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Pz. Jäg. III/IV (“Nashorn”) für 8.8 cm Pak 43/1 (Sf) (Sd. Kfz. 164): S.P. Antitank Gun—”Rhinoceros” (formerly “Hornet”)

Pz. Jäg. III/IV ("Nashorn") für 8.8 cm Pak 43/1 (Sf) (Sd. Kfz. 164): S.P. Antitank Gun—"Rhinoceros" (formerly "Hornet")

The German 8.8 cm gun was designed in 1934 as the standard semimobile antiaircraft gun. Encouraged by success in Spain against armored vehicles the Germans went ahead with the production of A.P. ammunition for the weapon and the design of a more mobile carriage. Both were ready in time for the Battle of France. The 8.8 cm gun was a success in this battle, when it proved capable of dealing with the heavier French tanks, against which the standard German 3.7 cm A.T. gun was comparatively ineffective. The Germans next provided the gun with a new mounting from which the gun could engage tanks without being taken off its wheels. Finally a self-propelled mounting was introduced from which the gun can be fired against ground targets but cannot be used in its original A.A. role. Such an equipment is the tank destroyer “Hornet,” which consists of the 8.8 cm Pak 43/1 mounted on the chassis of a modified Pz. Kpfw. IV tank, the engine of which has been moved forward to a central position to provide a clear space for the fighting compartment at the rear. The “Hornet” mounts in effect the same gun as the “Ferdinand” but it is much more lightly armored and relatively much faster. Comparative figures for weight and maximum road speed of “Hornet” and “Ferdinand” are: 28 tons and 22 m.p.h., 80 tons and 12 1/2 m.p.h., respectively.

The 8.8 cm gun, fitted with muzzle brake, is mounted over the engine within a high, open-topped superstructure of thin armor plate and extends well over the front of the chassis. Its length, with muzzle brake, is 21 feet, 6 inches and its muzzle velocity with H.E. shell is 3,280 f.s.; with A.P.C.B.C. shell, 3,214 f.s. It will defeat 5 1/2 inches of homogeneous armor at 1,000 yards range and 30° angle of attack. Its maximum horizontal range is 16,200 yards and its rate of fire 15 to 20 rounds per minute.

SPECIFICATIONS

Weight         25 tons
Length (excl. gun) 19 ft., 4 ins.
Width 9 ft., 7 ins.
Height
Ground clearance 15 ins.
Tread centers 7 ft., 11 ins.
Ground contact 11 ft., 6 ins.
Width of track 15 ins.
Pitch of track 4 3/4 ins.
Track links 98
Fording depth 3 ft.
Theoretical radius of action:
     Roads (est.) 100 miles
     Cross-country (est.) 65 miles
Speed:
     Road 22 m.p.h.
     Cross-country 12 m.p.h.
Armor:
     Front plate 50 mm
     Sides 30 mm
Armament 8.8 cm Pak 43/1
Ammunition
Engine Maybach HL 120 TRM, 320 hp.
Transmission Synchromesh—6 speeds forward, 1 reverse
Steering Epicyclic, clutch brake
Crew 5

German: p. 34