Aircraft / Aviation Vehicles & Artillery Infantry Arms Warships & Submarines Military Pay Chart (2023) Military Ranks

Land Systems / Battlefield

Su-152 (Zveroboy)

Self-Propelled Heavy Assault Gun / Tank Destroyer [ 1943 ]

The Su-152 was a mating of the 155mm ML-20 gun-howitzer and the chassis of the KV-1 Heavy Tank to produce a self-propelled heavy assault weapon system for the Soviet Army in World War 2.

Authored By: JR Potts, AUS 173d AB and Dan Alex | Last Edited: 03/21/2021 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

By the middle of 1942, the Soviet Army - now on the offensive against the German/Axis invaders - was in dire need of a self-propelled, anti-siege weapon system for which to defeat the network of fixed fortifications along the Eastern Front. Up to this point in the war, the Army was still relying on horse- and vehicle-drawn howitzers for the role but this exposed the crew (and transport vehicles) to all manner of battlefield dangers. It also became increasingly difficult to transport such weapons over soft terrain in the Soviet winter/spring and furthermore these existing guns were Non-Line-of-Sight (NLoS) howitzers through-and-through - they could not be effectively used in double-duty as armor-defeating weapons.

The Soviet State Defense Committee began to research solutions and eventually put out a requirement for a heavy assault gun that could be built in quantity and also in a short amount of time. The project began on December 31st, 1942 and, in just a period of twenty-five days, results were already being witnessed. Soviet engineer Joseph Kotin combined the 155mm ML-20 (Model 1937) heavy gun-howitzer to the chassis of the existing KV-1 Heavy Tank - a vehicle which was nearing the end of its battlefield life and production cycle. This produced the "Object 236" identifier from the No.100 factory at Chelyabinsk. The pilot vehicle was evaluated during early 1943 and placed quite quickly into serial production as the "KV-14" soon after. In April of 1943, the vehicle was redesignated to the better-remembered "SU-152".

The SU-152 retained the automotive drive components of the original KV-1 including its track-and-wheel arrangement. Instead of the traversing turret however - which could not take the 155mm gun - the SU-152 was finished with a thick, fixed boxy superstructure set over the hull. The massive gun protruded a distance away from the frontal panel which measured 75mm thick for maximum protection. The sides were completed in 60mm thickness and the roof was protected in just 20mm of armor. As the SU-152 would be called upon to engage both fortified enemy positions as well as well-armored tanks, the frontal protection was a stated requirement of the design.

Internally there was a crew of four or five operators and point-defense against aircraft, light-armored vehicles and infantry was from an optional 12.7mm DShK heavy machine gun (set over the front-right side of the hull superstructure. The vehicle was powered through a Model V-2K engine of 600 horsepower output which was installed at the rear of the hull. Suspension was by way of a torsion bar arrangement, providing some cross-country support, and the vehicle could hope to make speeds of up to 27 miles-per-hour on roads.©MilitaryFactory.com
Since the size of the main gun (and its accompanying breech) meant that it was to be slightly offset-right from centerline, the driver's position was left of it. The gunner and ammunition loader had positions behind the driver along the left side of the hull superstructure with quick access to ready-to-fire 155mm projectiles. The vehicle commander, as well as the breech operator, were positioned to the right of the hull superstructure. All told, the fighting compartment was a cramped, crude workspace with few creature comforts for the crew.

By this time, the German Army had begun fielding its mighty "Tiger" heavy tanks in greater numbers along the East Front and this terrorizing vehicle was both well-protected and well-armed, the latter through the classic "German 88" - a proven 88mm armor-defeating weapon that began its service career as an Anti-Aircraft (AA) weapon. Armor protection on these machines reached 100mm but the series proved itself mechanically unreliable and was not available in the numbers ultimately required to change German fortunes.

With the arrival of the SU-152, the Soviet Army finally had a weapon system capable of leveling the playing field for its 155mm gun could also fire an effective Armor-Piercing (AP) round to defeat the Tiger's stout armor at range. In some instances, the Tiger's turret was completely blown off by the massive 107lb round. The SU-152 crew could hope to reach a rate-of-fire of about 1.5 rounds-per-minute, such was the size of these projectiles and, beyond its armor-defeating value, the weapon could still operate as a howitzer to render lighter-armored vehicles and fortified positions useless even with near-misses from High-Explosive (HE) shells.

Despite its successes on the battlefield, it was clear that there was room for improvement in the SU-152. The KV-1 chassis was well on its way out of the picture and a more modern solution was in order so this came in the form of a revised version of the gun-howitzer weapon being fitted to the chassis of the new "IS" ("Josef Stalin") heavy tanks coming online. The SU-152 was already under consideration for replacement as soon as mid-1943 when development began on this new form and the pilot vehicle, once it had its issues ironed out from testing that occurred in September-November 1943, was adopted as the "ISU-152". Production then began before the end of the year. This vehicle is detailed elsewhere on this site.©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.


Service Year

Soviet Union national flag graphic
Soviet Union

Not in Service.

Factory No.100 (Chelyabinsk) - Soviet Union
(View other Vehicle-Related Manufacturers)
National flag of the Soviet Union Soviet Union
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Fire Support / Assault / Breaching
Support allied forces through direct / in-direct fire, assault forward positions, and / or breach fortified areas of the battlefield.
Engage armored vehicles of similar form and function.

Track-and-Wheel Arrangement
Vehicle utilizes a track-and-wheel arrangement to provide enhanced cross-country travel capability.
Enhanced Armor Protection
Protection is enhanced by way of additional armor being installed over that of standard levels; plate steel for older designs and reactive armor for modern types.

29.4 ft
8.95 m
10.7 ft
3.25 m
8.0 ft
2.45 m
100,310 lb
45,500 kg
50.2 tons
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Su-152 (Zveroboy) production variant. Length typically includes main gun in forward position if applicable to the design)
Powerplant: 1 x Model V-2K 12-cycle, 4-stroke diesel-fueld engine developing 600 horsepower.
26.7 mph
(43.0 kph)
205.1 mi
(330.0 km)
(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the base Su-152 (Zveroboy) production variant. Compare this entry against any other in our database)
1 x 155mm ML-20 gun-howitzer.
1 x 12.7mm DShK Anti-Aircraft (AA) Heavy Machine Gun (later production).

Supported Types

Graphical image of a tank medium machine gun
Graphical image of a tank heavy machine gun

(Not all weapon types may be represented in the showcase above)
20 x 155mm projectiles

SU-152 - Base Series Designation; utilizing the chassis of the KV-1 heavy tank.
ISU-152 - Improved form built upon the framework of the IS heavy tank series.

Military lapel ribbon for the American Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of the Bulge
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Kursk
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Ukranian-Russian War
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental military vehicles

Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns / operations.

Images Gallery

1 / 1
Image from the Federal German Archives.


Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies

2023 Military Pay Chart Military Ranks DoD Dictionary Conversion Calculators Military Alphabet Code Military Map Symbols

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com 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 gmail.com.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org (World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft), WDMMW.org (World Directory of Modern Military Warships), SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane, and MilitaryRibbons.info, cataloguing all American military medals and ribbons.

www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-