76.2mm Divisional Gun Model 1942 (ZiS 3)

The 76.2mm Divisional Canon Model 1942 (ZiS 3) was the most numerous Soviet field gun of the Second World War, and was mass produced after the German invasion of 1941.

The main pre-war 76.2mm gun was the Model 1939 76mm USV, a modern gun with a well designed recoil system, using a split trail carriage. However production had ended before the German invasion, as the Red Army prepared to move on to heavier guns for their divisional guns. When the Germans invaded, many of the older guns were captured, leaving the Red Army in urgent need of new guns. The Germans also captured the factories that produced the carriages for the Model 1939, but not the factories producing the barrels or recoil systems.

76mm M1942 (ZiS 3) firing into East Prussia, 1944
76mm M1942 (ZiS 3) firing into East Prussia, 1944

Luckily one design was almost ready to enter production. This had been produced at Gorki by A.E.Kvorostin, E.A. Sankin, A.F. Gordeyev, led by General Vassily Grabin, and took the barrel and recoil system from the Model 1939 and mounted it on the carriage from the same factory’s 57mm Anti-Tank Gun Model 1941 ZiS 2. This was a sturdy carriage, designed to cope with the high muzzle velocity of the anti-tank rounds. It was thus able to cope with the forces generated by the larger 76.2mm field gun, especially after a muzzle brake was installed. The first version had a limited range of elevation, as the anti-tank gun hadn’t needed to reach very long range. This was fixed in the main production version, which could be elevated to 37 degrees, giving it similar range to the more complex older guns. The definitive Model 1942 used a modified split trail carriage with tubular trails, which was stronger than the original 57mm AT carriage, and was also used on later versions of that gun.

Like the older guns the Model 1942 had the recoil system split, with part above and part below the barrel. The barrel was mounted on a short cradle, with part of the recoil system below it. The two parts of the recoil system were linked at the front by a triangular frame, with the barrel emerging form its middle.

The Model 1942 was quicker and cheaper to construct than earlier Soviet field guns, and was the first to be built on a truly production line basis.

The Model 1942 fired a lighter shell than earlier Soviet 76.2mm guns, and shared its ammo with the gun used in the T-34 tank. Like all Soviet field guns it could also be used as anti-tank gun.

The Model 1942 could fire HE, WP smoke, shrapnel, incendiary, AP/HE, HEAT and HVAP shells, but the HE and AP were by far the most common.

The Model 1942’s standard AP shell could penetrate 69mm of armour at 500m. Its HVAP shell could penetrate 92mm of armour at 500m or 58mm at 1,000m. Its HEAT shell could penetrate 120mm at all effective ranges.

The Model 1942 was the main gun used on the SU-76 self-propelled gun.

The Model 1942 soon accounted for most Soviet light field artillery. Each Rifle Division got 32, and each Guards Rifle Division 36 of them.

The Germans called it the ‘Ratsch-Bum’ or ‘Crash-Boom’, as the high muzzle velocity meant that the shell arrived immediately after the noise of the gun firing. Captured guns were pressed into service as the 7.62cm FK 288/1(r).


7.6cm division canon ZiS-3


7.62cm (3in)

Barrel Length

Piece: L/42.6 3,246mm (127.8in)
Barrel: 2,994mm (117.87in)

Weight for transport

1,120kg (2,470lb)

Weight in action

1,120kg (2,470lb)


-5 to 37 degrees


54 degrees

Shell Weight

6.21kg (13.69lb)

Muzzle Velocity

680m/ s (2,230ft/ sec)

Maximum Range

13,290m (14,540 yards)

Rate of Fire

25 rounds/ min

Russian Weapons of World War II, David Porter. A good overview of the weapons used by the Soviet Union during the Second World War, ranging from individual infantry weapons up to the battleships of the Soviet fleet, as well as the various lend lease items that supported the Soviet war effort. Well illustrated, acknowledges the problems dealing with Soviet sources, and accurate in areas of some confusion (such as the various types of artillery pieces in service) (Read Full Review)
cover cover cover

WWII Home Page | WWII Subject Index | WWII Books | WWII Links | Day by Day

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (30 August 2018), 76.2mm Divisional Gun Model 1942 (ZiS 3) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_76_2mm_divisional_gun_1942_ZiS3.html

Help - F.A.Q. - Contact Us - Search - Recent - About Us - Privacy