- 1 Description
- 2 General info
- 3 Armaments
- 4 Usage in battles
- 5 History
- 6 Media
- 7 See also
- 8 External links
The M53/59, known as Praga PLDvK vz. 53/59-"Ještěrka" (Praga twin-cannon AA Model 53/59 "Lizard") in Czech, is an ex-Czechoslovak SPAA built from the chassis of a Praga V3S truck with a pair of 30 mm ZK453 autocannon onboard. Although this truck was designed and manufactured by the dawn of supersonic jets, these 30 mm cannons did provide devastating firepower against light targets where it would be hopeless against autocannons. The truck didn't see action in Czechoslovakia (and their successor states) but combat records in both South Europe and Africa still reflect its combat capability at support fire operations.
One of the newcomers of the Update "Sky Guardians" and part of the Soviet tech tree, it not only doubled its firepower over its Soviet counterparts, but also has a high rate of fire against any possible aerial targets or armoured targets which happen to show their sides. It has more than enough penetration at its rank to tear them down with ease; but players would still have to conserve ammo as 100 shells per load (50 per magazine) with a rather long reload time could possibly be a death sentence to the truck if the enemy has the means to take you down with ease (i.e. HMG, other autocannons or HE shells). Sneak up and flank unaware enemies or find a spot and conceal yourself, then unleash bullet storm upon them when they show their sides.
Survivability and armour
The M53/59 is based on a Praga V3S 6x6 truck with a revised cabin to crew 4 out of the 5 of them (with only a gunner outside); surprisingly, although only covered by 10 mm of steel at front, it could deflect .50 HMG from some distance or at flat terrains thanks to its angular design with slopes; the engine block could also absorb some damages but prolonged hits will certainly bust the engine. Other that the front of the truck, the protection all-round is only rated for rifle-calibre bullets and sometimes if the enemies are close enough, they can take the crew down with ease, especially MG34 on German tanks with rather high rate of fire; another problem is the rather cramped crew compartment, anything larger than 14.5 mm machine guns/autocannons will certainly gun down the crews with ease even at distance; let alone shells with explosive filler which could detonate the racks of ammo right at the centre of mass or overpressure the crew altogether. So taking cover from time to time and flank the enemies can maximize its survivability. The crew is enclosed (except the gunner), this increases the survivability to enemy air units strafing compared to previous open-topped Soviet SPAAs. The exposed gunner is very prone to get hit during enemy air attacks. The vehicle is vulnerable to close artillery strikes, which can damage or destroy the vehicle relatively easily.
|Armour||Front (Slope angle)||Sides||Rear||Roof|
|Hull||___ mm|| ___ mm Top
___ mm Bottom
|___ mm||___ - ___ mm|
|Turret|| ___ - ___ mm Turret front
___ mm Gun mantlet
|___ - ___ mm||___ - ___ mm||___ - ___ mm|
|Cupola||___ mm||___ mm||___ mm||___ mm|
The truck utilized the same Tatra T912-2 L6 diesel engine as the Praga V3S truck, although the revised cabin also added weight to the chassis, the truck could still travel at up to 60 km/h and reverse at a sufficient speed in case players need to make a swift escape from enemies. The speed is acceptable on roads, noticeable improvements over previous tracked Soviet SPAAs (e.g., ZiS-43, ZSU-37, etc.) but not as fast as the BTR-ZD. The M53/59 is unable to turn on the spot due to its wheeled chassis and it is hard to manoeuvre in tight and narrow streets.
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
Modifications and economy
Based on an existing WWII design and built by the Zbrojovka Vsetín and certified in 1953, the only weapon on the M53/59 is the 30 mm ZK453 autocannon with 50 shells per magazine- The rate of fire and penetration are certainly satisfying to take down aerial targets and ground targets even at distance thanks to its relative straight ballistics. But this is also not a gun for players who are trigger-happy: having only 400 rounds in total and relatively long reload time, it is best to save the shells for close targets which can utilize its HVAP shells well and fire at burst unless in emergency. The respectable turret traverse speed allows for quick response against incoming enemy air units. The M53/59 is able to fire directly forward as the crew compartment is low enough for the gun to fire horizontally towards the direction it is driving, this proves very advantageous when engaging enemy ground units as it reduces the reaction time significantly.
|30 mm ZK453 (x2)||Turret rotation speed (°/s)||Reloading rate (seconds)|
|Mode||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal||Stabilizer||Stock||Upgraded||Full||Expert||Aced||Stock||Full||Expert||Aced|
- Default: · - This is an all-purpose ammunition belt that can be used for both anti-air and anti-ground purposes. A great belt to have during battles because it can engage all types of units without switching and reloading specific ammunition for either air or ground enemy units.
- 30-JFSv-53: - This is the HE belt, which should only be used against enemy air units; the ammunition is ineffective against enemy ground units, with the exception of lightly armoured tanks or other SPAA.
