Many people remember the old bearded anecdote about would-be artillerymen who really wanted to shoot at Moscow from their grandfather's cannon? Only here the caliber of the projectile was slightly larger than the caliber of the barrel. So the godfathers decided to hammer the shell with a sledgehammer. The result is predictable.
Do you remember the end of this joke? "Well, godfather, if after a shot we have such destruction in a barn, then imagine what is happening in Moscow now?" And I remembered this anecdote because the statement about the joke share in each joke is valid here. At least, in the family of mortars there really were such "electrical appliances".
Those interested history the development of mortars, we already realized that today we will talk about the most powerful mortars ever produced. About "Capacitor" and "Transformer", which is better known under the name "Oka". Weapons, which even today impresses with its terrible power and size.
At the beginning of the article, it is necessary to clarify the reasons for the general need for such tools. Moreover, from the height of today's knowledge, for many readers it is not entirely clear the desire for large calibers.
Probably, it will sound strange, but today they (readers), not even knowing about it, express that point of view, which served as the main reason for the closure of heavy-duty mortar projects. Why do we need large calibers if there is a lighter weapon - missiles? Nikita Khrushchev rubs his hands ...
In fact, there is more than enough logic here. And even Khrushchev is not much in business. However - in order.
To begin, let us return to the time when the development of super-powerful weapons had just begun. That is, by the middle of the last century. Mankind has already realized and realized the power of atomic weapons in practice. Although, to be honest, the authors could not find confirmation or refutation of the claim that the "Capacitor" and "Transformer" were created specifically for shooting "atomic mines".
It is possible that this idea came later. Already during the test or a little later. In any case, work on these monsters (and we don’t have another word) began BEFORE atomic weapons passed from promising developments to the category of weapons.
So, atomic weapons became weapons and quickly ceased to be a political factor, but moved into the category of strategic factors.
Yes, it was necessary to deliver it to the territory of the enemy with something. Given the dimensions of the first atomic bombs, the only delivery method was aviation. Fortunately, heavy (strategic) bombers could pick up such ammunition without difficulty.
However, the continuous improvement of atomic weapons led to a decrease in the size of such bombs. Now it is possible to create bombs of low power and relatively small dimensions. Can you imagine what opportunities opened up before commanders?
Take the situation that was typical of the Second World War. Two opposing groups of troops, equal in strength. But the enemy "dug into the ground", created powerful engineering structures, minefields and defense in depth. What to do?
And here the low-power nuclear weapons come to the aid of the commander. The bomb in 500-1000 kilograms weighing completely change the balance of power. It is doubtful that when such a bomb is applied, for example, according to the location of a brigade or division, this unit will retain its combat capability. Of course, do not save.
Yes, the damaging factors of nuclear weapons then were not particularly interested in the military. Their study has just begun. The main thing was to perform a combat mission. But as always.
Who was the first to come up with the idea to create a weapon capable of delivering a small atomic charge to the enemy’s location is unknown even today. Therefore, we will proceed from the primacy in the creation of nuclear weapons.
Not that America is ahead of the rest, yet we were basically in the role of catching up in matters of murder. What we personally think is more than a compliment to the Soviet Union.
In any case, the use of bombers in the positions of the rapid reaction forces was inexpedient and even dangerous. Nobody canceled the fighters and air defense, and, accordingly, the landing of the atomic "gift" on its territory too.
American designers began to look for delivery options. Taking into account its own capabilities, industry capabilities and customer requirements. As often happens, the Americans did not "reinvent the wheel." At their disposal was the documentation of several weapons of very large caliber at once.
In the year 1952, in the course of research and development in the USA, the T-131 atomic cannon with a caliber of 280 mm is adopted.
The design of this gun was launched in the 1949 year on the basis of a special power 280-mm gun. In 1950, a prototype was made under the symbol M65, which was put into service after the tests. A total of 20 such guns were produced.
Here it is necessary to make a small digression concerning both American and Soviet weapons. We specifically use both gun names. The fact is that in the conditions of the Cold War, both we and the Americans in every possible way secret their own development. М65 is today known as Т131, “Transformer” as “Oka”. There was such a time.
