Weapons 24/12/19 “Anti-scalpel”: why German tanks were so afraid howitzer B-4

Towed howitzer B-4 was developed and released in 1931 and is well proven in Finnish and the Second world wars in the defense and the destruction of fortifications, as well as in street battles. Her power 203-mm projectile enough that with the first shot, literally, to break into pieces “Tiger” or destroy a company of soldiers. But in the 1950s it is a unique weapon and got nukes.


the need to develop a powerful artillery, designed for the fortification of lines and fortifications in the Soviet Union was conceived back in the mid 1920’s.

By 1931, the experimental samples howitzer was produced in several variants and they started field testing. In 1933, the gun was accepted into service, began its serial production and delivery to the troops.

baptism of fire

Technical and production difficulties, faced by growing Soviet industry, not allowed to draw a weapon on a mass scale. The outbreak of war with Finland the number of howitzers in the army does not even reach thousands. In winter campaign were involved in just one hundred and fifty guns. But they have shown themselves perfectly. V. N. Shunkov in the book “Weapons of the red army” says that B-4 received from the Soviet soldiers nicknamed the “Karelian sculptor” – because when hit it has turned Finnish bunkers into bizarre “sculptures” made of metal and concrete.

Anti scalpel

By the beginning of world war II howitzer in Soviet army was clearly lacking, and many other weapons. Besides of the heavy guns were lost in the first months of the war. The German command appreciated the fighting qualities of a howitzer and put it into service in their artillery units.

Although the use of howitzers for direct fire ne provided for known cases of B-4 as anti-tank guns. Here in his memoirs Klaus Bozovic about what happened on the Kursk: “the Russian have brought down on us the power of his most powerful anti-tank guns. From the leading column of the tank is not gone. The first hit artillery crew landed a shell between the housing and the tower. The attack was stopped”. The destructive power of B-4, which the Germans called “anti scalpel”, led the tanks of the Wehrmacht in confusion. Most interesting is that the Nazis failed to understand what the gun was fired, as the firing capability of a howitzer direct fire then artillery doctrine was not considered.

an Atomic sledgehammer

the Main problem faced by Soviet artillery during operation B-4, was its lack of agility – due to heavy tracked chassis. In 1955, the instrument was upgraded to B-4M got the wheel carriage. A range of shells for the howitzers, it was decided to Fund current at the time of nuclear weapons. Such missiles B-4M had the opportunity to shoot at a distance up to 20 km, Collected in the period of the test findings were then used to design and perfect a more powerful ACS “Peony”.

Yaroslav Gorbunov

© Russian Seven

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