The ASU-57 self-propelled anti-tank gun carrier was the mainstay for Soviet airborne divisions for decades.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
Credit: Front right side view of an ASU-57 gun system
Credit: Rear right side view of the ASU-57 self-propelled gun
The ASU-57 was a Soviet-designed system meant to provide a self-propelled anti-tank gun option to airborne elements. The ASU was armed with a 57mm main gun (hence the "57" occurring in the designation) but was lightly armored and offered basic protection to the crew. The ASU-57 was fielded in large numbers during its production run but was later relegated to training duty with the arrival of the more capable ASU-85. 30 projectiles was provided for the main gun and it is reported that a rate of 10 rounds per minute could be achieved optimally.
Crew accommodations in the ASU-57 amounted to three personnel. The driver and loader were stationed to the right of the compartment, leaving the commander to the left. The hull was of welded aluminum and only 0.24 inches at its thickest. The crew sat in an open-air compartment with nothing more than a tarp to cover themselves from the elements. Besides the 57mm main gun, the crew was afforded a 7.62mm machine gun for self-defense. This machine gun could be removed for ground duty as well.
Weighing in at 3.5 tonnes, the ASU-57 self-propelled system could be airdropped by parachute with rockets assisting in cushioning the landing. Initially transported externally under the wings of a Tupolev Tu-4 bomber, the system was later carried internally in an Antonov An-12 aircraft and dropped by pallet.
Despite its compactness, the ASU-57 suffered from the minimal protection afforded to the crew. the 57mm main gun was also under-gunned when compared to the similar M56 American version mounting a 90mm main gun. The ASU-57 would eventually be replaced by the ASU-85, which featured far better armor protection and a larger caliber main gun.
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