- Years of issue – 1939 – 1945
- In total, 18872 units were produced.
- Caliber – 37 mm
- Weight in firing position – 2100 kg
- Barrel length – 2316 mm
- The length of the threaded part – 2054 mm
- Calculation – 7 people
- Travel speed – up to 60 km / h
- Rate of fire – 160 – 180 rds / min
- The greatest firing range – 8500 m
- Direct shot range – 940 m
- Shooting angles:
- Horizontal – 360 °
- Vertical – 5 ° + 85 °
In the 1930s, the command of the Red Army decided to create a military air defense system and adopt small-caliber anti-aircraft automatic guns with a high rate of fire for the ground forces. Already at the end of 1937 at the plant number 8 named. Kalinin (Podlipki settlement, Moscow region), the first prototype of the 45-mm automatic cannon ZIK-45 (later indexed “49-K”) was manufactured. The new gun was designed after the Swedish 40-mm Bofors anti-aircraft gun. In 1938 -1939, this gun underwent repeated factory and field tests. In 1939, it was put into service under the name “45-mm automatic anti-aircraft gun model 1939”, and the plant. Kalinin received an order for production in 190 guns 1940 . However, the leadership of the Artillery Directorate of the Red ArmyConsidering the 45 mm caliber too large for anti-aircraft guns in the regimental tactical level, at the same time as work on this gun, back in January 1938, the Design Bureau of Plant No. 8 ordered a new 37-mm automatic anti-aircraft gun based on 49-K.
The 37-mm anti-aircraft gun, indexed “ZIK-37” (later replaced by “61-K”), was developed in a short time by the designers I.A. Lyamin and L.V. Lyuliev under the leadership of the chief designer of the plant No. 8 M.N. Loginova. The 61-K gun differed from the 49-K gun, mainly in the size of the swinging part, while the vehicles of both systems were completely identical. Already in October 1938, a prototype
37-mm gun entered field tests, and in the next year, 1939, it was adopted by the Red Army under the designation “37-mm automatic anti-aircraft gun 61-K model 1939”. Soon it was launched into large-scale production, and the 49-K gun remained – only in prototypes.
The 37-mm automatic anti-aircraft gun of the 1939 model was a single-barreled small-caliber gun on a four- carriage with an inseparable four-wheel drive. The design of the gun consisted of an assault rifle; automatic anti-aircraft sight; machine tool with vertical and horizontal guidance mechanisms; the balancing mechanism of the shield cover and the carriage. The gun’s automatics worked by using recoil with a short barrel stroke. The bolt was opened during the rollback, and the shutter was closed after the barrel roll-up and the next cartridge was sent.
The automatic loading mechanism was intended for continuous feeding of cartridges into the chamber, and consisted of a magazine and a tray with a rammer . The machine gun was powered from metal clips with a capacity of 5 shots, manually fed from above to the magazine by the loader, and a new clip could be fed before the previous one was consumed, which made it possible to conduct continuous fire. The automatic equipment of the gun ensured the rate of fire – 180 rds / min, the practical rate of fire was 60, and the continuous burst – 80 – 100.
The quick-change barrel was a free tube inserted into the casing. A flame arrester was mounted on the barrel, intended to protect the gunners from blinding when fired and to mitigate the sharp sound of the shot. The breech was screwed onto the casing. The shutter is a vertical wedge, its automatic opening was carried out by a copier located on the left of the cradle. The shutter was opened manually – with a handle. The recoil brake is hydraulic, spindle type, attached to the bottom of the cradle neck. The knurled spring was assembled on the trunk and was located inside the cradle neck. The aiming of the gun at the target was carried out using lifting and turning mechanisms, with manual drives, in the vertical and horizontal plane.
The lifting and turning mechanisms provided a circular fire with vertical guidance angles from -5 ° to + 85 °, and both mechanisms had two guidance speeds: higher and lower. The lower speed was used for smooth aiming when firing at targets flying at medium and high altitudes and ranges, while the higher speed was used when firing at targets that were fast moving at low altitudes. To control the firing, an automatic anti-aircraft sight
AZP-37-1 was mounted on the cannon , which generated vertical and lateral leads and made it possible to aim the gun directly at the target at ranges up to 4000 m at a target speed of 1.6 to 140 m / s and a maximum dive or pitching angle at 70 °. The range to the target was determined by a one-meter stereo rangefinderor by eye, the rest of the target movement parameters were by eye, which was quite effective when firing at targets flying at speeds up to 540 km / h.
The machine tool consisted of upper and lower parts. The upper part of the machine is rotating, providing horizontal guidance of the gun. At the same time, it was the basis for the swinging part of the gun. The lower part of the machine was attached to the carriage and served as the basis for the upper part. On the 61-K anti-aircraft guns, starting in 1943, a shield cover was mounted on the machine, protecting the crew from bullets and shrapnel. Both in the stowed and in the combat position, the gun carriage was on a four-wheeled vehicle ZU-7, which had sprung automobile-type wheels and provided a speed of up to 60 km / h. The reverse course of the carriage was rigidly connected to the longitudinal beam of the carriage, and the forward course could be rotated, which ensured good stability of the weapon on the campaign. The transfer of the gun from the traveling position to the combat position and vice versa took 25-30 seconds for a well-trained crew. When transferred to a firing position, the gun was lowered onto four supports by turning the forward and reverse axles.The leveling of the gun was carried out with the help of levels with four jacks located at the ends of the four crosswise located carriage beds. As ammunition, unitary shots with fragmentation tracer, armor-piercing tracer and subcaliber armor-piercing shells were used. When firing at ground-based armored targets, an armor-piercing tracer projectile at a distance of 500 m at an angle of 60 ° pierced armor with a thickness of 38 mm, and at a distance of 1000 m – 31 mm.
