Military Review

Soviet post-war anti-aircraft machine gun installations


In the postwar years, the Soviet Union continued to improve the means of combating an air adversary. Before the mass adoption of anti-aircraft missile systems, this task was assigned to the fighter Aviation and anti-aircraft machine gun and artillery mounts.

During the war, a large-caliber 12,7-mm machine gun DShK, created by V.A. Degtyarev and modified G.S. Shpigin, was the main anti-aircraft defense of troops on the march. The DShK, mounted on a tripod in the back of a truck, moving as a part of the column, made it possible to effectively deal with enemy low-flying aircraft.

Large-caliber machine guns were widely used in object defense and for the defense of trains. As additional anti-aircraft weapons, they were installed on heavy Tanks IS-2 and self-propelled guns.

DShK has become a powerful means of combating enemy aircraft. Possessing high armor penetration, it significantly exceeded the ZNU of caliber 7,62-mm in range and altitude of effective fire. Due to the positive qualities of the DShK machine guns, their number in the army during the war years grew steadily. During the war, ground machine guns shot down around 2500 enemy aircraft.

Soviet post-war anti-aircraft machine gun installations

At the end of World War II K.I. Sokolov and A.K. The cows conducted a significant modernization of the DShK. The power supply mechanism has been improved, the manufacturability of manufacturing has been improved, the barrel mount has changed, a number of measures have been implemented to increase the survivability and reliability in operation. In 1946, under the mark DShKM machine gun adopted for service.

Externally, the modernized machine gun was not only different form of the muzzle brake, the design of which was changed in the DShK, but also the silhouette of the receiver lid, in which the drum mechanism was abolished - it was replaced by a two-way powered receiver. The new power mechanism allowed the use of a machine gun in paired and quad installations.

The 4x4 unit installed in the Czechoslovak production, made by Cubans in the battles at Playa Chiron.

Together with the power mechanism, the design of the tape was also changed. Instead of the former one-piece tape on 50 cartridges with a link of springs, a tape with a crab link, from individual pieces of 10 links, is adopted.

Machine guns DShKM for a long time consisted in service, at the present time they are almost driven out of the Russian army by more modern models.

In 1972, the heavy-bore machine gun NSV-12,7 “Cliff” designed by G.I. Nikitin, Yu.M. Sokolov and V.I. Volkov was adopted on the non-universal tripod machine 6Т7 designed by L.V. Stepanova and K.A. Barysheva. The machine gun weight with the machine was only 41 kg, but, unlike the DShK, on ​​the universal machine Kolesnikov, who had more than twice the weight with the machine, it was impossible to fire at air targets from it.

NSV-12,7 "Rock" on the machine 6Т7

For this reason, the Main Rocket and Artillery Directorate issued to the enterprise KBP the task of developing a light anti-aircraft installation for a machine gun of the caliber 12,7-mm.

The installation should have been developed in two versions: 6U5 for the DShK / DShKM machine gun (the machine guns of this type were in large quantities in mobilization stocks) and 6X6 for the new NSV-12,7 machine gun.
R. Ya. Purtsen was appointed chief designer of installations. Factory tests of prototype installations were started in the 1970 year, and ground testing and troop testing began in the 1971 year.

Machine gun NSV-12,7 on the universal machine 6U

The ground and subsequent troop tests of anti-aircraft machine-gun installations confirmed their high combat and operational characteristics.

In accordance with the decision of the commission, only the 1973Х6 installation entitled “The Universal Machine Design R. Y. Purtsen using a NSV machine gun” arrived at the Soviet Army in 6.

Anti-aircraft machine gun installation 6У6 is considered as a battalion and regimental means of defense. These installations are also attached to the C-300P anti-aircraft missile systems divisions for cover from attacking helicopters and combat ground adversary (landings).

Anti-aircraft machine gun installation 6У6 consists of 12,7-mm machine gun NSV-12,7, light alarm gun (machine) and sighting devices. Mechanisms of automatic machine gun work by using the energy of powder gases discharged from the barrel.

The rate of fire of the 700 machine gun is 800 rds / min, and the practical rate of fire is 80 - 100 rds / min.

Installation carriage is the lightest of all modern similar designs. Its weight is 55 kg, and the weight of the installation with a machine gun and cartridge on 70 cartridges does not exceed 92,5 kg. To ensure a minimum weight, the stamped parts, of which the installation mainly consists, are made of steel sheet with a thickness of just 0,8 mm. At the same time, the required strength of the parts was achieved by heat treatment. The pedestal of the mast is such that the gunner can fire at ground targets from a prone position, while the seat back is used as a shoulder rest. To improve the accuracy of firing at ground targets in the mechanism of vertical guidance introduced reducer fine-tuning.

