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Lev Izrailevich Gorlitsky

Most of the famous Soviet designers of armored vehicles like Koshkin Mikhail Ilyich, Morozov Alexander Alexandrovich, Kotin Zhozef Yakovlevich, as well as their combat vehicles, are well known. The name of this designer remained, as it were, in the shadows, although the technique that he designed is widely known and, along with the T-34, KV and IP, made a decisive contribution to Victory. Under his leadership, 13 combat vehicles were created during the Great Patriotic War, four of which — the SU-122, SU-85, SU-85M and SU-100 — were put into service with the Red Army. The famous Victory weapon, which determined the outcome of many battles — the SU-122 self-propelled artillery mount — was designed under the leadership of Lev Izrailevich Gorlitsky.

Lev Izrailevich Gorlitsky, born February 18 (March 3) in 1906 in the village of Stepantsy (now Cherkasy region, Ukraine). The life path of this man turned out to be thorny and difficult. Leo was fifteen years old when the White Guards shot his father in his typhoid fever before his eyes, and his older brother soon died in battles with the Petliurists. Mother with the other five children moved to Kiev, where Leo soon entered the Kiev Polytechnic Institute. His career is typical for millions of boys and girls of the 20-30s. The young Soviet Republic created industry, and needed technical personnel. And they were prepared at all levels - from vocational schools to institutions.

In 1927, Gorlitsky entered the Kiev Polytechnic Institute at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. From the third year, a group of students was transferred to the Leningrad Military Mechanical Institute, which he graduated in 1932 and was sent to KB-3 (artillery) at the Krasny Putilovets plant. Gorlitsky was among his first graduates.

The young designer worked in the KB-3 artillery at the Leningrad plant named after SM Kirov (LKZ, in 1932 it was called “Red Putilovets”). His graduation work was “Modernization of a mountain cannon”. He actually designed the new gun. And on international trials in 1938, it was the best in all respects. A very contented Stalin came up to him, put his arm around his shoulders and said: "The youngest, but he jumped all overseas competitors!" This gun went into production and did well at the time.

In January 1936, by the order of the People's Commissar of Arms LB Vannikov, L.I. Gorlitsky was appointed chief designer of Plant No. 7 named after M.V. Frunze in Leningrad (now the plant "Arsenal"). In 1936 - 1939, the design team under his leadership developed the 76 mm mountain cannon, 76 mm regimental cannon and 107 mm mountain howitzer. The mountain cannon was mass-produced until 1942. Monthly output reached 200 guns. It was a weapon with high combat qualities - in terms of accuracy, rate of fire, maneuverability, it exceeded foreign samples. For his achievements, L. Gorlitsky was awarded the first high award - the Order of the Red Star. Work in SKB-4 is the time of the formation of L. Gorlitsky as a mature design engineer and the head of the design team.

From Spain, in the civil war the USSR supplied weapons for the republican government, news began to come that Gorlitsky's guns were breaking down. So Lev Izrailevich was a “pest”. In the prison cell (with which Gorlitsky first met during the “Leningrad affair”), he mentally again and again dismantled the gun, checked the calculations, looked for a mistake and came to the conclusion: the weapon was impeccable, and field tests confirmed it. Fortunately, the designer did not have time to be shot by the time when it turned out that the guns had become unusable at the factory. A Karelian youth who avenged the death of his father, the secretary of a district committee from Petrozavodsk, who had fallen victim to the rampant repressions of those years.

At the end of 1940, Gorlitsky was released, and in August 1940 he unexpectedly received an appointment for the post of LKZ chief designer for artillery production - the head of the artillery design bureau. In July 1941, the Defense Committee of Leningrad laid at the Kirov factory the installation and installation of artillery weapons in the bunkers and billets in the fortified areas on the outskirts of the city and the training of military units personnel to use these weapons. The work was carried out by designers and workers of artillery production. On the instructions of the defense committee, the arms work was headed by L. Gorlitsky. From July to September in the areas of Luga, Krasnoe Selo, Pulkovo, Peterhof and other troops were transferred hundreds of pillboxes and billets, armed with cannons of the Kirov factory. Work had to be in difficult conditions in the immediate vicinity of the front. Often, designers and workers who mounted weapons, found themselves in a combat zone, and themselves took part in the battles against the Nazis. Especially distinguished themselves in the installation of weapons were awarded government awards, including L. Gorlitsky.

