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Specification and Armor Penetration of the Soviet Tank Guns

I. Specification

Gun ModelCalibre, mmBore Length, clbElevationMax. Range, mWeight of Pendulous Elements, kgWeight of Recoil Elements, kgNormal Recoil Length, mmMax. Recoil Length, mmLoadingPractical ROF, shot/min
TNSh 20 82.4 -5° +27° 6,800 68 ? ? ? automatic 200
PT-23TB 23 ? -5° +27° 9,000 ? ? ? ? automatic over 300
ZIS-19 37 66.7 -5° +30° ~10.000 ? 73 ? ? single 8-15
Modernized "Hochkis" 37 20 ? ? 103.8 ? ? ? single 5-6
PS-2 37 45 ? ? 100 ? ? ? single 6-8
20K, 20Km 45 46 -6° +22° ~4,2001 313 113 240-270 278 single 7-12
VT-42/43 45 68.6 -5° +25°/+78° ? 322 149 288 285 single 9-10
ZIS-4 57 73 -5° +30° 12,500 ? ? 350-380 395 single 6-10
KT 76.2 16.5 ? ? 540 ? ? ? single 5
PS-3 76.2 20.5 ? ? 614 ? ? ? single 11-12
L-10 76.2 23.7 ? ? 641 ? ? ? single 12
F-32 76.2 31.5 ? ? 770 ? ? ? single 8
F-34, ZIS-5 76.2 41.6 -5° +28° 11,200 1,155 538 320-370 390 single 4-81
S-54 76.2 58 -5° +30° ? 1,390 ? ? 400 single 3-5
D-5T, D-5S 85 51.6 -5° +22° 12,700 1,500 980 270-310 330 single 5-82
ZIS-S-53 85 54.6 -5° +25° 12,900 1,150 905 280-320 330 single 6-10
ZIS-6 106.7 48.6 ? ? ? ? ~600 ? separated4 3-4
D-10T, D-10S 100 53.5 -3° +18° 16,000 2,257 1,538 550 650 single 4-6
U-11 121.92 22.7 -2° +22° ? ? ? 590 680 separated 2-3
D-25T, D-25S 121.92 43 -2° +20° 14,200 2,588 1,850 580 660 separated 1.2-2.5
S-41 152.4 27.68 -3° +18° ? ~2.300 ? 590 650 separated 1-2

1 This is the tabular data range.
2 The practice rate of fire of the T-34 was 3-5 shots per minute due to unsuccessful ammo layout.
3 The rate of fire during movement didn't exceed 4 shots/min; the ROF in stationary position on motionless target 10 shots/min.
4 Initially projected to be single loading ammo, but it was realized to be unsuccessful.

II. armor penetration1 of the Soviet tank guns

This table is mostly based on data from the NII-48 (Research Lab #48) in 1942-1945. These data are different from widespread penetration data but values presented here seem to me more accurate and often confirmed by after-trials reports. Unfortunately, the armor quality (hardness etc) usually missed in those reports, so I cannot reveal it's real quality. All what was mentioned is "homogenous hardened armor" or simply "homogenous armor" and nothing more.

The tabular data were theoretical and were calculated by method of ARTKOM (Artillery Committee). This method was accepted in 1939 and its final result depended of two values:
- The Limit of the Through Penetration (LTP) when a whole projectile penetrate the armor and was found behind the armor plate.
- The Breaking Point of the Back Surface (BPBS) when a projectile didn't penetrate the armor but the back surface of the armor plate happened to be damaged.

The armor counted to be penetrated if at least 75% of a projectile's fragments happened to be found behind the armor plate. Most of the Soviet armor penetration tables based on this value. Curiously, but the German way of calculation the armor penetration was based on 50% penetration. That's why the Soviet and the German penetration values are so different.

Also, it is important to understand that realistic penetration values in 1941-1943 was reduced significantly due to low quality ammo.

