Military Factory logo
Icon of F-15 Eagle military combat fighter aircraft
Icon of Abrams Main Battle Tank
Icon of navy warships
Icon of AK-47 assault rifle


Self-Propelled Gun (SPG)

The Su-122 became the first dedicated assault gun for the Red Army in World War 2.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Edited: 1/8/2018
National Flag Graphic


Year: 1942
Manufacturer(s): Uralsky Machine Building Factory (UZTM) - Soviet Union
Production: 1,150
Capabilities: Fire Support/Assault/Breaching;
Crew: 4
Length: 22.80 ft (6.95 m)
Width: 9.84 ft (3 m)
Height: 7.61 ft (2.32 m)
Weight: 34 tons (30,900 kg); 68,123 lb
Power: 1 x Model V-2-34 V12 38.9 liter diesel engine developing 500 horsepower at 1,800rpm.
Speed: 34 mph (55 kph)
Range: 186 miles (300 km)
Operators: Soviet Union
In June of 1941, German leader Adolph Hitler turned his attention the invasion of the Soviet Union. Though initially catching the Red Army completely by surprise, defensive lines were more-or-less stabilized and development began on systems capable of repelling any further German Army advance. One such development, intended to fight tanks and support infantry, became the SU-122. Design of the vehicle began in the summer of 1942 and the SU-122 became the first dedicated "assault gun" for the Red Army during World War 2.

By this time, the T-34 medium tank was coming into its own for the Russian armored divisions. This meant that she was in constant supply and readily available. As such, quick conversions of existing systems like the T-34 during the war became commonplace for many armies. The T-34 served as the chassis for the new assault gun design which mounted a short-barreled, low-velocity 122mm M-30 series field howitzer into a fixed superstructure. The superstructure featured sloped armor to help with ballistics protection but only allowed for slight traverse (left-right movement) of the main armament. As such, the entire vehicle would have to be pointed towards a target area for maximum effectiveness. Up to 40 x 122mm projectiles were carried aboard with no secondary machine guns for self-defense.

The relatively quick conversion process allowed the SU-122 to reach front lines in late 1942. However, the short-barreled, low-velocity gun proved somewhat ineffective against German medium Panthers and heavy Tigers once in practice. Soviet engineers took to designing a new compatible projectile with a hollow charge to help the situation but the improvement was suspect at best. Where the SU-122 series did shine, however, was in support of infantry actions where its powerful 122mm high-explosive projectiles terrorized collections of enemy troops. The weapon also proved effective in dislodging or eliminating dug-in enemy positions, even those held up in fortifications. Up to March 1945, some 1,148 SU-122 examples rolled off of Soviet assembly lines and into the hands of awaiting tankers.

While the Red Army found a use for their SU-122, the series was gradually overtaken in its assault role by the newer SU-152 mounting its 152mm armament. While these two machines fulfilled the Soviet need for an assault gun, this still left them without a capable tank-fighting system, spurring the development of tracked weapons such as the SU-85 and SU-100 series soon to follow.


1 x 122mm main gun

40 x 122mm projectiles

Variants / Models

• SU-122 - Base production model
• SU-122M - Modernized system featuring 122mm U-11 main gun (replacing the M-30 version of the main gun).
• SU-122-III - Proposed upgrade; fitting 122mm D-6 gun to SU-85 chassis; never produced.
Site Disclaimer  |  Privacy Policy  |  Cookies  |  Site Map Site content ©2003-, All Rights Reserved.

The "Military Factory" name and logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT

Part of a network of sites that includes, GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, and, the World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft.

Facebook Logo YouTube Logo