from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
SU-122 in the Kubinka Tank Museum (2006)

SU-122 in the Kubinka Tank Museum (2006)

General properties
crew 5-6
length 6.95 m
width 3.00 m
height 2.24 m
Dimensions 29.6 tons
Armor and armament
Armor 45 mm (max.)
Main armament 122 mm howitzer M-30S
drive W-2-34 , V12 diesel with water cooling
500 PS (368 kW)
suspension Christie suspension
Top speed 55 km / h (road) / 20 km / h (terrain)
Power / weight 16.9 hp / ton
Range 600 km

The SU-122 ( Russian СУ-122 ) was a Soviet self-propelled gun that was developed at the time of the Second World War . The designation SU means S amochodnaja U stanowka ( self-propelled gun ) and the number 122 stands for the caliber of the vehicle's main weapon.

The design office of Uralsky Zavod Tjaschologo Maschinostrojenija ( Russian Уральский завод тяжёлого машиностроения, УЗТМ, Уралмаш - just USTM, Uralmash Ural factory of heavy mechanical engineering) in Sverdlovsk designed the SU-122 in November of 1942. As a project manager worked Lew Israilevich Gorlizki , a the then leading specialists in the development of medium-sized self-propelled artillery vehicles. After the Soviet Army accepted the assault gun the next month, operations began with series production. Production of the SU-122 ended after 638 units had been built in August 1943, when production capacities for the manufacture of the new SU-85 tank destroyer were cleared. Many assemblies of the SU-85, such as the chassis, were further developments of the corresponding parts of the SU-122.

The Red Army used the SU-122 in the battles of World War II from February 1943. The vehicles were used with success mainly as a medium assault gun, sometimes they also took over the tasks of self-propelled howitzers . Attempts to use it as a tank destroyer failed due to the unsuitable main weapon. The high point of active use was in the second half of 1943. After the heavy losses in 1944, the SU-122 were rarely in the fleet of the Soviet troops, some remaining vehicles were in combat use until the end of the war.



In the interwar period , the Soviet military theorists worked consistently in the field of arming the Red Army with self-propelled artillery. Among the various developments that were considered suitable for practical implementation was the design of a fully armored turretless tracked vehicle. The main area of ​​application was to be the direct fire support of the tank and rifle units on the battlefield. However, the inadequate engineering in the early 1930s and the weak industry of the Soviet Union made it impossible to implement it on its own. The development of the project and the possible construction of a test model were commissioned from Daimler-Benz . However, the contractor was unable to complete the work in the agreed time and presented his developments in mid-1932. The price demanded by Daimler-Benz was also three times higher than the originally agreed one. Thereupon the Soviet side decided against the draft.

In the German Reich, the idea of ​​this type of combat vehicle was taken up again. Already during the western campaign , the Wehrmacht used the first assault guns based on the medium armored car III . They corresponded to the characteristics mentioned above and performed well in battle. The vehicles put into service as StuG III became an indispensable part of the German army. This success did not go unnoticed in the Soviet Union and at the end of 1940 and beginning of 1941 one began again to deal with the question of one's own development. However, the Soviet military specialists have not yet been able to agree on the type of support tank. There were two alternatives, each with their own advantages and disadvantages: a turretless self-propelled gun similar to the StuG III or the "artillery tank" more common for the Red Army such as the mass- produced BT-7 A. The outbreak of the Great Patriotic War ended all these preparatory work .

Sturmgeschütz III, early version

The analysis of the first six months of the fight brought the Soviet specialists back to knowledge about the effectiveness of the German assault guns. The plenary session of the Artillery Committee took place on April 14th and 15th, 1942 ; One of the topics discussed was the development of our own turretless “assault tank”, the implementation of which was now shaped by the circumstances of the course of the war. In 1941 the armored forces of the Red Army suffered a catastrophic loss of combat material, the rapid advance of the German Wehrmacht meant the loss of industrial capacities and sources of raw materials. The most important armaments factories were successfully evacuated to the east, but no large production output could be expected from them in the short term. However, precisely this was the main requirement of the State Defense Committee ( Russian Государственный комитет обороны , abbreviated ГКО - GKO) for every plant, regardless of the conditions there. The adjustment to a new location and the re-establishment of the connections to the suppliers required a certain amount of time. Under such conditions, one of the important ways to accomplish this task was to simplify and cheapen the construction of the tank. Precisely for this reason, the designers NW Kurin and GF Ksjunin designed the U-33 turretless tank after the plenum. This vehicle used the chassis of the T-34 and the 76-mm division cannon SiS-22 (a variant of the 76-mm division cannon M1939 (USW) , which was produced during the war) with a base mount as armament. Dispensing with a tower reduced the workload by 27% and the mass by 1.8 to 2.1 tons. The weight savings also allowed the frontal armor to be reinforced to 75 mm or more. The design was highly valued, but only remained on paper, as the USTM was too stressed by the already arranged organization of the series production of the T-34.

A little later, in the summer of 1942, the designers of the USTM returned to this subject and in August proposed the draft of the turretless U-34 tank with the 76-mm F-34 gun (already the main armament of the T-34) to the People's Commissariat for the Armored Industry ( Russian Народный комиссариат танковой промышленности , abbreviated НКТП - NKTP). At the same time, NW Kurin revised the U-33 project to accommodate the 122 mm M1938 (M-30) howitzer in the vehicle . But the USTM was again heavily stressed by the series production of the T-34. As a result, work on the U-34 was temporarily halted and the U-33 documents were brought to Artillery Plant No. 9 for further development there.


The T-34 medium tank built in 1942, the basis for the SU-122.
The towed M-30 medium field howitzer

On October 19, 1942, the GKO issued resolution No. 2429ss, which called for the development of an armored 122 mm self-propelled howitzer for suppressing enemy fire positions and for anti-tank defense. On the same day, the first mass-produced T-34s left the USTM assembly line, so that the developers' workforce could be concentrated on this task. According to Order No. 721 of the NKTP, a special construction group was organized at the USTM under the direction of LI Gorlizkis . The engineers NW Kurin, GF Ksjunin, AD Nekljudow, KN Ilyin, IS Sasanow and II Emmanuilow belonged to it. The deputy of the People's Commissar of the tank industry and well-known designer of Soviet armored vehicles J. Yes. Kotin carried out the personal control of the work. On the basis of the revised U-34 project and the developments in Plant No. 9, the special group submitted the new U-35 draft to the interdepartmental commission of the main artillery administration ( Russian Главное артиллерийское управление , abbreviated ГАУ - GAU) and the NKTP on October 29 .

A similar project developed by Plant No. 9 itself was the second variant to be presented to the interagency commission. When choosing between the two, only the amount of rework required and the production effort were decisive. The U-35 finally emerged as the winner. The designers were only given 20 days to build the test model with all the proposed improvements; the prototype should be ready for testing by November 25th. LI Gorlizki described the situation while performing this task as follows:

«Мы все тогда жили в своём КБ. Чертежи на некоторые узлы и детали делали уже после их готовности, а рабочие в цехоах рабоали. Но я не помню, чтобы кто-то жаловался на их качество ... Понятно, что у нас не было никакой оснастки и приспособлений, всё придумывали на месте, в перспективу. А первый образец делали с большим количеством пригоночных работ… »

“We all lived in our design office during this time. The drawings for some parts and details were made after they were made, and the workers in the factory halls used design sketches. But I don't remember anyone complaining about their quality. It is clear we had no equipment or fixtures; everything was conceived on the spot with a view to the future. And the first sample required a lot of adjustment work. "

- Lev Gorlitsky

Therefore, the factory tests did not start on November 25th as planned, but only on November 30th. The prototype U-35 covered a march of 50 kilometers and fired 20 rounds. The serious weak points of the construction became apparent immediately. The pipe lashing and the fixation of the projectile attachment proved to be unreliable and the ventilation of the fighting compartment was poor. When the pipe was swiveled to the left or right as much as possible, there were slots between the armored panel and the front panel of the structure. The firing sector did not meet the original requirements, especially in terms of height. Some of these deficiencies were immediately remedied by installing the T-34's tower fan and expanding the swivel range of the main weapon. Other weak points, however, required more complex measures to remedy them.

