Military Review

Secret Stalinist order

One of the main reasons for the failure of the Red Army in the winter war with Finland was the lack of heavy guns.

In 1941-1944, Leningrad was saved from complete destruction by German heavy artillery by hundreds of heavy and super-heavy Baltic guns. fleet - ships, forts of Kronstadt, railway artillery and cannons of the sea range. Land guns of great power were neither near Leningrad, nor under Sevastopol.

Secret Stalinist order
Howitzer C-73
Together with the C-72 cannon, it entered the duplex of special power, developed by Vasily Grabin in 1946 – 1948. None of our artillery design bureau could create anything of the kind.

Triplex and duplex

Joseph Vissarionovich was able to learn from his mistakes. Immediately after the fall of Sevastopol, Stalin appointed the head of the Central Artillery Design Bureau (TsAKB) the most talented Soviet designer of artillery systems, Lieutenant General Vasily Gavrilovich Grabin, and entrusted him with the development of fundamentally new weapons systems for the ground forces, navy and aviation.

In particular, Grabin was ordered to create two unique systems of super-powerful guns - triplex and duplex. The triplex was to consist of a 180-mm long-range cannon, 210-mm howitzers and 280-mm mortars, which later received the C-23, C-33 and C-43 index (the letter "C" meant "Stalin"). Triplex complex was called because all three systems had to have different trunks, but the same gun carriages and additional equipment. A similar duplex system (210-mm C-72 cannon and 305-mm C-73 howitzer) should also have a single carriage.

C-23 gun
The C-23 cannon system, along with the 180-mm gun, included the 210-mm howitzer C-23-I, 203-mm gun-howitzer C-23-IV and 280-mm mortar C-23-II.

Mobile Mastodons

For the first time, to install a special power system, it was not necessary to dig a large trench for a large metal base. All guns were transported on wheels with an unprecedented speed for that time - up to 35 km / h. The trip time from the combat to the traveling position at the triplex was 30 minutes, at the duplex - 2 hours (for similar foreign systems - from 6 to 24 hours). Shooting was done from the ground without complex engineering work.

Barrels of guns had high ballistics with a relatively low weight - this was achieved due to a special method of fastening internal pipes and casings. The most interesting recoil devices, consisting of hydraulic compressors, knurling and original construction openers. The best guns of this class in the world - German and Czech - had a very complex double recoil system. Grabin also managed to reproduce the usual pattern, like a field gun.

The weight of the triplex in combat and in the stowed position was 19 – 20 tons, and the more massive duplex implements in the stowed position were disassembled into three parts weighing 23 – 24 each.

Everything seemed to be going fine, and in the middle of the 1950s, the Soviet army was to receive the first series of triplex and duplex guns. But then the so-called human factor intervened. With his successes in the development of guns, Grabin had made irreconcilable enemies and competitors during the war.

Grabin type C-23, C-72 and C-73 guns exceeded all Germanic and allied guns in ballistic characteristics, and were more mobile than them. However, they were not put into service.

Powerful enemies

These enemies were the designer artillerymen Ivanov and Petrov, and most importantly, the people's commissar of weapons Dmitry Ustinov. Finally, at the end of the 1940s, Beria himself turned out to be one of Grabin's ill-wishers, who believed that the artillery had already outlived its own. Here we are not talking about Beria, the security officer, but about Beria, the leader of the atomic project and the curator of the work on ballistic, anti-aircraft and cruise missiles.

Of course, neither Ustinov nor Beria could demand that Stalin close the TsNII-58 (renamed TSACB) or, moreover, arrest his leader. But they sabotaged the work on the triplex and duplex implements, they are great. For Grabin came the black stripe.


In most countries of the world, for capturing high-power guns, a cap-loading was taken (the propellant charge was placed in a rag shell). Only the German designers from the beginning of the twentieth century went on a different path and used a separate cartridge case (the charge was placed in a metal sleeve).

