152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (2024)

TypeTowed howitzer
PlaceoforiginSoviet Union
Service history
UsedbySoviet Union and numerous others
WarsVietnam War, Six-Day War, Yom Kippur War, Soviet war in Afghanistan, Syrian civil war and numerous others
Production history
DesignerPetrov Artillery Design Bureau
DesignedCirca 1947
ManufacturerArtillery Plant Number 9, Yekaterinburg
Weight5,700 kg (12,566 lbs)
Length8.69m (28ft 6in)
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Width2.35m (7ft 9in)
Height1.93m (6ft 4in)
Caliber152.4 mm (6 in)
BreechVertical semi-automatic sliding wedge
Recoilhydraulic buffer and hydropneumatic recuperator
CarriageSplit trail
Elevation-5° to 63°
RateoffireBurst: 5-6 rpm
Sustained: 1 rpm
Muzzlevelocity650 m/s (2,132 ft/s) (typical)
Effectivefiringrange17.4 km (11 mi)
Maximumfiringrange24 km (15 mi)
(rocket assisted projectile)
SightsPG1M indirect sight and OP4M direct fire sight

The 152mm gun-howitzer M1955, also known as the D-20, (Russian: 152-мм пушка-гаубица Д-20 обр. 1955 г.) is a manually loaded, towed 152mm artillery piece, manufactured in the Soviet Union during the 1950s. It was first observed by the west in 1955, at which time it was designated the M1955. Its GRAU index is 52-P-546.[1]


  • 1 History
  • 2 Description
  • 3 Variants
    • 3.1 Russian Federation
    • 3.2 People's Republic of China
    • 3.3 Romania
    • 3.4 former Yugoslavia
    • 3.5 Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
  • 4 Ammunition
  • 5 Wars
  • 6 Operators
    • 6.1 Current operators
    • 6.2 Former operators
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links


152mm has been a Russian calibre since World War I, when Britain supplied 6inch Howitzers and Russia purchased 152mm guns from Schneider (probably derived from the 155 mm Gun Mle 1877/16) for the Imperial Army. The new gun-howitzer, was a replacement of the pre-war ML-20 gun-howitzer (the 152mm howitzer M1937) and various World War II era 152mm field howitzers, Model 09/30, Model 1910/30, Model 1938 M10 and Model 1943 D-1. By Soviet definition, a 152mm howitzer is ‘medium’ calibre artillery. It was designated a ‘gun-howitzer’ because its muzzle velocity exceeded 600m/s, and its barrel length exceeded 30 calibres. It equipped battalions in the motor rifle division artillery regiment and army level artillery brigades.

The design, which was probably initiated in the late 1940s, was first seen in public in 1955. It was designed by the well established design bureau at Artillery Plant No 9 in Sverdlovsk (now Motovilikha Plants in Yekaterinburg) led by the eminent artillery designer Fëdor Fëdorovich Petrov (1902–1978), who was responsible for several World War II pieces. The gun's factory designation was "D-20".

The carriage is the same as that used for the D-74 122 mm Field Gun. The barrel assembly was the basis for the D-22 (GRAU index: 2A33), which was used for the self-propelled 2S3 Akatsiya ("Acacia").


The D-20 has a 34 calibre (5.195 m) barrel, with a double baffle muzzle brake and a semi-automatic vertical sliding block breech, with a tied jaw and the block moving down to open. The barrel is mounted in a long ring cradle with the trunnions just forward of the breech. The recoil system (buffer and recuperator) is mounted on the cradle above the barrel. Compression balancing gear is attached behind the saddle support, passing through the complex shaped saddle to connect to the cradle just forward of the trunnions. This can be manually re-pressured by a pump below the breech. The breech has a projectile retaining catch to prevent the shell sliding out at higher elevations before it is rammed with a manual rammer.

Top traverse totals 58° and the vertical elevation range is -5° to 63°.

Box girder section split trail legs are hinged to the cradle support, with bolts to lock them into either the open or closed position. The cradle support also has a bolt for locking the barrel in the centre for traverse before towing the gun. Large spades are permanently fixed close to the end of each trail; these are hinged and it appears that the gun can be fired with them up or down depending on the terrain, but they are always up when the gun is towed.

To assist with all-round carriage traverse, there is a pivot jack mounted at the front of the cradle support. The pivot jack is not a sole plate and the gun fires with its foam filled rubber tyred wheels supporting the gun on the ground. When the gun is brought into action, the pivot jack is folded down and adjusted to be on the ground. If a large traverse is required, small jacks on each trail leg are rotated downwards, and the trails jacked up until the main wheels are lifted clear of the ground and the bogey wheels mounted on each trail leg swung downwards and the trail jacks raised, the carriage is then traversed, and the trail jacks re-used to lift the bogey wheels and then place the piece back on its main wheels.

