The SU-76 (Samokhodnaya Ustanovka 76) was a Soviet self-propelled gun used during and after World War II
About this creation
The SU-76 was based on a lengthened and widened version of the T-70 light tank chassis. Its simple construction made it the second most produced Soviet armoured vehicle of World War II, after the T-34 tank. Crews loved this vehicle for its simplicity, reliability, and ease of use, although it was sometimes nicknamed suka ("bitch"), Suchka ("little bitch") or Golozhopiy Ferdinand ("bare-arsed Ferdinand") for its layout which recalled the massive Porsche-designed German tank hunter.
Design of the SU-76 began in November 1942, when the State Defense Committee ordered the construction of infantry support self-propelled guns armed with the ZiS-3 76.2 mm gun and the M-30 122 mm howitzer. The T-70 chassis was chosen for mounting the ZiS-3 gun, and was lengthened, adding one road wheel per side, to facilitate better gun mounting. The vehicle was completely enclosed by armor
The SU-76 was effective against any medium or light German tank. It could also knock out the Panther tank with a flank shot, but the ZiS-3 gun was not sufficient against Tiger tanks. Soviet manuals for SU-76 crews usually instructed the gunner to aim for the tracks or gun barrel against Tigers. To improve the SU-76's anti-armour capabilities, armour-piercing composite rigid (APCR) and hollow charge projectiles were introduced. This gave the SU-76 a better chance against heavily armoured German vehicles. A low profile, a low noise signature and good mobility were other advantages of the SU-76M. This was ideal for organizing ambushes and sudden flank or rear strikes in close combat, where the ZiS-3 gun was sufficient against most German armoured fighting vehicles
The SU-76 was the single Soviet vehicle able to operate in swamps with minimal support from engineers. During the Belarus liberation campaign in 1944 it was extremely useful for organizing sneak attacks through the swamps; bypassing heavy German defenses on firmer ground. Usually only lightly armed infantry could pass through large swampy areas. With SU-76 support, Soviet soldiers and engineers could effectively destroy enemy strongpoints and continue to advance.
The SU-76 had a large number of ammunition types. They included armour-piercing, hollow charge, high explosive, fragmentation, shrapnel and incendiary projectiles. This made the SU-76M a true multi-purpose light armoured fighting vehicle
After World War II, the SU-76 was used by Communist forces in the Korean War