This gun was originally intended for use on the Soviet Battleships planned in the late 1930s. However, as those ships were cancelled during World War II, it did not enter service until 1949 as the main gun on the cruiser Chapaev. As a cruiser gun, this was a good, if not outstanding weapon.

The guns were designed by "Bolshevik" factory in 1938. The first gun was completed in 1940 and by 1941 a total of 10 were on hand. During World War II one gun was used for testing and the rest as railroad guns by installing them on cradles normally used for 8"/45 (20.3 cm) guns.

There were four different types of turrets designed for this gun. MK-4 was the twin turret designed for the Sovetsky Soyuz battleships, while MK-17 was the lighter version of the same turret designed for the Kronshtadt battlecruiser class. The MK-5 was a triple turret designed for the Chapaev and Sverdlov light cruiser classes and the MK-9 was a lighter counterpart designed for the modified Sovetsky Soyuz class battleships.

Source note: This gun is identified in "Battleships: Allied Battleships in World War II" as a 6"/50 Pattern 1937, which I believe to be incorrect. The other two sources listed below use the above designation.

Actual Caliber was 152.4 mm (6.0").

Gun Characteristics

Designation 152 mm/57 (6") B-38 Pattern 1938
Ship Class Used On Sovetskii Soyuz, Chapaev and Sverdlov classes
Date Of Design 1938
Date In Service 1949
Gun Weight 38,581 lbs. (17,500 kg)
Gun Length oa 351.8 in (8.935 m)
Bore Length 342.1 in (8.690 m)
Rifling Length 274.8 in (6.980 m)
Grooves 40
Lands N/A
Twist N/A
Chamber Volume 2,002 in3 (32.8 dm3)
Rate Of Fire MK-4 and MK-5: 7.5 rounds per minute
MK-5bis: 6.5 rounds per minute


Type Separate
Projectile Types and Weights AP (B-35): 121 lbs. (55 kg)
Semi-AP mod 1915/28 (PB-35): 121 lbs. (55 kg)
Shrapnel / HE mod 1915/28 (OF-35): 121 lbs. (55 kg)
Distance Grenade: 119.56 lbs. (54.23 kg)
Star Shell: 106.92 lbs. (48.5 kg)
Bursting Charge AP (B-35): 2.4 lbs. (1.1 kg)
Semi-AP mod 1915/28 (PB-35): 8.86 lbs. (4.02 kg)
Shrapnel / HE mod 1915/28 (OF-35): 13.2 lbs. (6.0 kg)
Distance Grenade (ZS-35): 13.67 lbs. (6.2 kg)
Star Shell (SP-35): none
Projectile Length N/A
Propellant Charge Full: 52.9 lbs. (24 kg)
Reduced Charge: 36.37 lbs. (16.5 kg)
Muzzle Velocity AP (B-35): 3,117 fps (950 mps)
Semi-AP mod 1915/28 (PB-35): 3,117 fps (950 mps)
Shrapnel / HE mod 1915/28 (OF-35): 2,625 fps (800 mps)
Distance Grenade (ZS-35): 3,117 fps (950 mps)
Star Shell (SP-35): 2,379 fps (725 mps)
Working Pressure 18.1 tons/in2 (3,200 kg/cm2)
Approximate Barrel Life 450 rounds
Ammunition stowage per gun Chapaev and Sverdlov: 180 rounds 1 2
Sovetskii Soyuz: 150 rounds per gun
  • ^Turret IV on the Chapaev and Sverdlov classes had only 170 rounds per gun.
  • ^In addition to the figures above, the Chapaev and Sverdlov classes also carried 18 ready rounds in each turret.


Range with 121 lbs. (55 kg) AP (B-35)
Elevation Distance
48 degrees 34,080 yards (30,215 m)
Range with 121 lbs. (55 kg) Shrapnel/HE mod 1915/28 (OF-35)
Elevation Distance
45 degrees 25,940 yards (23,720 m)

Mount/Turret Data

  • Twin Mount
    • Sovetskii Soyuz (6) (some versions): MK-4
    • Kronshtadt (6): MK-17
  • Triple Mount
    • Chapaev (4): MK-5 1a
    • Sverdlov (4) 2a: MK-5-bis 1a
    • Sovetskii Soyuz (4) (some versions): MK-9
Weight MK-4: 145 tons (146 mt)
MK-5: 240 tons (243 mt)
MK-5bis (turrets 1-3): 250 tons (253 mt)
MK-5bis (turret 4): 243 tons (246 mt)
MK-9: 187 tons (190 mt)
MK-17: 134 tons (136 mt)
Elevation Twin Mount: -5 / +45 degrees
Triple Mount: -5 / +45 degrees
Rate of Elevation MK-4: 13 degrees per second
MK-5: 13.4 degrees per second
MK-5bis: 13 degrees per second
Train MK-4 (mid turrets): 180 degrees
MK-4 (end turrets): 135 degrees
MK-5: +150 / -150 degrees
MK-5bis: +148 / -148 degrees
MK-5bis (turret IV): +140 / -140 degrees
Rate of Train MK-4: 6 degrees per second
MK-5: 7.2 degrees per second
MK-5bis: 7 degrees per second
Gun Recoil MK-4: 21.65 in (550 mm)
Loading Angle +8 degrees
  • ^1.11.2The guns in the MK-5 and MK-5bis turrets are individually sleeved.
  • ^The Sverdlov class cruiser Dzerzhinski had one of its turrets replaced by a V-753 Volkhov-M (SAM-2 Guideline) launcher.


Data from:

  • "Jane's Pocket Book 9: Naval Armament" edited by Denis Archer
  • "Naval Weapons of World War Two" by John Campbell
  • "Battleships: Allied Battleships in World War II" by W.H. Garzke, Jr. and R.O. Dulin, Jr.
  • "Sovetskie Boevye Korabli 1941-45: IV Vooruzhnie" (Soviet Warships 1941-45: Volume IV Armament) by A.V. Platonov
  • "Entsiklopedia Otechestvennoi Artillerii" (Encyclopedia of Fatherland (Russian) Artillery) by A.V. Shirokorad


  • "Flot vo Slavu Rossii" (Fleet in Honor of Russia) CD

Special help from Vladimir Yakubov

Page History

23 May 2006
12 August 2012
Updated to latest template