Logo from Scott Cunningham.
oviet weapons data provides information on all Soviet designed, built and modified tank and anti-tank weapons of World War II. This page provides an index to the data tables for Soviet weapons followed by some items pertinent to Soviet weapons which cannot be easily included in the tables. The Introduction page provides further information on the difficulties of determining accurate source data. The contents of this page are:
The primary source of data is from the Russian Military Zone and the Russian Military Zone. Most Soviet data is based on mathematical prediction rather than on actual tests. While the predicted data is reasonably good for Soviet AP projectiles it can be quite inaccurate for APBC projectiles, particularly as these are more affected by obliquity and hardness so it is more difficult to derive a suitable mathematical predictive model.
For example, for nearly all 76mm guns only data for the original BR–350A APBC projectile is quoted, even though this was replaced by two further APBC projectiles (described below). Where data for the later BR–350B projectile is presented, it has worse penetration performance than for the original BR–350A projectile. It is likely, however, that the BR–350B was a better performer overall because the BR–350A was prone to shattering when overmatched, and had a poor quality fuze so that its penetration was quite variable. The trend in later 76mm APBC designs was to strengthen the shell body of the projectile to try to prevent shattering which supports this view. It is likely that the reason for lack of BR–350B projectile data is that no actual tests were carried out and that the limited data presented is theoretical, leading to estimates of penetration performance which are unrealistically low.
Another example is the results of one of the few tests done of an APBC projectile which is given in the library at the Russian Military Zone. In this case the 122mm APBC projectile considerably outperforms its theoretically predicted penetration against a captured target Panther tank (note that the early Panthers had poor quality glacis plates which partly explains this result).
In addition, Soviet quality control was generally poor and ammunition was substandard up until about 1944, which would degrade penetration in unpredictable ways. I would expect that this means that some ammunition would perform better than predicted and some worse, or even considerably worse.
For the Soviet definition of penetration see the Gun Target Hardness table.
With a few exceptions, all Soviet AP and APBC projectiles of 37mm calibre or greater had an explosive filler in the warhead. To avoid unnecessary repetition the suffix ‘/HE’ is not used in the data tables. Solid shot AP projectiles have the suffix ‘SP’ in the ammunition name (e.g., the 45mm BR–240SP projectile has no explosive filler in the warhead).
Information on the availability of tungsten cored projectiles (APCR) is sketchy and sometimes contradictory:
57mm and 76mm APCR projectiles were accepted into service in October 1943. In 1943 a maximum of 8 rounds per vehicle were issued to units deployed in defensive positions where the Germans were expected to attack. By the Spring of 1944 all vehicles had at least 4 rounds each. Source: Russian Military Zone. Zaloga in the Red Army Handbook 1939–1945 states that 76mm APCR projectiles were issued from August 1942, however Valeriy Potapov from the Russian Military Zone tells me that production was delayed until October 1943 due to their very low quality.
There were three 76mm APBC projectiles issued by the Soviets:
the BR–350A was issued from before 1941 and ceased production in 1943;
the BR–350B, pictured below, started production in 1942 and eventually replaced the BR–350A; and
the BR–354B projectile replaced the BR–350B projectile in 1944.
The BR–350A projectile is slightly longer than the other two. The BR–350B had a differently shaped HE cavity, probably to strengthen the shell to help prevent it from breaking up on impact. The BR–354B has an even smaller HE cavity and the bottom half of the shell body tapers in slightly, probably to further strengthen the shell body. It also has a smaller opening for the fuze and a different composition of HE filler, being an incendiary mix. The basic design of all three projectiles, however, remains the same. Source: Krogfus, Miles: World War II AP.
For Soviet vehicle general data there are some excellent tables on the Russian Military Zone. The following links will take you directly to these tables:
Calibre sizes have been rounded to the nearest millimetre for clarity. Exact calibre sizes are:
Soviet ammunition nomenclature consists of one or more prefixes, a number which defines the calibre, and occasionally a suffix. The prefix describe the ammunition type:
F — fugasnij — high explosive;
O — oskolochnij — fragmentation;
OF — oskolochno-fugasnij — high explosive fragmentation;
OH — oskolochno-khimicheskij — chemical fragmentation;
B or BR — broneboinij — armour piercing;
BP or BK — broneboinij prozhigaushij or broneboinij kumulyativnij — hollow charge (HEAT projectile);
Sh — shrapnel — shrapnel and case-shot;
Z — zazhigatelnij — incendiary;
D — dymovoj — smoke; and
S — osvetitelnij — illumination.
This is followed by a three digit number which defines the calibre. For example, “271” is used to define 57mm calibre ammunition. The number sequence changed during World War II so more than one number may define a particular calibre. For example, “350”, “353”, “354” and “361” are all used to define 76mm calibre ammunition.
A suffix is then added for certain ammunition types:
P — podkalibernij — sub-calibre (APCR projectile).
M — modernizirovanij — modernised.
Further suffixes could be added for each new design in a series of ammunition, e.g., BR–350A and BR–350B indicate the original design and an improved version, respectively, in a series of similar ammunition projectiles. In this case, the next type in this series was the BR–354B due to a change in the three digit number defining the calibre. As with all nations Soviet ammunition nomenclature is not always entirely logical (although it is better than most).
The nomenclature described above is for ammunition projectiles. For the cartridge part of the ammunition, containing the propellant, two other prefixes were added to the front of the designation:
U — unitarnij — for single piece ammunition; and
V — vystrel — shot, for separate loading ammunition.
An example will be used to illustrate Soviet ammunition nomenclature. The ammunition pictured below has the name written in Cyrillic on the projectile and the cartridge. You can see that the projectile is “BR–350B” indicating that this is a broneboinij (armour piercing) projectile, 76mm calibre, model “B”. The cartridge is “UBR–354B” indicating that this is an unitarnij (single piece) broneboinij (armour piercing) catridge, 76mm calibre, model “B”.
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