The state tests of the U-35 and the alternative design from Plant No. 592 , called SU-122 / T-3 or SG-122 , took place from December 5 to 19, 1942 at the Gorokhovetsk artillery range. The competitor was also a self-propelled artillery vehicle - with the same main weapon as the U-35, but based on captured Panzer III . The tests showed that the U-35 was lighter and had better armor protection and better off-road mobility. The SG-122, on the other hand, gained in rate of fire, ensuring a greater angle of elevation. The uncertain number of tanks still to be captured in the future would, however, make it impossible to make a statement about the possible production output of these combat vehicles. The state commission for service in the Red Army therefore accepted the U-35 under the designation SU-122, but at the same time compiled a list of requirements with 48 design improvements. As a result of the acute needs of the front, the USTM received permission to build the first series of the SU-122 without remedying the deficiencies identified, but before the end of 1942 the plant was able to remedy most of the weaknesses. Only the pre-series vehicles had an “interrupted” body made of two armor plates, a small armor panel and had no fan and no protection for the panoramic telescope. The front armor of the SU-122, which was built from January 1943, was only made of an armor plate. A new armored screen was also introduced, which prevented bullets or splinters from penetrating through gaps at the greatest possible angle. In addition, there were a number of other less significant improvements such as increased volume fuel tanks.

Further improvements

SU-122, side view

After the start of series production of the SU-122, further work was carried out at the USTM to improve the design and increase the manufacturing quality. The responsible designer for this was LI Gorlizki. Engine Plant No. 76 and Plant No. 50 (a former USTM subsidiary that has been reorganized as an independent plant) participated in this process. By May 1943, the developers had achieved significant success: operating expenses were reduced by 10% and the unit price decreased by 15,000 rubles. The improved manufacturing quality made it possible to increase the guaranteed mileage from 1000 to 1600 km. Around this time the GKO decided that the USTM should concentrate on the construction of self-propelled artillery vehicles and released the company from the production of T-34 tanks. The freed up capacities and the personnel served to intensify the production of the SU-122. As a result, the USTM still fulfilled its production plans in May 1943 and reported a readiness to outbid them. For their services in developing and organizing the serial delivery of the SU-122, LI Gorlizki and NW Kurin were awarded the Order of the Red Star and the Stalin Prize, 2nd class.

However, these measures failed to remedy the main shortcomings of the SU-122 as a result of its rapid development. Most of them were due to the assembly of the tube group of the M-30 field howitzer with the leveling mechanism and the horizontally adjustable part of the upper carriage on a base system in the structure. This type of installation made it possible to use already manufactured guns without fundamental changes to the design of the artillery system and to quickly start series production of the vehicle. But even the first experiences in combat showed very negative consequences:

  • the upper mount and the base of the gun required a lot of space in the combat area, which became very narrow and quickly filled with powder gases when firing;
  • the long return pipe made the fighting area even more uncomfortable for the crew's work;
  • the bulky pipe return devices protruded from the front of the body, thus limiting the driver's field of vision considerably and preventing the installation of a driver's hatch. Furthermore, the heavy armor with complex shapes put a heavy load on the front rollers of the chassis.

In addition to all of this, there were production-related problems - the top mount required a lot of adjustment work before it was installed in the vehicle.

That is why the USTM design office began preparatory work for a heavily modified variant of the SU-122 as early as January 1943. In contrast to the production version, which was practically only equipped with an adapted field gun, the new version was to receive a specialized artillery system. The leading designer, NW Kurin, decided to use the 122 mm “combat vehicle howitzer ” of the U-11 type ( Russian танковая штурмовая гаубица У-11 ). Its external ballistic properties and ammunition were identical to those of the M-30. Originally it was developed as the main weapon of the heavy experimental tank KW-9. The pipe return of the U-11 was only 600 mm compared to the 1100 mm of the M-30, at the same time both straightening units were attached to the left of the pipe. In the M-30 field howitzer and its modification M-30S for self-propelled guns, the straightening units were distributed on both sides and required two guns to operate. For example, the crew of the vehicle was reduced by one man without any disadvantage during a transition to the U-11. The U-11's pipe return mechanisms were also very compact compared to those of the M-30. Instead of the screw lock of the M-30S, the new main weapon was equipped with a wedge lock for higher cadence . Last but not least, a further improvement in connection with the armament of the SU-122 was the gimbal mounting of the howitzer in a frame system, which increased the free space in the structure.

As a result of all work, the USTM built the test vehicle SU-122M in April 1943. It was tested on May 16 and 17, 1943 with a march of 100 kilometers and 50 rounds of the main weapon. The conclusions of the factory tests were quite satisfactory: the modernized version had more freedom in construction and better ergonomics for the crew compared to the mass-produced SU-122. The reason was not only the more compact armament, but also the slightly modified form of the body. The ceiling was raised by 50 mm and the base of the structure, which is trapezoidal in cross-section , was widened to the outside of the chains, dispensing with chain covers. The new mounting of the howitzer allowed the use of a spherical armored screen, the time required for the installation of all weapon systems in the structure decreased from 17-18 to 1.5-2 hours. The reduction in dimensions and weight of this cover offered important advantages: the front hatch was standardized with that of the T-34, so the driver could get in and out through it, and the load on the front castors was reduced to normal values. The U-11 gun was equipped with a telescopic sight for direct fire, the panoramic telescope of the M-30 howitzer remained installed for indirect fire. The state tests of the SU-122M took place from June 18 to July 4, 1943 on the Sverdlovsk - Nizhny Tagil - Chelyabinsk route . The vehicle covered a march of 858 kilometers on the road and 50 kilometers in the field. On the Nizhny Tagiler artillery firing range, 329 rounds were fired as part of full-fledged fire tests. Overall, the prototype had passed all tests, but the state commission criticized the excessive weight and price of the U-11 gun. Therefore the SU-122M was rejected for further revision.

Final stages

Tank destroyer of the type SU-85, a successor to the SU-122 in series production

At the beginning of April 1943, shelling tests were carried out with the new German heavy armored vehicle VI Tiger captured in previous battles . The results of these tests gave a bleak picture for the Soviet combat vehicle and anti-tank guns : at firing ranges of over 500 meters, the armor of the "Tiger" was almost invulnerable to any ammunition of the 45 mm or 76.2 mm caliber that existed at the time, including Shaped charge and sub-caliber grenades. It was expected that the SU-122 would be an effective weapon against the Tiger, as the 122 mm shaped charge bullet of the type BP-460A penetrated armor plates with thicknesses over 100 mm (according to some sources up to 140 mm). However, practice has revealed other problems. The test shooting with the M-30 field howitzer at the immobile booty tank at a distance of 500 to 600 meters ended in complete disappointment: none of the 15 shells fired hit the target. This actually thwarted the planned further development of guns with large caliber and low muzzle velocity for combat vehicles, if not immediately.

To solve the very serious problem, the GKO passed resolution No. 3187 on April 15, 1943. In particular, this document ordered the development of a specialized fully armored tank destroyer , the armor plates with a thickness of 90–120 mm at right angles to a distance of 500– Should be able to penetrate 1000 meters. The subsequent resolution of GKO No. 3289ss of May 5, 1943 further specified these requirements: One expected a self-propelled artillery vehicle with an 85 mm gun, which in terms of external ballistics and ammunition would be identical to the anti-aircraft gun M1939 (52-K) of the same caliber should; the medium tank T-34 was intended as the chassis . The USTM was entrusted with this task and in a short time the company built a few prototype tank destroyers with various 85 mm cannons based on the modified SU-122M. One received the 122-mm D-6 test howitzer instead of an 85-mm cannon. Also developed by Artillery Plant No. 9, the weapon system had a wedge lock . This vehicle was called the SU-122-III, the factory tests with other prototypes took place on June 20-25, 1943. The D-6 proved to be unreliable and after some mechanical malfunctions, the SU-122-III was excluded from the test program. This situation was repeated during the state tests on the Gorokhovetsk artillery firing range on July 25, 1943. The conclusion of the state commission was ultimate: all work on the D-6 gun should be stopped immediately, which was soon followed by the order of the NKTP to abort all Developments on 122 mm and 152 mm chariot howitzers has been confirmed. The freed personnel served the urgent refinement of the construction of the 85 mm cannon.

