122 Mm Howitzer D-30,Technical Details – USSR

122 Mm Howitzer D-30 Specifications

  • Years of issue – 1960 – 1989
  • In total, more than 3,000 units were produced.
  • Caliber – 122 mm
  • Weight in firing position – 3150 kg
  • Barrel length – 4460 mm
  • The length of the threaded part – 3400 mm
  • Calculation – 8 people
  • Travel speed – up to 80 km / h
  • Rate of fire – 6 – 8 rds / min
  • The greatest firing range – 15 300 m
  • Direct shot range – 850 m
  • Shooting angles:
  • Horizontal – 360 °
  • Vertical -7 ° + 70 °

122 Mm Howitzer D-30 Details

The 122-mm D-30 howitzer was developed in the late 1950s at OKB-9 of the M.I. Kalinin (Sverdlovsk) to replace the M-30 howitzer in the troops. A group of designers led by F.F. Petrova, having studied captured German developments, proposed a completely new scheme for Soviet field artillery: instead of the already traditional two sliding beds, the carriage had three beds, and the chassis was located on the upper machine. One of the three beds was motionless, and the other two were separated by 120 ° relative to it when the howitzer was brought into a combat position. Before performing this operation, the howitzer with the help of a screw jack was supported on the pallet of the lower machine, and the wheels of the chassis were hung above the ground. The time to transfer the howitzer from the traveling position to the combat position was 1.5 – 2.5 minutes.

The main advantage of such a scheme is the ability to conduct a circular attack without separating the course. The new layout of the barrel, when the recoil brake and the knurler are located on top, made it possible, by lowering the height of the line of fire from 1200 to 900 mm and making it easier to camouflage it on the battlefield, to use the gun in the anti-tank defense system along with the main task of suppressing firing points and destroying field fortifications. structures. Also, the use of the new layout in the D-30 made it possible to significantly improve the characteristics of the gun compared to the M-30 howitzer: the elevation angle of the barrel increased from 63.5 to 70 degrees, and the maximum firing range increased from 11.8 to 15.3 km. All this, combined with a projectile weighing 21.7 kg, makes it easy to destroy hidden enemy targets.

The wedge breechblock with semiautomatic equipment facilitated the work of the calculation and made it possible to increase the rate of fire to 8 rounds per minute – against 6 rounds from its predecessor, which had a piston gate. The 122-mm D-30 howitzer was adopted by the Soviet army in 1960, receiving the index “product 2A18”.

The howitzer consists of a barrel, recoil devices, gun carriage and sighting devices. The barrel consists of: pipe, muzzle brake, grips, breech and bolt. A multi-slot muzzle brake is mounted on the barrel, absorbing up to 50% of the recoil energy. The shutter is wedge, vertically moving with a semiautomatic copying type. To keep the projectile from falling out during loading and large elevation angles, there is a special holding mechanism in the bolt. The carriage consists of a cradle, an upper machine, a lower machine, a balancing mechanism, vertical and horizontal guidance drives, wheel travel, suspension mechanisms, and a mechanism for mounting the gun in a traveling manner.

Recoil devices, consisting of a recoil pad and a brake of the retractable parts, are located in a trough-shaped cradle above the barrel. Sighting devices consist of a panoramic sight and a telescopic sight. The barrel, cradle, recoil devices and sighting devices make up the rocking part of the gun, which is set in rotational motion relative to the axis of the barrel cradle pins when the barrel is aimed in the vertical plane.The swinging part, the upper machine with a combat shield and wheel travel, the balancing mechanism and the aiming drive form a rotating part, which is set in rotary motion relative to the axis of the combat pin of the upper machine when aiming the barrel in a horizontal plane. The mechanisms for aiming the gun at the target mounted on the upper machine allow firing with vertical firing angles from -7 ° to + 70 °. With elevation angles up to 22 °, the horizontal firing angle is 360 °, and with elevation angles exceeding 22 °, circular firing is limited only in the areas where the breech is located above the beds. The lower lathe with three beds and a hydraulic jack forms a part of the tool that is stationary when aiming the barrel.

To protect the crew from small arms bullets and fragments of artillery shells and mines, a shield cover was mounted on the upper machine. To transfer it to the stowed position, the movable beds are brought together with the fixed ones and are attached to it. After that, it is connected with a special frame to the barrel at its muzzle. The howitzer is towed by the barrel forward, while a pivot beam is used to connect it to the tractor, attached to the bottom of the muzzle brake. The D-30 howitzer is transported by a 3-axle army truck (6×6).The presence of a torsion-sprung wheel travel allows the howitzer to be towed at high speed (up to 80 km / h), both on the highway and over rough terrain. For movement in deep snow, the howitzer is equipped with a ski mount. Shooting from a ski rig is not possible. The comparative compactness of the howitzer made it possible to carry out its landing from the air – for this, special platforms were provided.

Shooting from the D-30A howitzer is conducted with all the same types of ammunition that are used for firing from the M-30 howitzer: single-case loading shots with a number of variable charges and fragmentation, high-explosive fragmentation, cumulative, smoke, lighting and propaganda shells, as well as shells with arrow-shaped lethal elements. The direct firing range is 850 m, the maximum firing range is 15300 m. In the 1980s, an active-rocket projectile was created for the D-30 howitzer with a maximum range of 21,000 m. A cumulative howitzer projectile penetrates a 200 mm thick plate of armor steel located at an angle of 90 ° at a distance of 630 m.

The D-30 howitzer is designed to destroy and suppress enemy manpower and fire weapons, open and in field-type shelters, destruction of bunkers and other field-type structures, fighting artillery, motorized vehicles and enemy tanks. The D-30 howitzer has become one of the most common artillery systems in the armies of the Warsaw Pact member states. In addition, the howitzer was widely exported and licensed in some countries.In the units and subdivisions of the Soviet army, which were armed with the D-30, it was highly appreciated for its exceptional reliability, ease of maintenance and high fire performance. It was used in many military conflicts in the 1970s and 2000s. The first baptism of fire of the D-30 took place during the war in Afghanistan, where the howitzer was used in units of the OKSVA and has proven itself well. 

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