122-mm M-30 Howitzer Model 1938,Technical Details – USSR

122-mm M-30 Howitzer Specifications

  • Years of production-1940-1955
  • Total issued-19,266 units.
  • Caliber-122mm
  • Weight in combat position – 2450 kg
  • Barrel length-2800 mm
  • Length of the threaded part – 2278 mm
  • Payment – 8 people
  • Driving speed-up to 50 km / h
  • Rate of fire-5-6 rounds / min
  • Maximum firing range-11,800 m
  • Direct shot range-825 m
  • Firing angles:
  • Horizontal – 49 °
  • Vertical -3 ° + 63.5 °

122-mm M-30 Howitzer Details

In the artillery armament system approved by the Revolutionary Military Council of the USSR in May 1929, it was envisaged to replace the 122-mm howitzer of the 1910/1930 model with the creation of a new howitzer with an increased range by 50% and with a threefold rate of fire.

In the early 1930s, based on the experience of the First World War, Soviet designers created several prototypes of howitzers, but all of them had a mass in the combat position significantly greater than the specified tactical and technical requirements approved by the GAU. In March 1937, at a meeting on the further development of Soviet artillery, Marshal AI Yegorov, Chief of the General Staff of the Red Army, strongly advocated the creation of a more powerful 122-mm howitzer.His arguments were the higher power of the 122-mm high-explosive fragmentation projectile, as well as the presence of a large number of 122-mm ammunition and production facilities for their production. The caliber of 122 mm was considered minimally sufficient for the destruction of field fortifications, and, in addition, it was the smallest allowing the creation of a specialized concrete-piercing projectile for it.

Already in September 1937, a separate design group of the Motovilikhinsky plant No. 172 under the leadership of FF Petrov was assigned to develop such a gun, which received the factory index “M-30”. To reduce the cost and simplify the production of a new howitzer, FF Petrov made extensive use of parts and assemblies of existing artillery systems. For example, he took a slightly modified piston bolt from a 122-mm howitzer of the 1910/1930 model, a sight from a 152-mm howitzer gun of the 1937 model. A number of parts, previously subjected to turning and milling, began to be manufactured by precision casting and stamping. All this made it possible to make the howitzer cheap and easy to manufacture.

In terms of its characteristics, and, first of all, in terms of maneuverability and flexibility of fire, the new 122-mm howitzer met the requirements, and in terms of the most important characteristic – muzzle energy – it more than doubled the 1910/30 model howitzer, its range reached 11,800 m ( 2860 m more). However, its mass in a combat position was 2450 kg – a ton more.The M-30 howitzer had a modern design for its time with a carriage with sliding frames and sprung wheel travel, the design of which made it possible to fire with large elevation angles and horizontal shelling, as well as high mobility with mechanical traction. The howitzer had technical innovations: original anti-rollback devices, the weight reduction of which was achieved by the fact that a heavy cylinder moved during rollback, and not a light rollback brake rod. In the stowed position, the barrel was not disconnected from the recoil devices, but was fixed without pulling to the rear position.The barrel of the howitzer consisted of a pipe, casing and screw breech. The piston bolt, with an eccentrically located hole for the output of the striker striker, was opened and closed using the handle in one step. The firing pin was cocked and lowered by a trigger cord, and in the event of a misfire, the firing pin could be repeated, so that the firing pin was always ready for descent. After firing, the spent cartridge case was removed by the ejector mechanism when the bolt was opened. This design of the bolt provided a rate of fire of 5-6 rounds per minute.

On the carriage were mounted: hydraulic recoil brake, lifting sector mechanism, rotary and balancing mechanisms, upper machine; lower machines with two sliding beds; undercarriage with springing and shield cover. The device of the howitzer carriage allowed for an angle of vertical fire from -3 ° to + 63 ° and horizontal-49 °. As a rule, shooting from a howitzer was conducted with the beds separated. In some cases, in the event of a sudden attack on a campaign of tanks, infantry or cavalry, or if the terrain did not allow spreading the beds, shooting was allowed with the beds brought together, while the angle of horizontal shelling was equal to 1 °.