In July 1943, the 85 mm D-5 cannon was ready for installation in a self-propelled artillery vehicle and the GKO issued the order to stop production of the SU-122. Instead, the USTM was to manufacture the new tank destroyer armed with the D-5 with the army designation SU-85 . The changeover of the operating procedure was completed before August. At this point the history of the development and series production of the SU-122 ended. In total, the USTM built 638 vehicles of this type from January through July 1943.


Due to the fact that the self-propelled artillery, a new branch of service was in the Red Army, the question of the form of organization and command relationships for the newly established units presented. In November 1942 it was decided that all tasks relating to the deployment and use of this type of weapon, as well as the training of personnel, should be the responsibility of the commander of the artillery of the Red Army. The regimental structure was widely used in the Soviet rifled artillery of that time and was considered good in terms of tactical and organizational aspects. Therefore, these positive experiences were extended to the self-propelled artillery. From the standpoint of the subordinate hierarchy of all units of the new branch of arms an assignment to the reserve of the high command ( Russian Резерв Верховного Главнокомандования ) was provided.

At the beginning of December 1942, the structure No. 08/158 for the self-propelled artillery regiment ( Russian самоходно-артиллерийский полк , abbreviated САП - SAP) was introduced. Four of the batteries were armed with four light vehicles of the type SU-76 (subtype SU-12) each; two other batteries each had four medium SU-122. A fully equipped unit comprised a total of 307 officers, sergeants and common soldiers. The 1433th and 1434th SAP, which were the first self-propelled artillery regiments to intervene in the battle on the Volkhov Front, were reorganized according to this structure.

The experience gained in the combat operations of these regiments was carefully analyzed, because practice showed a number of disadvantages of the material. The large number of mechanical defects of the SU-76 as a result of a design fault in the drive led to the interruption of series production of this type and the lack of vehicles in the self-propelled artillery units in anticipation of the summer campaign in 1943. Thus, the first correction of the subordination plans followed with the reduction of the total number of self-propelled guns to 20 per regiment, but the proportion of the SU-122 was significantly increased. According to the structure no. 08/191 adopted in early 1943, a SAP consisted of five batteries with four vehicles each. Three of them were equipped with SU-122, the two remaining batteries had SU-76 as their main armament as before. Furthermore, the staff was reduced to 289 men.

Practice also revealed the fact that "real" tank soldiers or "real" artillerymen had no skills and no tactical knowledge for the correct use of self-propelled artillery. Therefore, in February 1943, the first training center for self-propelled artillery was opened and other such institutions followed to meet the Red Army's increasing need for trained personnel. The last change in organization was the change in subordination, the commander of the armored and mechanized troops of the Red Army became the commander of the self-propelled artillery. The main reason for this step was the lack of recovery vehicles, spare parts, possibilities for repairing the damaged equipment and diesel fuel available to the classic artillery.

The first mass deployment of the SAP, which were reorganized according to the structural structures no. 08/158 and 08/191, showed other shortcomings: The different types of vehicles used (SU-122 and SU-76). They needed various fuels, lubricants, spare parts and ammunition. All this made the work of the repair and supply services difficult. Therefore, in April 1943, the new structure No. 010/453 was adopted. Each SAP with this assumption then led four batteries each with four SU-122, thus a total of 16 self-propelled guns and an armored car of the type BA-64 for the clarification and another medium tank type T-34 for the commanding officer. The latter was usually a colonel or lieutenant colonel , the battery commanders were captains or first lieutenants . The commanders of the line vehicles were usually lieutenants or sub-lieutenants , the other crew members were sergeants (usually a gunner and driver) or common soldiers . In addition to the four batteries, the regimental commander had several other sub-units available:

  • Regimental staff with command train (the regimental commander's T-34 and BA-64 belonged to the latter, this train could have an off-road vehicle or a motorcycle for communication);
  • rear services:
    • Regimental infirmary
    • Supply unit
    • Repair train
    • Transport train with some trucks for supplies
    • Ammunition train.

The breakdown structure No. 010/453 was used until the complete replacement of the SU-122 in the self-propelled artillery units by the new SU-85 . This process began in September 1943 and lasted until the beginning of 1944, with the first newly established SAP armed exclusively with SU-85 instead of SU-122 having the same subordination, only the name of the structure was 010/483.


In December 1942, the first two self-propelled artillery regiments (1433th and 1434th SAP) were set up, and from January 1, 1943, the first serial production SU-122s were delivered. According to the order of the People's Commissar for Defense of January 10th, these units were to be subordinated to the Armored Corps and Mechanized Corps, but with the beginning of Operation Iskra , the 1433rd and 1434th SAP transferred to the headquarters of the Supreme Commander's Command Volkhov Front . The top army command planned to use them to provide fire support to the local rifle and tank units of the Red Army. The soldiers of these regiments were followed by a commission from the NKTP under SA Ginsburg's leadership and specialists from the manufacturer. The first combat test took place from February 3rd to 12th, the main purpose was to develop and improve tactics for the correct use of the assault guns. The most promising variant was following a tank or infantry attack in the second line of the order of battle, 300 to 600 meters behind the first line. In the breakthrough operations they could fire with short stops and hold down or destroy enemy positions. If the enemy attempted a counter-attack, the self-propelled artillery vehicles secured the anti-tank defense. During the combat tests, the SU-122 were also used for indirect fire, but their use as self-propelled howitzers was seldom, as the fighting tended towards trench warfare and then the range of the Soviet rifled division artillery was sufficient for long-range fire support.

After the first ten days of the fight, the teams originally made up of specialists from the manufacturer were replaced by regular front-line soldiers. All employees of the USTM and the company itself received formal recognition from the leadership of the front; the test driver of the USTM Boldyrew who took part in the battles was awarded the medal “For merits in combat” . From February 13th, the 1433rd and 1434th SAP attacked the German positions near Smerdyn as part of the preparations for the relief of Leningrad . After six days of fighting with the front teams, the two regiments reported a number of enemy losses: 47 destroyed field bunkers, 5 suppressed mortar batteries, 14 destroyed artillery pieces and 19 to 29 vehicles, as well as four burned field ammunition depots. These successes led to many positive reports, but at the same time there were many requests for improvements to the design of the SU-122. The main complaints concerned the very limited field of vision from inside the vehicle and the poor on-board intercom. Apart from the problems with the unreliability of the chassis of the T-34, which were characteristic of this period, there were also defects in the howitzer and its straightening mechanisms.

In March 1943, two more SAPs (1434th and 1437th) with the subdivision structure no. 08/191 were reorganized and moved to the western front . The 1439th SAP, which was reorganized a little later, came to the Leningrad Front . The combat readiness and the level of training of these units were initially poor. The deputy of the regimental commander of the 1434th SAP said at an officers' meeting on May 18, 1943 about his battery commanders that they handled the material as if they were using horse-drawn guns and not tracked vehicles. These difficulties were part of the reasons for handing over the self-propelled artillery regiments to the armored forces. These continued the deployment of the new SAP, but there the tried and tested tactic was reversed. Now the SU-122 and the SU-76 went into action primarily as cover for the tanks behind them. Very often they were used as turretless tanks after the loss of "ordinary" combat vehicles. That is why the losses of vehicles that were primarily unsuitable for combat, with insufficient armor, too small a fire sector and field of vision, and without machine guns, were very high.

Before the start of the battle in the Kursk arches , the SU-122 were divided into SAP, which had been set up according to the division structure No. 08/191. The Soviet armed forces there had a relatively low number of self-propelled artillery vehicles of all types. The Voronezh Front had only five regiments, three of them (two with SU-122 / SU-76 and one with SU-152 ) were subordinated to the 6th and 7th Armies, two others (one with SU-122 / SU -76, another with captured Marder III ) were in the anti-tank reserve of the front. The 1st Panzer Army had no self-propelled artillery - despite its official presence in the classification plans. The SAP with SU-122 took part in the fighting from the first day of the "Zitadelle" company - on July 5, the batteries of the 1440th SAP battled the Panzergrenadier division "Greater Germany" in the vicinity of the village of Cherkasskoye . with a subordinate regiment of the new Panzerkampfwagen V Panther . During the battle, the Voronezh Front received constant reinforcements, including three SAPs with SU-122, one from the 10th Panzer Corps and two from the 5th Guards Armored Army. One of the latter - the 1446th SAP - took part in the unsuccessful counterattack at Prokhorovka on July 12, 1943. Their SU-122 moved in the first battle line, 11 of 20 vehicles went up in flames and 6 others were damaged.

