Monthly Archive for December, 2009

Page 2 of 4

7.62 cm Feldkanone 36 (r): Field Gun (Ex-Russian)

7.62 cm Feldkanone 36 (r): Field Gun (Ex-Russian)

The 7.62 cm F. K. 36 (r) is a gun of Russian design and manufacture. The Germans captured so many pieces during the early months of the invasion of Russia that they were adopted by the German Army both in the original form for standard divisional field guns and as antitank guns known as the 7.62 cm Pak 36 (r) described on page 116.

Both weapons have the same general characteristics: built-up tubes fitted in reinforcing jackets, vertical sliding breech blocks, hydropneumatic recoil mechanisms, and split trail carriages. In addition to a number of minor changes, the principal difference is in the much greater chamber length of the Pak 36 (r)—28.25 inches compared with 15.20 inches, and the addition of a muzzle brake to the Pak 36 (r).

The breech mechanism may be operated either by hand or semi-automatically. Extractors housed in the breech ring are operated by cams when the block opens. A hand control on the left side of the breech ring is provided in case the cartridge fails to eject. The firing mechanism is a continuous pull type.

SPECIFICATIONS

Caliber     76.2 mm (3 ins.)
Weight (complete)3,619 lb.
Weight (firing position)3,564 lb.
Length (overall)22 ft. 6 1/4 ins.
Length of gun153 ins.
Height (traveling position)
Height (firing position)
Width (overall)
Width of trail spread
Length of rifling120 ins.
Length of tube12 ft. 2 ins.
No. of grooves32 R.H. Polygroove form; Twist-1 in 25 Uniform
Width of grooves0.196 in. (5 mm)
Depth of grooves0.033 in. (0.84 mm)
Width of lands0.078 in. (2 mm)
Muzzle velocity (A.P.H.E. shell)2,249 f/s (H.E.—2,335 f/s)
Max. range (horizontal) (A.P.-H.E.)14,000 yds.
Rate of fire
Traverse60°
Elevation72°
Depression
Length of recoil (average)H.E.-A.P.H.E.—31.1 ins.
AmmunitionH.E.-A.P.H.E.-A.P. 40
Wt. of ProjectileH.E.—13.45 lbs.
 A.P.H.E.—14.2 lbs.
 A.P. 40—9.2 lbs.

German: p. 116.1

Kz. 8 cm. Gr. W. 42: Short Mortar

German Kz. 8 cm. Gr. W. 42: Short Mortar

This weapon is of the same general design as the standard 8 cm mortar (s. Gr. W. 34) described on page 114. It is, however, shorter and lighter. It differs from the original weapon in the following respects:

The Model 42 has a shorter barrel with no striker control bolt at the base. It has a smaller baseplate, square in shape, with no carrying handle. The barrel is fastened to the baseplate by a spring catch. It also has a smaller bipod.

The elevating handle is situated at the base of the elevating column between the bipod legs. The cross levelling screw is halfway down the elevating column, and is connected to the left bipod leg by a sliding screw clamp.

The sight is situated on the left side of the traversing screw. Ammunition fired is the same as for the 8 cm s. Gr. W. 34.

A firing table printed on a steel plate is clamped to the tube.

SPECIFICATIONS

Caliber        81 mm (3.2 ins.)
Weight in firing position 62 lbs.
Length of barrel, overall 29.5 ins.
Length of bore 25.5 ins.
Size of baseplate 12 ins. x 12 1/2 ins.
Principle of operation Muzzle loaded; percussion fired (only)
Elevation 47° to 88°
Maximum range 1,200 yds.
Ammunition Same as for 8 cm s. Gr. W. 34

German: p. 114.1 (June 1, 1945)

8.8 cm Pak 43: Antitank Gun

German 8.8 cm Pak 43: Antitank Gun

The 8.8 cm Pak 43 is an electrically fired, semiautomatic gun, mounted on a cruciform platform (Kreuzlafette) and transported on two single axle limbers similar to those used on the 8.8 cm Flak 18. It has a very low silhouette, on wheels the height to the top of the shield is 5 feet, 6 inches, and to the trunnions, 4 feet. When emplaced it is 12 inches lower.

The gun can be fired from its wheels without extending the side legs, if the direction of fire does not exceed 30° either side of the longitudinal girders. If the direction of fire is greater than 30°, the side legs must be extended and the pads brought firmly in contact with the ground. There is an automatic electric cut-out to the firing gear which restricts elevation to 12° on early equipments and 16° on later equipments when firing over the mounting legs.

