MBK-161 early

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This page is about the premium Soviet armoured gun boat MBK-161 early. For the regular version, see MBK-161 late.
MBK-161 early
GarageImage MBK-161 early.jpg
MBK-161 early
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The MBK-161 early modifications is a premium gift rank III Soviet armoured gun boat with a battle rating of 3.3 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced during Update 1.91 "Night Vision" as a reward for the 2019 Operation "Shipyard" event.

General info

Survivability and armour

Armourfront / side / back
Citadel30 / 52 / 18 mm
Main fire tower40 / 45 / 45 mm
Hull6 mm (steel)
Superstructure4 mm (steel)
Number of section4
Displacement158 t
Crew39 people

MBK-161's armour is extremely thick for a ship of its size, reaching 52 mm for the center section and 60 mm for the superstructure. The vessel also comes with 39 crew, this is twice as much as most other PT boats.

Her compartments, especially the middle section and superstructure, are armoured all around. This means they will remain intact, keeping their crew alive. There are even 30 mm thick plates inside the ship to separate front to middle and rear to middle sections. Ships firing high explosive rounds will only lower your crew to about 20-40%, and not be able to do any damage after that. You will not be brought down by even destroyer's HE salvoes easily. Cannon APHE and aircraft will make short work of you however.


Speedforward / back
AB34 / 13 km/h
RB25 / 9 km/h

Your forward speed is just above 25 km/h. This is extremely slow, most aircraft will bomb you without any issue. You won't be able to reach capture points in time, and rely on good lines of sight to engage enemies. Plan your route in advance, as you will not have enough time to change course later on.

Mobility Characteristics
Game Mode Upgrade Status Maximum Speed (km/h) Turn Time (s) Turn Radius (m)
Forward Reverse
AB Stock ___ ___
Upgraded 34 13
RB/SB Stock ___ ___
Upgraded 25 9

Modifications and economy

Repair cost
AB1 394 Sl icon.png
RB1 111 Sl icon.png
Crew training10 000 Sl icon.png
Experts67 000 Sl icon.png
Aces400 Ge icon.png
Research Aces570 000 Rp icon.png
Reward for battleAB / RB / SB
Talisman.png 2 × 80 / 110 / 50 % Sl icon.png
Talisman.png 2 × 136 / 136 / 136 % Rp icon.png
Seakeeping Unsinkability Firepower
Mods new ship hull.png
Mods new ship rudder.png
Rudder Replacement
Mods new ship screw.png
Propeller Replacement
Mods new ship engine.png
Engine Maintenance
Mods ship damage control crew.png
Damage Control Division
Mods ship fire control crew.png
Fire Division
Mods engine smoke screen system.png
Mods new ship pumps.png
New Pumps
Mods new aa caliber turrets.png
Anti-Air Armament Targeting
Mods tank ammo.png
Mods new aux caliber turrets.png
Auxiliary Armament Targeting
Mods tank ammo.png
Mods tank ammo.png
Mods new main caliber turrets.png
Primary Armament Targeting
Mods ship rangefinder.png
Improved Rangefinder
Mods he frag base fuse tank.png


Primary armament

2 х Turret76 mm/40 F-34 cannon
Ammunition192 rounds
Vertical guidance-5° / 25°
Main article: F-34 (76 mm)

The MBK-161 (1943) has 2 turrets on the main deck, which are the same ones you can find on the T-34 (1942) medium tank. The two turrets present the 76 mm F-34 cannon, practically with the same characteristics as the ground model.

  • The 76 mm OF-350M is the stock shell you will start with, and it is the best of the two available. With a explosive mass of 621 g, a well-fired salvo is enough to set enemy ships on fire and take almost a third of their crew members in the majority of cases. It can be used against early destroyers, as they do not have a lot of protection.
  • The 76 mm BR-350A is a ballistic high explosive shell that sacrifices explosive power in exchange of a higher penetration. You will successfully penetrate every vessel you shoot at, but the post-penetration damage is not as powerful as with the HE. It requires 4 mm of armour to activate, and in the common scenario it will pass trough the enemy clear, only taking a few crew and the module behind. Use it only against heavy armoured boats such as the Russian PR and MBK boats. It can also be fired against early destroyers, but with the small amount of explosive filler will produce little damage.

