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SU-122/54 Revisited


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Here are some new pics of the still rarely seen SU-122/54. Have we learned anything new about this vehicle in recent years? Is there any new information available regarding its cousin the infamous "IT-130?"

 

Shot with Canon PowerShot A80 at 2008-04-15

 

Shot with Canon PowerShot A80 at 2008-04-15

 

I found the whole concept of the vehicle a bit odd, one would imagine the whole point of having a tank destroyer without a turret would be to put heavier gun and heavier armour on it, but it doesn't seem to work out on SU-122-54... First the main gun, D-49 is only marginally longer than D-25T and could probably penetrate M-48 turret but only from 500m range or less, glacis not at all, and there was no decent HEAT round for the 122-mm yet at mid-50's. I wonder if the Russians under-estimated the Patton's armour or did they have Pershings and early-model Centurions in mind when designing it?

 

Second the armour configuration seems a bit pointless, it's far too thin to protect against 90-mm or 25-pdr hits, yet much thicker and unnecessarily heavy against pretty much everything short of a tank gun. Sure one could get shot at by 40-mm AAA or 75-mm or some such but one would imagine it would have made more sense to either armour it against current and near-future state-of-the-art AT threats, or save weight and protect only against HMG/shrapnel and have an ambush vehicle with which you want to be out of the firing position by the time the target can return accurate fire....

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Prove it! :lol:

 

Well...I agree with Vas. Over the years there have been more than a few Soviet vehicles which were initially thought to be the fantasies of one defector or another, only to find out years later that these things actually exist. The "IT-130" may be a fantasy but I'm not convinced...could it be a vehicle identification problem like the "French Panthers" in Indo-China, or some great mystery like the reported use of Ukrainian-supplied T-64s in Angola, or even still...a reality kept in secret, waiting for pictures to finally hit the street...like those tank turret fortifications along old Soviet borders. We'll see...

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In the '80s I was fascinated with the elusive IT-130, also because the late Richard Simpkin belived that it was actually a sort of ace-in-the-sleeve for WP forces and I was an avid reader of Simpkin's papers.

 

But now I am convinced it was a hoax. Never saw a single photo of it, only an artist's impression in a (now) twenty years old booklet by Zaloga. The ARV photos, captioned as a 'defanged' IT-130 , actually showed a SU-122-54 chassis. Never saw it mentioned on a Soviet or Russian publication, nor on Western books after the early '90s.

 

My brief summary of what, IMHO, led to this intelligence blunder:

(N.B. Bear in mind that the wheels arrangement on the SU-122-54, owing to weight reasons, is more resembling the one on the T-62 than the one on the T-54)

 

1) Rezun/Suvorov mentioned there was a battery of "130mm heavy assault guns" per rifle regiment

2) Western intelligence assumed it was a follow up to the IT-122 (SU-122-54) based on the T-62 tank chassis

3) Since the only photo available in the West of a SU-122-54 showed the TD deep in the mud (no roadwheels visible) it was assumed that its wheel disposition was the same of the T-54

4) The 'defanged TD', whose Red Square appearances were noted, had the wheels arranged similarly to the T-62 and it was assumed it was based on a T-62 chassis

 

So, it seemed there was an indirect proof of Suvorov's statement. But they were totally wrong.

 

If one also considers Khrushchev's fascination with missile armed TD and Rezun's ability to report hearsay information (or plain lies: I'm just remembering his 'contribution' to J. Hackett second volume on WWIII) the absence of this phantom appears logical.

 

Regards,

 

Amedeo

Edited by Amedeo Matteucci
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impkin was also the guy who thought the S-tank was the end-all and be-all of tank design...

 

In his book Tank Warfare he just mentions that the S-tank was a successful break-off the 'T-34/Panther type tank' (as he mentions it), but doesn't really glorify it as the 'end-all be-all'.

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Note TC hatch has something what looks like cover for optical range finder. What base? Would it be 1 m?

