The M1938 Howitzer, or M-30, was a howitzer that was used by the Soviet Union during World War II.


The M1938 weighed 2,250 kilograms, and required a crew of eight to operate efficiently. It had a 2.6 meter long barrel that fired 122 mm shells. The rate of fire of the M-30 varied between five or six rounds per minute.[1]

The maximum range of the howitzer was approximately 11,000 meters and the muzzle velocity was 509 meters per second. The recoil-system of the M-30 utilizes a hydraulic buffer and a hydro-pnuematic recuperator. The max elevation range from -3 degrees to +63 degrees.[2]


The M-30 Howitzer had several variants that were used throughout World War II, the first being the M-30S Howitzer. It wasn't modified extensively, but it was meant for use in the SU-122. There were also some experimental mounts for the M-30, but both the vehicle and the gun variants were deemed unfit for service, and the projects were abandoned. Other than the M-30S and the few experimental variants, the M-30 stayed virtually the same throughout the war.


M-30 Howitzer

An M-30 Howitzer.

The M1938 was first designed in the late 1930s by F. F. Petrov, as a replacement for the Red Army's pre-World War I howitzers. After competition from rival prototypes, his design was accepted in September, 1939. Some notable improvements over the previous models used by Russia included rubber tires and an improved suspension system, which made it easier to transport, and a longer barrel, which gave it increased range. This barrel would also be used on the hulls of T-34s in order to create the SU-122 self-propelled assault guns. Mass production of the M-30 began in 1940, with 17,526 being built between then and 1945.

In combat, the M1938 was usually used as an indirect-fire weapon, against targets such as field fortifications and large-scale troop movements. However, thanks to a high-explosive shell designed for it in 1943, it could be used to destroy enemy tanks as well.

Although the M1938 was mostly used by its Soviet designers during World War II, other nations fought with it, too. Both German and Finnish forces managed to capture many units, subsequently forcing them back into service for themselves. The Germans designated the guns as 12,2 s.F.H.396(r) heavy howitzers. The Finnish captured a total of forty-one M-30 howitzers during the continuation war and they proved effective in combat.[1] The M-30 would eventually be used by almost forty different nations, and some are still in use today.


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