45-mm Anti-tank Gun 53-k Model 1937,Details – The USSR

45-mm Anti-tank Gun 53-k Model Technical Details

  • Years of production-1938-1943
  • Total issued-37,354 units.
  • Caliber-45 mm
  • Weight in combat position – 560 kg
  • Barrel length-2072 mm
  • Length of the threaded part-1650 mm
  • Payment – 5 people
  • Driving speed-50-60 km / h
  • Rate of fire-15-20 rounds/min
  • Maximum firing range-4400 m
  • Direct shot range-850
  • Firing angles:
  • Horizontal – 60°
  • Vertical – 8° +25°

45-mm Anti-tank Gun 53-k Model Details

The 45-mm 53-K anti-tank gun of the 1937 model was the main anti-tank artillery weapon of the Red Army during the initial period of the Great Patriotic War.

The 53-K gun was created in the Design Bureau of the plant No. 8 named after M. I. Kalinin under the leadership of M. N. Loginov on the basis of a 45-mm anti-tank gun of the 1932 model, which was a deeply modernized sample of the licensed 3.7-cm Tak 29 L/45 gun of the German company Rheinmetall with a new 45-mm barrel superimposed.

The 45-mm gun 53-K was adopted by the Red Army in 1938 under the designation “45-mm anti-tank gun mod. 1937”. Its production was carried out at plants No. 8 (Podlipki village, Moscow region), No. 172 (Perm) and No. 235
(Votkinsk). In total, in 1938 – 1944, the industry produced 37,554 guns of the 1937 model of the year, of which only plant No. 235 produced 24,670 53-K guns in 1941-1943.

The 53-K gun had a semi-automatic vertical wedge bolt, which ensures reliable locking of the barrel bore when fired and ejection (extraction) of the spent cartridge case when opened. In the design of the carriage of the 53-K gun, wheel suspension and a new rotary mechanism were introduced. The gun carriage consisted of a cradle with recoil devices, an upper mobile machine with guidance mechanisms, a lower stationary machine with sliding frames, a sprung course, a shield cover and sighting devices. The gun received a special push-button release from the button located in the center of the steering wheel of the lifting mechanism; new car wheels with sponge rubber. The upper and lower machine guns of the carriage had a riveted-welded structure made of sheet steel.

Sliding carriage frames provided a horizontal firing angle of 60°, and in the vertical plane-from -8° to +25°. When the gun was moved to the firing position, when the frames were spread out to the sides until they stopped, the springing mechanism was turned off, thereby ensuring the stability of the gun when fired. The compact design of the gun and the low shield cover, made folding, made it an inconspicuous target on the battlefield (the height of the gun is 120 cm). The sprung carriage made it possible to transport a 45-mm anti-tank gun mod. 1937, both mechanical and horse-drawn. In the artillery front were placed 10 boxes-trays with five shots in each, as well as a box with a sight. The gun was mainly used for direct fire at armored targets (tanks, self – propelled guns and armored vehicles) and firing points at ranges up to 1.0-1.5 km , as well as for fighting enemy manpower at ranges up to 4.5 km . The ammunition of the cannon included unitary shots with armor-piercing, armor-piercing tracer and subcalibre shells, fragmentation grenades,as well as unitary shots with buckshot.

45-mm guns of the 53-K model of 1937 were in service with anti-tank platoons of rifle battalions (2 guns), anti-tank batteries of rifle regiments (6 guns) and anti-tank divisions of rifle divisions (12 or 18 guns). They were also armed with separate anti-tank regiments consisting of 4-5 batteries (16 – 20 guns each). As of June 22, 1941, the Red Army was armed with 16,621 units of 45-mm anti-tank guns of the 1932 and 1937 models. At the end of the 1930s, the armor penetration of the 53-K gun was quite acceptable – according to the norm, it penetrated 43 mm armor at 500 m, and 28 mm thick armor at 1000 m . This was enough to deal with armored vehicles that had bulletproof armor, but already in 1942, the insufficient armor penetration of this gun was revealed, when the Germans significantly increased the armor thickness of their main Pz.Kpfw tanks. III and Pz. Kpfw. IV, which led to very heavy losses among Soviet gunners.

However, in the hands of experienced commanders, the 53-K 45-mm cannon posed a serious threat to enemy armored vehicles. For example, in the summer of 1942, in the Stalingrad area, a crew of a 45-mm gun mod. 1937 under the command of Senior Sergeant A. Alekantsev destroyed 8 and knocked out 4 German tanks. In 1942, due to insufficient armor penetration, the 45-mm 53-K anti-tank gun was replaced with a more powerful 45 – mm M-42 anti – tank gun.

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