Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Axis and Allies miniatures: KV-1

I'll be posting, on an occasional basis, musings about particular pieces in the Axis & Allies series of miniatures.

The KV-series tanks show up fairly often in Axis & Allies Miniatures, It's collector No. 4/48 from the Base Set, shown left, and again as No. 20/60 of the 1939-45 set, shown below. This card has been officially revised, with new special ability notes on the Hasbro Axis & Allies Miniatures site. An up-gunned version of the tank appears as the KV-85 in the Eastern Front set, No. 19/60.

Rarity: Rare
Speed: 3
Defense: 6/6
Cost: 32 (35 for the KV-85)
Attacks vs troops at short-medium-long ranges: 9 -9 -7
Attacks vs vehicles at short-medium-long ranges: 13 -11 -10 (14-12-10 for the KV-85)


Special abilities:

KV-1 (revised): Exposed Transport — This unit can carry one Soldier. That Soldier can be attacked while it’s boarded on this transport. (A friendly Soldier can board or dismount this unit instead of moving during your movement phase.) The original version of the ability was simply Transport, which unrealistically made the soldiers immune to enemy fire.

Heavy Armor — Ignore the first Damaged counter this unit receives each game. Originally this special ability was called Hulking Mass

KV-85 special ability: Heavy Armor — Ignore the first Damaged counter this unit receives each game.

KV-1 historical text

On 19 August 1941, Lt. Zinoviy Kolobanov destroyed 22 German tanks at Krasnogvardeysk in his KV-1. His tank was hit 135 times during the firefight, but not one German shell penetrated the tank’s heavy armor.

KV-85 historical text

Delays in the development of a new heavy tank led the Soviets to produce this improved version of the KV-1.

The unit in history: Experience from the Spanish Civil War prompted the Soviets to consider the merits of more heavily armed and armored tanks, leading to the fielding of the KV-1 heavy tank and the medium T-34 tanks which unpleasantly surprised German panzer troops in 1941. Unlike the revolutionary T-34, the KV-1 was a conventional design that achieved its superiority through the simple principle of "more." A larger engine, thicker armor and a bigger gun than contemporary foreign designs was the formula. The design had limited potential for growth, however, and aside from the stop-gap KV-85 version, the tank was superseded by the IS series of tanks in the latter part of the war. The KV chassis served as the basis for the powerful SU-152 heavy assault gun, however. KV stands for Kliment Voroshilov, a Soviet official.

The unit in the game: The KV-1 is a very good 1941 tank. It's heavy armor is enough to make it a tough opponent for early war Axis tanks; let alone the heavy armor special ability which means it will take several tries to bring it down under normal battlefield conditions. The transport ability is nice to have, allowing the tank to carry some protective infantry along. It's a cost-effective purchase at 32 points, providing good all-around capability against both vehicle and soldier targets. By 1943, when the KV-85 becomes available, the tank series isn't significantly better than most medium tanks in fighting power and is still slow, so it's most likely to appear in historical scenarios.

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