For firing at ground targets, the 6У6 is equipped with a PU optical sight. Air targets are affected by the B-4 collimator sight.

Transportation machine gun calculation 12,7-mm heavy machine gun NSV-12,7 "Rock" with the machine 6У6

The universal anti-aircraft gun with NSV-12,7 machine gun today has no analogues in terms of weight and dimensions, it has good service and operational data. This makes it possible to use it in small mobile units with carrying disassembled.

In 1949, the 14,5-mm Vladimirov heavy machine gun on the Kharykin wheeled machine was adopted (under the designation PKP, the machine gun Vladimir Vladimirov heavy infantry system).

It was used cartridge, previously used in anti-tank rifles. Bullet weight 60-64 g, initial speed - from 976 to 1005 m / s. The muzzle energy of the CPV reaches 31 kJ (for comparison, in the 12,7-mm machine gun DShK - only 18 kJ, in the 20-mm aircraft gun ShVAK - around 28 kJ). Target firing range - 2000 meters. KPV successfully combines the rate of easel machine gun with armor penetration anti-tank gun.

Effective means of defeating air targets with strong armor protection at distances up to 1000-2000 m are 14,5-mm cartridges with an B-32 bullet-proof incendiary incendiary bullet 64 g mass. This bullet pierces armor 20 mm thick at an angle 20 ° from normal at 300 m distance and ignites the aviation fuel behind the armor.

For hitting protected air targets, as well as for shooting and adjusting fire at a distance of 1000-2000 m, 14,5-mm ammunition with an armor-piercing incendiary tracer bullet of BNT of 59,4 g weight is used (index GRAU 57-БЗ Т-561 and 57-БЗ Т -561 c). The bullet has a cap with a pressed tracer composition that leaves a glowing trail visible at a great distance.

The armor-piercing effect is somewhat reduced compared with the bullet B-32. At a distance of 100 m bullet BZT penetrates armor 20 mm thick, placed at an angle 20 ° to the normal.

14,5-mm cartridges with an BS-41 armor-piercing and incendiary bullet of 66 mass can also be used to combat protected targets. At a distance of 350 m, this bullet penetrates 30 mm armor, which is at an angle 20 ° to the normal.

14,5-mm cartridges with an armor-piercing-incendiary-tracer bullet BST of 68,5 g mass, with an incendiary bullet of instantaneous action of MDZ with 60 g mass, with an incendiary-incendiary bullet of RFP can also be included in the ammunition installation.

In 1949, in parallel with the infantry, anti-aircraft installations were adopted: a single-barreled unit, ZPU-1, a paired ZPU-2, a quadruple ZPU-4.

ZPU-1 was developed by designers E. D. Vodopyanov and EK Rachinsky. The anti-aircraft machine gun unit ZPU-1 consists of a 14,5-mm KPV machine gun, a light gun carriage, a wheel drive and sighting devices.

Launch ZPU-1 consists of upper and lower machines. The carriage provides circular fire with elevation angles from —8 to + 88 °.


On the top machine gun carriage there is a seat on which the gunner is located during the shooting. The lower machine carriage is equipped with a wheel travel, allowing the installation to be towed by light army vehicles. When translating the unit from marching to fighting position, the wheels of the wheel stroke turn to the horizontal position. Combat crew from 5 man translates the installation from a traveling position to a combat one in 12 — 13 seconds.

Lifting and turning mechanisms of the carriage provide guidance weapons in the horizontal plane with a speed of 56 degree / s, in the vertical plane, guidance is carried out with a speed of 35 degree / s. This allows you to fire at air targets flying at speeds up to 200 m / s.

For transportation of ZPU-1 over rough terrain and in mountain conditions, it can be disassembled into separate parts and transported (or transported) in packs weighing up to 80 kg.

The power supply by cartridges is made from a metal link band, placed in a cartridge box with a capacity of 150 cartridges.

The collimator antiaircraft sight is used as sighting devices on the ZPU-1.

Along with a single anti-aircraft machine-gun unit ZPU-1, a single anti-aircraft unit was designed for one 14,5-mm machine gun of the S. V. Vladimirova system. Designers S. V. Vladimirov and G. P. Markov took part in its creation.