Gun ModelAmmo Type or indexMuzzle Velocity, m/sAngleRange, m
501003005001,0001,5002,000
20 mm TNSh AP with tungsten carbide core 817 60° IP=25 IP=18 - - - - -
90° - - - - - - -
23 mm PT-23TB AP 830 60° - - - - - - -
90° 352 282 222 152 - - -
37 mm ZIS-19 AP 915 60° - CP=44 CP=38 CP=33 - - -
90° - CP=58 CP=50 CP=41 - - -
37 mm Modernized "Hochkiss" AP 442 60° ? ? ? ? - - -
90° ? ? ? ? - - -
37 mm PS-2 AP 880 60° - - - - - - -
90° ? ? ? 352 252 - -
45 mm 20K, 20Km BR-240SP 757 60° - CP=43 CP=36 CP=31 CP=28 - -
90° - CP=51 CP=43 CP=38 CP=35 - -
45 mm VT-42/43 AP 950 60° - CP=60 CP=55 CP=51 CP=54 - -
90° - CP=75 CP=66 CP=59 CP=54 - -
ZIS-4 BR-271 995 60° - - - IP=89
CP=83
IP=85
CP=78
IP=79
CP=73
-
90° - - - IP=105
CP=98
IP=98
CP=90
IP=90
CP=82
-
76 mm KT AP 370 60° - - - - - - -
90° ? ? ? 312 282 - -
76 mm PS-3 AP 530 60° - - - - - - -
90° ? ? ? ? ? - -
76 mm L-10 AP 558 60° - - - - - - -
90° ? ? ? 612 512 - -
76 mm F-32 AP 612 60° - - - - - - -
90° ? ? ? 602 522 - -
76 mm F-34, ZIS-5 BR-350A 680 60° - IP=86
CP=69
IP=79
CP=63
IP=70
CP=59
IP=63
CP=50
IP=52
CP=43
-
90° - IP=89
CP=80
IP=84
CP=76
IP=78
CP=70
IP=73
CP=63
IP=65
CP=58
-
BR-350B 60° - IP=89
CP=74
IP=82
CP=69
IP=76
CP=62
IP=71
CP=55
IP=55
CP=48
-
90° - IP=94
CP=86
IP=90
CP=81
IP=84
CP=75
IP=78
CP=68
IP=69
CP=62
-
BR-350P 60° - CP=92 CP=87 CP=77 n/a n/a n/a
90° - CP=102 CP=98 CP=92 n/a n/a n/a
85 mm D-5T, S-53, ZIS-S-53 BR-365 792 60° - - - CP=90 CP=85 CP=78 CP=72
90° - - - CP=105 CP=100 CP=92 CP=85
BR-365K 60° - - - CP=90 CP=78 CP=72 CP=66
90° - - - CP=108 CP=102 CP=90 CP=82
BR-365P 60° - - - CP=100 CP=85 n/a n/a
90° - - - CP=140 CP=118 n/a n/a
100 mm D-10T, D-10S BR-412 880 60° - - - CP=125 CP=110 CP=95 CP=87
90° - - - CP=155 CP=135 CP=115 CP=100
107 mm ZIS-6 B-420 830 60° - - - CP=120 CP=108 CP=92 CP=86
90° - - - CP=140 CP=130 CP=110 CP=95
122 mm D-25T, D-25S BR-471 780 60° - - - CP=122 CP=115 CP=107 CP=97
90° - - - CP=152 CP=142 CP=133 CP=122
BR-471B 780 60° - - - 1252 1202 1102 1002
90° - - - 1552 1432 1322 1162
152 mm S-41 semi-AP round for howitzers 432 60° - - - CP=71 CP=67 CP=64 CP=60
90° - - - CP=87 CP=82 CP=78 CP=73

1 The Initial Penetration (IP) means 20% fragments could penetrate the armor. The Certified Penetration (CP) means 80% could penetrate the armor;
2 The tabular data.

