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ZPU-4 in the Armourgeddon Museum

Category: Blog
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Posted: 08/03/2017 15:23
Views: 1828
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Our newest refurbished gun, a ZPU-4 is in place in our museum ready for the start of the season. Read on to find out more about this heavy machine gun with huge fire power. 

The Russian ZPU (зенитная пулемётная установка), meaning "anti-aircraft machine gun mount" is a family of towed anti-aircraft gun based on the Soviet 14.5 x 114mm KPV heavy machine gun. It has a quick-change barrel, mounted on a wheeled chassis. In the firing position, the wheels are raised off the ground and the carriage is supported at four points, screw jacks at each end of the carriage and on outriggers on each side of the carriage that are also provided with screw jacks. The weapon can be brought into action in 15 to 20 seconds but can, if required, be fired with the wheels in the travelling position. The ZPU entered service with the Soviet Union in 1949 and is used by over 50 countries worldwide.

Quadruple (ZPU-4), two double- (ZPU-2 and ZU-2) and single-barreled (ZPU-1) versions of the weapon exist. Our version here at Armourgeddon is a ZPU-4

The first dedicated Soviet mount for anti-aircraft machine guns was developed around 1928 by Fedor Tokarev and was adopted for service in 1931. A base for mounting up to four 7.62 mm PM M1910 (Russian Maxim) guns, the ZPU-4 entered service with the Soviet Army in 1949 and although no longer in front-line service with the Russian Army, may still be found in second-line units defending airfields and other high-priority targets. Many countries have since replaced the ZPU-4 anti-aircraft guns with the ZU-23 twin anti-aircraft guns 23mm. China produced variants under license known as the Type 56 and Type 58.

Improved optical predicting gun sights were developed for the system in the 1950s. All weapons in the ZPU series have air-cooled quick-change barrels and can fire a variety of ammunition including the API (BS41) a projectile weighing 64.4 g, with a muzzle velocity of 1,000 m/s, which will penetrate 32 mm of conventional steel armour at an incidence of 0º at a range of 500 m, API-T (BZT) weighing 59.56 g and I-T (ZP) weighing 59.68 g. Each barrel has a maximum rate of fire of around 600 rounds per minute, though this is practically limited to about 150 rounds per minute.

The quad-barrel ZPU-4 uses a four-wheel carriage similar to that once used by the obsolete 25mm automatic anti-aircraft gun M1940. In firing position, the weapon is lowered onto firing jacks. It can be brought in and out of action in about 15 to 20 seconds and can be fired with the wheels in the traveling position if needed.

The double-barrel ZPU-2 was built in two different versions; the early model has large mudguards and two wheels that are removed in the firing position, and the late model has wheels that fold and are raised from the ground in the firing position.

In 1974 the Cyprus National Guard artillery batteries used their ZPU-2's against the Turkish air force. In the Russian military, the newer and more powerful ZU-23 23 mm twin automatic anti-aircraft gun replaced it.

The series was used during the Korean War by the Chinese and North Korean forces. Considered to be the most dangerous opposition to U.S in these theatres, as well as to their helicopters in Vietnam. Also used by Morocco and the Polisario Front in the Western Sahara War. Iraqi forces also used the ZPU-4 during Operation Desert Storm and again in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

We believe that Suddam Hussein’s Elite Republican Guard in Iraq deployed our ZPU-4 due to the markings and stickers affixed to the body of the gun.

In 1974 the Cyprus National Guard artillery batteries used their ZPU-2's against the Turkish air force. In the Russian military, the newer and more powerful ZU-23 23 mm twin automatic anti-aircraft gun replaced it.

The ZPU-4 can be found in the post-WWII area of the museum at Armourgeddon. The museum is open from 1st April until the end of October. Entry is £5 per person. The museum is packed with interactive displays, tanks, guns and military vehicles of every era.

For group tours, please contact us for information on our packages. 

For the latest info please see the Armourgeddon Military Museum Website



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