M1972 Tŏkch'ŏn (100mm)

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M1972 Tŏkch’ŏn (100mm)

Flag-North-Korea

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 the sole 100mm armed version.

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.

Characteristics
The M1972 Tŏkch’ŏn mounts a Soviet 100mm BS-3 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.

A minor variant has also been seen with 2x Igla mounted at the back of the turret, each with a separate crew member to fire them.

Conclusion
This vehicle would be a great mid-tier indigenous SPG 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. I don’t think it should be given APDS or HEAT rounds, as that will drag it up into BRs (6.7+) I don’t think it’ll otherwise do good in.

Specifications
Armament

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

Armour

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

Mobility

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

Images

Spoiler

M1972 2
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Igla variant

Sources

Spoiler

북한군 130mm 자주포 : 네이버 블로그
https://ko.topwar.ru/60961-artilleriya-koreyskoy-narodnoy-armii-chast-2-samohodnye-orudiya.html
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)

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