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URSS BM 13 Katyusha (English Version)

Article fait par :Claude Balmefrezol

Mis en ligne le 03/09/2009 à 09:14:16

BM-13 "Katyusha" Multiple rocket launchers
Version Francaise

with the authorization from web master Lend Lease

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Katyusha multiple rocket launchers Катюша was a type of rocket artillery first built and fielded by USSR
The MRL deliver a devastating amount of explosives to an area target quickly, but with lower accuracy and requiring a longer time to reload. They are fragile compared to artillery guns, but inexpensive and easy to produce.
Katyusha was the first Self propelled artillery mass-produced by USSR . She was usually mounted on trucks.
This mobility gave some advantages
able to deliver a large blow and then move before being located and attacked with counter battery fire
the BM 13 was not a vehicle bat a MRLS mounted upon various frames like trucks half tracks or tracked vehicles
it is a weapon who in a few seconds, released on sixteen 132-mm rocket shells, upon a target
In USSR was in mid-May 1941, after as demonstration of this new military equipment the Red Army high command, led by Marshal SK Timoshenko. already one week after the start of the Great Patriotic War ( for Russians ), decide to form a separate battery of experimental rocket artillery depending from the Reserve Supreme high command. This name l BM-13-16 Katjusha
Little-known fact: the decision to mass production «Katjusha» in the Soviet Union took about 12 hours before the start of the Great Patriotic War, June 21st 1941
And the adoption of this weapon was initially, surroundin by secrecy He was called by code names such as Kostikov Guns and finally classed as Guards Mortars The name BM-13 was only allowed into secret documents in 1942, and remained classified until after the war.
Voronezh Komintern Factory with is nomenclature letter K, give the nickname of Katyusha af this weapon Katyousha was thea popular wartime song from Mikhail Isakovsky about a girl longing for her absent beloved, who is away performing military service Katyusha is the same name as Katie", and the diminutive from Katherine:
German troops coined the sobriquet Stalinorge alluding to the sound of the weapon's rockets 16 rounds can be release for the 7-10 second Time translation launcher SM-2 from marching in the firing position was 2-3 minutes, the vertical angle of the shooting was in the range of 4 ° to 45 °, horizontal shooting angle was 20 °.. The design of a launcher allows its movement in the charged state with a fairly high speed (up to 40 km / h) and rapid deployment to the fire position, which helped cause sudden attacks on the enemy. The significant factors that increase the tactical mobility of rocket artillery units armed BM-13N, was that as a base for the launcher was used by powerful American truck launcher MRL"Katyusha":
The creation of this launcher was finalized development of the production vehicle BM-13. It was in service until the end of the war
Following the adoption of aircraft 82-mm rockets air-to-air missiles RS-82 (1937) and 132-mm rockets air-to-earth "RS-132 (1938) in june 1938 the Group for the Study of Reactive Motion founded in 1931 to study various aspects rocket Группа изучения реактивного движения, Gruppa izucheniya reaktivnogo dvizheniya, abbr. ГИРД, GIRD was authorized by Main Agency of Missiles and Artillery of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation (GRAU) Главное ракетно-артиллерийское управление МО РФ (ГРАУ), Glavnoye raketno-artilleriyskoye upravleniye MO RF (GRAU)) department of the Soviet ministery defense to design and build a field of rocket-fire volley on the basis of shell RS-132
In accordance with this specification by the summer of 1939 the Institute has developed a new 132-mm high-explosive shell, splinter, later became the official name of M-13.
In comparison with the RS-132 aerial bomb that had a big range and a much more powerful warhead. The increase in flight range has been achieved by increasing the amount of rocket fuel, it was necessary to extend the missile and rocket nosecone to 48 cm shell M-13 was slightly better than the RS-132, aerodynamic characteristics, which allowed us to obtain higher accuracy.
The projectile has been developed for a self-multiply launcher.
I. Gvay with his team in Chelyabink built several prototype launchers firing the modified 132mm M-132 rockets over the sides of ZiS-5 trucks. These proved unstable, and V.N. Galkovskiy proposed mounting the launch rails longitudinally.
An in August 1939, born the BM-13 (BM stands for Boyevaya Mashina, 'combat vehicle' for M-13 rockets
Its first version was created based on the truck ZIS-5 and is denoted SM-1 Conducted from December 1938 to February 1939 test on Polygon showed that it did not fully meet your requirements.
Based on the results of tests Rocket Research Institute has developed a new launchers MU-2, which in September 1939 was adopted for artillery testing range. As a result ended in November 1939, were ordered five launchers for military trials. A salvo of rockets could completely straddle a target at a range of 5,500 metres

