57 mm anti-tank gun M1943 (ZiS-2)

The ZiS-2 (Russian: ЗиС-2) (GRAU index: 52-P-271) was a Soviet 57-mm anti-tank gun used during World War II. The ZiS-4 was a version of the gun meant to be installed in tanks. ZiS stands for Zavod imeni Stalina (Russian Завод имени Сталина, "Factory named after Stalin"), the official title of Artillery Factory No. 92, which produced the gun first.

57-mm anti-tank gun model 1943 (ZiS-2)
Zis2 nn.jpg
ZiS-2 in the Kremlin of Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.
TypeAnti-tank gun
Place of originSoviet Union
Service history
WarsWorld War II
Vietnam War[1]
Lebanese Civil War
North Yemen Civil War[2]
South African Border War
Production history
Designerdesign bureau of No. 92 Artillery Factory
headed by V. G. Grabin
Produced1941, 1943–1945
No. built10,016
Mass1,250 kg (2,756 lb)
Length7.03 m (23 ft 1 in)
Barrel lengthbore: 3.95 m (13 ft 0 in) L/69.3
overall: 4.16 m (13 ft 8 in) L/73
Width1.7 m (5 ft 7 in)[3]
Height1.37 m (4 ft 6 in)

ShellFixed QF 57×480 mmR[3] (AP)
Caliber57 mm (2.24 in)
BreechSemi-automatic vertical sliding-wedge[3]
CarriageSplit trail
Elevation-5° to 25°
Rate of fire25 rpm cyclic
10 rpm practical[3]
Muzzle velocity1,000 m/s (3,300 ft/s)
Maximum firing range8.4 km (5.21 miles)


In the beginning of 1940 the design office of V. G. Grabin received a task from the Artillery Department to develop a powerful anti-tank gun. The head of this department Marshal Kulik and its subordinates estimated that the use of heavily armoured tanks by the USSR in the Winter War would not have gone unnoticed in Nazi Germany and would lead to the development of similar fighting machines there. There is also a chance that the department was influenced by the German propaganda about the experimental multi-turreted "supertank" NbFz, ie. heavier armour was attributed to this vehicle than it actually carried. Therefore, Grabin and his office were guided by the characteristics of their own domestic heavy tank KV-1 with 40–75 mm armour. In the opinion of the designers the optimal calibre in this case was 57 mm. The velocity and mass of the armour-piercing 57 mm projectile allowed it to attain sufficient kinetic energy to penetrate up to 90 mm of armour RHA while keeping the gun sufficiently light, mobile and easy to conceal. However, the decision also had a downside: this calibre was a new one to the Red Army so the manufacturing of the projectile had to be started from scratch.

Development started in May 1940 and in the beginning of 1941 the gun was adopted as the 57 mm anti-tank gun model 1941 (Russian: 57-мм противотанковая пушка образца 1941 года), abbreviated ZiS-2 (ЗиС-2). Production began on 1 June 1941, but on 1 December 1941 it was stopped by Marshals N. N. Voronov and G. L. Govorov, their explanation being that ZiS-2 shells penetrated straight through weakly-armoured German tanks from one side to the other without doing much damage internally. Other possible reasons for the decision were the high cost of the gun and problems with shell production. By that time 371 pieces had been built.

The production lines were switched to manufacturing of the ZiS-3 76.2 mm divisional gun while Soviet anti-tank artillery received cheaper 45 mm guns. Some anti-tank regiments also received the ZiS-3 which was able to defeat any German vehicle until late 1942.

Appearance of the heavy Tiger I and then the Panther changed the balance in favour of the Germans. 45 mm guns model 1942 could only pierce the side armour of the Panther while the ZiS-3 managed to penetrate the sides from a greater distance. Against the Tiger the ZiS-3 was effective only from the side at close range (up to 300 m) and 45 mm pieces were nearly helpless. A more powerful gun was needed and on 15 June 1943 the ZiS-2 once again entered service as the 57 mm anti-tank gun model 1943. Until 1945 9,645 units were produced.


It is an automated-action gun with a vertical block breech. When firing the block opens and closes automatically, the loader only has to put a round into the receiver. Due to this feature the rate of fire can reach 25 rounds per minute. The Split-trail carriage with gunshield was shared with the ZiS-3 divisional gun. The carriage has coil spring suspension, which allows towing with a speed of up to 50 km/h (31 mph) on highways, 30 km/h (19 mph) on unpaved roads and 10 km/h (6.2 mph) off-road. The gun can also be attached to a limber and towed by a team of six horses. ZiS-2s are equipped with PP1–2 panoramic sight.


ZiS-2s were employed by anti-tank artillery platoons of infantry units and by anti-tank artillery units of the Reserve of High Command, the most numerous of these being anti-tank artillery regiments (Russian Истребительный Противотанковый Артиллерийский Полк, abbreviated ИПТАП). Guns captured by the Germans were given the designation 5.7 cm Pak 208(r).[4]

Self-propelled mountsEdit

ZIS-2 model 1943 in Poznań Citadel, Poland.

