Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Autocannon T-34

I wrote about autoloader mechanisms for the T-34 before, but that was just a mechanism to load shells into the existing gun. A project was developed to install an automatic cannon on a T-34 tank.

"Tactical-technical requirements for a project and experimental prototype of two 23 mm MP-6 guns paired with a 7.62 mm model 1940 (DS) machinegun and AA automatic sight, mounted in a T-34 turret.

Project goal:

Two 23 mm automatic MP-6 cannons and a 7.62 mm model 1940 (DS) machinegun are installed in a T-34 for the purpose of anti-aircraft defense of tank forces and combat in mountainous conditions."

Some more details on the gun: 

"As a result of your request #145664 from April 22nd 1941, blueprints for the 23 mm automatic MP-6 gun were sent by OKB-16
  1. magazine fed (for use in tanks)
  2. belt fed (for use in aircraft).
To factory #183 (Comintern) by #10-336 on April 24th, 1941
To factory #174 (Voroshilov) by #10-337 on April 24th, 1941
To factory #37 (Ordzhonikidze) by #10-338 on April 24th, 1941"

The tank version of the MP-6 gun was called the PT-23TB (Gun, Tank, 23 mm, Taubin-Baburin), and was also intended to replace the 12.7 mm machinegun on the T-40 tank.

There was another AA T-34 project, this time with four 37 mm guns.

"Addendum to tactical-technical requirements of an experimental prototype of a quad AA mount on the chassis of a T-34 tank

Tactical requirements:
  1. The quad 37 mm AA mount is placed in a special turret, mounted on a T-34 hull.
  2. The combat weight of this vehicle should not be greater than that of a T-34 tank.
  3. The crew consists of 8 people (6 person gun crew, mechanic-driver, radio operator/machinegunner).
  4. The turret should protect the crew from fragments of bombs and small caliber shells (antitank rifles, aircraft autocannons, etc). 
  5. The gun arc should have the following ranges:
    1. Vertical: -5 to 85 degrees.
    2. Horizontal: 360 degrees
  6. The aiming speed should be the same as on the regular quad 37 mm AA mount (produced according to the technical characteristics defined by GAU KA).
  7. The average rate of fire per barrel should be no less than 60 RPM.
  8. The vehicle should be able to fire while stationary or on the move.
  9. The vehicle should be able to cover a distance of 500 km with an unlocked gun mount.
  10. The sights should support fire on ground and air targets at a distance of up to 3000 meters.
  11. The mobility characteristics of the vehicle should be identical to those of a T-34.
  12. The roof of the turret should consist of removable armour plates that protect the crew from bullets and infantry mortars.
  13. The presence of a roof should not impede the observation of the commander or gun crew. A commander's cupola with tilted vision blocks will be used for observation of ground targets.
  14. The turret should comfortably contain the crew and at least 400 rounds of ammunition. The rest of the ammunition should be stored in the hull.
  15. Ejected casings should be caught by a case catcher with the capacity for 600 cases. The case catcher should be capable of being emptied rapidly.
  16. The commander should have contact with the driver via light communication device.
  17. External communication is achieved with a stock radio.
  18. A container for storing the crew's possession should be included.
  19. Two SMGs should be placed in the turret, with ammunition.
  20. The technical project will be reviewed by GBTU and Artkom.
These technical-tactical requirements are preliminary and may be revised throughout the design process.

GBTU USA Chief, Major-General of the Tank Engineering Service, Alymov
GBTU USA 4th Department Chief, Engineer-Colonel Korolev
November 19th, 1945"


  1. Interesting thanks.

    I'd like to know, in case you know, if there was a mass produced cannon armed (not the diverse BTR&14.5mm variants) SPAA before the ZSU-57-2?

      Wiki is hard. As a minor aside, I think I saw that thing in one of the Soldiers/Men of War type games.

  2. - In what way was the MP-6 related to the 23-mm VYa aircraft gun, as used in the Il-2? Same gun using different ammo feed, different gun mechanism firing the same round, or totally different?
    - Could this have been a ZSU-23-4, twenty (20) years ahead!? minus the radar, of course.
    - What kind of 37-mm guns were envisaged for the other modification? M1939 AA?