M1991 Tŏkch’ŏn (152mm)

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  • North Korea sub-tree in China
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M1991 Tŏkch’ŏn (152mm)

Flag-North-Korea

D-KHSxWUYAAj87a

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 produced in 1991, and was the second (and last) to be armed with a 152mm.

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 M1991, which seems to be the consensus in most online sources. One refers to it as the M1985, but I will stick with M1991 as it is the most common.

Characteristics
The M1991 Tŏkch’ŏn mounts a mounts a Soviet 152mm D-20 on the aforementioned ATS-59 chassis, in a closed turreted design. The 152mm D-20 fires HE and HEAT rounds at 655m/s; it would probably perform very similarly to the ISU-152s 152mm ML-20S rounds which are fired at the same velocity. The 152mm D-20 has a slightly higher rate of fire than the 152mm ML-20S, at 5-6rpm vs 3-4rpm, which would result in a reload of ~10-15s instead of ~27s (SU-152).

This variant is one of the few Tŏkch’ŏn’s to have a turret, and the only one to have a fully-enclosed turret at that. As proven from multiple angles, the turret is fully enclosed, which should provide slightly better crew protection than every other Tŏkch’ŏn variant. This is also likely fully traversable, and will provide the vehicle with much greater flexibility than the M1974 Tŏkch’ŏn, which mounts the same gun.

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 heavy 152mm affects speed, I’m unsure).

The armour is poor, probably <15mm across the whole vehicle, although this is unknown.

The vehicle has no secondary armament or other useful features, like smoke grenades.

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-152 at 4.7 (but faster reload), none of the armour, but a fully enclosed turret, so I think a BR of 5.3-5.7 would be suitable.

Specifications

Armament

  • 152mm D-20
    • OF-96 (?) HE
    • BP-540 HEAT
      • 250mm at 0º at 10m
  • 655 m/s
  • 5-6 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
    • ~19t (13t + ~5.7t [weight of cannon])
  • Engine power
    • 300hp

Images

Spoiler

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D-KHSxzUEAAnnfB
D-KHSxWUYAAj87a

Sources

Spoiler

北陆军152mm 自走炮杂谈 - 知乎
北陆军现役火炮 - 知乎
Самохідна артилерія КНДР - від 76 мм до 370 мм - Мілітарний
M-1985またはM-1991 152mm自走榴弾砲 - 北朝鮮軍装備大全@ ウィキ | ChosunArmy - atwiki(アットウィキ)
https://twitter.com/stoa1984/status/1144626810124025861
ATS-59 - 나무위키
ATS-59 - Wikipedia

+1 for a united korea tree starting after ww2 like israel. Both north korea and south korea have tons of unique equipment. Would be in my opinion on of the last trees possible without to much c&p

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