The guns T131 entered service 6 formed artillery battalions. The 3 guns on the battalion and the 2 guns were used for testing. The 5 battalions were sent to Europe at the disposal of the command of the US Army 7. Until 1955, the T131 were the only ground weapons capable of firing nuclear weapons. The battalions were disbanded in 1963 after the closure of the program.
A little bit about the tactical and technical characteristics of the guns.
Caliber: 280 mm
Barrel length: 12,74 m
Mass in the stowed position: 78 308 kg, in the combat position - 42 582 kg
Length in the combat position: 11,709 m
Width: 2,743 m
HV angle: 0 / + 55 degrees
Angle GN: -7,5 to + 7,5 degrees.
Cannon carriage. Transportation speed to 55 km / h on the highway. Clearance 914 mm.
So, 25 May 1953, in the desert of the state of Nevada, fired the first shot of the semi-stationary "Nuclear Annie" М65. Already by name you understood that this was the first atomic shot from an artillery system. Shot, 25 seconds of waiting, atomic "mushroom" ...
Probably worth mentioning about ammunition. The first US nuclear missile was T124. Weight - 364,2 kg, caliber - 280 mm, initial speed at max charge 628 m / s. The range of 24 km, the minimum range - 15 km. KVO at max range - 130 m. Nuclear charge W-9. 15 power kt. For the year (from April 1952 to November 1953), 80 shells were manufactured. Dismissed in 1957 year.
In place of the T124 came the T315 projectile. Weight - 272 kg, caliber 280 mm, nuclear charge W-19. Power 15-20 CT. Initial speed 722 m / s. Range to 30,2 km. Released 80 shells.
And what about us? And we, as always: “catch up and overtake!”.
By the time it turns out that way. And this is caused by a completely different approach to the very concept of design. We proceeded from the task of precisely destroying the enemy in deeply echeloned and equipped defense. And in this case, the mortar is more effective. Although, from the height of today's knowledge, talking about the effectiveness of using nuclear weapons is somewhat complicated. But again, this was 60 years ago.
Our intelligence worked on the "great" and extracted data from the American tests. Achievements Americans carefully studied and identified the shortcomings of the system. First of all, weight. Agree, for 80 tons for the system a bit too much. The Americans "dragged" their gun with two powerful Peterbilt trucks.
Further, the gun for a long time was brought into the combat position. Depending on the coherence of the calculation from 3 to 6 hours. At that time, unloading, assembling, adjusting and bringing the weapon to the battle was included.
But also the complexity of a design traditional for the American weapon in general. Preparation of the calculation number takes a lot of time. In combat conditions, this time simply will not.
Work to create the world's largest mortar began in the early 50-s. It should be noted that the task was immediately on two different mortars. 420-mm mortar 2B1 ("Transformer") and 406-mm self-propelled unit 2А3 ("Condenser-2П"). Several defense enterprises of the USSR participated in the development - Kolomenskoye SKB of machine-building, design bureau of the Kirov factory, factory "Barricades".
In 1957, the first experienced Transformer was released. And almost immediately, and "Condenser".
Both cars had a unified chassis. Developed "Object 273" at the Kirov plant. The chassis was superior in strength to all available analogues in the world. The engine was taken from a heavy tank T-10, from there the operating time on the chassis. Diesel V-12-6B, 12-cylinder, 750 l / s, liquid-cooled. It allowed to reach speeds of up to 30 km / h and had a power reserve of 200-220 km.
An 420-mm mortar with an 47,5 barrel length, almost 20 meters, was installed on the Oka (“Transformer”)! Mina weighed 750 kg! Charging was done only with a special crane. The firing range of the Oka reached 45 km. By the way, the great weight of the mines did not allow the “Oka” to transport more than one ammunition.
In other matters, the calculation of 7 people also could not boast of traveling on a self-propelled mortar. In addition to the driver of course. To move the calculation had on the truck, after the mortar. On a special machine drove mines. Plus, the normal phenomenon for any time is security. She still got a cavalcade ...
It was also necessary to direct the gun with the help of the driver. Horizontal guidance was made by turning the entire installation. But the exact guidance was made already electric. Both cars are the same in this respect. Just on the "Condenser" was installed 406-mm gun CM-54.
