One of the defining moments of the Cold War regarding armoured vehicles was the Berlin victory parade in 1945. Amongst the ranks of parading Soviet armour was something calculated to give any Western Allied general the shock of his life, the JS III. Even if they had not seen its predecessors, intelligence reports must have made them aware of the combination of heavy carapace shaped armour, together with a 122mm gun. However, what was before them upped the stakes even more, the armour was arranged even better and the gun, which far outranged anything the West could offer, was housed in the first of the Soviet’s inverted frying pan shaped turrets. This series of vehicles led directly to their potential joint nemesis, Conqueror in the United Kingdom and M103 from America.

Just as JS III was designed to back up T34/85 with its 85mm gun and later T54/55 with 100mm guns, so its existence and subsequent refinement into the T10 series made Conqueror and M103 exist to protect the earlier Centurion and Patton series tanks. JS III was then being developed into its final form as T10, correcting some of JS III’s shortcomings such as low speed and small ammunition supply, although improvements were minimal. The gun however, was improved and the vehicle lengthened. This vehicle’s last appearance in action was during the Arab/Israeli conflicts. Just as the up-gunning of Centurion and the M48/M60 series to 105mm signalled the end of Conqueror and M103, so the development of Soviet designs such as T62 and T64/72 rendered the deployment of these behemoths redundant. It is unlikely that any were deployed by their parent country after the late 1960’s.

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