37 mm automatic air defense gun M1939 (61-K)

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37 mm automatic air defense gun M1939 (61-K)
61-K.jpg
61-K in Saint Petersburg Artillery Museum.
Type Air defense gun
Place of origin Soviet Union
Service history
Used by Users
Wars Second World War, Vietnam War, Cambodian Civil War, Cambodian–Vietnamese War
Production history
Produced 1939–?
Specifications
Weight 2,100 kg (4,600 lb)

Shell 37×250 mm. R
Caliber 37 mm (1.5 in)
Elevation -5° to 85°
Traverse 360°
Rate of fire 60 rpm
Muzzle velocity 880 m/s
Maximum firing range 8.5 km (5.3 mi)
61-K at IDF/AF Museum, Chatzerim airbase, Israel.

37 mm automatic air defense gun M1939 (61-K) (Russian: 37-мм автоматическая зенитная пушка образца 1939 года (61-К)) was a Soviet 37 mm caliber anti-aircraft gun developed during the late 1930s and used during World War II. The land based version was replaced in Soviet service by the ZSU-57-2 during the 1950s. Guns of this type were successfully used throughout the Eastern Front against dive bombers and other low- and medium-altitude targets. It also had some usefulness against lightly armored ground targets. Crews of the 37 mm AD guns shot down 14,657 Axis planes.[1] The mean quantity of 37 mm ammunition to shoot down one enemy plane was 905 rounds.[1]

Development[edit]

The Soviet Navy purchased a number of Bofors 25 mm Model 1933 guns in 1935, trials of the weapon were successful and it was decided to develop a 45 mm version of the weapon designated the 49-K. The development under the guidance of leading Soviet designers M. N. Loginov, I. A. Lyamin and L. V. Lyuliev was successful, but the army thought that the 45 mm calibre was a little too large for an automatic field weapon. In January 1938 the Artillery Factory Number 8 in Sverdlovsk was ordered to develop a 37 mm weapon based on the same design. The task was fulfilled by the chief designer of the Factory Mikhail Loginov and his assistant Lev Loktev. Firing trials of the new 61-K were conducted in October 1938.

Competitive firing trials were conducted in 1940 between the 61-K and the Bofors 40 mm/56. They found that there were no substantial differences between them.

61-K in Poznan citadel, Poland.

Land version[edit]

The weapon was initially installed as a single barrel weapon on a four wheeled ZU-7 carriage, and was soon ready for service. An initial order for 900 units was placed. The gun was operated by a crew of eight men. A total of 200 rounds of ammunition were carried which were fed into the gun in five round clips. Total Soviet production was around 20,000 units, ending in 1945. However, it has also been produced in Poland, China and North Korea.

Armour penetration of the armour-piercing (AP) rounds is reported as 37 millimetres of Rolled homogeneous armour (RHA) at 60°at 500 metres range and 28 millimetres of RHA at 90° at 1500 meters range.

Naval version[edit]

The naval mounting was produced as the 70K, and had entered service before the German invasion of the Soviet Union replacing the semi-automatic 45 mm/46 21-K on many ships. It was fitted in large numbers to Soviet ships during the Second World War, notably the T301 class minesweeper. The V70K was produced until 1955, with a total of 3,113 built.

V-11 as a memorial to the defenders of Seraya Loshad fort

One drawback was that the 70K required a barrel change after every 100 rounds fired. To improve on this, a twin barrelled water cooled mount, the V-11 (called "W-11" in East Germany and Poland because of different Cyrillic trasliteration), entered service in 1946, and was in production until 1957. A total of 1,872 V-11 mounts were built.

After this an 85-caliber 100 mm (3.9 in) anti-aircraft mounts long version, the 45 mm/85, was developed and accepted into service in 1954, it was deployed in twin and quad turrets on a number of classes of vessels, including the Neustrashimy, Kildin and Kotlin class destroyers. However it was later replaced with the ZIF-31 twin 57 mm mounting.

The 37 mm twin mounting was exported to China where it was manufactured and used extensively, as the "Type 65". A turret based version was produced from the late 1980s called the "Type 76" or H/PJA 76.

ZSU-37[edit]

The ZSU-37 was developed late in the Second World War, it was a single 37 mm gun mounted in a large open turret on the chassis of the SU-76 self-propelled gun .