The pivot jack is also used to secure the barrel against vertical movement when the gun is being towed. The barrel is locked in the centre for traverse with a bolt on the cradle support. The jack is folded upwards, lugs on the ring cradle engage the jack base and two tensioners fixed to the saddle support are hooked to the cradle, these are tightened to lock the cradle onto the jack base.

M1981 front view (perspective effect)

As was normal for the period, the gun has a shield, including a folding piece below the cradle support. The centre section of the upper shield slides both up and down and folds to accommodate the barrel at higher elevation angles of fire. The shield may offer some protection against muzzle blast to the sights and layer, although it is usually shown being fired with a long lanyard, but is probably mostly for defence against machine gun fire.

The non-reciprocating sights are standard Soviet pattern, designed for one-man laying. Included are a direct fire anti-tank telescope (OP4M), a panoramic periscopic indirect-fire sight, a dial sight, (PG1M) in a mounting, an angle of sight scale, and a range drum for each charge engraved with the range (distance) scale, coupled to an elevation leveling bubble mounted on dial sight mount. The range drum enables the standard Soviet technique of semi-direct fire when the piece is laid visually on the target and the range set on the range drum.

Like most Soviet artillery, the gun fires separate ammunition using metal cartridge cases that also provide obturation. The ammunition is interchangeable with that used with other 152mm guns, although the more modern ones also have a third, much larger cartridge. The D-20 uses two types of cartridge; one has a base charge and up to five increments, the other is a single ‘super’ charge cartridge. The standard shell weight is 44kg with a muzzle velocity of 655m/s, but some projectiles are more or less than this. The basic shell is HE-Fragmentation, other projectiles include smoke, illuminating, chemical and probably incendiary. Later projectiles include bomblet, anti-personnel mine, flechette, Krasnopol precision munition, communications jammer, and extended range HE using rocket assistance (RAP). The normally maximum range is 17.4km, RAP being greater. Two direct-fire anti-tank projectiles have been used, HEAT and APHE, the latter being 5.2kg heavier and with a lower muzzle velocity.

The maximum rate of fire is usually stated as five rounds/minute, and 65 rounds/hour sustained. In Soviet service, the unit of fire was 60 rounds.

The detachment was either 8 or 10 men, probably differing between armies and the time period. In Soviet service, the 5,700kg gun was usually towed by a URAL-375 6×6 truck or, in some regions, an AT-S or AT-L medium tractor.


Russian Federation

  • The Khitin is an improved version with an automatic rammer for an increased firing rate of 7-8 rds/min.

People's Republic of China

  • Type 66 - This is the licensed version of the D-20. The improved version is known as the Type 66-1.[2]
  • Type 83 - Self-propelled version of the Type 66, very similar in layout to the 2S3.


  • A411 - This artillery system was designed by Arsenalul Armatei and is very similar to the D-20. It has, however, a different 152mm ordnance, 20.5 calibres long, with a range of 17.2km (24km with OF-550 projectile). In Romanian Army service, the A411 is known as the 152mm towed gun-howitzer M1981 (Romanian: Tun/Obuzier calibrul 152-mm tractat M1981).[3]
  • A412 - License-built Chinese Type 59-1 with a D-20 carriage. In Romanian Army service, the A412 is known as the 130mm towed gun M1982 (Romanian: Tun calibrul 130-mm tractat M1982).[4]
  • A425 - Another variant that uses the D-20 carriage. Designed in Romania using Chinese technology, and with similar performance to the 2A65 "Msta-B". The A425 has a maximum range of 22–24km. In Romanian Army service, it is known as the 152mm towed gun-howitzer M1985 (Romanian: Tun/Obuzier calibrul 152-mm tractat M1985). The system is offered for export as the Model 1984.[5]

former Yugoslavia

Serbian Army Nora 152mm howitzer

  • M84 NORA-A or NORA (Serbo-Croatian: novo oružje artiljerije) - While this variant retains the original carriage, it has the L/25 barrel replaced by an L/39.7 barrel. The M84 can fire the complete range of D-20 ammunition, including the OF-540 Frag-HE, to a range of 17,190 m. Using standard HE shells, the maximum range is 24,160 m. The illumination round is called the M88. The M84B1 and M84B2 are lighter versions (6.88 t in firing position instead of 7.08 t) that can fire the Russian projectiles with Yugoslav propellant charges. The M84B2 version is fitted with a pneumatic loader, which is operational at all gun elevations. With the M84-GG base bleed projectile, the M84B1 and M84B2 have a maximum range of 27.0km. Usually, the FAP 2026 BS/AV 6x6 truck is used as a tractor for the NORA series.[6]
  • M96 NORA-B - Yugoimport SDPR has designed self-propelled versions of the M46/84 and M84 artillery systems.

