|Primary Role||Self-Propelled Gun|
Contributor: Alan Chanter
ww2dbaseThe Russian Front battles during 1941 soon revealed that the Soviet light tanks such as the T-60 and newer T-70 (many thousands of which had been produced prior to the German invasion) were virtually useless on the battlefield. It was therefore decided to combine the chassis of the T-70, already in production, with the excellent ZIS-3 and ZIS-76 guns to create a mobile anti-tank weapon to increase the firepower of the Soviet armoured formations.
ww2dbaseThe first SU-76s (The initials stand for Samokhodnaya Ustanovka - self propelled [gun] mounting) appeared in late 1942 and by mid 1943 they were being deployed in appreciable numbers. In order to accommodate the longer hull needed as a self-propelled mounting an additional road wheel was incorporated on each side, and Independent torsion bars for each road wheel were used for the suspension. The SU-76 was initially powered by a pair of 70bhp GAZ -202 6-Cylinder inline water- cooled petrol engines, but these proved unreliable in combat and later production models employed 85bhp GAZ-203 engines.
ww2dbaseThe gun utilised was the 76.2mm model 1942, 41.5 calibres long, with sixty (mostly anti-tank) rounds carried for it. This was mounted in an armoured box on the rear of the hull and had a limited traverse of 32 degrees.
ww2dbaseMass production began in early 1943 at the 37th and 38th factories of the GAZ Automobile Works at Gorki, and by 1945 over 12,500 SU-76s had been built. As a Wartime expedient, there were few comforts for the four-man crew, who somewhat cruelly nicknamed the vehicle as 'The Bitch'. SU-76 regiments in service would normally comprise a small Headquarters section and three companies of 4-5 SPGs each.
ww2dbaseThe lightly armoured open topped fighting compartment was unfortunately a serious weakness in battle that severely restricted tank hunting operations, and by the end of 1943 the SU-76's gun had already become seriously outranged by more powerful German weapons like those carried by the new Tiger and Panther tanks. As the better SU-85 became available from early 1944 to fill the self-propelled anti-tank role, the SU-76s were turned over to the infantry support role (a proposal to fit a larger gun not being pursued), and by 1945 many SU-76s were retrospectively converted into ammunition carriers or recovery vehicles.
ww2dbaseAfter World War II, many SU-76s were supplied to China and North Korea, numbers seeing service with the Communist forces during the Korean War.
Armoured Fighting Vehicles (Philip Trewbitt, Dempsey-Parr, 1999)
Tanks and other Armoured Fighting Vehicles 1942-45 (B.T. White, Blandford Press, 1975)
The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Military Vehicles (Ian V Hogg & John Weeks, Hamlyn, 1980)
Last Major Revision: Dec 2009
|Machinery||Two GAZ-203 engines rated at 85hp each|
|Armament||1x76mm ZIS-3Sh gun|
|Armor||35mm front, 16mm sides|
|Range||265 km off-road; 320 km on-road|
Did you enjoy this article? Please consider supporting us on Patreon. Even $1 per month will go a long way! Thank you.
Share this article with your friends:
Stay updated with WW2DB:
Visitor Submitted Comments
All visitor submitted comments are opinions of those making the submissions and do not reflect views of WW2DB.
- » Japan and Russia to continue negotiations on the Kuriles territorial dispute (22 Nov 2019)
- » Wreck of Akagi Found (21 Oct 2019)
- » Wreck of Kaga Found (18 Oct 2019)
- » USMC corrected Iwo Jima flag raiser identification (18 Oct 2019)
- » See all news
- » 1,068 biographies
- » 331 events
- » 37,136 timeline entries
- » 1,055 ships
- » 333 aircraft models
- » 186 vehicle models
- » 346 weapon models
- » 104 historical documents
- » 202 facilities
- » 463 book reviews
- » 26,102 photos
- » 311 maps
Winston Churchill, on the RAF