A roar echoed off the mountains as the IS-2â€™s 400 horsepower engine roared to life.
The tank started to move and accelerate to its top speed of 23 miles an hour. It was cramped inside the tank and quite uncomfortable. He looked out the small commander’s cupola to view the road ahead. The tank was at top speed now, sending up a large cloud of dust behind it. He looked down to tell the driver to slow the 46 ton hunk of metal down, as he spoke the driver glanced up at him and as they talked and for the duration of the short conversation no one had eyes on the road. In that time a high explosive shell slammed into the ground only feet from the speeding tank. The blast shook the tank on its suspension. The noise and movement of the tank brought the crew back to the task at hand.
The commander looked up and spotted a cloud of smoke and through it he could make out the outline of a ferdinand desperately trying to relocate. â€œtrack em!â€ he yelled as the tank came around to pursue the fleeing tank. The gunner instantly lined up a shot and landed a high explosive shell within inches of its target, the blast blew the track off. Quickly they positioned themselves behind the tank and put a shell into the opponent’s rear, the shot penetrated the weak rear armor. The tank exploded in a massive cloud of flames and steel, the shot must have hit the ammunition rack. Massive chunks of metal slammed into the IS-2 , shaking the tank violently.
He opened the commander’s hatch and surveyed the damage, movement in the corner of his eye caught his attention. He looked over and saw two outlines rapidly approaching, they looked to be King Tigers, and they were headed their way. He yelled a command to the crew and the turret Â was quickly traversed towards the inbound tanks. The gunner laid into them, firing as fast as they could reload. Shell after shell flew towards the opposing tanks, although less than half actually damaged the powerful King Tigers thick armor. Soon the Tigers began to return fire, the IS-2 was shaken by a shell bouncing off the turret and another hitting the front armor. The IS-2 was thrown into reverse and rocked backwards to cover, firing rounds at the oncoming tanks.
He looked behind him and saw reinforcements he had called Â for Â coming in fast, 10 more IS-2s, 5 SU-152s and around 20 T-34s. He looked back ahead and saw that 7 Tigers were moving in fast, followed by around 15 Panzer 4s, 6 Hetzers, and 3 Ferdinands. The tanks radio came to life â€œIS-2 fall back, we are establishing a defensive line, artillery will cover youâ€ another shell hit the IS-2s front armor and he shouted to the driver to get them turned around, no response. He looked at the drivers seat, the man was dead, shrapnel had flown through the small viewport, slitting his throat. The radio operator soon took over driving and had them turned around and heading back. The drivers body had been moved to the radio operator’s seat and was of no concern to the crew, tank men died all the time, they were disposable.
The tank was approaching top speed now, and was almost unstoppable, as most 46 ton tanks are at a high speed. The only thing that could stop it now was a shot to the track, and that’s just what happened. The tank careened to a halt, the engine was cut and the radio operator (and now the driver too) jumped from the tank to repair the track. The dust cloud luckily stopped the tank from being seen and the damaged part of the track was replaced in less than a minute. The tank was soon back under way, almost at the line of tanks set up to cover the fleeing IS-2. The tank passed through a gap in the newly formed barricade to relative safety.
Many of the tank crews behind the line were gearing up for the the impending fight and others were cleaning tanks or helping load the 3 massive S-51 spgs sitting about 100 meters behind the line of tanks now firing at the oncoming German assault. Â But no matter where you looked you could see, hear, and feel the fear of the impending battle.