85 mm divisional gun D-44

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85-mm divisional gun D-44
D-44-beyt-hatotchan-1.jpg
85 mm D-44 divisional gun.
Type Field gun
Place of origin Soviet Union
Production history
Designed 1943-1944
Manufacturer Uralmash
Produced 1945-1953
Number built 10,800
Variants D-44N
SD-44
Chinese Type 56
Specifications
Weight D-44: 1,725 kg
(3,803 lbs)
SD-44: 2,250 kg
(4,960 lbs)
Length 8.34 metres (27 ft 4 in)
Barrel length 55 calibers
Width 1.78 metres (5 ft 10 in)
Height 1.42 metres (4 ft 8 in)
Crew 8

Caliber 85 mm (3.34 in)
Recoil hydraulic recoil buffer
Carriage split trail
Elevation -7° to 35°
Traverse 54°
Rate of fire up to 20 rounds per minute (burst)
Muzzle velocity 1,030 m/s (3,379 ft/s)
Effective firing range 1,150 m (1,257 yds) (HVAP-T)
Maximum firing range 15.65 km (9.72 mi)
Sights OP-2-7 w/5.5X Magnification

The 85-mm divisional gun D-44 (Russian: 85-мм дивизионная пушка Д-44) was a Soviet divisional 85-mm calibre field artillery gun used after World War II. It was designed as the replacement for the 76 mm divisional gun M1942 (ZiS-3). The gun is no longer in front-line service with the Russian Ground Forces, although some 200 of the Chinese Type 56 variant are still in service with the Pakistan Army.[1] Wartime service included use by communist forces during the Vietnam War[2] and by Arab forces during their conflicts with Israel.

Overview[edit]

The design of the D-44 started in 1943 at the design bureau of No.9 factory "Uralmash" and production began in late 1945. Its GRAU code was 52-P-367.[3] The SD-44 was a 1950s variant with an auxiliary propulsion unit and ammunition box for 10 rounds, with 697 issued to the airborne forces (VDV) from 1954.[4] The D-44N was a 1960s variant with an APN 3-7 infra-red illumination device for night combat. China received D-44's during the Korean War and began manufacturing a copy, the Type 56, in the early 1960s.[5] Finally, the Polish Army has equipped some of their D-44 guns with electrical subsystems in the early 1980s and designated them D-44M and D-44MN.[6]

The barrel was developed from that of the T-34-85 tank and was capable of firing 20-25 high explosive (HE), armor piercing, and high explosive antitank (HEAT) projectiles per minute. Subcaliber BR-365P HVAP-T (high velocity armor piercing-tracer) projectiles were capable of penetrating 100mm of armor at 1000 meters at a ninety-degree obliquity, and the BR-367P HVAP-T projectile penetrates 180mm of armor under the same conditions.[6] The O-365K HE round weighed 9.5 kg and packed 741 grams of TNT as its bursting charge, while the BK-2M HEAT-FS (fin stabilized) projectile can penetrate 300mm of armor. The HEAT round for the Type 56 has a maximum range of 970 meters and will penetrate 100mm of armor at an angle of 65 degrees.[7]

The gun uses GAZ-AA tires, and is towed by a 2.5t truck[8] or a Ya-12 tractor with the average speed of 20–25 km/h on surfaced roads, and 11 km/h over open terrain, with a maximum towing speed over asphalt roadway of about 55 km/h.[9] The SD-44's auxiliary propulsion unit M-72 of 14 hp can move the gun at road speeds up to 25 km/h.[10]

The gun uses the OP-2-7 sight with 5.5x magnification for day combat. The sight permits target acquisition at 1500 meters.[11]

Performance of D-44 and comparable weapons
Explosive projectiles and range
Weapon Projectile Weight (Bursting charge), kg Maximum range, meters
85 mm D-44 (firing O-365K) 9.5 (0.74) 15,650
25 Pounder Mk II (firing HE Mk. I D) 11.33 (0.82) 12,253
8.8 cm FlaK 18 (firing SprGr L4.5) 9.4 (0.87) 14,815
90 mm M3 (firing M71) 10.64 (0.93) 17,337
Data taken from Janes (1982), The American Arsenal, German Artillery of World War Two, and tarrif.net.

Production[edit]

The D-44 was produced from 1945 until 1953. During the years 1948-1950, over two thousand D-44's were produced per year.[6] The D-44 also served as the basis from which the 85 mm antitank gun D-48 was developed and also the RPU-14 multiple rocket launcher uses the D-44's carriage.

Use by other nations[edit]

By the 1950s, the D-44 had been exported for use by Warsaw Pact nations,[12] with the gun remaining in service with the East German National People's Army until the fall of the East Germany. Besides Pakistan and East Germany, other users include(d) Albania, Algeria, Bulgaria, Cambodia, China (Type 56), Cuba, Egypt, Georgia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Hungary, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Laos, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Poland, Romania, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, and Vietnam.[13]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Mehta, Admiral Sureesh (2008). South Asia Defence And Strategic Year Book 2008. Pentagon Press. p. 329. ISBN 978-81-8274-320-5. 
  2. ^ U.S. Artillery School article.
  3. ^ http://www.russianarms.ru/forum/index.php?board=270.0
  4. ^ Six SD-44's were issued per antitank battery in each airborne regiment, for a total of 18 in an airborne division. Janes, p. 525.
  5. ^ The People's Liberation Army assigned 12 Type 56 guns per artillery regiment. Brassey's, p. 124.
  6. ^ a b c Janes (2008), p. 899.
  7. ^ Brassey's p. 124.
  8. ^ Both ZIL-157's and URAL-375D's were used as towing trucks. See Janes and Kopenhagen.
  9. ^ 85-мм дивизионная пушка Д-44
  10. ^ TRADOC Worldwide Equipment Guide, p. 5-4.
  11. ^ WEG, p. 5-4.
  12. ^ For example, the East German forces first publicly displayed SD-44 pieces in 1958. Kopenhagen, p. 48.
  13. ^ Janes, p. 526.

References[edit]

  • Brassey's Encyclopedia of Land Forces and Warfare, Brassey's Inc., Washington D.C., 2000, ISBN 1-57488-087-X.
  • Die Landstreitkräfte der NVA, Wilfried Kopenhagen, Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttart, 2003, ISBN 3-613-02297-4.
  • German Artillery of World War Two, Ian V. Hogg, Greenhill Books, London, 2002. ISBN 1-85367-480-X.
  • Foss, Christopher F. (ed.) Jane's Armour and Artillery 1981-1982, Jane's Publishing Company Ltd, London & New York, 1982. ISBN 978-0-531-03976-2
  • Foss, Christopher F. (ed.) Jane's Armour and Artillery 2007-2008, Jane's Publishing Company Ltd, Coulsdon, 2007. ISBN 978-0-7106-2794-0
  • Shunkov V. N. The Weapons of the Red Army, Mn. Harvest, 1999 (Шунков В. Н. - Оружие Красной Армии. — Мн.: Харвест, 1999.) ISBN 985-433-469-4.
  • The American Arsenal, Ian V. Hogg (introduction), Greenhill Books, London, 2001. ISBN 1-85367-470-2.
  • TRADOC Worldwide Equipment Guide

External links[edit]