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SU-76i Tank Destroyer

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In 1942 the Soviet Army introduced the SU-76 tank destroyer, and later the improved SU-76M. However, these vehicles were lightly armoured and had an open superstructure, and so were not well suited to their role. They were replaced by the much better fully enclosed SU-85 and SU-152 designs. After the Battle of Kursk tank destroyers of all types were in very short supply and so a number of improvised vehicles were developed. Approximately 200 PzKpfw III’s were available to the Soviets, most having been captured during the German retreat from Stalingrad, and so it was decided to use these as the basis for a Soviet tank destroyer, the SU-76i.
The conversion from PzKpfw III to SU-76i began with the removal of the turret, and fighting compartment roof. A new, angular superstructure was welded in place and mounted the Soviet F-34 76.2mm gun in a new design of mantlet. It is likely that the F-34 became available in significant numbers due to the replacement of the KV-1, armed with the F-34, with the KV-85 at about the same time. The chassis used were from the PzKpfw III Ausf H and J, the majority being Ausf J.
The SU-76i was not as versatile as the conventional SU-76M since it was not capable of indirect fire. It was therefore restricted to serving the roles of tank destroyer and light assault gun in support of Soviet mechanised and rifle divisions. By late 1943 the F-34 gun was approaching obsolescence and it is unlikely that any SU-76i’s remained in service after 1944.

Model Id:168
Manufacture:Daimler-Benz AG, Marienfelde, Berlin, Germany (PzKpfw III prime contractor)
Factory 37, Sverdlovs'k, Ukraine (Conversion to SU-76i April-November 1943)

1) Lenin Prospekt Memorial, Sarny, Ukraine

Number of Photos: 0
Sample Photo from Album Number 155

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Unique ID: 155
Serial Number:
Other Identification:

On 11 January 1944 the Soviet 143rd Rifle Division, partially equipped with the SU-76i, advanced on the town of Sarny in the Ukraine. Sarny is 180 miles west-north-west of Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine. The Division attacked over the frozen Sluch River, east of Sarny. An unseasonal thaw had weakened the ice and one of the SU-76i’s crashed through into the water below, trapping its crew inside.
It lay there until the autumn of 1972 when a period of drought lowered the level of the river, revealing the SU-76i. The vehicle was hauled out, restored and set on a plinth to serve as a war memorial. It has the number “3038” marked on the superstructure side. The four crewmen were buried with full military honours in the local cemetery. (Source: R. Harley/AFV News).