45 mm Tank Gun 20-K
The 45 mm Tank Gun Model 1932 (20-K) is a tank gun developed by the Soviet Union. It is based off the 45 mm anti-tank gun 1932 (19-K), redesignated as it is attached to a tank.
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Before 1931, the current Soviet anti-tank gun was the 37 mm Model 1930. An attempt to increase the firepower was done at the end of 1931 at Factory No.8. The attempt involved adding a 45 mm barrel into the mechanism and strengthening it for a stronger round. The gun underwent testings and was accepted into service in March 1932 as te 45 mm Anti-tank gun Model 1932. The anti-tank gun was designated 19-K while the tank gun model was designated the 20-K. Production of the 45 mm gun at Factory No.8 lasted from 1932 to 1941 with 21,564 45 mm Model 1932 guns made. After 1941, the gun production was transferred to Factory No.235 and continued until 1943 with about 1,130 guns made, after which the gun was cancelled due to the growing inadequacy of the gun.
The gun featured a number of advantages over some of its contemporaries. The armor-penetration of the shells were improved, the larger shells allow a larger explosive charge to be held in each rounds, and the implementation of a semi-automatic vertical wedge breech block gave the gun an increased firing rate. The semi-automatic feature was not immediately available and until 1935, only 1/4 of the feature was able to be used. After 1935, the guns arrived with fully functional semi-automatic features and a variety of ammunition to use. However, the 20-K gun was too large for the designs of the T-26 and BT tanks at the time. This forced the tank designs to use a larger turret than intended.
From its introduction to 1943, the gun was the only practical anti-tank gun in Soviet service, but it proved itself in being able to penetrate any German tank armor at the time at 500 meters. The gun proved better than the German's standard issue 3.7 cm PaK 36 anti-tank gun. However, the gun did suffer from quality deficiency, as not all the armor-piercing rounds are able to penetrate the armor it is suppose to. The gun served in the Soviet Army up until 1943 after the Battle of Kursk, which showed that the gun was becoming less and less capable of fighting the increasing armor on German tanks.