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an artillery gun on a self-propelled tank chassis.
Self-propelled guns were used during World War II to fight enemy tanks, provide tanks and infantry with accompanying fire to destroy and neutralize enemy manpower and fire weapons, and destroy enemy defensive structures. The guns are fired from open and concealed fire positions. Organizationally, in the armed forces of the USSR self-propelled guns were operated by the detached self-propelled artillery regiments of large mechanized units. Among the self-propelled guns developed and deployed in 1943–44 were light types weighing up to 20 tons (SU-76 and SU-57); medium, up to 40 tons (SU-85, SU-100, and SU-122); and heavy, more than 40 tons (SU-152, ISU-122, and ISU-152). The numbers 57, 76, and so on signified the caliber of the gun; the caliber was usually larger than that of the gun of the tank on whose chassis it was mounted. Self-propelled guns traveled at speeds of up to 55 km/hr, were operated by a crew of four or five men, and had a firing range of 8–15.7 km. Unlike tanks, self-propelled guns do not have rotating turrets.
During the Great Patriotic War, the active army received about 22,000 self-propelled guns, of which 59 percent were light, 21.5 percent medium, and 19.5 percent heavy. Self-propelled guns were also used by the armed forces of fascist Germany, the United States, and Great Britain. The Soviet models were superior in terms of mobility and fire power to the comparable guns of the fascist German Army (75, 105, 128, and 155 mm) and the Ferdinand 88-mm antitank assault gun. The US armed forces used 75-, 105-, 155-, and 203-mm self-propelled howitzers and 76-, 90-, and 155-mm self-propelled cannon. Great Britain had 76-mm cannon and 87.6-mm howitzer cannon.