The SU-122-54 is a rank V Soviet tank destroyer with a battle rating of 6.7 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced in Update 1.49 (aka 1.70.1945) "Weapons of Victory". Featuring a T-54 chassis and similar ammunition in a tank destroyer format with a 122 mm gun, the SU-122-54 presents an interesting vehicle for Rank V battles.
Survivability and armour
The SU-122-54 has similar but better armour than the ISU-152, ISU-122 and SU-122P. In terms of profile, it is almost the same as the SU-100 but has a wider hull with a more separated crew compartment. Overall, the SU-122-54 is protected decently from all sides, except from the engine deck and crew compartment rear, which are only able to withstand 37 mm at point blank. The connectors supporting widened hull are angled, and therefore angling the SPG more than 5 degrees is pointless, as it will always be somewhat vulnerable.
Roof armour is lacklustre when it comes to protection against enemy planes, but most of the time aircraft strafes are made at an angle which makes the 20 mm plate become a 40 mm plate of effective armour, making the SU-122-54 a safe tank to play against planes with 20 mm and even 37 mm cannons . Avoid standing under artillery fire, as it has a high chance of hitting and breaching the roof.
If seen from a frontal perspective with the SU-122-54 having bushes, it is often confused with the JPz 4-5 due to the mantlet shape, muzzle brake and general frontal hull structure.
The small profile makes the SU-122-54 an easily concealable tank between relatively small bushes or trenches (as seen in pictures), the use of camouflage or decorations can make the SU-122-54 a ghost in all environments (with exception of fully urban environments).
The frontal armour is difficult to penetrate for obsolete tanks, capable of withstanding direct hits from 75 mm KwK PzGr 39/42 (ammunition of the Panther tanks with 193 mm of penetration at 10m at 0°) and American 75 mm and 76 mm (M3 cannon for example of the M4 Sherman family, 17-pdr of the British Sherman Firefly and the 75 mm SA50 of the M4A4 (SA50)) with exception of trap shots done to the mantlet (only weak spot of mantlet is the optics) which are highly unlikely to happen.
When it comes to higher calibres (88 mm, 122 mm, etc), which are the guns expected to be at the BR range, the SU-122-54 has a few strong points that will withstand most enemy rounds but won't be reliable enough to count on all the time. It is safer to be fired at in ranges between 400-700 m (specially since, at those distances, enemy tanks will have a hard time aiming at the SU-122-54 due to its small profile) but at close ranges (0-350 m) it may not withstand said calibres. Always act as if they will penetrate your hull and try to avoid being shot; by doing this you reduce the chances of the enemy of destroying half of the crew or outright destroying the SPG, in the case they are actually capable of penetrating your hull. Try to always gain high ground or "hull down" using trenches to angle the hull a bit more upwards as long as the gun allows you to fire at enemies coming at you, as it will make penetrating the front more difficult.
Regarding crew compartment, despite being tight and small, it has a high survivability specially for the number of crew members (The tank has a crew amount of 5 crewmen: driver, gunner, commander and two loaders, left one is the machine gunner.) and the huge breech of the 122 mm cannon (the enemy is more to likely destroy the breech with a side shot but it will stop most of the spalling). Quite often enemies aim for the right side of SU-122-54, which will leave the HMG on the left operational, allowing for some daring escapes.
The ammunition is located at the rear of the crew compartment (in front of engine deck) an below the main gun in front of driver and gunner. Taking less ammunition makes the SU-122-54 harder to ammo rack at its natural battle rating, as many of the enemies will fire either at the right side, which will take out some crew but not the ammo, or flank and fire at the centre of the tank, where it might not hit ammo, but crew or breech instead. If hulldown, SU-122-54 might be very difficult to aim at and in RB it might be easier for opponents to just fire at the middle of it, which will not be fatal due to gun breech taking a hit.
Like ASU-85, it has smoke screen barrels, which can be dropped to prevent aircraft from firing at it precisely or to disable aim assist in AB, or simply to make it inconvenient for enemy tanks to attack into your position.
It should not be played as fast as the JPz 4-5, firing and then running away from any threat, but it cannot play as a bastion defence either. Use every aspect of the vehicle to get an upper hand.
- Rolled homogeneous armour
- Cast homogeneous armour (Gun mantlet, Commander cupola)
|Hull|| 100 mm (50°) Front glacis
100 mm (54-55°) Lower glacis
|80 mm||45 mm (17°)||20 mm|
|Superstructure|| 100 mm (50°) Front glacis
100 mm (41°) Side joint plate
100 + 100 mm (7-65°) Gun mantlet
|80 mm (26°)||30 mm (21°)||20 mm|
- Suspension wheels are 20 mm thick while tracks are 30 mm thick.
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
The SU-122-54 is not as fast as compared with other turretless tank destroyers as the JPz 4-5 but not as slow as the Jagdtiger, it is safe to say that it is somewhere in the middle, while using armour similar to the Jagdpanther.
As the rest of the Russian tanks, it lacks neutral steering and reverse speed, but it is compensated with a high horsepower. With this horsepower, it can push other tanks and even pull some of them onto itself after destroying their tracks to prevent them from firing back, but heavy tanks will resist ramming attempts.
As a downgrade from the SU-100, it has a very rocky suspension, like a spaded ZiS-30, so it's recommended not to brake before firing, but to slow down instead. It is also very unstable when climbing and will slide off some sniper spots even with all the mobility upgrades, which let it climb better.
If it manages to rush a steep hilltop or a cliff, it has a tendency to fly right off the cliff before managing to stop. If user somehow managed to stay on top of a cliff, the rocky suspension will force it to stabilise for about 3 to 5 seconds before any reasonable aim can be taken.
Modifications and economy
Overall, the SU-122-54 can be considered as a hybrid between the SU-122P and T-54 (1951). It does not have a stabiliser, has the APHE shells of an SPG and also ammunition expected for medium tanks of the next era. It has a shorter reload time than a SU-122P but longer than T-54s.
The main gun is capable of defeating all vehicles frontally at the BR it sits at, but for some the HEAT-FS or APDS should be used, as BR471B often fails to penetrate angled armour.
|122 mm D-49||Turret rotation speed (°/s)||Reloading rate (seconds)|
BR-471/BR-471B/BR-471D, APHE/APHEBC/APCBC - This is the first ammunition the SU-122-54 has access to (BR471, BR471B and BR471D) which is sometimes considered as the "weak" ammunition, as it often fails to penetrate tanks in a full uptier. Despite having a "low" penetration (BR471 has 203 mm at 10 m at 0° and BR471D 239 mm at the same distance and angle) it should not be underestimated. The BR471B should be your main ammunition in almost all sorts of engagements, as it has the highest angled penetration. The BR471D has the penetration to deal with all heavy tanks frontally (with exception of Tiger 2 tanks glacis, Maus, E-100 and some frontal places of the glacis of the T-29/T-34). Both generally have enough fuse sensitivity to explode inside lightly armoured vehicles. These two rounds are a 90% confirmed one shot kill due to their tremendous explosive power (246.4 or 192.5 g of TNT equivalent respectively). The APHECBC shell should not be underestimated.
3BM-7, APDS - This is the most reliable round to use at distances when speed or ease of aim is crucial (Shell velocity of 1,400 m/s). It has enough penetration to deal the glacis of Tiger II tanks as well as T29/T34 but, due to being a solid shot subcalibre round, it has no explosive power. This means the APDS relies on spalling created by the armour penetration, which can sometimes be difficult to utilise, particularly if killing the enemy vehicle has to be done as soon as possible. This does not mean that the APDS cannot destroy tanks in one shot - if aimed at ammunition or center of mass it often can do that. Tiger II tanks will be destroyed with a single shot at the glacis if the shot is made right at the middle of the glacis. This round should be mostly be used as a secondary round for heavily armoured targets or at far ranges in which a high velocity round is preferable.
3BK-10, HEATFS - This is the round with the most consistent penetration due to being chemical energy, being slightly stronger than HEATFS of Japanese tanks at the same BR and on par with BR 7.7 - 8.7 HEATFS but at lower BR. This round can be considered the most reliable round for all sorts of engagements both at close range or at distance if one shot kills are not planned or an enemy cannot be penetrated by APHECBC. It has a great explosive power (2.05 kg of TNT equivalent) but, due to being a hollow charge, the spalling is focused in a cone shape, like APDS. Similar to APDS, this round has to be aimed at center of mass to damage as most modules and crew members as possible due to the tightly packed spalling created. It should be noted that this round requires a clear flight path to the target as trees, bushes, fences and any obstruction will detonate it due to the fuse sensitivity, so it cannot replace APDS entirely, at least on large forest maps. Keep it in mind.
|Ammunition|| Type of
|Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)|
|10 m||100 m||500 m||1,000 m||1,500 m||2,000 m|
|Ammunition|| Type of
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive Mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
| 22 (+13)
| 14 (+21)
| 9 (+26)
| 1 (+34)
- The SU-122-54 uses two-piece ammunition, composed of propellant bags (orange) and projectiles (yellow). Both have separate racks.
- Racks 2, 3 and 4 are first stage ammo racks. They total 21 shells and get filled first when loading up the tank.
- These racks are also emptied early: the rack depletion order at full capacity is: 2 - 3 - 4 - 1.
- Simply not firing when the gun is loaded will move ammo from rack 1 into racks 4, 3 then 2. Firing will interrupt the restocking of the ready racks.
The 14.5 mm KPVT can be considered as the most reliable Heavy Machine Gun (HMG) in game due to its stopping power and rate of fire. It is a Jack-of-all-Trades when it comes to ground battles, has a faster muzzle velocity than 20 mm cannons but has more destructive power than the 12.7 mm (.50 cal) machine gun. It does not get the fire rate of the 15 mm MG 151 HMG (mounted on the AMX-50 Foch), but also will not overheat and jam, thus can be fired indefinitely.
The KPVT are exclusive to Russian tanks and are able of doing multiple things:
- Immediate ground defence: these machine guns are able to damage and destroy external components of all tanks (tracks, gun barrels, etc), destroy lightly armoured vehicles (with armour thinner than 30 mm at a slight angle, at maximum of 200 m range), remove obstructions (continuous focused fire can destroy even some solid walls) and can be used for spotting in RB. Make sure to focus both MGs on a gun barrel, as just one KPVT will not break the gun by itself with one belt.
- Immediate air defence: due to having a roof mounted KPVT with a 360° rotation and a 40° elevation, it is able to critically damage low flying aircraft. This belts have AP-I round which can cause fatal damage on all low flying aircraft (it often lits them on fire or damages the engine).
|14.5 mm KPVT|
|Mount||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal|
Usage in battles
The SU-122-54 is far from being a frontline tank, meaning it has to stay away from the enemy LoS (line of sight) due to the long reload and relatively weak armour. This does not mean the SU-122-54 should be taken all the way through the outskirts of a map to get into position (can be done but not recommended on all maps). It should be used as a sniper in long range maps and a support vehicle in the rest.
It is able to defend itself pretty well if a good defensive position is found or set. All CQC (close quarters combat) should be avoided as the lack of turret invites enemy tanks to flank you from all sides but frontally which is the only side you can reliably defend yourself from. Some places in CQC environments (urban areas, city ravines, etc) can be used as stroke point (holding a full street waiting for someone to push if that street is the only access point) due to its powerful gun and decent armour. This tank faces almost nothing that can be a hard cookie to crack.
If it is necessary to actually go and patrol the map or put down some medium tank which went out of control and annihilated your teammates, it is better to load HEATFS as it is basically guaranteed to penetrate anything, unless you know exactly what you are going to fight. If you do not have HEATFS, fire at the enemy cannon first, destroy the enemy tank tracks with MG, then execute them with a side APHE shot. With light tanks, some care should be taken as they might have ATGM, so try to aim better and take out their gunner first instead of a weapon, then drive up to them and shred them into pieces with a 14.5 mm HMG. If it's impossible for you to do within 7 seconds, retreat - ATGM tanks will obliterate the SU-122-54.
List of opponents important notes when facing frontally:
- Panther/M48/Pershing: all front can be penetrated with BR471D and higher penetration rounds. Do not use 3BK-10
- M60: gun mantlet can be penetrated by BR471D, hull has to be penetrated by 3BM-7 or 3BK-10
- Tiger II: gun mantlet can be penetrated by BR471D, hull has to be penetrated by 3BM-7 or 3BK-10 (aim at right side of the turret if the tank is facing at you for a safe reload)
- Centurion: all front can be penetrated with BR471D and higher penetration rounds
- M103: hull has to be penetrated by 3BM-7 or 3BK-10, center of mass shot has to be done frontally as the hull and turret are curvy
- T32/T32E1: gun mantlet and hull have to be penetrated by 3BM-7 or 3BK-10, aim at lower half of the frontal glacis to fire at ammunition rack
- Maus/E-100: gun mantlet has to be penetrated by 3BM-7 or 3BK-10, hull has to be penetrated by 3BK-10. Side shots have to be done with 3BM-7 or 3BK-10.
- Jagdtiger: gun mantlet and hull have to be penetrated by 3BM-7 or 3BK-10
- Leopard 1/AMX-30: all front can be penetrated with BR471D and higher penetration rounds
- T95: gun mantlet and hull have to be penetrated by 3BM-7 or 3BK-10
- Marder A1-: Do not fight it with MG, simply use APHE or HE to destroy it or retreat
Pros and cons
- Strong gun that can fire HEATFS or APDS shells, unlike most other 122 mm gun-equipped tanks with a improved fire-rate, makes it viable in uptiers
- Fairly low silhouette
- Has two 14.5 mm machine guns, actually useful to mess with heavier opponents and to ward off low-flying aircraft or light vehicles
- Decently mobile, but will not climb well until upgraded
- Good top speed
- Has access to a rangefinder and NVD
- Mantlet can have effective thickness of 200 mm at certain angles of attack, though it's not very reliable
- Long reload time when stock (16 seconds), though not as long as most other 122 mm
- The protection is not as adequate at close range and will not protect from HEAT at long range
- Restricted firing angles for the main guns, horizontally and vertically, due to casemate layout
- Due to a poor stability of chassis, braking is not recommended when encountering an enemy tank
- Lack of a turret means that if you get flanked, the tank is in serious trouble
- 14.5 on top of the tank can't turn to the right, and many light tanks at the BR prefer to attack from your right (to protect their vulnerable left side)
- Cupola hits will injure respective crew members
- Two loaders means the rate of fire suffers strongly in the event of a penetration
- The armour is thick enough to hamper acceleration
The success of the T-54 tank in the early 1950s had the vehicle chassis used in many different variants for different roles. The roles range out from a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun, armoured recovery vehicle, bridge-layers, mine-clearers, flamethrowers, armoured personnel carriers, fire-fighting vehicles, and a self-propelled gun. The self-propelled gun, known as "Object 600", was a vehicle based off the T-54A design and carried the 122 mm gun infamous on the IS heavy tank series. The vehicle was known as the SU-122-54, but it has sometimes also be referred to as the IT-122 as well. The chassis was modified for the vehicle, with the large gap present between the first and second road wheels moved to between the third and fourth. The superstructure, like traditional designs, was built onto the hull and held the 122 mm gun. Secondary armament consisted of two KPVT heavy machine guns on coaxial and pintle-mount for anti-aircraft purposes. The general design was developed and built between 1955 and 1957, with a total of 77 units made with minor differences between each batch.
The SU-122-54 self-propelled artillery mount was constructed on the basis of the T-54-55 medium tank from 1948 to 1951. It was intended first and foremost to play the role of an assault and antitank weapon. Plans were made for large-scale production of the SU-122, but starting in 1957 its release was curtailed due to a shift in the priorities of military production in favor of building missile weapons.
The SU-122-54 SPG was used by the Soviet Army until the second half of the 1960s, when it was removed from the army's arsenal. A total of 77 SU-122-54 SPGs were produced.
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 tank destroyers|
|SU-76M||SU-76M · SU-76M (5th Gv.Kav.Corps) · SU-85A|
|SU-57B||SU-57B · SU-76D|
|T-34 Derivatives||SU-122 · SU-85 · SU-85M · SU-100 · SU-122P|
|Heavy Tank Derivatives||SU-100Y · ISU-122 · ISU-122S · SU-152 · ISU-152 · Object 268|
|SU-100P and Derivatives||SU-100P · Object 120|
|Airborne||ASU-57 · ASU-85|
|Rocket||BM-8-24 · BM-13N|
|ATGM||IT-1 · Shturm-S · Khrizantema-S|
|Other||SU-5-1 · ZiS-30 · SU-122-54|