The SU-76 had two 6 cylinder, gasoline powered, GAZ 203 engines capable of propelling it at speeds of up to 45 km/h. Furthermore, the SU-76 utilized a 3 speed forward, 1 speed reverse transmission and torsion bar suspension system. The operational range was limited to around 450 kilometers on roadways. The vehicle itself was based upon the chassis of the T-70 Light Tank. The armament of the SU-76 consisted of a single 76 mm ZiS-3 main gun and a 7.62 mm machine gun. Up to sixty-two rounds of ammunition could be carried on board for the main weapon. Armor thickness was typically about 25 mm in the front of the hull and 16 mm in the sides.
The total weight of the SU-76 was about 10,600 kg while its total length was around 4.88 meters. The engine and transmission of the SU-76 was exceedingly unreliable and would oftentimes fail in the field. These problems quickly lead Soviet research teams to push the SU-76M into development as a solution.
The only variants to the SU-76 series were the SU-76B, SU-76M, and the ZSU-37. The only distinction the SU-76B had was having a closed crew fighting compartment, though very few examples were ever made. Meanwhile, the SU-76M had a much improved engine and transmission system and better armament. Furthermore, the SU-76M had a redesigned hull and quickly became the main production model, beginning its production in 1943. The ZSU-37 was an anti-aircraft self-propelled gun that had a 37 mm M1939 Air Defense Gun.
The SU-76's first prototype was called the OSU-76 and it was based on the T-60 chasis, not the T-70. It was used first in 1942 and it earned the nickname Suchka ("bitch"). It was used by Soviet forces at first to combat tanks, but eventually German armor proved to tough for the SU-76M to handle and it was used to support infantry instead. They were used until the end of World War II and were even sometimes modified to be used to carry cargo. However, the Soviets responded by ceasing attempts at building anti-tank self-propelled guns like the SU-76 and instead began constructing the thoroughly armored tank destroyers such as SU-85 and SU-100, using T-34 chassis and more powerful hull-mounted cannons. However, the SU-76 did have an unexpected ability in that it was highly adapted to the infantry support role and in fact, it eventually proved to be the demise of light tanks in the Red Army. In total, about 14,000 models were produced.
- ↑ http://www.wwiivehicles.com/soviet-union/vehicle/self-propelled-guns/su-76-self-propelled-gun.asp
- ↑ http://www.militaryfactory.com/armor/detail.asp?armor_id=284