III. The ammo types used for the tanks and SP guns

Gun ModelTanks and SP-GunsUsed Ammo
high explosivearmor-piercingsub-calibershaped-chargeother
45 mm (L = 46 clb) guns
45 mm 20K gun model 1932/38 BT-5, BT-7, BT-7M, T-26 model 1933-1936, T-26 model 1937-1939, T-35 UO-240
UO-240A
UBR-243
UB-241
UB-241M
n/a n/a ?
57 mm (L = 73 clb) guns
ZIS-2 ZIS-30 UO-271U UBR-271
UBR-271K
UBR-271SP
n/a n/a USh-271
ZIS-4, ZIS-4M T-34-57 the same the same n/a n/a the same
76.2 mm (L = 16.5 clb) guns
KT T-26A, BT-7A, T-35, T-28 UO-353A
UOF-353
UF-353M
? n/a n/a UD-353A
USh-353
USh-353D
76.2 mm (L = 20.5 clb) guns
PS-3 T-28 UO-353A
UOF-353
UF-353M
? n/a n/a UD-353A
USh-353
USh-353D
76.2 mm (L = 23.7 clb) guns
L-10 T-28, T-35 UO-353A
UOF-353
UF-353M
UBR-353A1 n/a n/a UD-353A
USh-353
USh-353D
76.2 mm (L = 31.5 clb) guns
L-11 T-34/76 model 1940 UOF-354M
UOF-354B
UF-354
UBR-354A
UBR-354B
UBR-354SP
n/a n/a UD-354A
USh-354
USh-354T
USh-354G
USh-R2-354
F-32 KV-1 model 1939 the same the same n/a n/a the same
76.2 mm (L = 41.5 clb) guns
F-34 T-34/76 model 1941, T-34/76 model 1942 the same the same UBR-354P n/a the same
ZIS-5 KV-1 model 1941, KV-1S model 1942 the same the same n/a n/a the same
76.2 mm (L = 51 clb) guns
ZIS-3T SU-76M UOF-354M
UO-354AM
UOF-363
UBR-354A
UBR-354V
UBR-354SP
UBP-354M n/a USh-354
USh-354T
USh-354G
UD-354
UD-354A
85 mm (L = 54 clb) guns
D-5T KV-85, T-34/85, IS-1 UO-365K UBR-365
UBR-365K
UBR-365PK3 n/a ?
D-5S SU-85, SU-85M the same the same UBR-365PK4 n/a ?
S-53, ZIS-S-53 T-34/85 the same the same UBR-365PK3 n/a ?
122 mm (L = 43 clb) guns
D-25T IS-2 53-OF-471 projectile with 53-VOF-471 charge 53-BR-471 projectile with 53-VBR-471 charge n/a n/a n/a
D-25S ISU-122, ISU-122S the same the same n/a n/a n/a

1 In January-February 1941 all these projectiles have been transferred from tanks to regimental field artillery;
2 In 1943 this projectile was adding if there was a chance of tank vs tank battle. However, it had poor fuse, so it was quickly removed;
3 Used from summer 1943 only if tank vs tank battle expected. Since 1944 there were 4 rounds in every tank;
4 Used from summer 1943 only if antitank mission planned. Since 1944 there were 8 rounds in every SP-gun.

  • Kenny Noe
    Posted at 2011-11-17 18:11:24

    The "armor penetration of the Soviet tank guns" table lists the 76 mm F-34, ZIS-5 and has pen data for the BR-350A, BR-350B, and BR-350P ammunition.

    However the "The ammo types used for the tanks and SP guns" table list the 76.2 mm (L = 41.5 clb) guns (for the F-34, ZIS-5) as having UBR-354A, UBR-354B, and UBR-354SP ammunition.

    Why the difference??


    Thanks

  • Andrew M. Reid.
    Posted at 2012-09-21 01:01:37

    From captured and translated German Rhienmetall-Borstig evaluation data.

    Test targets = rolled homogenous armour plate set at 0 Degrees.

    Penetrations are extrapolated absolute maximums (1% chance of penetration).

    45mm. L.46. 20-K

    APHE (propellant black powder with nitro-celuose primer).

    52mm. at 100 metres.
    42mm. at 500 metres.
    38mm. at 1,000 metres.

    HVAP (propellant nitro-acetone based).

    64mm. at 100 metres.
    58mm. at 500 metres.
    52mm. at 1,000 metres.

    76.2mm. L.16.5. KT.

    APHE (propellant black powder with nitro-celuose primer).

    38mm. at 100 metres.
    35mm. at 500 metres.
    30mm. at 1,000 metres.

    76.2mm. L.26. L-10.

