Soviet 100mm BS-3 Field Gun
Reviewed by Cookie Sewell
The Soviets were in a quandary in late 1942 because they could not stop the new Tiger tanks which were beginning to appear on the Eastern Front. When these tanks appeared in numbers, and showed themselves to be nearly impenetrable to standard artillery weapons at combat ranges, a decision was made to investigate which calibers were available that might do the job. The corps level artillery guns, such as the 122mm A-19, were capable of destroying the tank, but in their corps form were too big and cumbersome to do the job. The 85mm Model 1939 gun was a possibility, but no field carriage was available for mounting the weapon. The smaller 76mm guns, such as the ZIS-3, did not have the ability. The long-sought 107mm gun which had been in development was not showing sufficient promise. As a result, chief artillery designer for the Red Army General V. G. Grabin turned to 100mm naval guns.
A suitable gun was found, normally arming destroyers, and was converted to a field carriage for tests. The gun exceeded their best expectations, and in action weighed only about half of the corps gun but had very nearly the same armor penetration capability. With its basic AP round, the new gun could penetrate 160mm of RHA at 500 meters and 0 angle impact. (Against the flat sided Tiger with its maximum of 100mm of armor protection, this translated as being able to penetrate it anywhere on the battlefield; it was not as effective against the Tiger II.) The gun also fired a useful HE round, and in the artillery mode could fire out to 20,000 meters. The later and more famous D-10 tank gun was developed from this weapon. It was last noted (according to the Ukrainians) in use with the forces of the Former Republic of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, as well as by the Chechens in their 1994-96 war with Russia. (In that form it is offered as a joint kit with Omega-K's Ural-4320 cargo truck.)
ICM's kit is a jewel that captures the size of this beast, but also provides a great deal of petite details for the gun. The gun elevates and traverses, and the trails are functional. Spades are moveable, as is the gunshield insert. The gun may be displayed in optional firing positions (battery or recoil) but does not slide in its cradle. The breech block is separate and may be positioned up or down for either firing or loading. Even the sight receives better treatment than most artillery weapons, and consists of eight parts and a mount.
Three shells are included with AP (part 29), APBC (part 30), and HE-FRAG (part 31) projectiles. The cases are two piece jobs so that they may be either combined with their projos or left loose as expended casings.
No figures are included, which, given the nice figures which came with ICM's new "Great Battles of World War II" series, is a bit of a shame. The crews from both of their 45mm antitank gun set and 76mm regimental gun set can be combined, with some bits from the parts box, to provide a crew for this weapon. A full crew is around six or seven men for this piece, so if you want to put it on a base or a diorama, figure on at least that many.
Overall, another nice effort from ICM.
Review Copyright © 1999 by Cookie