Skip to comments.The FReeper Foxhole's TreadHead Tuesday - The Soviet Su-76 - Mar. 1st, 2005
Posted on 02/28/2005 10:04:27 PM PST by SAMWolf
are acknowledged, affirmed and commemorated.
| Our Mission:
The FReeper Foxhole is dedicated to Veterans of our Nation's military forces and to others who are affected in their relationships with Veterans.
In the FReeper Foxhole, Veterans or their family members should feel free to address their specific circumstances or whatever issues concern them in an atmosphere of peace, understanding, brotherhood and support.
The FReeper Foxhole hopes to share with it's readers an open forum where we can learn about and discuss military history, military news and other topics of concern or interest to our readers be they Veteran's, Current Duty or anyone interested in what we have to offer.
If the Foxhole makes someone appreciate, even a little, what others have sacrificed for us, then it has accomplished one of it's missions.
We hope the Foxhole in some small way helps us to remember and honor those who came before us.
When the Red Army entered the Second World War, the Soviet Union did not have any mass-produced self-propelled guns that could be used both for close support of the infantry and in an anti-tank role. In the late 1930's, a very limited number of SU-5 self-propelled guns was built based on the chassis of the T-26 light tank, but they only had limited use during the occupation of Poland in 1939.
A pair of SU-76M are managing a street fighting. 1944. Note corpses of German soldiers on the road.
By summer 1941, this lack of a suitable self-propelled gun appeared so serious that in September of that year, the ZIS-30 self-propelled gun was born as a stop-gap measure. Built on the chassis of the "Komsomolets" armored prime mover, this vehicle had a short range, had too much weight, and had poor stability, but it could reliably defeat anything that the Panzerwaffe had, which redeemed all of its shortcomings. In this way, the Red Army was provided with inexpensive self-propelled guns.
In the 1930's, there were some successful attempts at developing self-propelled assault and anti-aircraft guns on the chassis of the mass-produced T-26 light tank, which led to the manufacture of several experimental vehicles.
The final assembling of the SU-76P.
With the arrival of new tank models, the T-26s could theoretically be converted to self-propelled guns, but in reality, conversion was impossible due to great T-26 losses during the first months of the Great Patriotic War. It was also impossible to replace the T-26s with new tanks due to the fact that the tank factories were being evacuated to the Urals and to Siberia. However, in besieged Leningrad in 1941 to 1942, several small batches of SU-76P were manufactured. The SU-76P consisted of a 76 mm regimental field gun installed on a T-26 chassis with a circular field of fire, and it had no protection for the crew other than the gun's shield. But this vehicle was merely another stop-gap measure, as the besieged city had to make do with whatever equipment it had remaining inside the encirclement.
In autumn 1941, all tanks armed with 45 mm guns which fought on the Leningrad Front become useless against "soft" targets like infantry due to the lack of fragmentation and high-explosive ammunition. That's why the General Staff of the Leningrad Front asked the Ministry of Tank Industry (NKTP) to rearm existing BT and T-26 light tanks with the 76 mm KT Gun.
A new vehicle was developed and tested, and after successful testing, the General Staff of the Leningrad Frond ordered Factory #174 to start manufacturing the new self-propelled guns. This vehicle received the SU-76 designation, and from 1943, it was renamed the SU-76P (P - "polkovaya" - "regimental") to avoid confusion with the new self-propelled gun which had the same designation (see below).
The OSA-76 self-propelled gun.
The SU-76P alone could not solve the Red Army's lack of self-propelled guns, and there were attempts to utilise the chassis of T-60/T-70 tanks, which were mass-produced in 1941 to 1943. In autumn 1941, the GAZ Factory began, on its own initiative, the development of a light self-propelled gun designated the SU-71. However, it never entered full-scale production. By July 1942, another self-propelled gun was developed: the OSA-76, which was based on the chassis of the T-60 tank.