There are several other versions of the Pak 43. The Pak 43/41 (page 113) has a two-wheeled carriage with split trails. The Pak 43/1 (page 34) is a self-propelled gun called the “Rhinoceros.” Its chassis is a combination of a Pz. Kw. III and Pz. Kw. IV. The Pak 43/2 (page 39) is a self-propelled gun called the “Elephant”; it is also mounted on the chassis of the Panther (Pz. Kw. V). All of these guns use the same ammunition and have the same ballistic characteristics.

SPECIFICATIONS

Caliber      88 mm (3.46 ins.)
Weight (traveling position)13,000 lb.
Weight (firing position)7,900 lb.
Length (traveling position)
Length (firing position)
Height (traveling position)5 ft., 6 ins.
Height (firing position)4 ft., 6 ins.
Width (overall)
Length of barrel (w/o muzzle brake)247.5 ins.
Length of bore236.9 ins.
No. of grooves32
Width of grooves.202 in.
Depth of grooves.048 in.
Width of lands.134 in.
Muzzle Velocity (A.P.C.B.C. shell)3,280 f/s
       (H.E. shell)2,460 f/s
Max. range (horizontal)17,500 yds. (H.E. shell)*
Max. range (vertical)
Rate of fire
Traverse360°
Elevation40°
Depression-8°
Length of recoil (normal)47.5 ins.
AmmunitionA.P.C.B.C.; H. E.
Wt. of projectile(H.E.) 20.68 lbs.*
 (A.P.C.B.C.) 22 lbs.

*Unconfirmed
**AP 40 round (tungsten carbide core)
          Pzgr. Patr. 40/43  . . . . . . . . . 16 lb.
          Gr. Patr. 39 HL/A and B . . . . . 16.8 lb.

German: p. 112.1

10.5 cm L.G. 42 and 42/1: Recoilless Gun

German 10.5 cm L.G. 42 and 42/1: Recoilless Gun

This weapon represents modifications of the 10.5 cm L.G. 40 described on page 110. It is a product of Rheinmetall, and was introduced into the German Army in 1943.

The principal changes are as follows: the venturi tube has three steel strips spirally welded to the inner lip presumably to offset torque; elevation of the equipment examined was limited to approximately 30° by a fixed stop; the carriage has been completely changed—it now consists of a single tubular axle to which wheel spindles and three folding trail legs are fitted; a horizontal sliding type breechblock (resembling that of the 7.5 cm L.G. 40) has been installed; the weight has been increased by approximately one-third; the design of the shield differs from the earlier model; the percussion firing mechanism has been retained on top of the breech ring necessitating the use of a cartridge case with a side primer.

Maximum range is approximately the same as the 10.5 cm L.G. 40 and both models use the same range table. The equipment has been designed to break down into five loads for use as pack or airborne artillery. The two models, 10.5 cm L.G. 42 and L.G. 42/1, differ principally in weight.

As in the case of the 7.5 cm L.G. 40 and 10.5 cm L.G. 40, the characteristic feature of this weapon is the lack of recoil attained by allowing part of the propellant gases to escape to the rear through a venturi tube. The resulting blast creates a danger zone approximately 20 yards wide and 50 yards long to the sides and rear of the gun. The sharp sound of the discharge through the venturi tube makes it necessary for the gun crew to use ear plugs.

SPECIFICATIONS

Length of piece (including breech ring and venturi)     72.28 ins.
Length of rifling31.41 ins.
Twist of rifling10°
No. of grooves32
Length of venturi tube18.18 ins.
Length of chamber18.93 ins.
Capacity of chamber9.5 pints
Weight in action (L.G. 42)1,217 lbs.
       (L.G. 42/1)1,191 lbs.
Elevation15° to 42°
Traverse
at elevations up to 12°360°
at elevations over 12°71°
AmmunitionH.E., H.E.I., Hollow Charge, Smoke.
Muzzle velocity (H.E. Shell)1,099 f/s
Maximum range8,694

German: p. 110.3 (May 1, 1945)

10 cm Nebelwerfer 40: Smoke Mortar

10 cm Nebelwerfer 40: Smoke Mortar

This weapon is designed for either smoke, chemical, or high explosive ammunition.

