When it is about weapons and military equipment second period of World War II, in most cases they say about the tanks, planes, divisional and regimental guns, mortars, rifles, machine guns … And that's about enough to remember mnogokalibernoy artillery occasionally.
Meanwhile, the Germans in the years 1942-1945 on the Eastern Front pulled up to two hundred big guns and special power, collected from all over Europe. Reddish Army also used the 10's high-powered guns. But in this article will talk about the main tools of this type of swatches of the Red Army and the Wehrmacht — 203-mm howitzer B-4, and 21-cm mortar Mrs.18.
Plus the gun …
21-cm mortar Mrs.18 was adopted by the German army in 1936. Why 18? The fact that the design of the company Krupp guns began during the act of restrictions imposed on Germany Versailles contract. And the clever Germans in the name of all new artillery system in the years 1920-1935 included the figure of 18: they say, it's only completion of the First World War.
Because of a longish stem in some British references 21-cm mortar Mrs.18 named gun. This is fundamentally wrong. It's not only in bolshennom elevation angle (+70 º). Shoot at an angle of 0 º instrument could only small charges — from number 1 to number 4. And with a larger charge (№ 5 or number 6) elevation was to be installed at least 8 º, on another system threatened to capsize. So Makar, a 21-cm Mrs.18 was traditional mortar (Weight in firing position — 17.9 tons, rate — 30 rounds / hour, the weight of the shells: 113 kg high-explosive, concrete-121 kg, the initial speed — 565/550 m / s, the range — 16.7 km).
The corresponding feature is the dual recoil guns: barrel rolling away on a cradle, and the cradle together with the trunk and upper machine — machine gun carriage to the bottom, than was achieved not bad stability when shooting.
In the mortar firing position was based on the front skid plate and rear — for Khobotova support. The wheels were put up with all this. In the stowed position, the trunk was filmed and placed on a special cart. Carriage with limber towed separately. The speed of movement of the system does not exceed 30 km / h But not long distance transport of mortar permitted in disassembled form (in other words, with the barrel imposed on the carriage), but at a speed of 4-6 km / h
Cannon led fire high-explosive grenades, 2 kinds, and concrete-shells. In the years 1939-1945 the German industry has made 1 million 750 thousand rounds of ammunition for this mortar.
I note that in 1942, the 21-cm mortars Mrs.18 not met. They did not have to? No, because of the arrogance of Hitler, who began curtailing production of artillery after the success of the Wehrmacht in the summer and autumn of 1941 on the Eastern Front.
By June 1, 1941 in the German army, there were 388 21-cm mortars Mrs.18. They were all in artillery units RGC. By the end of May 1940, these guns were in service 2-mixed motorized artillery battalions (№ 604 and № 607). In each division there were two batteries at 21-cm mortars (three-gun composition), and one battery of 15 cm guns. 21-cm mortars were also rehabilitated 15 motorized divisions (three three-gun battery of each), 624 and 641 Division special power (three guns in addition to the batteries 30.5-cm mortars).
In 1939, the designers have imposed on the firm Krupp mortirny carriage trunk 17 cm (172.5-mm) naval gun. The system received the designation 17 cm K.Mrs.Laf. (Weight in firing position — 17.5 tonnes, rate — 40 rds / h, shell weight — 62.8 / 68.0 kg, the initial speed — 925/860 m / s, the range — 31/29, 5 km). German historians consider it the best in its class at the time of the second world war.
17-cm guns K.Mrs.Laf in most cases were sent to the mixed motorized artillery battalions RGC Wehrmacht. Each division consisted of a 2-three-gun battery 21-cm mortars Mrs.18 and one three-gun battery, 17-cm guns.
The first four 17-cm guns put in in January of 1941. In the same year, the Wehrmacht received from the industry is 91 tool, in 1942 — 126 guns in 1943 — 78, in 1944 — 40, in 1945 — 3 guns.
In autumn 1943, work began to build on the basis of the T-VI self-propelled mast 17/21 with a 21-cm mortar Mrs.18 and 17 cm gun. Experienced standard 17-cm SPG chassis "Tiger", designed by "Henschel", weighed 58 tons, speed of 35 km / h, and the frontal armor — 30 cm, but run into a series of self-propelled Germans did not have time.
In late 1926, the Red Army commanders decided to make duplex high capacity for 203-mm howitzers and 152-mm guns. (Duplex — Two guns of various calibers with interchangeable carriage, triplex — respectively three guns. Interchangeability often absent, and the carriages were just very similar in design.) And on January 16, 1928, over the design of 203-mm howitzer B-4 (B — the index of the Leningrad plant "Bolshevik", and Br — Stalingrad plant "Barricades". Weight in firing position — 17.7 tons, rate — 1 rounds. 2 minute, shell weight — 100/146 kg, the initial speed — 607/480 m / s, distance — 17.9 / 15.4 km).
First experienced the standard weapon first made in 1931 at the "Bolshevik". In 1932, immediately turned the batch creation of B-4, and in 1933 — and at the "barricades". But officially adopted the howitzer on 10 June 1934.
