Also found in: Acronyms.
recoilless gun[ri′kȯi·ləs ′gən]
a rifled or smooth-bore gun which does not recoil. The gun does not recoil upon firing because a portion of the powder gases is drawn back through the nozzle, which thereby gives rise to a reactive force that equalizes the recoil force. The first recoilless guns that were developed in the USSR appeared in the 1920’s and were adopted as armament in the Red Army in the 1930’s (the L. V. Kurchevskii cannon). During World War II and in the postwar period recoilless guns began to be widespread in the armies of other states. Modern recoilless guns (calibers of from 57 to 120 mm) are designed to destroy armored targets, personnel, and means of fire. They fire shaped-charge projectiles and high-explosive fragmentation projectiles or mortar shells. The point-blank range against tanks is 400–800 m, its armor-piercing capability is up to 400 mm, and the mass of the gun ranges from 50 to 310 kg. Recoilless guns may be either single-barreled or multibarreled, self-propelled, towable, or truck-mounted. [3_244–3]