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M-46 (Model 1954)

130mm Field Gun System [ 1954 ]

The Soviet M-46 towed field gun system has been widely distributed around the globe since its introduction in 1954.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 04/11/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The M-46 (formal designation of "130mm Towed Field Gun M1954) was a Soviet Cold War-era battlefield implement designed to fulfill a variety of roles in support of infantry and armor actions. The system was first unveiled to Western observers in 1954 (hence its "M1954" designation) and subsequently went on to be fielded by a myriad of countries with relations to the Soviet Union. This included many military forces in the Middle East, across Africa and in South America as well as allied states in Eastern Europe. Despite its early Cold War roots, the M-46 still maintains a battlefield presence in the inventories of countries even today with modernization programs designed to increase the longevity and tactical usefulness of such a system.

Its success has been proven by the plethora of operators using the weapon system and the countless wars that she has participated in. Her notable operators have included (or still do) Afghanistan, Czechoslovakia, China, Croatia, Cuba, Finland (as the "130 K54"), India, Iraq, Iraq, Israel, Laos, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia (Soviet Union), Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Thailand, Vietnam, Yemen and Yugoslavia. Czechoslovakia, Finland and Serbia have all phased their M-46 systems out. Israel only received their M-46s as spoils from their many Middle East conflicts, with approximately 100 examples captured. The Chinese license production copy of the Soviet M-46 is designated as the Type 59-1 and produced under the NORINCO banner.

Her actions have seen the M-46 participate in the Sri Lankan Civil War (1983-2009), the Sino-Indian War (1962), the Indo-Pak War (1965), the Angolan Civil War (1975-2002), the South African Border War (1966-1989), the Six Day War (1967), the Sino-Soviet Border Conflict (1969), the Cambodian Civil War (1967-1975), the Vietnam War (1959-1975), the Yom Kipper War (1973), the Sino-Vietnamese War (1979), the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan (1979-1989), the Gulf War (1990-1991), the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988), the Yugoslav Wars (1991-2001) and the Invasion of Iraq (2003).

Design of the M-46 is typical of weapons in this class. Her long, slender barrel sits out and over her base and carriage, sporting two large road wheels for transport (and additional pair of road wheels is sometimes added). The weapon system is supported by legs that fan out aft, semi-recessed into the ground to accept the violent recoil. There is an angular shield to either side of the barrel base for limited protection to the operating crew from small arms fire. Her muzzle brake is vented and noticeably large at the barrel end. Her size is such that she can be transported into action with relative ease when compared to her larger cousins and set up just about anywhere that her size allows.©MilitaryFactory.com
Operation of the M-46 field gun revolves around a crew of eight personnel. The weapon system is towed by whatever means necessary to her pre-determined target zone and set up to fire. She weighs in at roughly 16,975lbs and features a 130mm caliber barrel. The breech is of a horizontal sliding wedge design and projectiles are manually loaded by the operating crew. The barrel can elevate from -2.5 degrees to 45 degrees and traverse up to 50 degrees. A rate-of-fire by a trained crew can reach six rounds per minute under normal conditions with five being reported for the sustained fire role. In the burst role, eight rounds per minute can be achieved. Muzzle velocity is 3,051 feet per second. Maximum range is out to 17 miles though this can be padded through the use of specialized ammunition and reach out to over 23.5 miles. The M-46 is provided with a night sight for direct fire.

Since most any artillery piece makes its name on the battlefield based on its adaptability and firepower, the M-46 proves no different in the types of projectiles she is designed to fire. This includes the Frag-HE (Fragmentation, High-Explosive), OF-43 and the Frag-HE, OF-44 rounds, ranged out to 27,500 and 22,500 meters respectively. The Frag-HE, ERFB-BB (Extended Range Full Bore - Base Bleed) round offers a range up to 38,000 meters. The APCBC-HE-T, BR-482 (along with its cousin the BR-482B) is ranged out to just 1,140 meters but is still effective for the given role. Other projectile types run the gamut of basic uses including illumination rounds, smoke rounds and chemical rounds. Projectiles feature variable charge.

The M-46 has since been replaced in the Russian inventory by the 2A36 Giatsint-B. This weapon system is further supported by the self-propelled 2S5 Giatsint-S as well.©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

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Soviet Union


State Factories, Soviet Union
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National flag of Afghanistan National flag of Albania National flag of Algeria National flag of Angola National flag of Azerbaijan National flag of Bangladesh National flag of Bulgaria National flag of Cameroon National flag of China National flag of Croatia National flag of Cuba National flag of Czechia National flag of Egypt National flag of Eritrea National flag of Ethiopia National flag of Finland National flag of India National flag of Iraq National flag of Iran National flag of Israel National flag of Lebanon National flag of Libya National flag of Morocco National flag of Mozambique National flag of Myanmar National flag of Nigeria National flag of North Korea National flag of Oman National flag of Pakistan National flag of Peru National flag of Russia National flag of Serbia National flag of the Soviet Union National flag of Sri Lanka National flag of Sudan National flag of Somalia National flag of Syria National flag of Tanzania National flag of Thailand National flag of the United Arab Emirates National flag of Vietnam National flag of Yemen National flag of Yugoslavia National flag of Zambia Afghanistan; Albania; Algeria; Angola; Azerbaijan; Bangladesh; Bulgaria; Cambodia; China; Cameroon; Ivory Coast; China; Croatia; Cuba; Czechoslovakia; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Egypt; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Finland; Guyana; India; Iraq; Iran; Israel; Lebanon; Libya; Laos; Mongolia; Morocco; Mozambique; Myanmar; Nigeria; Oman; North Korea; Pakistan; Peru; Republic of the Congo; Russia; Serbia; Somalia; Sri Lanka; Sudan; Syria; Tanzania; Thailand; United Arab Emirates; Soviet Union; Vietnam; Yemen; Yugoslavia; Zambia
(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.

38.5 ft
11.73 m
8.4 ft
2.55 m
18,629 lb
8,450 kg
9.3 tons
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Model 1954 (M-46) production variant. Length typically includes main gun in forward position if applicable to the design)
1 x 130mm main gun

Supported Types

Graphical image of a tank cannon armament

(Not all weapon types may be represented in the showcase above)
Depdendent on ammunition carrier.

M-46 - Original Soviet Designation
Type 59 - Chinese Designation
M1954 - Western Designation of M-45 system.

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Images Gallery

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Image of the M-46 (Model 1954)
Front left side view of an abandoned Iraq M-46 field gun
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Image of the M-46 (Model 1954)
Rear right side top view of an M-46 field gun towed behind a Ural utility truck; note second set of transportation wheels on the M-46 frame
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Image of the M-46 (Model 1954)
Left side view of an abandoned M-46 field gun in the Iraqi desert
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Image of the M-46 (Model 1954)
Rear left side view of a damaged Iraqi M-46 field gun
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Image of the M-46 (Model 1954)
Front left side top view of an abandoned M-46 field gun near a defensive emplacement in Iraq

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