The guns are very reliable, and work perfect against any type of enemy boat. The turning is a little bit slow, so try to figure out where will be the enemy before it shows up so you can have both guns facing the target.

Penetration statistics
Ammunition Type of
Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)
100 m 1,000 m 2,000 m 3,000 m 4,000 m 5,000 m
OF-350M HE 10 10 10 10 10 10
BR-350A APHEBC 85 70 56 45 37 30
Shell details
Ammunition Type of
mass (kg)
Fuse delay
Fuse sensitivity
Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
0% 50% 100%
OF-350M HE 680 6.2 0 0.1 621 79° 80° 81°
BR-350A APHEBC 665 6.3 1.6 4 150 48° 63° 71°

Secondary armament

Turret45 mm/46 21-K cannon
Ammunition500 rounds
Main article: 45 mm/46 21-K (45 mm)

The MBK-161 (1943) carries a 45 mm cannon with quick reloading time and good accuracy at close range. This, with a lower calibre than the turret cannons, turns faster and can be a solution for quickly moving targets when your turrets are facing the apposite direction. It can be loaded with the following ammunition:

  • The 45 mm OR-73A HET: As stock you get a High Explosive shell with low penetration and small amount of explosive. It has a high velocity, but it does not compensate the damage produced.
  • The 45 mm O-240 HE: An HE shell which contains 118 g of explosive and a stable penetration of 5 mm at any distance and angle. It produces higher damage, and is quite a good shell both for naval and air targets.
  • The 45 mm BR-240 APHE: It is the only shell of the calibre that penetrates up to 75 mm at 100 m. It has a significance reduction of explosive filler, but can still make damage if it hits an enemy module.
  • The 45 mm F-73 HE: It is an HE shell with a time fuse, which means you can adjust the explosion time. It has quite similar explosive filler as the O-240 shell, but with an improved penetration of about 21 mm at 100 m. It is the best shell for anti-air purposes.

It is recommended to use it as an anti-aircraft gun with the F-73 shell, as it can make a lot of damage if hits at the correct timing. Nevertheless, it can perform great against enemy ships.

Penetration statistics
Ammunition Type of
Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)
100 m 1,000 m 2,000 m 3,000 m 4,000 m 5,000 m
OR-73A HET HE 3 3 3 3 3 3
O-240 HE HE 5 5 5 5 5 5
BR-240 APHE 75 55 38 27 20 15
F-73 HE 20 15 10 7 5 4
Shell details
Ammunition Type of
mass (kg)
Fuse delay Fuse sensitivity
Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
0% 50% 100%
OR-73A HET HE 760 1.41 0 0.1 56.98 79° 80° 81°
O-240 HE HE 335 2.14 0 0.1 181.72 79° 80° 81°
BR-240 APHE 760 1.42 1 m 1.5 27.72 47° 60° 65°
F-73 HE 760 1.41 0.015 s 0.1 113.96 79° 80° 81°

Anti-aircraft armament

Turret37 mm/67 70-K automatic cannon
Ammunition2000 rounds
Belt capacity5 rounds
Fire rate180 shots/min
3 х Turret12.7 mm DShK machine gun
Ammunition2000 rounds
Belt capacity50 rounds
Fire rate600 shots/min

The MBK-161 carries a 37 mm 70-K automatic cannon, with a standard belt of ammunition. It is a good AA armament, delivering powerful hits to enemy aircraft that dare to get close to you. As a secondary armament it also performs great, similar to the one present in the BMO. It is placed at the stern of the ship, so take care to frontal attacks.

