ISU-152 Brought Back to Life

Thanks to Ross for sending me this!

Commentary by Redditor paulkempf:

Looks like a post-war mod, ISU-152K (additional fuel tanks on the back, track guards and storage boxes give it away, but no extra armour on top of the manlet, as far as I can see, so it’s not a ISU-152M).

Below is a rough translation of the blog post accompanying the video.

It was found in Holinka, Chernihivs’ka oblast, Ukraine, in 2003, but wasn’t recovered until 2012. Apparently the village officials got their hands on it some time after the war (it had to be well after 1956, when the ISU modification programme started) and were going to turn it into a memorial.

They never got around to it, used it as a tractor for a while and then just left it there to rot. It was looted and all the copper and aluminium parts (radiator, for example) that could be dismantled were sold for scrap.

All that time, the cannon was fully operational and just missing the firing pin, so the recovery team had to weld the breach shut and cut a hole in the barrel to demilitarize it.

To get it working again, the wiring, pneumatic starter, air and fuel filters and the fuel pump had to be replaced and/or repaired (the guys had the operational manual).

With the help of a crowbar (soviet engineering!) and the repaired pneumatic starter, they rotated the crankshaft a couple of times, then used to external batteries from a KAMAZ to start it up. Surprisingly, the engine and transmission were both in working order!

Afterwards they spent half a year fighting bureaucrats and government inspections to prove that this is in fact, legal. In the end, they won and got to keep it.

10 thoughts on “ISU-152 Brought Back to Life

  1. It is amazing to see Soviet WW2 era vehicles being found on the bottom of a swamp or lake, then fueled, then watch them start up again. Soviet Engineerink! German vehicles have been brought back to life as well, but I get the impression that it was much more work than with Soviet vehicles. German vehicles were difficult to get to work even under the best of circumstances. Their manuals are filled with all kinds of warnings on what to do and what NOT to do, or else you will break something beyond repair. The Germans lost many vehicles not to the enemy, but due to breakdowns, even if they had fuel for them. Fortunately, getting the ISU-152 on the trailer went off without a hitch, unlike some other movies available on youtube, where they overturned or just ran off on the other side. Thanks for sharing this!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. thats incredible to see something which hasnt moved in years start up and work like that. thats the advantage to the keep it simple and reliable approach to designing things🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. wait if it had have been illegal for them to have this what would they have done? scrap it? that would have been a bit a tragic. working again after years of neglect then scrapped immediately because of the paper work…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dang, I had totally forgotten about this video!
    Years ago I saw i the first time.
    There are more interesting recovery videos on youtube.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ”used it as a tractor”

    If i ever get to use an ISU-152 as a farming tractor, im ready to become a farmer!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Soviet tonks….too stronk to die.

    Jokes aside, the minimum amount of electronic stuff(or at least compare to German counter parts) in WW2 tanks probably is the reason these tanks can be recovered. If someone found a Ferdinand I doubt it can be recover….


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