By U.S. ArmyJune 12, 2019
The first 130MM field gun produced by China was the Type 59-1, a copy of the Soviet M-46. It fires high explosive and illuminating projectiles. The gun is towed by a 6x6 truck and is served by a crew of 8 to 10 soldiers. The weapon displayed at Memorial Field saw service with Iraqi troops during the Operation Desert Storm. It was obtained by a U.S. Army Center of Military History Special Property Recovery Team in Southwest Asia.
China's Take on the Soviet M46
The original M46 was developed from the Soviet M36 naval gun designed for coastal defense. The design of the gun began after World War II, with the first units being fielded shortly after the Korean War began. When it was produced, it had one of the longest effective ranges in the world, at 17 miles unassisted and over 23 miles assisted. The first public display of the M46 occurred at the May Day Parade in Moscow in 1954.
The Type 59 was one of 10 variants that were produced by countries outside of the Soviet Union. The Chinese-built Type 59 was the licensed version; two modified versions were later built by the Chinese. The Type 59-1 was the lighter variant, weighing 1.4 tons less than the M46. The GM-45 was the exported version of the Type 59. The lighter weight of the 59-1 was accomplished by using a lighter carriage that was designed for the Type 60 (D-74)--a smaller towed gun also from the Soviet Union.
The M46 has variants associated with Cuba, Egypt, India, Israel, North Korea and Serbia. The weapon remains in service with many countries in Asia and Africa, including Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Thailand.
The Type 59-1 displayed at Memorial Field is a lightweight Chinese variant that was sold to Iraq. It is one about 675 guns that were in the Iraqi inventory during Operation Desert Storm. The weapon was recovered by the Center of Military History and shipped to Rock Island Arsenal in 1992.