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NII-58 Big Duplex (S-72 210 mm + S-73 305 mm)

The 305-mm guns with a barrel length of 52 calibers for TM-3-12 installations were found literally at the bottom of the sea - in 1931, together with the tower installations, they were removed from the battleship "Empress Maria", sunk on October 6, 1916, with circumstances unclear until the end. After replacing the inner tube, some of them were used to create coastal batteries of Sevastopol, on the basis of the rest it was decided to create railway artillery installations for the Baltic Fleet.

In the Finnish and Great Patriotic War the USSR was left without 305-mm howitzers of special power due to mistakes made by Tukhachevsky, who demanded to convert the demountable towed duplex B-23 (305 mm howitzers and 203 mm cannon) to self-propelled SU-7. Work went from 1931 to April 1938, after which it became clear that the 106-ton SU-7 self-propelled gun did not hold bridges and the unit was not transported by rail. As a result, the work had to be stopped. Only after huge and unjustified losses in the Finnish war did we begin work on the towed detachable 450 mm Br-23 howitzer, but the war prevented them from completion.

After the Germans occupied Czechoslovakia in March 1939 they took over the koda Works, which had been working on the 305mm Skoda XV design and a companion Skoda VX 210 mm gun. After a successful test firing 5 July 1939, as a result of the MolotovRibbentrop Pact the Germans sold both designs to the Soviet Union. It's not entirely clear that Skoda actually built the weapons itself or merely supplied the blueprints. At any rate, very few weapons seem to have been built.

The Red Army during the Great Patriotic War practically did not have modern artillery of special power. Problems with tools of large and special power of domestic production forced the leadership of the country to turn to the tried and tested way - the use of advanced foreign experience. In 1938 with the firm "Skoda" a contract was concluded for the supply of prototypes and technical documentation for two powerful artillery systems - 210-mm guns and 305-mm howitzers that received indices Br-17 and Br-18 in production. These guns formed a duplex of artillery systems of special power (by early 1941, they released 3 210-mm guns and 3 305-mm howitzers, before the war - another 6 210-mm guns). Later, a cannon regiment of special power was introduced, consisting of four batteries of two guns. In its armament, the cannon regiment of special power had six 152-mm Br-2 gunsand two 210-mm Br-17 guns. As of May 1945, parts of the RVGK included four such regiments.

Thereafter, already in 1945, the development of special-purpose weapons was started at the TsAKB. VG Grabin considered it expedient to create a duplex consisting of a 210 mm long-range gun and 305 mm howitzers instead of a small-series duplex: 210 mm Br-17 cannons and 305 mm Br-18 howitzer. In 1945 this duplex received the code number H6.565. Grabin habitually decided to hedge, and duplex was developed in two versions: on a single artillery tank and in a towed version. In the latter case, the system was transported on three wagons.

In 1945, the idea arose to turn a self-propelled version of a duplex into triplex, introducing into its composition a 500-mm mortar. But for unclear reasons in the plan of 1946 this mortar did not hit. The barrels of the 210-mm gun and the 305-mm howitzers consisted of a free pipe, casing and breech. The steepness of the cutting of both trunks is constant. Piston push-pull valves with manual drive. The trunk of howitzer was equipped with a muzzle brake, which was a cylinder with round holes.

A large duplex consisting of 210 mm cannon and 305 mm cannon on a single carriage began to be developed by CRI 58 under the leadership of VG Grabin as early as 1946 under the indices G-18-110 and G-18-110G. In early 1949, the 210 mm towed gun received the S-72 index, and the wagon to it - S-74. A 305 mm towed howitzer received the S-73 index, and the wagon to it - S-75. For the duplex was provided a single carriage G 0914.

On July 10, 1947, the Ministry of Armaments, by Order No. 212, included in the work plan for 1948 "the manufacture of two 210-mm cannons and two 305-mm howitzers on a single carriage (" Large Duplex ") with wagons." However, due to the finalization of the project in the Central Research Institute-58, they were able to start making implements not earlier than 1950. Both systems were transported in three separate wagons in disassembled form. The vehicles for the gun had the S-74 index, and for the howitzer S-75. To transfer the gun from the marching position to combat and back to it was given a special 20-ton car crane of an arrow type and an auxiliary car MAZ-200.

