ZSU 23-4 Shilka

From 1d4chan

"We don't fly and we're not letting anyone else, either!"

– Unofficial motto of Russian anti-air corps

The ZSU 23-4 is a SPAAG made by the Soviet Union. Its basically a light tank with 4 autocannons to shoot down aircraft and any infantry unlucky enough to be in it's sights.

Its NATO designation is "Shilka", although the West has occasionally called it "Zeus", inspired by its Soviet designation. That designation is not just military word salad though and has real meaning: ZSU is an acronym for Zenitnaya Samokhodnaya Ustanovka and means (in russian) anti-aircraft self-propelled (weapon)system, 23 is the caliber of it's barrels and 4 is how many it has.

In Team Yankee[edit]

The Stat Card

The Shilka is the only Soviet SPAAG in Team Yankee at the moment (yet we have literally 3 SAM (Surface to Air Missile) vehicles), and is quite a decent little machine. Like all SPAAGs, the Shilka gets the Dedicated AA and Radar Rules, which means that it can engage aerial threats with its full ROF out to a range of 16"/40cm without adding +1 to hit.The increase of the range from 50cm to 80cm during AA shooting of the 23mm 2A7 AA gun comes from the radar taking over aiming when the target is in the sky rather the gunner using the Mk. 1 eyeball on the ground.

The Shilka is okay at dealing with ground targets comparable to an autocannon on steroids. Despite AT6 making M113s and IFVs a tough nut to crack, 6 shots with a 5+ FP are enough to comfortably defeat most APCs, vehicles, and infantry in the open. For a comparable amount of firepower, most countries would be paying double the points! Though with an all-around armour rating of 1, don't expect them to do well against things like the .50 cal that almost every American tank has bolted to the top, or anything bigger than that. You should be using this thing to defend your tanks against attack helicopters though, not putting large numbers of small holes in APCs and other light vehicles.

This thing is arguably the best anti-air unit in the game due to its brutal cost-efficiency thanks to the sheer volume of firepower it can bring to bear. The fact that this unit can engage ground targets with vicious results makes it an auto-include; nothing is safe from its 4 barrels of hell (apart from tanks). It may not beat the Gepard in a ring fight, but it will make it points back far more easily than the Gepard.

Shilkas can be taken by East German, Polish and Soviet Armies at 1 point per vehicle in a platoon of 2-4 as company level support independent of the missile air defence slot which the Gaskin and Gopher compete for. The Czech version costs 2 points for a pair, or 3 points for 4 Shilkas.



For the Israeli commander, this unit is in direct competition with the American VADS. Its main gun has near identical stats; except that the Shilka has 1 less shot while stationary (ROF 6 vs 7). It also features weaker armor from the front and sides which is only relevant for autocannon fire: anything heavier like a LAW will be going through your soft-skinned chassis. Additionally, the Shilka features much worse dash speeds.

As a SPAAG unit, these forces might be used as heavy autocannons to engage enemy soft-skins. However, you do gain top armor 1 which can make a HUGE difference. The smart player will try to pick off your support units from the safety of a mortar pit, and 1 point of armor can make a huge difference when most players are packing AT1 and AT3 artillery such as 60mm and 120mm mortars.

Like many other borrowed Israeli units, it mostly features a better trained crew, without improvements to the physical vehicle. It does get amphibious, but with water terrain being about as common as a tank victory against Milan spam... Yeah.

TL;DR: +1 to courage, assault, counterattack. +2 to skill. Slower ROF than the VADS and slower movement, gains top armor 1.



The ZSU is one of the more popular armoured fighting vehicles made by the Soviet Union, traditionally armed with a quad-linked 4x23mm autocannon array, a search light, and radar equipment. Its primarily designed to shoot down low-flying aircraft like helicopters and occasional fighter craft, but its guns were also powerful enough to tear through lightly-armored vehicles and infantry aswell. Infact it was a common practice for Soviet soldiers to bring ZSUs whenever possible in anti-infantry operations due to their sheer lethality. In this regard, the ZSU found major use in the Invasion of Afghanistan, where often it would protect conveys within the hilly, mountainous terrain of the country. The Insurgents soon found out that quad 23mm cannons had much higher elevation than the weapons on the BMPs, BTRs and T-52s, allowing it to engage them from their ambush points on high ridges and hilltops. A special variant was deployed for that use in this conflict, lacking the AA radar in favour of increased ammunition capacity, turning the AA tank into a meat chopper. That said, the ZSU was never meant to be a front-line vehicle, so it's armor is woefully light, even concentrated heavy machine gun fire to it's flimsier side and rear armor could potentially wreck it's day, which is understandable as it was designed doctrinally to avoid direct ground combat. They were also employed in the conflict in Chechnya to combat insurgents firing from upper floors of tall apartment block. These floors were too high and the street too narrow to be engaged by BMP-2 autocannons so ZSU's would be employed instead. Obviously they were horribly vulnerable to rocket fire from above, but 4 23.s firing at you tends to dampen your enthusiasm for hanging out a window with an RPG..