The kartuznoe loading had many drawbacks: the complicated process of loading and storing ammunition, serious problems with the obturation of powder gases. During the battle of Jutland, British battlecruisers one after another flew into the air due to the ignition of rag caps, while on German ships that had received similar damage, the charges in the liners stubbornly did not want to ignite. In the Great Patriotic War, over 95% of domestic guns and 100% of Germanic (except for the captured ones) had cartridge loading.

The only advantage of the cap loader was a small gain in the cost of the shot. It was precisely this that Grabin’s enemies did not fail to take advantage of (of course, he created triplex and duplex systems with sleeve loading). They launched a campaign against the designer: they say, does not appreciate the people's money.
Earlier in such cases, the strong-willed Vasily Gavrilovich went personally to Stalin and argued that he was right. But then he conceded and agreed to remake his systems under the caps. In fact, this turned out to be three years of wasted time - it was necessary to make changes to the design of the barrels of the guns, make them anew and re-conduct factory, landfills, and then troop tests.

No matter how rushed Grabin, the super-tools didn’t have time to storm the Koenigsberg and Berlin - three triplex systems assembled at the Barricades plant were sent to field tests only in the 1949 year, and the C-305 X-mm howitzer - only at the beginning of the 73 year.

Decoration parades

Only at the end of 1950, the first cannula, the 180-mm C-23 gun, passed factory tests at Rzhevka. In July, 1951 made 155 shots in Turkestan IN, and in January-February 1952-70 shots in the area of ​​the Aga Zabaykalskaya railway station roads.

By this time, the Central Research Institute-58 completed technical projects of 210-mm howitzer C-33 and 280-mm mortars C-43 for capturing loader, and plant No.221 ("Barricades") ordered an experimental series of seven C-23 guns and 210 prototypes -mm howitzer C-33 and 280-mm mortars C-43.

By the end of 1955, the guns had arrived from Stalingrad to Moscow - just in time for the start of the famous Khrushchev persecution of artillery. It was decided that the C-33 howitzer and the C-43 mortar would not be adopted, and the X-NUMX-mm C-180 guns should be left in service, but not produced anymore. Several times the C-23 cannons went through parades on Red Square, arousing the admiration of Muscovites and the surprise of Western military attaches.


Even more tragic was the fate of the duplex. From 26 in May 1956 of the year to 13 in May of 1957, the 305-mm C-73 howitzer with crank-loading was tested at the Rzhevka test site. Judging by the report, the howitzer fired perfectly, but the leadership of the landfill was extremely ill-disposed towards it. Not finding any shortcomings during the tests, the head of the range, Major-General Bulba, found fault with the low traffic ability of the AK-20 crane, without which the system cannot be re-equipped, and decided "to put the swinging part of the howitzer on the 271 object-type self-propeller."

A more illiterate decision is hard to come up with. After all, in the Finnish and Great Patriotic War, the USSR was left without a special power 305-mm howitzer because of the same mistake Tukhachevsky, who demanded to convert the collapsible towed duplex B-23 (305-mm howitzer and 203-mm gun) into SU-7 self-propelled units. The work went from 1931 to April 1938, after which it turned out that the 106-tonne SU-7 self-propelled do not hold bridges and the installation is not transported by rail.

As a result, the work had to stop. Only after the huge and unjustified losses in the Finnish war, we began to work on the towed collapsible 450-mm howitzer Br-23, but the war prevented them from completing.

The fate of the 271 object itself is similar. The gunsmith, created under the 406-mm cannon CM-54, was a monstrous monster who could not pass through ordinary bridges or under power lines, did not fit into the streets of cities, tunnels under the bridges, could not be transported on a railway platform. For these reasons, it was never adopted.

In the case of “failure of the AK-20 crane,” one, two, or even four spare cranes could be introduced into the S-73 battery. If the terrain of the crane is poor, then it can be elementary put on the chassis of the articulated tractor or tank. But if the artillery self-propelled engine fails, what to do with the monster?

How could the Major General of the technical service not understand that the C-73 is not a regimental or divisional gun, which is obliged to accompany the advancing infantry, but a piece weapon! Fifty 305-mm howitzers could in a couple of weeks turn into ruins all the pillboxes of the Mannerheim line. The Red Army needed at least 100 for such weapons.

