Artillery / Towed guns / 203mm B-4

203mm B-4

General Facts

  • TYPE
    Towed howitzer

  • ORIGIN
    USSR

  • NICKNAMES
    M1931 (official Soviet army designation)
    20,3-cm-Haubitze 503(r) (Nazi German designation for captured models)

  • DESIGNED
    1926 - 1931

  • DESIGNER
    F. F. Lender

  • PRODUCTION
    1933 - 1937

  • PRODUCERS
    USSR - Bolshevik plant

  • QUANTITY
    A total of 871 produced
    At least 105 upgraded to B-4M

  • UNIT COST
    Unknown

  • CHARACTERISTICS
    Fires powerful shells
    Can be towed over soft ground
    Very heavy
    Requires large crew
    Low rate of fire
    Limited towing speed

Introduction

The B-4 is a World War 2 era heavy gun of Soviet origin. It was developed prior to World War 2 for shelling fortified positions. It was used successfully during World War 2, even though its mobility was limited.

Layout

The B-4 is a heavy gun with short barrel large caliber ordnance without muzzle brake. The box chassis angles downwards culminating in a spade, providing a stable firing position. Unlike most towed guns it has tracks. The tracks keeps the ground pressure low enough to move the B-4 over any terrain. The chassis was later upgraded by replacing the tracks with four large pressure tires.

Firepower

The B-4 fires heavy 203mm shells with enormous explosive power. The maximum range is a modest 18 km due to its relatively short barrel. The rate of fire is rather limited at one round every 1 or 2 minutes.

Mobility

At the time of development there was not much care for mobility given the static warfare of World War 1. The towing speed is 5 to 15 km/h. The limited mobility caused by the weight and the tracked chassis proved to be a serious disadvantage during World War 2. The upside of a tracked chassis is a lower ground pressure. This allows the B-4 to cross terrain other heavy guns could not pass. After World War 2 many remaining B-4 were upgraded with a wheeled chassis as the B-4M.

Users

The B-4 was successfully used by Soviet forces during World War 2 against fortified German positions. The B-4 was used until the 1950's until it was replaced by the S-23, which had a longer range and better mobility.

Variants

B-4

The B-4 is a heavy towed gun of Soviet origin. It features a 203mm L/25 gun on a tracked box chassis. A limber with two large solid wheels is used. The B-4M is a post World War 2 upgrade that replaces the tracks with four 4 large pressurized tires. This increases the roadspeed significantly.

TypeTowed howitzer
Crew15
Ordnance203mm L/25 howitzer, 5.037 m barrel
Elevation+0 to +60°
Traverse
Rate of fire0.5 to 1 rpm
Range18 km
CarriageTracked box carriage with two wheel limber
Weight17.7 t (firing position), 19 t (with limber)
Length9.365 m
Width2.49 m
Height2.3 m
Towing vehicleartillery tractor
Speed15 km/h towed
Remarks-
TypeTowed howitzer
Crew15
Ordnance203mm L/25 howitzer, 5.037 m barrel
Elevation+0 to +60°
Traverse
Rate of fire0.5 to 1 rpm
Range18 km
CarriageFour wheel box carriage with two wheel limber
Weight15.8 t (firing position), 16.8 t (with limber)
Length9.365 m
Width2.49 m
Height2.3 m
Towing vehicleartillery tractor
Speed?
Remarks-

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