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

The US Defense Intelligence Agency has reported the existence of a number of self-propelled artillery systems, mating existing cannon systems with a locally designed chassis. The SPH 152mm M1974 appears to be the D-20 or Type 66 mounted on a tracked chassis “Tokchon”.[7]


  • Frag-HE, OF-32 - range 18,400 meters
  • Incendiary
  • Expendable Jammer
  • Chemical
  • Flechette
  • Semi-active laser-guided "Krasnopol"


  • Syrian civil war
  • 2003 invasion of Iraq
  • Yugoslav wars
  • Iran–Iraq War
  • Gulf War
  • Soviet war in Afghanistan
  • Sino-Vietnamese War
  • Yom Kippur War
  • Vietnam War
  • Sino-Soviet border conflict
  • Six-Day War
  • Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
  • Sino-Indian War
  • Eelam War IV


Map of D-20 operators in blue with former operators in red

Current operators

  • 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (5)Angola
  • 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (6)Armenia
  • 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (7)Azerbaijan
  • 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (8)Belarus
  • 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (9)Bulgaria
  • 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (10)Croatia - 18 M84 Nora kept operational for the reserve forces
  • 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (11)Georgia
  • 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (12)People's Republic of China - Type 66.
  • 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (13)Cambodia
  • 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (14)Congo
  • 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (15)Egypt
  • 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (16)Finland - Ex-East German. Known as 152 H 55.
  • 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (17)Hungary
  • 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (18)Iran
  • 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (19)Iraq - All were destroyed in the [2003 invasion of Iraq|2003 invasion], new models bought from Bulgaria in 2015.[8]
  • 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (20)Kazakhstan
  • 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (21)Lebanon
  • 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (22)Myanmar - 35 delivered in 2009 from DPRK.
  • 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (23)North Korea
  • 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (24)Moldova
  • 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (25)Nicaragua
  • 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (26)Nigeria - 4 M81/M85 from Romanian Army stocks.
  • 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (27)Poland

M81 howitzer of the Romanian Land Forces.

  • 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (29)Romania - The Romanian Army has 329 M81 howitzers (245 in service) and 111 M85 gun-howitzers.
  • 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (30)Russia
  • 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (31)Serbia - M84 NORA-A.
  • 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (32)Singapore
  • 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (33)Sri Lanka - Type 66.
  • 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (34)Syria
  • 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (35)Turkmenistan
  • 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (36)Turkey
  • 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (37)Ukraine
  • 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (38)Uzbekistan
  • 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (39)Vietnam
  • 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (40)Yemen

Former operators

  • 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (41)Albania - Type 66, phased out.
  • 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (42)East Germany - Passed on to Germany after the German unification.
  • 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (43)Germany - Phased out.
  • 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (44)Soviet Union - passed on to successor states.
  • 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (45)Yugoslavia - M84 NORA-A, passed on to successor states.


  1. http://www.russianarms.ru/forum/index.php?board=270.0
  2. Janes Armour and Artillery 2003-2004
  3. Janes Armour and Artillery 2003-2004
  4. Janes Armour and Artillery 2003-2004
  5. Janes Armour and Artillery 2003-2004
  6. Jane's Armour and Artillery 2003-2004
  7. Janes Armour and Artillery 2003-2004
  8. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.

External links

152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (46)Wikimedia Commons has media related to 152 mm howitzer D-20.
152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) (2024)


What is the range of a 152mm howitzer? ›

152 mm gun-howitzer D-20
Rate of fireBurst: 5–6 rpm Sustained: 1 rpm
Muzzle velocity650 m/s (2,100 ft/s) (typical)
Effective firing range17.4 km (10.8 mi)
Maximum firing range24 km (15 mi) (rocket-assisted projectile)
26 more rows

What is the longest shooting howitzer? ›

M1299 howitzer
Crew4 (driver, loader, gunner, commander)
Rate of fire3 rpm (10 with autoloader)
Effective firing range70 km (43 mi) (rocket-assisted round) 110 km (68 mi) (XM1155 round)
12 more rows

How far can a triple 7 howitzer shoot? ›

The M777A2 replaced the Marine Corps' outdated M198 155mm weapon. The M777A2 is capable of firing standard (unassisted) projectiles to a range of 15 miles (24 kilometers), assisted projectiles to 19 miles (30.5 kilometers), and the Excalibur munitions to ranges in excess of 25 miles (40 kilometers).