The anti-tank actions of the SU-122 led to few successes with heavy losses at the same time. Sometimes they were able to damage tigers en masse even without shaped charge grenades. The historian Thomas L. Jentz mentions a case during the battle of the Kursk Arc, in which a tiger was incapacitated by HE grenades in the concentrated fire of some SU-122. Another tactical use of the SU-122 was the so-called "counter-preparation" - indirect fire at enemy troop concentrations from the front line at positions four to twelve kilometers away. With the transition of the Soviet forces to the offensive in the last phase of this battle, the main combat task of the SU-122 became fire support. As a rule, the SU-122 were used as classic assault guns for direct fire, their use as self-propelled howitzers was rare. Sometimes they returned to the originally advised tactic of disposal in the second line of the battle line-up. The SU-122 mostly fought positions of machine guns or anti-tank cannons, destroyed field fortifications and were only used in an emergency for anti-tank defense.

The Red Army actively used the SU-122 in the second half of 1943. In the last months of this year and in early 1944, assault guns of this type were encountered on the Kalinin and Belarus fronts, at which time they had already disappeared in Ukraine. Just then, the medium-sized SAPs began to convert en masse to the SU-85 , the remaining or repaired SU-122 were given to other tank units. There they fought until they were destroyed in battle or depreciated as a result of the wear and tear of the chassis. For example, on January 24, 1944, the 7th independent heavy armored guard regiment owned two SU-122s together with the mandatory KW-85s , one of which was lost in combat four days later. In April 1944 the SU-122 became a rare type in the Soviet tank fleet, only a few examples survived until the end of the war. Nevertheless, they took part in the battle for Berlin . On April 15, 1945, the 4th Guards Armored Army had two SU-122; the 7th Mechanized Guard Corps deployed five such vehicles, two of which were destroyed by German Panzerfaust soldiers during the Battle of Bautzen .

Individual SU-122 captured by the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS were used on the German side under the designation StuG SU-122 (r) . To prevent the SU-122 now deployed on the German side from being attacked by their own or allied troops, they were marked with oversized crosses on both sides.

Little information is available about the service of the remaining SU-122 in the Soviet Army in the post-war period. They were retired as combat vehicles very soon, but some of them, like many obsolete SU-85 tank destroyers with the same chassis , may have been converted into recovery vehicles instead of being scrapped.

technical description

The structure of the SU-122 was similar to that of the other Soviet self-propelled artillery vehicles of their time (with the exception of the light SU-76 ). The fully armored tank hull and the structure are divided into two main parts: the crew, the gun and the ammunition as well as part of the fuel tanks were located in the front part, the driver's and combat area. The diesel engine , radiator, additional fuel tanks and the power transmission were installed in the stern compartment.

Armored hull and body

The structure of the SU-122 with the driver's hatch, armored screen of the gun and dome for the panoramic telescope

The armored hull and the structure of the assault gun were welded together from different rolled armor plates with thicknesses of 15, 20, 40 and 45 mm , the armor protection varied slightly depending on the side of the vehicle. Almost all plates of the superstructure and the armored hull were clearly inclined for better protection against hits , only the lower side armor was vertical. One part was removable (e.g. above the engine) or hinged down (e.g. the upper rear panel on the hinges) to allow access for maintenance purposes. The main armament, the 121.92 mm M-30S howitzer , was installed in the front armor plate offset to the right. Its tubular brake and retraction device were protected by an armored panel with a complex shape made of angular and curved components.

The places for the driver, the first gunner and the loader (counting from the front) were to the left of the gun in the armored hull and superstructure. The commander, who also took over the work of the second gunner, sat to the right of the gun, behind him the lock gunner. The SU-122 had only a rectangular single-wing hatch on the roof of the superstructure for the "normal" entry and exit of the crew, which was equipped with rod spring mechanisms to facilitate opening. In addition, an emergency exit hatch was let into the floor of the tub behind the driver's seat. As the driver's hatch in the front panel of the superstructure could only be partially opened due to the bulky panel, it was only intended for direct observation in quiet situations. All of this made it very difficult for the crew to get out of a damaged or burning vehicle quickly. Various hatches, ventilator, shooting and maintenance openings were distributed over the armored hull (tank or drain openings for fuel , water , oil and a large hinged circular hatch for access to the power transmission in the upper, also hinged rear panel). Some of them were provided with armored covers and plugs, or they were plugged. In particular, a special dome on the roof of the superstructure protected the top of the panoramic telescope.


The main weapon of the SU-122

The main weapon of the SU-122 was the M-30S type gun with a caliber of 121.92 mm (4.8 inches) and a barrel length of 22.7 caliber lengths (L / 23) with a rifled barrel. It was a variant of the towed 122 mm howitzer M1938 (also M-30 ), which was slightly adapted for use in the self-propelled gun. In the M-30S index , the letter M refers to the developer and manufacturer of this artillery system, the Motowilichinski sawod No.172 (Motowilicha-Werk No. 172), the letter S stands for Samochodny ( Russian самоходный , German "self-propelled"). The entire upper carriage with rotating part and the tube group of the field gun was installed in the combat area on a pedestal system with reinforcing beams.

The M-30S in the SU-122 had an elevation range of −3 ° to + 25 ° and the lateral alignment range was 20 ° (total range to the left and right). The core range was 3.6 kilometers, the maximum range was about 8 kilometers. The steering wheels of the helical gear to the lateral direction and the toothed gear to the vertical direction were attached to the left and right of the pipe. The first gunner operated the side slewing gear, the commander, acting as the second gunner, worked with the leveling gear. The artillery system was equipped with a screw lock and a mechanical manual trigger.

The combat set for the main weapon was 40 pieces of separate ammunition (32–35 for the early variants). As a result, the practical rate of fire was two rounds per minute. The projectiles and the propellant charges in pods were stored along the left and right sides as well as the rear of the structure. In comparison with the wide range of possible projectiles and propellant charges for the M-30 field gun, only a small proportion of them were also fired with the M-30S , although the ammunition could be used without restriction in both variants. The main types of grenades available for the M-30S were:

Ammunition nomenclature
Type Name ( Transl.  / Russian) Weight of the grenade, kg Weight of the explosive charge, kg Muzzle velocity, m / s
Shaped charge grenades
Shaped charge grenade (English HEAT) BP-460A / БП-460А 13.4 k. A. 335
Fragmentation explosives
Steel splinter grenade (English HE-Frag) OF-462 / ОФ-462 21.76 3.67 515
  1. The shaped charge grenade of the type BP-460A should be fired with the reduced charge No. 4 (full set without four partial charges) in order to avoid the explosion in the barrel.
  2. The maximum muzzle velocity with a full charge.

According to Soviet data, the BP-460A shaped charge grenade perforated cemented armor steel at a vertical angle of impact up to 100–140 mm thick at all distances. Various sources give different values ​​for this, which can be explained by the improvement in the construction of this type of ammunition during its production without changing the name.

The crew was equipped with two PPSch-41 submachine guns with 1491 rounds (21 drum magazines) and 20 F-1 hand grenades. Sometimes a signal pistol with ammunition added to the inventory.


The diesel engine of the type W-2-34

The SU-122 drove a water-cooled twelve - cylinder , four-stroke , V - type diesel engine of the W-2-34 type . The peak power of the engine was about 367  kW (500 hp) at 1800 revolutions per minute, the nominal power was 331 kW (450 hp) at 1750 min -1 , the continuous power at 294 kW (400 hp) at 1700 min -1 . The engine had a fork angle of 60 °, a compression ratio of around 14-15: 1 and its dry weight was around 750  kg . The engine was started by a starter with a pneumatic or electric drive. The auxiliary electric motor of the type ST-700 for this device developed 11 kW (15 HP), the compressed air was fed in from two previously filled reservoirs. The cooling system with oil pump had two pipe cooling elements to the left and right of the engine block. The W-2-34 was equipped with a " cyclone " type air filter .

The internal fuel tanks held a total of 500 liters. They were located between the housings of the coil springs of the rollers both in the engine compartment and in the fighting compartment. The latter reduced the crew's chances of survival when penetrating the lower vertical armored panels. In this case, the likelihood of a fire breaking out was very high, with the single hatch in the roof of the superstructure making it very difficult for all five crew members to exit. Even if the armor withstood a hit, small splintered particles of the plate with sparks inside (quite a common problem with armor steel for T-34s) could cause an explosion of the fuel-air mixture in a not completely filled fuel tank. This meant certain death for the crew - the ammunition often detonated afterwards, which resulted in the complete destruction of the vehicle.

