Tag Archive for 'pak'

7.5/5.5 cm Pak 41: Tapered Bore Antitank Gun

7.5/5.5 cm Pak 41: Tapered Bore Antitank Gun

The 7.5 cm Pak 41, Germany’s latest antitank gun to be brought into service, is designed on the Gerlich or tapered-bore principle. The bore tapers from 7.5 cm at the breech to 5.5 cm at the muzzle, but the taper is not constant. The first part of the bore is cylindrical and rifled; the second, conical and unrifled; and the third, measuring 27.6 inches in length, is cylindrical and unrifled. There is also a muzzle brake. The life of the barrel is estimated at approximately 500-600 rounds. The weapon is long, low, and sturdy in appearance and has a semi-automatic breech mechanism of the vertical wedge type.

The carriage has a split trail and is mounted on metal wheels with solid rubber tires. As traction is by motor tractor, the carriage is fitted with pneumatic brakes controlled by the driver of the tractor. Torsion bar suspension is automatically cut out when the trails are opened.

An elevating mechanism of the sector type is on the right-hand side of the cradle, and a traversing mechanism of the screw type on the left. There is no equilibrator mechanism. The recoil mechanism contains a hydraulic cylinder and spring-type recuperator.

The sighting system, which is graduated up to 1,500 meters (1,635 yards), has four scales for use according to the actual muzzle velocity of the gun. Muzzle velocity drops considerably because of wear.


Caliber           7.5/5.5 cm
Weight in action         1.4 tons
Length of barrel (approx.)         170 ins.
Muzzle velocity (estimated)         4,123 f/s
Elevation         -10° to 18°
Traverse         60°
Armor penetration—A.P.C.

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

German: p. 123

2.8/2.0 cm Pz. B. 41: Tapered Bore Antitank Gun

2.8/2.0 cm Pz. B. 41: Tapered Bore Antitank Gun

The German antitank gun, Pz. B. 41, captured in the vicinity of Halfaya Pass during the Libyan campaign in 1941, is the first tapered-bore weapon to be found in combat use. Served by a five-man crew, it is normally towed on a trailer, but can be broken down into five loads and transported on a truck or in an airplane.

The tube, which is of heavy monobloc or cold worked construction, is modeled on the Gerlich principle—that is, it is tapered from 28 mm at the breech to 20 mm at the muzzle in order to increase the velocity. No provision is made for cooling the barrel, which is good for about 400 rounds. The forward end of the tube has a muzzle brake threaded to it; the back is attached to the breech ring by an interrupted screw arrangement.

The firing mechanism, of the inertia type, consists of the firing-pin, firing-pin guide, spring and retainer. A breechblock of the horizontal sliding block type is actuated, after cocking, by an operating handle attached to the top of the breech ring.

Both the carriage and pedestal are of welded construction. Shields fixed to the carriage by metal hooks and spring plungers are constructed of steel plates about 3/8 inch thick. Detachable trunnions for fastening the gun and recoil mechanisms to the pedestal permit quick assembly and breakdown of the piece.

The wheels are of the perforated disk type and have pneumatic tires mounted on them. These tires, which are probably Lynthetic, have no valve stems, indicating that they are filled with a cushioning material.

The trails are of the split type and can be locked together or spread at an angle of about 45°.

The gun is flexible on its mount, and as no elevating or traversing gears are employed, these operations are most likely manual. A straight tube telescope is used.


Caliber            28 mm at breech
20 mm at muzzle
Weight (complete) 491 lb.
     (tube) 76 lb.
     (barrel & brake) 80 lb.
Length of barrel 61.36 ins.
Breech mechanism Horizontal sliding block
Firing mechanism Inertia type
Recoil mechanism Hydro-spring
Normal recoil 9.34 ins.
Rate of fire 8 to 10 rds./min.
Muzzle velocity 4,550 f/s
Range (effective) 500 yds.
Ammunition A.P. (9,754.4 grs.)

        Range       Thickness of armor in inches
Yards         30°         Normal
400       2.1       2.6

German: p. 131

7.5 cm Pak 97/38: Antitank Gun (Ex-French)

7.5 cm Pak 97/38: Antitank Gun (Ex-French)

The 7.5 cm Pak 97/38, introduced by Germany in 1942, consists of the 7.5 cm French Model ’97 equipment which was modified in 1940 as an antitank gun, and the German 5 cm Pak 38 carriage. The built-up tube, to which a Solothurn type perforated muzzle brake is fitted, has four hoops sweated on for additional strength.

