1944 Model (BS-3) History

Field guns have long been an integral part of any successful Army. Napoleon achieved excellent results with his plays when writing the history of Europe in the 19th century. By the early 20th century, field guns had become the core of the armies of the world's major powers.

Although the tank arrived in World War I, it was still widely used and played an increasing role in offensive operations during World War II.

Artillery made up a large part of the Red Army forces during World War II. In September 1939, Germany invaded neighboring Poland, officially beginning World War II. A few weeks later, through a loose alliance, they were joined by the Soviet Union as Poland was desperately divided in two by the conquered.

Germany's attention then turned to Norway, the Netherlands, and finally France, while the Soviet leaders focused their attention on Finland. The alliance lasted until June 1941, when German forces, after a failed attempt to capture Britain, turned their fire to the heart of the Soviet Empire and began Operation Barbarossa on the Eastern Front.

With supply lines congested and the arrival of winter in Russia, Germany is advancing at an incredible pace, just a few kilometers from the capital Moscow.

With the rebuilding of the Legion and national zeal, the Soviet response was brutal and swift, sending the Eastern Front into a series of dramatic and historic battles that drove the Germans and their allies back to the west. During the reaction, the Soviets used various weapons. Throughout the conflict, more and more powerful designs emerged in the form of tanks, planes, and artillery.

One of the latter became the Model 1944 (M1944) 100mm Field Gun (also known as the BS-3). The type was used as a simple field gun for artillery support, and as a direct-fire anti-tank weapon once it was found to perform well in both roles.

By 1944, German tank armor had evolved from the configuration of the original Panzer I and II light tank series to the Panzer III and IV medium tank series. It was followed by the Panther V medium tank and the Tiger I and Tiger II heavy tanks, and better penetrating weapon systems were needed to fight these steely beasts.

While the Soviet 76.2mm gun proved to be one of the best 76mm guns of the war, increasing the caliber was the Soviet way.

The M1944 originated from the B-34, a powerful naval gun designed for the rigors of life at sea. This provided an excellent pedigree for the transition to land-based deployment and an equally excellent projectile system for the Red Army's artillery formations. The conversion was led by V.G. Grabin (1900-1980), who was also responsible for the production of the 76.2mm ZiS-3 series field guns for the Soviet Army - 103,000 of these guns were produced at the end of their history. As such, the M1944 brings an excellent base for a durable, robust and reliable field gun.

The M1944 was soon assigned to the Red Army Artillery Brigade along with the ZiS-3.

The M1944 delivers a good long-range strike with its basic 100x695mm R High Explosive Fragmentation Fragmentation (HE-FRAG) projectile. This proved fatal to easy targets and the concentration of enemy forces. Each HE-FRAG round weighs 34 pounds.

An armor-piercing round was also developed for the BR-412, BR-412B and BR-412D, which weighed up to 35 pounds. When used as a direct-firing anti-tank gun, the M1944 provided good 6-inch armor penetration at a range of 1,100 yards.

Projectiles are loaded in the usual way through a conventional breech at the rear of the barrel assembly.

The design of the M1944 is traditional, with the central barrel assembly covered by the double-baffle muzzle brake. The barrel rests on a positioning bracket, which itself sits on a split frame that mounts single- or dual-tire rubber wheels via a single axle. Mounting hardware allows elevation readings from -5 to +45 degrees and 58 degrees to either side before the entire gun must be rotated by the crew.

Due to the size of the guns and the weight of each projectile, the M1944 is typically manned by 6 to 8 personnel, consisting of unit commanders, gunners, support staff, and ammunition handlers. Ammunition is limited only by supply and is usually delivered by vehicle. The M1944 is shipped with the vehicle itself. A trained aircrew can fire 8 to 10 100mm rounds per minute in a sustained artillery role.

The muzzle velocity is 2,953 feet per second, providing the required range penetration. With bow gun support, the maximum range is approximately 12.4 miles (20 km). The system has a total weight of 8,050 pounds and a barrel length of 19 feet and 7 inches. The M1944 was designed with a thinly armored shield for basic defense against hazards on the battlefield.

Otherwise, the crew will be exposed to the elements and enemy fire.

The M1944 performed well throughout WWII (until May 1945). In addition to its use in that conflict, the series was used in many Soviet and Allied inventories in the years following the Cold War. Production spanned from 1944 to 1951, although its historical scope was further back.

At the time of writing (2013), many M1944s are said to be still in active circulation due to their excellent engineering and sound design.

The M1944 was eventually replaced in Red Army service by the 85mm D-48 in 1955. The M1944 was also modified for use as a direct-firing tank gun and was installed on the SU-199 tank destroyer and the famous T-54 main battle tank.

Type 1944 (BS-3) Specification


State Armory - USSR
6,500 units


- fire support/attack/damage





6.99 ft (2.13 m)


4.92 ft (1.5 m)


4 tons (3,650 kg; 8,047 lbs)


None. This is a towed gun.


Maximum range:

13 miles (21 km)

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1 x 100mm main barrel


Depends on the ammunition carrier.


M1944 ("Type 1944") - Basic series name

BS-3 - Alternative Names

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