Stalins hidden order

One of the main reasons for the failure of the Red Army in the Winter War against Finland was the lack of languid guns.

In 1941-1944, Leningrad was saved from complete destruction of the heavy German artillery hundred square meters of languid and heavy guns of the Baltic fleet — the ships, forts of Kronstadt, railway artillery guns and marine test site. Land is a big power tools was not near Leningrad, nor at Sevastopol.

Stalin's secret order

C-73 Howitzer
Paired with a gun S-72 she came to power special duplex, designed by Vasily Grabina in 1946-1948. None of our artillery KB could not do anything like that.

Triplex and duplex

Stalin was able to learn from their mistakes. Immediately after the fall of Sevastopol Stalin appointed head of the Central Artillery KB (TsAKB) the most professional designer Russian artillery systems Lt. Gen. Vasily Gavrilovic Grabin and instructs him to develop a fundamentally new weapons systems for the Army, Navy and Air Force.

Namely, Grabin was ordered to make two unique systems for heavy-duty tools — triplex and duplex. Triplex was to consist of a 180-mm long-range guns, 210-mm howitzers and 280-mm mortars, which later received an index of C-23, C-33 and C-43 (bukovkoy "C" stood for "Stalin"). Triplex complex dubbed as all three systems were required to have a variety of guns, but the monotonous carriages and accessories. Such a system is duplex (210-mm gun S-72 and 305-mm howitzer C-73) also had to have a single carriage.

Stalin's secret order

Cannon C-23
The system implements the C-23 with 180-mm gun were 210-mm howitzer C-23-I, 203-mm howitzer cannon-C-23-IV and 280-mm mortar C-23-II.

Mobile mastodons

For the first time to set a special system of power did not have to dig a big pit for a huge iron base. All the guns were transported on wheels with unusual speed for as long — up to 35 km / h Time of transition from combat to the stowed position at the triplex was 30 minutes in duplex — 2:00 (in these zabugornyh systems — from 6 to 24 hours). Shooting was carried out from the ground without complex engineering works.

Barrels of the guns had a higher ballistics at comparable low weight — this is achieved by a special method of bonding the inner tubes and casings. More exciting recoil device, consisting of hydraulic compressors, recuperator and unique designs openers. The best in the world-class gun itself — the German and Czech — had a very complex system of dual recoil. Grabin also managed to reproduce the everyday scheme, like field guns.

Weight triplex in combat and in the stowed position is 19-20 tons, and more powerful weapons duplex stowed disassembled into three parts by weight of 23-24 tons of any.

Everything seemed to be going well, and in the middle of the 1950s Russian army was to get the first series of tools triplex and duplex. But here intervened so called human factor. Their successes of the development of tools Grabin still in the process of war, amassed for themselves implacable enemies and competitors.

Stalin's secret order

Hrabinska tools such as C-23, C-72 and C-73 were superior ballistic features of all German and Allied guns, and they were more mobile. Yet, they were not taken on board.

Powerful enemies

These enemies were engineers, gunners Ivanov and Petrov, and most importantly — the People's Commissar of arms Dmitri Ustinov. After all, at the end of the 1940s in the number of detractors was Grabin and Beria, who believed that the artillery has become obsolete. Here we are not talking about Beria — security officer, and on Beria — atomic project manager and curator of works on ballistic, anti-aircraft and cruise missiles.

Naturally, the claim of Stalin close CRI-58 (renamed TsAKB) or even less control of his arrest could neither Ustinov nor Beria. But sabotaged the work on the instruments triplex and duplex are amazing. For Grabina came a dark stripe.


In most countries in the world for high-power guns were taken kartuznoe loading (propellant charge placed a rag in the shell). Only German designers from the beginning of the twentieth century came the other way and used separate-case charging (the charge is placed in an iron sleeve).

Kartuznoe loading had many shortcomings: not a simple process of loading and storage of ammunition, severe difficulty in shuttering the propellant gases. During the battle of Jutland British battle cruisers, one by one soared into the air because of fire rag cap and while on German ships, treated like lesions charges in sleeves stubbornly lusted ignite. In the Russian war majestically above 95% of Russian guns, and 100% of German (not counting the trophy) had cased loading.

The only advantage kartuznogo loading remained a small gain in prices shot. Specifically, it did not fail to use Grabina enemies (of course, he made the system triplex and duplex mating loader). They launched a campaign against the designer: say, do not appreciate people's money.
Previously, in similar cases, strong-willed Basil Gavrilovic came personally to Stalin and argued their case. But here he relented and agreed to rework their systems under their caps. In fact it turned out with 3 years of lost time — had to enter the configuration in the design of gun barrels, to make them anew and re-conduct the factory, polygon, and then the army tests.

Stalin's secret order

As no hurry Grabin, to storm Konigsberg and Berlin superorudiya not ripe — assembled at the factory "Barricades" three systems triplex received for field tests only in 1949, and the 305-mm howitzer C-73 — only at the start of 1953.