How far can a howitzer shoot in miles? ›

Howitzer fires can strike targets up to 15 to 20 miles (24 to 32 kilometers) away, depending on what type of round and firing system is used, which makes them highly valued by ground forces to take out enemy targets from a protected distance. “Adversaries don't have much warning of it coming.

What fires a 152 mm shell? ›


It is currently in service with the militaries of eight countries (IISS, 2016). Like the 2S3 before it, the 2S19 can also be fitted with a 155 mm gun for export orders. The 2S19 can fire all 152 mm ammunition and the Krasnopol and Krasnapol-M PGMs.

What is the difference between artillery and howitzer? ›

U.S. military doctrine defines howitzers as any cannon artillery capable of both high-angle fire (45° to 90° elevation) and low-angle fire (0° to 45° elevation); guns are defined as being only capable of low-angle fire (0° to 45° elevation); and mortars are defined as being only capable of high-angle fire (45° to 90° ...

What is the most accurate howitzer? ›

The PzH 2000* self-propelled howitzer – armed with a 155 mm L52 main gun developed by Rheinmetall – is widely held to be most advanced, most effective artillery system anywhere. Extremely accurate and highly reliable, the PzH 2000 achieves a high rate of fire owing to its automatic loading system.

Why is it called a howitzer? ›

Their answer to this problem was to shorten the tube (barrel) and shape the breech like a funnel. The resulting gun was called a Howitzer, a name taken from the Prussians (Germans) and pronounced, “Haubitze”, which means sling or basket. vvThe U.S. began producing Howitzers in the 1830s.

Why are howitzer barrels so short? ›

The short barrel howitzers you see are designed that way to reduce weight to be able to be pulled around by the crew. This allows you to get these guns close to the front (Which is also needed because of the reduced range with the shorter barrel) to provide close in support for your infantry.

How much does a 155mm shell cost? ›

The average cost for a 155mm shell is around $5,000, Salm said. The U.S. M795 high explosive shell, the most basic type of 155mm shell, costs around $3,000, according to an Army spokesperson.

How accurate are American howitzers? ›

Testing at the Yuma Proving Ground by the US Army placed 13 of 14 Excalibur rounds, fired from up to 24 kilometres (15 mi), within 10 m (33 ft) of their target, suggesting a circular error probable of 5 m (16 ft).

How many M777 has Ukraine lost? ›

Turning to foreign equipment supplied to Ukraine, a total of 67 M777 howitzers have been lost, captured or damaged, equating to a third of the number of these systems supplied.

Can a 155mm howitzer destroy a tank? ›

BONUS gives 155mm cannon artillery long-range capability to destroy enemy combat vehicles, ranging from armored personnel carriers and self-propelled guns, to infantry fighting vehicles and main battle tanks. BONUS is an artillery-launched, fire-and-forget munition capable of successfully combating any armored vehicle.

How much does a M777 howitzer cost? ›


The successful design was subsequently bought by BAE Systems' Global Combat Systems Division at Hattiesville, Mississippi, and after testing it entered production in the United States, which has accounted for 70% of the new howitzers at an average cost of $39,500 per unit.

How many 155mm shells does the U.S. have in storage? ›

The Army and Marine Corps have 155mm artillery projectiles (M483/M483A1 and M864) containing about 402 million Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munition (DPICM) submunitions.

What is the difference between 152 mm and 155 mm artillery? ›

While the 155mm howitzer may only be ~3mm wider in diameter, many of the shells fired today are on average +300mm longer in over all length then those fired from the 152mm howitzer. This is what causes the 155mm shells to be that much more destructive in practice.

What is the blast radius of a 155mm artillery shell? ›

A common M795 155m high explosive howitzer shell will generally have a 'kill radius' of 50m, with fragmentation spreading significantly further. Tube artillery guns are typically used to provide indirect fire support for armour and infantry forces over long distances.

What is the maximum effective range of a howitzer? ›

The effective range is 18.1 km (11.2 mi) when firing standard projectiles, which increases to 30 km (19 mi) when firing rocket-assisted projectiles and guided ammunition.

What is the range of a Russian 155 mm howitzer? ›

M114 155 mm howitzer
Traverse25° left or right
Rate of fireburst: 4 rpm sustained: 40 rph
Muzzle velocity563 m/s (1,847 ft/s)
Maximum firing range14,600 m (16,000 yd)
27 more rows

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