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ZIS-30 Light Tank Destroyer

Written by Евгений Болдырев
Published on Tuesday, 20 September 2005 23:04
Last Updated on
Read 11844 times
Легкое самоходное орудие ЗИС-3...
Легкое самоходное орудие ЗИС-3...
ЗИС-30 на огневой позиции. Бит...
Легкое самоходное орудие ЗИС-3...
Легкое самоходное орудие ЗИС-3...

At the beginning of the Great Patriotic War Red Army had neither tank destroyer nor SPAA in mass production. Before the war, several projects were developed; some of them were built. However all of that projects were abandoned later for various reasons. That's why, in July 1 of 1941, the Minister of Weapons signed an order to develop and produce a 37mm SPAA, an 85 mm SPAA and a 57mm TD. All projects were to be finished not later July 15, 1941. The development of a 57 mm TD was assigned to the Factory #92 in Gorky (today — Nizhnij Novgorod).

To accomplish this task a special group of engineers was summoned to the factory's design bureau. The head designer was P. F. Murav'ev. In a very short time the new SP was designed and realized as a prototype.

It should be noted that two different prototypes were built: the ZIS-30 and ZIS-31. The ZiS-30 was a light tank destroyer based on the «Komsomolets» tractor. It was armed with an open 57 mm ZIS-2 AT-Gun, protected only by the gun's shield. For better stability the TD was equipped with two extendable skids (you can see them at the rear of the vehicle in the photo below).

The ZIS-31 had the same armament but was based on an armored truck GAZ-AAA. In July-August both TD's were tested. The tests showed better gunnery results for the ZIS-31. However the ZIS-30 showed better maneuverability in rough and swampy terrain, and was thus selected for service.

The Factory #92 was ordered to begin ZIS-30 production by September 1, 1941. However, a new problem appeared: at that time the only one factory produced the «Komsomolets» tractors — it was Moscow factory #37. However, in August 1941 this factory switched its production from tractors to tanks, so no factory in the USSR produced this type of tractor any more. Then the decision was made to collect tractors from Red Army's units. You can imagine the condition in which those tractors were received after their use in the Army! As a result the production of the ZIS-30 tank destroyer began on September 21 and continued up to October 15, 1941. During this period the factory #92 produced 101 TDs (including one experimental TD) with the 57 mm gun and one TD with a 45 mm AT-gun. Further production was cancelled because of a lack of tractors.

The ZIS-30 tank destroyer served from the end of September 1941. Some of anti-tank batteries and 20 tank brigades of the Southwestern and Western Fronts were equipped with these TDs. Notice at that time this TD was called the «ZIS-2 57 mm AT-Gun».

The new tank destroyer was very successfull because of its excellent gun (in 1941–1942 this TD could penetrate any type of German tank from long distance). However, this TD still had several disadvantages:
— poor stability during firing (vehicle is jumping);
— overloaded chassis;
— low fuel capacity;
— low ammunition capacity;
— unprotected crew;
— lack of radio.

By the summer of 1942 most of these TD's were lost. Some were destroyed during battles, other were lost because of technical failures.

Sources: «World War II», Quadrillion Publishing Ltd.
«M-Hobby» #4 1997
«Bronekollektsiya» #1 1998

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