M1981 Tŏkch’ŏn (122mm)

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M1981 Tŏkch’ŏn (122mm)

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 (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 was first produced in 1981.

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. For the sake of clarity, this particular vehicle I’m referring to as M1981, which seems to be the consensus in every source, including the CIA. (likely due to the fact this one is the only 122mm-armed Tŏkch’ŏn)

Characteristics
The M1981 Tŏkch’ŏn mounts a Soviet 122mm D-74 on the aformentioned ATS-59 chassis, in an open-top design with limited traverse. The D-74 has a variety of shells, with HE, smoke and even APHE. The gun fires at roughly 885m/s, over 200m/s faster than the similar D-30 mounted on some Chuch’e-Po SPG variants (and the 2S1’s modified D-74 in game)

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 122mm 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.

Conclusion
This vehicle would be a great early indigenous SPG for a North Korean sub-tree. It would have similar gun performance and mobility to the ISU-122 at 5.3 (although likely a much faster reload), but none of the armour, so I think a BR of ~5.0 would be suitable.

Specifications
Armament

  • 122mm D-74
    • HE
    • APHE
    • Smoke
  • 885 m/s
  • 8-10 rpm

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
    • ~18.6t (13t + ~5.6t [weight of cannon])
  • Engine power
    • 300hp

Images

Spoiler


Sources

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북한군 122mm 자주포 : 네이버 블로그
D-74 122 mm field gun - Wikipedia
ATS-59 - 나무위키
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (Modern) - Tank Encyclopedia
ATS-59 - Wikipedia
Tokchon (series)
https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP84T00171R000101030001-7.pdf

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Another great addition to the NK sub-tree! +1

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good spg +1

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