Panzer Hunters – Soviet Anti-tank Guns of WWII with Photos

 
 
SHARE:

Soviet anti-tank guns played a crucial role in confronting German equipment on the Eastern Front of the Second World War, called the Great Patriotic War in the USSR. They were a specialized weapon of various calibers, the main purpose of which was the destruction of enemy armored vehicles by direct fire.

Anti-tank guns accounted for about 70% of all destroyed German tanks. By way of movement, anti-tank guns were divided into self-propelled and towed categories. As far as caliber, they were generally divided into small (up to 75 mm) and middle (75-155 mm) caliber. Large-caliber guns had a dual purpose or were used only when most necessary.

A 37 mm anti-tank gun M1930 (1-K)
A 37 mm anti-tank gun M1930 (1-K)

The design of anti-tank guns in the USSR began in the late 1920’s. The 1930 model of the 37 mm 1-K became the first anti-tank gun in the Red Army and played a large role in the further development of this type of weapon. Its ballistics allowed it to hit all the tanks of that period, but by the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, the 1-K was obsolete.

In 1932, the 19-K 45-mm gun appeared. Its other name was “Sorokopyatka” which roughly translates to “forty-fiver.” Further improvements were later made, such as the 53-K in 1937 and the 1942 model of the M-42. The mass production of the “sorokopyatka” commenced to meet the task of combating light German tanks and armored vehicles. However, due to insufficient armor penetration, these guns began to be gradually replaced by others that were more powerful.

45 mm anti-tank gun M1932. By Balcer~commonswiki CC BY 2.5
45 mm anti-tank gun M1932. By Balcer~commonswiki CC BY 2.5

Upon the appearance of German tanks with anti-ballistic armor, the Red Army responded with the M1943 (ZiS-2) 57 mm anti-tank gun. It was developed in 1941, but its serial production was delayed until 1943. This gun fired regular and sub-caliber shells with an initial speed of 2,300 to over 4,000 feet per second. At distances of several hundred yards, the ZiS-2 could pierce the side armor of German Tiger tanks.

On February 12, 1942, the Red Army adopted the M1942 (ZiS-3) 76 mm divisional gun, which after the war became one of the symbols of victory. This gun became one of the most numerous during the Great Patriotic War, as 48,000 ZiS-3 were produced.

ZiS-2 in the Kremlin of Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. By Bukvoed CC BY-SA 3.0
ZiS-2 in the Kremlin of Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. By Bukvoed CC BY-SA 3.0

Depending on the projectiles, the distance to the target, and the angle of the armor, the gun had the capability to penetrate armor up to 4.6 inches thick. The main advantages of the ZiS-3 were universality of application and simplicity in production.

To combat heavy tanks in 1944, a M1944 (BS-3) 100 mm field gun was created. This gun had a strong penetrating ability and could hit heavy German tanks such as Tigers, Panthers, and even Tiger IIs. Also, the BS-3’s cannon was actively used as a shell gun for firing from closed positions. After the end of the war, this gun was adopted by some other countries.

An abandoned Soviet-made North Korean ZiS-3 on a hill overlooking Incheon harbor after its capture by United Nations forces during the amphibious landings at Incheon in mid-September 1950.
An abandoned Soviet-made North Korean ZiS-3 on a hill overlooking Incheon harbor after its capture by United Nations forces during the amphibious landings at Incheon in mid-September 1950.

 

Soviet 45 mm anti-tank gun M1937. By Balcer CC BY 2.5
Soviet 45 mm anti-tank gun M1937. By Balcer CC BY 2.5

 

85 mm antitank gun D-48. By George Shuklin CC BY-SA 1.0
85 mm antitank gun D-48. By George Shuklin CC BY-SA 1.0

 

D-44 on display at Georgia Veterans State Park. By Dsdugan CC0
D-44 on display at Georgia Veterans State Park. By Dsdugan CC0

 

BS-3 at the Israel Defense Forces History Museum, Israel. By Bukvoed CC BY 2.5
BS-3 at the Israel Defense Forces History Museum, Israel. By Bukvoed CC BY 2.5

 

M-42 in Museum on Sapun Mountain, Sevastopol. By Cmapm CC BY 3.0
M-42 in Museum on Sapun Mountain, Sevastopol. By Cmapm CC BY 3.0

 

Captured Soviet 76mm Anti-Tank Gun from the Korean War 1950. By Leonard J. DeFrancisci CC BY-SA 3.0
Captured Soviet 76mm Anti-Tank Gun from the Korean War 1950. By Leonard J. DeFrancisci CC BY-SA 3.0

 

76 mm divisional gun M1942 (ZiS-3) in Saint-Petersburg Artillery museum. By Gigolt CC0
76 mm divisional gun M1942 (ZiS-3) in Saint-Petersburg Artillery museum. By Gigolt CC0

 

76 mm divisional gun M1942 (ZiS-3)
76 mm divisional gun M1942 (ZiS-3)

 

M1942 (ZiS-3). By Kerim44 CC BY-SA 4.0
M1942 (ZiS-3). By Kerim44 CC BY-SA 4.0

 

57 mm anti-tank gun M1941 (ZiS-2). By Mark Pellegrini CC BY-SA 2.5
57 mm anti-tank gun M1941 (ZiS-2). By Mark Pellegrini CC BY-SA 2.5

 

ZiS-30 soviet self propelled anti-tank gun
ZiS-30 soviet self propelled anti-tank gun

 

Abandoned ZiS-30 – 57 mm self propelled anti tank gun
Abandoned ZiS-30 – 57 mm self propelled anti tank gun

 

Komsomoletz ZiS-30 anti tank gun
Komsomoletz ZiS-30 anti tank gun

Read another story from us: “Destroyer of Beasts” – the ISU-152

ZiS-30 self propelled anti tank gun
ZiS-30 self propelled anti tank gun
 
© Copyright 2019 - War History Online