AFV Alphabet: G is for Gvozdika

2S1 Gvozdika in artillery range

The 2S1 Gvozdika self-propelled 122mm howitzer was accepted for service with the Soviet army in 1970 and began volume production in 1971. The hull is made of welded steel, based on the automotive components and running gear of the MT-LB. The driver sits at the front with the engine behind him, and the turret and fighting compartment at the rear. Within the turret, the commander sits on the left, with the gunner below and in front of him, and the loader to the right. The gun has sights for indirect and direct fire. A rate of fire of 5-8 rounds per minute can be maintained for a protracted period. 40 rounds of ammunition are carried in the vehicle, but standard practice during a fire mission would be for ammunition to be supplied from outside.

An odd feature of the Gvozdika is that the suspension can be adjusted to make the vehicle shorter, useful when transporting the vehicle by air. The standard tracks are 400mm wide, but like the MT-LB, 670mm wide tracks can be fitted for use in snow, swampy ground, etc. The 2S1 has NBC protection, infra-red driving lights, and a small infra-red searchlight on the commander’s cupola. It is fully amphibious, propelled in the water by its tracks. Before entering the water, a bilge pump is switched on, shrouds are fitted to the hull front, water deflectors are lowered at the rear, the trim vane is erected at the front of the hull, and covers are fitted around the engine air intakes. Only 30 rounds are carried when swimming; any excess have to be removed before entering the water.