8 December 2016

ZiS-43: When You Need a Bigger Bang

In War Thunder, the German and US trees already have SPAAGs on a half-tracked chassis. They combine the positive characteristics of a wheeled truck and a tracked tank chassis. Meet the ZiS-43 – a Soviet anti-air gun mounted on a half-tracked armoured vehicle.​


In battles on the Eastern Front, aircraft were primarily used to directly support troops, and assault planes and front-line bombers made hundreds and thousands of flights. To cover columns of armoured vehicles and infantry from these assaults, anti-aircraft weapons and ammunition were mounted on trucks or armoured vehicles. It is worth noting that throughout World War II, many experiments were done with half-tracked armoured vehicles. They surpassed ordinary wheeled vehicles in carrying capacity and cross-country ability while being much cheaper and lighter than full-tracked tanks. Based on these considerations, even in the interwar period, Germany equipped itself with a line of half-tracked vehicles which were used as a basis for the most varied SPAAGs: from quadruple ‘twenties’ to the infamous ‘eighty-eights’. Let’s not forget the American half-tracked armoured vehicles too, used as a basis for the production of SPAAGs.



The Soviet Union had less luck in this regard, although the requirement of vehicles with higher cross-country ability was high. Production began on the relatively successful half-tracked ZiS-42M truck only in 1942. It was used in the most varied roles: a fire-fighting vehicle, an artillery tractor and a cross-country truck. The ZiS-42 base was also used to create experimental SPGs and SPAAGs.  In November 1942, Zavod imeni Stalina (abbreviated ZiS) prepared an experimental ZiS-43 SPAAG on a half-tracked chassis. It was based on the ZiS-42M, which received an armored cabin and a 37 mm automatic 61-K with an armor screen. In November-December 1942, the ZiS-43 underwent testing, but was never put into series production. The prototype remained the sole ZiS-43 to be built.


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In the game, the ZiS-43 is sure to delight players with its weaponry. The 61-K 37 mm automatic anti-aircraft cannon with 360 degree rotation not only effectively shoots down aircraft, but also punches through lightly armoured vehicles with ease – there’s a reason the 61-K was used as an anti-tank weapon at the beginning of the war. Its high rate of fire and good vertical aiming angles make it a very convenient gun to shoot. The weapon was installed in such a way that the driver’s cabin did not prevent it from firing forwards.



In comparison with early SPAAGs based on ordinary trucks, it had increased defenses. The cabin is protected by 10mm armour plates set at an angle, and the weapon itself is covered by a 15 mm screen. The crew received protection from rifle-calibre bullets, so tanks can’t easily take out the ZiS-43 with frontal 7 mm machine guns. It will also be far harder for aircraft to knock out the ZiS-43.

Very soon, the ZiS-43 will appear in the game and compete with the Sd.Kfz. 6/2 and ZSU-37!


The War Thunder Team!

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