||Multiple rocket launcher
|Place of origin
||Soviet Union, and others
||World War II
Yom Kippur War
2006 Lebanon War
2011 Libyan civil war
Syrian Civil War
Northern Iraq Offensive
||Georgy Langemak, Kostikov
||Plant Comintern in Voronezh
||BM-13, BM-8, BM-31, BM-14, BM-21,BM-24, BM-25, BM-27, BM-30
Katyusha multiple rocket launchers (Russian: Катю́ша; IPA: [kɐˈtʲuʂə] ( listen)) are a type of rocket artillery first built and fielded by the Soviet Union in World War II. Multiple rocket launcherssuch as these deliver explosives to a target area more quickly than conventional artillery, but with lower accuracy and requiring a longer time to reload. They are fragile compared to artillery guns, but are inexpensive and easy to produce. Katyushas of World War II, the first self-propelled artillery mass-produced by the Soviet Union, were usually mounted on trucks. This mobility gave theKatyusha (and other self-propelled artillery) another advantage: being able to deliver a large blow all at once, and then move before being located and attacked with counter-battery fire.
Katyusha weapons of World War II included the BM-13 launcher, light BM-8, and heavy BM-31. Today, the nickname is also applied to newer truck-mounted Soviet (and not only Soviet) multiple rocket launchers—notably the common BM-21—and derivatives.
Initially, concerns for secrecy kept their military designation from being known by the soldiers who operated them. They were called by code names such as Kostikov guns (after the head of the RNII, the Reaction-Engine Scientific Research Institute), and finally classed as Guards Mortars. The name BM-13 was only allowed into secret documents in 1942, and remained classified until after the war.
Because they were marked with the letter K (for Voronezh Komintern Factory), Red Army troops adopted a nickname from Mikhail Isakovsky's popular wartime song, "Katyusha", about a girl longing for her absent beloved, who has gone away on military service. Katyusha is the Russian equivalent of Katie, an endearing diminutive form of the name Katherine: Yekaterina →Katya →Katyusha.
German troops coined the nickname Stalin's organ (German: Stalinorgel), after Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, prompted by the visual resemblance of the launch array to a church organ and the sound of the weapon's rocket motors. Weapons of this type are known by the same name in Denmark (Danish: Stalinorgel), Finland (Finnish: Stalinin urut),France (French: orgue de Staline), Norway (Norwegian: Stalinorgel), the Netherlands and Belgium (Dutch:Stalinorgel), Hungary (Hungarian: Sztálinorgona), and in Sweden (Swedish: Stalinorgel).
The heavy BM-31 launcher was also referred to as Andryusha (Андрюша, an affectionate diminutive of "Andrew").
World War II
A battery of Katyusha
launchers fires at German forces during the Battle of Stalingrad
, 6 October 1942
Katyusha rocket launchers invented in Voronezh, were mounted on many platforms during World War II, including on trucks, artillery tractors, tanks, andarmoured trains, as well as on naval and riverine vessels as assault support weapons, Soviet engineers also mounted single Katyusha rockets on lengths of railway track to serve in urban combat.
The design was relatively simple, consisting of racks of parallel rails on whichrockets were mounted, with a folding frame to raise the rails to launch position. Each truck had 14 to 48 launchers. The M-13 rocket of the BM-13 system was 80 cm (2 ft 7 in) long, 13.2 cm (5.2 in) in diameter and weighed 42 kg (93 lb).
The weapon is less accurate than conventional artillery guns, but is extremely effective in saturation bombardment, and was particularly feared by German soldiers. A battery of four BM-13 launchers could fire a salvo in 7–10 seconds that delivered 4.35 tons of high explosives over a 400,000-square-metre (4,300,000 sq ft) impact zone, making its power roughly equivalent to that of 72 guns. With an efficient crew, the launchers could redeploy to a new location immediately after firing, denying the enemy the opportunity forcounterbattery fire. Katyusha batteries were often massed in very large numbers to create a shock effect on enemy forces. The weapon's disadvantage was the long time it took to reload a launcher, in contrast to conventional guns which could sustain a continuous low rate of fire.
The distinctive howling sound of the rocket launching terrified the German troops and could be used for psychological warfare.