Tuesday, August 16, 2016

KV-13: A Bit of Everything

Hey tankers,

It's easy to overlook the KV-13, since you do not have to play this tank to get any other tank in the game, it being a unique "transition" tank between the USSR heavy tank line and the USSR medium tank line.

So does that mean that you should overlook it? Aren't all tier 7 mediums mediocre in general? Why should you bother to get this tank?

The KV-13, in my opinion, is the T-54 of tier 7.

Full Stats

The downsides of the tank are quite similar to the T-54. Poor gun depression at -5 degrees, and poor penetration. Other than that though, the tank has very few glaring downsides. Although its IS-like armor appears to be its most immediate strength compared to peers, the KV-13 actually offers quite more than just that.


The KV-13's gun, on paper, seems worse than the T-43's gun due to a slightly slower fire rate. However, the gun has significantly improved gun dispersion while on the move or turning the turret, giving it a better chance of hitting the target, making up for its slight DPM decrease. Also, the KV-13 can afford to expose itself more than the T-43 due to increased armor, therefore allowing more time for aiming in completely. Furthermore, the KV-13 gets 60 rounds of ammunition compared to the T-43's 48, allowing it to bring a comfortable stock of all three shell types.

The 85mm top gun found on the KV-13, like on the T-43, may seem disappointing to some after playing the T-34-85 at tier 6, but I've found that it still seems to work well on the KV-13, as long as you're willing to load APCR when necessary. The combination of decent alpha, good shell velocity, decent accuracy, and comfortable aim time makes the KV-13's gun feel suitable for a variety of situations, and it can easily rack up a meaty amount of damage if the KV-13 is played in the right way against opponent vehicles. Whether it's out-trading lighter tanks, tracking and flanking heavier tanks, dueling other medium tanks, or punishing lightly armored vehicles with its 300 damage HE rounds, the KV-13's gun is quite comfortable to use, and rewarding once gotten used to.

Mobility and Scoutability

Despite its armor, the KV-13 is actually one of the fastest tier 7 medium tanks, if not the fastest. When stock, the tank feels just as fast as an IS, but with a greater top speed. When fully upgraded, the KV-13 can quite easily reach and maintain its 50km speed limit on average, flat terrain. A 16.81 hp/t ratio seems joe-average, and is slightly less than the T-43's. However, the KV-13 actually is faster to accelerate than the T-43 in most circumstances due to its improved ground resistances. Combining that with a 40 deg/sec traverse speed compared to the T-43's 38, the KV-13, ironically, is an effectively more mobile tank than the T-43.

Therefore, even when the KV-13 is unable to penetrate or use its armor effectively against higher tier tanks, it can easily resort to a flanking role and remain useful on the battlefield, wolfpacking with other medium tanks or even pushing forward to a scouting position. Due to its agility, the KV-13 will never feel left behind or outmaneuvered by many of its peers.

Due to its compact shape, the KV-13 has quite nice camo values for its tier, being bested only by the T20 and T-34-1. However, an unspectacular view range of 360 reduces it capability for long-range scouting, forcing the KV-13 to take on a more active role (which fits its playstyle anyway). Due to the nature of the tank's playstyle, coated optics, IMO, are still the better choice overall compared to binoculars and will give the tank decent view range, complementing its above average concealment, and allowing the tank to take on a decent scouting role if necessary.


The KV-13's hull is very similar to the IS's hull, except its side armor is a mere 60mm behind the tracks, making it noticeably less tough when sidescraping, though sidescraping is still a useful tactic to use in the KV-13. The lower plate is 100mm and flat, but it is compact and takes time to pinpoint. The upper hull can easily bounce shots, with an egg-shaped 120mm thick portion of about 135mm effectiveness when unangled, and tough shoulders. Because of its egg-shaped frontal hull design, the KV-13 should only slightly angle its armor and wiggle it for maximum effectiveness, and sidescrape with caution.

Its turret armor is an improvement over than IS and, though not too reliable, can be quite troll. The cheeks directly left and right to the gun mantlet have a mere 115mm effectiveness, but that only makes a small portion of the turret, and the rest of the turret is round and can bounce tougher rounds. The cupola is also rather small, and the lower half of the cone is angled to a 150mm+ effectiveness. The gun mantlet itself can absorb some shells. Furthermore, the turret is compact and hard to hit in general, and turns quickly at 48 deg/sec, making it especially effective when wiggled while reloading.

