| /

The KV was ordered right off the drawing board. When the Soviets entered the Winter War, the SMK, KV and a third design, the T-100, were sent to be tested in combat conditions. The KV outperformed the SMK and T-100 designs. The KV's heavy armour proved highly resistant to Finnish anti-tank weapons, making it more difficult to stop. In 1939, the production of 50 KVs was ordered. During the war, the Soviets found it difficult to deal with the concrete bunkers used by the Finns and a request was made for a tank with a large howitzer. One of the rush projects to meet the request put the howitzer in a new turret on one of the KV tanks. Initially known as 'Little turret KV' and 'Big turret KV', the 76-mm-armed tank was redesignated as the KV-1 Heavy Tank and the 152 mm howitzer one as KV-2 Heavy Artillery Tank.

KV tanks first faced the Germans in the Battle of Raseiniai, just after the start of Operation Barbarossa. On 23 June, over 200 German tanks advancing through Lithuania encountered Soviet armor, including KV-1 and KV-2 tanks.