[Lone Sentry: WWII Tactical and Technical Trends]
[Lone Sentry: Photos, Articles, and Research on the European Theater in World War II]
Photos, Articles, & Research on the European Theater in World War II
Home Page | Site Map | What's New | Intel Articles by Subject

"The 75/55-mm AT Gun, Pak 41" from Tactical and Technical Trends

A U.S. intelligence report on German 75/55-mm tapered-bore antitank gun used in WWII, from Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 40, December 16, 1943.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]

THE 75/55-MM AT GUN, PAK 41

An account of a new and powerful tapered-bore 75-mm AT gun made by the Rheinmetall factory, the 75/55-mm (2.95-in/2.17-in) Pak 41, has recently become available through Allied sources. The gun has a curious bore; the rear part is cylindrical and rifled; the central part, tapered and unrifled, and the muzzle section -- 27.6 inches -- cylindrical and unrifled. The weight of the powder charge fired is 95 per cent of the weight of the projectile. With an estimated velocity of approximately 4,000 f/s, and a penetration of 5.94 inches of homogeneous armor at 1,000 yards, the gun is most formidable.

[The German 75/55-mm Antitank Gun]

a. General

The 75-mm Pak 41, one of the latest German antitank guns to be brought into service, is the third* of the Gerlich or tapered-bore weapons introduced. In issue No. 7, p. 3 of Tactical and Technical Trends, reference is made to the use of this principle in the 42-mm Pak 41. A 75-mm tank gun, the 7.5-cm Kw.K 41, is also known to exist, and it is very probable that this weapon too is of the tapered-bore variety. The caliber of the 7.5-cm Pak 41 at the breech is 75 millimeters (2.95 in), while at the muzzle it is reduced to 55 millimeters (2.17 in). The reinforced breech is of the vertical wedge type, and is semiautomatic. There is a muzzle brake. The weapon is very long, low and sturdy in appearance. The carriage which has a split trail, is unusual but extremely simple. The cradle is attached to the shield, which forms the basis of the carriage, by what is, in effect, a spherical universal joint. The cradle itself is cylindrical, and covers the whole of the rear half of the barrel. The gun is sighted up to 1,500 meters (1,635 yards), and the sight has four scales for use according to the actual muzzle velocity of the gun, which drops considerably owing to wear. The life of the barrel is provisionally estimated as 500 to 600 rounds.

The shield is composed of 2 1/4-inch plates bolted together with the barrel installed in a ball mount.

The elevating mechanism, of the sector type, is on the right-hand side of the cradle. The traversing mechanism is of the screw type and is on the left. There is no equilibrator. The buffer is hydraulic, and the recuperator is spring type. The wheels are metal with solid rubber tires. Traction is motorized. The axle is under-slung with torsion-bar suspension, which is automatically cut out when the trails are opened. Pneumatic brakes, controlled by the driver of the tractor, are fitted.

b. Gun Data

Estimated muzzle velocity   4,123 
Length of barrel (approx)170 in
Weight in action1.4 tons (British long)
Elevation-10° to +18°
Height of axis of bore at 0° elevation34.6 in
Length of recoil (approx)27.6 in

c. Ammunition

Fixed ammunition is used with an AP tracer projectile of Gerlich design (see accompanying sketch). The AP round is known as 7.5-cm Pzgr. Patr. 41 Pak 41 (Armor-piercing shell Model 41 for Pak 41).

The projectile consists of the outer case (1), the tungsten carbide core (2), the screw-head (3), the ballistic cap (4), and the tracer (5). The outer case has a forward and a rear skirt. Only the forward skirt is perforated. The screw-head is made of mild steel.

[German 75-mm Armor-Piercing Ammunition]

The propellant charge is diglycol tubular powder, while the igniter is of pyroxylin porous powder.

There is also an HE round (7.5-cm Sprgr. Patr) (HE shell Model 41 for Pak 41) as in the cases of the 2.8-mm s.Pz.B (antitank gun) 41 and the 4.2-cm Pak 41, but no details of this ammunition are known.

The following are brief specifications of the AP ammunition:

Total weight of round  16.65 lb
Total length of round  29.8 in
Weight of projectile  5.68 lb
Weight of tungsten carbide core    2.01 lb
Diameter of core  1.16 in
Weight of propellant charge  5.4 lb

d. Penetration

The following figures for penetration of homogeneous armor by this weapon firing the AP projectile have been estimated:

   Range      Thickness of armor in inches  
(yards) Normal 30°
    500  (6.67 in)  (5.75 in)
  1,000  (5.94 in)  (5.12 in)
  1,500  (5.28 in)  (4.49 in)
  2,000  (4.63 in)  (3.94 in)

*The other two are: the 2.8-cm (1.10 in) heavy antitank rifle and the 4.2-cm (1.65 in) light antitank gun.


[Back] Back to Articles by Subject | Intel Bulletin by Issue | T&TT by Issue | Home Page


Web LoneSentry.com