Specifications[edit]

Designation M1939 70K
(naval)
V-11-M
(naval)
45 mm
(naval)
Barrels 1 1 2 4 or 2
Calibre 37 mm
(1.45 in)
Barrel length 2.73 m
(9 ft)
2.3 m
(7.54 ft)
2.3 m
(7.54 ft)
3.8 m
(12.46 ft)
Muzzle velocity 880 m/s
(2,887 ft/s)
900 m/s
(2,953 ft/s)
Weight 2,100 kg
(4,630 lbs)
1,750 kg
(3,858 lbs)
3,450 kg
(7,606 lbs)
 ?
Length 5.5 m
(18 ft)
3.8 m
(12.46 ft)
3.8 m
(12.46 ft)
6 m
(19.68 ft)
Width 1.79 m
(5.87 ft)
2.2 m
(7.21 ft)
2.75 m
(9 ft)
Height 2.11 m
(7 ft)
2.2 m
(7.21 ft)
1.8 m
(6 ft)
Elevation +85 to
-5 degrees
+85 to
-10 degrees
+85 to
-10 degrees
+90 to
0 degrees
Elevation speed  ? 15 degrees / sec 13 degrees / sec  ?
Traverse speed  ? 20 degrees / sec 17 degrees / sec  ?
Rate of fire per barrel

(cyclic)
160 to 170 rpm 160 to 170 rpm 160 to 170 rpm

(practical)
80 rpm 100 rpm
Maximum range
(surface)
9,500 m
(5.90 mi)
 ?
Practical range
(surface)
4,000 m
(2.48 mi)
9,000 m
Maximum range
(air)
6,700 m
(21,981 ft)
 ?
Practical range
(air)
3,000 m
(9,842 ft)
6,000 m
Crew 8 6 3 4
  • Recoil length: 150 to 175 mm

Ammunition[edit]

The cannon fires 37×252SR shells. The shells use brass cases lined with waxed paper and use KV-2U percussion primers. A small piece of lead-tin wire is included in the case to act as a de-coppering agent, to counteract the buildup of copper from the driving bands of the projectiles.[2] The Ammunition is produced in a number of countries including China, Russia, Egypt, Pakistan and Yugoslavia. The projectiles themselves are identical to those fired by the NS-37 aircraft cannon. The explosive shells are fitted with point detonating fuzes making them unsuitable for engaging fast moving or small targets.

Type FRAG-T FRAG-T AP-T HVAP HE
Caliber 37 mm 37 mm 37 mm 37 mm 45 mm
Country Russia
Name OR-167 OR-167N BR-167 BR-167P  ?
Fuze MG-8 PD
or MG-37 PD
B-37 PD
or MG-37 PD
n/a n/a  ?
Round 1.43 kg
(3.15 lbs)
1.43 kg
(3.15 lbs)
1.47 kg
(3.24 lbs)
 ?
Projectile 651 g
(1.43 lbs)
651 g
(1.43 lbs)
737 g
(1.62 lbs)
 ? 1.5 kg
(3.30 lbs)
Explosive 35 g
(1.23 oz)
of A-IX-2
40 g
(1.41 oz)
of A-IX-2
or A-1Kh-2
n/a n/a  ?
Muzzle
velocity
880 m/s
(2,887 ft/s)
960 m/s
(3,150 ft/s)
900 m/s
(2,953 ft/s)
Armour penetration  ?  ? 47 mm @ 500 m
(1.85 in @ 547 yds)
37 mm @ 1,000 m
(1.45 in @ 1,093 yds)
57 mm @ 1000 m
(2.24 in @ 1,093 yds)
 ?

Variants[edit]

  • Norinco (Chinese)
    • Type 55 - copy of the single barreled 37 mm M1939
    • Type 63 - twin 37 mm guns with vertical stabilization mounted on a T-34 chassis.
    • Type 65 - copy of the twin barreled 37 mm.
    • Type 74 - upgraded version of the Type 65 with a greater rate of fire.
    • Type 74SD - Type 74 with servo system removed for operation with Type 800 laser course director system.
    • Type 79-III - upgraded version of the Type 74 with electro-optical director, and powered traverse and elevation.
    • Type 76 - Naval version of the twin 37 mm.
    • P793 - Advanced twin barreled version, with electro-optical predicting sight and higher rate of fire and lengthened barrels giving a higher muzzle velocity (1,000 m/s). Operated by a crew of 5 or 6.
  • North Korea
    • Self-propelled version

Users[edit]

 Afghanistan
 Albania
 Algeria
 Angola
 Bangladesh
 Bulgaria[3]
 Cambodia
 Cameroon
 Cuba
 Egypt
 Ethiopia
 East Germany
 Finland
 Gabon
 Guinea
 Guinea-Bissau
 Indonesia
 Iraq
 Israel
 Laos
 Mali
 Mauritania
 Mongolia
 Morocco
 Mozambique
 Nicaragua
 North Korea
 Pakistan
 People's Republic of China
 Poland
 Republic of the Congo
 Romania
 Somalia
 Soviet Union
 Sudan
 Syria
 Tanzania
 Thailand
 Togo
 Tunisia
 Uganda
 Vietnam
 Yemen
 Yugoslavia
 Zaire
 Zambia
 Zimbabwe

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Shunkov V. N. - The Weapons of the Red Army
  2. ^ "Russian Ammunition Page". 
  3. ^ 257 units were exported to Bulgaria in 1945-1948 - История на Зенитната артилерия и Зенитно-ракетните войски в Българската армия, София 1995, с. 102-103. (History of Anti-aircraft artillery and Anti-aircraft and Missile Forces of the Bulgarian Army, Sofia 1995, p. 102-103.)

References[edit]