203 mm howitzer M1931 (B-4)

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203 mm howitzer M1931 (B-4)
Belarus-Minsk-Museum of GPW Exhibition-2.jpg
203 mm howitzer M1931 (B-4) in Great Patriotic War museum, Minsk, Belarus.
Type Heavy howitzer
Place of origin USSR
Service history
In service Soviet Union
Wars World War II
Production history
Designer Nikolai Nikititsch Magdesiew
Designed 1931
Produced 1932-1940s
No. built 871
Weight Combat: 17,700 kg
(39,022 lbs)
Travel: 19,000 kg
(41,888 lbs)
Length Travel: 11.15 m (36 ft 7 in)[1]
Barrel length Bore: 4.894 m (16 ft 1 in) L/24.1
Overall: 5.087 m (16 ft 8 in) L/25
Width Travel: 2.7 m (8 ft 10 in)[1]
Height Travel: 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in)[1]
Crew 15[1]

Shell Separate loading charge and projectile[1] HE: 100 kg (220 lbs)
Caliber 203 mm (8 in)
Breech Interrupted screw
Recoil Hydro-pneumatic[1]
Carriage Box trail[1]
Elevation 0° to 60°
Rate of fire 1 round per minute
Muzzle velocity 607 m/s (1,990 ft/s)
Maximum firing range 18 km (11 mi)

203 mm howitzer M1931 (B-4) (Russian: 203-мм гаубица обр. 1931 г. (Б-4)) was a 203 mm (8 inch) Soviet heavy howitzer. During the Second World War, it was under the command of the Stavka's strategic reserve. It was nicknamed "Stalin's sledgehammer" by German soldiers. These guns were used with success against heavy German fortifications and in urban combat for crushing protected buildings and bunkers. This weapon was used until the end of the war in the Battle of Berlin where the Red Army would bring these guns up at point blank range to smash German fortifications with their heavy 203mm shells. In the spring of 1944, a KV-1s tank chassis was used to create a self-propelled variant, the S-51. The heavy recoil from the muzzle blast threw the crew off their seats and damaged the transmission, and so it was cancelled.[2]


See also[edit]



  • 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