B-4 participated in the Soviet-Finnish War. March 1, 1940, at the front, there were 142 howitzers. Lost or out of order four.
To punch a concrete bunker-Finnish "millionaire" on the band Mannerheim, require that the same point in turn got at least two 203-mm projectile fired from B-4. But I will note this is not the fault of the designers howitzers. Work on "Millionaire" had a special power system, the creation of which was disrupted by the fault of Deputy People's Commissar of arming Tukhachevsky.
By 22 June 1941 the Red Army had only 849 howitzers B-4, including a 41 gun, in need of complete renovation. The vast majority of the healthy "fours" — 517 — were in the vicinity of the western military, another 174 — in domestic BO, 58 — on the southern borders of the USSR, and 95 — in the Far East.
By the beginning of the war the B-4 were exclusively howitzer artillery regiments high power RVGK. Statewide (from February 19, 1941), each regiment consisted of four divisions trehbatareynogo composition (in the battery — two howitzers, was listed as one howitzer platoon). Total regiment had 24 howitzers, 112 tractors, 242 cars, 12 bikes and 2,304 human personnel (174 of them officers). By June 22, 1941, there were 33 in RVGK shelf filled with B-4 (statewide — 792 howitzers, almost — 727 "quads").
Apart from the 203-mm howitzer B-4 and its variants on the same carriage were set 152-mm gun of high power PIM-2 and 280-mm mortars special power Br-5. Initially, in 1937, Br-2 were made with a small notch. But the vitality of their trunks was very low — about 100 sho
In July and August 1938 on the NIAP experienced trunk Br-2 with a recessed notch (from 1.5 to 3.1 mm) and reduced chamber. Gun fired projectile, which instead of 2-one was leading the belt. According to test results Artupravlenie announced that the vitality of the gun Br-2 increased by 5 times. For a similar statement should be treated with caution, as the apparent fraud was committed: the aspect of survivability gun — the fall of the original speed — low to increment from 4 to 10 percent. Either way, December 21, 1938 issued a decree Artupravleniya: "Approve for gross production of 152-mm gun Br-2 with a recessed groove" (Weight in firing position — 18.4 tons, rate — 1 rounds. 4 minute, weight projectile — 49 kg, the initial velocity — 880 m / s, the range — 25 km). Experiments with trunks as Br-2 in 55 calibres decided to finish.
In 1938, serial gun Br-2 did not give up. In 1939, the army has received four such instruments (instead of 26 on the plan), and in 1940 — 23 (30 on the plan), in 1941 — not the 1st. So Makar, in 1939-1940, 27 artillery guns handed Br-2 with the deepest notch in 1937 — seven Br-2 with a small notch. In addition, prior to January 1, 1937 the industry produced 16 152-mm guns, the standard 1935 (among them, apparently, were Br-2 and its modernization B-30).
According to the state from February 19, 1941 in languid cannon regiment RVGK ought to have 152-mm guns, Br 2 — 24 tractors — 104 cars — 287 and 2598 persons of staff. In the regiment consisted of four divisions trehbatareynogo composition (in each battery — two Br-2).
In total, the artillery RVGK to top majestically with the Russian mobilization deployment was one gun regiment (24 Br-2) and two separate languid cannon batteries (each with two Br-2). Total — 28 guns. All in all, the Red Army of June 22, 1941, there were 37 Br-2, two of which sought Polga repair.
Tests 280-mm mortar Br-5 began in December 1936. Although the gun was not regulated, the plant "Barricades" launched him into gross creation. A total of 1939 passed the 20 Br-5, in 1940 — 25. In 1941, the army did not pass any mortar. After the outbreak of war majestically Russian Br-Br-5, and 2 were not met.
203-mm howitzer B-4 are an indispensable in the Red Army. Neither of the 1st big coming not been without their roles. Distinguished themselves in breaking these weapons Finnish defense on the Karelian Isthmus in the summer of 1944 and the storming of walled cities — Berlin, Poznan, Konigsberg, and others.
By June 22, 1941 there were 395 thousand shells to B-4. During the war, there were still produced 470 thousand pieces, and spent 661.8 thousand.
Wheels instead of tracks
As already mentioned, designing B-4, our engineers are fundamentally abandoned the platform on which a combat situation all the guns were installed similar power of the First World War.
But in those years, not a single wheel can not withstand the power of the recoil when firing a full charge. Make a pan and effective plowshares as the 21 cm German mortar, not smart enough. Then the smart heads have decided to change the course of the caterpillar wheel without thinking about the weight of any system or — most importantly — its patency. Ultimately guns triplex operation even in peacetime, turned into a continuous 'war' with its suspension.
For example, the angle of the horizontal guidance system was only ± 4 º. To turn on a greater angle 17-ton colossus B-4, the effort required calculations 2-and more than howitzers. Transport was naturally separate. Crawler Barrel carts and carriages on tracks (B-29) had a terrible cross. In the ice wagon carriage or wagon receiver had to pull the two "Comintern" (the most massive Russian trucks). Total for the system — four "of the Comintern."
