The M1974 is a North Korean 152mm self-propelled howitzer.

For many years the North Korean artillery was considered the largest force in the world, with thousands of artillery pieces of all kinds. This is the main firepower of the North Korean Army in the event of a war on the Korean peninsula. The M1974 is a North Korean 152mm self-propelled howitzer. Its actual name is unknown; M1974 is the designation given by the US Department of Defense. In service since the 1970s, and the North Korean army is the sole operator.

The M1974 was in fact a modified version of the Soviet D-20 howitzer, mounted on a lightly armored chassis. The D-20 was given to North Korea by Soviet aid and they were built under license. The M1974 can also be seen as a North Korean attempt to create a self-propelled artillery system, equivalent to the Soviet 2S3 Akatsiya self-propelled howitzer. Although North Korea’s artillery system is inferior in many aspects.

Putting towed artillery on motorized chassis is an effective way to increase mobility. The D-20 152 mm howitzer was built in the early 1950s. Today it is no longer a modern weapon, can not match performance of modern 155 mm howitzers used by NATO countries and non-NATO allies, such as Japan and South Korea. Even so, the D-20 is a solid, reliable weapon with a relatively large warhead. It is still in service in many countries today.

The M1974 is compatible with all standard 152 mm ammunition of the D-20 gun-howitzer. It fires fragmentation, High-Explosive Fragmentation, High Explosive, concrete-busting, and illumination rounds. It is also capable of launching Krasnopol laser-guided projectiles, as well as nuclear rounds. Though it is unknown if North Korea obtained any of these rounds from its allies. Maximum range of fire with HE-FRAG round is 17.4 km. The HE round penetrates 250 mm steel plate at a range of 3 km.

With a semi-automatic loading system, the firing rate is 4-6 rounds/minute. The gunner crew consists of 8 people, the time to change from marching to combat is 3 minutes. When firing, two large stabilizing spades are lowered to the ground at the rear. The M1974 also had no self-defense weapons, only personal weapons of the gunners.

The self-propelled artillery system is based on a light armored tracked chassis. Most likely it was a heavily modified Soviet ATS-59G artillery tractor, powered by a 39-liter A-650 diesel engine, developing 300 hp. In fact, it was the standard engine of the T-55 medium tank, developing 520 hp. However, the ATS-59G has reduced power to 300 hp to prolong the life of the engine. The M1974 artillery system has a maximum range of about 350 km with internal fuel and about 500 km with an auxiliary fuel tank.

The M1974’s turret provided some moderate protection for the crew. The cannon retains the shield of the D-20, but the superstructure is not covered.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here