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Soviet Union's Flag

Soviet Union's Katyusha BM-13 132 mm Rocket Launcher
Cover name: Kostikov Guns
Soviet nickname: Katyusha "Katerina"
German nickname: Stalin's Organ

Design

The M-132 started development in 1938. The first designs had the rockets mounted so that they fired over the sides, but these weren't satisfactory. The ZiS-5 truck was the first chassis used.

The first self propelled artillery weapon produced in quantity by the Soviet Union was the BM-13 rocket launcher.

Lend-Lease

Under Lend-Lease the Soviet Union received over 100,000 2.5 ton 6x6 Studebaker trucks and almost 10,000 of these were converted to Katyushas. The Studebakers had better cross country capabilities than any of the other chassis available to the Soviet Union.

The cab had anti-blast armor over the windscreen.

Prototype

Prototypes were first tested in August 1939.

Production

  • Katyusha BM-13-16:
    • Production started in 1940

Variants

  • Katyusha BM-13-16: Mounted 132 mm rockets.
  • ??: Mounted M-30 300 mm rockets. Entered service in 1944.

Usage

Initially only units under the control of the NKVD (secret police) were issued Katyushas.

First Action

Katyushas were used for the first time in July 1941 at Orsha.

Post World War II

Some variants of the Katyusha weapons system remained in service with the Soviet Military until 1980s.

Specifications

  Katyusha BM-13 132 mm Rocket Launcher
Crew 4
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 6 tons
6,096 kg
Length 24' 6"
7.47 m
Height with rocket rails down 10'
3.05 m
Width 7' 3"
2.21 m
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 16: 5.2" rockets
16: 132 mm rockets
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 5
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) Studebaker Hercules JXD
Cylinders 6
Net HP 87
Transmission  
Fuel type Gasoline
Octane  
Capacity  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 45 mph
72 kph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 230 miles
370 km
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical Obstacle  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Track length  
Tires  
Track width  
Track centers/tread  

Sources:

  1. World Encyclopedia of Armored Fighting Vehicles, Jack Livesey, 2006
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site