IS Tanks (‘IS’ meaning Joseph Stalin or Iosif Stalin in Cyrillic) were a series of heavy tanks manufactured by the Soviet Union during WWII. This IS-2 served with the red Army’s 50 Guards Tank Regiment to the end of the war, including the Battle for Berlin. These massive machines were used as breakthrough tanks, firing high explosive shells that were devastating against bunkers and trenches. Used by 11 countries, the IS-2 was one of few tanks that could penetrate the frontal armor of both Tiger and Panther tanks. The IS-2 was used by the Soviet forces in the final stage of the Battle of Berlin. There were over 3,800 IS-2 tanks produced during WWII.
Our IS-2 tank was manufactured in Russia in February 1944. By the war’s end the tank was in Germany and served with the East German Army. The Collings Foundation acquired this tank from the Overloon War Museum in the Netherlands and transported it to the Collings Foundation in 2016. (One of only two in the Western Hemisphere.)
The Collings Foundation has restored this IS-2 to running condition. The process of taking the tank apart has been fascinating. Bullet slugs were found wedged in the armor seams. Some bullet holes appear to go right through the entire hull. We have identified a large hole in the turret that must have been from a German anti-armor round.