"Голожопый Фердинанд" (Golozhopiy Ferdinand)
|General Historical Information|
|Place of origin||USSR|
|Manufacturer|| Mytishchi Plant|
|Category|| Self-Propelled Gun|
|Debut in FHSW||Debut in FH mod|
|Main armament||76 mm ZiS-3Sh gun|
|General Ingame Information|
|Ammunition|| ↑ AP|
Design of the SU-76 began in November 1942, when the State Defense Committee ordered the construction of infantry support self-propelled guns armed with the ZiS-3 76.2 mm gun and the M-30 122 mm howitzer. The T-70 chassis was chosen for mounting the ZiS-3 gun, and was lengthened, adding one road wheel per side, to facilitate better gun mounting. The vehicle was completely enclosed by armour.
In the rush for fast completion of the order, a quite unreliable powerplant setup was installed in the first mass produced SU-76s. Two GAZ-202 automobile engines were used mounted in "parallel", each engine driving one track. It was found to be difficult for the driver to control the two engines simultaneously. Moreover, strong vibrations led to early failures of engines and transmission units. After 320 SU-76s had been made, mass production was halted in order to fix the problems. Two chief designers at the GAZ plant, N. A. Astrov and A. A. Lipgart, changed the powerplant arrangement to that of T-70 - the two engines were mounted in tandem on the right hand side of the vehicle. The roof of the compartment was removed for better gun servicing. This modified version, called the SU-76M, began mass production in early 1943. As an interim replacement during the halt of production the SU76i - the 76.2mm gun on captured German tank chassis - were produced.
After the pause, GAZ and two factories in Kirov and Mytishchi produced 13,932 SU-76Ms; the larger part of the order, over 9,000 vehicles, were built solely by GAZ. Mass production of the SU-76M ceased in the second half of 1945. In contemporary accounts SU-76Ms are often referred to in texts, public radio and TV broadcasting as SU-76s with the "M" omitted, due to their ubiquity in comparison with the original SU-76s. The SU-76 was the basis for the first Soviet tracked armoured anti-aircraft vehicle, the ZSU-37. Mass production of the ZSU-37 was continued after SU-76M production ceased. The SU-76M was withdrawn from Soviet Army service after the Second World War ended.
The SU-76M virtually replaced infantry tanks in the close support role. Its thin armour and open top made it vulnerable to antitank weapons, grenades, and small arms. Its light weight and low ground pressure gave it good mobility.
The SU-76M combined three main battlefield roles: light assault gun, mobile anti-tank weapon and mobile gun for indirect fire. As a light assault gun, the SU-76M had good estimation from Soviet infantrymen (in contrast with their own crews). It had more powerful weapons than any previous light tank for close support and communication between infantry and the SU-76M crew was simple due to the open crew compartment. This was extremely useful in urban combat where good teamwork between infantry and AFVs is a key to success. Although the open compartment was highly vulnerable to small arms fire and hand grenades, it very often saved the crew's lives in the case of a hit by a Panzerfaust, whose concussion blast would mean death in an enclosed vehicle.
The SU-76M was effective against any medium or light German tank. It could also knock out the Panther tank with a flank shot, but the ZiS-3 gun was not sufficient against Tiger tanks. Soviet manuals for SU-76M crews usually instructed the gunner to aim for the tracks or gun barrel against Tigers. To improve the SU-76M's anti-armour capabilities, armour-piercing composite rigid (APCR) and hollow charge projectiles were introduced. This gave the SU-76M a better chance against heavily armoured German vehicles. A low profile, a low noise signature and good mobility were other advantages of the SU-76M. This was ideal for organizing ambushes and sudden flank or rear strikes in close combat, where the ZiS-3 gun was sufficient against most German armoured fighting vehicles.
The maximum elevation angle of the ZiS-3 was the greatest amongst all other Soviet self-propelled guns. The maximum indirect fire distance was nearly 17 km. SU-76Ms were sometimes used as light artillery vehicles (like the German Wespe) for bombardments and indirect fire support. However the power of the 76.2 mm shells was not sufficient in many cases.
The SU-76M was the single Soviet vehicle able to operate in swamps with minimal support from engineers. During the Belarus liberation campaign in 1944 it was extremely useful for organizing sneak attacks through swamps; bypassing heavy German defenses on firmer ground. Usually only lightly armed infantry could pass through large swampy areas. With SU-76M support, Soviet soldiers and engineers could effectively destroy enemy strongpoints and continue to advance.
The SU-76M had a large number of ammunition types. They included armour-piercing (usual, with ballistic nose and subcaliber hyper-velocity), hollow charge, high explosive, fragmentation, shrapnel and incendiary projectiles. This made the SU-76M a true multi-purpose light armoured fighting vehicle.
One famous crewman was Rem Nikolaevich Ulanov. In his younger days he was a mechanic-driver and later a commander of a SU-76. He and some other soldiers called their SU-76 Columbina after the female Renaissance Italian Commedia dell'Arte personage.
After World War II, the SU-76 was used by Communist forces in the Korean War.
The ZSU-37 self-propelled anti-aircraft and the BM-8-24 Katyusha self-propelled rocket launchers are two ingame variants of the SU-76.
The SU-76, which is equipped with 76 mm ZIS-3Sh gun, uses APCR shells