The SU-122 also had four additional tanks with a total capacity of 360 liters. These had no connection with the engine's fuel line and were on the outside of the pan. The driving range was 600 kilometers on the road without additional tanks. Diesel fuel DT or gas oil E was used as fuel .

Power transmission

The power transmission of the T-34, almost identical to that of the SU-122

The SU-122 was equipped with a fully mechanical power transmission . The individual assemblies were:

  • the main multi-plate clutch with dry friction steel on steel;
  • the five-speed gearbox with gears in constant engagement (five forward speeds, one reverse gear);
  • two side multi-plate clutches with dry friction steel on steel and steel brake band with linings made of Ferodo composite material (material named after the British manufacturer Ferodo );
  • two simple side gears ;
  • two mechanical control levers and pedals.


The drive of the SU-122.

The track drive of the SU-122 was almost identical to that of the T-34, the most important difference to the base tank was the two reinforced front springs on each side. The roller drive consisted of five large rollers with rubber bands, a front guide wheel with a chain tensioning mechanism and a rear drive wheel with internal gear drive. The two-part punched rollers were suspended individually and were sprung from vertical coil springs without additional shock absorbers ( Christie drive ). The crawler belt was a hinged chain and consisted of 72 short stamped chain links with a row of teeth and 167 mm in length and 500 mm in width. In difficult terrain, various types of grabs could be installed on every fourth or sixth chain link for better traction.

Fire protection equipment

The SU-122 had a carbon tetrachloride - fire extinguisher fitted. The crews were instructed to put out the fire under gas masks , as the carbon tetrachloride on the glowing metal surface reacted with atmospheric oxygen to form phosgene (carbon dioxide dichloride) . At that time, no more dangerous carbon dioxide fire extinguishers were used in Soviet tank construction.

Electrical equipment

The on-board network consisted of a wire to almost all consumers, the armored hull as the ground potential took over the return line. Only the circles of the emergency lighting were double-wire.

The current source was a GT-4563A - generator with the control switch RRA-24F (1 kW) and four 6-STE-128 - batteries in series-parallel circuit (2 × 2) having a total capacity of 256 ampere hours . The two working voltages were 12 and 24 volts. The pantographs were:

  • the exterior and interior lighting, the lighting device for the target facilities;
  • the horn ;
  • the test measuring equipment: voltage and current meter ;
  • the communication means: radio and anti-tank intercom;
  • the engine electrics : SL-700 starter , starting magnet switch, etc.

Sighting devices and vision devices

Aiming device of the towed 122 mm howitzer M-30 with mechanical distance drum, without optical periscope part. Identical devices were installed on the main weapon of the SU-122.
Another view of the target setup

The main weapon of the SU-122 was equipped with the standard panorama telescope ( Russian панорама Герца , panorama telescope) for the towed M-30 field howitzer. This aiming device with a mechanical range drum and without a distance scale in the optical part was used for both direct and indirect fire. It offered four times the magnification of the angle . A special attachment has been added to allow observation through the dome on the roof. Illumination devices were provided for the scales on the removal drum. The driver had a single corner mirror in his observation hatch. A PTK panoramic telescope was installed on the roof for the commander . There were also three further corner mirrors at the front, side and rear of the body.

News media

The SU-122 were equipped with a type 9R radio system and an anti-tank intercom system of the type TPU-3F for three participants.

The 9R system consisted of the radio transmitter , receiver and converter for connection to the 12 V on-board power supply. From a technical point of view, the 9R was a duplex , amplitude modulation , tube and shortwave radio system with a heterodyne receiver . The transmission power was 20 watts. The transmitter had a frequency range from 4 to 5.625 MHz for communication between the vehicles in the group. The receiver worked in an extended frequency range from 3.75 to 6 MHz for group communication and reception of messages from the staff. When stationary, the range in voice mode without radio interference was 15 to 25 kilometers, while the range was reduced while driving. In contrast to other types of Soviet radio systems at the time, the so-called "telegraph mode" for communication using Morse code was not implemented in the 9R.

The TPU-3F intercom enabled communication inside the noisy tank and, through the connection to the radio system, with the outside world.

Technical specifications

Self-propelled artillery vehicles SU-122 and SU-122M
Characteristic values SU-122 SU-122M
General properties
classification Medium assault gun
Chief designer Lev Israilewitsch Gorlitski
Prototype designation U-35 Even a prototype
Manufacturer Uralsky Sawod Tjaschologo Maschinostrojenija (Ural Heavy Mechanical Engineering Plant in Sverdlovsk )
Weight 29.64 tons 31.43 tons
Length over all 6950 mm 6537 mm
Length over armored hull 6100 mm
Width over everything 3000 mm
height 2235 mm
Ground clearance 400 mm
crew 5–6 men (commander / second gunner, first gunner, driver, one or two loaders, bolt gunner) 5 men (commander, gunner, driver, two loaders)
Year of construction (s) December 1942 - July 1943 April 1943
number of pieces 638 1
Main armament 1 × 121.92mm howitzer M-30S 1 × 121.92mm howitzer U-11
Secondary armament 2 × 7.62 mm MP Schpagin PPSch
ammunition 32–40 grenades , 1,491 rounds of MP ammunition, 20 F-1 hand grenades 40 grenades , 1,420 rounds of MP ammunition, 20 F-1 hand grenades
Armor, hull
Bow above 45 mm / inclination 40 °
Bow below 45 mm / 45 °
page 45 mm / 90 °
Rear up 40 mm / 42 °
Stern down 40 mm / 45 °
ceiling 20 mm / 0 °
ground 15 mm / 0 °
Armor, structure
Gun mantlet 45 mm
front 45 mm / 40 °
page 45 mm / 70 °
Rear 45 mm / 80 °
ceiling 20 mm / 0 °
engine 12-cylinder diesel engine W-2-34
Maximum output 500 hp (367.6 kW) at 1800 min -1
specific performance 16.9 hp / ton 15.9 hp / ton
Top speed: (road / terrain) 55 km / h / 18 km / h 47 km / h / 18 km / h
Fuel supply 500 + 360 liters
Fuel consumption over 100 km (road, without additional tanks) 83 liters 114 liters
Driving area (road) 600 km 440 km
Driving area (terrain) 400 km
Drive position back
suspension vertical coil springs (Christie type)
Chain width 500 mm
Ground pressure 0.68 kP / cm² 0.72 kP / cm²
Wading ability 1.3 m
Trench crossing ability: 2.5 m
Climbing ability: 0.73 m
Gradeability: 33 °
Bank slope: 30 °


The SU-122 self-propelled artillery vehicles (as well as the prototype U-35 and the test variants SU-122M and SU-122-III) used the chassis of the medium tank T-34 and were armed with the external ballistic properties of the 122-mm howitzer M1938 (M-30) . The self-propelled guns known under the indices SU-122P and SU-122-54 are not versions of the actual SU-122. Although the former is on the side line of the further developments of the Soviet medium self-propelled artillery vehicles, based on the SU-122, this was a test model based on the SU-100 tank destroyer , which was re-armed with the 122-mm long barrel cannon D-25S. The latter was a tank destroyer that was created in the post-war period based on the T-54 medium tank . In the Soviet literature of the 1980s, the index SU-122 also includes the self-propelled howitzer 2S1 "Carnation" . In some publications there are mentions of the existence of a version of the SU-122 based on the later SU-100, but they are not confirmed in the research of the historians MN Swirin and IG Scheltow on the history of the medium tank T-34 and the Combat vehicles on its chassis.


U-35 - a single test sample built by the USTM in November 1942 as part of the development of the medium assault gun based on the T-34 tank. LI Gorlizki and NW Kurin acted as leading specialists; they used some technical solutions from earlier projects U-33 and U-34 in the construction. The in-house and state tests showed suitability with regard to the tasks intended for the class of combat vehicles and the necessary scope for further improvements. As a result, the Red Army accepted the U-35 for their services, making it the prototype for the serial production of the SU-122. However, as a result of the hectic development, this vehicle itself had many deficiencies, especially with regard to the ergonomics of the fighting compartment, which could only be partially remedied in the production process.

