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Old 07-07-2009, 04:37 PM
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Default 76.2mm Putilov m/02 Field Gun

The Putilov 76.2mm m/02 Field Gun is an important gun, as it made up the mainstay of the Russian Imperial Army's artillery during the Great War, and was then used by all sides in the Civil War, and then by the Soviet Army well into WW2.
The design itself was pretty standard, but it had quite a long barrel (2.286 meters). It had a screw breech, and used two types of shells: HE and Shrapnel. (The Shrapnel shell contained some 260 lead balls.) The charges came in cartridges, and was fired using a simple contact trigger, that was cocked automatically when the breech was closed, and released by pulling a short lanyrad, permanently attached to the breech. (The photos below show the Putilov m/02 now preserved at the Finnish War Museum in Helsinki.)

The range of the 76.2mm Putilov was actually quite superior to any other field gun used by the other powers in WW1: it was capable of throwing a special grenade (7.45 kilo heavy) some 9.6 kilometers, while usual shrapnel shells could reach some 7.5 kilometers. (It was also accurate: the spread of the shots was small.) However, that range was rarely attained, as it could only be elevated some 16 degrees. Also, the gun itself was placed noticably low between the wheels - all due to it having not a standard straight wheel axle, but a sort of angled one.

For sure, this gave the gun a low profle - the 4mm thick shield was also foldable - but it also made it harder to deploy than other Field Guns, as intervening terrain more easily masked its shot. In practical terms this - compared to the low degree of elevation - meant that it could rarely be used at ranges over 4 kilometers IF there were elevated terrain in the line of sight.
It also had other problems. The recoil was quite violent, which could reduce the rate of fire, as it could mean that the gun got out of its original position. The carriage was designed to be light and mobile, but the construction itself was simple and pretty weak, and it broke down quite often. Also, the muzzle flash of the gun was bigger than other comparable guns, making it easy to spot during night-time firefights and artillery duels. The Germans thought that the gun sure had qualities, and used captured pieces themselves, but in the end considered it unsuitable for a war of positions and big battles - "nicht für den Stellungskrieg und Grosskampf eigene".

The 76.2mm Putilov was primarily employed in the Artillery Brigades of the Russian Infantry Divisions, of which there was one attached to each Division. Every Artillery Brigade consisted of six batteries of eight guns, which means a total of 48 guns per division. The Independent Infantry Brigades each ha a Artillery Batallion attached, each mustering a total of 24 guns.

76.2 mm
Weight of Gun (emplaced)
1.04 tons
Maximum Range
9.6 kilometers
Muzzle Velocity
588 metres per second
Min/Max Elevation
Weight of Shell
7.45 kilos
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