> >"Katyusha" - a weapon of victory, which is known to all
There are many versions of the origin of the legendary name of the jet mortar. Before the war, Blanter’s Katyusha song was very popular, and one of the first volleys (the battery of Captain Flerov) was made from a steep cliff. According to another version (most likely, it is the most reliable), the nickname “Katyusha” migrated to the installation from the SB bombers; they also received their parish name even during the Spanish Civil War. But there are no discrepancies in the assessment of the role of this jet mobile mortar during the war at all: “Katyusha” is the weapon of the winners.
During the year, from 1937 to 1938, RS-82 rocket launchers were developed in the RNII, and then put into service. Powerful shells were mounted on I-16 fighters: they showed themselves perfectly at Khalkhin Gol. The command of the Red Army thought about a different application of the RS-82, and all the same RNII specialists received orders to invent a new design.
By the winter of 1941, engineers Guay, Galkovsky, Pavlenko and Popov created a unique launcher for a new type of projectile (RS-132) and mounted it in the back of a truck. Already in March of the same year, successful ground tests of the BM-13 (combat vehicle with 132 mm caliber shells) took place. The installation mounted on the ZIS-6 was put into service on June 21, 1941: the date can be considered the birthday of the legendary Katyusha.
The history remembered both the first salvo and the commander of the first Katyush battery. On August 3, 1941, on the Leningrad front, Senior Lieutenant Degtyarev showed the Germans what a “miracle weapon” really is. No faust-ammunition and next to not stood with this achievement of the Soviet engineering thought.
All-wheel drive killers
For many reasons, the ZIS-6 could not remain the main chassis for the mortar for a long time. Here, we were helped by British and American supplies under Lend-Lease: since 1942, a rocket-mounted mortar was installed on these four-wheel drive chassis, the most famous of which was the Studebaker US6. During the entire war, the Soviet Union launched more than ten thousand rocket artillery combat vehicles.
During the war years, numerous modifications were made to both the rocket launchers and their ammunition.For example, the model BM-13-CH had spiral guides, which gave the projectile rotational motion, which significantly increased its accuracy. The BM-8-48 fired shells of 82 mm caliber and had 48 guides, and the BM-31-12 was completely embarrassed by the giants of the caliber of 310 mm.
The main advantage of rocket launchers was the large number of shells, which they fired in one volley. If several machines worked on the same area at once, the destructive effect increased due to the interference of shock waves. The Katyushas differed in their extremely simple design, the sights of this installation were also simple. In addition, the BM-13 fired a volley in just 10 seconds and simply left the firing line, thereby avoiding a retaliatory strike.
Of course, any coin has two sides. "Katyusha" suffered from a large dispersion of shells and low firing accuracy. The effectiveness against armored vehicles and serious fortifications was quite small, as was the firing range. On the march, the Katyushas often overturned due to the high center of gravity, and the smoke during the firing unmasked the installation.