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The 203 mm Howitzer Model 1931 (known unofficially as the B4) was the heaviest of the field weapons used by the Soviets between 1941 and 1945. The distinctive feature of the B4 was the two tracked bogies which allowed the heavy weapon to move over soft ground and snow unlike other contemporary weapons that were all but impossible to move in such conditions.
The Howitzer was not powered but could be towed short distances fully assembled while it was broken down into smaller loads for longer distance travel by road or rail.
The B4 was a very powerful weapon but also had a slow rate of fire due to the large heavy projectiles and came fitted with a shell handling crane to assist the crew during loading. It was used primarily to attack fortifications and bunkers with a range of 18 km (11 miles) for its 100 kg (220.46 lb) shell.
There are numerous period photos of the B4 in action but none as dramatic as those taken during the battle for Berlin in 1945 where the massive B4 was used at almost point blank range for such a weapon and must have been a fearful sight and sound for the defenders on the receiving end at such ranges.
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