Artillery / USSR
76.2-mm Field Gun Model 00/02 and 02/30

76.2-mm Field Gun Model 00/02 and 02/30

The family of field guns based on the old Russian 00/02 design are among that group of weapons which are little known or regarded but are yet among those which have provided excellent service over a long period. They are still hardly known outside the Soviet Union, but they were used throughout two world wars (and in a great number of other conflicts as well) and have all played their part in world history.

The original gun in the series was the Russian 76.2-mm Field Gun Model 00, produced in 1900 by Putilov. The origins of the Model 00 may have been in a Krupp design, for the Russian weapon certainly had many of the current Krupp features, but by 1902 the full production model, the Model 00/02 was being issued to the Tsarist armies. The type was used throughout the many large-scale campaigns on the Eastern Front in World War I, and throughout them all was used in an unspectacular but effective manner.

After the upheavals of 1918 the Model 00/02 was retained by the new Red Army but numbers were either sold or handed over to some of the new Baltic States and such nations under Soviet influence such as Finland. Poland also received a batch which they proceeded to convert from the original 76.2-mm (3-in) to 75-mm (2.95-in) calibre to match the rest of their French-supplied equipments. The Poles knew the gun as the armata wz 02/26, and it was still in service when Germany attacked in 1939, examples passing into German service being designated 7.5-cm FK 02/26(p).

In the Soviet Union the Red Army decided to modernize its large but elderly gun stocks and the Model 00/02 was an early candidate for the process. In 1930 most of the in-service guns were updated by the introduction of new ammunition, better propellants and in some cases new barrels. To confuse matters some guns retained their original IV30 barrels while others were fitted with entirely new IV40 barrels. Both of these modernized guns were then known as the Model 02/30, and became two of the standard Red Army artillery field pieces. Large numbers were in use when the Germans invaded in 1941, and the Germans in turn took over the types as two of their own standard field weapons (7.62-cm FK 295/l(r) for the L/30 and 7.62-cm FK 295/2(r) for the L/40). The guns were later relegated to the usual round of second-line units and Atlantic Wall beach-defence purposes.

The Model 02/30 was not used only by the Red Army. Numbers found their way all over the world, especially in the years following 1945 when many started to appear in the Far East. Large numbers were handed over to the Communist Chinese, who used them both against their Nationalist foes and later against the United Nations forces in Korea. The type turned up again in the hands of the Viet Minh in IndoChina and it may be doubted if the last has yet been heard of this gun.

For all its longevity and variety of forms, the Model 00/02 and Model 037 30 were entirely orthodox guns in almost every way. Most never lost their original spoked wheels or their simple box trails, and the majority appear to have retained their gun shields throughout their service lives. They must have been produced in thousands, but perhaps the greatest reasons for their longevity were their essential simplicity and design to meet the worst rigours of the Russian terrain and climate. Any weapon that could resist them could stand up to virtually anything.

Specification Model 00/03 (ySO type)

Calibre: 76.2 mm (3 in)
Length of piece: 2.286 m (90 in)
Weight: in action 1320 kg (2,910 lb)
Elevation :-5∞ to +37∞
Traverse: 2.66∞ 
Muzzle velocity: 646 m (2,119 ft) per second
Range: 12400 m (13,565 yards)
Shell weight: 6.4 kg (14.11 lb)
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