Kubinka Tank Museum Hall N1 Guide and Virtual Tour

Kubinka Museum Soviet heavy tanks and self-propelled guns hangar N1 suffered the most from the reforms and completely changed its appearance recently. Even during the construction of hangars for armored vehicles in 1972, the Central Museum of the Armed Forces was opened in Moscow. Some exhibits were “temporarily” transferred from Kubinka, including the unique Soviet KV-1 and KV-2 heavy tanks. For a long time, signs with the names of the exhibits “KV-1 tank”* and “KV-2” hung on empty places in hangar N1 in the hope of a quick return. When creating the museum during the Cold War, the idea of the hangars was to show the development of each category of armored vehicles in dynamics: chassis, turrets, weapons. It was the chassis from the KV-1 that was used for the urgent production of the famous SU-152 self-propelled gun during the Battle of Kursk. It was this self-propelled gun that destroyed the German Tigers at the Kursk Bulge, for which it received the nickname “St. John’s Wort.” (Zveroboy – Destroyer of beasts). The modernization of the KV-1 chassis made it possible to create a base for the IS series tanks – Joseph Stalin. But more than 50 years have passed, and the Army Museum has not these exhibits. Political Commanders decided that showing the strength and power of Comrade Stalin’s Red Army was more important for the Soviet people than training designers and military engineers. With the formation of Patriot Park, the concept of showing armored vehicles for engineers in the dynamics of development ceased to exist and the KV-1 and KV-2 tanks remained in the Army Museum.

SU-14 assault gun in Kubinka tank museum

View of the SU-14 next to the T-35 tank and SU-100U AG (2006)

During the reconstruction of Hangar N 1, problems with the surface appeared. Standard concrete slabs were designed to support the weight of Soviet T-72 class main tanks. But Soviet super-heavy experimental monsters such as the IS-7 Joseph Stalin tanks over a long period of time pushed through the concrete and destroyed the surface of the hangar. This problem was also solved and after 2017 the hangar began to have a modern, cozy look. A large amount of iron and concrete accumulated cold in both winter and summer, making visiting this hangar hell for visitors. When the temperature was minus 25 degrees Celsius, the visitor froze within 5 minutes. In Soviet times, visiting the Kubinka Tank Museum by officers of the Military Academy, engineers and KGB officers was mandatory and in groups. It was impossible to refuse the tour and leave the hangar. Knowing this problem, experienced guides, colonels of tank troops, periodically forced the visiting officers to jump to warm up. Movement between hangars was also a run for the same reason. Beginning in 1993, the museum opened its doors to ordinary civilian visitors who also faced this cold problem. The problem was solved by visiting a café after each hangar. The café was located in the administrative building and was warm. In accordance with the Russian folk tradition of fighting the frost, visitors drank hot tea and vodka, after which they went to see the next hangar. This was the case until 2017, when the surface was repaired and small heaters were installed. The pavilions have also become brighter and more comfortable. Below we show modern views of the hangar, as well as take a virtual tour of the past based on our own photographs, archives and memories.
Pavilion N1 from Tank museum HQ to technical and restoration center
According to the Soviet traditions and tasks when the museum was opened in 1972, Pavilion N1 was a place for the showing the Soviet heavy tanks and self-propelled guns in the process of their development: pre- WW2 technology, the creation and the development during the Second World War and further experimental and serial models of the Cold War. The exposition was completed by the self-propelled artillery guns, which were used in Afghanistan and which are still in service with the Russian army. The harmonious logical chain of development was interrupted back in Soviet times, when “temporarily” (for over 50 years) they seized the rare heavy tanks KV-1 and KV-2 for the Museum of the Soviet Army (now the Armed Forces). In 2014, a major reorganization of the museum followed, when in each hall they began to show not tanks by category, but all equipment, including the enemy, of a separate event (1941, 1942, 1943 etc..). For this purpose, most of the exhibits of the Second World War were moved to other pavilions of the Patriot Park, where you can now see them as part of the exhibitions dedicated to the Battle of Moscow, the Battle of Stalingrad, the Kursk Bulge and the Battle of Berlin.
Actual status
2021: The concrete slabs, cracked from the gravity, were replaced in the building. Plates were standard for Soviet military armored units, such as the T-72, but were not suitable for super heavy tanks like the IS-7. Cracks appeared, plates broke. The floor is now suitable for heavy tanks. The net of military equipment of the Second World War was moved (including the “monsters” – the giants of the SU-100) to new sites. As a result, free space appeared and the distance between the exhibits was increased. The tanks are now available to visitors from all sides.
Time Machine. Virtual tour back to the past of the pavilion 1.

