"Report by the Commander of the Armoured and Mechanized Forces of the Leningrad Front
July 31st, 1944
The SU-76 shows itself well in battle, but the open top and rear as well as a lack of machine gun in a ball mount are significant drawbacks.
In battle, the SU-76 fights alongside infantry among its ranks within range of enemy machine gun fire and grenades. The SU-76 crews are completely open and singular submachine gunners can come up from the flank or rear and destroy the crew with submachine guns and grenades. This is characteristic of battles in forests.
A lack of machine guns in ball mounts in the sides is also significant, as the SPG crew opens itself up when it turns.
Practice also shows that the SU-76 regiment commander needs a T-34 tank rather than a SU-76, since it does not protect him from mortar shells, which is frequently the cause of losses among regimental commanders. There were also cases where mortar shells fell directly into the fighting compartment, leading to not only the loss of the crew, but the vehicle. This cannot happen with a closed fighting compartment.
Reporting on the above, I propose the following:
- Make the rear and top of the SU-76 closed and covered with folding armour plates 6-8 mm thick. This will give the crew protection against submachine gunners and hand grenades.
The 811st SPG Regiment attached experimental folding plates that protected the crew and this solution showed itself well.
- Introduce a T-34 tank instead of a SU-76 for the regimental commander.
- Add two machine guns in ball mounts on the sides of the vehicle to fight against enemy infantry.