After the deficiencies identified during the tests were eliminated, the installation in 1948 was presented at the landfill and then military tests. The Soviet Army adopted the installation in 1949 under the designation “14,5-mm coaxial anti-aircraft machine gun unit ZPU-2”.


ZPU-2 entered service with the anti-aircraft units of the motorized rifle and tank regiments of the Soviet Army. A large number of installations of this type have been exported to many countries of the world through foreign economic channels.

The ZPU-2 consists of two 14,5-mm KPV machine guns, a bottom mast machine with three lifts, a rotating platform, a top mast machine (with pointing mechanisms, cradle brackets and cartridge boxes, as well as gunner seats), a cradle, aiming devices and wheel travel.

The lower machine of the mast is a welded triangular frame, on which the upper machine is fixed with the possibility of circular rotation. To ensure transportation of the installation, the lower machine is equipped with a detachable wheel travel. For firing, the installation is removed from the wheel travel and installed on the ground. Its transfer from the traveling to the combat position is performed in 18-20 seconds.

Guidance mechanisms allow circular fire with elevation angles from —7 to + 90 °. The speed of pointing the weapon in the horizontal plane is 48 degrees / s, pointing in the vertical plane is carried out at a speed of 31 degrees / s. The maximum speed of the target is 200 m / s.

Over long distances, installation, ammunition and the calculation of 6 people transported in the back of an army truck. Although the mass of the unit with wheel travel and cartridges reaches 1000 kg, it can be moved for short distances by calculation forces.

In order to increase the tactical mobility of anti-aircraft machine-gun units and provide air defense of the motorized rifle units on the march at the end of 1940-s, the ZPU-2 version was designed for deployment on armored personnel carriers. He had the designation ZPTU-2.

In 1947, the design bureau of the Gorky Automobile Plant developed the BTR-40 A anti-aircraft installation, consisting of a light two-axle armored personnel carrier BTR-40 and an anti-aircraft gun unit ZPTU-2 located in the troop compartment of the armored personnel carrier.


The anti-aircraft gun had circular fire, and the vertical guidance angles ranged from —5 ° to + 90 °. The ammunition consisted of 1200 cartridges.

The BTR-40 installation was put into service in 1951 and was mass-produced at the Gorky Automobile Plant.

In 1952, an anti-aircraft gun was launched, based on the three-axle armored personnel carrier BTR-152, with the placement of a paired 14,5-mm ZPTU-2 in it. The installation provided circular firing, guidance in a vertical plane was carried out in the range of angles from - 5 ° to + 89 °. Ammunition was 1200 cartridges.

The quad ZPU-4 has become the most powerful anti-aircraft machine-gun unit developed in the USSR. It was created on a competitive basis by several design teams. Tests have shown that the installation of the construction by I. S. Leschinsky is the best.

The tested version of this installation, refined as a result, was provided for test sites in 1946, in 1948 it passed military tests, and the ZPU-4 installation was adopted by the Soviet Army in 1949.


The main parts of the ZPU-4: four 14,5-mm machine gun KPV, gun carriage and sighting devices. On the upper machine gun carriage mounted epaulet, swivel, cradle with four machine guns, frames for ammunition boxes, lifting, swivel and trigger mechanisms, seats for the gunner and sighting. The lower machine carriage is equipped with a four-wheel sprung course. To ensure the necessary stability of the installation when shooting, there are screw jacks on which the installation is lowered when it is transferred from the traveling to the combat position. The calculation from 6 man performs this operation in 70-80 seconds. If necessary, shooting from the installation can be conducted from the wheels.

The maximum rate of fire is 2200 rds / min. Provides a zone of destruction in range 2000 m, height - 1500 m. On a hike installation towed by light army vehicles. The presence of wheel suspension allows movement at high speeds. The ability of the installation to move by the forces of calculation is difficult due to the relatively large weight of the installation - 2,1 t.

To control the shooting on the ZPU-4, an automatic anti-aircraft gun of the construction type APO-14,5 is used, which has a counting mechanism that takes into account the target’s speed, target course and dive angle. This made it possible to effectively use the ZPU-4 for hitting air targets flying at speeds up to 300 m / s.

Through foreign economic channels, it was exported to many countries of the world, and to the PRC and the DPRK it was produced under license. This installation and today is used not only in the system of military air defense, but also as a powerful means of destruction of ground targets.

Installation ZPU-4 quite often starred in feature films about the Great Patriotic War. For example, in the movie “The Dawns Here are Quiet”, there is a scene where anti-aircraft gunners reflect the nighttime raids of German airplanes. Which, of course, is historically unreliable and is a “kinolyap”.

