The Katyusha was originally a World War II-era Soviet rocket. During the Great Patriotic War the BM-8 and BM-13 rocket launchers [some times confusingly called rocket mortars] got their famous name "Katyusha". In March 1941 the first successful fire tests of BM-13 rocket launchers were carried out and 21 June mass production order was sign. Originally this system was based on standard ZIS-5 but this experience wasn't successful. Afterwards ZIS-6 was chosen. At last the BM-13 was mounted only on Studebaker-US6 (BM-13N). The BM-13 could fire 16 130mm rockets simultaneously.
The Katyusha, or Little Kate, was a rocket launcher mounted on a heavy truck that fired volleys of up to 48 rockets nearly four miles. The Katyusha was infamous among German troopers who quickly learned to dread its distinctive scream. They named the Katyusha “Stalin’s Organ.” Soviet guards mortar units were equipped with multiple rocket launchers, the famous katyushas, named after the title of a popular song of the time. Some military scholars credit the Katyusha for the relief of Stalingrad.
The word Katyusha is the tender diminutive of the female name Ekatherina (Katherine). For example, the diminutive for Natalia is Natasha, and the tender diminutive for Natasha is Natashenka. In the case of Ekaterina, Katya is the nickname and Katyusha, a tender diminutive. Katyusha is a Soviet song about a girl longing for her beloved, who is away on military service. The music was composed in 1938 by Matvei Blanter and the lyrics were written by Mikhail Isakovsky.