160-mm Divisional Mortar M-160. The USSR

  • Years of release – 1943 – 1947 (MT-13); 1949 – 1957 (M-160)
  • In total released – 1557 units. (MT-13); 2353 dmg. (M-160)
  • Caliber – 160 mm
  • Weight in firing position – 1170 kg (MT-13); 1470 kg (M-160)
  • Barrel length – 3030 mm (MT-13); 4550 mm (M-160)
  • Calculation – 7 people
  • Travel speed – up to 50 km / h
  • Rate of fire – 3 rds / min
  • The greatest firing range – 5100 m (MT-13); 8040 m (M-160)
  • Direct shot range – 750 m
  • Shooting angles:
  • Horizontally – at an elevation angle of 50 ° – ± 12 °; at an elevation angle of 80 ° – ± 50 °
  • Vertical + 50 ° + 80 °

The development of the 160-mm mortar in the Soviet Union was started even before the start of the Great Patriotic War. The 160-mm mortar was considered as a divisional artillery system designed to partially replace howitzers of 122-mm and 152-mm caliber when performing missions to destroy enemy targets at short firing ranges.However, the complexity of creating such a mortar consisted in the fact that when using the “imaginary triangle” scheme with loading from the muzzle, which was well-proven in 82-120 mm mortars, it was necessary to develop a device for feeding a mine weighing more than 40 kg to a height of up to 3 m for loading a mortar. Due to a too heavy mortar mine, such a system inevitably lost its advantages over conventional artillery pieces. In 1939 – 1941, the design bureau of four enterprises worked in parallel on the design of 160-mm and 240-mm mortars: Plant No. 7 (Leningrad); No. 13 (Bryansk); No. 92 (Gorky) and No. 393 (Kiev).

Since the beginning of World War II, work on the creation of a new divisional mortar continued. In the TsAKB under the leadership of Grabin in 1943-1944, two 160-mm mortars IS-3 and S-43 were designed. At the beginning of 1942, the designers of the Research Institute of the USSR People’s Commissariat of Armaments under the leadership of G.D. Shirenin developed a 160-mm mortar with breech-loading loading according to the real triangle scheme.They successfully combined in their model the advantages of mortars and mortars, retaining the main design feature of the mortar – the base plate, making recoil devices unnecessary and transmitting a huge recoil force to the ground and using the mortar method of loading from the breech, with a detachable breech and a swinging barrel. From December 31, 1942, work on the creation of this mortar was headed by I.G. Teverovsky. He abandoned the idea of ​​a portable weapon and for the first time in world practice put a mortar on a wheel drive that is not detachable in a combat position.At the beginning of 1943, a prototype of a 160-mm mortar was manufactured in the Urals, which received the MT-13 index, and soon it, along with another prototype designed by B.I. Shavyrina (Design Bureau of Plant No. 7) entered testing. According to the test results, preference was given to the Teverovsky system, as simpler, lighter and more convenient in operation, and in January 1944, after appropriate modifications, it was adopted by the Red Army under the designation “160-mm divisional mortar of the 1943 model of the year.”

In this mortar, all the basic elements of a conventional mortar were preserved: a smooth-walled barrel, a base plate and a carriage, but their design was original. The MT-13 mortar was a smooth-bore system on a rigid (without recoil devices) carriage with a wheel drive. Due to the fact that the high height of the barrel did not allow loading the mortar from the muzzle, the mortar was made breech-loading. To open the barrel when loading and lock it at the time of the shot, the barrel was divided into a swinging part and a breech.Loading was carried out from the breech, for which a swinging barrel was used, which, after turning the handle at the time of loading, occupied a horizontal position, held by a locking mechanism. After opening the shutter, a tray was hung on the semi-axis of the barrel wedge, onto which the calculation laid the mine and manually sent it into the barrel bore. After the mine hit the barrel, this part of the barrel, under the action of its own mass, returned to the firing position. This automatically eliminated double loading – one of the main problems for classic mortars.The breech in the closed position reliably locked the barrel when fired and transmitted the recoil force to the plate. In addition, the breech served as the base on which the barrel tube was swinging and locked at loading angles, as well as connecting the barrel to the gun carriage by means of spring shock absorbers.

To speed up the development of the mortar in production, its base plate was created on the basis of the base plate of the standard 120-mm regimental mortar of the 1938 model. A cylindrical steel rim reinforced with additional stiffeners was welded along the perimeter of the slab. The principal difference between the MT-13 mortar shot from all other domestic mortars was a short sleeve into which the mine stabilizer was inserted. The sleeve served to prevent the breakthrough of powder gases when fired (obturation). The mortar carriage, which is the base of the mortar in the combat and traveling positions, also had an original design. It had a wheeled sprung course that does not separate when firing. On the carriage were assembled swivel, lifting and balancing mechanisms, a chassis with a suspension mechanism, as well as sights.

The guidance mechanisms made it possible to fire at elevation angles from + 45 ° to + 80 °. The horizontal angle of fire was 12 °. The mortar was fired with twelve high-explosive mines weighing 48.865 kg at a range of up to 5100 m. The mine fuse could be set for fragmentation or high-explosive action. Heavy mines destroyed solid wood-earthen and breech-brick field structures, wooden and brick buildings and structures adapted by the enemy for defense in populated areas.

