Disclaimer: the contents of these articles merely illustrate the resources available for a historically accurate buff. This article does not imply that these changes should happen or will happen, either in combination or individually. Please pay attention to this disclaimer before being butthurt in the comments, thanks in advance.
The ISU-152 has long been a menace at tier 8 with its devastating 152 mm BL-10 gun, capable of bringing the pain to even top tier adversaries. What about its predecessor, the SU-152? You can have a D-25S to make it a poor man’s SU-122-44 or get the ML-20S, sling gold to hope to pen anything, and rapidly become a poor man. This just will not do. To the archives!
Let’s start with boring things, like the rate of fire. In game, it’s 3.39 RPM. “Aha!” you may yell, “the real rate of fire of the SU-152 was N RPM! Russian Bias!” I’ve heard many values for N, usually less than 2. As usual, people have read a number on the internet, didn’t understand it, and wish to yell it as loudly as possible. Soviet testing standards for rates of fire included using every rack (not just the ready rack), and re-adjusting targets. According to Yuri Pasholok’s book SU-152 and other SPGs on the KV tank chassis, the SU-152 achieved a rate of fire of 2.8 RPM using the first availability racks (10 shells), and the loader could load a shell from the most convenient rack in 16 seconds. Since WoT exists in an ideal world where every shell is in your best rack and your loader just chugged his own weight in Red Bull, the peak ROF (3.75 RPM) is not unreasonable.
“But Ensign!” you say, “I can get 3.75 RPM with a rammer or vents! Surely there is something better in your vast repository of knowledge!” Uh, let’s see, what else. A common field modification was an extra ammo rack of 5 made out of wooden spacers, placed underneath the gun, that’s a thing I guess. A ROF boost and few more shells isn’t so bad, give me a break, not every Soviet tank can get a huge and awesome buff.
Ha, I’m kidding, of course it can. For instance, that 122 mm BL-9S on the ISU-152 that I haven’t seen once in my many thousands of battles? It was originally developed under the name OBM-50. One of the vehicles it is discussed as being suitable for is the KV-14, which is, of course, an early index of the SU-152. Bam, how’s that for a buff? Now people will actually use this gun, since there is no other clearly better option available!
Nope, I lie again. The same document mentions the OBM-43 152 mm gun with a muzzle velocity of 880 m/s as another viable weapon for the SU-152. This is a towed gun that inherited the barrel, and the ballistics, of the Br-2 152 mm gun. This gun was eventually mounted into the ISU-152 with some minor changes, increasing the index to OBM-53. My well-read audience should be able to recognize this as an index of the BL-10 high power 152 mm gun. Indeed, scroll down, and the engineering drawing demonstrates both guns mounted in the SU-152, not its IS-based successor.
If you don’t like re-using the same guns tier after tier, you can have a new 152 mm high power gun, the M-21. However, it isn’t really that different, being able to penetrate 208 mm at 1000 meters instead of the BL-10′s 205.
152 mm ought to be enough for anyone, right? Do I hear 203 mm? Of course I hear 203 mm! Experience with Soviet artillery should have taught you that if it takes a 152 mm gun, it can take a 203 mm gun, so let’s get down to business and cram this baby into the SU-152.
Apparently, Soviet commanders have been drooling over a 203 mm SPG for heavy anti-fortification work, so there were several of these projects. One project was indexed SU-203, using the M-4 203 mm mortar with an even shorter barrel and comically large muzzle brake. The lower muzzle velocity made it pretty bad at concrete piercing, but the size of the HE shell would make it a pretty tough opponent in World of Tanks. Another project was the M-17, an M-40 203 mm howitzer on the SU-152 chassis. It had much worse ROF than the SU-203 (1 shot every 80 seconds as opposed to 1 shot every 40 seconds) due to more primitive loading assistance equipment, but carried more shells (16 vs 14 on the SU-203). The M-17 also ended up with superior concrete piercing performance, matching the SU-152 instead of being greatly inferior to it, which will help with those satisfying all-or-nothing shots to the side of an unsuspecting enemy turning a corner.
There you have it, lots of exciting choices that can really liven up your tier 7 TD experience.