ZIS-6 and other 100-107 mm tank guns developed in 1941
Vasiliy Gavrilovich Grabin is one of the best known Soviet gun designers. It just so happened that design bureaus under his direction created the most common tank and divisional guns used by the Red Army in the war. Grabin rose to fame as an artillery designer in the second half of the 1930s. He first created the F-22 and F-22 USV guns, then the F-32 and F-34. Far from all products developed at factory #92 went into mass production, but that was a typical scenario. The most important thing was that Grabin's designs were often better than its competitors. Factory #92's design bureau has no equal in 1940-1942. Their F-34 gun became the T-34's main weapon, and a variant of it called ZIS-5 became the main gun of the KV-1 in the fall of 1941. The Red Army's main towed gun was the ZIS-3, a grassroots initiative that could be used both as field artillery or an anti-tank gun. As an anti-tank gun, it was only beaten by another of Grabin's creations, the ZIS-2. The Central Artillery Design Bureau created on Grabin's initiative began to lose ground to factory #9's design bureau, but nevertheless the S-53/ZIS-S-53 was the T-34-85's main gun. The TsAKB was also responsible for the BS-3, another combination anti-tank and field gun. The BS-3, ZIS-S-53, and ZIS-3 still fight in distant corners of the world.
|KV-2 with a ZIS-6 at the Gorohovets ANIOP, June 1941.
|The idea of arming the KV-2 tank with a gun that had the ballistics of the 107 mm M-60 was born in June of 1940. The Kirov factory was expected to do this work, but they refused.
|Status of work as of January 15th, 1941. An F-42 gun had already been installed in a T-28 tank, but not yet tested.
|Kirov factory attempted to return to the 107 mm gun program, except they were about half a year too late.
|Cutaway of the KV-3 tank. Note that the drawing shows fixed ammunition.
|Draft of a decree to put the ZIS-6 gun into production.
|A KV-2 tank with a hurriedly installed ZIS-6 gun before trials.
|Marshal Kulik's personal involvement was required to get the gun installed.
|Overall view of the gun.
|As requested, the gun had a rammer, fume extractor, and used fixed ammunition.
|Trials of the gun. The tall man in a white jacket is Grabin.
|Progress of building parts for the ZIS-6. Note that more of the work was completed than for the ZIS-2.
|The same ZIS-6A that is so often mentioned alongside the KV-7. In reality, it has nothing to do with the assault tank.
Fortune turned against the ZIS-6. Production of the M-60 gun ended and other calibers gained priority: first the 85 mm (52-K AA gun) then 122 mm (A-19 corps gun). The third caliber was 100 mm. In the end, Soviet artillery returned to naval guns, settling for the fact that an AP shell would have to be urgently designed.