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Another installation commissioned Artillery management the Navy for use in coastal defense. But the problem was the reloading because it took up to 50 minutes to load and fire 24 rounds, while a conventional howitzer could fire 95 to 150 rounds in the same time
On June 21st 1941 installation was reveled to and the Soviet Government and on the same day, just a few hours before the start of World War II, decide of an urgent deployment of serial production of rockets and M-13 launcher, which is the official name BM-13 (боевая машина 13 )
Manufacturing plants BM-13 was organized at the Voronezh plant and also to Komintern and the Moscow factory "Kompressor". One of the main enterprises on production of rockets was the Moscow Plant. Vladimir Ilyich.
During the war the production of launchers, as a matter of urgency had been deployed at several enterprises with different production capacities, in connection with the construction of the installation to be more or less significant changes. Thus, the forces used up to ten varieties launcher BM-13, making it difficult to study personnel and adversely affect the operation of equipment. For these reasons, has been developed and in April 1943, adopted by a unified (normalized) launcher BM-13N, with the creation of which designers take a hard look at all the details and components to enhance the manufacturability of their production and reduce cost, resulting in all the sites were independent Indexes and became universal.
In general, the construction of lethal BM-13, has been stretched to the limit is simple - it was only a frame of eight guiding rails welded between the longitudinal bar. The whole secret consisted in jet mines, which started with the frame - each weighing 42.5 kg. In those first frames fastened their 16 pieces. Strengthen this frame, in principle, could be in any medium, including the usual collective-farm tractor
Mass production was ordered and the development of other models proceeded.
This weapon was inexpensive and could be manufactured in light industrial installations which did not have the heavy equipment to build conventional artillery gun barrels.The design was relatively simple,. He consisting of racks of parallel rails on which rockets were mounted, with a folding frame to raise the rails to launch position.
Each truck had between 14 and 48 launchers with a 132-mm diameter M-13 rocket 132-mm By the end of 1942, 3,237 Katyusha launchers of all types had been built, and by the end of the war total production reached about 10,000


The M-13 rocket of the BM-13 system was 180 centimeters long, 13.2 centimeters in diameter and weighed 42 kilograms . Shell M-13 consists of a head part and the powder jet. Main part of its design resembles an artillery splinter-and high-explosive projectile filled with explosive charge, which is used to undermine the contact fuse and a detonator further. Jet engine has a combustion chamber, in which the propelling charge of powder placed in a cylindrical checkers with the axial channel. For the ignition of propellant charges used squib. Formed during combustion of propellant gases checkers expires nozzle, which is the diaphragm, preventing the release of checkers through nozzle. Stabilization of projectile in flight is achieved through four tail-feathers, welded steel-forged halves. (This method of stabilization of lower accuracy compared with the stabilization of the rotation around the longitudinal axis, but provides a great range projectile.
In addition, the use of plumose stabilizer significantly simplifies the production of rocket. The range of M-13 projectile reaches 8470 m, but there has been a very large scatter. According to the tables in 1942 with the shooting range 3000 m lateral deviation was 51 m, range - 257 meters L
ater, 82-mm diameter M-8 and 310-mm diameter M-31 rockets were also developed.
In 1943, the upgraded version was developed rocket, designated the M-13-CC (improved accuracy). To improve the accuracy of the projectile firing M-13-MC in the front center thickening of the missile performed 12 tangentially arranged holes, through which at the time of the rocket engine is a part of powder gases, resulting in a shell rotation. Although the flight projectile with decreased slightly (to 7.9 km), improved accuracy has led to a reduction in the area of dispersion and to increase the density of the lamp 3 times in comparison with the M-13 missiles. Adoption of projectile M-13-MC into service in April 1944 contributed to a sharp increase in firing rocket artillery capabilities.
The weapon less accurate than conventional artillery was s extremely effective in saturation bombardment so BM 13 Katyusha batteries were often massed in very large numbers to create a shock effect on enemy forces.
Battery of four BM-13 launchers could fire a salvo in 7–10 seconds that delivered 4.35 tons of high explosives over a four-hectare (4 football pitches) but this weapon has a disadvantage with a long time to reload the launcher
It was common praxis to move the truck, at least for shorter distances, with the lower rockets already mounted.
Fire sequence


