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76 mm divisional gun M1942 (ZiS-3)

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The 76-mm divisional gun M1942 (ZiS-3) (Russian: 76-мм дивизионная пушка обр. 1942 г. (ЗиС-3)) was a Soviet 76.2 mm divisional field gun used during World War II. ZiS was a factory designation and stood for Zavod imeni Stalina ("factory named after Stalin"), the honorific title of Artillery Factory No. 92, which first constructed this gun.

76-mm divisional gun M1942 (ZiS-3)
76 mm divisional gun M1942 (ZiS-3) 001.jpg
ZiS-3 in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia
TypeField gun
Place of originSoviet Union
Service history
WarsWorld War II
Korean War
Vietnam War[1]
Lebanese Civil War
South African Border War
Angolan Civil War
Uganda–Tanzania War
Soviet-Afghan War[2]
Yugoslav Wars
Yemeni Civil War (2015–present)
Production history
Designerdesign bureau of No. 92 Artillery Factory
headed by V. G. Grabin
No. built103,000+
Masscombat: 1,116 kg
(2,460 lbs)
travel: 2,150 kg
(4,730 lbs)[3]
Barrel length3.4 m (11 ft 2 in) 42.6 calibers[4]
Width1.6 m (5 ft 3 in)[4]
Height1.37 m (4 ft 6 in)[4]
Crew7 artillerymen

ShellFixed QF 76.2 × 385 mm. R[4]
Caliber76.2 mm (3 in)
BreechSemi-automatic vertical sliding-wedge[4]
CarriageSplit trail
Elevation−5° to +37°
Rate of fireup to 25 rounds per minute
Maximum firing range13.29 km (8.25 mi)



Artillery Factory No. 92 began designing the ZiS-3 at the end of 1940. The ZiS-3 combined the light carriage from the 57 mm ZiS-2 anti-tank gun and the powerful 76.2 mm barrel from the F-22USV, the previous divisional field gun. The addition of a muzzle brake reduced recoil and prevented damage to the light carriage upon firing. Producing a ZiS-3 cost only a third of the time and two-thirds of the money of a F-22USV by making greater use of casting, stamping and welding.

V. G. Grabin, the chief designer of Soviet medium caliber guns, initiated the gun's development without state approval, and the prototype was hidden from the state. Marshal Grigory Kulik, commander of Soviet artillery, had ordered a halt to the production of light 45 mm anti-tank guns and 76.2 mm divisional field guns in the belief that they were inadequate; the Soviets overestimated the armour protection of the latest German heavy tanks from propaganda about the Neubaufahrzeug multi-turreted prototype tank.

ZiS-3 displayed in Hämeenlinna Artillery Museum.

The beginning of the Great Patriotic War revealed that the pre-war 76 mm guns overmatched German armour; in some cases even 12.7 mm DShK machine guns were adaquete. Most of the 76 mm guns were lost early in the war; some captured examples armed German Panzerjäger self-propelled guns. Marshal Kulik ordered the F-22USV back into production. At Artillery Factory No. 92, Grabin put the ZiS-3 into mass production in December 1941.

The factory's ZiS-3 stockpile grew and went unused as the Red Army refused to accept the guns without the usual acceptance trials. Grabin convinced the army to issue the guns for impromptu testing at the front, where it proved superior to existing divisional field guns. A subsequent demonstration impressed Joseph Stalin, who praised the weapon as "a masterpiece of artillery systems design." The ZiS-3 underwent an official five-day acceptance trial in February 1942, and was then accepted into service as divisional field gun model 1942 (full official name).

Grabin worked to increase production at Artillery Factory No. 92. Conveyor assembly lines admitted the use of low-skilled labour without significant quality loss. Experienced laborers and engineers worked on complicated equipment and served as brigade leaders; they were replaced on the production line by young factory workers who were exempt from conscription, producing a new generation of skilled labourers and engineers. More than 103,000 ZiS-3s were produced by the end of the war, making it the most numerous Soviet field gun during the war.

Mass production of the ZiS-3 ceased after the war. It was replaced by the 85 mm D-44 divisional field gun. The D-44 had better anti-armour capabilities, but inferior mobility due to its increased weight.

