recently, a picture was published (or, rather, re-published) in the Russian “shushpanzery” community and, subsequently reposted to EU forums, displaying an alleged “derp version” of the SU-122-54, called Object 610. Here’s the picture in question. At first glance, it really might resemble some sort of short gun, but I’ll have to disappoint you, it’s not a gun.
This is indeed the Object 610 “Buyvol” (“Buffalo”). This vehicle is an armored artillery observation post, developed in 1955 by Plant No.174, based on the SU-122 chassis, which in turn was built on the T-54 chassis. The task recieved the code name “buyvol” and in July 1955, the vehicle recieved an official factory designation “Object 610″. By the end of 1955, two prototypes were built and they went through the series of army tests, but they were never accepted in service and thus, the vehicle was never mass-produced.
The “gun” is in fact a mock-up, designed for this vehicle to resemble a real gun. Inside the metal cover, there was a 14,5mm KPVT heavy machine gun with 400 rounds of ammunition for it. The vehicle had a crew of six and used the components of the T-54 tank (including the 520hp engine, allowing it to go as fast as 48 km/h). It weighed 33 tons. The main weapon of this vehicle was not a gun, but its set of special equipment:
- special “Yantar-Trassa” navigation equipment
- tank commander’s range finder TKD
- recon theodolite RT-2
- periscope range finder PND-2
- tank commander’s periscope TPKU
- stereoscopic rangefinder DS-09
- artillery compass PAB-2
The vehicle was also equipped with 10RT and R-108 radio devices.
The decision to turn a self-propelled gun into a recon vehicle is actually not unique, the Czechoslovaks for example thought about it in two cases:
- in one case, there was an idea to turn the Jagdpanzer 38t into a recon vehicle in 1955 by giving it a very powerful engine (while keeping the gun), it was never properly developed
- a solution with optics and without a gun was later adopted in the case of SD-100 (license-produced SU-100) – a gun was removed and replaced by optics system (can’t find any details atm)