Series vehicles

Although no official distinction was made between the series-produced SU-122 assault guns, they can be divided into different variants. As a result of the hectic start of production mentioned above, the problems and other teething problems identified by the tests were resolved over the course of production. It led to noticeable differences between the vehicles of the pilot series, the first series and the final revised version from the summer of 1943. The most important peculiarities of the pilot series were the "interrupted" front made of two armor plates with different inclinations, the commanders cupola and the lack of fans in the fighting compartment . Later the SU-122 were equipped with a single armor plate on the front superstructure, an improved gun mantlet, ventilator and a PTK-type periscopic device for the commander instead of the dome. But all of these changes were not introduced at the same time, so that the vehicles of different series represent a number of transition variants between the pilot series and the final model.

Test vehicles

  • SU-122M - the first attempt by the USTM designers under the direction of NW Kurin to remedy the most serious defect of the SU-122 - the assembly of the field howitzer on a base. They designed a frame system for the new 122 mm U-11 artillery system with a wedge lock and more compact barrel return devices, which was developed by Artillery Plant No. 9. The new weapon with a slightly different geometry of the structure made it possible to significantly improve the ergonomics of the workplaces in the fighting area. The arrangement of the two straightening units to the left of the pipe reduced the crew by the second gunner, which was no longer required. The bullet gun mantlet for the U-11 was lighter compared to the more complicated, heavy and bulky version of the mass-produced SU-122. Its introduction brought some advantages: the field of vision from the driver's seat was significantly expanded, the load on the front castors returned to normal values ​​and the hatch of the front armor plate of the body was standardized with that of the T-34, which gave the driver the opportunity to get in and out . As a result of the increased mass (up to 31.4 tons versus 29.6 tons for the original model) and the high price, the SU-122M remained a single test model. The experience gained through this work turned out to be useful in the later development of the SU-85 tank destroyer , in the design of which some proven technical solutions of the SU-122M were adopted.
  • SU-122-III - the second attempt by the USTM designers under LI Gorlizki and NW Kurin's direction to develop an assault gun with a 122 mm howitzer mounted in a frame. This vehicle was essentially a test sample of the SU-85 tank destroyer, which was re-armed with a new D-6 gun. This weapon system was also built by Plant No. 9 under FF Petrov's direction, but its mechanics proved to be unreliable during testing. In the hectic development of the SU-85, however, there was a lack of time and personnel for the revision, so an order was issued to stop work on the SU-122-III; the Red Army never took it into service and there was no series production.

Design analysis

In the series of Soviet armored vehicles, the SU-122 was the first prototype produced in large numbers for the new branch of self-propelled artillery (a small number of improvised self-propelled guns such as the SU-5 , SiS-30 or SU-76P were used in some tank brigades during the first year of the war). As long as the most important goal during the development of the SU-122 was the shortest possible duration of this work, there were no alternatives to some technical and constructive solutions. Essentially, this concerned the assembly of the complete prefabricated upper mount of the M-30 field howitzer on a base system in a narrow combat area and thus the requirement of two gunner. For the rifled gun, these peculiarities as well as the long barrel return had no negative consequences on the combat or service characteristics. The simple combination of two things suitable for their respective areas of use in the design of the SU-122 (chassis of the T-34 and upper mount of the M-30), however, led to a long list of officially noted errors and deficiencies. Immediately there was a need to develop specialized guns for self-propelled artillery and to make some adjustments to the tank chassis for this task. This work was done later by the designers of the USTM and Plant No. 9, but only the subsequent series models of medium-sized self-propelled artillery vehicles - the SU-85 and especially the SU-100 - received the required improvements.

On the other hand, despite all of its design drawbacks, the SU-122 was a much-needed combat vehicle that, when used properly, proved very useful. Already after the first skirmishes with the participation of these assault guns there were a large number of positive reports from rifle units supported by the 1433rd and 1434th SAP. The general structure of the SU-122 allowed a subsequent reinforcement of the armament and armor protection. Later the basic design was redesigned fluidly through a few intermediate stages to the SU-100 with a powerful 100 mm cannon and a 75 mm thick front armor plate. Considering the conditions in the development phase of the SU-122, it could therefore be viewed as a very good vehicle with great potential for improvement. This was subsequently confirmed by documents from the front in 1944. A number of Soviet commanders tried to find the remaining SU-122 after the end of series production in order to make it much easier to break through enemy defensive positions with their powerful HE shells.


The firepower of the SU-122 was completely sufficient for a medium-weight assault gun, which was intended for the qualitative reinforcement of the tank and rifle units, to carry out the various combat tasks. The OF-462 fragmentation high-explosive grenades were effective against free-standing, unarmored targets with detonators set for fragmentation (impact detonator triggers immediately on impact; grenade hardly penetrates the target) and against infantry protected by field fortifications with detonators set to detonation (impact detonator delayed a few tenths of a second after impact; grenade penetrates the target). They could also be used against solid buildings and reinforced concrete bunkers with less effectiveness. The Soviet tanks or self-propelled guns armed with guns with a caliber of 85 mm or less often had problems with the destruction of these fortifications, in difficult situations they were sometimes completely ineffective. The shaped charge high-explosive shells of the type BP-460A showed a good penetration effect against heavily armored targets such as heavy combat vehicles or armored bells, but due to the peculiarities of the howitzer of the type M-30 (greater dispersion compared to long-barreled cannons, the need for two gunner, the lack of a specialized telescopic sight for Direct fire) acceptable hit probabilities could only be achieved at short firing ranges. This meant that effective use of the SU-122 for anti-tank purposes was limited to close combat, for example in city combat or an ambush. In 1943, the problem of developing and manufacturing a tank destroyer that could destroy the German Tiger , Ferdinand and modernized Panzer IV and StuG III at distances over a kilometer was acute for the Soviet tank industry . Therefore, despite all its advantages in other areas of application, the SU-122 was quickly and completely replaced in series production by the SU-85.

Another serious disadvantage of the SU-122 was the lack of a machine gun. Despite the recommended deployment tactics in the second line of the order of battle, practice has shown that the vehicles of the first line often left groups of enemy infantry behind. In addition, from 1943 to 1944 the SU-122 were used very often as a turretless tank, with a machine gun being particularly important. If the SU-122 were not supported by their own infantry, they were almost defenseless in close combat. Enemy soldiers could destroy them relatively easily with anti-tank infantry weapons such as bazookas. In particular, the absence in the city struggle was intolerable.


At the beginning of development (October 1942) the SU-122's degree of protection was still sufficient against the widespread enemy anti-tank guns , but new patterns changed this. From every firing range and at every angle, the armor had good resistance to hits by the caliber tank shells from light 37 mm Pak 35/36 , the steeply inclined front armor plate offered satisfactory protection against this type of ammunition of the 50 mm Pak 38 . The under-caliber tank shells for Pak 35/36 and Pak 38, which could penetrate the front armor at a firing range of less than 500 meters, were in short supply with the German troops in the second half of 1942. In addition, their destructive effect after a penetration was often too small to put the SU-122 out of action with a single hit. Until then, the 37mm and 50mm anti-tank guns had a large share in the Wehrmacht's anti-tank artillery, but the German side actively introduced the new 75mm Pak 40 to compensate for these weaknesses. The later versions of the Panzer IV and StuG III were also armed with guns with similar external ballistic properties. With the 75 mm tank shell, penetrating the armor of the SU-122 from practically any firing range and at any angle was not a problem, apart from long distances over 1.5 km (according to Soviet data, this projectile perforated a cast armor plate of 90 mm Thickness with surface hardening at a 60 ° angle of incidence up to distances of 800 meters). As far as the first combat use of SU-122 took place in February 1943 and their use en masse in the summer of that year - i.e. at a time when the number of guns facing them of the 75 mm caliber with long barrel was increasing, their degree of protection was theirs for the period active front service ultimately insufficient.


