The 2S1 Gvozdika (Carnation) is a Soviet self-propelled howitzer based on the MT-LBu multi-purpose chassis, mounting a 122 mm 2A18 howitzer. “2S1” is its GRAU designation. An alternative Russian designation is SAU-122 but in the Russian Army it is commonly known as Gvozdika. The 2S1 is fully amphibious with very little preparation, and once afloat is propelled by its tracks. A variety of track widths are available to allow the 2S1 to operate in snow or swamp conditions. It is NBC protected and has infra-red night-vision capability.
The suspension system is similar to the MT-LB multi-purpose tracked vehicle’s and consists of seven road wheels with the drive sprocket at the front, idler at the rear, but no track-return rollers. An unusual feature of the 2S1 is that the suspension can be adjusted to give different heights, which is of particular use when the vehicle is being transported by tactical transport aircraft. The 2S1’s main armament, designated the 2A31, is a modified version of the 122-mm D-30 towed howitzer. A maximum sustained rate of fire of 5-8 rds/min can be obtained with a sustained rate of fire of 70 rounds for the first hour and, of the 40 122-mm projectiles normally carried, 32 are HE, six smoke and two HEAT-FS.
The 2S1 has seven road wheels on each side; the running gear can be fitted with different widths of track to match terrain. The interior is separated into a driver’s compartment on the left, an engine compartment on the right and a fighting compartment to the rear. Within the fighting compartment the commander sits on the left, the loader on the right and the gunner to the front. The all-welded turret is located above the fighting compartment. The 2S1 utilizes a 122 mm howitzer based on the towed D-30 howitzer. The gun is equipped with a power rammer, a double-baffle muzzle brake and a fume extractor. It is capable of firing HE (high explosive), leaflet, HE/RAP, armor-piercing HE, flechette and chemical rounds.
The first prototype was ready in 1969. The 2S1 entered service with the Soviet Army in the early 1970s and was first seen in public at a Polish Army parade in 1974. The vehicle was deployed in large numbers (72 per tank division, 36 per motorized rifle division). It was designated the M1974 by the U.S. Army and manufactured in Soviet, Polish and Bulgarian state factories.