That project was developed by an initiative of GAU, which involved the idea of installing all field artillery on self-propelled chassis. An "OSA" designation means "Obshevoiskovaya Samokhodhaya Artilleriya" (All-Purpose Self-Propelled Artillery). In fact, OSA does not belong to the SU-76 series, as it was rather an independent class of self-propelled guns. The whole OSA project resulted in the development of the following partially-armored vehicles:
The OSA-76 was armed with the 76.2 mm Assault Gun ZIS-3Sh based on the 76.2 mm Divisional Gun ZIS-3. The vehicle had a very low weight - less than 3,500 kg. The GAZ-MM gasoline engine powered it. The chassis of the OSA-76 was the same as on the T-60/T-70 light tanks. It had a crew of three men, and the armor protection was 6 mm. The OSA-76 successfully passed all tests and was recommended for mass production, although it was ultimately never produced.
An attempt by Rumanian engineers to install a captured 76.2 mm F-22 gun on the chassis of a captured T-60 tank was more successful. Until the arrival of the German Pzkw IV Ausf G, they were the only means to reliably defeat Soviet medium and heavy tanks.
The experimental SPG of the factory #37.
This was a self-propelled gun of the SU-76 series. The development of this vehicle followed the NKAP order of March 3, 1942. By May 1942, the first experimental prototype was manufactured and sent to the proving grounds. However, neither the chassis nor the armament passed the trials. The construction of this vehicle was based on the chassis of T-60 light tank.
The GAZ-71 inside the factory.
On October 19, 1942, the GKO issued Document #2429ss which ordered the GAZ Factory and Factory #38 to develop, to test, and to put into full-scale production a light SP gun, armed with the 76.2 mm Gun ZIS-3. The new vehicle was based on the chassis and engine of the T-70 tank, but with increased length, and an additional road wheel.
In November 1942, both factories showed their prototypes. Both vehicles were armed with the ZIS-3Sh ("Sh" means "shturmovaya" or "assault") gun. The GAZ project was named the GAZ-71, and Factory #38's project was named the SU-12. On December 9, 1942, after comparative trials, the GAZ-71 was recognized as "not conforming to existing battle requirements," and was "very unreliable;" and thus, further work was cancelled. The SU-12, however, was accepted for service under the name "SU-76 Self-Propelled Assault Gun." From January 1, 1943, mass production began.
The SU-12 self-propelled gun.
The designers put the two GAZ-202 engines parallel to one another instead of in-line as on the T-70 tank. Its fully-enclosed shielding was welded from 10 to 35 mm armor plates, the driver's compartment was located in the front of the vehicle in between the engines, while the superstructure housing the ZIS-3Sh gun was located in the rear.
The crew of three also had a DT machine-gun and personal firearms at its disposal. By the end of January 1943, it formed the first two self-propelled artillery regiments sent to the Volkhov front.
Refueling the SU-76M. Winter 1943-1944.
The shortcoming of the parallel engine placement in the SU-76 (SU-12) became apparent when it resulted in transmission malfunctions. The malfunctions were due to torsional vibrations which led to rapid breakdowns. The vibration peaked in second gear, which was the most overloaded gear. It was impossible to properly synchronize the two engines.
A SU-76 M fending its way among destroyed materials. Notice the casemate which overhangs the track on the left side of the vehicule
As a result of the experiences in the field, the production of SU-76 was halted on March 21st, 1943, after only 350 were produced. Due to the planned summer offensive, the GKO put a very strict time-frame to correct the defects. Already by May 17th, 1943, an updated SU-76M (SU-12M; M means "modernised") entered testing and by June of that year it entered production.
Soviet attack. Eastern Prussia. Spring 1945.
These vehicles had updated engines and transmissions, and used the old SU-76 hulls that were left over. Improvements included the introduction of spring clutches between the engines and the main gear, of a slipping clutch on the general shaft, and of engine shock absorbers. These items reduced, but did not eliminate, the likelihood of a malfunction. In May 1943, the production of the SU-76M began. All of those vehicles took part in the Battle of Kursk.
By summer 1943, the design bureaus of the GAZ factory and Factory #38 offered several independent projects on how to modernise the SU-76. GAZ offered the GAZ-74A project, which was to use the Soviet ZIS-16F or ZIS-80 diesel engines, or the American "Giberson" engine (of 110 hp). It was to be rearmed with the more modern 76.2 mm gun S-1, but the project was abandoned, and only one experimental vehicle was built.