In 1950, an order was issued for the development of a paired installation for airborne forces. This was due to the fact that the ZPU-2 did not correspond to the specifics of the fighting of this kind of troops. Field test installation took place in 1952 year. When adopted for use in 1954, it received the name "14,5-mm anti-aircraft machine gun unit ZU-2". Installation could understand on the small weight weights. It was provided with a higher azimuth focusing speed.


To work on the installation of the ZU-2 were involved E.K. Rachinsky, B. Vodopyanov and V.M. Gredmisiavsky who created the earlier ZPU-1. The design of the ZU-2 is in many respects similar to that of the ZPU-1 and consists of two 14,5-mm KPV machine guns, a gun carriage and sighting devices.

In contrast to the ZPU-1, an additional seat on the right for the aiming and right and left frames for the cartridge boxes is mounted on the top mast lathe. The lower machine carriage has a non-separable wheel travel. By simplifying the design of the wheel travel, it was possible to reduce the weight of the installation to 650 kg as compared to 1000 kg for the ZPU-2. At the same time, the stability of the installation during firing has also increased, since, due to the integral wheel travel, its mass in a combat position is greater than the mass of the ZPU-2, in which the wheel travel is separated before firing. The ZU-2 design allows it to be transported in various ways. It can be towed by light army vehicles or transported in the back for short distances. On the battlefield, the installation is moved by the calculation forces, and for transportation in mountain conditions it can be disassembled into parts weighing no more than 80 kg each.

The combat effectiveness of the ZU-2 is roughly equivalent to the effectiveness of the ZPU-2. It has a maximum rate of fire 1100 shots / min, a firing zone in range 2000 m in height 1500 m. At the same time, thanks to the use of an improved automatic sight and a higher pickup speed in azimuth, the probability of hitting airborne targets has increased. The low weight and increased maneuverability of the ZU-2 made it possible to make it a regular air defense system not only in the regimental, but also in the battalion unit. In this case, the firepower of the battalion in the caliber 14,5 mm was doubled.

However, transportation of the ZPU-1 and ZU-2, not to mention the ZPU-4 on a four-wheel cart in a mountainous and wooded area, presented great difficulties.

Therefore, in 1953, it was decided to create a special small-sized mining installation for 14,5-mm machine gun KPV, divided into parts, carried by one fighter.

In 1954, the designers R.K. Raginsky and R.Ya. Purtsen developed the project 14,5-mm of a single antiaircraft mining installation PGI-1. The weight of the PGI-1 did not exceed 200 kg. The installation successfully passed the ground tests in 1956 year, but did not enter mass production.


She was remembered at the end of 60, when there was an urgent need for such weapons in Vietnam. The Vietnamese comrades turned to the leadership of the USSR with a request to provide them, among other weapons, with a light anti-aircraft system capable of effectively fighting American aircraft in the conditions of partisan warfare in the jungle.

PGI-1 was ideally suited for this purpose. It was urgently refined for the tank machine gun version of Vladimirov KPVT (the KPV version, which was designed for ZGU-1, had been discontinued by that time) and was launched into mass production in the 1967 year. The first installments of installations were intended exclusively for export deliveries to Vietnam.

The ZGU-1 design is distinguished by its low weight, which is in combat position together with the cartridge box and 70 220 cartridges kg, while ensuring quick disassembly (within 4 min) into parts with a maximum mass of each 40 kg each.

Despite the improvement of such high-tech means of fighting low-flying air targets like MANPADS, they could not force out anti-aircraft machine-gun systems from the arsenal of air defense of the ground forces. ZPU were especially in demand in local conflicts, where they are successfully used to defeat a variety of purposes - both air and ground. Their main advantages are versatility, ease of use and maintenance.

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  1. bazilio
    bazilio 26 November 2013 09: 36
    DShK is a thing. I like this trunk. by the way DShK still fighting, still in service
    1. GastaClaus69
      GastaClaus69 26 November 2013 13: 10
      Romanian contingent in Afghanistan, MaxxPro Dash + DShKM.
  2. Eugeniy_369
    Eugeniy_369 26 November 2013 09: 43
    Definitely a pole, interesting. But I would like more illustrations and information about the combat use. I think the author will fix this in subsequent articles wink ... You can write so much about one "zushka" ... laughing , probably the current in Australia did not shoot.
  3. Volodya Sibiryak
    Volodya Sibiryak 26 November 2013 11: 01
    Oh, and they drank the blood of the adversary, it seems to me that not a single conflict in the world has not been without their participation.
    1. Eugeniy_369
      Eugeniy_369 26 November 2013 12: 19
      Quote: Volodya Sibiryak
      Oh, and they drank blood from the adversary

      This is exactly yes , it’s a pity that our people didn’t get sick sad , Mujahideen and other "warriors of Allah" DShK, "Utes", etc. very respected.
    2. ebrd
      ebrd 26 November 2013 12: 25
      Quote: Volodya Sibiryak
      Oh, and they drank the blood of the adversary, it seems to me that not a single conflict in the world has not been without their participation.