The MT-13 mortar was towed by mechanical traction. At the same time, for the first time, the barrel began to serve as a trailing device, since the problem of towing the mortar was solved in a new way: now it was attached to the tractor with a barrel on which a special pivot paw was attached. The sprung wheel travel of the mortar made it possible to transport it at high speeds up to 50 km / h. The barrel also served as a lever, which made it possible to turn the base plate out of the ground, if it buried itself in the ground during firing. The entire combat crew hung on the trunk, and if this did not help, then a bolt paw was put on it, the mortar clung to the tractor, which pulled out its plate.

During the Second World War, no army in the world had such a powerful mortar as the MT-13. The 160-mm MT-13 mortar was intended to suppress and destroy enemy manpower and fire weapons with hinged fire.

Since 1943, MT-13 mortars have been equipped with heavy mortar brigades that were part of the artillery breakthrough divisions of the RVGK. Each brigade had three divisions (12 mortars in each). The very first combat use of 160-mm mortars had a huge psychological impact on the enemy. The shots from the MT-13 were deaf, the mortar mines flew along a steep trajectory and fell almost vertically, therefore, at the very first mine explosions, the Germans began to give air raid signals.Feedback from the front noted that the 160-mm mortar is an effective means of destroying all types of field fortifications and a reliable means of suppressing and destroying enemy artillery and mortar batteries. These mortars were successfully used in the offensive operations of the Red Army until the very end of the war, and were widely used in street battles in large settlements. So, armed with 160-mm divisional mortars MT-13
8th separate heavy mortar Konigsberg orders of Kutuzov and Alexander Nevsky brigade under the command of Hero of the Soviet Union Major General L.A. Kolotilov, from November 16, 1944 to April 17, 1945, destroyed 14 tanks and self-propelled guns, 408 heavy, light and anti-aircraft machine guns, 22 artillery pieces, 4 vehicles with military cargo, 17 mortar batteries and more than 3,000 German soldiers and officers. Large-caliber mines destroyed 20 bunkers and 254 stone houses equipped with firing points.

In January 1944, the production of the MT-13 mortar was mastered by the Tula Machine-Building Plant No. 535 and 350 mortars were manufactured by the end of 1944. In total, from 1944 to August 1947, 1,557 MT-13 mortars were produced. This mortar was successfully used in the Soviet army in the post-war period.

Back in the summer of 1945, I.G. Teverovsky, who at that time was the chief designer of the Tula plant number 535, began work on the modernization of his mortar. Their goal was to increase the firing range. In the new model of the MT-13D mortar, the barrel length was increased by 50 mm, and the firing range was increased to 7400 m.

Another 160-mm mortar SKB-21, created in the Special Design Bureau of smoothbore artillery (Kolomna) under the leadership of B.I. Shavyrina, which won the competition as more long-range and easier to operate. It was accepted into service under the name “160-mm divisional mortar M-160 model 1949”.

The M-160 represented a deep modernization of the MT-13 breech-loading smoothbore mortar on a wheel drive, and was also made according to a rigid scheme (without recoil devices). The mortar consisted of: a barrel, a breech, a machine tool, an arrow, a base plate and a bolt paw. To reduce the effect of recoil when fired, the mortar had a spring shock absorber. The barrel was also a smooth-walled tube fixed in a trunnion cage and pivotally connected to the shock absorber. Closing the barrel from the breech was carried out by a bolt with a plastic obturator.The machine consists of two frames (upper and lower) of a stamped structure, hingedly connected to each other. The lower frame of the machine was assembled on the combat axis. For vertical guidance of the mortar, a lifting and balancing mechanism assembled between the combat axle brackets and the upper frame of the machine served. The swivel mechanism was assembled on a rail mounted on an axle in the upper frame of the machine. The arrow was a U-shaped tubular structure connected to the combat axle using cranks. A winch was mounted on the boom.The mortar had a panoramic MP-46 optical mortar sight, mounted in the bracket of the horizontal sight mechanism. Later, a mechanism for discharging mines was introduced into the M-160 mortar kit (for full discharging of mines). Wheel travel from the ZIS-151 car. Suspension – spring type, when firing did not turn off.

During transportation, the M-160 was towed by a light truck or tracked tractor for a towing device at a muzzle at a speed of up to 50 km / h. The mortar firing range was now – from 750 to 8040 m. The elevation angles of the barrel when firing: from 50 ° to 80 °, the angle of horizontal firing without moving the boom and wheels at an elevation angle of the barrel of 50 ° is + 12 °. Rate of fire – 3 rounds per minute.

The time required to transfer the mortar from the traveling position to the combat position (at a prepared firing position) was no more than 6 minutes. The ammunition load of the M-160 mortar included only high-explosive ten-point cast iron (weighing 41.2 kg) and six-point steel mines (weighing 40 kg). Both mines were equipped with a head fuse, which has two installations: for high-explosive action and for fragmentation action. For firing the M-160 mortar, two types of charges were used: full variable and long-range.

In 1949, the M-160 mortar was put into mass production at the plant
No. 535. In 1952, its production was transferred to the plant No. 172, where it continued until 1957. In total, from 1949 to 1957, 2,353 M-160 mortars were manufactured. M-160 divisional mortars were used in the Soviet army until the 1980s.

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