Factory #38 simultaneously offered three different projects: the SU-15, the SU-16, and the SU-38. All these vehicles were to be armed with the 76.2 mm Gun S-15, and they were powered by the GAZ-203 engine (like the T-70 light tank).
The SU-15 was based on the chassis and hull of the SU-12, and was powered by two GAZ-203 engines, and with the slightly improved air-filtering system. The compartment (superstructure) was slightly widened.
The engine, the transmission, and the chassis of the SU-16 was originally taken from the T-70 light tank. However, the protection was increased with 45 mm armor on the front. The compartment was armor-protected from the top and rear as well.
Like the SU-16, the SU-38 self-propelled guns had the chassis and engine taken from the T-70. However, this vehicle was much lighter than the SU-16. It had an all-around protected compartment at the front of the tank (like the SU-152, etc). It was engineered to distribute the load evenly along the chassis.
Comparative trials were performed during the summer of 1943. They showed that the SU-16 was the most successful, but had a poor crew layout. The chassis of both the SU-15 and the SU-38 were overloaded, which led to rapid breakdowns. Nevertheless, the SU-15 was chosen and recommended for mass production after a weight decrease.
While producing the SU-76, the GAZ factory started a modernisation program for the SU-15, as all the critical parts of that vehicle (engine, chassis, transmission, etc) were produced there. The modernised self-propelled gun (factory designation SU-15M) was distinguished from its predecessor by the unprotected compartment from the top and rear. It was powered by two GAZ-202 engines with a common cooling system and transmission.
In August 1943, that SPG successfully passed all trials, and was accepted for service under the SU-76 designation. From October 1, 1943, the mass production of this vehicle began.
The SU-76 was developed in the Soviet Union during the Second World War. The intent was for the SU-76 to be a highly mobile tank killer, and it performed well in that role when initially fielded in 1942. Fitted with the powerful ZiS-3 76mm gun the SU-76 was more than a match for most opponents; however, the vehicle's open top and lack of an engine fire wall were generally despised by crews. By the end of the war, newer soviet types such as the SU-100 and better german armor pushed the SU-76 into a new role, that of infantry support. By the end of the war 12,671 had been built.
Following the end of the War the soviets decided to export surplus SU-76M to China and North Korea, where they fought against UN forces. The SU-76M remained in active service with the PLA until the late 1970s when it was finally retired.
Good morning, Snippy and everyone at the Foxhole.
March 1, 2005
How grateful we are for the wonders of the world that God has created for us as our home in time. Though blighted with evil and pain, the earth is full of beautiful things that dazzle our senses. Early some midsummer morning, take a walk in a flower garden and absorb its beauty and fragrance. Then think about all of its lovelinessa faint glimpse of heaven's glory.
Years ago I stood outside a cabin high in the Rocky Mountains. As far as I could see, all the peaks were snow-covered and glistening under the light of a full moon. What an overwhelming spectacle that was! Yet still, just a glimpse of heaven's glory.
Listen to the thrilling cascade of harmony in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Then imagine the rapturous sound of angelic choirs.
Our Savior assured His disciples that He would return to His Father and His eternal home to prepare a place for those who simply believe. It will be a place of such splendor that nothing on earth can compare with it.
The only requirement for entry is personal faith in Christ and His atoning death and resurrection. Trust in His sacrifice, and one day He'll welcome you into that glorious beauty and joy. Vernon Grounds
Christ opens the door of heaven to those who open their heart to Him.
On this day in 1975, in a fit of insanity, Mrs alfa6 married alfa6. Hooo boooy what a ride :-)
WOOOO HOOOOO!! It's March...we've survived the Dark Months and are headed towards Spring...MUD
Good Morning Snippy.
First Treadhead Poet in this morning. ;-)
We had light rain part of the day yesterday. More of the same predicted for the rest of the week.
You catching any of that bad weather in the MidWest?
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.