The 57 mm Anti-Tank Gun ZIS-2 Model 1941

Parameter Value
Gun weight, kg 1150
Crew, men 4
Elevation +55°
Bore length, cal 72.9
Max. range, m 8 400
Rate of fire, shots/min 13-15

Round Weight, kg Muzzle velocity, m/s Range, m
6.79 700 8 400
6.61 990 2 000
UBR-271M 6.61 1 040 2 000
UBR-271P 5.4 1 270 1 000
UBR-271N 5.94 1 130 1 500
USh-271 6.7 ? 200

Round Angle Distance, m
500 1000 1500 2000
BR-271 60° 85 70 60 55
90° 100 90 75 65
BR-271M 60° 95 85 75 65
90° 115 105 95 85
BR-271K 60° 85 65 50 40
90° 100 80 65 50
BR-271P 60° 100 75 - -
90° 145 105 - -
BR-271N 60° 135 120 100 -
90° 155 140 125 -

Long before the Second World War, USSR was developing and producing heavy tanks. That's why Russians have believed in misinformation that Germany developing heavy tanks as well. As a result, in 1940, Soviet leaders have demanded of Soviet engineers to develop an antitank gun that would combat with tanks with thick armor. Grabin's design bureau was ordered as well. They have abandoned their projects of 95 mm divisional and tank guns and have began some projects of 107 mm guns.

Simultaneously, Grabin's design bureau has undertaken a new powerful 57 mm F-31 antitank gun. This gun was based on experimental 76.2 mm F-24 regimental gun. In fact, there were only minor changes in F-24. Main distinction between these two guns was their barrels.

A new 3.14-kg armor piercing round was developed specially for F-31. Expected that its muzzle velocity would be 1000 m/s. This round had a cartridge taken from 76 mm divisional dun.

In October 1940, factory #92 has manufactured the very first prototype of F-31. Gun was tested on factory's trials and then on governmental trial. They were successful in both cases. Somewhere in the beginning 1941, gun was renamed to ZIS-2 because factory #92 received an honorably name ZIS ("Zavod imeni Stalina" -"Stalin's factory").

In the beginning 1941, ZIS-2 was accepted for service as "57 mm antitank gun model 1941".

A very interesting fact, that simultaneously with developing of ZIS-2, Grabin's design bureau was working on more powerful 57 mm antitank gun ZIS-1KV. It was developed by December 1940. It could fire a 3.14-kg AP round with 1150 m/s; barrel length was of 86 calibers. Gun-carriage, shield and sight were borrowed from F-22USV. ZIS-1KV weighed 1650 kg, which was too heavy for such class of a gun.

In January 1941, first prototype of ZIS-1KV has been manufactured and, in February-May 1941, it was tested on various trials. Obviously, with such ballistic, the barrel's life was too short. In his memoirs, Grabin wrote that "after 40 shots the muzzle velocity and accuracy decreased dramatically, and after 50 shots round didn't revolve and somersaulted in fly. ZIS-1KV didn't accept for service but its fate showed limitations of 57 mm caliber.

In fact, the barrel's life of ZIS-1KV wasn't so bad as it described in Grabin's memoirs. Yes, there were known problems, but they could be solved. In fact, further works on ZIS-1KV were abandoned due to beginning of mass production of ZIS-2, which has started on June 1, 1941.

On December 1, 1941, mass production of ZIS-2 was cancelled. In many sources I read that main reason was absent of worthy targets. However, this explanation seems to me ridiculous. I have another theory. ZIS-2 was very expensive. Being of regimental level, it was 10-12 times more expensive then divisional ZIS-3. That was mainly due to expensive long barrel (over 4 metres!). By 1945, cost price has been reduced, but in 1941 it was too high to produce ZIS-2. Besides its high cost price, 57 mm ammo was of poor quality.

After delaying of ZIS-2 mass production, Grabin launched a new project of 57 mm IS-1 antitank gun. In fact, that was ZIS-2 but with barrel shortened to 63.5 caliber. Barrel weight has reduced to 317.5 kilos. First prototype was manufactured and, in June 6, 1942, was sent to Gorokhovetsky proving ground for trials. Due to unknown reasons, 57 mm IS-1 gun didn't accept for service.

In June 15, 1943, ZIS-2 was accepted for service recurrently. That was mainly because of appearance of German heavies such as Tiger and Panther. Interesting, that ZIS-2 was accepted under the new name: "57 mm antitank gun model 1943". Several weeks later, Red Army has received first 57 mm guns.

In 1948, factory #235 attempted to modernise ZIS-2. Modernized gun has received new index V-22. In 1948 an experimental gun was manufactured and passed factory's trials (315 shots and 1000-km race). Results were successful, so gun was sent to ANIOP's proving ground and, in summer 1949, it was tested. Trials revealed some drawbacks. So it was recommended to improve them. However, further works weren't financed properly and, after long debates, all further works on V-22 were cancelled. In 1957, factory #235 has made another attempt to modernise ZIS-2. New gun received a night vision sight (either APN-57 or APNZ-55) and was named ZIS-2N. Some old ZIS-2's were modernised.

ZIS-2 had semi-automatic vertical lock and hydraulic recoil brake. Elevation mechanism had two sectors. ZIS-2 used unified limber model 1942 for 76 mm regimental divisional guns. It could carry 24 rounds. The whole weight (gun+limber) was about 1800 kg. ZIS-2 had optic: either PP1-2 or OP2-5 or OP4-55 or OP4M-55.

From March 1958, development of new 57 mm rotating HEAT rounds for ZIS-2, Ch-26, and Ch-51 guns. Although I have no information that ammo was accepted for service.

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