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Type 59 130mm Cannon

The Type 59 130mm cannon was successfully copied in 1959 by the 127 Factory of the Ministry of Weaponry Industry of my country after studying the M-46 cannon provided by the Soviet Army. The M-46 was successfully copied by the Soviet Union in the early 1950s. The -1936 130mm naval gun was upgraded on the basis of it, mainly used for destroying facilities, suppressing active forces, and for anti-tank. The domestic Type 59 cannon weighs 8.5 tons and is 11.73 meters long (towed in marching state). It cannot be towed by light trucks and is towed by six-wheeled large trucks. The 8-person artillery squad has a combat rate of fire of 6 to 8 rounds per minute. It can fire various types of shells, such as grenade and armor-piercing rounds, with a maximum range of 27 kilometers.

After combining some of the advantages of the 122 artillery and the 152 artillery, a new type 59-1 130mm cannon appeared, which reduced the total weight to 6.3 tons and increased the rate of fire to about 10 rounds per minute. Various types of bombs, such as platoon bombs, have greatly improved combat efficiency. The Type 59 130mm Cannon Type 59-1 soon caught up with the self-defense counterattack against Vietnam. In combat, the low-extension trajectory of the gun showed high strike accuracy, and the range and rate of fire were very satisfactory to the artillery. In the 1970s and 1980s, the Type 59-1 130mm cannon has been the main artillery of the Chinese artillery, equipped with artillery divisions and subsequent artillery units of the armed forces. The Type 59-1 130mm cannon is equipped with anti-deflagration bombs (range 30 kilometers), long-range anti-explosive bombs (32 kilometers), bottom row extended range bombs (38 kilometers), anti-tank sub-munitions (25 kilometers) and other ammunition.

According to statistics, during World War II, the casualties caused by artillery exceeded 60% of all casualties on the battlefield, and artillery became the out-and-out "top killer", so artillery has always been called the "god of war." In modern warfare, although air-to-ground attack capabilities have been continuously strengthened and ballistic missiles have been widely used, artillery remains the army’s main weaponry.

In the Chinese Army, artillery is the most powerful arm. The huge lethality and destructive power of artillery has made the PLA's artillery force construction never stopped. Of course, there is another important factor that must be mentioned, that is, the PLA's air power is relatively weak, its ground attack capability is not strong, and its fire support to the army is limited. Therefore, artillery has always been the main fire support and fire strike force of the PLA. Looking closely at the PLA’s active artillery team, there is a cannon that has survived more than 50 years and has played an excellent deep strike ability in many wars. It is the 59 series cannon.

The People's Liberation Army started as infantry. The initial weapons were mostly light weapons, with very few artillery, let alone self-propelled artillery. When the Civil War was won in 1949, the People’s Liberation Army had a limited number of artillery pieces, with small calibers, poor performance, and mixed models. There were more than 20 calibers and more than 70 models from 9 countries. At that time, the guns with the largest caliber and the best performance were There are only 35 American-made Ml 155mm howitzers in the entire army.

In order to change this situation, the PLA decided to vigorously develop artillery weapons. In the early 1950s, China imported a large number of artillery from the Soviet Union. By the end of 1953, half of the PLA’s artillery had been changed to Soviet-made artillery. At the end of 1955, China imported and received 110,000 Soviet-made artillery pieces. At the same time, China began to cultivate its own artillery production capacity, and received strong support from the Soviet "Big Brother". In a short period of time, it imitated a series of large and medium caliber ground artillery, most of which were howitzers with curved trajectories. There is only a Type 59 cannon with a straight trajectory and a longer range. During the development of the Type 59 artillery, a famous Soviet gun - the M-46 cannon - was the main design blueprint. Speaking of M-46, we cannot fail to mention the K44 cannon developed by the Nazi German Krupp company. According to the Russian "Weapons" magazine, at the end of the Soviet-German War, in order to restrain the flood of Soviet tanks and heavy artillery groups, the Nazi Germans urgently needed a cannon that had the dual functions of anti-tank and field warfare. The 128 mm caliber K44 cannon was developed. It uses a 54.8-caliber barrel with a total length of 7.023 meters, a total combat weight of 10.16 tons, and a maximum muzzle velocity of 920 meters per second. When the tank is used, it can penetrate a 230 mm thick homogeneous armor plate at 1000 meters, and when indirectly fired, it can fire 28.3 kg high-explosive shells with a maximum range of 24 kilometers.