The smooth-bored tube of monobloc construction is independent of the breech and breech block. When the piece is loaded, both breech and breech block remain stationary, and the back end of the tube moves outward in a vertical direction in grooves cut into the inside of the legs of the breech block. During this operation, the tube pivots about its trunnions located midway between the muzzle and breech ends. There is no spring tension in the breech mechanism so that its movement is entirely manual. The piece is fired by percussion, a spring-driven firing pin being located in the breech block. The firing lever is located just below the breech operating lever.

There are two recoil cylinders, one located on either side of the tube. The cylinders are anchored to the ends of the frame, and the pistons attached to the sides of the breech. The counterrecoil system is located above the tube. Its cylinder is attached to the frame, and the piston to the yoke. Apparently both the recoil and the counterrecoil system is hydropneumatic.

The weapon is fired from the base plate (missing in photo) and wheels. In order to traverse the piece, it is pivoted about a ball and socket joint in the base plate by means of an axle traversing mechanism of ordinary design. Elevation is controlled by two parallel arcs which travel on pinions geared to and rotated by the elevating handwheel. Both traversing and elevating handwheels are located on the left side, as is also the sight bracket.

SPECIFICATIONS

Caliber       105 mm (4.1 in.)
Weight (traveling position)
Weight (firing position)1,730 lb.
Length (traveling position)
Length (firing position)
Length of barrel(16 cals.) 66 ins.
Height (traveling position)
Height (firing position)
Width (overall)
Width of trail spread
Length of bore|
No. of grooves|
Width of grooves|  Smooth bore
Depth of grooves|
Width of lands|
Muzzle velocity426-1,380 f/s**
Max. range (horizontal)6,810 yds.**
Min. range (horizontal)1,668 yds.
Max. range (vertical)
Rate of fire8-10 rds./min.
Traverse14°
Elevation45°-85°
Depression
Length of recoil
AmmunitionH.E.; Smoke; Chemical*
Wt. of projectileH.E.—20.6 lbs.
 Smoke—21.9 lbs.

*No chemical ammunition has ever been captured, although it is believed that the gun is designed for that type of shell.
**Not verified.

German: p. 110.2

10 cm Nebelwerfer 35: Smoke Mortar

German 10 cm Nebelwerfer: Smoke Mortar

The 10 cm Nebelwerfer, standard smoke and chemical mortar in use by the German Army, has also been used, to some extent, by airborne troops. It is serviced by five men and transported on a two-wheeled handcart.

Although the standard ammunition for the weapon is a 16-pound smoke shell designated Wurfgranate 35, a 19-lb. high explosive shell, Wurfgranate 40 is also used.

The mortar, which is merely a heavier and larger model of the German 8 cm mortar, consists of a barrel, bipod, and baseplate constructed on the usual mortar lines. The traversing gear, however, is unusual in that the traversing screw is housed in a sleeve which is supported by the two ends of a box-shaped yoke secured to the top of the elevating screw.

SPECIFICATIONS

Caliber        105 mm (4.1 ins.)
Weight in action228 lb.
Weight of barrel72 lb.
Weight of bipod73 lb.
Weight of baseplate83 lb.
Method of operationMuzzle loaded; percussion fired
Maximum range3,300 yds.*
Rate of fire12-15 rds./min.
AmmunitionH.E. and Smoke
Weight of shell16 lb. (Wurfgranate 35) Smoke
  19 lb. (Wurfgranate 40) H.E.
Transport2-wheeled handcart

*Not verified.

German: p. 110.1

10.5 cm le.F.H. 18/40: Light Field Howitzer

10.5 cm le.F.H. 18/40: Light Field Howitzer

Feeling the need of a weapon having the performance characteristics of the le.F.H. 18 (M) but lighter in weight, the Germans brought out, early in 1944, a modified version mounted on the carriage of the 7.5 cm Pak 40. This carriage was used because at that time it was in large scale production and required a minimum amount of modification to adapt it for use with the howitzer.

The piece, of monobloc construction with a removable breech ring, is fitted with a double baffle muzzle brake having projecting wings welded on to give it the increased efficiency necessary for the lightened carriage.

The breech mechanism is a manually operated horizontal sliding block type. The firing mechanism is of the percussion type with the lever on the left side of the cradle.

The cradle is a rectangular box design. A single hydropneumatic equilibrator is attached to the right side of the cradle. The recoil is a hydropneumatic type, independent system.

