German 75mm Pak-40 AT Gun (Video)

While we normally stick to small arms here, this beast of a gun was just way too impressive for me to not pay attention to. I was at a cannon and machine gun shoot just recently where some folks brought out what is (I believe) the only functional Pak-40 in the United States. And shot it.

The Pak-40 was the backbone of German antitank guns during WWII, and fired a 75mm AP shell out to an effective range of about a mile in a direct-fire role, with enough energy to defeat pretty much any Allied tank except the late-war Russian heavies. It was fairly light weight given its effectiveness, and makes one hell of a concussion when fired. So without further ado, let us take a look…

I am indebted to the owners of the gun for being exceedingly cool people, and letting me take the video footage!

61 Comments

  1. Note: when the Germans before Barbarossa consider the 75mm gun the heaviest AT artillery, the Soviet Union designed and produced 107mm divisional gun M-60 which could penetrate 121mm thick armour at 1000 meters (30 degrees*) and designed also the 107mm gun M-75 penetrating 165mm at 1000 meters but at 30 degrees and 107mm high-power gun penetrating 188mm at 1000 meters at 30 degrees (with muzzle velocity of 1100m/s)
    source
    http://tankarchives.blogspot.com/2013/04/soviet-107-mm-guns.html
    Note that despite we can now say 188mm penetration is not needed against Pz.III, Pz.IV tanks, the Soviets suppose that Germans have secret super-heavy tanks…
    *Soviet method: 0 degrees = vertical plate

    • Very interesting and may I say – nuts. When I served the cannon of the time used on T55 (and against similar Western threat) was 100mm. As a common anti-tank weapon thru the Patriotic War was ZIS and previous designs primarily in 3″ bore and it did formidable work of scrap out of German armour. But this… oh man.

  2. That stillframe at 6:38 is straight out of a heavy metal video!

    When you say live rounds, is it a live loading of an inert projectile or are these full-on HE reloads? Would the owner be required to have an explosives permit in either case? I would assume so.

    • They were live loads using inert projectiles. Ammunition for something like this would require an NFA stamp only if the projectile contains 1/4oz or more of explosive. With solid/inert projectiles, the ammunition is not subject to any regulations different from basic small arms ammunition.

  3. The main problem with the PAK 40 was probably its terrible handling in the mud. Narrow wheels and soggy soil do not mix well, and firing this gun in the rain will make the crew’s day miserable. But then again, tanks and rain also do not mix…

    • I suspect that once the practice fun wore off, firing this gun under any circumstances whatever would make the crew miserable.

      Not as miserable as the enemy tank might, though…

      • The 8.8cm PAK 43 was even more amusing to maneuver, especially in the rasputitza mud of the Ostfront;

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/8.8_cm_Pak_43

        Its split-trailed PAK43/41 version, “affectionately” known as “Barndoor” to the Wehrmacht, was particularly “loved”. It only massed 4,380 kg (9,660 lb). And had the same sort of narrow tires, just made for getting bogged down.

        Its L/71 gun was basically the same as that on the 8.8cm Jagdpanther, and thus “Barndoor” and the “true” PAK 43, its more developed cousin on a modified Rheinmetall 8.8cm Flak 41 turntable mount, were tolerated simply because few other guns available could reliably punch through the glacis of a T-34 beyond 900 meters, or (at war’s end) the front armor of the IS-2 at any range.

        cheers

        eon

        • I recall reading in past that German field guns in general were way too heavy. I also recall that they (Wehrmacht) were keen on getting as many as possible Russian trophy guns, especially those in 76mm calibre since it was for similar ammunition as their own (I’d think they would rebuild them by replacing inner tube). I suppose, with potential being about on par, the Russian guns must have had lesser safety margin.

          • Hi Denny,
            I’m not sure what breech the Soviet guns were using.

            From my miniscule reading on artillery (the sort that needs a tractor or a ship to move it around) I gather that the multi diameter interrupted screw thread breech mechanisms (Wellin Breech) used by the Brits

            were reckoned to be much lighter than the falling / sliding block breech used by the Germans.

            I’m guessing (yet again – it’s a bad habit!) that manufacture of the German breech was probably easier to farm out to conventional machine shops, equipped with the usual mills, shapers and planers.

            The Wellin Breech seems to have required some relatively esoteric equipment on very big heavy lathes, probably including a speed reducing slave headstock (bottom photo here http://www.lathes.co.uk/pratt%26whitney/page2.html ) to reduce revs to single figure RPM,

            Along with a relieving device to index the cutting tools in and out several times for each revolution of the work, similar to the relieving devices used to produce form relieved cutting tools – but with a 2 diameter, in or out cam, rather than the simple eccentric used for making form relieved cutters (http://www.lathes.co.uk/hendey/page11.html ).

            Also for a place which had experience of metal pressing, those cast wheels (if they were Iron) look ridiculously heavy, if they were aluminium – what a waste.

          • I forgot – a sliding breech always requires a case of some sort even if it’s only a case head, to effect a gas seal,

            Rotating breeches, like the Welin, can have a simple obturator attached, to allow them to more easily use bagged charges, thereby cutting down of ammunition weight and use of scarce brass.