Due to the 360-degree rotatable gun mount, the gun mount has a wheeled structure, and the wheels can be raised from the ground when shooting. In addition, the gun mount is equipped with four standing hoes, which makes the gun mount extremely stable during shooting. These advantages are deep. It deeply influenced the Soviet artillery designers after the war, and was successively used in the development of naval and army cannons. Beginning in 1947, the Soviet 9th Artillery Factory located in Sverdlovsk (now Yekaterinburg) mass-produced the M-46, which was assigned to the artillery divisions of the Group Army. The gun was made public for the first time at the International Labor Day celebration in 1954 and was used to replace the outdated M-1931 122mm artillery and 100mm BS-3 field/anti-tank gun.

In the 1950s, all major army powers, including the Soviet Union and the United States, emphasized the so-called principle of "equivalence at the same level", which requires that the artillery used by different units of their own must meet or surpass the opponent’s artillery in strike capability. Consciousness is based on the fact that the front lines at the time were all tangible. The area between the front positions of the two sides was a buffer zone (or "non-contact zone"). Behind the buffer zone was the first line, and then there were second and even third lines behind the buffer zone. As far as the deployment of troops is concerned, the two armies operating with the division as the basic unit must also consider the combat depth factors on different fronts in the artillery configuration.

"The artillery you are equipped with must complete the depth of your mission to be qualified." Specific to the application of the principle of “equivalence at the same level”, the purpose of the Soviet M-46 cannon is to directly attack the enemy’s depth from the second-line position where the group army artillery brigade (48 formation) or front artillery division (72 formation) is located. The high-value target of the region is therefore more deterrent. Looking at China, after three years of iron and blood test in the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea, the Chinese army’s demand for large and medium caliber artillery can be described as “hungry and thirsty”.

As China’s strongest ground weapon manufacturer, it was originally the Shenyang Arsenal Artillery Factory of the Feng Family Warlord Zhang Zuolin. The Qiqihar No. 127 Factory under the Ministry of Ordnance Industry was identified as a designated manufacturer of military artillery, and was fully responsible for the transfer of Soviet artillery technology and finalized production. In 1954, with the help of Soviet experts, the factory took the lead in producing a division 54-type 122mm howitzer. The gun is a replica of the Soviet M-30 howitzer, which mainly meets the fire suppression needs of front-line troops. It emerged in the 1958 Golden Gate artillery battle and the Sino-Indian border self-defense counterattack in 1962.

Of course, the People's Liberation Army was not satisfied with the success of the 54-type howitzer. They need a military long-range artillery comparable to the Soviet Red Army to strengthen their ability to strike in depth. After Khrushchev came to power in 1953, out of winning China’s support in the international communist movement, he further increased the strength and breadth of military technical assistance to China, and offered to transfer to China including M-46 cannons and AK- 47 assault rifles, including the production technology of the Soviet army's active equipment.

For 130mm cannons, the Chinese army had long experienced their power. Beginning in 1950, the Chinese Navy has successively received a batch of 130mm M-36 shore defense cannons from the Soviet army in Lushun. Their structure is similar to the M-46 cannon, and the ballistic trajectory is quite low, which is convenient for the coast. Shooting is not blocked. In addition, the shore gun does not need to consider issues such as fitting and weight reduction (brackets, etc.), so the gun mount can be made relatively heavy, which can make the shooting very stable, and the strike accuracy is also more guaranteed.