      And ,, our krovushka ,, too, drank a lot .... In the same Afghanistan from DShK and ZPU 14,5 (we called them PGI), the spirits of turntables were knocked down many times more than from the widely advertised Stinger ...
  4. makarov
    makarov 26 November 2013 12: 11
    in the 80s, when he partisan, he saw in the ZSU-4 warehouses, but they were not present at the exercises
    1. Bongo
      26 November 2013 13: 20
      In our radio engineering battalion at the end of 80 and the beginning of 90, there were two ZPU-4, they, together with the Strela-2М, were to be covered during deployment.
  5. Bongo
    26 November 2013 12: 30
    Quote: Volodya Sibiryak
    Oh, and they drank the blood of the adversary, it seems to me that not a single conflict in the world has not been without their participation.

    Unfortunately, not only the foe. In Afghanistan, our aviation DShK and ZSU also drank blood.
  6. 528Obrp
    528Obrp 26 November 2013 12: 34
    Interesting. Still, I would like about the barrel anti-aircraft artillery. For example, a complex based on the S-60 gun. With radar, TOV. TOV is particularly interested in the sense of detail.
    1. Bongo
      26 November 2013 12: 55
      Make a stake ask wink
      1. 528Obrp
        528Obrp 26 November 2013 13: 01
        Quote: Bongo
        Make a stake ask

        Thanks in advance!
      2. The comment was deleted.
      3. Eugeniy_369
        Eugeniy_369 26 November 2013 13: 29
        Quote: Bongo
        Make a stake ask

        Thanks for the work. smile .
        Do not be greedy for pictures winked , plizz !!!!
        1. Bongo
          26 November 2013 13: 33
          I will try, but it is very difficult with high-quality photos, of course I try to photograph myself wherever possible.
          ZPU-4 at the Vladivostok Fortress Museum.
          1. Eugeniy_369
            Eugeniy_369 26 November 2013 21: 26
            Quote: Bongo
            I will try, but it is very difficult with high-quality photos, of course I try to photograph myself wherever possible.

            So you also take photos yourself? Respect and respect)))))) The article is not just copy-paste, there is citation, insertion, but it is immediately clear that he did everything. And if he also applies his pictures, then generally GOOD!
    2. makarov
      makarov 26 November 2013 17: 50
      again, when partisaned at 100mm anti-aircraft guns, 57mm were located nearby, their radar with the station was on a trailer. SON was called a gun guidance station. from the memory of the station I went to the distance of the CRM and from it the cables dispersed from the guns. In principle, 1 sleep per battery. First, in the first belt there were an Arrow and machine gunners, then 57mm, then 100mm, and only then an air defense system.
      DREAMS with 57mm fought in Egypt, Shilka also showed herself there. Our commander on Shilka himself alone, the Arab service ran away, through the sight the understudy shot down 2 phantoms, he received a red Star.
  7. berimor
    berimor 26 November 2013 13: 00
    In Egypt, in 1970-1971, these ZPU-2 also covered our individual units.
    1. The comment was deleted.
  8. Pehmore
    Pehmore 26 November 2013 13: 05
    It’s a good weapon, the main thing is universal. I didn’t see it by air, but it’s horrible in manpower if it hits a person.
    1. Bongo
      26 November 2013 13: 11
      The result of sighting incendiary bullets in duralumin sheet
  9. 1969s9691g.
    1969s9691g. 26 November 2013 13: 15
    zpu-4 was filmed in the film "The Dawns Here Are Quiet".
    1. Bongo
      26 November 2013 13: 22
      The article about it is.
  10. moreman78
    moreman78 26 November 2013 13: 18
    Good article, excellent review on domestic ZPU!
  11. Walking
    Walking 26 November 2013 14: 39
    Thanks for the review!
  12. The comment was deleted.
  13. Rjn
    Rjn 26 November 2013 20: 26
    in 1971 on Fiolent at the air defense point stood ZU-2, but somehow unaccompanied, without protection, probably because the area was closed.