September 7th 1945, the allied nations were staggered by Russia's
disclosure of their JS-3 heavy tank at a victory parade in Berlin.
Although coded a "JS" (Josef Stalin) tank, it had a totally different
appearance from its preceding models. The one-piece cast turret had a
simple flattened hemispherical shape. The maximum thickness of the
turret armor reached 250mm. The front hull was constructed by welding
three 120mm thick armor plates, forming a shape like a ship's bow. The
main armament used the same L/43 122mm gun as the JS-2. The 520
horsepower diesel engine provided 40km/h of maximum speed. With the
concerted effort of the talented Russian tank engineers such as N.L.
Jukhov and Z.A. Kotin, the prototype was completed in October 1944 and
the mass production began in the following year. There have been a lot
of controversy concerning whether or not the JS-3 saw any fighting
during the Berlin campaign. At least one regiment was equipped with the
JS-3 by then, but it's still uncertain if they were committed to the
actual fighting. Other sources claim that it was first deployed in
combat against the Japanese in Manchuria in August 1945. Incorporating
several modifications, its production was continued until 1951 and about
1,800 JS-3's were produced. Its simple and effective turret and hull
configuration deeply influenced not only the following Russian tanks,
but also fighting vehicles of the western nations.