SELF-PROPELLED ARTILLERY

 

122mm M-1974

 

Origin: Soviet Union.

Type: Self-propelled howitzer.

Dimensions: Length (hull) 23·95ft (7·3m); width 9·35ft (2·85m); height 7·87ft (2·4m).

Combat weight: 35,273lb (16,000kg).

Engine: YaMZ-238V V-8 water-cooled diesel; 240hp.

Performance: Road speed 37·3mph (60km/h); range 310 miles (500km); vertical obstacle 3·6ft (1·1m); gradient 60 per cent.

 

Development: The second of the new range of SPs to appear was the 122m M-1974. This is also a straightforward combination of the 122m D-30 (qv) elevating mass with a new turret, and mounted on a modified PT-76 chassis (there is an additional roadwheel, making seven in all).

       The main armament consists of a modified version of the122m D-30 towed howitzer and is fitted with a double-baffle muzzle brake and a fume extractor. This fires an HE projectile weighing 48·06lb (21·8kg) to a maximum range of 16,738yd (15,300m). The weapon can also fire a spin-stabilizer HEAT projectile which has a range penetrate 18in (460mm) of armour at an incidence of 0 degrees.

       The turret is small and very low compared with Western SPs and it appears highly likely that an automatic loader is fitted. Forty rounds of ammunition are carried, normally a mixture of HE and anti-tank.

       The M-1974 is fully amphibious, being propelled in the water by its tracks at a speed of 3mph (4·5km/h) and, unlike many other Soviet amphibious AFVs, a trim vane is not fitted. The vehicle is also fitted with an NBC system.

       The M-1974 (Soviet designation – 2S1) is being issued in the Soviet Army as follows: artillery division, 36; motor rifle division, 36; tank division 72. It is also widely used in the non-Soviet Warsaw Pact armies. 

Above: Mechanics at work on the engine of an M-1974 SP gun; top speed with the 240hp available is 37mph (60km/h) on roads.

 

Below: Combining the D-30 towed howitzer and the PT-76 chassis, the M-1974’s very compact turret indicates an automatic loader.

 

 

152mm M-1973

 

Origin: Soviet Union.

Type: Self-propelled howitzer; one 7·62mm AAMG.

Dimensions: Length (gun forwards) 25·52ft (7·78m); length (hull) 23·43ft (7·14m); width 10·5ft (3·2m); height 8·92ft (2·72m).

Combat weight: 50,705lb (23,000kg).

Engine: V-12 diesel; 520hp.

Performance: Road speed 34·2mph (55km/h); range 186 miles (300km); verticle obstacle 3·6ft (1·1m); trench 9·19ft (2·8m); gradient 60 per cent.

 

Development: The Soviet Union continued to use exclusively wheeled artillery for many years after Western armies had begun the process of converting to self-propelled weapons. This was somewhat surprising in view of the Soviet Army’s doctrinal emphasis upon rapid and flowing advance, for which towed artillery is less than ideal. Nor can the innate conservatism of Soviet artillerymen be blamed, since they have been so innovative in other fields. Whatever the reason, they are now making up for lost time and have produced four sturdy, effective and relatively uncomplicated self-propelled weapons, the 152mm M-1973, the 122mm M-1974 and most recently, the 152mm M-1982 gun and the 203mm SP gun.

       The first to appear was the M-1973, which was produced by taking the 152mm D-20 elevating mass, mounting it in a large turret, and utilizing an existing chassis (which appears to be identical to that used by the SA-4 Ganef). The only noticeable modification is that the gun tube is fitted with a fume-extractor to keep the turret clear of toxic gases. Unlike the majority of Soviet AFVs, the M-1973 is not amphibious.

       The M-1973 is being issued to the army on a scale of 18 per division, and it is believed that all first echelon tank division have now been complete re-equipped. In addition, at least some motor rifle divisions also have the M-1973.

       Main armament consists of a 152mm gun/howitzer which fires an HE projectile weighing 96·13lb (43·6kg) to a maximum range of 26,256yd (24,000m), but unconfirmed reports speak of a rocket-assisted projectile with a range of 40,748yd (37,000m). In common with all other Soviet artillery weapons the M-1973 also has an anti-armour round; this weights 107·6lb (48·8kg) which will penetrate 5in (130mm) of armour at 1,094yd (1,000m). A total of 40 rounds of ammunition are carried, and the normal maximum rate of fire is 4 rounds per minute; sustained rate is 2 rounds per minute. A nuclear shell has been developed for this gun with a significant increase in Soviet artillery capability.

       The newer M-1982 152mm SP gun has a very long tube in an open mounting on a minelayer chassis.

 

Above: M-1973 crossing a light bridge. Artillery support is vital in a tank offensive.

Above: The M-1973’s 152mm gun mount features twin recuperators, muzzle brake and fume extractor.

 

 

152mm DANA

 

Origin: Czechoslovakia.

Type: Self-propelled gun.

Crew: 6.

Armament: One 152mm howitzer; one 12·7mm AAMG.

Dimensions: Length (gun forward) 34·12ft (10·4m); length (hull) 29·1ft (8·87m); width 9·74ft (2·97m); height 11·56ft (3·525m).

Combat weight: 50,705lb (23,000kg).

Engine: Tatra T3-930-51 V-12; 345hp at 2,200rpm.

Performance: Road speed 50mph (80km/h); range 621 miles (1,000km); trench 6·56ft (2m); gradient 60 per cent.

 

Development: Towed artillery weapons are cheap, light and, with their wheeled tractors, reliable and economical in their use of fuel, but little protection is provided for the gun crew (and none at all from NBC weapons) and the guns are difficult to move about the gun position. Tracked self-propelled  (SP) weapons are complex, expensive, more difficult to maintain, and with much higher fuel consumption, but they do provide good protection, can move at will, and are much quicker in and out of action.

       Modern technology has provided a possible midway solution, by mounting a turreted howitzer on a truck chassis; two models are currently in service (152mm DANA, Czechoslovakia; 155mm G-, South Africa) but there may well be more in the future.

       First seen in 1980, the DANA is mounted on the well-proven Tatra 815 chassis, with an armoured cab and a rear-mounted engine. The gun is the Soviet 152mm, in a large square turret which has a long open slot in its roof. An automatic loader is fitted and a crane on the turret roof resupply vehicles. Gun elevation is a very useful +60°/-3° but turret traverse is limited to the forward arc only. Three stabilizer are lowered to the ground when the gun is in action.

       The DANA is an imaginative and effective design, as is to be expected from the Czech armaments industry. Its mobility will be quite adequate to support infantry divisions in terrain with reasonable roads and firm cross-country going.

 

Above: The DANA’s gun turret has a separate fighting compartment each side of the mounting, and an automatic loader.

 

Below: The fundamental advantage of wheeled SP mountings is their low cost compared with equivalent tracked vehicles.

 

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