The ISU-152 began it’s life on the drawing board at Chelyabinsk factory under the watchful eyes of Joseph Kotin in the enclosed construction bureau. The Red Army was in need to find a successor the SU-152, as it was based on the chassis of the KV tank, which was going to be removed from production. Thus it was decided that the newer IS chassis should be used to house the new superstructure while maintaining the same gun. Improvements were made to the new design including improved ventilation for the crew compartment, improved optics and a machine gun. One of the main requirements for this new SPG was the necessity of 100 mm of armor. Being on the drawing board for weeks while the blueprints were being drawn, the designs were eventually finished in 1943 and the prototype was under construction from July, later designated the ISU-152.
|Cross-section depiction of the ISU-152
heavy assualt gun in War Thunder
Stalin himself and three others viewed the new design when it went on display as a prototype at Ivanovskaya Square at the Kremlin. With great interest Stalin looked at the new designed SPG up close and at one stage he looked inside the vehicle to ask if the ventilation issue had been solved. No answer was given until the driver spoke up and stated it had. Stalin was satisfied and it was cleared for production by the Committee of Defense in November of 1943.
As a prototype the SPG was known as the “Object 236”. While in the testing, many faults were found and the SPG was sent back to Chelyabinsk. After the shortcomings were looked at and improved, it was given a new designation as “Object 241”. After state trials on the Gorohovetskom test range, the order was given to adopt this variant under the name “ISU-152”. This happened in December 1943, putting the Chelyabinsk factory in full swing production. Although up armored and on the IS chassis, this SPG still held onto some of its former SU-152 traits, these being: the gun, the same rear drive wheels, the same amount of road wheels and a torsion bar suspension system.
The fighting compartment was able to house five crew members. Three of them were situated left of the gun, namely the driver, gunner and first loader, while two of them were placed on the right of the gun, here namely the commander and second loader. The two loaders were perceived necessary, due to the large and heavy two piece ammunition.
|Detail view of the ISU-152's ML-20S
howitzer cannon prior to installation
In game, the ISU-152 is positioned at rank V. With a Battle Rating of 6.7 it is easily outclassed in armor, speed and reload times compared to its enemies. It does, however, have good mobility during turns and the ML-20s also brings a good range of shells with it, like the PB-540 HEAT round, QF-540 HE round, BR-540B APHEBC round and the BR-540 APHE round. Making the right choice of ammunition is important, as the maximum capacity is only 20 shells in total. My personal favourites are the QF540, and BP-540.
While weighing in at 46 tonnes, the ISU-152 with its lower profile can still sneak up on its enemies and do some major damage. The top speed of this assault gun is 38 km/h and with an expert crew you can get you reloads down to about 24.5 seconds. And yes, it is still a long reload but remember, the ammunition comes in two pieces that both weight a lot. So after firing your shot, it is best to remove yourself from your firing position while you reload. How you play this assault gun is up to you, but with the max armor of 90 mm I would stay out of harms way as much as possible. Personally, I feel the ISU-152 is better used in groups than as a lone wolf, as there will be moments where you could use support for this monster from your group. At the same time, you will be able to supplement your comrades with well needed heavy hitting support fire in the process.
Author: Andrew 'Chaos_Tzeentch' O’sullivan
With one of the coming Updates we'll be adding the «На Запад!» (To the West!) decal to War Thunder:
Decal by Branislav 'InkaL' Mirkov