The elevating handwheel and firing mechanism are now so located on the left hand side of the carriage that the layer can carry out the three operations of traversing, elevating, and firing, making the weapon suitable for direct fire.

The suspension consists of two torsion bars each extending the full width of the carriage body. As the two pieces are ballistically identical, the le.F.H. 18 (M) and the le.F.H. 18/40 use the same range tables.

A normal type of German artillery field sight is used for laying.

SPECIFICATIONS

Caliber      105 mm (4.13 ins.)
Weight (firing position)4,322 lbs.
Length (overall)20 ft., 2 ins.
Height (overall)6 ft.
Height (firing position)
Width (overall)6 ft., 11 ins.
Length of barrel excluding muzzle brake115.75 ins.
Length of tube106.66 ins.
Length of rifling93.06 ins.
RiflingIncreasing twist; 1 in. 23 to 1 in. 17 3/4
No. of grooves32
Width of grooves 0.220 in.
Depth of grooves 0.04 in.
Muzzle velocity (H.E. long range shell)1,772 f/s
Wt. of projectile32 lbs., 11 ozs.
Max. range (horizontal)13,479 yds.
Max. range (vertical)
Max. pressure34,000 lbs./sq. in.
Rate of fire
Traverse56°
Elevation40°
Depression
Length of recoil
AmmunitionH.E.; H.E./I; Incendiary; Smoke; Star Shell; Prop. Leaflet Shell; Hollow Charge; Indicator Shell.

German: p. 108.3 (August 1, 1945)

10.5 cm l.F.H. 18 (M): Light Field Howitzer

10.5 cm l.F.H. 18 (M): Light Field Howitzer

In order to obtain longer range, the 105 mm German Howitzer l.F.H. 18 was modified so that the muzzle velocity of the weapon could be increased. The Germans accomplished this by preparing a new propellant charge (Fern ladung—long range charge) which increases the muzzle velocity from approximately 1,542 feet per second to 1,772 feet per second, and the range from approximately 11,670 yards to 13,500 yards. To compensate for the increased velocity and the resulting recoil, the Germans found it necessary to add a muzzle brake. It was also necessary to slightly modify the recoil mechanism and to increase the nitrogen pressure in the counterrecoil cylinders from 730 pounds per square inch to 854 pounds per square inch. To differentiate between the two models, the letter “M” (Mündungsbremse—Muzzle Brake) was added to the old nomenclature, hence the later model is known as the l.F.H. 18 (M).

The tube is of monobloc construction. The weapon has a continuous pull firing mechanism and a breech mechanism of the horizontal sliding type. The carriage, of riveted and welded steel, is equipped with split trails, folding spades, wooden wheels with rubber tires, and a protective armor shield 4 mm thick. It also has hand operated friction brakes.

SPECIFICATIONS

*Reports indicate that a special long range H.E. shell weighing approximately 32 3/4 lb. is used with the super charge to obtain this muzzle velocity.

German: p. 108.1

12.8 cm K. 44: Medium Field Gun

12.8 cm K. 44: Medium Field Gun

There are two versions of the 12.8 cm dual purpose, antitank/field gun, one manufactured by Rheinmetall and the other by Krupp. The Rheinmetall model has a slightly longer breech ring; the carriage has one rear axle and two front axles, whereas the Krupp model has one rear and one front axle. Reports indicatethat there may be a third version designated 12.8 cm K. 81.

The tube, of monobloc construction, is equipped with a cylindrical muzzle brake having perforations on both sides. The muzzle brake of the Krupp model is shorter and has the greater number of perforations. The manually operated breechblock is of the horizontal sliding type.

A variable hydropneumatic recoil mechanism is provided, the recoil and recuperator cylinder being carried within the cradle. Two hydropneumatic equilibrators, one on either side of the tube, compensate for muzzle preponderance.

The piece is mounted on a cruciform platform. The carriage, which incorporates torsion bar suspension, is jacked off the wheels in firing and, with the outriggers extended, a 360° traverse may be obtained. Elevating and traversing handwheels are fitted to both sides of the carriage, and a seat for the gunner is provided on the left.

A single shield is used with the Krupp gun, while the Rheinmetall version is equipped with a spaced shield. Both types, however, are angular in appearance and the sides are swept back towards the rear.

