45-mm M-42 Anti-tank Gun of the 1942 Model,Details – The USSR

45-mm M-42 Anti-tank Gun of the 1942 Model Technical Details

  • Years of production-1943-1946
  • Total issued-10,843 units.
  • Caliber-45 mm
  • Weight in combat position – 625 kg
  • Barrel length-3087 mm
  • Length of the threaded part-2660 mm
  • Payment – 5 people
  • Driving speed-50-60 km / h
  • Rate of fire-15-20 rounds/min
  • Maximum firing range-4550 m
  • Direct shot range-950 m
  • Firing angles:
  • Horizontal – 60°
  • Vertical – 8° +25°

45-mm M-42 Anti-tank Gun of the 1942 Model Details

The appearance on the Eastern Front of the German tanks Pz Kpfw III and Pz Kpfw IV with reinforced anti-shell armor forced the Soviet command to take retaliatory measures to re-equip the Red Army’s anti-tank artillery units with more powerful guns. At the same time, modernization of weapons already mastered in production in military conditions was the most preferable solution, since it allowed obtaining more advanced weapons without reducing the rate of armament production.

Already in the spring of 1942, the designers of OKB-172 under the leadership of M. Y. Tsirulnikov created, by upgrading the 45-mm anti-tank gun 53-K, a new 45-mm anti-tank gun M-42. Modernization consisted in lengthening the barrel and using a new shot, in which the shell and sleeve remained unchanged, and the mass of the powder charge was increased. As a result, the initial velocity of the projectile increased from 760 to 870 m/s , and the normal armor penetration at ranges up to 500 m increased to 61 mm, and at 1000 m – to 51 mm . In addition to the length, the barrel design itself was also changed. Instead of the fixed barrel mounted on the 1937 model gun, a more technological monoblock barrel was used on the new gun, in the form of an all-metal pipe, on which the breech was screwed and locked. A number of measures were also taken to simplify mass production and reduce its labor intensity, so the manufacturability of the new tool as a whole was increased due to the development of new components: a cast upper machine, a simple hydraulic rollback brake, a spring knurler, and the introduction of spring springing. The thickness of the shield cover armor was increased from 4.5 mm to 7 mm to better protect the crew from rifle armor-piercing bullets. All this significantly reduced the complexity of manufacturing a gun, while improving its combat qualities.

The 45-mm M-42 anti-tank gun had a light two-wheeled carriage with tubular frames, on which a monoblock barrel with a semi-automatic vertical bolt was mounted, which provided a high rate of fire – up to 20 rounds/min. The ammunition of the gun included: unitary shots with armor-piercing, armor-piercing tracer and sub-caliber projectiles, fragmentation grenades, as well as unitary shots with buckshot. The upgraded gun was adopted by the Red Army under the name “45-mm M-42 anti-tank gun of the 1942 model of the year”. Its serial production was mastered at the Motovilikhinsky artillery plant No. 172 in Perm in January 1943.

Production of 45-mm M-42 guns continued until 1946. In total, 10,843 anti – tank guns of the 1942 model were manufactured in 1943-1946. As the production of M-42 guns increased, they were re-equipped with fighter anti-tank artillery regiments and brigades that were armed with 45-mm anti-tank guns of the 1937 model of the year. The 45-mm M-42 anti-tank gun was designed primarily to combat enemy armored vehicles. But the appearance in the same 1943 year of the new German heavy tanks “Panther”, “Tiger” and the upgraded Pz tank. Kpfw. IV model H with a frontal armor thickness of 80 mm again put the Soviet anti-tank artillery in front of the need to increase firepower. Therefore, due to insufficient armor penetration, the M-42 cannon failed to play a decisive role in the destruction of the armored “menagerie” of the Wehrmacht during the Great Patriotic War.

Already in 1943, even more powerful and effective 57 – mm ZIS-2 anti-tank guns of the 1943 model began to enter service with selected units of the Red Army-fighter anti-tank artillery regiments and brigades. However, since the M-42 guns were already mastered in mass production, and had the ability to fight the “Panthers” and Pz. Kpfw. IV flank fire – when shooting at the side, and also had high mobility, they were left in production and in service with anti-tank units of rifle units.

Since 1944, a battery of 4 45-mm anti-tank guns was introduced in the rifle battalion instead of an anti-tank platoon.

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