History. “Pavilion № 1 staggering size and power of the land dreadnoughts. Five-turrets 55-ton tank T-35, two heavy self-propelled artillery, which worked out the concept of the possibility of installing the field and naval guns of large caliber caterpillar (members of the Finnish company and the defense of Moscow).
Unfortunately, heavy tanks KV (KV-1 and KV-2) and T-28 can be admired only in the Central Armored Forces Museum *, where they left temporarily, for one year (!), and have not returned for more than 30 years (but, they say, on a completely legal basis). But the heavy self-propelled artillery mount SU-152 on the base of the heavy tank KV, created during the war in just 25 days, was preserved! It was she with her three-poodus shell tearing off the tower of the “Tiger”, and a concrete-piercing shell broke his frontal armor.
The only IS-7 heavy tank left with 130 mm guns and 6 machine guns remained, which in its fighting properties was superior to the German “Royal Tiger”, stood all the tests recommended for adoption, issued an order for the manufacture of 50 cars and … not done none…
Have you ever seen a 4-caterpillar tank that, at a weight of 60 tons, walked freely around the swamp? … Or a 21st century car that our designer Pavel Pavlovich Isakov created for fear of all enemies more than 40 years ago, whose main combat characteristics and are now unattainable for foreign models?! … It is worth to get acquainted with the modern representatives of the God of War on the tank base. Among them there are cannons that report an initial velocity of about 1700 meters per second to a pudding projectile! You only blinked an eye, and the projectile already flew almost 2 kilometers ..
Self-propelled artillery installations with tender names “Acacia”, “Hyacinth”, “Tulip” .. searchlight on caterpillar track ..
When you leave the pavilion, pay attention to the heavy machine standing on the pedestal – the IS-3 tank and momentarily return to the year 1945. Golden Autumn, September 7. In the ruins of Berlin, the streets are lightly tidied .. Charlottenburg highway, a parade of Allied troops in honor of the end of the Second World War. The parade of 52 heavy Soviet tanks IS-3 closes. Their passage made a stunning impression on our allies. ”

Archive of pavilion views
Recently in the pavilion a special multimedia installation with an audio-visual films about the tanks. At 2021 removed to Patriot Park. Here are some of the exhibits of this pavilion.

WW2 Soviet T-35 heavy tank in Kubinka museum

T-35 tank with tactical markings, as seen at a military parade on Red Square in Moscow

Soviet heavy tank T-35. It was the strongest in armament and the only five-towed tank in the world. crew – a whole football team – 11 people. Read more ..
On December 19, 1939, the KV tank was taken into service (Clement Voroshilov). Serial production of tanks KV-1 and KV-2 began in 1940, and until June 22, 1941, 636 tanks were produced. German tanks and anti-tank guns could not withstand KV tanks. At the opening of the Museum of the Soviet Army in Moscow (now CMVC), the tanks KV-1 and KV-2 were temporarily 🙂 moved in 1972 for the open site of the MTCT. Since then, they are there, and instead of them there are signs on the Kubinka.
With the advent of heavy tanks T-V “Panther” and T-VI “Tiger” from the German forces, self-propelled units of 152 mm caliber, nicknamed “Hunter”, began to be manufactured on the basis of the KV-1S tanks specially for the Battle of Kursk. Since August 1943, the KV-85 tanks with an 85-mm cannon were also produced, during the war they were all produced 4800.
Since the spring of 1942, to develop medium-sized T-34 tanks, the development of a heavy IS tank (Joseph Stalin) began. Modifications were made to the IS-1, IS-2 and IS-3 (the latter was used in the war against Japan and allegedly in secret trials in the Battle of Berlin). These tanks were much more powerful than the German “Tigers” and “Panthers”, the German command even issued a special instruction, according to which it was not recommended to its tankmen to engage in the battle with the IS-2 tanks. Based on these tanks began to produce heavy ISU ISU-152 and ISU-122.
After the “allied” parade on September 7, 1945, when Churchill saw Soviet heavy tanks of IS-3, he began to prepare for a new, “cold” war. After the war, the tanks of IS-2 and IS-3 served as a model for British and American tank builders. The last domestic serial representative of this heavy class was the T-10 tank (modifications T-10A, T-10B and T-10M). The name of the IS-10 was planned, but the death of Stalin and the exposure of the cult of personality led to a change in the marking to “T”. He surpassed the English and American counterparts in firepower, protection and mobility with less weight and dimensions.