Nevertheless, Grabin had to again give in to the generals from the GAU and take up giant self-propelled artillery installations. On the basis of C-72, C-73 and C-90 in 1954 – 1955, a large triplex was developed at the CNI-58 - 210-mm C-110 gun; 280-mm C-111A gun-howitzer and 305-mm howitzer on a single self-propelled gun carriage. The technical project was sent to the Ministry of Defense Industry 31 December 1955 of the year. Here came the decision of Khrushchev to stop work on heavy artillery.

By the 1940, the USSR was left without an 305-mm howitzer due to the error of Tukhachevsky, who demanded that the towed duplex B-23 be converted into self-propelled SU-7 installations. Through 7, the work years had to be stopped - the 106-ton self-propelled gun did not hold bridges.

Local Wars Superpower

Formally, Khrushchev was right - to the most powerful weapons of Grabin against the 50 megaton hydrogen bomb and the intercontinental rocket P-7! But it was the enormous destructive effect of the hydrogen bomb that excluded the possibility of its use.

But in the local wars of the second half of the twentieth century, the role of heavy artillery greatly increased compared with the wars of the 1930-ies and the Second World War. In conflicts such as, for example, in the Sinai Peninsula, in Lebanon, during artillery duels between North and South Vietnam; during the “first socialist war” between the PRC and the DRV, heavy artillery was the only type used weapons.

In the course of local conflicts, Soviet-made guns came under fire from American guns that were beyond the reach of their fire. At the direction of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union at the factory "Barricades" urgently began to restore the production of C-23. It was very difficult to do this, since much of the documentation and technical equipment was lost. Nevertheless, the plant team successfully coped with the task, and by the year 1971 twelve 180-mm C-23 guns had been manufactured. They were designed and launched in a series of active-rocket projectile OFNUMX with a range of 23 km.

These were the last guns of the great artillery designer Vasily Grabin.

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  1. Avenger711
    Avenger711 26 January 2013 10: 29
    The Finnish war was won just by artillery, and 203 mm B-4 were enough for Finnish bunkers, but the Finns could not counteract it. Losses were suffered when trying to circumvent due to illiterate commanders.
    1. Mik rybalko
      Mik rybalko 26 January 2013 11: 01
      Everyone criticizes the Finnish war, and who else fought in such conditions ?? In summer, the territory is not passable; in winter, it is conditionally passable. It’s not just a tank, but a truck too hard to push through.
      The Red Army won in the most difficult conditions and learned to fight in the winter.
      1. Civil
        Civil 26 January 2013 11: 58
        The Finnish taught a lot of things, including artillery ..
        1. Mik rybalko
          Mik rybalko 26 January 2013 14: 04
          Taught the rear services and supplies. The uniform was brought in accordance with the requirements of the winter war. To deliver that through the snow depth of 1 meter and in frosts of -40, oh, it’s not easy, but already heavy mastond caliber 305mm is simply a difficult task.
          If we compare the fighting in similar conditions, how far did the German gamekeepers come to Murmansk? But there was no such Mannerheim line !!
          The Finns spent almost all of their defense budget on this line, in addition, the Finnish army was perfectly armed.
      2. albert
        albert 26 January 2013 20: 26
        It is true that in winter 41-42 the Germans were freezing like rats, but for the winter war we were
        then you.
        1. Avenger711
          Avenger711 28 January 2013 01: 50
          Nifiga. The myth is all this.
          1. Mugs
            Mugs 28 January 2013 11: 08
            Why a myth?

            Guderian wrote:
            "November 17 ... each regiment has already lost by this time at least 400 people frostbitten ..."

            "Our losses, especially those sick and frostbitten, are very large, and even if some of them return to service after a short rest, still nothing can be done at the moment."

            "The losses from frostbite were greater than from enemy fire."

            “I ask you to pay attention to the fact that most of our losses are not from the enemy, but as a result of the extreme cold and that the losses from frostbite are twice the losses from enemy fire.”