Soon the artillery battalion of the LKZ was evacuated separately from the tank industry — not to Chelyabinsk, but to Sverdlovsk on Uralmash Square. In October 1941, by the decision of the State Defense Committee, the artillery production of the Kirov factory was evacuated to Sverdlovsk in Uralmash. Echelon of 28 cars, headed by L.I. Gorlitsky, traveled to the destination for 13 days. On the way, he was repeatedly bombed, but fortunately there were no casualties. Upon arrival, all 30 evacuated constructors were poured into the department No. 3 of Uralmash artillery production organized shortly before, whose chief designer was A. Bulashev, L. Gorlitsky appointed his deputy.

Here Gorlitsky engaged in the production of ACS, and when the power producing artillery systems was allocated to a separate plant number 9, Lev Izrailevich remained at Uralmash as head of the Special Design Bureau (SKB), organized in accordance with the decision of the State Defense Committee (GKO) of October 20, 1942, and heads the work on the creation of self-propelled artillery installations.

Gorlitsky met the war as chief designer of artillery production at the Kirov Leningrad plant. From June to October 1941, his department was engaged in installing guns in long-term firing points that protected the approaches to Leningrad. In October, production was evacuated to Sverdlovsk and became part of the Ural Heavy Engineering Plant.

Events occurred that determined the fate of the Uralmash artillery production and L. Gorlitsky himself for many years to come. In 1942. On the basis of the artillery production of Uralmash, Plant No. 9 is created, subordinate to the People's Commissariat of Arms. When separating from Uralmash, the artillery workshops and the main part of the artillery production designers went to plant No. 9. Uralmash had to create its own design bureau from the remnants of the former joint bureau. Such a design bureau was created on the basis of the L. I. Gorlitsky tank artillery group, which was replenished by the designers of the Kirovsky plant, and then the Stalingrad tractor, evacuated in October 1942. Soon the whole burden of designing self-propelled artillery mounts fell on this small team.

The design team of the Sverdlovsk enterprise "Ural Transport Engineering Plant" specialized in the creation of medium-sized self-propelled artillery units (SAU). Designer Lev Izrailevich Gorlitsky supervised these works. On October 23, 1942, the State Defense Committee set the task of the defense industry in a short time to start mass production of self-propelled artillery installations. Uralmashzavod was tasked to design and manufacture a prototype of a Su-122 self-propelled artillery, armed with a 122-mm howitzer.

Gorlitsky's firstborn, SU-122, was an assault weapon. The ACS differed from the tank, first of all, by the absence of a rotating turret and more powerful weapons. The body of the self-propelled unit - conning tower - re-designed. In the inclined frontal hull sheet in a special embrasure was placed swinging part of the 122-mm field howitzer. The gun had two sights - a tank telescopic articulated (for direct fire shooting) and a howitzer with a panorama (for shooting from a closed position). For the shooting were used high-explosive fragmentation, and later the cumulative projectiles. The machine was effective against firing points and manpower, but the small initial velocity of the howitzer projectile did not allow it to truly resist the tanks. For the creation of the SU-122 L.I. Gorlitsky was awarded the State Prize.

In the middle of 1943, a new artillery self-propelled unit, the SU-85, was created by the design team, which was headed by L.I.Gorlitsky. An original frame construction was developed for fastening the implement, which was later adopted for all self-propelled units. Compared with the SU-122, the effective firing range of German armored vehicles increased one and a half times. The creation of the SU-85 coincided with the advent of the new German technology ("Panther", "Tiger", "Ferdinand"). Having better mobility than heavy German tanks, the SU-85, with its relatively limited armor protection, successfully fought with them at medium and short distances, but at a distance of over 800 meters its gun was not effective.

The SU-100 was created in early 1944. The SU-100, with a slight increase in weight, possessed more powerful weapons than the SU-85, and stronger armor protection. The SU-100 was assigned the tasks of directly supporting the attacking tanks on the battlefield, fighting the enemy’s heavy tanks and suppressing his anti-tank weapons. A 100-mm armor-piercing projectile with an initial speed of 900 m / s punched from a distance of 1000 m 160-mm armor. High rate of fire (8-10 shots per minute when shooting from a place and short stops) was provided thanks to the free layout of the SU-100 chopping and the presence of a semi-automatic shutter at the DS-10 gun.

In 1954, Lev Izrailevich returned to Leningrad to his native Kirov factory, where he worked as a chief designer before the war. Here he worked in the KB as a lead designer until he retired in 1976. However, his relationship with the Urals was not interrupted. Mutual greetings on holidays, publications in the factory newspaper, sometimes managed to visit, being on a business trip.

Despite his age, he was vigorous, eagerly recalled and talked about the war years, about working on the ACS, and simply loved to talk "for life." His memory was beautiful. Gorlitsky died on November 2, 2003 at the age of 97 years. Time is transient. When leaving, it takes with it the events, deeds and creations of people, takes away the creators themselves, leaving descendants remember them for some time. Unfortunately, memory is not eternal.

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