The breechblock is the Nordenfeld eccentric screw type commonly used in the French 75 mm tube. The high-pressure, hydropneumatic recoil mechanism contains a floating piston with nitrogen gas in the recuperator cylinder which brings the gun back into battery. The recoil cylinder is of smaller diameter and contains the piston rod which recoils with the tube and forces the recoil oil into the recuperator cylinder where throttling checks the rearward movement of the tube.

The elevating and traversing mechanisms are located on the top carriage; the elevating handwheel is slightly in front of and to the left of the traversing handwheel. There is a single hydropneumatic equilibrator at the right trunnion. The protecting armor consists of two sheets of 4 mm steel plate curved to envelop the front of the weapon. Below the spaced armor is an 8 mm hinged apron. There is also a small shield above the apron that moves with the tube in elevation.

The sighting gear, which is the same as that used with the 5 cm Pak 38, is situated on an arm and bracket which move with the left trunnion. An opening in the shield allows vision for sighting instruments.

The low-slung, light-weight carriage has relatively short split trails of tubular steel. The wheels are of small diameter spokes made of compressed steel and entirely covered with buna rubber tires 4 inches wide. They are independently mounted to absorb traveling shock by free wheeling action. When the trails are spread, however, the free wheel movement is locked by a bracket so the gun will not bounce on firing. A third wheel supports the rear of the trails for transportation.


Caliber         75 mm (2.95 ins.)
Weight (complete) 2,870 lb.
Length of tube & breech ring 8.8 ft.
Length (overall) 15 ft.
Breech mechanism Eccentric screw
Firing mechanism Percussion hammer
Recoil mechanism Hydropneumatic
Rifling 20 lands and grooves; R.H. twist
Muzzle velocity (reported) 2,100 f/s
Elevation 18°
Depression 10°
Traverse 60°
Ammunition H.E.; A.P.-H.E.; Hollow charge
Also some Polish types of ammunition
Penetration 60 mm @ 900 yds., 30°

German: p. 121

7.62 cm Pak 36 (r): Antitank Gun (Ex-Russian)

7.62 cm Pak 36 (r): Antitank Gun (Ex-Russian)

The original 7.62 cm Pak 36, a Russian weapon, was captured by the Nazis and modified to increase the velocity. The built-up tube was rebored to seat a longer cartrige case, and a two-baffled muzzle brake added to cut down recoil energy. The breech mechanism is of the vertical sliding type, and the firing mechanism of the continuous pull type. The breech ring has been bored to seat a safety lock which holds the firing mechanism in a safe or firing position. A firing lever attached to the left side of the cradle enables the gunner to traverse as well as fire the piece. The elevating handwheel is generally situated on the right side of the cradle. Two puller type equilibrators located under the front of the cradle and attached to the rear by chains compensate for muzzle preponderance.

The carriage is of welded steel construction with synthetic filled pneumatic tires and split trails, which can be spread to an angle of 60 ° for firing. The hydropneumatic recoil system consists of two cylinders, one for recoil and the other for counterrecoil. This model is semi-automatic in operation.

The weapon is reported to use the following types of ammunition: A.P.C.; H.E. A sight bracket is attached to the left of the trunnion, and the German range indicator is graduated for the types of ammunition mentioned above.


Caliber         76.2 mm (3 ins.)
Weight (complete) 3,564 lb.
Length of gun (overall) 23 ft., 5 ins.
Length of tube 12 ft., 1 in.
Carriage Steel split trails with rubber tires
Breech mechanism Vertical sliding block
Firing mechanism Continuous pull
Recoil mechanism Hydropneumatic
Rifling 32 lands & grooves; R.H. twist
Elevation 72°
Depression -4°
Traverse 27° right; 30° left

  Range        Thickness of armor in mm
  Yards           30°         Normal
P.B.   4.1 5.2
500   3.7 4.6
1000   3.2 4.1
1500   2.9 3.6
2000   2.5 3.1
2500   2.2 2.8
M.V. 2430 f/s
Wt. of shell 16.7 lb.

German: p. 116

7.62 cm F.K. 39 (r): Antitank Gun (Ex-Russian)

7.62 cm F.K. 39 (r): Antitank Gun (Ex-Russian)

This gun, recently captured in Sicily, has the general simplicity of design characteristic of most Russian weapons. This was formerly a Russian piece, modified by the Germans to use Pak 36 (r) ammunition. The tube which is provided with a jacket is shorter than the Russian 7.62 cm F.K. 36, and is fitted with a double baffled muzzle brake, similar to that used on the 7.5 cm Pak 40. The breechblock is of the vertical falling block type, and appears to be wholly hand operated.