Meanwhile, both cars, even without participating in hostilities, inflicted a “defeat” on a potential adversary by their appearance. By the year 1957 was produced by 4 instance of the mortar "Oka" and self-propelled gun "Condenser". And all the cars took part in a military parade on Red Square ...
The reaction of "friends" was predictable. Shock! Cars have caused a stir! The Americans not only lost another advantage, but also somewhat lagged behind the USSR. It was then that the "duck" about the cardboard Soviet technique appeared, which we hear today in relation to our "Armata", Su-57 and other revolutionary developments. Fear spawned a lie! But more about that below.
Now about TTX.
Self-propelled 2А3 "Condenser-2П" with a gun 406-mm CM-54.
Weight: 64 tons
Length with gun: 20 m
Width: 3,08 m
Height: 5,75 m
Firing range: 25,6 km
Crew / crew: 7 man
The number of produced machines: 4 pieces.
Self-propelled mortar 420-mm 2B1 "Oka".
Combat weight: 55 tons
Length: 20,02 m
Width: 3,08 m
Height: 5,728 m
HV angle + 50 ... + 75 degrees
Firing range: 1 – 45 km
Crew: 7 people
The number of cars produced - 4 pieces.
And now about the "cardboard duck", which even today can often be heard from fans of the West.
"Condenser-2P" Americans call daddy mortar, "papa-mortar". What is today called the information war has always been. And the western man in the street could inspire the thought of the "carton". But experts understood that the weapon was acting.
Why do Americans, even experts, believe in fake? Yes, simply because if this is not done, you will have to recognize the advantage of Soviet engineers over Western ones. In the "Condenser" are used components and assemblies, which at that time were not in the world models of armored vehicles.
Starting with the chassis. Above, we wrote about the chassis of the heavy tank T-10M. The designers did not just use the latest developments, but also "fitted" them under the new weapon! And the eight-wheeled chassis with hydraulic shock absorbers? They not only helped to move smoothly, but extinguished some of the recoil energy.
And the gun? The huge mass of 406-mm guns simply could not be mounted on the chassis. The weight of the ammunition for the gun reached a monstrous figure. RDS-41, a Soviet atomic weapon with an 14 CT charge, was almost 600 kg in weight! And this monster “flew” on 25,5 kilometers! Imagine the effect of such a gap. 14 kilotons on the front ...
But to talk about the ACS, as a machine held, it is impossible. Let us quote the historian of armored vehicles, artillery officer Anatoly Simonyan from his interview with the “Star”:
"The monstrous recoil force worked such terrible things that the project was almost wrapped up. The gearbox after the shot fell off the bindings, the engine after the shot turned out to be not where it was placed, communication equipment and hydraulics - literally everything refused. Every shot of this car, in fact, it was experimental because after each such volley the car was studied for three to four hours down to each screw for weakening the metal. This is not to say that the installation itself rolled back seven to eight meters ago. "
"Capacitor" has become a deterrent weapon. Paradoxically, this ACS could compete with the rocket armament that existed at that time. Strange, but it was enough to transport the ACS in any area - that's all. The situation calmed down by itself.
Approximately the same effect and had the "Eye". Again we quote the specialist, military historian Nikolai Lapshin:
"The 2B1 shot was called a strategic trump card in the negotiations. Why? Well, probably because one shot could change not just the balance of forces in the upcoming battle, but also, for example, change the balance of forces in general in the area of operation. Imagine the accumulation of enemy forces, which mine arrives with a nuclear charge and weighs more than 600 kilograms? I think there will be no witnesses left, not even one of the members of the surrender who will gain from it. "
Active-reactive mine "Oka", 420-mm mine "Transformer" really amazed by its size. Human's height! More than 600 kg of weight. Distance to 50 kilometers! With this huge power!
And in the conclusion of the article I want to return to the anecdote with which we started. What happens "at home" after the shot "Oka". Well, first of all, the shot itself. Personnel, even in headphones, almost lost hearing for quite a long time. And the next seismic station recorded an earthquake. Lung.
Today, such systems can only be seen in museums. We abandoned their development in 1960. Americans in 1963. It's a pity. Imagine how international relations would change if there were a few, but modernized Transformers and Capacitors on the borders.
However, our story about huge mortars does not end there ...