37 mm M1939 (61-K) Anti-Aircraft Gun
|Country of Origin||Russia|
|Ammunition Weight||0.70 kg|
|Rate of Fire||60 rounds/min|
|Muzzle Velocity||960 m/s|
Contributor: C. Peter Chenww2dbaseIn Jan 1938, the Artillery Factory Number 8 in Kaliningrad, Russia was ordered to develop a 37-millimeter anti-aircraft weapon based on a 45-millimeter design already developed but thought to be too large to be an effective field weapon. Chief designer Mikhail Loginov, assisted by Lev Loktev, completed the new weapon design within months, and by Oct 1938 the new weapon, designated "37-millimeter M1939 (61-K) automatic air defense guns", entered firing trials. In 1940, competitive firing trials were conducted, with results indicating that these new weapons performed similar to the Bofors 40-millimeter/56 guns.
The design entered production in 1939 first as a ground-operated weapon for the Soviet Army. These weapons were mounted on four-wheeled ZU-7 carriages operated by eight men. They each carried 200 rounds of ammunition. These guns were considered effective weapons against German dive bombers and horizontal bombers, and had claimed to have shot down 14,657 enemy aircraft. One major complaint, however, was that the barrels had relatively short service lives, with barrels needing to be changed after only 100 rounds fired; the ground-based weapons never had this issue addressed. This variant design remained in production until 1945 (by which time 20,000 units were built), but they remained in active service until the ZSU-57-2 self-propelled anti-aircraft guns were introduced in 1950. Although production in Russia ceased in 1945, factories in Poland, North Korea, and communist China continued to build them for some years to come. The single-barreled variant was designed Type 55 by the Chinese communists, twin-barreled as Types 63, 65, Type 74, Type 74SD, and Type 79-III. The North Koreans mounted these guns onto vehicles, thus creating self-propelled weapons.
The 70K variant design entered production shortly after the ground variant production began. They saw service with T301-class minesweepers, among other warships. 3,113 units of the 70K variant were built between 1939 and 1955. In 1946, the V-11 variant design came into production in a twin-barreled configuration. They were also equipped with water-cooling systems, which alleviated the problem with the short barrel life problem. Between 1946 and 1957, 1,872 V-11 mounts were built. The Chinese communists also built the V-11 mounts, under the designation Type 76.
In foreign service, various variants of this Russian 37-millimeter gun design saw action in the Vietnam War, the Cambodian Civil War, and other conflicts.
Last Major Revision: Aug 2010
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Chiang Kaishek, 31 Jul 1937