Take care when the AI is controlling the 37 mm cannon, as it will tend to shoot rounds until overheating the gun, leading to a malfunction that will cost some precious time. Try to look for planes and only activate the AA when it is close enough.

The MBK-161 also carries three 12.7 mm DShK machine guns with standard belts, situated 2 of them at the port and starboard side of the bridge, and one at the very top. They can hit hard if the enemy attacks from the front and the rear. Elevation does great until a certain angle, so attack from above may present a threat.

Special armament

Turret82 mm BM-37 mortar
Ammunition50 rounds
Main article: BM-37 mortar

The MBK-161 carries one the most unique armaments for a boat: a 82 mm BM-37 mortar. It shoots 82 mm shells, with a explosive filler of 0.4 kg of TNT equivalent.

Unfortunately, it can only fire at a fixed range of 300 m around the mortar, and the parabolic shot takes around 17 seconds to land. It is pretty difficult to actually hit a moving target, and it does not guarantee to make a perfect shot. As it was developed as an armament against ground forces near rivers, it has no real use in naval battles. It is quite unique, and maybe it can have a role in the future.

Usage in battles

The MBK-161 (1943) is quite an interesting ship to play, due to its unique set of characteristics - heavy armament, good armour, and bad manoeuvrability. This ship excels at longer range combat, making full use of its super-heavy main armament, but can also excel at shorter ranges by making use of its massive burst damage output.


The MBK-161 can work very well in certain situations, particularly longer-range engagements. This is because of its great weapons load, namely two 76 mm cannons. While they don't fire particularly fast, they hit very hard and can do a lot of damage to naval targets. Assuming you have decent accuracy, you can easily sink any ships at the MBK-161's BR with a couple of shots. The MBK-161 also carries a sizeable secondary and anti-aircraft armament consisting of one single 45 mm 21-K cannon, one single 37 mm 70-k automatic cannon and three single 12.7 mm DShK machine guns. These weapons give the MBK-161 a highly effective secondary armament, capable of shredding both enemy naval vessels and aircraft. Finally, the MBK-161 does carry a mortar, but this weapon is mostly useless and can only do damage in certain situations, i.e. when an enemy ship hides stationary behind an island.

The MBK Pr. 186 is quite survivable for a ship of its size, with 39 crew members and a sizeable main armour belt consisting of 52 mm of rolled homogeneous armour, making the ship almost impervious to any enemy HE shells under 152 mm and AP shells under 85 mm. This armour covers the ship's machinery and ammo racks, meaning that the MBK-161 is extremely hard to kill with just HE shells. However, the ship's survivability is hampered by the lack of heavy armour at the fore and aft, just 12-18 mm. While thick enough to protect the ship against small-arms fire, this armour is woefully inadequate against any cannon fire. As well, many ships have access to SAP and AP rounds which will easily penetrate and destroy the vessel. Thus, the overall survivability should not be relied upon exclusively, as the ship will be shredded by any heavier weapons carried by larger vessels at its BR, such as early destroyers. The ship should make use of available land cover to protect the vessel from enemy fire and preserve survivability.

Finally, the MBK Pr. 186 suffers from a rather mediocre manoeuvrability, with a poor turning circle and a rather disappointing top speed of 25 km/h in RB. Thus, the ship cannot be relied upon to capture zones, as it will take ages just to get to the capture point. In general, this ship should be played as a longer-range sniper, maximising the use of its powerful armament.