- 30-JPZSv-53/59: - This is the AP belt used for anti-ground purpose. Use this belt for maximum efficiency against enemy ground units, but because it lacks HE ammunition, engaging enemy air units may be less effective.
|Ammunition||Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)|
|10 m||100 m||500 m||1,000 m||1,500 m||2,000 m|
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
Both ammunition belts have an initial shell velocity of up to 1000 m/s, making engaging air units easily with minimal lead. The HVAP-T rounds provide high penetrating at point blank range: they can effectively damage or destroy enemy tanks in close range. Ammunition can run out really fast due to the fast firing rate with long reloads intervals, this requires extra caution when engaging multiple enemy air units.
|8||__ (+__)||__ (+__)||__ (+__)||__ (+__)||__ (+__)||__ (+__)||__|
Usage in battles
The M53/59 has excellent anti-air capabilities, it also has outstanding anti-tank capabilities and a decent mobility. Despite the high-penetrating HVAP-T ammunition belt, it is critical not to stay too long in areas where the main fighting is taking place.
To use the M53/59, take note of good camping spots around each map, such as behind a house facing sideways towards a capture zone. For maximum survivability on the battlefield, it is critical to stay hidden and use cover throughout the map. For maps with little to no cover, try to stay hidden behind a hill to assess the overall situation; always look around the skies for enemy air units rather than focusing solely on the ground, as this vehicle's primary role is anti-air.
Playing against the enemy
During battle, always try to stay in cover because open areas are dangerous. Pay attention to nearby enemy tank engines and only fire if you are certain your shells will penetrate the armour (e.g., light tanks, sides of medium or heavy tanks). If the enemy spots you and tries to engage you, it's already too late. Because the M53/59 is not a dedicated anti-tank vehicle, its main disadvantage is light armour with moderate mobility when compared to dedicated light tanks. When playing in tight and narrow streets, pay close attention because the vehicle does not turn in a tight radius.
Keep an eye on the map during battle to avoid facing enemy tanks. If you receive an inbound artillery alert, always change your position because close landing artillery shells can severely damage or destroy your vehicle.
Playing against M53/59
If you see an M53/59, always aim for the turret to disable the gun or at the very least knock out the gunner. Load a HE shell immediately for a follow-up shot to effectively destroy the M53/59. Never ignore an M53/59 when you see one, as an experienced enemy player can quickly tear through multiple friendly players if they are showing their flank. If you are on a light tank, avoid engaging M53/59 if possible because M53/59 has a better chance of destroying you. Immediately alert nearby friends to draw heavier armoured friendlies to deal with it.
Pros and cons
- High penetration for an SPAA, only comes short on Bofors 40 mm L/70
- High velocity cannon, extending its anti-aircraft/vehicle range
- Sufficiently fast turret traverse speed
- 5 crew members
- Sluggish mobility for an SPAA
- Overall large profile due to the huge autocannon onboard
- Very limited protection against machine gun fire
- Relative slow reload to other SPAAs
The M53/59 Praga is a Czechoslovak self-propelled anti-aircraft gun from the early Cold War era, armed with twin 30 mm AA autocannons developed in the 1950s. It was developed and introduced concurrently with the Soviet ZSU-57-2. In Czech, it was known as Praga PLDvK vz. 53/59 Ještěrka (lizard).
The SPAA was built on the chassis of a heavily modified and armoured six-wheel-drive truck. The SPAA has a traditional layout, with the engine in the front, the 4-crew cabin in the centre, and the anti-aircraft gun in the back. The anti-aircraft gun is a towed ZK453 weapon system variant. The weapon system uses large vertical 50-round magazines rather than the belt feeding system found in other SPAA of the same era.
The Praga V3S is a reliable chassis, but off-road capabilities are limited due to the increased weight caused by mounting the cannon. The chassis is powered by a Tatra 110 hp diesel engine, which allows for a top speed of 60 km/h on the road. The vehicle's maximum range is approximately 500 km, and it lacks amphibious capabilities. The vehicle was manufactured from the 1950s to 1978, with a total of 1450 units produced.
The crew is only protected from small arms fire and artillery shell splinters by thin steel armour. During engagement with enemy air targets, the gunner is fully exposed on the gun mount. The M53/59 only has optical gun sights and no radar or fire control system. This severely limits its performance in poor weather, low-light conditions, or against fast-moving targets.
While the anti-aircraft role is mostly obsolete in modern times, it can be used effectively as a support role for ground forces against enemy soft targets, particularly during the Yugoslav wars. It is still used by armies in Egypt, Libya, Serbia, and Slovakia, among others.
Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:
- reference to the series of the vehicles;
- links to approximate analogues of other nations and research trees.
|USSR anti-aircraft vehicles|
|GAZ-AAA||GAZ-AAA (4M) · GAZ-AAA (DShK)|
|BTR-152||BTR-152A · BTR-152D|
|Wheeled/Half-tracked||GAZ-MM (72-K) · ZiS-12 (94-KM) · ZiS-43|
|Radar SPAAG||ZSU-23-4 · ZSU-37-2|
|SAM||Strela-10M2 · 2S6 · Pantsir-S1|
|Other||ZUT-37 · ZSU-37 · BTR-ZD · ZSU-57-2|
|North Vietnam||▂Phòng không T-34|