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Artillery in the Desert, Military Intelligence Service, Special Series No. 6, November 1942
[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the wartime U.S. War Department publication. 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.]

Appendix A: Effective Ranges of German Antitank Weapons (Translation of a Captured Document)

Translation of a Captured German Document Showing Performance of Tank Destroyer Guns against the British Tank "Matilda"

  Gun   Type of antitank ammunition   Front     Side     Remarks  
20-mm tank  Shell      No penetration except for chance hits in observation slots and guns.
  HE Shell      Harassing effect on observation slits and gun mountings in the case of frontal fire.
37-mm antitank  Shell     Harassing effect on gun mountings and bogies from 500 m and nearer, as above.
37-mm tank  HE Shell       
  Shell 40 Up to 150 m   Up to 150 m    
50-mm tank  Shell Up to 440 m   Up to 450 m   Only on turret and upper armor structure. Penetration produced, but, owing to the shape of the projectile, little accuracy. At range under 400 meters, exceedingly good penetration and high accuracy. At this range it is superior to the plain shell.
50-mm tank  Shell 40 Up to 700 m   Up to 700 m    
50-mm antitank Shell Up to 600 m   Up to 600 m   Only upper armored structure and turret, harassing effect on bogies.
75-mm tank  Shell      
  HE Shell     Harassing effect on bogies, tracks, and gun mounting.

HE shells of all calibers should be used with weapons and ranges that are not intended to produce penetration. They frequently effect damage to the tank and produce a demoralizing effect on the crew.

Notes by Military Intelligence Service:

1. "Matilda" is the British Medium Tank Mark II, which has armor 2.75 inches thick, though its sides are only 1 inch thick. It weighs 28 tons and carries a crew of four. See War Department FM 30-41, "Military Intelligence, Identification of British Armored Vehicles," May 27, 1941, p. 28.

2. 20-mm equals 0.787 inch.

3. 37-mm equals 1.457 inches.

4. 50-mm equals 1.968 inches.

5. 75-mm equals 2.953 inches.

6. 500 m equals 546.83 yards.

7. 150 m equals 164.05 yards.

8. 450 m equals 492.15 yards.

9. 700 m equals 765.53 yards.

10. 600 m equals 656.20 yards.

11. 400 m equals 437.37 yards.

12. The figures given in the columns "Front" and "Side" mean that below the range given approximately 30 to 50 percent of the rounds that hit the mark will penetrate the cabin or produce a harassing effect. The ranges are to be considered as effective ranges for engagement. In the case of those weapons and types of ammunition from which penetration cannot be expected, the column "Remarks" indicates to what extent a certain harassing effect or even disablement can be produced.


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