A 130mm M-46 in an Israeli museum with its ordnance retracted and limber attached.
Source: Bukvoed - © GNU Attribution - Share Alike license
The M-46 is an early Cold War era towed 130mm towed howitzer of Soviet origin. The M-46 was developed in the late 1940's to replace the 122mm A-19 for long range shelling and counter battery fire. After trails against the D-74 the M-46 was selected in 1950. The M-46 was produced in large quantities and many remain in use. Until its proper designation was known it was called the M1954 in the West. The M-46 has been produced under license in China as the Type 59.
The M-46 uses a sturdy split trail carriage which has two wheels and a gun shield. The M-46 mounts a long 130mm 58-caliber ordnance with pepperpot muzzle brake. The Chinese Type 59-I uses a lighter carriage with similar ordnance, but fitted a double baffle muzzle brake. A crew of 8 to 10 is required for operating at normal performance.
The M-46 fires its own range of 130 mm ammunition out to 27.2 km. This allows it to outrange practically all types of early Cold War artillery, including the US M59 Long Tom. It is however unable to match the latest 155mm L/52 artillery, even with base bleed rounds. The maximum rate of fire is 5 to 6 rpm, although several sources claim 8 to 10 rpm. The M-46 can also be used as a direct fire weapon out to 1.2 km versus armored vehicles and at longer ranges against infantry.
The M-46 is usually towed by a 6x6 truck but prime movers are also used. The M-46 uses a limber while the Chinese Type 59 does not. The M-46 can be towed up to a speed of 50 km/h.
The M-46 was produced in large quantities for Soviet use and export to Warsaw Pact nations and Soviet allies. In Soviet service the M-46 was replaced by the larger and more capable 2A36. The M-46 remains in widespread use in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
The M-46 is a conventional 130mm towed field gun. It has a split trail two wheeled carriage and a gun shield is fitted for crew protection. The M-46 has a 58 calibers long 130mm ordnance that is fitted with a pepperpot muzzle brake. Normally a crew of 8 is used to operate the weapon. The M-47 is a 152mm variant of the M-46 that was produced in limited numbers in the 1950's.
The Type 59 is a Chinese copy of the M-46 which includes some changes. The Type 59-I incorporates some parts taken from the Type 60 field gun, mainly in the carriage. The Type 59-I has the same 58 caliber 130mm ordnance, which is fitted with a double baffle muzzle brake in the Chinese version. The Egyptian M-59-1M is similar to the Type 59-I.
In Soviet service the M-46 was replaced by the larger caliber 2A36 in its role as long range towed howitzer.
The M-46 was developed to replace the pre World War 2 era 122mm A-19 in Soviet service.
The D-74 was developed for the same role as the M-46. After Soviet trials the M-46 was selected. Nevertheless, the D-74 was produced for export sales and saw some domestic Soviet use.
The AT-S artillery tractor was one of the prime movers used with the M-46 in Soviet service.
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