a type of ground artillery designed to strike tanks and other armored targets; antitank artillery is also used in warfare against manpower and means of fire.
Specialized antitank guns appeared in various armies in the late 1920’s. The first antitank guns in the Red Army were a 37-mm cannon (1930) and a 45-mm cannon (1932). In the late 1930’s antitank artillery was included in the composition of combined arms units, and the reserve of the High Command had antitank artillery units. In April 1941 the first ten antitank artillery brigades were formed. Each brigade had 136 guns, including 48 76-mm guns, 48 85-mm guns, 24 107-mm guns, and 16 37-mm guns. Antiaircraft cannon were also used as antitank guns. By an order of the People’s Commissariat of Defense on July 1, 1942, during the Great Patriotic War, antitank artillery was renamed tank-destroyer artillery. During the war several antitank cannon were developed and adopted, including the 45-mm (1942), 57-mm (1943), 76-mm (1942), and 100-mm cannon (1944).
In 1943 new types of ammunition—subcaliber projectiles and shaped-charge shells—were adopted, and this expanded the capabilities of antitank artillery against all types of enemy tanks. In addition to towed antitank artillery, self-propelled 85-mm, 100-mm, and 122-mm guns were used successfully to fight tanks. The fascist German Army had primarily 37-mm, 50-mm, 75-mm, and 88-mm antitank guns. In 1943 the Red Army formed tank-destroyer brigades consisting of two regiments of 76-mm cannon and one regiment of 45-mm or 57-mm cannon. Each regiment had five or six batteries of four guns apiece.
After the war, new towed and self-propelled 85-mm cannon, 82-mm and 107-mm recoilless guns, and 122-mm and 130-mm cannon with highly effective shells were adopted. The antitank artillery of present-day foreign armed forces includes 85-mm, 90-mm, 100-mm, and 105-mm antitank cannon and 106-mm and 120-mm recoilless guns.
A. N. LATUKHIN