When diluting and reducing the mills, the undercarriage plate springs were automatically switched off and on. In the extended position, the frames were fixed automatically. Thanks to these features, the transition from a marching position to a combat position took only 1 to 1.5 minutes. The sights of the howitzer consisted of a panorama of the Hertz system and a sight independent of the gun. The light shvornevy beam provided towing of a howitzer by means of both horse, and mechanical draft. Relatively small mass of the howitzer in the stowed position
(2400 kg), the presence of springing and metal wheels with rubber tires filled with sponge rubber (GC), significantly increased the maneuverability of the howitzer, allowing for mechanical traction speed on good roads up to 50 km / h, and on cobblestone, pavement and country roads – up to 35 km / h.

Horse-drawn howitzer was transported behind the front end; with mechanical traction, it can be towed directly behind the tractor. For the M-30 howitzer, separate cartridge-case loading shots were used, for which it was possible to use the entire range of 122-mm howitzer shells, including a variety of old Russian and imported grenades. The main shells were: fragmentation and high-explosive grenades, cumulative and smoke shells.

A prototype of the M-30 122 mm howitzer entered state tests in September 1938. According to the test results, a number of changes had to be made to its drawings, mainly of a technological nature, which caused an increase in its weight by almost 200 kg. After military trials, it underwent some refinement, and in the summer of 1939, on new tests, it showed good results.

By the decree of the Defense Committee of the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR of September 29, 1939, this gun was put into service under the designation “122-mm divisional howitzer of the 1938 model (M-30)” and in 1940 it was put into mass production at several factories at once. It was intended to defeat manpower in the open and in field-type shelters; for the destruction and suppression of infantry fire weapons; destruction of bunkers and other field-type structures; to combat enemy artillery and motorized means. Later, the designers under the leadership of F.F.Petrov eliminated individual defects that were discovered already in the process of combat operation of the howitzers: they strengthened the frames in the trunk, other parts that were out of order during firing at low elevation angles (direct fire). These improvements justified themselves during the Great Patriotic War, when howitzers not only hit the defensive fortifications, but also reflected direct fire attacks from enemy tanks. The defensive fire of the M-30 battery with high-explosive fragmentation shells posed a serious threat to enemy armored vehicles. The fragments formed during the rupture were able to penetrate armor up to 20 mm thick, which was quite enough to destroy armored personnel carriers and the sides of light tanks. For vehicles with thicker armor, the fragments could disable the elements of the chassis, the gun, and the sights.

In the summer of 1943, the M-30 howitzer received cumulative shells that pierce armor up to 140 mm thick at an angle of 90 °, and, starting with the Battle of the Kursk Bulge, was successfully used to combat Nazi tanks. Sighting range at a moving tank was up to 400 m. Upon hitting the side, such shells hit heavy Tiger tanks and Ferdinand self-propelled guns.

During the Great Patriotic War, the 122-mm howitzer of the 1938 model was in service with the artillery regiments of rifle divisions and artillery brigades and breakthrough divisions of the RVGK. It was widely used on all fronts, becoming one of the best guns in this caliber, it withstood all the tests of the war brilliantly. Designers under the guidance of F.F. Petrov managed to harmoniously combine in one sample of artillery weapons the reliability and ease of use by personnel, characteristic of the old howitzers of the First World War, and new design solutions designed to improve the mobility and fire capabilities of the gun. As a result, the Soviet divisional artillery received a modern and powerful howitzer capable of successfully operating as part of highly mobile tank, mechanized and motorized units of the Red Army.

Notable for its high maneuverability, projectile power and reliability, the
M-30 howitzer was in service with the Soviet army until the end of the 1980s.

Describing the 122-mm howitzer M-30, the former commander of the artillery of the Leningrad Front, Marshal of artillery G.F. Odintsov said: “There can be nothing better than her …” Initially, the production of M-30 howitzers was carried out by two factories –
No. 92 (Gorky) and the Ural Heavy Machine Building Plant (UZTM) No. 9 in
Sverdlovsk. Plant No. 92 produced M-30s only in 1940; in total, this enterprise produced 500 howitzers. The main batch production was concentrated at the UZTM plant No. 9, where it continued until 1955. A total of 19,266 M-30 howitzers were manufactured from 1940 to 1955. In addition to the production of towed M-30 guns, 122-mm M-30S barrels were also produced for mounting on the SU-122 self-propelled guns.

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