Stand to Death, 152 mm howitzer battery fires during Operation Bagration

Stand to Death, 152 mm howitzer battery fires during Operation Bagration, 1944

Belorussian Strategic Offensive Operation (operation “Bagration”) resulted in complete destruction of German Army Group Center. In 2 months the 1,100 km front-line moved 600 km west. During this operation, the Soviet armies in Belarus completely destroyed Army Group “Center” of the Wehrmacht, losing five times fewer people than the Germans. This photo was taken on the summer of 1944 by Emmanuel Yevzerikhin. In Soviet photo album this photo is called “Stand to Death”, the soldiers and the guns look so futuristic.

The gun is D-1 howitzer, model 1943. In 1941, for various reasons it was discontinued mass production of 152-mm howitzer model 1938 (M-10). At the end of 1942, the Design Bureau of the famous Soviet designer F. F. Petrov start the initiative to design a new 152-mm howitzer, is a superposition of the receiver of the 152 mm howitzer model 1938 (M-10) on the carriage 122 mm howitzer model 1938 (M-30). To mitigate the impact on the less massive than the M-10 howitzer gun carriage had to equip the two-chamber muzzle brake. This approach allowed them to create a lightweight, yet powerful howitzer using already developed in the manufacture of components, which was important in wartime. May 5, 1943 two howitzers came to the test, which was completed in two days. May 7 by testing signed a report that gun, after the elimination of a number of minor deficiencies, recommended for adoption. Resolution of the Chief Defense Command on 08/08/1943 weapon was accepted into service under the official name “The 152-mm howitzer model 1943″. Series production began in six weeks. Their production is conducted exclusively at the plant number 9 (UZTM) and lasted until 1949, however, during the war, the gun did not go into a big series due to extreme congestion plant number 9 Issue 122 mm Howitzer M-30. A negative consequence of this circumstance for the Red Army was the shortage of high-power 152-mm howitzers in the corps artillery. Howitzer D-1 were widely used in the final stage of the war in 1944-1945. The gun used to fire from the closed position to dig in and unsheltered manpower of the enemy, his fortifications and walls, important objects in its near the rear. To defeat the enemy tanks and self-propelled guns in self-defense has been used successfully concrete-shell. At the D-1 artillery earned a reputation as a reliable and accurate when firing the gun.

Towards the end of the war Soviet Army used massive amounts of artillery. e.g. during Berlin Strategic Offensive Operation armies of the 1st Belorussian Front and the 1st Ukrainian Front were able to reach artillery density of up to 286 guns per kilometer of front-line in key army breakthrough areas.

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