Since the inception of tanks on the battlefield during the years of the First World War, the main means of dealing with them has become a field artillery. Special anti-tank gun system appeared much later. The armies they had done only in the thirties. This rapid-fire cannons were 20-47 mm. Small silhouette allowed just mask them on the ground, and owning battle weight in the range of 300-500 kg, they were quite maneuverable in battle. Transporting guns carried by mechanical and horse traction.
First, the second world war the tanks with protivosnaryadnym booking. Because the former small-caliber guns were ineffective. Then the caliber of the guns began to grow: 75, 76, 88, 100 mm! Increased and the initial velocity of the projectile. Immediately significantly increased their fighting weight: 1.5-4 tons, for a tool with great difficulty and was towed disguised in rough terrain. The logical step was the creation of the installation of anti-tank guns on self-propelled crawler. The first time it was made in 1940, when on the basis of outdated German light tank T-1 set 47-mm cannon. In 1941, we released a small amount of 57-mm guns on the chassis of the crawler tractor "Komsomolets". It was just or not fully armored vehicles. In 1942 the armies of the various warring states a huge number of anti-caliber installations 75-76 mm on the basis of who starred in the production of tanks captured or obsolete machines. We found that of the SU-76, produced from the end of 1942. We Germans it was 75 — and 76-mm SC-based tanks T-II, 38 (t), and others; the British 76-mm "Archer" on the base of the tank "Valentine", etc. All of these simple and partly armored, open at the top and rear self-propelled guns had short traverse gun.
But needed the anti-SU able to accompany tanks in the battle to maintain their fire and repel the attacks of the enemy tanks. Because it took to make war machines with full protivosnaryadnym booking. They were built on the basis of the main producing tanks and towers instead of the SU had motionless conning tower, in front of the compartment which established a powerful gun, 75-100 mm with a limited angle of interference. Reservations and maneuverability are not inferior to the basic machines, tanks, and usually superior to the power of their artillery system.
In preparation for the summer offensive, Hitler's command relies on new languid tanks and self-propelled. The latter includes a tank destroyer and "Elephant", known also under the name of "Ferdinand". This machine created on the basis not taken into the arms languid most experienced German army tank design FA Porsche. The fact that the test results did not wait the new languid machines, the company "Nibelungen" has made 90 tank chassis Porsche. After the War Department rejected the tank, It was decided to use the available chassis for anti-SU capable to fight our T-34 and KV. To do this in front of the former tank, which has become now the stern, built on one hundred percent of the reserved control room where installed the latest 88-mm length of 71 caliber gun. Her piercing shells (reference speed ISO m / s) punched from 1000 meters at right angles armor width of about 200 mm. "Elephant" in accordance with the plan of FA Porsche had electric transmission: the shafts 2-its engines were for electricity, produces an electronic current. He had an electric motor, which drives the drive wheels of the car. Four members of the crew served weapon. The driver and radio operator were located in the front of the machine.
"Elephanta" composed of 2-tank destroyer battalions thrown into battle on the north fase Kursk Bulge (in July 1943). They were very unsafe opponents tanks in battles from a distance, but it proved to be very vulnerable to melee attacks. These machines still do not even have a gun, but at the end of 1943, it was installed on the remaining machines in the front part of their body.
The response of our designers with new German tanks was the SU-85, constructed under the LI Gorlitskiy on the basis of the T-34. It entered service in August 1943. On it in a very slanted front plate installed 85-mm gun, the ballistic features are not different from the one that was later used by several T-34-85. It is armored machine, preserved and agile driving properties of the T-34, has become the principal means of combating enemy tanks and concrete support for their own tanks and infantry. In late 1944, it was replaced by brand new SU-100 (see "TM" № 12, 1970), differs from the preceding stronger gun system (its armor-piercing projectile at 1000 m punched a 160-mm armor) and the commander's cupola.
Striving to make a massive, easy and a cheap tank destroyer, the German command in 1943, has decided to use for this purpose the base outdated tank 38 (t). Creating a modern self-propelled "Hetzer" began in April 1944 and lasted until the end of the war. In all there were about 2,600 pieces. "Hetzer" was a little shell with bolshennymi angles frontal, side and stern armor plates. Motor power was increased, and in comparison with the base machine is reinforced chassis. Thanks to the successful design solutions, embedded within the 38 (t), "Hetzer" maintained good mobility, though came out very weighty.
Several different in design features made in 1942-1944 South American tank destroyers. They had a main armament, mounted in a rotating turret hundred percent that did not have a roof. Such, for example, M10, armed with 76-mm gun, and M36 with a 90-mm cannon. They were created on the base of the tank M4 "Sherman" with little modified Reservations housing. Combat weight of them was 29 and 27 tons, crew — 5 people. Built, there were 6,700 and 1,300 pieces.
More fascinating was the SU M18 "Bewitched", produced by "Buick" in 1943 (built 2500 pcs.) On a specially designed base. Her body welded from rolled armor plates. Suspension personal, torsion. The engine is air-cooled power transfer unit and mounted on a special frame, so that would be just removed from the case for substitution or repair. M18 was the U.S. Army until the end of the war.
German SS "Elephant". Combat weight — 68 tons Crew — 6 people. Armament — one 88-mm cannon. The thickness of armor: the forehead hull and cabin — 200 mm, side — 80 mm. Engines — two "Maybach" HL 120 TRM 300 hp Max. speed — 20 km / h In store down the highway — 180 km.
Russian self-propelled gun SU-85. Combat weight — 30 tons Crew — 4 people. Armament — one 85-mm cannon. The thickness of armor: the forehead and sides of the hull — 45 mm. Engine — B-2-34, 500 l. s. Max. speed — 55 km / h In store down the highway — 300 km.
German SS "Hetzer". Combat weight — 16 tons Crew — 4 people. Armament — one 75-mm gun. The thickness of armor: the forehead case — 60 mm, side — 20 mm. Engine — the "Prague" AC / 2, 160 hp Max. speed — 42 km / h In store down the highway — 180 km.
Russian self-propelled SU-100 setups reference 1944. Crew — 4 people Battle weight — 31.6 tons Length (with gun) — 9.45 m Hull length
— 6,1 m, width — 3,00 m, height — 2,245 m, Armament — One 100 mm gun, Book — forehead, sides and stern — 45 mm, bottom — 20 mm, diesel engine V-2-34M, is powerful. 500 hp Road speed — 50 km / h, with supplies down the highway. . . 240-320 km.
South American SS M18. Combat weight — 17t. Crew — 5 people. Armament — one 76.2-mm gun, one 12.7 mm anti-aircraft gun. The thickness of armor: the forehead and sides of the hull — 13 mm, the tower — 51 mm. Engine — a "Continental" R — 975, 400 hp Max. speed — 72 km / h In store down the highway — 360 km.