The prototype of the 305mm howitzer S-73 had a "classic" carriage with two bases, a shield and one battle axis. In the fighting position, the system was supported by a base plate. The barrel had a muzzle brake, similar to a S-23 gun brake. Order for the production of prototypes of 210 mm S-72 gun and 305 mm howitzer S-73 was given to the Barricade plant. In 1954 one prototype +C 72 and one prototype C 73 passed factory tests, then both systems were returned to the "Barricades". On November 24, 1955, both systems were again sent to the S-72 range for factory testing, and S-73 for state tests.

Between January 29, 1953 and November 30, 1954, at the Rzhevka range factory tests of the prototype 305-mm howitzer S-73 were carried out. Based on the results of factory tests in the Central Research Institute-58, it was revised, after which the howitzer on November 27, 1956, again entered Rzhevka. Shooting from howitzers was made from March 26 to December 7, 1956, and also on May 10-13, 1957. In total, 621 rounds were fired from the howitzer, of which 100 shots were fired at a reinforced charge (full charge heated to 40C). During the shooting, the projectile was lifted using a loading crane, and it was sent manually to the barrel channel by means of a sender. Servicing in the chamber was carried out manually.

Judging by the report, howitzer shot perfectly, but the management of the range was very unfriendly towards it. The chief of the landfill, Major-General Bulba, failed to indicate any shortcoming in the course of the howitzer trials. But he said that, supposedly, the rearmament of the system is impossible without the crane AK-20, which had low mobility.

The 210 mm cannon S 72 was tested with high-explosive projectiles weighing 133 kg, equipped with 16.8 kg of explosive and concrete bombs weighing 154 kg. In addition, a 210 mm active rocket projectile 5735 was developed.

In 1954, the 280 mm cannon howitzer, which was supposed to be installed on the carriage of the duplex, was assigned the S-90 index. In May 1954, NII-58 completed the technical design of the imposition of a 280 mm C 90 gun on the carriage of a large duplex (ie S-72 and S-73). The S-90 gun had to shoot a high-explosive projectile weighing 246 kg for a range of 32 km. The weight of the cannon with a carriage in the fighting position is about 62 tons. The barricade factory was given the order to make a barrel of a 280 mm S-90 gun and to impose it on the carriage of the "large duplex" by June 1, 1955. The barricade factory was given the order to make the barrel of the 280 mm S-90 howitzer and put it on the carriage of the Big Duplex by June 1, 1955.

The 280 mm cannon-howitzer S-90 had a weight in the firing position of 62 tons. The angle of vertical guidance was 0; + 70, horizontal guidance angle 50. The rate of fire, the time from the march to the combat position, the speed of the carriage, etc., are the same as those of the duplex guns. The S-90 ammunition included a high-explosive projectile weighing 246 kg and a concrete bomb weighing 395 kg. The initial speed and range for the high-explosive projectile were 820 m/s and 30 km, and for concrete pits - 525 m/s and 19.2 km.

How could a major general of the technical service fail to understand that the S-73 is not a regimental and not divisional gun, obliged to accompany the advancing infantry. This is a piece of special power! Nevertheless, Grabin had to surrender to the generals from the GAS and to engage in giant self-propelled artillery installations. On the basis of the S-72, S-73 and S-90 in 1954-1955 the Central Research Institute-58 developed "Big Triplex" - S-110A 210-mm gun ; S-111A 280-mm gun-howitzer and 305-mm howitzer on a single self-propelled gun carriage. The technical design of the self-propelled triplex was sent to the Ministry of Defense Industry on December 31, 1955.

From May 26, 1956 to May 13, 1957, 305-mm howitzer S-73 with a cap loading was tested at the Rzhevka range. Judging by the report, the howitzer shot perfectly, but the management of the range was very unfriendly toward it. Having found none of the shortcomings during the tests, the chief of the range Major-General Bulba found fault with the low mobility of the crane AK-20, without which it was impossible to re-equip the system.

But all this was in vain - none of the special power gun developed by Grabin was adopted for service. Because of the position of the leadership led by Khrushchev, no system (S-72, S-73 and S-90) was introduced into service.