Work on the creation of new parts for the gun carriage running B-4 and the new barrel floats in the years 1936-1941 were conducted in many plants. For example, in 1937 at the "Barricade" was done by an experienced reference to the mast crawler B-4, received index Br-7. But he could not resist the upcoming field tests and was not subject to working out.
From November 25 to December 30, 1939 was held troop tests 203-mm howitzer B-4 with a new swing mast crawler T-117. Compared with the old course of the caterpillar T-117 had a subsequent benefits: the lowest ground pressure, higher throughput and speed, the system is more stable on the march, and when shooting. The disadvantages of the T-117 were greater in the course of 1330 kg weight and strength of the missing tracks.
For service crawler T-117 did not do that.
In 1939, the plant "Barricades" made a wagon wheel receiver Br-15. Factory tests she took from April 28 to May 7, 1940, showed the best throughput than the Br-10, and was recommended to the adoption if the alteration of the brakes. But it did not work out. Well, in general, having towed triplex on crawlers, significant improvements in agility and speed to reach carriage was impossible. And what's the use if a wagon wheel receiver will move twice faster than carriage on tracks? A radical solution to the issue could only be a transition to a new triplex wheeled carriage.
February 8, 1938 the Red Army adopted the AU tactical and technical requirements for the development of 203-mm howitzers and 152-mm guns on a single wheeled carriage and wagon with a single receiver. The rocking of the guns, ballistics and ammunition were to take on the 152-mm gun Br-2 and 203-mm howitzer B-4.
Artupravlenie signed a contract with the Permian plant named Molotov (№ 172) for project development duplex by May 1939. Experienced standard should have done in November 1939. In Perm, duplexing appropriated factory index M-50 and it is limited, referring to the employment of designers design 107-mm divisional gun M-60 and 203-mm howitzers cabinet M-40.
To work on the M-50 at the factory back only first 1940. June 9 Artupravlenie require from the number 172 to provide for the imposition of carriage to the same body of 280-mm mortar Br-5, in other words, to reincarnate in the duplex triplex. In the end Permian developed his project, designated M-50. Sliding carriage was riveted frame. In the first carriage were the trunk and the drip tray (turntable), on the other — flitches. When going into the firing position carriage to run into pan. But by June 22, 1941 triplex M-50 was only on paper.
To remedy the situation, AU Red Army in December 1939 and tried to bring to the design of laminated glass factory number 352 (Novocherkassk) and Uralmash, and they did nothing.
Meanwhile, in 1940 ANIOP were tested two 21-cm mortars Mrs.18, purchased in Germany. Permian designers under the direction of A. Ya Drozdov drafted overlay tools of our triplex and 180-mm guns on the gun carriage "Germans." Almost out new artillery system — the 152-mm gun M-70, 180-mm gun M-71, 203-mm howitzer M-72 and 280-mm mortar M-73.
Artupravlenie to speed up the work sent to Perm, a 21-cm mortar, as the complete set of technical documentation on it from Germany did not.
In the Bureau of Plant number 172 had developed technical projects — M-70, M-71, M-72 and M-73 and produced a significant portion of the working drawings. But do seasoned standards of new tools failed due to busy factory production release of guns.
Note that the 203-mm howitzer B-4 had the highest elevation of +60 º and increase it up to +70 º significantly expanded its capacity. But the existing slope of the barrel rifling B-4 could not provide appropriate accuracy, in other words, it was necessary to change the internal structure of the trunk.
The war prevented fulfill unique project M-70, M-71, M-72 and M-73. But already in 1942, Russian engineers were renewed with the caterpillar gun carriage triplex Br-2, B-4 and BR-5.
In 1942, the VG Grabin designed the 152-mm S-47, is a superposition of
the swinging Br 2 at strengthening the carriage 122 mm cannon A-19. But how annoying it did not sound anything track failed.
In the post-war GAU hindered the development of new tools and special Grabina great power, and in return in 1947-1954, held at the "Barricade" complete renovation of all the B-4. By the time adopted the artillery tractor ATT to reach speeds up to 35 km / h But as he started to go faster 15 km / h, chassis B-4 was destroyed. GAU demanded CRI-58 to make a new move for the B-4. Grabin resolution was short: "Any modernization is impossible."
Then, for the case in an active manner designers took SKB-221 plant "Barricades", and in April 1954 the development of the technical design of the new mast was completed, and in December, two experienced wheeled carriage mounted with its 203-mm howitzer B-4 and 152 mm gun Br-2 were sent for tests. New wheeled carriage had adopted in 1955. 203-mm howitzer on this carriage received index B-4M, 152-mm gun — Br-2M, and 280-mm mortar — Br-5M. New body howitzers, cannons and mortars were not met, the substitution occurs only carriages.
203-mm howitzer D-4M on wheels remained in service until the end of warehouses and 80s. And in 1964, for the B-4M started designing special (nuclear) missile 3BV2 PERMITTED range of up to 18 km.