Weak Spot Guide: IS-3

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.

Frontal Views


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.

Side View


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.

Rear View


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.

Angled View


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.

21 Comments on "Weak Spot Guide: IS-3"

  1. Gtrisking[marv] | February 22, 2013 at 7:16 am |

    This is so helpful, but tbh, i leave the is3 to other heavies, i really hate going head to head with this tank. I mostly play french light tanks and i really stay away from this tank unless we’re on Rape mode and its the only tank alive. This guide helps though when im playing my tds 🙂

  2. Spanisharmada | February 27, 2013 at 3:00 pm |

    In my experience, in tanks like the KV-5, if you do not have ramming speed, Because of your height, you can shoot down on the IS-3s commanders cupola, pretty much always an insta-pen! Great guide, just a couple of typos (trustly commanders hatch)

  3. Frontal armor area 4 effect armor ? did my panther 2 top gun pen it ?

  4. Tankgirls_tank | April 14, 2013 at 1:44 am |

    The Turret Side Armor should be 220 not 110 or am i fully wrong?

  5. The numbers from ingame are largely useless, as they only tell you the highest thickness.

    It’s 110mm for the “Area Four”, but 220mm for the “Area Six”. This becomes much clearer if you look at the second picture in the armor schematics.

    • Still need to update this weak spot guide(it is one of the first I did before this website) so it is more of a “general guide” than definite.

  6. Hi and thanks for your time in producing these amazing guides etc 🙂

    Just on the IS3 – isn’t the ammo rack at the front right, ahead of the turret, so combined with the poorer armour, is a large danger point?

    Thanks again.


  7. terrible fucking guide. Update it or something because this is inaccurate as hell. 175 pen guns shoot your tracks from the front and it makes damage and tracks you at the same time. The side where it says “spaced armor” is also false since I saw holes on my sides that in fact made damage.

    • Dude, just cause the armor is spaced doesn’t mean it wont do damage. This guide is quite accurate, and remember all tanks that get tracked have a chance to take damage. This guy here is doing a great job, giving us accurate info, and spending the time to do the math to show us how the angles assist with armor penetration and effective armor. Ignorance is not a crime, but making false statements from ignorance is just disrespectful. One thing though, it would be nice to have a back view of the tank as well.

    • Dude, don’t be a douche. This guy did a hell of a great job on this guide you ungrateful curmudgeon.

  8. I think this guide need up date, at last track now ar space armor. And i like new image 🙂

  9. Definitely time for an update, especially the turret. it helps to remember that most tanks are taller then this thing, and can get a downward shot into that turret top, which is basically an insta pen (I’ve killed IS3’s with tier 6 and 7 heavies like that)

  10. You do not need a taller tank to use turret roof plate as weak spot.

    It has only 20mm thickness. Any shell of >60mm caliber will overmatch it by 3 times.
    This will make the angle useless -> no autobounce

    So a tiny StuGIII with 75mm Gun will pen there, despite they fact it not at all taller than IS-3.

    If you are taller or stand on high ground relative to IS-3 it helps only to hit this weakspot reliably.
    It is only a matter of accuracy not of penetration.

  11. I have a tip for update: I don’t know exact thickness and angle, but roof of the turret is very weak and even slightly angled toward front. So I would call it weakspot too. If you are face hugging IS-3 with tank high enought, like T-32, shoot on the top of the roof. And the shell will go in easily. Same situation comes, when IS-3 exposes you the roof due to terrain. I like to shoot there when I can, because there is high chance to damage modules or kill crew.

    • Whole guide is outdated man, IS-3 front armor angles has been changed and now it easier to penetrate upper part of pike nose than lower part if you shooting from 0-100m (with penetration >200mm and some acc even from bigger distance), for example from T32 T29 105 canon with AP you just choosing that “cheek” which IS is facing to you and shooting juts above lower plate and hear “Penetration!!!”.
      I have’t shooting to turret ring ever, if hes facing me by gun i would rather shot between those two periscopes on right part of turret and hit 80mm commanders hatch.

  12. I have about 100 battles in IS3 and I’m always arty magnet. How can I play better to avoid early death ?

  13. Stay in cover while reloading and keep moving if no cover is available. Even rocking back and forth can make it much more difficult for arty to land a solid hit.

    I suggest watching videos on arty tactics so you can understand the arty safe zones and where they like to set up.

    Best option is to play arty so you can get a better feel for how the maps effect their fields of fire and give you in site to how to avoid fire.

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