The SU-76M (SU-15) light SPG was accepted into service with the Red Army on July 8th, 1943. This was the second most numerous AFV in the Red Army after the T-34/T-34-85. The SU-76M design was good and changed little throughout the war, but feedback from the front lines led to a modernization by the end of it, primarily aimed at improving the protection of the fighting compartment. This vehicle did not receive a new index. It is sometimes referred to as "SU-76M post-war production", but that is not the case. Production began in April of 1945 and lasted for only two months after the end of WW2. These "post-war" SPGs fought during the Soviet-Japanese war of August 1945.
Bring back the roof!
Some historians claim that the appearance of the roof on the SU-12 was met negatively. Allegedly, the vehicle was deemed a gas chamber and the roofs were removed by front line troops. In reality, the situation was different. The roof was only installed on the SU-12 after March of 1943. Vehicles without roofs belong to early production batches. The SU-15M lost its roof due to a need to reduce weight. There was a fear that the extra mass can lead to breakdowns common on the SU-12.
|One of the many "homemade" roofs installed on the SU-76M.
|"Large modernization" SU-76M, NIBT Proving Grounds, September 1944.
"Senior NKTP Inspector comrade Svechkin attached to the Separate Coastal Army reports in his letter #0510 dated January 26th, 1944:
"I report that on the regiment's own initiative the tarp on one SU-76M was replaced with 10 mm thick boiler plate (work on other SPGs is ongoing) since up to 40 crewmen were lost in battle so far, mostly from bomb and shell splinters or blast coming from above. I ask you the reasons why factory #38 continues to install tarps instead of roofs."
This letter refers to SU-76M vehicles with serial numbers 10430, 58411, 310402, 310434, 310436, 58428, 310403 and GAZ model 203 engines produced by factory #38 in the first half of October of 1943.
|The vehicle was converted from an ordinary SU-76M build at factory #40.
|Three hatches were installed in the roof, but they did not completely solve the issue of ventilation.
|Second variant of the modernization. A DT machine gun is installed in the right firing port.
|If necessary, the commander's observation port in the front could be replaced with a machine gun. Trials showed that this setup did not work very well.
|The biggest changes can be seen from the rear. The army approved of the increased height of the rear armour.
|DT machine gun in the left firing port.
|DT machine gun on an anti-aircraft mount.
|Clamp for the DT machine gun used when firing from the firing ports.
|Rear of the SU-76M SPG produced at the Molotov GAZ factory in May of 1945.
|The tarp could flip up quickly and allow the vehicle to enter battle.
|DT machine gun in the right firing port.
|DT mount from the inside.
|Production AA machine gun mount.
|Tent rails on SU-76M vehicles produced at factory #40 until August 1945 inclusive.
|SU-76M, June 1945 production. This is how a typical modernized vehicle looked.
|A modernized SU-76M that fought in the Soviet-Japanese war. This vehicle was produced at the GAZ in April of 1945.
|SU-76M on parade in Lvov, May 1st, 1947.
|Lvov, November 7th, 1950.
|LSD 76/42S on parade in Prague, May 9th, 1949.
|A North Korean SU-76M destroyed during the UN counteroffensive, 1950.
|SU-76M in the PLA.
|Vietnamese T-34-85 and SU-76M converted to SPAAGs.