Wednesday 21 September 2016

BL-39 Trials

"June 23rd, 1942
Scientific Research AA Proving Grounds of the GAU

Report on experiment #982

Subject of the experiment: proving grounds trials of the BL-39 203 mm corps howitzer designed by factory #172.

Goal of the trials:
  1. Testing the ballistic characteristics of the system.
  2. Determining the range, precision, and angle of deviation.
  3. Determining the combat, service, and usage characteristics of the system.
  4. Comparison of the the required and actual tactical-technical characteristics.
  5. Determining the convenience of disassembly and assembly of the system and limber with typical instruments.
Trials were performed by a commission appointed by the Deputy People's Commissar of Defense, General-Colonel of Artillery comrade Boronov, on March 25th, 1942 by order #74331s under the supervision of the proving grounds chief, Brigade Commander comrade Berezin.

Lieutenant-Colonel comrade Polyakov was in charge of the trials.

Trials were held between April 25th and June 15th, 1942.

Main conclusions:

The 203 mm BL-39 corps howitzer failed proving grounds trials.

The biggest drawbacks of the howitzer are:
  1. It is very heavy (even for corps artillery).
  2. The recoil brake design is unsatisfactory and broke down during use.
  3. The elevation mechanism parts are insufficiently robust.
  4. The suspension is complicated and the off-road performance is low.
  5. The suspension design is unsatisfactory, which leads to great effort being expended on transforming the system from travel mode to combat mode and back, as well as fortifying the system on a given position."

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