Decorating parades

Exclusively at the end of 1950 the first kartuznoe gun — 180-mm gun S-23 — has passed factory tests Rzhevka, July 1951 has made 155 shots in the Turkestan IN, and in January-February 1952 — 70 shots in the vicinity of the station Yeah transbaikalian the railroad.

By the time he graduated from CRI-58 technical projects for 210-mm howitzers C-33 and 280-mm mortars, C-43 kartuznogo of loading, and the plant number 221 ("Barricades") was commissioned by the most experienced series of seven guns, C-23 and 210 samples of experienced mm howitzer C-33 and 280-mm mortars, C-43.

By the end of 1955 guns arrived from Stalingrad to Moscow — just in time for the famous Khrushchev's persecution of the artillery. It was decided howitzers C-33 and C-43 mortar adopted not accept, and issued a 180-mm gun S-23 drop in service, but do not continue to create. A couple of times gun S-23 were on parade on Red Square, Moscow residents admiration and wonder of the western military attache.


Even more tragic was the fate of the duplex. On Ma
y 26, 1956 on May 13, 1957 at the site Rzhevka passed tests 305-mm howitzer C-73 with kartuznym loader. According to the report, the howitzer shot perfectly, but the management of the landfill has been set up for her very unkindly. Not finding any 1st flaws in the tests, the chief of the landfill, Major General Bulba find fault with low permeability crane AK-20, which is impossible without upgrading the system, and decided to "swinging part howitzers artsamohod impose on the type of the object 271."

More illiterate hard to come up with a solution. After all, the Finnish and Russian war, the USSR majestically left without 305-mm howitzers special power because of such a mistake Tukhachevskogo demanded recycle collapsible towed duplex B-23 (305-mm howitzer and 203-mm gun) in self-propelled SU-7. Work went on from 1931 to April 1938, after it became clear that the 106-ton self-propelled SU-7 does not hold the bridges and the installation is transported by rail.

In the end, the work had to finish. Only after tremendous and unnecessary losses in the Finnish War, we began work on a collapsible towed 450mm howitzer Br-23, but the war prevented their finish.

This is similar to the fate of the "Object 271". Artsamohod made a 406-mm gun SM-54 was a terrible monster that could not pass through ordinary bridges or power lines, do not fit into the city streets, tunnels, under bridges, could not be carried on the train platform. For these reasons, it was never put into service.

In the case of "failure crane AK-20" could be a part of the battery 73 from the input one, two or even four valve replacement. If poor cross faucet, then it is trivial to put on a chassis or arttyagacha tank. But if the engine fails artsamohoda what to do with the monster?

How could a major-general of the technical service do not realize that the C-73 — this is not a regimental and divisional gun who is bound to accompany the advancing infantry, and single-part tool! 50 305-mm howitzers could send a couple of weeks in the ruins of all the bunkers band Mannerheim. Reddish army needed at least 100 of these guns.

Yet Grabin again had to give way to the generals of the GAC and do cyclopean self-propelled artillery systems. On the basis of the C-72, C-73 and C-90 in 1954-1955 in the CRI-58 was developed by the "Big triplex" — 210-mm gun S-110A, 280-mm gun-howitzer C-111A and 305-mm on a single self-propelled howitzer gun carriage. Technical project was oriented to the Ministry of Defense Industry December 31, 1955. Came here and Khrushchev decision to terminate work on the heavy artillery.

Stalin's secret order

By 1940, the Soviet Union was no 305-mm howitzers error Tukhachevskogo demanded rework towed duplex B-23 self-propelled SU-7. After 7 years of work had to finish — 106-ton self-propelled not hold the bridges.

Superweapon local wars

Formally, Khrushchev was right — where the most massive guns Grabina against 50-megaton hydrogen bombs and intercontinental ballistic missile R-7! But specifically tremendous destructive effect of the hydrogen bomb ruled out the possibility of its implementation.

But in local wars of the second half of the twentieth century, the role of the heavy artillery greatly increased in comparison with the wars of the 1930s and the second world war. In such conflicts, as, for example, in the Sinai Peninsula, in Lebanon, during the artillery duel between North and South Vietnam, during the "first socialist war" between China and the DRV, languid artillery was only used type of gun.

In the process of local conflicts, Russian production has a gun under fire from U.S. guns that were beyond the reach of their fire. At the direction of the Central Committee of the Communist Party at the "Barricade" urgently set about restoring production C-23. Make it was very hard, because a significant part of the documentation and technical equipment was lost. Still, the refinery successfully coped with this task, and by 1971 was twelve 180-mm guns, C-23. They were developed and launched a series of active-OF23 missile with a range of 43.8 km.

It was the last cannon artillery majestic designer Basil Grabin.

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