SU-14 assault gun in Kubinka tank museum

View of the SU-14 self-propelled gun when the hangar was dark and cold (2006)

Heavy SU-14-2 (N2 in catalogue list) self-propelled gun. During the Battle of Moscow, when the front was 6 kilometers from Kubinka range, this monster took part in repulsing the offensive of the fascist troops, making artillery bombardment for 22 kilometers directly from the landfill site.

Soviet SU-100 U experimental heavy assault gun in Kubinka tank museum

Soviet SU-100 U experimental heavy assault gun in Kubinka tank museum (2003 archive)

Soviet heavy self-propelled unit SU-100U, 1939, the only sample as prototype.

Tank museum an official catalogue*, P1 exhibits, (Soviet heavy tanks and Assault guns). (Copyright Mikhail Blinov).
N – Mark ———— Object ——– Year of manufacture ——– Name —- type of production

  1. Т-35, –, 1933, heavy tank, serial
  2.  SU-14-2, –, 1939, self-propelled gun, single sample (see T-35 page above)
  3. SU-100u, –, 1939, self-propelled gun, single sample (see T-35  and SU-100 U)
  4. KV-85, –, 1943, heavy tank based on KV-1S, serial
  5. SU-152, –, 1943, self-propelled gun, serial
  6. IS-2М, 240М, 1943, heavy tank, serial
  7. ISU-130,  249 250 , 1944, self-propelled gun, single sample
  8. IS-3, 703, 1945, heavy tank, serial
  9. ISU-152, 704, 1945, self-propelled gun, single sample
  10. IS-4, 701, 1947, heavy tank, serial.
  11. IS-7, 260, 1948, heavy tank, single sample
  12. Т-10, 730, 1950, heavy tank, serial
  13. ISU-152K, (ob. 241), 1943/56, assault gun, serial
  14. Т-10М, 734, 1957, heavy tank, serial
  15. ISU-152М, 241М, 1943/59, assault gun, serial.
  16. –, 266, 1957, heavy tank on T-10 base, single sample
  17. SU-152, 268, 1956, assault gun T-10 base, single sample
  18. –, 277, 1957, heavy tank, single sample.
  19. –, 279, 1957, heavy tank, single sample.
  20. –, 770, 1957, heavy tank, single sample .
  21. –, SU-100, (SU-100М) 416, 1952, assault gun (covered), single sample
  22. SU-100p, 105, 1949, assault gun, single sample
  23. BTR, 112, 1949, tracked armored carrier, single sample
  24. SU-152g, 108, 1949, assault gun, single sample
  25. SU-152p, 116, 1949, assault gun, single sample
  26. SU-152, 120, 1965, assault gun (covered), single sample
  27. SG-152, 2S3 “Acacia” (locust tree), 1969, self-propelled howitzer, serial
  28. SU-152, 2S5 “Hyacinth” (jacinth), 1974, assault gun, serial
  29. IS-3М, 703М, 1957/60, heavy tank (outside on the monument), serial (see IS-3 above)

The equipment of pavilion N1, not included in the catalog:

  • Self-propelled searchlight SPU on heavy chassis
  • Mobile command and observation point of artillery 1V15
  • 240 mm. mortar (mine-thrower) 2S4 “Tulip”

* – there are some inaccuracies in the Catalog, corrections and clarifications in the possibility are also given
** – from January 2012 – “Central Museum of Armored Weapons and Equipment”

see also:

  • Pre- and WW2, Cold War soviet army tank crew uniform

*we display the list of all exhibits existed in Hall N1 since 1972 till 2014

Since 2015 some vehicles were moved into park “Patriot” and other places (including the repairing factories and Halls)

* The KV-1 tank located in the Army Museum in Moscow should correctly be called the KV-1S, since it has different rollers and tracks from the Second World War period. Only one, the rear roller, has the correct, original convex surface. After World War II, the tank was used as a training tank at the military academy for driving, from where the museum came to Kubinka. For this reason, many artists and scale model makers have made the mistake of rollers and tracks. Serious work on the study and technical measurements of KV-1 and KV-2 tanks was carried out only by specialists from the Tomiya company (Japan). The KV-1, with fully preserved WWII completeness, is preserved only in the Tank Museum in the city of Saumur in the Loire Valley. This example also has a unique history of service in the Red Army and later in the ROA, the Russian Liberation Army.