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WZ302 Type 70 122-mm Self-Propelled Gun-Howitzer

The 70-type 122 mm self-propelled howitzer was New China's first generation of domestic self-propelled artillery. The Type 70 Self-Propelled Howitzer mounts a Chinese derivative of the Soviet 122mm D-30 howitzer on the Type 63 Armored Personnel Carrier chassis. Made in China, the 122mm self-propelled artillery was developed in the middle and late 1960s. It was equipped with troops in the 1970s to replace all kinds of Soviet-made 76-100mm assault guns. This gun is composed of a 54-1 howitzer combined with a 531 tracked armor Made from the chassis of a troop carrier. Equipped with tank division, motorized infantry division and army (group army) belong to the artillery regiment. It adopts the front engine, which has good maneuverability, can shoot in between, and has infrared equipment. The track is equipped with rubber protection. The gun is currently only equipped with motorized infantry.

The 70-1 122mm self-propelled howitzer was developed from 1969 and was formally designed and finalized in 1981. Development lasted 12 years. It was designed based on the chassis of the Type 63 armored personnel carrier. It was the earliest domestically-made self-propelled artillery for the armed forces of China. Therefore, it is also called the first self-propelled artillery in China.

At the founding of the People's Republic of China, the People's Liberation Army had acquired some SU-76 and other models of self-propelled artillery. These equiped the army at that time with a much-needed armored weapons, but in the international environment, these small numbers of SU-76 has been far behind the same generation of equipment. After the development of the 1950s, China initially established some industrial systems, with a certain degree of armored weapons production and research and development capabilities. By the mid-1960s, China began planning to study track-type self-propelled artillery to meet the needs of developing tank forces for this type of weaponry. For self-propelled artillery such weapons, China at that time only had the use of Soviet equipment experience, and also lacked advanced level of technical exchanges with the world. So China could only "touch the stone across the river", starting from a simple model.

The 63-Type was China's first self-designed and built track-type armored transport vehicle, with amphibious floating capacity, a variety of derivatives added together to produce nearly 8000 units, was a reliable armored transport chassis. As for the Type 54-1 artillery, it was improved from the Soviet M1938 traction howitzer and was still in use in the 1960s and was not out of date. The self-made self-propelled howitzer planned to use the 63-type chassis directly equipped with a 54-1 artillery.

In 1969 the first sample vehicle manufacturing completed. The model structure is very simple, in the rear crew compartment of the 63-type chassis set up the combat department, for the open structure without turrets, 122 mm artillery is directly arranged there. In order to enhance the protection of the artillery group, the artillery was equipped with a rear-bending gun shield, the combat position of the body armor also extended up to 10 cm.

The Type 70 self-propelled artillery, also known as Type 70 122 mm self-propelled howitzer (factory code WZ302), is the People's Republic of China North Vehicle plant development and production of the first type not to rely on Russia to assist self-designed track-type self-propelled guns, using 63 armored transport vehicle chassis-based design that is similar to World War II, open design of the self-propelled artillery, armored car plus a howitzer combination. The Type 70 was only produced in small quantities, and the total output was less than 200 vehicles.

When the 63A armored transport vehicle was developed in the 1960s, the North Industries Corporation developed it on the basis of the 63A in the late 1960s. In 1969, a self-propelled howitzer prototype was developed, and the 54-I 122mm howitzer was directly fixed to the chassis. In June 1970, the design was finalized and a total of 20 vehicles were produced. It entered service in 1970. During the troop exercises, it was discovered that the self-propelled howitzers had a lot of problems with their drive system after driving for a certain distance.

It wsa originally intended to continue the 70-type technical development, but because of lack of funds plus some other reasons, 70-type research and development work was forced to suspend, after the success of the new chassis development. The problem with the 70 type is that the chassis originally designed for infantry fighting vehicles, can not reliably withstand the 122 mm howitzer's recoil force, plus the gun weighs 2.45 tons, the 70-type chassis tracks and suspesion failure rate was high, and there was no floating capacity.

These self-propelled howitzers were "recalled" for improvement. In 1973, North Industries Corporation developed an elongated chassis, changed the original 4 pairs of large-diameter road wheels to 5 pairs of small-diameter road wheels, and developed the 63-1 type (B531) as the chassis of the 122mm self-propelled howitzer. The new armored chassis was not only 70-type research and development, it is also applied to 63-type armored vehicles, the main improvement is to increase 4 pairs of weight-carrying wheels to 5 pairs, appropriately extended the body, each side installed 3 barrel shock absorbers.

In 1975, a new model car was introduced, after a series of tests, including cold, extreme heat and plateaus, which were considered to have met the design targets. In September 1981, the design was finalized as the 70-1 122mm self-propelled howitzer, the factory product model WZ302, a total of 126 vehicles were produced. Later, on the basis of the 70-1 gun, an improved version with a floating device was developed. In 1984, the design was finalized called the 70-2 122mm self-propelled howitzer. The production of 70 self-propelled artillery is not high, with a total of only 126 units.

The Type 70 has a simple structure. A Type 54 I 122mm caliber howitzer is installed on the chassis of the Type 63 armored personnel carrier. The roof of the crew compartment at the rear of the original Type 63 car body is opened with a large opening to install the howitzer. It adopts an open design without a turret, a gun shield is set on the front of the gun body, and semi-enclosed armor panels are added to the sides and rear of the battle room for simple protection. In addition, there is no aiming control system on the car. The horizontal rotation range of the gun body is 22.5 degrees on the left and right, and the pitch range of the gun body is +45~+80 degrees. The general range is 7.7km, the maximum range is 11.8km, and the ammunition is 40-50 rounds. The Type 70 formation commander, driver and five artillery crew members are located in the rear compartment of the vehicle when driving, and must be exposed outside the vehicle during operation.

In fact, it is not difficult to see that the 70 itself is a simple weapon, it only solves the problem of artillery operations, just like the World War II M7 "Priest", in the 1970s and 1980s, its performance is outdated, the response speed is too slow. The main problem is that the artillery model is too backward, the range is too short, the power is too small, and the fire control system is backward. At that time, the international mainstream of self-propelled artillery mostly using 155 mm calibre, conventional shell range is also mostly increased to about 20 kilometers, 70 models compared with them have no advantage, although in the early 1980s developed a floatable model, still can not avoid being abandoned.

Page last modified: 01-08-2021 14:08:09 ZULU