M1972 Tŏkch’ŏn (100mm) (LRF)

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M1972 Tŏkch’ŏn (100mm) (LRF)



Unknown official name (see note below)

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 (conventional and ATGMs).

The Tŏkch’ŏn series (named after a city in South Pyongan province where it was constructed) was the first major series of indigenous North Korean SPGs. It essentially took the chassis of the Soviet ATS-59 artillery tractor and added multiple types of high-calibre cannons, resulting in a number of different variants. The one I’m suggesting here is a very rare variant of the 100mm armed version, with an upgraded FCS.

Important note on nomenclature
The DPRK doesn’t differentiate between the variants of the Tŏkch’ŏn SPGs with names (at least not publicly). Therefore all references to names are the typical western analyst standard of ‘M + year first seen’. However, the Tŏkch’ŏn series is atrociously named across the internet, with wildly varying and conflicting years for each variant. I’ve tried to find as many good sources as I can but even then, they vary their naming system. This variant seems to have few issues with names, probably because it’s the only 100mm-armed Tŏkch’ŏn – and so M1972 it is. I have no information on when this other version was produced, hence why I just added (LRF) at the end.

This particular variant has an upgraded FCS. Most notably, this includes an indigenous North Korean laser rangefinder (unknown designation) above the barrel. This is similar to the Soviet KTD-1 and KTD-2, but still has some differences in construction. It has been seen tested on North Korean vehicles (this one, and at least 1 early Ch’ŏnma), as well as having been exported to Syria (ISIS forces) for use on T-55s.

Everything else appears to be the exact same as the standard M1972:

The M1972 Tŏkch’ŏn mounts a modified Soviet 100mm BS-3 (no muzzle brake) on the aformentioned ATS-59 chassis, in an open-top design. There is only a gunshield to protect the crew, otherwise they are completely exposed

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.

The chassis remains largely unmodified, and I doubt the engine was changed, so it should still be a 300hp engine, reaching a top speed of 45km/h (although how the 100mm affects speed, I’m unsure).

The armour is poor, only thin plates surrounding the gun, probably <15mm across the whole vehicle, although this is unknown.

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. and T-54/55s. I have previously suggested the standard M1972 at around ~5.7, with only APHE and APCBC rounds, like the SU-100. However, as this variant has a LRF, and the gun is compatible with better ammunition, I’m suggesting this one at ~7.3 with APDS and HEAT-FS, as on the T-54s in game. I believe it would perform similarly to the SU-100P, only with better ammunition and a LRF.


  • 100mm BS-3
    • 3BM-8 APDS
    • 3BK-5 HEAT-FS
    • BR-412 APHE
    • BR-412B APHEBC
    • BR-412D APCBC
    • OF-412 HE
  • Laser rangefinder


  • Hull
    • Front
      • Unknown, thin
    • Sides
      • Unknown, thin
    • Rear
      • Unknown, thin
  • Turret
    • Front
      • Unknown, thin
    • Sides
      • Unknown, thin
    • Rear
      • Unknown, thin


  • Speed
    • 45km/h
  • Weight
    • ~16t (13t + ~3t [weight of cannon])
  • Engine power
    • 300hp



  • One of very few photos of this variant, at some sort of exhibition


  • The same LRF as mounted on a Ch’ŏnma

  • The same LRF on Syrian (ISIS) T-55s



The Armed Forces of North Korea – On the Path of Songun, by Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

朝鲜的轻中型防空武器汇总 自行火炮、自行火箭炮、自行反坦克导弹发射车底盘篇 - 知乎
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (Modern) - Tank Encyclopedia
ATS-59 - Wikipedia
ATS-59 - 나무위키
Tokchon (series)


Su-100P but better, why not!

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