The 37-mm automatic anti-aircraft gun of the 1939 model was intended for firing at air targets at ranges up to 3500 m and altitudes up to 2500 m, flying at speeds up to 250 m / s. She possessed high maneuverability, easily and quickly transferred from the traveling position to the combat position and vice versa, and in the event of a sudden appearance of an air enemy, it made it possible to fire on the move and from short stops, that is, without transferring the gun to the combat position.
The device of the gun made it possible to use it in case of emergency for firing at ground targets: manpower, firing points, tanks, self-propelled guns, armored personnel carriers, armored vehicles and vehicles. Along with the 85-mm anti-aircraft gun of the 1939 model, this gun during the war years was the main means of air defense of the Red Army for covering troops from low-flying and dive aircraft of the enemy.
On June 22, 1941, the Red Army was armed with 1214 37-mm anti-aircraft guns of the 1939 model, and 44 more – in the Navy. The rifle division in the state of 1939 had an anti-aircraft artillery battalion, which consisted of one battery and 76-mm
(4 pieces) and two batteries of 37-mm guns (8 pieces). In December 1941, an anti-aircraft artillery battery (6 – 37-mm guns), excluded in December 1942, was introduced to the staff of the rifle division to replace the division. In December 1944, an anti-aircraft artillery division (12 – 37-mm guns) reappeared in the state of the guards rifle divisions, and in June 1945 all rifle divisions were transferred to this state. In the states of mountain rifledivisions, an anti-aircraft artillery division (8 – 37-mm guns) appeared in 1941, at the beginning of 1942 it was expelled, but in 1944 it was reintroduced, but now it had 6 37-mm cannons and 6 DShK machine guns.
Since 1943, the anti-aircraft artillery regiment appears in the tank and mechanized corps x (12 37-mm guns), and in the cavalry corps – 16 37-mm guns. The combined arms armies from 1943 had an anti-aircraft artillery regiment (16 – 37 mm guns), and the guards combined arms and tank armies from the beginning of 1945 had an anti-aircraft artillery division (16 – 85 mm and 72 – 37 mm guns). The artillery of the RGK included separate anti-aircraft artillery regiments (which in different years had 12, 16 or 24 61-K guns). The 37 mm 61-K automatic cannons made a great contribution to the victory over the enemy.
If during the Great Patriotic War 21,645 enemy aircraft were shot down by ground forces of the ground forces, then 14,657 of them fell on small-caliber anti-aircraft artillery (25 and 37 mm). At the same time, the average consumption of ammunition for one shot down aircraft was 905 shells. In addition to fighting enemy aircraft, the 37-mm 61-K anti-aircraft guns were also used as anti-tank guns . They were in service with the Soviet army until the 1980s.
Serial production of 61-K guns was mastered by the plant №8 named after. Kalinin in 1939. Since 1941, and their production is transferred to the plant number 4 named. Voroshilov (Kolomna, Moscow Region), who was evacuated to Krasnoyarsk in July of the same year. Since 1942, all production of 61-K was concentrated at plant number 4, and ended in 1945 (although the production of anti-aircraft guns for the ZSU continued in 1946 ). In total, 18,872 61-K guns were manufactured in 1939-1945, in addition, another 300 guns were produced in 1944-1945 for the ZSU-37 self-propelled anti-aircraft guns.
In order to increase the density of anti-aircraft fire in 1944, the design bureau of plant No. 4 developed a two-gun installation V-47, which is two swinging parts of the 61-K cannon, mounted on a four-wheeled cart. The installation could conduct a circular fire with vertical guidance angles from -5 ° to + 87 °. Its mass was 2830 kg. In 1945, only an experimental batch of five installations was made, their range and military tests continued until 1948 , when this artillery system was adopted by the Soviet army under the official name ” 37-mm automatic anti-aircraft gun B-47 “. In 1949Plant No. 4 produced 78 of these guns, after which their mass production was discontinued. In addition, at the final stage of the war, the SU-37 self-propelled anti-aircraft gun, created on the basis of the SU-76M self-propelled gun and armed with a 37-mm 61-K anti-aircraft gun, began to enter the troops. The anti-aircraft gun was mounted in an open-top turret of circular rotation. 37-mm automatic anti-aircraft guns of the 1939 model were also actively used to arm armored trains , especially from the middle of 1942. They were installed on special air defense armored platforms , one or two guns per armored platform. In 1942 – 1944, the air defense-4 armored platform was in production, nominally armed with two 37-mm 61-K anti-aircraft guns. With the active participation and under the leadership of L.A. Loktev, on the basis of the 37-mm anti-aircraft gun of the 1939 model, several variants of 37-mm single and twin deck and turret automatic anti-aircraft guns were created, which were in service with the Soviet Navy in the 1940s – 1980s. The design of the 37-mm anti-aircraft gun of the 1939 model turned out to be very successful, as evidenced by the long service of the gun and the creation of a large number of its modifications.
In the Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War, along with samples of 61-K cannons, a 37-mm anti-aircraft gun of the 1939 model is exhibited, which passed the combat route from Kursk to Berlin as part of the crew of the 303rd Guards anti-aircraft artillery regiment. The commander of the gun is the Guard Senior Sergeant Azarov Mikhail Ivanovich (participant of the Victory Parade on June 24, 1945). In total, during the war years, the crew of this gun shot down 11 enemy aircraft.