the unofficial name during the Great Patriotic War (1941–5) for barrel-less field rocket artillery systems.
In 1921, N. I. Tikhomirov and V. A. Artem’ev of the Gas Dynamics Laboratory started work on rocket projectiles to be propelled by smokeless powder. Between 1929 and 1933 a group of scientists of the laboratory, directed by B. S Petropavlovskii and including G. E. Langemak, E. S. Petrov, and I. T. Kleime-nov, developed and officially tested rockets of different calibers —the prototypes of the Katiusha rocket—and multishot aviation launchers and single-shot ground launchers. The final work on the rocket was carried out at the Rocket Institute under the direction of Langemak and with the participation of Artem’ev, Kleimenov, Iu. A. Pobedonostsev, and L. E. Shvarts. The air force adopted the rocket in 1937–38, installing the RS-82 on the 1–15, 1–16, and 1–153 fighter planes and later on the 11–2 attack planes; the RS-132 projectiles, which were developed later, were installed on SB bombers and 11–2 assault planes. In 1939 the air force used them effectively in battles against the Japanese invaders on the Khalkhin-Gol River.
In 1938–41, 1. I. Gvai, V. N. Galkovskii, A. P. Pavlenko, and A. S. Popov of the Rocket Institute developed a multishot launcher mounted on a truck. The M–13 rocket and the BM–13 launcher were adopted by the artillery on the eve of the Great Patriotic War. The first salvo from a Katiusha at the fascist German troops was fired on July 14, 1941, near Orsha by Captain I. A. Flerov’s battery. The Katiusha played a major role in combat. In the course of the war many versions of rockets and launchers were developed, such as the BM13–SN, the BM8–8, and the BM31–12. Between July 1941 and December 1944 Soviet industry produced more than 10, 000 Katiusha truck-launchers and more than 12 million rockets of all calibers.
REFERENCESPetrovich, G. [et al.] “Kak sozdavalas’ reaktivnaia artilleriia.” Voennoistorich. zhurnal, 1970, no. 6.
Pobedonostsev, Iu. A., and K. M. Kuznetsov. Pervye starty. Moscow, 1972.