Soviet 122mm D30 Cannon

The D30 is a Soviet 122mm multi-role gun introduced in the 1960s and still in use around the world today. It has a somewhat unusual 3-leg mount that is slower to set up than a standard trail, but allows for complete 360-degree rotation of the gun. The piece was designed for both indirect fire (maximum range 15.4km; more with rocket-assisted munitions) or direct anti-tank fire. Note that it came with an armor shield for the crew, which was left off the gun for this trip to the range.

Thanks to Battlefield Vegas for the chance to film this awesome cannon firing! It belongs to them, and will be set up at their facility for a pretty awesome rental firing experience if you are into that…


  1. “(…)122mm D30 Cannon(…)”
    Again I am confused. D-30 (note dash) is cannon in U.S. parlance, not howitzer?
    Anyway it was replacement of Great Patriotic War-era M-30 (same caliber) with both these gun sharing same chief designer: Fyodor F. Petrov.
    Numerous example are still held in Russian depots, but in active service it was mostly replaced by 2A61 (caliber 152 mm), nonetheless it is still used by many many countries, see:

    Trivia fact: unlike older Soviet artillery pieces D-30 is towed muzzle-forward, as can be seen here:

    • In the US, a howitzer is designated by its range of elevation, in that a howitzer is capable of low elevation and/or direct fire and high elevation, indirect fire. Also Ian, the scoopy things are called spades. SSG, 13B, 103rd FA, RIANG

      • “capable of low elevation and/or direct fire and high elevation, indirect fire.”
        This is true for D-30 which has -7°…+70° elevation range.

      • Yes, factory index (M-30 in this case), so far I know is unique identifier for Soviet made guns.

        “Easy gun to work with, solid and simple.”
        F. F. Petrov designed numerous Soviet guns used during Great Patriotic War and Early Cold War, often widely distributed to Soviet-aligned nations were used many years, hinting ease of maintenance (easiness of keeping them in working order).
        Beyond towed guns, he also designed some tank guns, take for example D-10:
        it was used by many nations during Cold War via PRC-made TYPE 59 tank

        • Yes, same for D-10, also part of my course. Just yesterday I have seen Chieftain’s video (about 3 years since it was created) about T-55. also that tank carried D-10. After so many (really!) years it’s kind of deja-vu 🙂

  2. I didn’t see that one eject its case unless it happened very quick, or the “ejector” on that one needs repairing etc, BOOM! Fair big gun that. Ouch.

    • Or I should have gone to Specsavers. “U.K Advert; Specsavers, a glasses company… Which suggests you can’t see so good hence buy their products.”

    • Automatic ejection is often disabled on such “recreational” pieces to reduce wear and tear on the case as ejection is usually quite brutal

      • Automatic ejection also tends to be “idiot-unfriendly.” But is anyone stupid enough to stand right behind the breech-block just before the recoil phase?

        • Actually D-30 is considered one of easier one, both in terms of minimal time required to train crew and field repairs.

          “I didn’t see that one eject its case unless it happened very quick”
          No, flying empty case should be visible on 1x video tape, c.f.

          (this is Russian-language video, but hope you will enjoy it as it show both firing of and towing of D-30)

          “needs repairing etc”
          Either that or possibly used powder charge was smaller than normally used (заряд УМЕНЬШЕННЫЙ – 2,41 kg)

          • Very good video – they call it “Avtomat Kalashnikova artileryi”. Amazing, when comes to artillery and small arms, what Russians touch, turns out to be a masterpiece.

  3. A few questions:

    – Did they zero it?

    – How much powder, of what type, is typically used?

    – Are they making their own projectiles or did they find a source of existing ones?

  4. Before seeing this I would not even hope to see this weapon on FW. Thanks to Ian for this exceptional opportunity!

    Clearing out my sight… yes it is true. This is for sure one of my most respected artillery pieces of our age. I recall seeing quantity of videos and pictures from action, most notably from skirmishes in Ukraine after the coup and ensuing hostilities in 2015 and on. Typically, there would be sparse crew of 2-3 operators manning it. It can do immense amount of “work” with not much of effort.

  5. Gun, cannon, howitzer………it’s all very confusing. Take me for example; on active duty in the US Army, my MOS was 13E, Cannon Fire Direction Specialist. I was assigned to a 155mm SP howitzer battalion. In a mechanized infantry division, no less! 🙂

    • It gets confusing, I agree. Reason is that in later decades, there is an overlap. No one is fielding a gun for only one purpose.

    • Easy enough. These are the US Army definitions

      1) Cannon – Firearm above 60 caliber (Below is Small Arms)

      2) Gun – Artillery piece that fires in the lower register (ie 45 degrees and below)

      3) Mortar – Artillery piece that fires in the upper register (ie 45 degrees and above)

      4) Howitzer – Artillery piece that fires in both registers

  6. It would be a blast (har! har!) to see various types of projectiles arriving on target. Aside from watching stuff blow up, I’d like to see some old dewatted tank taking hits from the AP round.

  7. So is Sunday your new ‘no post’ day? I like reading stuff off a Sunday, but do not mind whatever day you decide.

    PS. `i know all the Soviet motors were 1mm (or was it 2mm?) larger than the NATO standard so the Warsaw Pact could use captured stocks but it’s bombs would not fit in the tube. I guess that was never the case with artillery?

    • “(…)all the Soviet motors were 1mm (or was it 2mm?) larger than the NATO standard so the Warsaw Pact could use captured stocks but it’s bombs would not fit in the tube.(…)”
      Not all but 82 mm caliber and while eventually also mismatched NATO members, first mortar of such caliber was adopted yet back in 1936 year – much earlier than NATO come into existence.
      120 mm caliber 2A51 produced since 1970s and belonging to пушка-гаубица-миномёт category, originally used as armament of 2S9 will accept ammunition from Mortier 120mm Rayé Tracté Modèle F1 though I do not know if reverse is true. This also true for other NONA family members (2S23 – self propelled wheeled, 2B16 – towed, 2B23 – towed light).

      • Smoothbore 120mm mortar ammo is also widely interchangeable, but you would need to have a ballistic tables for “not own” ammo in order to be able to hit.

  8. D-30
    Dull shit from the last millennium.
    Simple, easy and dumb.
    Bad accuracy and mobility.
    That was good for Nam’s times, forty years ago. It somehow worked in Afghanistan, thirty years ago.
    The same is true in other places where it was possible to slowly and with impunity bombard the redneck.

    For today – more likely a simulator for basic training and such foolishness as in the video…

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