            Lying? Or are you that ours were also freezing?
  2. omsbon
    omsbon 26 January 2013 10: 33
    So always, because of mistakes and miscalculations of some, others pay with blood!
  3. Zomanus
    Zomanus 26 January 2013 11: 10
    Interestingly, amers had such problems? And then where do not look, everywhere fools interfere with geniuses.
    1. nnz226
      nnz226 27 January 2013 16: 40
      The assault on the island of Iwo Jima (they even have a monument to the Marines sticking the American flag into the ground for this reason, it seems to have been set up in Washington). deployed a squadron of 2000 (or 5000) aircraft carriers, 1941 battleships, cruisers and destroyers were walking around in clouds. Amers fired on the ground voluntarily, then the "cool" American Marines began to land on the island. During the first week of fighting, the "cool" marines lost in the surf (!!!) i.e. without even advancing 4 (!!!) killed !!! That's how they fought ... For the record: Caesar Kunikov's landing near Novorossiysk (which formed the "Small Land" glorified by Brezhnev) consisted of 5 people who landed at night with practically no artillery support (MO-5 boats with their 7000-mm cannons are not artillery support ) during the night of the battle, captured the Germans' bridgehead 276 km along the front and 4 km in depth !!! Having formed the very "Small Land" !!! Divide 45 m into 5 people, what was the density of the Black Sea men advancing on a kilometer of front ?! Moreover, the Germans of the winter of 2-5000, I think, fought more abruptly than the Japanese of 276 ...
  4. Kerch
    Kerch 26 January 2013 11: 41
    "Interestingly, the amers had such problems? Otherwise, wherever you look, fools interfere with geniuses everywhere."

    Campaign at the Pacific Theater.
  5. 8 company
    8 company 26 January 2013 12: 13
    The author suffers from excessive forgetfulness, apparently because of this he did not mention that the main developers of the SU - Syachintov and Magdisiev - were shot. The task of developing the SU was set by the GAU, which was directly subordinate to the People's Commissar of Defense, and not Tukhachevsky. In addition, Tukhachevsky was shot in 1937, and the Finnish war was in 1940, during this time it was possible to correct all of Tukhachevsky's "sabotage" many times, but instead, it turns out, they were engaged in new "sabotage"? After all, SUs were developed not only with 305, but also with smaller calibers, where did they go? Meanwhile, 305 mm guns were successfully developed back in the years of the 1st World War by domestic designers, whom no one shot, but created conditions for them to work. The merits of Grabin are also greatly exaggerated, and precisely because of the fact that Stalin personally favored him. Well, to contradict the leader, everyone had little guts in those days. So the author is decently lying and distorts a lot.

    Py Sy A A shot for the lack of SU had to be the head of the GAU and the people's commissar Voroshilov.
    1. Mik rybalko
      Mik rybalko 26 January 2013 13: 57
      Before the Second World War, in the minds of our grief military leaders, it was believed that self-propelled guns are bad tanks ..
      But history proved the opposite, and by the 43rd year, excellent designs had been created.
      And the SU-100, in mobility and firepower, was unparalleled.
      1. Avenger711
        Avenger711 28 January 2013 01: 54
        Do you yourself know what self-propelled guns are and how to use them correctly? And yes, in modern armies there are no assault guns.
    2. knn54
      knn54 26 January 2013 14: 07
      First of all, Marshal Kulik, who was in charge of artillery.
    3. Kars
      Kars 26 January 2013 15: 03
      Quote: Company 8
      SU - Syachintov

      His case, with those who approved such an order
      Quote: Company 8
      and the Finnish war was in 1940, during this time it was possible to correct all of Tukhachevsky's "sabotage" many times, but instead

      305 mm guns were successfully developed back in the years of the 1st World by domestic designers

      Yes, of course, everything is done so quickly - it just appeared.

      Yeah at Schneider and Vickers

      Quote: Company 8
      the same Tukhachevsky was shot in 1937, and the Finnish war was in 1940

      Here is a clown. Look at the article on the dates mentioned a little bit.