That said: the reason for the high rate of fire is that by the 1960's aircraft move ridiculously fast, going from world war 2's "ludicrously fast" to "there is a mosquito-shaped hole in my teeth". You have seconds to shoot at a target, so you need as high a rate as fire as possible to try and ensure you get at least one hit and at those speeds one hole in the air frame will do the trick to down a target by itself. This means that the whole concept of cannons or machine guns against aircraft from the ground is a bit of a flawed concept (except they work so obviously it isn't flawed, and loading shells with shrapnel helps when that's done on various weapons). Missiles do better due to their ability to track a target. However the ZSU has served with all Soviet states and their allies as the go-to SPAAG from its inception until today. It is mainly used today only by armies unable to field better equipment, though it can definitively ruin the day of any helicopter due to their lower speeds and operational altitudes. They’re also what you want to use guns instead of missiles on, since any low-flying vehicle is difficult to get a proper target lock on.

Though well-aged by this point, the Shilka has gotten a new lease of life in recent years amongst armies that have to deal with Drones. The high volume and density of fire offered by its guns turns out to be a much more dependable counter than modern SAM systems to the small and low-flying attack drones increasingly used by countries like Turkey and Azerbaijan as well as a variety of Syrian rebel groups. The recent performance of the Shilka, as well as its modern truck-mounted descendant, the Pantsir, has led some Western military analysts to question the wisdom of retiring systems like the Gepard.

Soviet Forces in Team Yankee
Tanks: T55AM2 - T-62M - T-64 - T-72 - T-80
Transports: BTR-60 - BMP-1 - BMP-2 - BMP-3
Troops: Motor Rifle Company - Hind Assault Landing Company - Afghansty Air Assault Company
Artillery: 2S1 Carnation - 2S3 Acacia - BM-21 Hail - TOS-1 Buratino - BM-27 Uragan
Anti-Aircraft: ZSU 23-4 Shilka - SA-13 Gopher - SA-9 Gaskin - SA-8 Gecko - 2S6 Tunguska
Tank Hunters: Spandrel - Storm
Recon: BMP-1 OP - BRDM-2
Aircraft: SU-25 Frogfoot - MI-24 Hind
East German Forces in Team Yankee
Tanks: T55AM2 - T-72M
Transports: BTR-60 - BMP-1 - BMP-2
Troops: Mot-Schützen Kompanie - Hind Assault Landing Company
Artillery: 2S1 Carnation - BM-21 Hail
Anti-Aircraft: ZSU 23-4 Shilka - SA-13 Gopher - SA9 Gaskin
Tank Hunters: Spandrel
Recon: BMP-1 OP - BRDM-2
Aircraft: MI-24 Hind
Soviet Support: SU-25 Frogfoot
Polish Forces in Team Yankee
Tanks: T55AM2 - T-72M
Transports: SKOT-2A - BMP-1 - BMP-2
Troops: Zmotory Kompania - Hind Assault Landing Company
Artillery: Dana SpGH - BM-21 Hail
Anti-Aircraft: ZSU 23-4 Shilka - SA-13 Gopher -SA-8 Gecko
Tank Hunters: Spandrel
Recon: BMP-1 OP - BRDM-2
Aircraft: MI-24 Hind
Soviet Support: SU-25 Frogfoot
Czech Forces in Team Yankee
Tanks: T55AM2 - T-72M
Transports: OT-64 - BMP-1 - BMP-2
Troops: Motostrelci
Artillery: 2S1 Carnation - Dana SpGH - RM-70
Anti-Aircraft: ZSU 23-4 Shilka - SA-8 Gecko - SA9 Gaskin - SA-13 Gopher
Tank Hunters: Spandrel
Recon: BMP-1 OP - BRDM-2
Aircraft: MI-24 Hind
Soviet Support: SU-25 Frogfoot
Iraqi Forces in Team Yankee
Tanks: T-55 - T-62 - T-72M
Transports: BTR-60 - OT-64 - AMX-10P - BMP-1
Troops: Motor Rifle Company
Artillery: 2S1 Carnation - 2S3 Acacia - AMX Auf1 - BM-21 Hail
Anti-Aircraft: ZSU 23-4 Shilka - SA-13 Gopher - SA9 Gaskin - SA-8 Gecko - Roland AA
Tank Hunters: Spandrel - VCR/TH
Recon: BRDM-2 - BTR-60 OP
Aircraft: MI-24 Hind - Gazelle HOT
US Support: A-10 Warthog - AV-8 Harrier
Iranian Forces in Team Yankee
Tanks: T-55 - T-62 - M60 Patton - Chieftain
Transports: M113 Armored Personnel Carrier - BTR-60 - BMP-1
Troops: Iranian Mechanized Platoon - Basij Infantry Company
Artillery: M109 Howitzer - BM-21 Hail - M106 Heavy Mortar Carrier
Anti-Aircraft: ZSU 23-4 Shilka - ZSU-57-2 - SA-8 Gecko
Tank Hunters: Jeep TOW - Jeep 106mm Recoilless - M113 106mm Recoilless
Recon: Scorpion
Aircraft: AH-1 Cobra Attack Helicopter
Soviet Support: SU-25 Frogfoot
Israeli Forces in Team Yankee
Tanks: Merkava - M60 Patton
Transports: M113 Armored Personnel Carrier
Troops: IDF Infantry Platoon
Artillery: M109 Howitzer -M106 Heavy Mortar Carrier -M125 Mortar Carrier
Anti-Aircraft: M163 VADS - ZSU 23-4 Shilka - M48 Chaparral - Redeye SAM Platoon
Tank Hunters: Pereh - M150 TOW - Jeep TOW
Recon: M113 Recce - Jeep Recce
Aircraft: AH-1 Cobra Attack Helicopter - A4 Skyhawk