SPECIFICATIONS

Caliber      105 mm (4.13 ins.)
Weight (traveling position) 4,255 lbs.
Weight (firing position)
Length (traveling position) 19 ft., 6 ins.
Length (firing position) 20 ft., 5 ins. (at 0° elev.)
Height (traveling position) 5 ft., 9 ins.
Height (firing position) 5 ft., 9 ins.
Width (overall) 6 ft., 6 1/2 ins.
Width of trail spread 15 ft., 10 ins.
Length of bore 25.7 cals.
No. of grooves 32—R.H. Progressive Twist
Width of grooves
Depth of grooves
Width of lands
Muzzle velocity (maximum) 1,772 f/s*
Max. range (horizontal) (Reported) 13,500 yds.
Traverse56°
Elevation40°
Depression
Length of recoil39.3 ins.—46.8 ins.
AmmunitionH.E. w/P.D. Fuze: Hollow Charge; Smoke; A.P.; Incendiary
Wt. of projectile32 3/4 lb. (Long Range H.E. Shell)

          Rheinmetall         Krupp
Length of gun (including muzzle brake and breech ring)312 1/2 ins.299 ins.
Length of gun (including breech ring)277 1/2 ins.277 1/8 ins.
Length of chamber (from rifling)41 3/4 ins.41 3/4 ins.
Length of rifling219 1/2 ins.219 1/2 ins.
Overall length (traveling position)not determined433 ins.
Overall width (traveling position)108 1/4 ins.98 ins.
Overall height (traveling position)81 ins.90 ins.

German: p. 106.2 (August 1, 1945)

12.8 cm Flak 40: Heavy Antiaircraft Gun

12.8 cm Flak 40: Heavy Antiaircraft Gun

This weapon, together with the 8.8 cm Flak 41, is Germany’s standard heavy antiaircraft gun. There are four different type mounts used with the gun: mobile, static, railway, and a twin mounting. When used with the latter, the equipment is known as the 12.8 cm Flakzwilling.

In construction and appearance this weapon resembles the 10.5 cm antiaircraft gun described on page 109. The barrel consists of a three-piece tube with jacket and sleeve. The breech mechanism is of the horizontal sliding block type, and an electric firing device is used. A hydropneumatic recuperator is located above the barrel, and a hydraulic buffer below.

Elevating and traversing may be operated either by power or by handwheels; are located on the right side of the equipment with the layers seated facing the gun. A machine fuze setting gear and loading and ramming gear identical with those of the 10.5 cm Flak are used.

The static mounting is a pedestal type secured to a concrete base. The cradle pivots in trunnions mounted at the extreme rear of the upper carriage, and almost in line with the breechblock. A large box-like construction, located underneath the buffer and forward of the elevating arc, contains the oil motors. The equilibrators extend from an anchoring just forward of the trunnions to the forward edge of the casing containing the oil motors.

The gun being extremely high off the ground, platforms for the gun crew are provided. The gun is fitted to receive firing data by remote control transmission. A normal panoramic sight is provided as well as an antitank sight.

SPECIFICATIONS

Caliber       12.8 cm (5.04 ins.)
Weight (static mount) 28,600 lbs.
Weight (traveling position) 59,400 lbs.
       Mobile mount
Weight (firing position) 37,400 lbs.
       Mobile mount
Length (traveling position) 49 ft.
       overall
Length (firing position) 29 ft.
       overall
Height (traveling position)
Height (firing position)
Height of trunnions (firing position) 7 5/8 ft.
Width (overall)
Length of piece 308.5 ins. (61 calibers)
Length of rifling 255.13 ins.
Twist of rifling (increasing) 3° 20′ to 5° 30′
No. of grooves 40
Width of grooves (forward section) 0.26 in.
       (center section) 0.25 in.
Depth of grooves 0.06 in.
Width of lands (forward section) 0.13 in.
       (center section) 0.14 in.
Muzzle velocity (H.E. shell) 2,886 f/s
Max. range (horizontal) 20,950 meters (22,910 yds.)
Max. ceiling at 85° 14,800 meters (48,555 ft.)
Rate of fire 12 r.p.m.
Traverse 360°
Elevation 88°
Depression -3°
Length of recoil from 36 to 51 ins.
Ammunition A.P.C., H.E.
Wt. of complete round (approx.) 106 lbs.
Wt. of H.E. projectile (12.8 cm Sprgr. Patr. I. 4.5) 57 lbs.
Wt. of A.P.H.E. projectile (12.8 cm Pzgr. Patr.) 58.13 lbs.

German: p. 106.1 (August 1, 1945)