      Work went on from 1931 to April 1938

      Seven years were tormented, and even after the removal of Tukhach, And then in three years to fix it.
      1. Denzel13
        Denzel13 26 January 2013 21: 47
        After Serdyukov they will be raking even more, what are there for 3 years. This is so for analogy.
    4. Garysit
      Garysit 26 January 2013 16: 40
      Is the merits of Grabin exaggerated ??? And how is it: Under the guidance of V. G. Grabin, the following were created:

      infantry guns: 76-mm guns of the 1936 model (F-22), 1939 (SPM) and the divisional gun of the 1942 model ZIS-3, 57-mm gun of the 1941 model (ZIS-2), 100-mm field gun sample of 1944 (BS-3).
      tank guns: 76,2-mm tank guns F-32, F-34, ZIS-5 for arming the medium tank T-34-76 and heavy tank KB-1, self-propelled gun ZIS-30 with a 57-mm gun ZIS-2 (ZIS-4), as well as the 76,2-mm gun ZIS-3, which was installed on light self-propelled guns SU-76 and SU-76M. Prototypes of tank guns were developed and tested: 37-mm guns ZIS-19, 76,2-mm guns S-54, 85-mm guns S-18, S-31, S-50, S-53, ZIS-S -53, 100-mm S-34 guns, 107-mm ZIS-6 guns, 130-mm S-26 guns, 122-mm S-41 howitzers.
      And further down the list. Who has more merit in the field of barrel artillery ????
      1. 8 company
        8 company 27 January 2013 00: 47
        Quote: GarySit
        Who has more merit in the field of barrel artillery ????

        No one, because Grabin, using the patronage of Stalin, actually became a monopolist in the design of the barrel artillery. Its F-22 was an extremely unfortunate model of a cannon, to which the two largest defense plants were threatened for several years before the war, trying to master. More or less decent universal regiment gun ZIS-2 appeared in the troops in the right quantities only in 3.
        1. wax
          wax 27 January 2013 02: 33
          Of the 140 thousand field guns that our soldiers fought during the Great Patriotic War, more than 90 thousand were made at the factory, which was headed by V. G. Grabin (named in the book by Volga), and another 30 thousand were made according to Grabin’s projects in other factories of the country.

          From the memoirs of Grabin it does not follow that he enjoyed the protection of Stalin. He simply did better and faster than other design bureaus and designers. Many developments were ruined by the absurd demands of the military. The F-34 cannon was installed on the T34 tank without passing field tests (after factory tests) and immediately showed itself in battles from the first days of the war. In view of the talent of Grabin, not only as a designer, but also as an organizer, he had to argue with Tukhachevsky, Kulik, and others. The F-32 cannon was created in 1936, passed rigorous tests and was adopted for service, was used in the 38 year war with Japan, and had innovations ..
          When evaluating the work of the designers of guns of that time, it must be borne in mind that the design was largely compelled: for its own steel, its own machines, its own technologies. Grabin was the best because he paid attention to technology, which other design bureaus did not do.
          1. Kubanets
            Kubanets 27 January 2013 22: 48
            Grabin was not a monopoly of Petrov Design Bureau, too, worked for the glory of the Howitzer 122 mm and is now in use
        2. Avenger711
          Avenger711 28 January 2013 01: 56
          The stupidest thing is that the F-22 was originally completely different, but they were told from above to make a "universal" weapon. The Germans also processed captured guns, practically returning to the Grabin version, so, as usual, the 8th company wrote bullshit.
    5. Kubanets
      Kubanets 27 January 2013 00: 12
      Zis 3 unsurpassed gun of the Second World War created a highly exaggerated Grabin?
    6. Avenger711
      Avenger711 28 January 2013 01: 52
      Who about what, and the 8th company again about executions.
  6. Volkhov
    Volkhov 26 January 2013 14: 30
    No one is interested in what pillboxes Stalin ordered heavy artillery against in the 50s? In Europe at this time, new "Maginot lines" were not built, on the contrary, the old ones were demolished, in America they never existed, they were friends with China ...
    There are still German fortifications in Chile, Sweden, the Arctic and Antarctic, for them there are 12000 Il-28s, the Stalingrad cruiser, tank landing submarines ... and whose man was Beria, then Khrushchev, who sawed all this?
    1. bask
      bask 26 January 2013 15: 45
      Quote: Volkhov
      borot, the old ones were demolished, in America they never existed, they were friends with China ..