    APHE (propellant black powder with nitro-celuose primer).

    58mm. at 100 metres.
    52mm. at 500 metres.
    47mm. at 1,000 metres.
    42mm. at 1,500 metres.

    76.2mm. L.30.5. F-32.

    APHE (propellant black powder with nitro-celuose primer).

    69mm. at 100 metres.
    62mm. at 500 metres.
    56mm. at 1,000 metres.
    50mm. at 1,500 metres.

    76.2mm. L.42.5 F-34.

    APHE (propellant black powder with nitro-celuose primer).

    81mm. at 100 metres.
    69mm. at 500 metres.
    61mm. at 1,000 metres.

    HVAP "Arrowhead" (propellant nitro acetone based).

    104mm. at 100 metres.
    94mm. at 500 metres.
    85mm. at 1,000 metres.

    APDS (propellant nitro acetone based).

    149mm. at 100 metres.
    92mm. at 500 metres.
    60mm. at 1,000 metres.


    76.2mm. L.16.5. to L.54. HEAT.

    75mm. at all ranges.

    85mm. L.54.6. Zis\5\53.

    APHE (propellant black powder with nitro-celuose primer).

    130mm. at 100 metres.
    111mm. at 500 metres.
    102mm. at 1,000 metres.

    HVAP (propellant nitro-acetone based).

    168mm. at 100 metres.
    152mm. at 500 metres.
    143mm. at 1,000 metres.

    APDS (propellant nitro-acetone based).

    240mm. at 100 metres.
    138mm. at 500 metres.
    100mm. at 1,000 metres.

    By comparison....

    37mm. L.46. PaK.35/36.

    APCBC PzGr.39. (propellant Binatol).

    65mm. at 100 metres.
    49mm. at 500 metres.
    38mm. at 1,000 metres.

    APCR PzGr.40. (propellant Binatol).

    79mm. at 100 metres.
    50mm. at 500 metres.

    50mm. L.42. PaK.37./KwK.37.

    APCBC PzGr.39. (propellant Binatol).

    69mm. at 100 metres.
    54mm. at 500 metres.
    42mm. at 1,000 metres.
    32mm. at 1,500 metres.

    APCR PzGr.40-1. (propellant Binatol).

    115mm. at 100 metres.
    84mm. at 500 metres.
    58mm. at 1,000 metres.

    75mm. L.43. KwK.39.

    APCBC PzGr.39. (propellant Binatol).

    108mm. at 100 metres.
    98mm. at 500 metres.
    88mm. at 1,000 metres.
    79mm. at 1,500 metres.
    71mm. at 2,000 metres.

    APCR PzGr.40. (propellant Binatol).

    137mm. at 100 metres.
    120mm. at 500 metres.
    103mm. at 1,000 metres.
    89mm. at 1,500 metres.
    76mm. at 2,000 metres.
    64mm. at 2,500 metres.

    88mm. L.71. Flak.37/38. & PaK.43. & KwK.43.

    APCR PzGr.40. (propellant Binatol).

    311mm. at 100 metres.
    274mm. at 500 metres.
    241mm. at 1,000 metres.
    211mm. at 1,500 metres.
    184mm. at 2,000 metres.
    159mm. at 2,500 metres.

    To sum up earlier Soviet ammunition suffered from propellant technology from the 1890's. Britain shared a lot of propellant and ammunition technology with Russia during the war and my grandfather sailed on an explosives ship in Artic convoys to Murmansk and Arcangel during 1942. They carried Cordite (nitro-acetone impregnated hemp cords) which was made at the Royal Navy munitions facility at Holton Heath, Wareham, Dorset in southern England.

  • Thomas Altorfer
    Posted at 2013-03-16 03:22:12

    There is almost certainly a typo or copy/paste error in the entry about the AP specs of the 45 mm VT-42/43 at 1000m. It is inconceivable thet the value could be the same (54mm) for both 90° and 60° angle. Usually the 60° value is about 5/6th the 90° one, so could 45 mm be correct?

    @Andrew: What is "Binatol"? Is it the same as "Di-base" propellant (Nitrocellulose/Nitroglycerine)?

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