When truck arrive in firing postion he took place it was ready to fir in about 2-3 min
He must be y lowering and locking the rear stabilizing pads, and lowering the front blast shields into place.
For an usual crew of five to seven men. loading of the racks took from seven to ten minutes The sight used was a MP41 dial sight normally used for mortars. The control box was located in the cab, towards the right under the dashboard. The ignition sys¬tem was electrical and the battery and generator were in bins just behind the cab. The cab control consisted of a rota¬ry switch box, and the entire sixteen round load could be salved by a quick snap of the wrist
Elevation was limited to a maximum of 45 degrees. Traverse was either 10 or 20 degrees according to the chassis used.
Rockets re¬leased at .5 second intervals to pre¬vent them from striking each other in case of slewing, and therefore the whole load was fired in eight to ten seconds But it was possible to fire the rockets individually, The fuel burn of an M-13 rocket lasted .7 to 1.0 second
We found several launchers first the launcher were mounted on genuine frame Zis 6×4 trucks, as well as the two-axle ZiS-5 and ZiS-5V. In 1941, a small number of BM-13 launchers were mounted on STZ-5 artillery tractors We found also some BM 13 mounted on KV tank chassis
In 1942,USSR use various British, Canadian and U.SLend Lease trucks, ( sometimes referred to as BM-13S. ) The must used was the Studebaker US 6 2-1/2 ton truck who became the GAU's standard mounting in 1943, under the name of BM-13N (Normalizovanniy, 'standardized'),
More of 1,800 of this model were manufactured After WW2 , BM-13s were based on Soviet-built Zil 151 trucks. The vehicles has windshield protection shut, the rear ground stabilizers

Austin K6

Now we see the different mounts
The ZIS (Zavod im. Stalin Zavod imeni Stalina, 'Factory named for Stalin' now ZIL ) ЗиС- Mount

The first option - SM-1 at the base of the truck ZIS-5 ЗиС 5( genuine copy of US Autocar Model CA truck ) this truck three-axle was built in serie on October 1st 1933 to May 1948 the first with a break for 8 months - from October 1941 to June 1942 on. Pause need to relocate production from Moscow to Ulyanovsk, in the rear. The truck, became with the GaZ AA the main Soviet truck of 1930-50's Due to the lack of steel, the all-metal cab soon received a wooden style which together with the angled front fender made up the ZiS 5V.
His construction allow to fire rockets perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the vehicle But the shoot causes a deterioration of the vehicle with jets of hot gas Hence when changing implementation for the fire of rockets cabin receive a protection but launch always leads to a deterioration of the vehicle chassis is still too slow to reload and also ZIS-5 has a limited off-road performance.
The motor allow speed on the road of 60 km / h for a fuel consumption of 33litres/100 km
It was urgent had to construct a more powerful truck
the ZIS-6.ЗиС-6)