The Finns captured 12 units, and designated them 76 K 42.

At least one ZiS-3 was produced at the Reșița Works in Reșița, Romania, during 1943. This Romanian-produced copy was tested against several Romanian-designed prototypes as well as some foreign models, until eventually one of the Romanian prototypes was selected for production as the Tunul antitanc DT-UDR 26, cal. 75 mm, md. 1943, commonly shortened to 75 mm Reşiţa Model 1943. This gun had the muzzle break, split-trail carriage and recoil/firing mechanisms of the ZiS-3. At least 375 DT-UDR guns were produced by Romania, including three prototypes.[5]

Self-propelled mountsEdit

The SU-76 was an assault gun mounting the ZiS-3 on the chassis of a T-70 light tank. More than 14,000 were produced between 1942 and 1945.

The Romanian TACAM R-2 tank destroyer was a R-2 tank converted to mount the ZiS-3 in a three-sided fighting compartment. Also, at one point during the development of the Mareșal tank destroyer, the ZiS-3 was fitted on one of the prototypes for trials. Eventually, the Romanians chose their own, superior DT-UDR 75 mm anti-tank gun for the final Mareșal prototypes.

The KSP-76 was a wartime light assault car mounting the ZiS-3; it did not advance beyond the prototype stage.

Ammunition dataEdit

Available ammunition
Type Model Weight, kg HE weight, g
Armour-piercing projectiles (muzzle velocity 700 m/s)
APHE BR-350A 6.3 155
AP (solid) BR-350SP 6.5 N/A
Composite Armour-piercing projectiles (muzzle velocity up to ? m/s)
  BR-350P 3.02 N/A
Developed after World War II BR-350N 3.02 N/A
High explosive and fragmentation shells (muzzle velocity 680 m/s)
HE/Fragmentation steel OF-350 6.2 710
HE/Fragmentation steely iron OF-350A 6.2 640
Fragmentation steely iron O-350A 6.21 540
HE/Fragmentation OF-350B 6.2 540
HE/Fragmentation OF-363 6.2 540
HE F-354 6.41 785
HE F-354M 6.1 815
HE developed in France F-354F 6.41 785
Other projectiles (muzzle velocity up to 680 m/s)
HEAT, developed after World War II BK-354 7 740
Shrapnel Sh-354 6.5 85
Shrapnel Sh-354T 6.66 85
Shrapnel Sh-354G 6.58 85
Shrapnel Sh-361 6.61 85
Chemical OH-350 6.25
Incendiary long-range Z-350 6.24 240
Incendiary Z-354 4.65 240
Smoke long-range D-350 6.45 N/A
Smoke steely iron D-350A 6.45 N/A
Armour penetration table
AP Projectile BR-350A
Distance, m Meet angle 60°, mm Meet angle 90°, mm
100 67 82
500 61 75
1000 55 67
1500 49 60
2000 43 53
These data were obtained by Soviet methods of armour penetration measurement (penetration probability equals 75%).
They are not directly comparable with western data of similar type.

Combat historyEdit

An abandoned Soviet-made North Korean ZiS-3 on a hill overlooking Incheon harbor after its capture by United Nations forces during the amphibious landings at Incheon in mid-September 1950.

Soviet soldiers liked the ZiS-3 for its extreme reliability, durability, and accuracy. The gun was easy to maintain and use by novice crews. The light carriage allowed the ZiS-3 to be towed by trucks, heavy jeeps (like American lend-leased Dodge 3/4), or even hauled by the crew.

The gun was also quite popular with the German Wehrmacht. The gun was introduced into German service as the Kanone 7.62 cm (r) and factories were retooled to produce ammunition for it.

ZiS-3 had good anti-armour capabilities. Its armour-piercing round could knock out any early German light and medium tank. The frontal armour of later tanks, like the Tiger I and later the Panther, were immune to the ZiS-3[citation needed].

A ZiS-3 battery had four guns; three batteries made a division, or battalion. Independent anti-tank regiments consisted of six batteries with no divisions. A staff battery included a fire control section.