Pros and cons


  • Heavy main armament of two fast-firing 76 mm cannons
    • Cannons have surprisingly good rotation rates allowing them to be brought to bear quickly
  • Extensive secondary and auxiliary armament
  • Very well armoured for a ship of its size including a main armour belt of 52 mm - enough to block even some 152 mm HE shells!
    • Vital components are completely covered by the main armour belt
  • Low silhouette makes it quite difficult to hit


  • Excruciatingly slow with a top speed of 25 km/h in RB
  • Fore and aft ends are not heavily armoured with just 12-18 mm of RHA
    • Parts of the vessel are completely unarmoured; hits to the fore and aft ends can quickly disable the ship's crew
  • Limited firing arcs for the 76 mm main guns; fore and aft turrets cannot fire directly forward/backward due to the presence of other weapons


The MBK-161 (1943) class were the first 10 ships built of the MBK-161 class of riverine gunboats. Completed during 1943, they were large and heavily-armoured gunboats designed for use in littoral environments. Built between late 1942 and early 1943, the early members of this class were intended to carry two 82 mm mortars, but were instead armed with a rear-mounted 45 mm gun and a single mortar. The early members of the MBK-161 class saw extensive service in the Baltic during the Second World War in fire support roles, and were eventually retired in the early 1950s.

The MBK-161 class were designed as a follow-up to the prior Pr. 1124 class, and were built accordingly - the ships had a much larger hull compared to the Pr. 1124 and improved armament. The MBK-161 also had a much larger crew complement of 39 crew members. In order to save time, the hulls of the MBK-161 class were simple in shape, and the main armament consisted of widely-available T-34 gun turrets.

The MBK-161 was designed with heavy protection in mind - the citadel, turrets and conning tower had armour of varying thicknesses from 52 to 60 mm. The bow and stern were also armoured with plating. However, this armour was detrimental to handling - despite the fitting of two 1,200-hp lend-lease Packard engines, the ship was only capable of making 13 knots (24 km/h). The armament consisted of two 76 mm F-34 guns, the same weapons as the mighty T-34 medium tank. Secondary armament consisted of a single 37 mm 70-K dual-purpose gun and three 12.7 mm DShK machine guns. The ships were intended to carry two 82 mm mortars, but this plan was changed - the 1943 MBK-161s were fitted with a 45 mm cannon in lieu of one of the mortars, while 1944 MBK-161s had both mortars removed and replaced with 45 mm cannon.

In total, 20 MBK-161 boats were built, including 10 in 1943 and 10 in 1944. The 1943 members of the MBK-161 class entered service in late 1943 and served mainly in the Baltic region. They were involved in many surface actions, including the Battle of Nerva Island where Soviet small naval forces engaged two German Type 1939 torpedo boats - during this engagement, the MBK-161 boats "BK-503" and "BK-505" were damaged. Following the end of war, the MBK-161 class remained in Soviet inventories until their eventual disposal between 1949 and 1956.



See also

Related development

External links

USSR boats
Motor torpedo boats  D-3 · G-5 · G-5 (ShVAK) · Pr.123-bis · Pr.123K (A-11) · Pr.123K · Pr.183
Motor gun boats  TKA-106 · MO-4 · OD-200 · Pr.183 BM-21 · Ya-5M
Motor torpedo gun boats  Pr. 206 · Pr.206-M · MPK Pr.12412 · MPK Pr.12412P
Gunboats  Groza
Armoured gun boats  BMO · MBK-161 early · MBK-161 late · MBK pr.186 · MBK pr.186 (MK 85) · Pr.1124 early · Pr.1124 late · Pr.1124 MLRS
  Pr.191 · Pr.191M · Pr.1204 · Pr.1204 late

USSR premium ships
Motor torpedo boats  G-5 (ShVAK) · Pr.123K (A-11)
Motor gun boats  TKA-106 · Pr.183 BM-21 · Ya-5M
Motor torpedo gun boats  MPK Pr.12412P
Armoured gun boats  MBK-161 early · MBK pr.186 (MK 85) · Pr.1124 MLRS · Pr.1204
Sub-chasers  MPK Pr.122bis
Frigates  Rosomacha
Destroyers  Kerch · Ryany · Leningrad · Stroyny · Smelyi · Neustrashimy · Blagorodnyy
Light cruisers  Kerch · Zheleznyakov
Battleships  Marat