The buffer is located inside the cradle, whereas the recuperator is mounted above the piece. On recoil, the recuperator cylinder moves with the barrel, the piston rod being attached to the upper end of the bracket which is secured to the forward end of the cradle.

Sighting gear consists of a range drum (calibrated for use with Pz. Gr. 40 and Pz. Gr. 39 ammunition) and dial sight carrier mounted on the left trunnion. There appears to be no provision for a telescopic antitank sight.

Traversing and elevating mechanisms are operated by handwheels on the left and right hand sides of the gun.

The weapon is mounted on a crosshead consisting of a short hollow rectangular shaft provided with bearings at either end for the trail heads. The split trails, constructed from rectangular girders, are operated by traversing handles secured to each trail end. Wheels are disk type with pneumatic type tires filled with synthetic.

The shield is a single flat sheet of metal cut away at the lower corners for the wheels. The top is curved upward to the center where there is a sliding center piece over the barrel. A rectangular sighting aperture with sliding cover is cut out on the left hand side in front of the dial sight carrier.


Caliber         76.2 mm
Length (overall with muzzle brake) 11.4 ft.
Length of barrel (including breech ring) 10.4 ft.
Length of barrel 299 cm (9.8 ft.)
Rifling 32 lands and grooves; R.H. twist
Length of rifling 215 cm (7.05 ft.)
Max. range 14,216 yds.
Wt. in action 3,535 lb.

German: p. 115

8.8 cm Pak 43/41: Antitank Gun

8.8 cm Pak 43/41: Antitank Gun

The Pak 43, one of Germany’s newer antitank guns, is a more solidly built weapon than the 7.5 cm Pak 40. The gun is mounted on large rubber-tired metal wheels. A sloping double shield, 6 feet, 3 inches in height, is fitted to the carriage for the protection of the gun crew. Split trails, approximately 12 feet long, are also supplied.

A muzzle brake is fitted to the barrel. The semi-automatic breech mechanism of the horizontal sliding block type is operated by a small auxiliary cylinder on the left side of the breechblock.

The buffer and recuperator are contained in one cylinder which is fitted above the barrel; the balancing cylinders are mounted vertically on either side of the carriage.

The sight bracket is marked for 8.8 cm Pak 43/41 and 8.8 cm Pak 43 Sfl. This marking tends to confirm the opinion that the Pak 43 is a modification of, or development from, the 8.8 cm Flak 41, which it resembles superficially. This marking also confirms the information that this gun, with the designation 43/1, is used in the self-propelled piece Pz. Jag. III/IV (the “Hornet”).


Caliber         88 mm (3.46 ins.)
Weight of gun 4.8 tons
Length of piece (including muzzle brake) 21 ft.
Diameter of wheels 4 ft., 6 ins.
Recoil (maximum) 2.46 ft.
Muzzle velocity Not known
Range Not known
Elevation 38°
Depression -5°
Traverse 58°
Ammunition A.P.C.: H.E.; Hollow-charge
Height 6 ft., 3 ins.

German: p. 113

3.7 cm Pak: Antitank Gun

3.7 cm Pak: Antitank Gun

The 3.7 cm, formerly the chief German antitank gun, has been largely replaced by the 5 cm (1.97 in.) antitank gun. A stick bomb, 6 1/4 inches in diameter and with an overall length of 29 1/8 inches, has been recently introduced for use with the gun. The bomb, a hollow charge type, has a steel rod which fits into the bore of the piece, and a perforated sleeve which fits around the barrel. Its use is likely restricted to short ranges.

The gun is normally towed on its own wheels by a tractor but may also be carried on a lorry. Weighing 950 lbs., it is a suitable weapon for use by air-borne troops.

The piece consists of an “A” tube, jacket and breech ring combined. The breech block is of the horizontal sliding block type with a hand operated block stop.

The axle incorporates independent suspension which is, however, locked when firing, the freeing and locking being controlled by the opening and closing of the trail legs.

The lower carriage has a pivot housing and bearing face for the top carriage. It also carries the traversing rack, the travelling clamp and the locking gear for the trail legs and houses the axle.

The layer stands on the left side of the weapon and operates the traverse with his right hand by a small handwheel (clockwise to the right, anticlockwise to the left). The arc of traverse is 60°. The arc of 21° elevation and 13° depression is completed by 32 1/2 turns of the handwheel, which the layer operates with his left hand.

A hydraulic buffer and spring recuperator are provided.

The straight tube telescope sights are mounted on an upright bracket carried on the top carriage.

The shield is composed of the gun shield and leg shield, of 3/16″ armor plate. The leg shield folds under the lower carriage when travelling, and folds down to ground level when in action.


