[Would you like to see this in-game?]
TL;DR: A truck carrying a 122mm howitzer.
Getting towed howitzers from point A to point B in a timely manner has always been an issue when it comes to large militaries. One of the most well known ways of transporting these weapons was through their mounting on various self-propelled chassis, turning them into self-propelled howitzers, or SPHs. The most well known form of SPH are tracked SPHs. This type of SPH provides a robust and fairly mobile platform to transport their weapons. Modern tracked SPHs usually incorporate a 360 degree rotating turret, direct fire capabilities, and decently reliable protection for their crews. As a result, however, they are usually quite expensive to build or purchase, making them unattractive for both less-funded militaries and well-funded militaries looking to motorize large quantities of howitzers. One of the solutions to this issue was simply mounting howitzers on cheaper to produce chassis. These chassis were usually wheeled and incredibly lightly armored but also more mobile on solid ground than tracked chassis. The late 1990s to early 2000s saw a global shift in the motorization of howitzers, with more and more militaries increasing funding on wheeled SPHs that were cheaper and easier to produce in larger numbers. China, noticing the shift, also began work on their own wheeled SPHs, producing vehicles like the SH1 and SH2 for the growing market. In 2010, the PLA debuted their own wheeled SPH during a military exercise under the designation of PCL-09. This SPH was based on the Shaanxi SX2150K 6x6 truck and was designed to carry the 122mm PL-96 howitzer, a Chinese copy of the Soviet D-30, on its bed. The gun can rotate a full 360 degrees, however, it is usually only fired in a 60 degree area off the back of the truck. A semi-automatic loading system allow for a maximum fire-rate of 8 rounds per minute. Up to 40 rounds can be carried on the vehicle at once. If necessary, a 12.7mm HMG can be mounted on top of the cabin. The PCL-09 is also being offered for export under the designation of CS/SH1.
Place In War Thunder:
Gun trucks in War Thunder are largely considered meme vehicles with little real tactical value. This is largely due to their unarmored nature, terrible top speeds, and horrendous performance on soft terrain. The PCL-09, while still unarmored, moves significantly faster, fast enough to justify its lack of armor. It also has more modern systems to better deal with soft terrain. Its minimum reload of 7.5 seconds paired with a strong 122mm cannon and shells would make the PCL-09 very deadly. Playstyle would be fairly self-explanatory. You’d want to avoid direct confrontation and artillery strikes. Your mobility would allow you to appear in very strong early game positions, however, your tiny 3 degrees of gun depression would limit the ones you’d be able to use. Considering that the PCL-09 is service vehicle, its place is in the tech tree, although, due to its limited usability, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it as a squadron vehicle. Since the PCL-09 is being offered for export as the CS/SH1, it could also appear as a premium as Rwanda and Laos currently service it.
Armament: 122mm PL-96 howitzer and 1x 12.7mm HMG (optional)
Dimensions: 7.12m, 2.52m, 3.05m (L,W,H)
Ammunition: HEATFS, HE-I, FRAG-HE, Smoke, Illumination, AP Flechete, Laser-Guided Projectiles (Capable of using both Chinese and Russian ammunition.)
Pointed Off The Side:
Laotion CS/SH1 with its gun over the cabin:
Equipped with a 12.7mm HMG (Note: This specific PCL-09 seems to be either an early prototype or a based on a different truck.):
PCL-09 CS/SH1 122 mm 6x6 wheeled self-propelled howitzer data | China artillery vehicles and weapon systems UK | Chinese China army military equipment armoured UK
122 mm howitzer 2A18 (D-30) - Wikipedia
The Chinese SX2150 truck - TankNutDave.com
PCL09 | Weaponsystems.net