Data 180-mm gun S-23
Caliber, MM 180
Barrel length with muzzle brake, mm/KLB 8649/48
Volume of charging rechambering, DM 42.4
Number of cuts 40
Depth of cut, MM 3.6
Cut width, mm 8.9
Field width, mm 5.23
HV angle, deg 0 ; + 55
Angle MT, deg 40
Rollback length, MM
At angles from 0 to 30 1350
At angles from 30 to 55 700
Ultimate 1440
Length of the system in combat position at 0 , mm 14,000
Dimensions in the marching position, MM:
Height on the trunk 2690
Length of the system without the tractor 13,050
Width of the system 3025
Length with tractor ATT 20,200
Stroke width, mm:
Rear 2195
Front 2470
Clearance 400
Weight of the system, KG:
In combat position 21,500
In the marching position 21,200
Rate of Fire, RDS/min 0, 5-1
Crew, Pax 14
In 1941-1944, Leningrad was saved from the complete destruction by German heavy artillery of hundreds of heavy and superheavy guns of the Baltic Fleet - ships, forts of Kronstadt, railway artillery and cannons of the sea-range. There were no land-based guns of great power either near Leningrad or Sevastopol.

Joseph Vissarionovich knew how to learn from his mistakes. Immediately after the fall of Sevastopol, Stalin appointed the most talented Soviet designer of artillery systems, Lieutenant-General Vasily Gavrilovich Grabin, as head of the Central Artillery Design Bureau (TsAKB), and instructs him to develop fundamentally new weapons systems for the ground forces, the fleet and aviation.

In particular, Grabin was ordered to create two unique systems of super-powerful guns - triplex and duplex. The triplex was to consist of a 180-mm long-range gun, 210-mm howitzers and 280-mm mortars, which later received the S-23, S-33 and S-43 index (the letter "S" meant "Stalin"). The Triplex complex was named because all three systems had different barrels, but the same carriage and additional equipment. A similar duplex system (a 210 mm S-72 cannon and a 305 mm S-73 howitzer) also had a single carriage.

For the first time in order to install the system, crews did not have to dig a large pit for a large metal base. All the guns were transported on wheeled wheels with an unprecedented speed for that time - up to 35 km / h. The transition time from combat to marching position in triplex was 30 minutes, for duplex - 2 hours (for similar foreign systems - from 6 to 24 hours). Shooting was carried out from the ground without carrying out complex engineering work. The weight of the triplex in both combat and marching positions was 19-20 tons, and more massive duplex guns in the marching position were dismantled into three parts each weighing 23-24 tons each.

Everything seemed to go fine, and in the mid-1950s the Soviet army was to receive the first series of guns of the triplex and duplex. But here the so-called human factor interfered. Through his successes in the development of weapons, Grabin, even in the course of the war, made himself an irreconcilable enemy-rival.

These enemies were the artillery designers Ivanov and Petrov, and most importantly - the People's Commissar of Arms Dmitry Ustinov. Finally, in the late 1940s, among the ill-wishers of Grabin was himself Beria, who believed that the artillery had already outlived its. Here we are not talking about Beria, the Chekist, but about Beria in his other role as the head of the atomic project and the curator of works on ballistic, anti-aircraft and cruise missiles. Of course, neither Ustinov nor Beria could demand that Stalin shut down the Central Research Institute-58 (renamed the TsAKB) or, even more so, arrest its leader. But they sabotaged the work on the instruments of the triplex and duplex.

By the end of 1950, the first cannon weapon-the 180 mm S-23 gun-passed factory tests at Rzhevka, in July 1951, 155 shots were fired at Turkestan VO, and in January-February 1952, 70 shots were fired at the station of Aga Trans-Baikal Railway. By that time, the Central Research Institute-58 had completed the technical design of the S-33 210mm howitzer and 280mm S-43 cartridges, and the experimental series of seven S-23 guns and 210 prototypes were ordered to the No. 221 (Barrikady) plant -mm howitzer S-33 and 280-mm mortars S-43.

By the end of 1955 the guns had arrived from Stalingrad to Moscow - just at the beginning of the famous Khrushchev's persecution of artillery. It was decided the S-33 howitzer and the S-43 mortar were not to be adopted, and the 180mm S-23 cannons were left in service, but not produced. Several times the S-23 cannon was held on parades on Red Square, causing admiration of the Muscovites and the surprise of the Western military attaches.

S-72 180mm S-72 180mm S-73 210mm S-73 210mm

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