          • Keith & Denny;

            All Russian 76.2mm guns had Krupp-type sliding-block breeches and used metal (generally mild steel) cartridge cases. In fact, they all used exactly the same cartridge case, whether they were tank guns, light field/anti-tank, anti-aircraft, or even submarine or escort vessel deck guns.

            The reason was simple. To ensure that any gun could use whatever ammunition of its bore spec there was to be had.

            The bagged-charge guns were generally 122mm on up, with interrupted-screw breech. Much above 4-5″ bore, a metallic cartridge case “fixed round” becomes so unwieldy that it’s easier to load separately (projectile + bagged charge).

            In an interesting side note, when the British fielded the Cromwell in late 1944, it was originally intended to use the six-pounder gun, same as on its predecessor, the Crusader III. However, the Ordnance section noticed that the six-pounder tube could be bore out to handle U.S. 75mm ammunition without losing enough wall thickness to pose a problem. Accordingly, all Cromwells went into service with these “modified” six-pounders with altered breeches, firing U.S. 75mm rounds.

            The Russians took note of this. And since they were receiving (under Lend-Lease) Candian Car and Foundry-built Valentine V and VI light tanks (which they used as scout vehicles), which had basically the same six-pounder gun, they accordingly bored a lot of them out to take their own 76.2mm rounds. Seemed to work just fine.

            cheers

            eon

          • The type of breech (interesting terminology: Czech language says literally “wedge”) while used on guns of this type moves typically horizontally (have a taper to it so they close chamber tightly). That applies for both German and Russian types.

            When comes to manufacture of artillery guns barrels, they compose out od several tubes pulled under compressive strain onto each other causing ‘internal preload’ also called “autofrettage”. This compressive stress is counteracting stresses (there are 3 principal ones) induced during firing. There are typically around 3-5 tubes set ‘pulled’ onto each other like stocking onto the leg.

            The machinery produced individual components are typically called “engine lathe”, which name I suppose, comes from the fact that they are so large that cannot be powered just by common transmission shaft. My own curiosity is about conditions of assembly of the tubes; were they pre-lubed or not? What was the surface finish? Were they all at same nominal temperature or were they partly shrink-fit. I am not really sure. My own limited experience with 100mm tank gun and 122 field howitzer is merely theoretical and I never worked in large calibre gun production.

            I happen to have 2 books on the subject which does not mean I remember the contents of them – without some refreshing. One is “The 88” by Ch. Ellis and P. Chamberlain; the other is “Artillery” by Chris Chant. On my level of interest they are more than sufficient source.

          • Hi eon!
            Thank you for almost ‘insider’s’ information when comes to similarities between opposing sides guns. I may not be correct, but as mentioned before, I read (maybe in one of the books I mentioned) that Germans were modifying captured Russian guns, most notably 7.62 model 1936 to suit to their own 75mm ammunition. If, as you say, the chamber was identical then the work would consist just of re-lining; fairly efficient operation.

          • Denny;

            You’re referring to the 7.62cm PAK 36 (r) (“r” for “Rusland”). What actually got changed was the chamber contour, same as rechambering a rifle from, say, the original .257 Roberts to the later .257 Ackley Improved Roberts (slightly longer case, squarer shoulder, more powder capacity). It’s a rifle-type rechambering job, just on a bigger scale.

            The bore remained unchanged. Remember, artillery projectiles are made of steel, and “take the rifling” with a rotating band of “softer” brass that is engraved by the rifling as the expanding gases hit its undercut rear edge, forcing it out into the rifling rather like the skirt of a Minie’ ball in a .58 rifle-musket. (In fact, the artillery designers of the mid-19th century apparently got the idea from the Delvigne’-Minie’ rifle projectile to begin with.)

            To fit a 7.5cm PAK 40 AT shell or shot into the 7.62cm Russian bore, all that was really needed was a slightly modified rotating band. No muss, no fuss.

            In fact, with only a +/- 1.2 millimeter difference in the land depth from one groove to the opposite, I suspect even the standard driving band would have gotten the job done, albeit with some possibly greater dispersion beyond about 1200 meters. But since most AT shots occurred at 400 to 700 meters, that probably wouldn’t matter enough to worry the average PAK gunner.

            cheers

            eon

          • @Denny:
            The 7,62cm PaK36(r) known in Soviet Union as a 76-мм дивизионная пушка образца 1936 года (76mm divisional gun model 1936 – Army designation) or simply Ф-22 (F-22 – factory index) was design to use their own ammunition
            http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/76-мм_дивизионная_пушка_образца_1936_года_(Ф-22)
            states that it use 7,1kg projectile and have muzzle velocity of 710m/s. Additionally unlike the production F-22 the prototypes use muzzle brake. The change of ammunition type was caused by Army request – Army can’t afford to have two different 76,2mm rounds (the production F-22 use round originally developed for 76mm gun M1900).

          • Gentlemen, Eon and Daweo, thank you both very much for your supplementary information. It makes it clear to me in many ways and it all makes more sense now.

            BTW Daweo, Russian language was second language to me (taught from grade 4 to university) and I can read most of the stuff you reference without problem (the term “pushka” corresponds with Czech, Serbian and Hungarian term “rifle”). Also, since my second adopted language was German, I can get sense of meaning in that language too. I say it, not to show my ‘feathers’, but to help mutual understanding. