323 (100mm)

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323 (100mm)

Flag-North-Korea

Unknown official name

Brief History

North Korea has a surprisingly long history of tank and AFV production, with some of their most recent developments being very interesting. During the Korean War, and for a couple decades after, North Korea relied on Soviet hand-me-downs, namely T-34s and their derivatives, T-55s, etc. In the 70s, the DPRK started development of their first MBTs based on their copy of the T-62 (Ch’ŏnma), which have continually been upgraded to this day. They haven’t just built MBTs, however. They have a number of other AFVs, such as SPGs and tank destroyers.

Alongside these vehicles, North Korea has developed a number of APCs. In 1973, the 323 was spotted for the first time (sometimes incorrectly referred to as VTT-323 in the west). The 323 is a derivative of the Chinese YW 531A, which the DPRK bought and operated, with the biggest changes being the addition of a turret, one extra roadwheel, and amphibious capabilities. This suggestion focuses on one of 2 or 3 tank destroyer variants.

Note
For some reason, some sources refer to this tank as having a 103mm gun. This is almost certainly incorrect, as the 103mm gun is not referenced anywhere else other than this vehicle, and it is a very unusual calibre for North Korea to use (especially considering massive stocks of 100mm ammunition with SU-100s and thousands of T-54/55/Type 59s), etc.

Characteristics
The 323 (100mm) removes the turret added onto the North Korean 323 APC variant and replaces it with a 100mm BS-3, surrounded by an elevated rear superstructure. The design is reminiscent of the earlier produced Tŏkch’ŏn series, in particular the M1972 Tŏkch’ŏn (100mm), which mounts the same cannon.

The 100mm BS-3 is very similar in performance to the D-10 of the SU-100 and T-54/55s, firing the same ammunition and with a similar length and muzzle velocity. It’s unknown what shells North Korea has in stock, but considering their use of SU-100s and T-54/55s, it’s fair to assume they have a wide range of the early APHE rounds as well as HEAT-FS and APDS rounds. North Korea seem to remove the muzzlebrake when mounting it on vehicles, but otherwise no other modifications are known.

The 323’s engine is believed to be the same as that on the Chinese YW 531 – 320hp. The US estimated the top speed of the 323 at 80km/h, but it is much more likely to be around 65km/h.

Armour is probably very similar (if not identical) to the YW 531, being ~14mm all around.

The 323 normally has a crew of 4 – commander, driver, gunner, and machine gunner. This is true for the APC variant, as well as some others (e.g. 9M14 ATGM carrier), but due to the lack of machine gun on this particular variant, I don’t know what happens to that crew member. Perhaps they are simply a radio operator, or are moved to be a loader in the rear compartment.

Conclusion
This vehicle would be a great mid-tier indigenous tank destroyer for a North Korean sub-tree. It has a powerful 100mm gun with very similar performance to the SU-100. Therefore I suggest a BR of roughly 5.7, given the powerful gun but complete lack of armour. It would be slightly faster than the previously mentioned M1972 Tŏkch’ŏn (100mm), but otherwise almost completely identical in performance.

Specifications
Armament

  • 100mm BS-3
    • BR-412 APHE
    • BR-412B APHEBC
    • BR-412D APCBC
    • OF-412 HE

Armour

  • Hull
    • Front
      • 14mm
    • Sides
      • 14mm
    • Rear
      • 14mm
  • Turret
    • N/A

Mobility

  • Speed
    • ~65km/h
    • 10km/h in water
  • Weight
    • ~12.6-15.3t (estimated)
  • Engine power
    • 320hp

Images

Spoiler

323 100 1

  • Possibly the only other image of these vehicles

Sources

Spoiler

323 APC - Tank Encyclopedia
The Armed Forces of North Korea: On the Path of Songun – Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
VTT-323 - 나무위키
323 APC