This truck was the Soviet general purpose 6×4 army cargo truck, a three-axle version of the ZiS 5 two-axle truck. It was built from 1933 until October 1941 at the Moscow factory and reached a total production of 21,239.
The robust and reliable base was used for many different bodies, for example as a searchlight truck or mobile workshop. But is best known for its role as the first multiple rocket launcher in July 1941. It was built by the "Compressor" Plant's Design Office during World War II (1941–45).
Improved launcher SM-2 based on off-road truck ZIS-6 had a 16 track, located along the axis of the vehicle. Every two guides were joined to form a unified structure, called "Spark." This design allows to standardize the launchers relatively easy to install on the chassis of a truck with minimal modifications The crew of the VMS-6 consisted of 5-7 people, and with a full ammunition load of the car weighed more than eight tons. Unlike its analogue two-LIS-6 frame was strengthened and enlarged the filling petrol tank volume to 105 liters. The car had a brake booster with a vacuum pump and compressor for the tires. With the two rear axle VMS-6 had a much better cross and are not so afraid by dirt roads and snow, allowing you to quickly change the position.
Maximum speed was even lower than that of the ZIS-5 - only 55 km / h on road 10 km / h all terrain .Why ? because he has the same engine
On good roads the truck can carry up to 4 tons of cargo, to the poor - 2.5, climb a 20 ° and wade down to 0.65 m. Consumption was on highway up to 40 liters per 100 km
With the introduction of reservation fuel, side and rear walls of the cab driver has been enhanced survivability launchers in the battle.
Glass cockpit closed armored folding shields. On the vehicle commander's seat on the front panel was mounted a small rectangular box with a vane, the disc resembles a telephone set, and the handle for turning the disc. This device was called "remote control fire (VWO). It was a special bundle of wires to the battery, and each guide.
STZ-5 BM-13-16 Rocket Launcher

This Soviet HST was bulit in large numbers by Stalingrad Tractor Zavod, and he provided a good chassis for the newly developed BM-13-16 Rocket launchers.
It saw its first action at the successful Moscow counter-offensive in winter 1941 and also excelled at Operation »Uranus against German 6th Army at Stalingrad in November 1942.
Fordson WOT8, 30-cwt (1½-ton), 4x4,
It was a British trukc early delivered to USSR in 1942 The 30-cwt 4x4 wartime truck, was derived from the 3-ton WOT6, Some were converted to carry BM-13-16 "Katiusha" MLR.
Chevrolet G-7117, 1½-ton, 4x4,

This US Truck was with 60,000 units one of the most land lease truck,delivered,to USSR
The Red Army preferred its use as gun towing vehicle and as troop transporter, with the upper cargo side bars converted to seats. He was used as base for the BM-8-48 and BM-13-16 before April 1943 when the installation was standardized on the Studebaker US 6.
Dodge T-203 B, 1½-ton, 4x4, with BM-13-16 "Katiusha" Rocket Launcher

In 1942, Russians need for suitable BM-13-16 "Katiusha" rocket launcher chassis as addition to and substitution for their own, by now more and more obsolete ZIS-6 truck
In the beginning of 1942 they receive Lend-Lease Dodge T 203 B truck chassis
Primarily, they were concerned about the truck's frame stability and passability on poor ground. At the end of the tests, they had found the best suited chassis for the rest of the war and they called it BM-13N, the "N" for "normalized".
Ford/Marmon-Herrington ("Ford-Marmon") HH6-COE41.5-ton, 4x4,

The HH6-COE4 was a 4x4 conversion of the Ford 198W 1½-ton 4x2 COE commercial truck, a work so typical for the small US firm Marmon-Herrington.
500 Marmon-Herrington Ford 4x4 COE conversions, were delivered to USSR from late 1941 to 1942, were used to carry BM-13-16 "Katiusha" Rocket Launchers, It was the probably the first foreign chassis with the BM-13 installed on
GMC CCKW-352, 2½-ton, 6x6,

This truck better known as "Deuce-and-a-Half" or "Jimmy was tested sa MRL truck mount on used after in 1942
International K7 ("Inter"), 2½-ton, 4x2,

his truck was the father of the soviet post war ZIS(ZIL)-151.
International M-5-6-318 ("Inter"), 2½-ton, 6x6,
He will not to be confused with the M-5H-6 trucks, exclusively fabricated for and used by the USN and USMC,
some 3,500 M-5-6 trucks were produced by International Harvester on a Quartermaster Corps foreign aid order from 1941 on, the main recipient being the Soviet Union.
They were in majority 6x4 type with 3,000 pieces
Studebaker US6x6 U3, 2½-ton, 6x6,

