Light support SP guns

1. [ SU-76P ]
2. [ SP gun of factory 37 ]
3. [ GAZ-71, SU-12 ]
4. [ SU-76M (SU-12M) ]
5. [ SU-S-1 (SU-76I) ]
6. [ SU-15, SU-16, SU-38 ]
7. [ SU-76 (SU-15M) ]
8. [ OSA-76 (OSU-76) ]
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1. SU-76P

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    In the autumn 1941 on Leningrad front was poorly of explosive 45-mm shells. Therefore the light tanks could not be used against German fortifications and infantery. At the request of Military Advice of Leningrad's Front OGK NKTP has offered re-armed tanks T-26 and BT by a short-barrel gun of calibre 76-mm. These guns were demounted in 1937-38 from tanks T-28 and were stored in warehouses of Leningrad.

    In October 1941, the first SP gun on the chassis T-26, armed by short-barrel 76-mm gun KT on a curbstone with a armor shild was tested. The decision of Military Advice of Leningrad's Front began its manufacture in shops of a factory ¹ 174.

    SP gun has received the name SU-76. In 1943, that there was no mess with the new machine with the same name, this SP gun in the documents have begun to name SU-76P ("polrovaya" - regimental).

2. Assault gun of factory 37

Assault gun
of a factory 37

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    The work to creation Soviet SP gun have begun after the order NKTP on March 3 1942. In a design of machines wanted to use a standard units of tanks T-60 and trucks GAZ.

    The experienced machine, assembled by a factory 37, was delivered to tests in May 1942. The new battle machine has received the name "The Assault 76-mm Self-propelled Gun for supporting". The tests were finished unsuccessfully.

    Supreme head-quarters recommended to continue work with new SP. But in the summer began battle for Stalingrad and work have stopped on a half-year.

3. GAZ-71, SU-12

SP gun GAZ-71 SU-12

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    October 19 1942 Governmental Committee of a Defence (GoKO) has accepted the decision N2429ss "About development and preparation of mass manufacture of artillery self-propelled guns of all necessary calibres".

    By the responsible executors of support SP gun and tanks destroyers were nominated Kolomensky factory ¹ 38 name Kuibyshev and GAS of a name Molotov.

    In November 1942 factory ¹ 38 and GAZ have begun tests assault SP gun, armed by 76-mm divisional gun ZIS-3Sh ("Shturmovaya" -" assault") on the chassis with parallel paired engines GAZ-202. The machine from Gorki city had an index GAZ-71, and machine of a factory ¹ 38 - SU-12.

    December 9 1942 GAZ-71 was rejected, as not adequate technical project working unreliably. The machine SU-12 was recommended for acceptance on a service under the name " an assault self-propelled gun of support of infantry and tank divisions SU-76 ". Serial manufacture SP gun began since January 1 1943.

4. SU-76M (SU-12M)

SU-76M (SU-12M)

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    From the very beginning of operation SU-76 (SU-12) in army, a mass cases of breakages of gearboxes have begun. It occured because of bad synchronization of work of two in parallel connected engines GAZ-202 on the common axle. Torsional fluctuation were arose in a mode of a movement cross country. On March 21 1943 manufacture of SU-12 was stopped for elimination of defects.

    In April 1943 in Kirov city a tests of the new machine SU-12M were finished. This sample had an improved design. Between motors and gearboxes were established two mainspring sockets, and between two main transfers on a general axle - friction connection. Motors have put to special shake-absorbers. SU-12M has become to work more reliable, but completely the failures have not stopped.

    In May 1943 manufacture SU-12̀ was begun and they have gone on a service under an index SU-76M. These machines participated in battles on a Kursk Arch.

5. SU-S-1 (SU-76I)

SU-S-1 (SU-76I)

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    When have found out of constructive defect of SU-76 (SU-12), GoKO has required to find the urgent decision on fulfilment of the volume of manufacturing of SP gun for support to summer battles 1943.

    Most simple there was the offer of A.Kashtanov, who wanted to make a SP guns on the chassis of captured tanks. For a basis a design of self-propelled 122-mm howitzer SG-122 was taken , because SG-122 already was tested on Gorochovetski proving ground.