Caliber         3.7 cm (1.45 in.)
Weight (firing position) 970 lbs.
Length of tube 65.52 ins. (50 cals.)
Rate of fire 8-10 r.p.m.
Muzzle velocity (A.P. shell) 2,625 f.s.
Range (maximum—horizontal) 600 yds.
Elevation 25°
Traverse 60°
Ammunition A.P.H.E.; H.E.; stick grenade

German: p. 130

4.2/2.8 cm Pak 41: Tapered Bore A.T. Gun

4.2/2.8 cm Pak 41: Tapered Bore A.T. Gun

The Pak 41 first appeared in the European Theater of Operations in 1942. It is the second of the German tapered-bore antitank guns. The monobloc barrel is long, with marked external as well as internal taper. There is no muzzle brake. The breechblock is of the horizontal sliding wedge type opening to the left. There is no provision for automatic opening; it is manually opened by means of the operating handle situated on top of the breech ring. The firing mechanism is a combination percussion inertia type.

The recoil mechanism of the hydro-spring constant type is similar in construction to the 3.7 cm Pak. It is housed in the cradle. The recoil cylinder moves with the barrel; the piston rod, secured to the front of the cradle, remains stationary. The buffer rod is centrally fixed to the rear of the recoil cylinder and slides in the hollow piston rod.

The elevation and traverse mechanisms are both fitted to the left side of the upper carriage.

The piece is mounted on the 3.7 Pak carriage fitted with sheet-metal, pneumatic-tired wheels, with tubular trails approximately 7 feet, 3 inches long. A light, steeply sloping, spaced armor shield is also provided.

A curved arm, riveted to the left side of the upper carriage, houses at its upper end the sight bracket trunnion from which the telescope carrier is hung.

Gerlich type ammunition, both H.E. and A.P., is used with the piece.


Caliber         42/28 mm
Weight 1,360 lb.
Rate of fire 10-12 rds./min.
Muzzle velocity 4,101 f/s
Weight of projectile (A.P.)* .80 lb.
Elevation 19°
Depression -14°
Traverse 44°

          30°         Normal
500 yds. 77 mm 94 mm
1,000 yds. 55 mm 68 mm
*This is a lightweight projectile consisting of a small tungsten carbide core embodied in a lightweight metal jacket. The jacket is so constructed that it is swaged to a smaller diameter as it moves through the tapered bore. This design permits a high muzzle velocity, but can be used for short ranges only as the velocity falls off rapidly. Penetration is accomplished by the core only, and because of its relatively small size very little damage is effected by it.

German: p. 128

5 cm Pak 38: Antitank Gun

5 cm Pak 38: German Antitank Gun

The 5 cm Pak 38, introduced during the 1941 campaigns in Greece and Egypt, was developed to combat the more heavily armored vehicles of the Allies.

The gun has a barrel of monobloc construction, threaded at the muzzle for attaching a two-baffled muzzle brake. Because of the position of the breech-operating cam, a minimum length of recoil of approximately 18 1/2 inches is needed to operate the semi-automatic breech mechanism which is of the sliding horizontal block type. The recoil recuperator system is hydropneumatic.

The carriage, constructed of welded steel, is mounted on metal disk wheels with solid rubber tires. Torsion bar suspension is automatically locked when the tubular trails are spread. A 5 mm spaced armor shield and single apron protect the gun crew. The left side of the shield has a sighting port.

There are five types of ammunition fired from the Pak 38: an armor-piercing capped, high-explosive projectile; a high-explosive shell; an A.P.-H.E. (uncapped) shell; a tungsten carbide core arrowhead type projectile (A.P. 40), and a stick grenade similar to the 3.7 cm grenade described on page 306.


Caliber     50 mm (1.97 ins.)
Weight (complete)2,015 lbs. (approx.)
Length of gun (overall) 15 ft., 3 ins.
Length of barrel (overall)9 ft., 3 ins.
Width C-C 5 ft., 1 in.
CarriageWelded steel w/solid rubber tires and tubular trails
Breech mechanismHorizontal sliding block
Recoil mechanismHydropneumatic
Rifling20 lands & grooves; right-hand twist
Muzzle velocity
   A.P.C.-H.E. 4.5 lb.—2600 f/s
   H.E. 4.0 lb.-1800 f/s
Elevation 22°
Depression -4°
Traverse 80°
Sights Straight tube telescope
AmmunitionA.P.; A.P.C.; H.E.; A.P. 40

         Range Thickness of armor in mm
 Yards        30°       Normal

German: p. 126 (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.


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
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.

**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