In the Jinmen artillery battle that broke out in 1958, the People's Liberation Army transferred the main 130mm coastal defense railway artillery regiment that was originally used to defend the Beijing gateway to the Xiamen front via the Yingxia Railway. They became the blockade of the Kuomintang army through Liuluowan and Jinmen Wharf. The supply weapon was praised by the frontline officers and soldiers as the "King of Artillery." As the so-called "real knowledge comes from actual combat," the People's Liberation Army has an even more urgent need for 130 mm guns for the army.

In 1958, the Ministry of Ordnance Industry officially issued the task of trial production of 130mm cannons to Qiqihar No. 127 Factory. According to Zhou Yansheng, the chief engineer of the plant, from the original production of 122mm division howitzers to the current production of military 130mm cannons with an increased caliber of 8 mm, it is not as simple as caliber enlargement. The entire artillery structure, size and weight data have increased significantly. Corresponding improvements are required in terms of technology and equipment capabilities. Engineer Zhou gave an example. The length of the barrel of a 130mm cannon had to be increased from 2.67 meters for a 54-type howitzer to 6.85 meters. At that time, the length of all machine tools in the factory, such as honing machines and wire drawing machines, could only be increased. It has reached the size of the 54-type howitzer barrel, and it is too late to order new machine tools from abroad.

However, with the help of the Soviet expert group headed by Kbesov, the whole factory exerted its subjective initiative, stupefyingly gnawing on the “hard technical bones”. Zhou Yansheng said that the workers and technicians in the factory pulled apart the end of the bed with honing heads, thread-pulling knives and other transmission kits on the machine tool for a certain distance, and then moved it to the ground. The local method was transformed into an extended "waist-breaking machine tool". Meet the processing requirements of the ultra-long barrel of the cannon.

At that time, Zhu De, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Communist Party of China, paid great attention to the trial production of the 127th factory. He personally coordinated Anshan Iron and Steel to produce the billets needed for the 130mm gun, and arranged for the Beijing Institute of Technology and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Military Engineering Institute (Kazakh Military Engineering) to cooperate with the 127th factory.

At that time, the scientific research and production conditions of the Chinese ordnance front were extremely difficult. In the process of imitating the 130mm cannon, many people had to work intensively until midnight every day. For example, the engineers and technicians in the artillery assembly workshop had to complete the artillery before dawn. The final assembly was then sent to the shooting range for test firing, because the factory strictly followed the Soviet model at that time. For confidentiality, artillery was not allowed to be transported during the day.

In the harsh winter of ice and snow, when the artillery was undergoing a marching test, the testers snuggled in a large truck in an old sheepskin coat and watched the artillery's movement in the wild and bumpy fields, and jumped out of the car from time to time to check the brakes and other movement mechanisms ; And in the scorching summer, the experts stood in the hard-baked cannon position, monitoring the state of the artillery before and after firing in the deafening sound of the artillery. Through the unremitting efforts of the employees, the 127th factory produced 130mm cannons in batches in August 1959 as planned, and sent them to Beijing to participate in the military parade. Since then, the gun was officially finalized as a Type 59 cannon.

The Type 59 cannon basically follows the overall structure of the M-46 cannon. The barrel is the main part of the artillery. It gives the projectile a given flight direction to make it move forward and rotate (with rifling in the barrel). The Type 59 cannon uses a single barrel and is equipped with a manual horizontal wedge breech block. The recoil brake and the liquid pneumatic recoil machine are respectively arranged on the lower part of the gun body, both in the form of rod recoil. The gun frame is composed of a cradle, an upper frame, a lower frame, a large frame and an anti-shield. The large frame is equipped with a gun body push-pull device. When marching, the anti-recoil device is released, and the barrel and the recoil machine are pulled back to shorten the artillery march.

