37-mm Airborne Anti-tank Gun,Technical Details – USSR

37-mm Airborne Anti-tank Gun Specifications

  • Years of issue – 1944 – 1945
  • In total, 472 units were produced.
  • Caliber – 37 mm
  • Weight in firing position – 209 – 217 kg
  • Barrel length – 2330 mm
  • Threaded length – no data
  • Calculation – 4 people
  • Travel speed – no data
  • Rate of fire – 15 – 25 rds / min
  • The greatest firing range – 4000 m
  • Direct shot range – no data
  • Shooting angles:
  • Horizontal – 45 °
  • Vertical – 5 ° + 5 °

37-mm Airborne Anti-tank Gun Details

Prototype 1943. the USSR

In the Soviet Union in the 1930s, work was launched to create light 20-37-mm anti-tank guns intended for use in the tactical link of a company-battalion, more mobile and cheaper than the standard 45-mm anti-tank guns of the 1937 model. In the spring of 1941 at the artillery plant named after. Kalinin No. 8 (Kaliningrad, Moscow region) to work on the creation of a 37-mm airborne gun on the personal assignment of I.V. Stalin began a new design team consisting of E.V. Charnko, I.A.Komaritsky and V.I.Shelkov. They were part of the design team sent to Plant No. 8 from OKB-15 to put into production the 37-mm 100-K automatic anti-aircraft gun.

By the end of July of the same year, two prototypes of the gun were manufactured and presented for field tests, which received the indices “ChKSh-1” and “ChKSh-2”, differing in ballistics used by unitary shots (ChKSh-1 – from a 37-mm anti-tank gun , ChKSh-2 – from the 37-mm anti-aircraft), as well as the mass in the firing position – 117 and 138 kg (respectively). But due to the low rate of fire (8 – 10 rds / min), low armor penetration, low accuracy and complexity of the design, they were sent for revision.

To fine-tune the 37-mm anti-tank gun in 1942, a Special Special Design Bureau – Laboratory (OKBL-46) was created under the leadership of the chief designer E.V. Charnko. Already in the spring of the following year, 1942, a new version of the gun, which received the index “Cheka” (Charnko – Komaritsky), was manufactured and in August entered the field trials. The new model of the Chek cannon received an elongated barrel, with a higher initial speed, a different layout of the hydraulic recoil brake, a box-shaped casing structure and wheel travel, as well as a shield cover.

The uniqueness of the design of this gun lies in the fact that it is a light anti-tank artillery system with reduced recoil, achieved both through the use of a very powerful muzzle brake, which reduced the recoil energy, and the originality of the recoil system, made according to the scheme with an inert mass. After firing, the barrel of the cannon rolled back 90-100 mm, and a special cylindrical part, performing the functions of an inert mass, was disengaged from the barrel, rolling back, inside the casing, at a distance of 1050-1070 mm.The inert mass was decelerated by friction and compression of the knurling spring. The same spring also produced a reverse roll of the inert mass to its original position. The internal structure of the barrel, ammunition and ballistics were borrowed from the 37-mm anti-aircraft automatic cannon of the 1939 model of the year with practically no changes.

The cannon was disassembled into three parts: the swinging part, the machine and the shield. The vertical guidance of the gun was carried out by a lifting mechanism, and horizontal – by the gunner, who rested his right shoulder against a small wooden stop-stock. The machine is two-wheeled, with sliding tubular beds, which had permanent and driven openers. A shield cover 4.5 mm thick, designed to protect the crew from bullets, small fragments and a shock wave of a close rupture, was mounted on the casing. In the stowed position on wheels, the shield was folded along the barrel.The gun had a light sprung wheel travel, intended only for its transportation by calculation on the battlefield by hand. The ammunition of the Cheka cannon included unitary shots with fragmentation, armor-piercing caliber and armor-piercing subcaliber projectiles. The calculation of the gun consisted of – commander, gunner, loader and carrier.

When firing, the crew occupied a prone position, since the height of the line of fire was only 280 mm. The technical rate of fire reached 25 – 30 rds / min, but the gun could not fire for a long time in such an intensive mode because of the danger of failure of the recoil devices. The time for transferring from the traveling position to the combat position was 80 seconds, and without bringing the shield into the combat position (in the traveling position, the shield turned 90 °) – 50 seconds. However, tests again revealed a significant number of design and manufacturing defects in the system.

Due to the low quality of the manufacture of the gun, it could only be re-tested after the identified flaws were eliminated. Its revision was delayed, while it was decided to create not one, but several different prototypes. Plant No. 79 in Kolomna manufactured several guns with a mass of 218 kg under the old index “Cheka”. In OKBL-46, its version was created under the index “ChK-M1”, which differed from its prototype with a round casing, a more powerful muzzle brake and no recoil brake, with a gun weight of 209 kg. In addition, plant No. 79 developed its own version of the gun under the designation “ZIV-2” with a cylindrical casing and a spring knurler above it, with a total weight of 233 kg. All three variants of 37mm airborne anti-tank gunsCharnko-Komaritsky in the spring of 1944 were again sent to the proving grounds, and then to military trials, where their competitor, the 37-mm airborne gun S-46, designed at TsAKB under the leadership of V.G. Grabin. The tests tested the possibility of transporting guns on gliders and airplanes. During the firing, the 37-mm anti-tank gun ChK-M1 showed that in terms of armor penetration at a distance of 300 – 500 m, it was not inferior to the 45-mm anti-tank guns of the 1937 model. So, the armor penetration of a caliber armor-piercing projectile at an angle of 90 ° at a distance of 500 m for the ChK-M1 cannon was 46 mm, and for a sub-caliber armor-piercing projectile – 86 mm (for a 45-mm anti-tank gun 53-K – 59 and 79 mm, respectively). At the same time, compared to the cannon
53-K, the ChK-M1 gun was three times lighter and much smaller in size (with a significantly lower line of fire), which greatly facilitated its movement by the crew and its camouflage. According to the test results, the commission gave preference to the ChK-M1 cannon version, as the simplest and easiest one, without a hydraulic recoil brake, i.e. technologically advanced in production and easy to use.

On June 14, 1944, this gun was adopted by the Red Army under the official name “37-mm airborne gun of the 1944 model.” It was intended to arm paratrooper battalions and motorcycle regiments of mechanized troops (mounted on vehicles). From December 1944, anti-tank batteries of battalions of guards rifle divisions in the state were supposed to have two 45-mm anti-tank guns and two 37-mm airborne guns. In 1944, Plant No. 74 (Izhevsk) produced 290 ChK-M1 cannons, and Plant No. 79
(Kolomna, Moscow Region) produced 25 guns. In 1945, plant number 79 produced 157 guns, and this was the end of their production. A total of 472
ChK-M1 cannons were manufactured .

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