25 mm automatic air defense gun M1940 (72-K)

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25:mm automatic air defense gun M1940 (72-K) (Russian: 25-мм автоматическая зенитная пушка образца 1940 года (72-К)) was a Soviet 25:mm caliber anti-aircraft gun used during the Great Patriotic War. The gun was developed from the end of 1939 to the beginning of 1940 at 8th Kalinin Artillery Plant under the guidance of its Chief Designer Mikhail Loginov, supervised by Lev Loktev. The cannon was given the factory code 72-K before being accepted into service by the Red Army as the 25 mm automatic air defense gun M1940.

The gun borrowed a number of features from the older 37:mm automatic air defense gun M1939, such as mounting the gun on an integral four-wheel chassis (which came under criticism when compared to similar anti-aircraft guns from outside the Soviet Union). The gun itself generally satisfied the Army, and its ballistic performance was considered state-of-the-art on the world level.

The 72-K was designed for anti-aircraft defense for infantry regiments, occupying a place between the large-caliber DShK and the more powerful 37mm 61-K. However, due to difficulties in mass production, the 72-K did not reach the Red Army until the second half of the war. The 72-K and its paired-up variant, the 94-KM, were highly successful at engaging low-flying and diving targets, and continued to serve in the Red Army long after the end of the Great Patriotic War, before being replaced by the more modern ZU-23 in the first half of the 1960s.


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