However, the lack of real reliability in the KV-13's armor, due to its exploitable flat areas and thin side armor, renders it rather foolish to use in the manner of a heavy tank. The KV-13 plays best  as a normal medium tank, with the armor simply giving it an opportunity to trump other medium tanks in skrimishes and have increased staying power in surprise engagements. In comparison the T-54 Mod 1, the KV-13 sacrifices sheer armor effectiveness in exchange for retaining competitive mobility. In short, the KV-13 should use its armor to gain an advantage when possible, but refrain from relying on it to the point of playing solely like a heavy tank, even when top tier.


So how exactly do you play a KV-13? Well, its playstyle is extremely flexible and there is no real best single way to play the tank. It has to adapt to the situation, and use leverage whatever advantages it has against certain opponents. Just remember in every stage in the game, is there something you can be doing that helps your team better? A particular tank to engage? A particular position? It's not always easy to decide, but by playing the tank and learning when and where to flex, you can easily trump over opponents playing more specialized tanks.

In a tier 7 matchup, you don't really want to play like a full-on heavy tank, but certainly can take aggressive positions shared by the enemy team, as the KV-13 is so good at dispatching mediums of its tier and lower while skirmishing for a position. Use your mobility and/or armor to control engagements, and don't be afraid to put your gun into play and, along with the support of teammates, play aggressively.

In a tier 8 matchup, the KV-13 should definitely play more passively in the beginning of the game. Meeting a full-health tier 8 medium head-on will often result in heavy HP losses, even if you can penetrate back with ease. The KV-13 does a good job at cleaning up lower-tier tanks, allowing your stronger allies to focus on the strongest enemy tanks, and eventually the KV-13 can start to directly engage and put in shots into weakened enemies. The KV-13's armor will be enough to deflect a shot or two, and the fast-firing 85mm will do the rest while flanking. Scouting with the use of cover isn't a bad idea either.

In a tier 9 matchup, the KV-13 must play as a support tank. Stay out of trouble, get in shots whenever you can, but always look out for the possibility of overextending. Always look at the minimap and look for opportunities where you can flank around and surprise the enemy with a few shots, and running away if necessary. If you have the opportunity, strike on lightly armored vehicles with the 300 alpha HE rounds, but otherwise load APCR when necessary while supporting.


Below is my personal equipment setup for the KV-13:

Coated Optics

Improved Ventilation Class 2

Medium Caliber Tank Gun Rammer

I chose coated optics in slot 3, since it allows the KV-13 to adapt to a scouting role in higher tier matches. It may not be able to outspot enemies, but with the use of cover, the KV-13 can at least spot enemy vehicles at around the same range, stay alive, and help light up targets for its team, which is still beneficial.

I suggest snap shot for the gunner and smooth ride for the driver, followed by repairs for the rest of the crew until you can swap the commander's skill for sixth sense. The nature of the KV-13 is to be very flexible in its engagents, and repairs helps it survive and also run away easier. Smooth ride and snap shot helps it to hit enemies more easily while moving and greatly increases the reliability of the gun. After that, BiA followed by camo is good, and the rest should be your preference - whatever you think is helpful to your playstyle.

Compared to the tier 9 T-54, this tank is stuck at a tier of awkward, mediocre mediums while the T-54 is at a tier where medium tanks are almost completely refined and distinct in playstyle. While the KV-13 may not be the hovertank HEAT spamming machine that the T-54 is, the KV-13 has still caught my eye as an excellent tier 7 tank and will remain unsold in my garage. It is certainly a reliable and effective tank when used correctly, and I feel that it has contrasted itself from the many other tier 7 tanks that I have retired without regret. Also, the KV-13 will not have to tangle with tier 10 medium tanks (and other tier 10s) in any normal circumstance, which I feel gives it a significant advantage in overall consistency.

Thanks for reading and good luck on the battlefield.


  1. You need to be recognized! Your guides are really good and help me a lot. Thanks!

    1. Good to hear! I'm glad they've helped :)