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203mm B-4



Overview


B-4

Forward view of B-4 in a museum.
Source: User listentoreason @ www.flicker.com - © copyright lies with original owner

Origin
Soviet Union
Type
Towed howitzer
Entered service
Mid 1930's
Status
Out of service
Development
1926 - 1931
Developer
F.F. Lender
Production
1933 - 1937
Producer
Soviet Union - Bolshevik plant
Number produced
871
Designations
M1931
Official Soviet army designation
20,3-cm-Haubitze 503(r)
Nazi German designation for captured models

Description


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 tracks also limit the maximum speed.

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 due to 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.

Users

The B-4 was successfully used by Soviet forces during World War 2 against fortified German positions. After World War 2 all remaining guns were refurbished. Later on many were fitted with a wheeled chassis, and were known as the B-4M.

Details


Facts B-4
General
Origin
Soviet Union
Type
Towed howitzer
Crew
15
Dimensions
Weight
17.7 t in firing position
19 t with limber
Length
9.365 m
Width
2.49 m
Height
2.3 m
Ordnance
Type
203mm L/25 howitzer
Barrel length
5.037 m
Muzzle brake
No
Elevation
+0 to +60°
Traverse
Firepower
Rate of fire
0.5 to 1 rpm
Range
18 km
Carriage
Type
Tracked box carriage
Limber
Yes, two wheel limber
Gun shield
No
Mobility
Towing vehicle
Voroshilovets artillery tractor
Towed speed
15 km/h
Autonomous mobility
None, too heavy for manhandling

Related articles


203mm B-4M

At least 105 B-4 were upgraded to B-4M standard by replacing the tracks with a wheeled chassis.