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Artillery / Towed guns / M-30


General Facts

  • TYPE
    Towed howitzer


    M1938 (NATO reporting name)
    52-G-463 (GRAU index number)
    Type 54 (Chinese production)

    Foreign service designations:
    12,2 cm s.F.H.396(r) (Nazi Germany) 122 H 38 (Finland)
    Tarack 38 (Hungary)
    Vz 38 (Czechoslovakia)
    Wz. 1938 (Poland)

    Late 1930's

    F.F. Petrov

    1939 - 1955 (USSR)

    China - Norinco
    USSR - Motovilikha plant

    19.266 produced in USSR, plus several thousand more in China


    Rugged and reliable
    Rather heavy carriage
    Limited range by modern standards


The M-30 is a World War 2 era towed howitzer of Soviet origin. It was developed in the USSR just before World War 2 in order to replace several pre World Wor 1 designs. The M-30 proved to be a successful and effective design during World War 2 and various Cold War conflicts. By present day standards its range, rate of fire and weight are well below the norm.


The M-30 follows a classic rugged design with its spilt trail two wheel carriage, hydraulic recoil buffer and gun shield. The chassis is relatively heavy in relation to the ordnance, which is a rifled 122mm 23-caliber howitzer without muzzle brake. An 8 men crew is required for normal operations. The preparation of the split trail carriage before firing requires about 1.5 minutes. Both indirect fire and direct fire sights are fitted. The gun shield provides a degree of protection against small arms fire over the frontal arc.


The M-30 fires 122mm shells out to a maximum range of 11.8 km. In the direct fire role a HEAT shell may be fired in addtion to the HE-Frag shells. The maximum rate of fire is 5 to 6 rounds per minute. During sustained fire this is reduced to 1 to 2 rpm.


The M-30 is towed by its split trail carriage and does not require a limber. Given its caliber the M-30 is rather heavy and as such it is somewhat more difficult to move. It is usually towed by a light truck, medium truck or artillery tractor. It can also be drawn by six horses or manhandled over short distances. Maximum towing speed is 50 km/h on paved roads and 35 km/h in dirt roads.


The M-30 was used in large numbers by the Soviet army during World War 2. Over 17.000 were produced during World War 2 and several thousand more after the war. The M-30 was widely exported to Soviet allies in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Since 1960 the M-30 was supplemented by the D-30 in Soviet service and today none remain in Russian service. China produced several thousand M-30's during the early Cold War era as the Type 54. Many Type 54 have also been exported. Both M-30 and Type 54 remain in active use with various third world nations.



The M-30 is a World War 2 era 122mm towed howitzer. It has a conventional split trail carriage design with a gun shield. It is easy to identify by its large steel wheels with rubber tires, angled gun shield and short ordnance without muzzle brake.

M-30: Original Soviet production model. No variants were produced in the USSR.
Type 54: Chinese production model, direct copy of original M-30.
Type 54-I: Improved Chinese production model.
Wz. 1938/1955: Polish upgrade with castor wheel on trails and improved sights. Original model was called Wz. 1938 in Polish service.
Vz 38/74: Czechoslovak upgrade with large pressurized wheels. Original model was called Vz 38 in Czechoslovak service.
Tarack 38/68M: Hungarian upgrade with medium sized pressurized wheels. Original model was called Tarack 38 in Hungarian service.

  • Specifications:
  • M-30
TypeTowed howitzer
Ordnance122mm L/23 howitzer, 2.8 m barrel
Elevation-3 to +63.5°
Traverse49° in total
Rate of fire5 to 6 rpm, 75 rounds in the first hour
Range11.8 km maximum, 630 m with HEAT rounds
Carriage2 wheel split trail carriage, 1.6 m track
Weight2.450 kg in firing position, 3.1 t with limber
Length5.9 m (travelling)
Width1.98 m (travelling)
Height1.71 m (travelling)
Towing vehicle6x6 truck, Ural 375 or MT-LB
RemarksGun shield


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