Russian Army placed a 25mm naval gun on the Soviet MT-LB AFV

Images revealing a unique military amalgamation have surfaced on social media platforms. A pro-Russian participant on Telegram shared photographs of a Soviet MT-LB, currently part of the Russian army in Ukraine, equipped with a 24 mm naval gun. 

Russian Army placed a 25mm naval gun on the Soviet MT-LB AFV
Photo credit: Telegram

According to the Military Informant, this distinctive armament setup has been seen around Avdiivka’s battle-stricken zones in recent times. The MT-LB is said to belong to Russian military volunteers hailing from the 60th Separate Sabotage and Assault Brigade [SSAB], known as the “Veterans”

At first sight, it seems as though the probable Soviet naval system fitted on the MT-LB might be the 25 mm/79 [1″] 2M-3. As suggested by the Telegram user, it could also be a 2M-3M modification.

Russian Army placed a 25mm naval gun on the Soviet MT-LB AFV
Photo credit: Telegram

2M-3 description

The original ammunition supply for these artillery pieces comprised 65-round cartridges, with early variants able to be loaded using 7-round clips. They were initially mounted on a framework known as a 2M-3. 

Subsequently, this base was upgraded to the 2M-3M version. Incorporating gas operation, this adaptation enhanced the automatic fire capabilities of these weapons, ramping up their rate of fire to between 470 and 480 rounds per minute during testing phases. 

Although these firearms are primarily air-cooled, the cooling process is supplemented by a unique water-cooling setup implemented during the reloading stage. This involves the use of a custom hose for about 15 seconds. 

In terms of historical context, these guns take their design from the 84-KM, conceptualized in 1943-44. The blueprints for a next-gen artillery piece were drawn up in 1945 and revisited in 1947. Formal trials for these guns started in 1949, and by 1953 they were officially incorporated into the Soviet arsenal as the 110-PM. Manufacturing in the Soviet Union continued all the way until 1984. 

Interestingly, there is also a North Korean iteration of this artillery, recognized as the Type 61.

About the ‘Veterans’

The 60th Brigade Veterans is a relatively new volunteer unit that commenced its battle journey in Ukraine’s Northern Military District in 2022. Significantly, the core of this brigade is composed of members from well-known units in Donbas such as the “Oplot” and “Pyatnashka.” SSAB “Veterans” refers to the Separate Sabotage Assault Brigade, derived from the battalion of the same name. 

It’s important to underline that the legal status of “Veterans” sits somewhere between the Wagner PMC and a conventional separate motorized rifle brigade from the Russian Ministry of Defense. As per the contract terms, a volunteer from the 60th Airborne Brigade “Veterans” receives a remuneration starting at 240 thousand rubles [$2,720], with bonuses that are not capped. 

The unit of “Veterans” seeks male volunteers aged 20 to 55, including those without prior combat experience. Desired specialties range from riflemen, grenade launchers, attack aircraft [notably, this type of training unit is not present in the Ministry of Defense], snipers, sappers, gunners, drivers, artillerymen, orderlies, paramedics, to signalmen. Having combat experience is a plus. 

Recruits initially undergo a two-week training period at the training ground, after which their preparedness level is evaluated. If proven not ready, more training time is allotted. In the unfortunate event of a volunteer’s death at the front, the state guarantees full compensation to the family, identical to regular contract soldiers in the RF Armed Forces. 

Let’s not forget that the 60th Airborne Brigade follows the same military chain of command as the Wagner PMC or the GRU army special forces. A fighter can ascend to a squad commander position based on their military experience, resourcefulness, and valor.

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