      Like the great Leader I.V. .STALIN saw in advance. Would these art. systems in afghanistan and chechnya .; 180 mm S-23 43.8 cells in in 1971. Now Russia does not have such guns. The 180 mm Grabin S-23 gun must be recreated. , Release self-propelled guns to produce using modern alloys and materials. Based on self-propelled guns ,, Shore ,, replacing 130 mm guns with 180, followed by modernization of 50 cells. necessary minimum for on-shore batteries.
      1. Volkhov
        Volkhov 26 January 2013 18: 48
        "Shore" is a wonderful miracle, won't it fall apart from 180 mm instead of 130 ... Why - they liquidated 203,4 mm Peonies, in the Museum of Technology in Ilyinsky there is 1 with a cut trunk ... but you can borrow from the Georgians or from the DPRK buy "Koksan" if they sell it.
        Heavy guns are hardly needed in Afghanistan and Chechnya, there were not enough brains there and posts with Maxims along the roads, but mostly politics - under Genghis Khan and Stalin there was somehow calm.
        1. borisst64
          borisst64 28 January 2013 16: 36
          Quote: Volkhov
          Heavy guns hardly needed in Afghanistan and Chechnya

          And many recall that while 122 mm are being beaten, the Czechs snap back with might and main. And when 152 mm begin to work, immediately the result is positive.
      2. alert_timka
        alert_timka 27 January 2013 21: 18
        Actually, in Afghanistan and Chechnya, 122mm and 152 mm howitzers were enough, the firepower of which is enough for the ogo, or do you think these guns would be and the matter would end in a couple of days ???
      3. Avenger711
        Avenger711 28 January 2013 01: 57
        You can flip a rocket, or an air bomb.
  7. Fitter65
    Fitter65 26 January 2013 15: 13
    Khrushchev The creature is still that. For how many years ago it threw off our aircraft industry (about the rest of the artillery and tanks I am silent, not special) So I also took away the Glory of the Russian fleet and Sevastopol from Crimea from Russia.
    1. wax
      wax 27 January 2013 02: 37
      Gorby and EBN beat him a lot. There are no historical analogies to their deeds.
      1. The comment was deleted.
    2. alert_timka
      alert_timka 27 January 2013 21: 21
      How could he take away the glory of the fleet ??? Am I missing something ?! Or was Sevastopol and Crimea not part of the USSR then?
  8. AlexMH
    AlexMH 27 January 2013 15: 26
    Khrushchev, of course, was an illiterate leader, he managed to spoil both in tank building, and in artillery, and in aviation. Saving money where it was not necessary, he threw huge amounts of money on rockets and corn. But talking about the ingenious Grabin and the intrigues of envious people is a simplification of the situation. Think of the large-caliber anti-aircraft guns, which were given so much power in the post-war years and which were brought to mind just to be removed from service due to the appearance of air defense systems. The question of the need for artillery with a caliber higher than 152/155 mm and its competitiveness in comparison with tactical missiles, cruise missiles and aviation in different countries was decided differently and often not in favor of artillery. Here they cited an example with North Korean megafuns - do you know how many 180-mm or 203-mm guns that are massively armed with developed countries? And they are practically nonexistent. So Grabin was given the task, he completed it, but by the time the adoption of these weapons were no longer needed, or, in any case, could not compete on equal terms with other means of destruction.
  9. Edgar
    Edgar 28 January 2013 18: 32
    I can’t judge whether Grabin was a brilliant designer or not. but under the carpet wrestler he was unsurpassed. and had access to the royal body. but the military from the GAU did not like him. He always put out samples for testing before everyone else, but it took them a lot of time to refine them to a healthy state.
    and many times I noticed that once "has no analogues abroad" refers to those samples of technology that abroad and no one was going to do. and most often because of senselessness and lack of promise.