" tank design as it is the tank that superceded previous forms and became the final product of the series. It sported an all new main gun, redesigned body and turret and put upon itself all of the lessons learned through armored conflict in World War 2. The tank was of a heavy classification and was such an outstanding and well-regarded design that the last known operational usage of the T-10 was reported in 1996.
Outwardly, the T-10 was similar to the preceding IS (Josef Stalin) tank series with a rounded turret placed forward of the hull design and had more in common with the IS-3 than other previous forms. The T-10 featured an all new turret and main gun armament along with a redesigned hull and improved engine performance. A crew of four personnel operated the machine with the drive in the front hull and the commander, loader and gunner in the turret in traditional Soviet tank design fashion (commander and gunner on left and the loader on the right inside the turret - contrasting Western design placement). Power was derived from a single 12 cylinder diesel generating around 700 horsepower. Armor protection was excellent, reach some 10 inches at its thickest.
The T-10 appeared in two supplementary forms with subtle modifications as the T-10A and the T-10B. The final version in the series would be the T-10M, which fitted a longer M-62-T2 (L/43) main gun. This particular version also featured a new muzzle brake, NBC protection for the crew and infra-red nightvision. Additionally, self-defense machine gun protection was improved allowing for an optional 12.7mm anti-aircraft DShK machine gun to be installed.
The T-10 performed as expected and was well-regarded. It saw action with Egyptian forces against Israel in the Six Day War, losing many examples to Israeli control - to which the very same systems were used to guard the Suez Canal from Egyptian encroachment. Production of the T-10 ended in 1966, to which some 2,500 examples appeared overall, and were the last of the Soviet heavy tanks when that classification type fell out of favor with Red Army needs.