In terms of length, there are two large standing hoes on the side of the gun tailstock, which can also play a role in anti-recoil. Unlike the porous muzzle brake commonly known as the "pepper bottle" installed in the M-46, the Type 59 uses a more convenient multi-chamber muzzle brake, which reduces the artillery by extracting the energy of the gunpowder gas The recoil of the recoil. In addition, the sighting part of the Type 59 cannon is divided into a direction machine, a high-low machine, a balance machine, and a sighting device. The high and low machine is a single-tooth arc external meshing type, and the balance machine is a pneumatic type. The aiming device is composed of a sight, a peripheral sight, a direct sight and a lighting fixture.

The muzzle velocity of the Type 59 cannon is 930 m/s (when launching a shell), and the maximum range is 27.15 kilometers. When performing anti-tank missions, the Type 59 cannon has a direct firing range of about 1,100 meters and a penetration thickness of 230. Mm. The gun has a directional firing range of plus or minus 50 degrees, a high and low firing range of -2.5 to +45 degrees, a maximum rate of fire of 5 to 6 rounds per minute, a barrel length of 7.6 meters, and a gun length of 11.73 meters. (Marching state), the total weight of the gun is 7.7~8.45 tons (combat/marching), with up to 9 gunners, and the maneuvering mode is tracked and wheeled vehicles.

Throughout the 1960s, the Type 59 cannon became the "evergreen tree" among the artillery belonging to the People's Liberation Army, and its status was unparalleled. Especially with the improvement of China's basic processing industry capacity, high-strength thin-walled steel has been successfully developed, thereby enhancing the strength of the barrel and reducing the weight of the artillery. It has mastered the barrel self-tightening of high-chamber pressure, high muzzle velocity, and long-range artillery. The technology has nearly doubled the barrel pressure and prolonged the service life several times, which further improved the tactical performance of the subsequently produced Type 59 artillery.

Beginning in 1964, China assumed the international obligation to provide anti-US war materials to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam). The 59-type cannon became a weapon for Vietnamese military and civilian combat. With outstanding accuracy and power, it became the US and South Vietnamese army during the Vietnam War. The most feared artillery weapon. Although the range of the Type 59 cannon is 5 kilometers shorter than the 175mm M107 self-propelled cannon put into use in the United States, it can be operated smoothly by Vietnamese soldiers and guerrillas with a low level of education because of its simple operation. In the famous battle for mountains and rivers in 1968, the North Vietnamese artillery ambushing in the cave positions in Laos used Type 59 cannons to blockade the old village highlands of the US Marines. For this reason, the US Air Force sent a large number of fighters to sweep the North Vietnamese artillery base. People did not expect the opponent to have such a long range of artillery, and as a result, most of the bombs were thrown in the wrong place.

However, the North Vietnamese side was uncomfortable with the Type 59 cannon. They hoped that the Chinese side can further reduce the weight of the artillery to facilitate transportation and maneuvering on the "Ho Chi Minh Trail" densely covered with jungles and mountains. At the same time, the People’s Liberation Army itself put forward similar views, so in 1970 it finalized the 59-1 type cannon.

After the 1980s, China added an auxiliary propulsion unit (APU) to the front of the 59-1 cannon. It consists of a medium-power engine and a hydraulic transmission system. It has high transmission efficiency, light weight, and small size. Reliable operation, convenient operation and maintenance, etc., the maximum speed is 15 kilometers per hour, the maximum climbing degree is 18 degrees, and the marching battle conversion time is only two minutes, which effectively improves the rapid response time of the artillery. The self-propelled gun uses some simpler and lower-cost methods to improve the maneuverability and maneuverability of the artillery to a certain extent, but after all, the power is limited. Compared with the self-propelled artillery, there is a huge gap in all aspects of performance. Moreover, self-propelled guns are usually very heavy, and their mobility is not much improved compared to towed guns.

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Page last modified: 01-08-2021 14:07:10 ZULU