I am curious what RF it was - read somewhere that some T-10M were equipped with TC co

pulas ( :lol: ) with rangefinders. Maybe it was same type of both RF and cupola?

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Some data:

 

TCs RF: TDK-09, stereoscopic, 4x or 10x, range 500m - 5000m, measuring error 2,64% max

Gunner: TSh-2-23, telescopic, 3,5x or 7x,

 

End of the development 1951

Release for troop service March 1954

The first four vehicles Dec 1955

Abort of project and production!

Edited by Stefan Kotsch
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Man I'd like to have that in my front yard! Kinda sexy don't you think?

 

Perhapse we are looking at this wrong, maybe the idea is as an infantry assult gun not as a dedicated anti-tank platform? Think early Stug not JadgPanther. What killed it was that it was not really good at either.

Edited by George Newbill
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Perhapse we are looking at this wrong, maybe the idea is as an infantry assult gun not as a dedicated anti-tank platform? Think early Stug not JadgPanther. What killed it was that it was not really good at either.

 

The idea that it was an infantry support platform crossed my mind too. That or maybe there actually was an HEAT round in development that was canned at some point? Could it be possible?

Some have described the armor as too little/too much. Any further info on the armor scheme?

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The idea that it was an infantry support platform crossed my mind too. That or maybe there actually was an HEAT round in development that was canned at some point? Could it be possible?

Some have described the armor as too little/too much. Any further info on the armor scheme?

 

 

 

I was thinking supporting fires also.

 

are there any advantages of the 122mm HE over say a 130mm?

 

maybe a higher HE content?

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  • 2 years later...

Just came across this pic from Czechoslovakia '68 over at Militaryphotos.net:

 

 

Is this a Su-122/54? I had no idea such a thing existed, but a quick google search turns up:

 

SU-122-54 (Ob'yekt 600) (Samokhodnaya Ustanovka) - Self-propelled 122mm gun, based on the T-54A and sometimes known as IT-122. Between 1955 and 1957, 77 vehicles were build with minor differences between production lots (different commander's cupola etc.). The SU-122-54 had a modified chassis, with small spaces between the first, second and fourth pair of wheels and a large gap between the third, similar to the T-62's and a superstructure, built into the hull, housing the 122 mm M-62-T gun for which the vehicle carries 32 rounds. The secondary armament consisted of two KPVT heavy machine guns, one mounted as an anti-aircraft machine gun near the commander's hatch and the other mounted coaxially with the main gun. The vehicle carried 600 rounds for the machine guns. The main gun has a fume extractor positioned right behind the muzzle brake, some vehicles didn't have the fume extractor. Other variations included a different commander's copula.

 

And google also lead me to this thread on this grate sight.

 

;)

 

 

Looks different from this baby:

 

 

Which an asian language website has listed as a SU-122-54, and sports the characteristic rangefinder on the cupola.

Is that a co-axial machinegun I'm seeing in the second photo?

 

 

Aviapress has a couple more photos here:

http://www.aviapress.com/viewonekit.htm?TKM-200201

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  • 4 months later...

Anyone got any details of the armour layout of the IT-122 aka Su-122/54 ?

 

Mark

 

100mm@50deg front hull

100mm@51deg front superstructure

80mm@55deg lower front hull

 

80mm@40 & 25 deg front corner armor

80mm@26deg side superstructure

85mm@0deg side hull

 

45mm@60deg upper rear hull

45mm@17deg middle rear hull

30mm@70deg lower rear hull

30mm@20deg rear superstucture

 

20mm roof over hull and superstructure

20mm bottom

 

122mm D-49 gun with 35 rounds

2 x KPVT (coax and AA) with 600 rounds

Edited by bojan
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  • 2 years later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Does anyone know where this monument is located?

 

 

This pic along with these two below show the same SU-122-54 at the "Museum of Military Technique “Oruzhiye Pobedy” (Victory's weapons), located in the 30th Anniversary of the Victory Park," Krasnodar, Russia. Can anyone confirm if this one and the one on display at Kubinka are the lone survivors?

 

 

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