ARM: Review - CMD 1/35 Scale 76mm L-11 Barrel

Product Review: Chesapeake Model Designs 1/35 scale Accessories; Soviet 76mm
L-11 Gun turned aluminum barrel; price $8
Advantages: right barrel for the new DML Model 1940 kit; matches photos and
scale drawings
Disadvantages: specific product for a specific function; will require other
kits to be used in other situations (e.g. KV Model 1940)
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for replacing all L-11 barrels
I recently did two long articles for "Military Modelling" (UK) that looked at
the development histories of the Soviet tank guns prior to WWII. The Soviets
had a basic disagreement over calibers and sizes of guns, with the conclusion
that they would have a light multipurpose gun (first 37mm, and then later 45mm)
and a short howitzer for direct artillery support roles. The 20-A 45mm gun
(also called Tank Gun Model 1932, 1934 or 1937 from time to time) was the
choice for the former. For the latter, things varied greatly.
The first gun used was the KT-28, a 16.5 caliber long weapon used in the T-28
and the T-35. This was soon replaced by the L-10, a gun built in Leningrad
specifically for the tanks built there as well. It was 26.5 calibers long and
easy to make, but left a lot to be desired. This was soon replaced by the
slightly longer (30.5 calibers) L-11.
The L-11 was a very short barreled weapon on purpose. The Soviets felt that if
the gun barrel overhung the hull it would soon be damaged or cause the tank to
get stuck in a ditch or trees and thus be lost. But it suffered badly in regard
to accuracy due to the fact that the barrel was suspended from its cradle, not
riding on top of it like most guns. As a result, it tended to wobble in the
cradle, preventing any real accuracy beyond a few hundred meters.
While it was designed for the KV tank and was used in the KV Model 1939, the
designers from Khar'kov also used this gun in their T-34 Model 1939 and later
in the Model 1940. As a result, it placed both a strain on production and
caused divisiveness among the plants. Leningrad was told, after a shooting
competition, to drop the L-11 in favor of the Grabin-designed F-32. While only
one caliber (e.g. 76mm) longer, this gun used a cradle under the barrel and was
far more accurate. (Note from a modeling standpoint the two barrels externally
look identical.)
After weeks of fighting, Leningrad lost and had to adopt it. But when they
did, they demanded all production support the KV-1 Model 1941 and the Khar'kov
designers were out of luck. Fortunately, as they had no problems with overhang,
they were offered the 76mm F-34 (41.5 calibers long) and as a result the T-34
went on to become a legend and the KV-1 to become a flop.
CMD has captured the nice proportions of this purpose-made gun to drop-fit
right into the DML kit without a single modification. As such, it's hard to
find such a "modeler friendly" accessory. (Note that as soon as the DML Model
1941 is released, CMD plans to market a new F-34 barrel for that kit as well.)
I only wish this barrel had been released when I had to use a Jordi Rubio L-10
barrel (which it was not or which required drilling out a LOT of plastic in a
T-28 or T-35 to get a fit).

Thanks to Bill Miley of CMD for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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