From June of 1941 until August of 1945, the Studebaker Corp. at South Bend, Indiana, produced almost 200,000 of their legendary 2½-ton US6.
The truck came in 13 variations, as 6x6 and 6x4, with short and long wheelbase, with and w/o winch, as cargo and dump truck and as tractor.
The Soviet Union received almost the complete 6x6 production of 105,000 as well as the majority of the 90,000 6x4 produced. Their engine power to 95 hp and a maximum speed at full load up to 70 km / h on the highway Only problem the expense of gasoline and oil Full tank is usually enough for 300-400 km.
The Studebekery or "Studer", as they called it, became the reliable workhorse of the Red Army and contributed much to the fast late-war advances He easily could be five tons of load
After testing no less than 9 Lend-Lease truck chassis, the "Katiusha" BM-13-16 rocket launcher was standardized on the US6 chassis in April 1943, from then on officially called »BM-13N«, with "N" for "normalized «and the greatest number of «Katjusha» was mounted on three-wheel «Studebekerah».
As it may sound unpatriotic almost during Cold War , but it was thanks to a powerful and reliable American trucks, our battery of reactive attitudes obtain the mobility front, but in the dictionary of Russian language have become a new word «studebeker», meaning - «military truck».
In the other sense  Americans and Nato allied ave mimimized the red army figth who helped allied landing
19700 trucks were released in disassembled form. Screw assembly of trucks and assembly are carried out on the jet units evacuated the plant VMS.
Brief History
The first battery of field artillery rocket, sent to the front on the night of 1 to 2 Jul, On July 7, 1941 a group of seven strange looking ZiS-6 6x4 trucks approached the shores of the Berezina river near Novobrisov.
They were carrying a long rail construction and were followed by some 40 supply trucks.
The »Independent Artillery Battery" of Captain I.A.Fleryov was about to present a new weapon on the battlefield.
After loading each of the 16 rails with 10 pound rocket projectiles Fleryov gave the final command.
Within seconds 112 rockets were launched in the direction of the German invaders.
This procedure was repeated several times that month including the famous attack on the Orsha station on July 14.
The impact of the new weapon, officially called »Guards Mortar«, on both sides was tremendous. While the Soviet Defense Commissariat (»GKO«) ordered more of the M-13 lauchers, the German Supreme Command did everything to catch Fleryov and its new weapon.
After the fire in OKW, received a telegram
Russian use of a battery with an unprecedented number of shells. It is like and an hurricane. Loss of significant people” and Commander of the Western Front, Marshal A. Eremenko write «The effect of a one-gap 112 min during the few seconds exceeded all expectations. Soldiers of the enemy fled in panic to escape. Edged back, and our soldiers who were at the forefront, in the vicinity of the gaps.
Highly effective action battery captain IA Flerova and formed followed by a further seven of these cells contributed to the rapid increase rate of production of reactive weapons.
After the first bursts German s aircraft opene the hunt tor Captain Fleryov unit and they , heavily bombed areas of alleged bases.
In October 1941, the battery was near Smolensk and in October 6th was given a salvo of shells left over, after which the car just blew up. The commander of the battery died in those battles, but many of the staff managed to get out of the environment.
Already in the autumn of 1941, on the fronts of 45 divisions with 3 batteries of four launchers
In 1941 were manufactured 593 MB-13 installation.
The Regiment had 1,414 personnel, 36 launchers BM-13 and 12 anti-aircraft 37 mm guns.
Salvo ‘s regiment was 576 x 132mm shells and he “deal” more than 100 hectares.
Officially known as the Guards regiments of artillery mortar He was upon the orders of the Soviet Supreme high command.
Technical Data Rocket M-13
Caliber, mm 132
Year 1941
Crew, 10-12
Mass of projectile, 42,3 kg
Weight of explosive, kg 4,9
Firing range-maximum, 8.47 km
Time flight , 7-10 sec
Combat Vehicle SM-2
Base ZiS-6 (8x8)
The mass of the BM, t 43,7
Maximum speed, km / h 40
The number of guides 16
The angle of vertical fire, hail from +4 to +45
Horizontal shooting angle, deg 20