Since the SU-122 shared the chassis with that of the T-34 base tank and had almost the same mass, mobility was also at its level. This was seen as positive for various reasons. The vehicle was thus more suitable for joint operations with units armed with T-34s. Both used the same fuel and lubricants, many parts could be exchanged between the SU-122 and T-34. This made the work of the maintenance and supply services staff trained to maintain the T-34 easier. On the other hand, the SU-122 took over all the negative characteristics of the chassis of the T-34: the loud chain rattle and poor shock absorption while driving, the spring lowering of the Christie-type chassis, and the very difficult gear shifting. In 1943, not all problems with the reliability of the T-34 and the vehicles based on it had been resolved. In his memoirs, the future tank test driver and military technician RN Ulanow recalled that all of his unit's SU-76s covered the distance without interference on a march in the hinterland, whereas the SU-122s had some breakdowns.

Comparable vehicles

Fully armored turretless combat vehicles, armed with guns of medium calibers (between 80 and 130 mm) and with a relatively low muzzle velocity were used in the armed forces of various countries. The largest equivalent of the SU-122 was the German Sturmhaubitze 42 (StuH 42), a further development of the StuG III. Compared to the SU-122, the vehicle had better frontal protection (80 mm hardened armor steel - invulnerable to all types of Soviet ammunition of caliber 45 mm and 76 mm at firing ranges over 500 meters), but a lower firepower due to the 105 mm main weapon. The Italian Semovente da 105/25 "Bassotto" also had a certain resemblance to the German or Soviet assault guns, although its base was a chassis of the much lighter Carro Armato M15 / 42 tank . The Western Allies preferred specialized versions of their main battle tanks for immediate fire support. These - like the Medium Tank M4 (105) or the Mk II Close Support, Tank, Infantry, Matilda  - received medium-caliber guns with a low muzzle velocity instead of the standard armament built into their turrets. The only exception was the British Ordnance QF 25-pdr on Carrier Valentine 25-pdr Mk 1 "Bishop" based on the Valentine infantry tank, which was built in small quantities in series. In front service, however, there was a tendency to use it as a mobile classic artillery instead of an assault gun.

Technical specifications SU-122 Balaclava 42 Semovente since 105/25 Bishop
Country Soviet Union 1923Soviet Union Soviet Union German Reich NSGerman Reich (Nazi era) German Empire Italy 1861Kingdom of Italy (1861-1946) Italy German Empire
German Reich NSGerman Reich (Nazi era) 
United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
Weight, t: 29.6 23.9 15.8 17.5
Length over all, m 7.0 6.1 5.5 5.6
Width over everything, m 3.0 3.0 (without aprons) 2.4 2.8
Height, m 2.4 2.2 1.8 3.0
crew 5-6 4th 3 4th
Year of construction (s) 1943 1942-45 1943-44 1942-43
Main armament: 121.92 mm, L23 105 mm, L28 105 mm, L25 87.6 mm, L28
Secondary armament: - 1 × 7.92 mm machine gun 1 × 8 mm machine gun 1 × 7.7 mm MG
Grenades, piece: 32-40 36 48 32
Gun ammunition shot: - 600 864 ?
Front armor, mm / slope 45/45 ° 80/69 ° 50/55 ° 60/90 °
Side armor, mm / slope 45/90 ° 30/90 ° 25/90 ° 60/90 °
Body armor, mm 45/40 ° (front), 45/70 ° (sides) 80/81 ° (front), 30/90 ° (sides) 75/90 ° (front), 45/75 ° (sides) 51/90 °
Engine type Diesel engine W-2-34 Gasoline engine HL 120 TRM Gasoline engine SPA 15TB AEC A190 diesel engine
Horsepower 500 300 185 131
spec. Power , hp / t: 16.9 12.6 11.7 7.4
Top speed, km / h: 55 40 38 24
Driving range (road), km: 600 155 180 145

Received vehicles

The only real SU-122 that has survived to this day is exhibited in the Kubinka Tank Museum near Moscow . The exhibit is not roadworthy.

Additional information


  • И. Г. Желтов и др .: Неизвестный Т-34. Экспринт, Москва 2001, ISBN 5-94038-013-1 .
    (Russian and in Cyrillic script; German roughly: IG Scheltow et al .: The unknown T- 34.Exprint, Moscow 2001.)
  • М. Н. Свирин: Самоходки Сталина. История советской САУ 1919-1945. Эксмо и др., Москва 2008, ISBN 978-5-699-20527-1 .
    (Russian and in Cyrillic script; series: Soviet tanks. German roughly: Michail N. Swirin: The self-propelled artillery vehicles of Stalin. The history of the Soviet self-propelled artillery vehicle 1919–1945. Eksmo et al., Moscow 2008)
  • М. Н. Свирин: Советская штурмовая гаубица [Танкомастер № 2]. Москва 1999.
    (Russian and in Cyrillic script; German roughly: Michail N. Swirin: Die Soviet Sturmhaubitze. Tankomaster No. 2, Moscow 1999)
  • А. Г. Солянкин и др .: Советские средние самоходные артиллерийские установки 1941–1945 гг. Цейхгауз, Москва 2005, ISBN 5-94038-013-1 .
    (Russian and in Cyrillic script; German roughly: AG Soljankin et al .: The Soviet medium self-propelled artillery vehicles
    1941–1945. Zeughaus, Moscow 2005)
  • А. Чубачин: Самоходная установка СУ-122 [Бронетанковый музей, выпуск 16, 2007]. БТВ-Книга, Москва 2007.
    (Russian and in Cyrillic script; German roughly: A. Tschubatschin: Das Selbstfahrartilleriefahrzeug SU-122. In: Panzermuseum, 16th edition, BTW-Kniga, Moscow 2007)

