Wednesday, 30 September 2015

New AT Guns

"State Committee of Defense Decree #3187
April 15th, 1943
Moscow, Kremlin

On measures for reinforcement of anti-tank defenses.

In order to strengthen our anti-tank defenses, the State Committee of Defense decrees that:
  1. The People's Commissar of Armament, comrade Ustinov, must replace the production of 45 mm mod. 1937 guns at factory #172 with 45 mm M-42 guns, following this schedule:
    1. April: 250 units
    2. May: 300
    3. June: 400
    4. July: 600
    5. August: 800
    6. September: all production
  2. The People's Commissar of Armament, comrade Ustinov, and factory #92 director, comrade Elyan, must organize production of 57 mm ZiS-2 anti-tank guns and ZiS-4 tank guns to replace 76 mm mod. 1942 divisional guns and F-34 tank guns, following this schedule:
    1. April: 50 units
    2. May: 150 
    3. June: 250
    4. July: 350
      and 500 units monthly starting in August. Of the units listed, 20% are ZiS-4 tank guns.
      TsAKB must complete blueprints by June 1st, 1943, and provide them to GAU for approval.
      Send four AT guns and four tank guns from the April production batch to GAU (comrade Yakovlev) for trials, issuing a report to GOKO within ten days.
  3. The People's Commissar of Armament (comrade Ustinov) and TsAKB chief (comrade Grabin) must provide GAU with ideas regarding a powerful new corps gun with the qualities of an anti-tank gun based on the 107 mm M-60 gun and 100 mm B-34 naval gun. Also provide ideas for a new special tank, AT, and SPG gun that can penetrate 150 mm of armour at 30 degrees at a distance of 750-1000 meters.
    GAU must examine materials provided by NKV in three days and make a decision regarding experimental prototypes, reporting to GOKO along with NKV.
  4. People's Commissar of Ammunition, comrade Vannikov, must introduce 57 and 76 mm subcaliber rounds into production, with the following production schedule:

May June July August
ZiS-2 shell 3000 10000 10000 15000
ZiS-3 shell 15000 30000 35000 40000

By May 1st, design a 122 mm HEAT shell and a simplified 152 mm AP shell. Within 10 days of the designs being ready, GAU must perform trials and create blueprints for mass production.

5. The People's Commissariat of Chemical Production (comrade Pervukhin) must provide the People's Commissariat of Coloured Metals, above current quota and with first priority, the following materials for production of subcaliber armour piercing shell cores, in tons:

April May June July August
Sodium Carbonate 15 30 50 55 70
Hydrochloric acid 75 85 180 200 270
Soot 4 6 13 15 18

and shipment of plastic ballistic caps to the People's Commissariat of Ammunition, according to the following schedule:

May June July August
ZiS-2 shells 6000 15000 15000 20000
ZiS-3 shells 20000 40000 45000 50000
6. The People's Commissariat of Coloured Metals (comrade Lomako) must provide the People's Commissariat of Ammunition with cores made from hard alloys in the following amounts:

May June July August
For ZiS-2 shells 5000 13000 13000 20000
For ZiS-3 shells 17000 35000 40000 45000
Chairman of the State Committee of Defense, I. Stalin."


  1. T-34 with ZiS-4 was used in small number in 1941m IIRC. Here we have the document about this from 1943. Where were those tanks? Or, where were those guns mounted?

    1. It says the ZiS-4 is intended to replace the F-34, since it was more or less successfully tested, but I guess the idea was dropped again before anything really happened since the 57mm HE shells werent very good, thus making 76mm guns preferable despite weaker penetration, and also the T-34/85 came around the same year, so why bother?

    2. The wording in the document was misleading, 57 mm guns weren't going to replace all 76 mm guns in production, just some. The idea was dropped since the T-34-85 was looming on the horizon, a superior alternative to the T-34-57.

      Only a very small number of T-34-57s was built in 1943 (10, IIRC) and they never saw combat.

    3. When intelligence came that German equipped the tigers, the production of T-34 w/ ZIS-4 reopened, this time with a Model 1943 style hexagonal turret, although the production soon ceased again to give way to T-34/85.

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I thought 45 mm M42 gun replaced in production an older one model much earlier. Do you have some informations which one was more common during the Kursk battle?

    1. Production started in January, presumably production volumes were insufficient so a stern quota had to be established. I don't have information on how many guns were the newer 45 mm type, sadly. Guns were often only recorded by caliber.