The tier 8 Russian heavy tank IS-3 poses a serious challenge for both newer and veteran players with it’s armor scheme. It’s one of the first highly angled heavy tanks many players come across and it mixes in sloped armor on it’s hull along with very thick armor on it’s turret to give it great protection. The IS-3 unlike other tanks also has a “false” spaced armor strip along it’s side that then has a large gap behind it with armor sloped the other way to deceive attackers.
Frontally the IS-3 poses a serious challenge since it’s hull armor has many complex angles on it and it’s turret front is very strong as well. Unlike other tanks though it’s upper glacis sections are actually some of the weakest armor on the frontal view for the IS-3 since they are not very thick. Add in that most of the time you are firing *down* into the upper glacis and you take off some additional angling to make this armor even weaker.
Looking at the turret you will see that there are only a few places that are considered weak. The mantlet #2 area is very weak since it has no armor behind the 110mm mantlet section, however it is difficult to hit without having your shell come in at an angle and hit the additional armor. While it is labeled green it isn’t something to rely upon frequently. The other turret sections that are weak are mainly located around the mantlet since these areas are not angled much and can be penetrated by most tanks that face the IS-3 if you are being face hugged.
Looking at the weak spots located on the roof of the IS-3 you will see that they are numerous and provide many locations to damage the IS-3 easily. The main thing the IS-3 has going for it is that the cupola’s are very small and people will often miss and hit a stronger section surrounding the weak spots on the cupolas due to their size or if the IS-3 is moving. The area #2 section can be used for any shells over 60mm since you can overmatch it and penetrate it fairly easily since the IS-3 isn’t very tall this part is visible to most tanks.
The IS-3’s side armor is only tough if you aim at the side turret or at the spaced armor “false boards” that hide a reverse angled armor plate behind it. Simply shoot low in the lower side hull(LSH) areas and you will be fine here.
Like the side armor of the IS-3 the rear is also very easily to deal with if you avoid shooting the turret(although it is still weak to most tanks that face the IS-3) since the hull armor is very thin. Stay away from the sides of the IS-3 on the rear and you’ll do alright.
The IS-3’s armor actually gets worse when it angles since the frontal armor loses a massive amount of protection on the side closest to you. If you see an IS-3 angling like this simply shoot the lower side hull towards the front of the tank to tear it to shreds. Your next best option would the the upper frontal glacis sections closest to you since they lose their horizontal slopes and thus become easy to damage.