|Manufacturer||Zavod imeni Stalina (ZiS) Artillery Factory No. 92, Gorky, Russia|
|Primary Role||Artillery Tractor|
Contributor: Alan Chanter
ww2dbaseSoviet losses in the opening stages of Operation Barbarossa were horrendous; by August 1941, Fedor von Bock's Army Group Centre had destroyed more than 5,000 tanks, almost 25 per cent of the total Red Army tank strength. In response to the crisis, an order was issued in July 1941 for the production of improvised armoured fighting vehicles. It is likely that small batches of wildly different vehicles were produced in factories and workshops across Russia. As with the improvised tanks and armoured cars built in Britain during the invasion scare of 1940, standards of construction ranged from competent to appalling. Many were mechanically unreliable death traps with hopelessly overloaded chassis, high silhouettes and inadequate armour and armament.
ww2dbaseOne of the better designs came from the ZiS factory in Gorky, who proposed mounting their 57-millimeter ZiS-2 anti-tank gun on either the T20 Komsomolets armoured prime mover or the GAZ-AAA 6x4 cargo truck. Although the truck mounted version (ZiS-31) promised to have greater accuracy, as the mounting was more stable, it was the Komsomolets (ZiS-30) which was selected due to its better cross-country performance.
ww2dbaseThe 57-millimeter ZiS-2 anti-tank gun had an impressive armour-piercing performance, firing a 3-kilogram shell at a muzzle veloicity of 990 meters per second at an effective rate of 15 rounds per minute, but when mounted on the Komsomolets tractor there was storage space for only a few rounds of ammunition. The guns weight and recoil made the ZiS-30 unstable, while the open mounting left the crew vulnerable to small arms fire and shell splinters. The 7.62-millimeter DT machine gun in a ball-mount was retained from the Komsomolets, mounted to the right of the driver for engaging infantry.
ww2dbaseProduction finally commenced in September 1941, but as no new Komsomolets were available the factory had to wait for damaged vehicles to be returned from the front for repair to provide the required number of chassis required. A total of about 100 were completed by the end of October 1941, when production ceased as no more Komsomolets could be made available for conversion.
David porter; World War II Soviet Weapons (Amber Books, 2018)
Last Major Revision: Jul 2021
|Machinery||One GAZâ€“M 4cyl petrol engine rated at 50hp|
|Armament||1x57mm ZiS-2 anti-tank gun, 1x7.62mm Degtyaryov DT machine gun|
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Captain Henry P. Jim Crowe, Guadalcanal, 13 Jan 1943