S-23 180mm field gun gallery

NII-58 Bureau designed a huge 180mm gun as part of a project to equip the Soviet Army with a range of very long-range guns and howitzers in the middle of the Cold War. In full escalation of atomic weapons, it is not negligible that the idea was to have gun batteries capable of using low-yield tactical nuclear projectiles on the battlefield. Although several designs of up to 280mm caliber were presented, eventually only one would go into series production, albeit discontinuously, the 180mm S-23 towed gun.
The S-23 gun was based on the old Chapayev naval gun which was fitted with a “pepper shaker” shape muzzle brake and coupled to a heavy split arm trail carriage with one axle. The axle was in the front and had two twin rubber-tired roadwheels, in the rear part of the piece a detachable two-wheel dolly was installed. During transport, the barrel is retracted back to decrease its huge length. This gun does not have any type of shield or protection for the servers, since thanks to its great range it is not usual for it to be in the front line.
S-23 gun weigh more than 20 tons and is normally towed by an AT-T tracked artillery tractor or a heavy truck. This gun needs 16 servers for effective use, and they are normally transported, some on the same carrier tractor and others in other support vehicles, along with ammunition and other support elements. It has an MVShP direct sight, a S-85 mechanical sight and a PG-1M panoramic sight that made it a very accurate weapon, although it takes around 30 minutes to make the first shot since it reached its fire location.
This heavy gun has an elevation of -2º to + 50º and a traverse of 22º left and 22º right. The S-23 has a huge range of more than 30 km with ordinary ammunition, but with rocket-assisted projectiles (RAP) the range reaches almost 44 km. It features high explosive (HE) F-572 shell and the concrete-piercing G-572 shell and their rocket-assisted variants VF-572 and VG-572 respectively. It also had a shell with a 0.2 kT nuclear warhead. The rate of fire is 1 round per minute, but on sustained fire missions it down to 1 round every two minutes.
Although the production began in 1955, it was stopped after only 7 finished guns, but at the end of the 60s it was started again to comply with a request from Syria. In 1971 twelve S-23s were built for Syria and the production line continued, with several hundred more guns being manufactured. S-23 guns were normally framed in 12-piece artillery regiments within the Soviet Army. These Regiments could be assigned to support any Division in the battle front according to Soviet doctrine. In 1990 the USSR had about 180 S-23s in service, which were progressively replaced by self-propelled howitzers and FROG-type artillery rockets.
Syria acquired 36 units and North Korea 72, part of which was used to create a Koksan-type self-propelled gun. Syria has used these guns profusely and with considerable success in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, during the Lebanese Civil War and in the more recent Syrian Civil War. It is believed that the S-23 was exported to at least 10 countries allied to the Soviets, including Cuba, Egypt, India, Iraq (on the image) or Libya but currently only Syria has 10 guns active and Yemen also maintains an unknown number of guns in service.

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