PTB-23 (23 mm)

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The 23 mm PTB-23 is a Soviet aircraft armament that saw brief use in World War II. Due to production issues with the weapon, the PTB-23 did not see widespread use among the Soviet Air Force, seeing most use in evaluation stages or in prototypes like the I-301.

Vehicles equipped with this weapon

General info

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Available ammunition

  • Default: FI-T · AP-I
  • Universal: FI · FI-T · AP-I
  • Armored targets: AP-I · AP-I · AP-I · FI-T
Penetration statistics
Belt Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)
10 m 100 m 500 m 1,000 m 1,500 m 2,000 m
Default 46 42 29 19 12 8
Universal 46 42 29 19 12 8
Armored targets 46 42 29 19 12 8

Comparison with analogues

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Usage in battles

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Pros and cons

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In the late 1930s, the Soviet Air Force desired a 23 mm cartridge for a more powerful round than the 7.62 mm and 20 mm armament available for their aircraft. As the cartridge was developed, the task of developing an armament for the round went to OKB-14, OKB-16, and TsKB-14. OKB-16, with a team led by M.N. Baburin and consisting of A.E. Nudelman, A.S. Suranov, V.L. Taubkin, P.I. Gribkov and others, soon developed a cannon designated MP-3.[1] The MP-3 used a long recoil mechanism that was fed by a cartridge clip magazine. With a fire rate of 300 rounds per minute (RPM), the Soviet Air Force found the weapon unsatisfactory and requested the fire rate to be at least 600 RPM. The weapon had to be modified with a stiffer recoil spring and a shorter barrel recoil while retaining the recoil length of the breechblock through the use of an accelerator lever. The weapon was redesignated MP-6 (мотор-пушка/"motor-pushka" or "Engine Cannon" with 600 rounds per minute).[2]

In 1940, the weapon was tested in aircraft, which included a German Bf-110 (alongside TsKB-14's VYa-23 cannon), a VK-105 engine gun mount of the LaGG-3 fighter and the wing armament of the IL-2. However, the original cartridge clip magazine for the weapon proved too bulky for a wing mount, and so A.E. Nudelman redesigned the weapon to accept a belt feed system. Now suitable as an armament, the MP-6 was approved for production in November 1940 as the PTB-23, named as a 23 mm cannon (пушка/"pushka") developed under OKB-16 head Ya.G. Taubin and lead designer N.N. Bauburin.[2] However, initial production runs at Tula and Kovrov with the weapon was unreliable, in part due to its rather complicated operating mechanism. The rate of failure was such that the PTB-23 was experiencing an issue every 15 rounds, while the ShVAK had one every 220 rounds.[1] As Spring 1941 came along, the PTB-23 was again evaluated against the TsKB-14's VYa-23 cannon. Although both guns passed the state evaluation, continued production issues and resulting unreliability caused the VYa to be adopted instead, with the PTB-23 withdrawn from production in May 1941.[2]

The MP-6/PTB-23 led to other usage and development outside of aircraft usage. In Tula, spare PTB cannons from the factory were converted to anti-aircraft guns with the use of carriages designed by N.F. Tokarev for the Battle of Tula in late 1941. The PTB-23 was also trialed as an experimental weapon for the T-40 light tank as the PT-23TB.[2] This configuration was trialed in January 1941, but the T-40's turret could not withstand the PT-23TB's recoil and so the configuration was not accepted.[3]

The experience in developing the PTB-23 led OKB-16 had designers A.E. Nudelman and A.S. Suranov utilize a similar belt-feed mechanism in the NS-37 cannon design.[4]


Excellent additions to the article would be video guides, screenshots from the game, and photos.

See also

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 авиару.рф. n.d.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Koll 2009, 181-182
  3. Koll 2009, 376
  4. Koll 2009, 355-356
  • Koll, Christian. 2009. Soviet Cannon: A Comprehensive Study of Soviet Guns and Ammunition in Calibres 12.7MM to 57 MM. Austria: self-published.
  • авиару.рф. n.d. "23-мм авиационная пушка МП-6." Accessed December 28, 2021. Webpage (Archive)

USSR aircraft cannons
20 mm  B-20E · B-20M · B-20S · ShVAK
23 mm  GSh-23L · NR-23 · NS-23 · NS-23K · PTB-23 · VYa-23
30 mm  2A42 · GSh-6-30 · GSh-30-1 · GSh-30-2 · GSh-30-2K · NR-30
37 mm  N-37 · N-37D · NS-37 · SH-37
45 mm  NS-45
20 mm  Hispano Mk.II (Britain) · MG 151 (Germany)
37 mm  M4 (USA) · M10 (USA)