The ZiS-2 was also mounted on a few vehicles. In 1941 about a hundred ZiS-2 guns were mounted on Komsomolets armored tractor chassis to create the ZiS-30 tank destroyer.

The ZiS-2 gun was also mounted in at least three different prototypes based on the SU-76 assault gun (SU-74, SU-76D, and SU-57B). None were accepted for production.

There was also a tank gun version of ZiS-2 called ZiS-4. In 1941, in an attempt to improve the anti-tank performance of the T-34 tank members of the Morozov Design Bureau experimentally equipped it with the ZiS-4. Only a small number of these T-34-57 tanks were built and used as tank hunters. The idea resurfaced in 1943 after the Battle of Kursk because Germany fielded heavily armoured Tiger and Panther tanks. Only a limited number of the T-34 equipped with a slightly modified version of the ZiS-4M gun with a new breech to simplify production were produced. Although the high-velocity gun had superior armour penetration to the F-34 the small weight of its shell meant that it could not fire an adequate high-explosive round for general use. The ultimate solution for the tank was to design a new turret allowing the use of an 85 mm gun; the new model was called the T-34-85.

A modernised version of the ZiS-2 was used in a post-war self-propelled airborne antitank gun known as the ASU-57,

Post-war historyEdit

Due to improvements in tank armour protection the ZiS-2 quickly lost its anti-tank value. In Soviet anti-tank artillery forces by the mid-1950s, the ZiS-2 was replaced by a more powerful 100 mm gun. However, its small size and weight kept it in active service with Soviet airborne troops for much longer.

On 15 July 2013 a North Korean cargo ship, the Chong Chon Gang, was intercepted smuggling weapons from Cuba while transiting the Panama Canal. Following a board-and-search operation by Panamanian security forces, it was discovered to be carrying ZiS-2 ammunition among other older Soviet-made weaponry, indicating that some examples remain in continuing use by North Korean forces.[5] Until this incident, Namibia was believed to be the last operator of the ZiS-2; the Namibian Defence Force having continued maintaining six examples well into the 1990s.[6] Although no longer in active service a large number of ZiS-2s remained in storage as part of the reserve stocks of various national armies around 2008.[7]


  • ZiS-2 – Basic version.
  • ZiS-4 – Tank gun version.


Available ammunition[citation needed]
Type Model Weight HE filling, g
Armour-piercing projectiles (muzzle velocity up to 990 m/s)
APHE BR-271K 3.14 kg (6.9 lb) 18
APCBC BR-271 3.14 kg (6.9 lb) 14
APCBC (improved penetration) BR-271M 2.80 kg (6.2 lb) 13
AP (solid) BR-271SP 3.14 kg (6.9 lb) none
Composite Armour-piercing projectiles (muzzle velocity up to 1250 m/s)
APCR "Reel" type BR-271P 1.79 kg (3.9 lb) none
APCR "Smooth" type BR-271N 2.4 kg (5.3 lb) N/A
Other projectiles (muzzle velocity up to 700 m/s)
Fragmentation O-271U (O-271G) 3.75 kg (8.3 lb) 204 or 220
Canister Shch-271 3.66 kg (8.1 lb) none
Armour penetration
APHE projectile BR-271K
Distance, m Meet angle 60°, mm Meet angle 90°, mm
100 91 112
300 84 103
500 76 94
1000 60 74
1500 46 57
2000 35 44
APCBC projectile BR-271
Distance, m Meet angle 60°, mm Meet angle 90°, mm
100 93 114
300 89 109
500 84 103
1000 74 91
1500 64 79
2000 56 69
APCR projectile BR-271P
Distance, m Meet angle 60°, mm Meet angle 90°, mm
100 155 190
300 137 168
500 120 147
1000 83 101
These data was obtained by Soviet methods of armour penetration measurement (penetration probability equals 75%). They are not directly comparable with western data of similar type

See alsoEdit

Weapons of comparable role, performance and eraEdit


  1. ^ Grandolini, Albert (1998). Armor of the Vietnam War (2) Asian Forces. Armor at War 7017. Concord Publications. p. 18. ISBN 9789623616225.
  2. ^ "WWII weapons in Yemen's civil war". wwiiafterwwii.wordpress.com. 9 September 2018.[self-published source]
  3. ^ a b c d e f Foss, Christopher (1977). Jane's pocket book of towed artillery. New York: Collier. p. 21. ISBN 0020806000. OCLC 911907988.
  4. ^ Chamberlain, Peter (1974). Anti-tank weapons. Gander, Terry. New York: Arco Pub. Co. p. 56. ISBN 0668036079. OCLC 1299755.
  5. ^ Hugh Griffiths and Roope Siirtola. "Full Disclosure: Contents of North Korean Smuggling Ship Revealed" 38 North, 27 August 2013.
  6. ^ Copley, Gregory. Defense & Foreign Affairs Handbook 1994. p. 1207.
  7. ^ Nerguizian, Aram; Cordesman, Anthony (2009). The North African Military Balance: Force Developments in the Maghreb. Washington DC: Center for Strategic and International Studies Press. p. 45. ISBN 978-089206-552-3.

External linksEdit