The ZiS-3 saw combat service with North Korean forces during the Korean War (1950–1953).[6] It was also deployed by the People's Armed Forces for the Liberation of Angola (FAPLA) during the Angolan Civil War and the South African Border War[7] and by Tanzania People's Defence Force during Uganda–Tanzania War in 1978–1979.[8]

Post-Cold WarEdit

The ZiS-3 was exported to Soviet allies during the Cold War, who in turn exported it to Third World countries. In Europe, Austria received about 36 of them in 1955 and kept them in service until 1991 under the designation PaK-M42.[9] In the 1990s, both the Croatian Army and the Army of the Republic of Serb Krajina used it.[10]

In 2016, the gun remained in active service with the armies of at least six sovereign nations: Cambodia, Nicaragua, Namibia, Sudan, Mozambique, and Tanzania.[11] Mozambique currently operates the largest number of ZiS-3s, with 180 remaining in service.[12] A number of other nations, including Zimbabwe, retain functioning ZiS-3s to fire gun salutes during ceremonial occasions.[13]



  1. ^ Schuster, Carl Otis; Coffey, David (May 2011). "Vietnam, Democratic Republic of, Army". In Tucker, Spencer C. (ed.). The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War: A Political, Social, and Military History (2 ed.). p. 1251. ISBN 978-1-85109-960-3.
  2. ^ Isby, David C. (1990). The War in Afghanistan 1979-1989: The Soviet Empire at High Tide. Concord Publications. p. 41. ISBN 978-9623610094.
  3. ^ Foedrowitz, Michael (1996). Soviet Field Artillery in World War 2. Schiffer Military History. p. 11.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Foss, Christopher (1977). Jane's pocket book of towed artillery. New York: Collier. p. 37. ISBN 0-02-080600-0. OCLC 911907988.
  5. ^ Mark Axworthy, London: Arms and Armour, 1995, Third Axis, Fourth Ally: Romanian Armed Forces in the European War, 1941–1945, pp. 149 and 235-237
  6. ^ Utz, Curtis A., Assault From the Sea: The Amphibious Landing at Inchon, Naval Historical Center, Department of the Navy, Washington , D.C., 2000, ISBN 0-945274-27-0, p. 30.
  7. ^ "Ratel teen tenk en". Port Elizabeth: International Veterans' Association/South African Forces Club. 2011. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2016.
  8. ^ Cooper, Tom; Fontanellaz, Adrien (October 2016). "La guerre du Kagera". Batailles et Blindés (in French). No. 75. Caraktère. pp. 72–81. ISSN 1765-0828.
  9. ^ "Rearming Austria: WWII weapons". 14 June 2015.
  10. ^ a b "Non‐NATO Europe". The Military Balance. 94(1): 73–106. 1994. doi:10.1080/04597229408460066.
  11. ^ "Future Artillery Systems: 2016 Market Report" (PDF). Tidworth: Defence IQ. 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 August 2016. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
  12. ^ Kruger, Anton; Martin, Guy (23 August 2013). "Armed Forces for the Defence of Mozambique". Johannesburg: DefenceWeb. Archived from the original on 19 March 2018. Retrieved 19 March 2018.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  13. ^ Chaipa, Edmore (29 November 2013). "Meaning of the Gun Salute". The Herald. Harare, Zimbabwe. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  14. ^ a b "Asia and Australasia". The Military Balance. 90(1): 148–181. 1990. doi:10.1080/04597229008460022.
  15. ^ a b "The Middle East and North Africa". The Military Balance. 90(1): 97–122. 1990. doi:10.1080/04597229008460020.
  16. ^ a b c d e f "Sub‐Saharan Africa". The Military Balance. 90(1): 123–147. 1990. doi:10.1080/04597229008460021.
  17. ^ "Caribbean and Latin America". The Military Balance. 90(1): 182–206. 1990. doi:10.1080/04597229008460023.


  • Shunkov V. N. - The Weapons of the Red Army, Mn. Harvest, 1999 (Шунков В. Н. - Оружие Красной Армии. — Мн.: Харвест, 1999.) ISBN 978-985-433-469-1

External linksEdit