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Self-Propelled Gun (SPG)

Soviet Union | 1942

"The Su-122 became the first dedicated assault gun for the Red Army in World War 2."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 01/08/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
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.

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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.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one land system design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Su-122 Self-Propelled Gun (SPG).
1 x Model V-2-34 V12 38.9 liter diesel engine developing 500 horsepower at 1,800rpm.
Installed Power
34 mph
55 kph
Road Speed
186 miles
300 km
The physical qualities of the Su-122 Self-Propelled Gun (SPG).
22.8 ft
6.95 meters
O/A Length
9.8 ft
3 meters
O/A Width
7.6 ft
2.32 meters
O/A Height
68,123 lb
30,900 kg | 34.1 tons
Armament & Ammunition
Available supported armament, ammunition, and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Su-122 Self-Propelled Gun (SPG).
1 x 122mm main gun
40 x 122mm projectiles
Nightvision - NONE.
Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Protection (CBRN) - NONE.
Notable series variants as part of the Su-122 family line.
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.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Su-122. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national land systems listing.

Total Production: 1,150 Units

Contractor(s): Uralsky Machine Building Factory (UZTM) - Soviet Union
National flag of the Soviet Union

[ Soviet Union ]
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Image of the Su-122
Front left side view of an SU-122 on display
2 / 3
Image of the Su-122
Front left side view of an SU-122; note main gun traverse and elevation
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Image of the Su-122
Front right side view of an SU-122 at rest; note sloped fixed superstructure

Design Qualities
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to battlefield requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Su-122 Self-Propelled Gun (SPG) appears in the following collections:
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