    The design of SG-122 was a changed. Instead of howitzer M-30 the new battle vehicle was armed a special cannon for self-propelled guns S-1, which was altered from a tank gun F-34. On March 6 1943 experienced sample of new SP gun has begun a production tests.

    The serial manufacture of SP gun SU-S-1 (SU-76I) proceeded on a factory 37 since May 1 to October 1 1943. Is assembled total 201 machines.

6. SU-15, SU-16, SU-38

SU-15 SU-16 SU-38

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    In the summer 1943 DB GAZ and DB of a factory 38 have offered the improved projects SU-76. In the project of a Gorkij factory GAZ-74À the engine ZIS-16F, ZIS-80 should be established, or american disel "Giberson" with power 110 hp. The arming of GAZ-74A was by 76-mm gun S-1. This project was not carried out in time. A factory ¹ 38 has made three SP gun: SU-15, SU-16 and SU-38, in which use of the consistently connected motor GAZ-203 from the tank ̉-70 and arms of 76-mm of a gun S-15 (SU-15) was supposed.

    SU-15 used a body and chassis of SU-12, but equipped by engine GAZ-203 with new configuration and cannon SU-15. The battle cabin had the large sizes, than SU-12.
    SU-16 differed that in it the engine, transmission and chassis of the tank T-70 were used. The battle branch was openly from above. Because of small length of the machine the commander could sit in cabin only by a side.
    SU-38 was similar on SU-16 (were too used the chassis and engine of ̉-70). But in it there was the thick armour (45 mm) and completely closed battle branch in the middle of the machine. It was made for improvement of distribution of weight on road wheels and tracks. The commander sat in it by the right side ahead (over engine).

    In July 1943 tests of these machines were carried out. Tests have shown, that for shooting is more successful SU-16, but its configuration is unsuccessful. SU-15 and SU-38 have appeared very heavy, because of that in them road wheels and tracks were broken.

7. SU-15M (SU-76)

SU-76 (SU-15M)

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    After comparative tests SU-15, SU-16 and SU-38, decision on development new SP gun from SU-15, but from the more thin armour and open from above battle branch (as SU-16) was accepted.

    The governmental tests of the new machine were finished on August 23 1943. The self-propelled gun has received an index SU-15M and was accepted on a service instead of SU-12̀ and SU-S-1 under an index SU-76. I address your attention, that SU-15M had in army an index SU-76 (not SU-76̀).

    As all basic units of SP gun (engine, gun, the transmission) were made in Gorkij city, and the tanks T-70 were gradually removed from manufacture, main factory on manufacturing SU-76 was nominated GAZ. But serial production of SU-76 began here only since October 1 1943.

8. OSA-76 (OSU-76)

OSA-76 (OSU-76)

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    In the summer - autumn 1943 the Artillery management of Soviet army for increase of speed of approach has at the front offered the project of motorization of all army artillery. This project in has received the conditional name «OSA » (All-army Self-propelled Artillery).

    ‹OSA » Is not the predcessor, or development of family SU-76, but represents a new class of artillery systems, intended for use in structure of infantry formations. The project supposed the creation the following self-propelled guns:

  • OSA-76 - self-propelled 76-mm gun of partial armoring;
  • OSA-57 - self-propelled 57-mm anti-tank gun of partial armoring;
  • OSA-23 (or OSA-12) - self-propelled 23-mm (12,7-mm) A-A automat of partial armoring.

    The responsible executor of the project «OSA » with tracks chassis nominated a factory 38. OSA-76 represented the small light machine with the motor GAZ-MM, armed by 76-mm gun ZIS-3. The chassis OSA was assembling from standard units of the chassis of tanks ̉-60 and ̉-70. Armor protection of OSA-76 was weak, as at a shild of a gun ZIS-3 (6-mm) and protected from a simple way and light splinters. The tests were finished successfully and OSA-76 was recommended for acceptance on a service, but because of a cancellation of realization of the project OSA, serial manufacture of this SP gun did not begin.

To be continued