Web links

Commons : SU-122  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

See also

Individual evidence

  • М. Н. Свирин: Самоходки Сталина. История советской САУ 1919-1945.
(Russian and in Cyrillic script; German roughly: Michail N. Swirin: Die Selbstfahrartilleriefahrzeuge Stalin. The history of the Soviet self-propelled artillery vehicle 1919–1945. )
  1. ^ Mikhail N. Swirin: The self-propelled artillery vehicles of Stalin. The history of the Soviet self-propelled artillery vehicle 1919–1945. P. 39.
  2. ^ Mikhail N. Swirin: The self-propelled artillery vehicles of Stalin. The history of the Soviet self-propelled artillery vehicle 1919–1945. P. 118.
  3. ^ Mikhail N. Swirin: The self-propelled artillery vehicles of Stalin. The history of the Soviet self-propelled artillery vehicle 1919–1945. P. 142.
  4. a b Michail N. Swirin: The self-propelled artillery vehicles of Stalin. The history of the Soviet self-propelled artillery vehicle 1919–1945. Pp. 188, 189.
  5. ^ Mikhail N. Swirin: The self-propelled artillery vehicles of Stalin. The history of the Soviet self-propelled artillery vehicle 1919–1945. P. 196.
  6. a b Michail N. Swirin: The self-propelled artillery vehicles of Stalin. The history of the Soviet self-propelled artillery vehicle 1919–1945. P. 197.
  7. a b Michail N. Swirin: The self-propelled artillery vehicles of Stalin. The history of the Soviet self-propelled artillery vehicle 1919–1945. Pp. 198, 199.
  8. ^ Mikhail N. Swirin: The self-propelled artillery vehicles of Stalin. The history of the Soviet self-propelled artillery vehicle 1919–1945. Pp. 231, 232.
  9. ^ Mikhail N. Swirin: The self-propelled artillery vehicles of Stalin. The history of the Soviet self-propelled artillery vehicle 1919–1945. P. 254.
  10. ^ Mikhail N. Swirin: The self-propelled artillery vehicles of Stalin. The history of the Soviet self-propelled artillery vehicle 1919–1945. P. 255.
  11. ^ Mikhail N. Swirin: The self-propelled artillery vehicles of Stalin. The history of the Soviet self-propelled artillery vehicle 1919–1945. P. 257.
  12. ^ Mikhail N. Swirin: The self-propelled artillery vehicles of Stalin. The history of the Soviet self-propelled artillery vehicle 1919–1945. P. 252.
  13. a b Michail N. Swirin: The self-propelled artillery vehicles of Stalin. The history of the Soviet self-propelled artillery vehicle 1919–1945. Pp. 267, 268.
  14. ^ Mikhail N. Swirin: The self-propelled artillery vehicles of Stalin. The history of the Soviet self-propelled artillery vehicle 1919–1945. P. 269.
  15. ^ Mikhail N. Swirin: The self-propelled artillery vehicles of Stalin. The history of the Soviet self-propelled artillery vehicle 1919–1945. P. 378.
  16. a b c d Michail N. Swirin: The self-propelled artillery vehicles of Stalin. The history of the Soviet self-propelled artillery vehicle 1919–1945. P. 208.
  17. ^ Mikhail N. Swirin: The self-propelled artillery vehicles of Stalin. The history of the Soviet self-propelled artillery vehicle 1919–1945. P. 209.
  18. ^ Mikhail N. Swirin: The self-propelled artillery vehicles of Stalin. The history of the Soviet self-propelled artillery vehicle 1919–1945. P. 210.
  19. ^ Mikhail N. Swirin: The self-propelled artillery vehicles of Stalin. The history of the Soviet self-propelled artillery vehicle 1919–1945. P. 236.
  20. ^ Mikhail N. Swirin: The self-propelled artillery vehicles of Stalin. The history of the Soviet self-propelled artillery vehicle 1919–1945. P. 375.
  21. a b Michail N. Swirin: The self-propelled artillery vehicles of Stalin. The history of the Soviet self-propelled artillery vehicle 1919–1945. P. 207.
  22. ^ Mikhail N. Swirin: The self-propelled artillery vehicles of Stalin. The history of the Soviet self-propelled artillery vehicle 1919–1945. Pp. 255-257.
  23. ^ Mikhail N. Swirin: The self-propelled artillery vehicles of Stalin. The history of the Soviet self-propelled artillery vehicle 1919–1945. P. 152.
  24. ^ Mikhail N. Swirin: The self-propelled artillery vehicles of Stalin. The history of the Soviet self-propelled artillery vehicle 1919–1945. P. 166.
  25. ^ Mikhail N. Swirin: The self-propelled artillery vehicles of Stalin. The history of the Soviet self-propelled artillery vehicle 1919–1945. Pp. 267, 268.
  26. ^ Mikhail N. Swirin: The self-propelled artillery vehicles of Stalin. The history of the Soviet self-propelled artillery vehicle 1919–1945. P. 332. and 367.
  • А. Г. Солянкин и др .: Советские средние самоходные артиллерийские установки 1941–1945 гг.
(Russian and in Cyrillic script; German roughly: AG Soljankin et al .: The Soviet medium self-propelled artillery vehicles 1941–1945. )
  1. a b c d e f g h i j k A. G. Soljankin et al .: The Soviet medium self-propelled artillery vehicles 1941–1945. Pp. 11-14.
  2. a b A. G. Soljankin et al: The Soviet medium self-propelled artillery vehicles 1941–1945. Pp. 26-29.
  3. AG Soljankin include: The Soviet medium self-propelled artillery vehicles from 1941 to 1945. P. 29 and 30.
  • А. Чубачин: Самоходная установка СУ-122.
(Russian and in Cyrillic script, German roughly: A. Tschubatschin: Das Selbstfahrartilleriefahrzeug SU-122. )
  1. A. Tschubatschin: The self-propelled artillery vehicle SU-122nd P. 59.
  2. a b A. Chubachin: The self-propelled artillery vehicle SU-122. P. 63.
  3. A. Tschubatschin: The self-propelled artillery vehicle SU-122nd P. 62.
  4. A. Tschubatschin: The self-propelled artillery vehicle SU-122nd P. 65.
  5. A. Tschubatschin: The self-propelled artillery vehicle SU-122nd P. 80.
  6. a b A. Chubachin: The self-propelled artillery vehicle SU-122. P. 81.
  • Other documents
  1. В. Н. Замулин: Курский излом. Решающая битва Отечественной войны. Яуза, Эксмо, 2007, ISBN 5-699-18411-2 (Russian and in Cyrillic script; German roughly WN Samulin: Der Kursker Bruch. The decisive battle of the Great Patriotic War. Jausa and Eksmo, Moscow 2007).
  2. В. Н. Замулин: Засекреченная Курская битва. Секретные документы свидетельствуют. Яуза, Эксмо, 2007, ISBN 978-5-699-19602-9 (Russian and in Cyrillic script; German roughly WN Samulin: The secret battle for Kursk. The classified information testify. Jausa and Eksmo, Moscow 2007).
  3. ^ Thomas Jentz: Panzer Troops. Schiffer Publishing, Atglen (PA) 1996, ISBN 0-88740-915-6 .
  4. Alexander Lüdeke: captured tanks of the Wehrmacht - Great Britain, Italy, Soviet Union and USA 1939–45. Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart 2011, ISBN 978-3-613-03359-7 .
  5. Таблицы стрельбы 122-мм гаубицы обр. 1938 г. Военное издательство народного комиссариата обороны, Москва, 1943 (Russian and in Cyrillic script; German roughly: The shot board of the People's Commissariat for Defense M1938 , 1943).
  6. М. Н. Свирин: Танковая мощь СССР. Яуза, Эксмо, Moscow 2009, ISBN 978-5-699-31700-4 , p. 386 (Russian and in Cyrillic script; German roughly Michail N. Swirin: Die Panzermacht der USSR. Jausa and Eksmo)
  7. Главное артиллерийское управление Вооружённых сил Союза СССР: 122-мм гаубица обр. 1938 г. Руководство службы. Военное издательство Министерства Вооружённых сил Союза СССР, Москва, 1948, стр. 141 и 177 (Russian and in Cyrillic script; German roughly: Main artillery administration of the armed forces of the USSR: The 122-mm howitzer M1938. Operating instructions. Military publisher of the Ministry of Armed Forces of the USSR, Moscow, 1948, pp. 141 and 177.)
  8. G. Tschlijanz: The Soviet troops own transmitting and receiving technology (Russian)
  9. IG Scheltow et al: The unknown T-34. P. 165.
  10. a b c M. N. Swirin: The Soviet balaclava.
  11. И. Г. Желтов и др .: Танки ИС. [Танкомастер]. 2004, специальный выпуск, стр. 48 (Russian and in Cyrillic script; German roughly: Igor G. Sheltow et al .: Die IS-Panzer. [Tankomaster, special edition 2004]. P. 48.)
  12. Уланов Р. Н .: Коломбина [Танкомастер № 4]. Москва 1997 (Russian and in Cyrillic script; German roughly: Rem N. Ulanow: Kolombina [Tankomaster No. 4]. Moscow 1997)
  13. Уланов Р. Н .: Переходный вариант [Техника и вооружение № 4]. Москва 1999, (Russian and in Cyrillic script; German roughly: Rem N. Ulanow: The transition variant [Die Technik und die Waffen Nr.4]. Moscow 1999)


  1. In 1942 the price of a T-34 made by the USTM, which was slightly higher than that of the SU-122, was 273,800 rubles - MN Svirin: The tank power of the USSR. P. 614.
  2. All types of kinetic (i.e. caliber and sub-caliber armor-piercing) projectiles for 45 mm or 76.2 mm cannons, as well as 76.2 mm shaped charge projectiles of the type BP-353A had a penetration capacity of no more than 80 mm to 500 Meters away at a vertical angle of impact, so they could only perforate the lower armored panels of the "Tiger" with a thickness of 62 mm. However, this part of the armored hull was additionally protected by the rollers, so that the chance of penetration was further reduced. The upper side armor, the rear, the front and the turret with armor protection from 80 to 100 mm, however, were impenetrable. The more effective 76.2 mm hollow charge bullet of the type BP-350M with a penetration capacity of 100 mm appeared only after the end of the war.
  3. z. B. in Н. Алёшин, В. Сергеев. Самоходная гаубица // Моделист-Конструктор № 12, 1987 (German for example N. Aleschin, W. Sergejew: Die Panzerhaubitze. In: Modelist-Konstrukteur No. 12, 1987.)
  4. z. B. on the page BattleField.Ru
  5. see sections on the history of the SU-122 and SU-100 in: The self-propelled artillery vehicles of Stalin. The history of the Soviet self-propelled artillery vehicle 1919–1945. The Soviet medium self-propelled artillery vehicles 1941-1945. as well as the unknown T-34.
  6. After the occupation of Italy in September 1943, they were taken over by the Wehrmacht as the M43 assault gun with 105/25 853 (i) and continued to be mass-produced.
  7. There is a vehicle in the Kiev Military Museum under the designation “SU-122”, but it is a SU-100 tank destroyer with a cut-off gun barrel. It cannot be ruled out that the Russian armed forces may still use armored recovery vehicles made from converted SU-122.
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on April 27, 2013 .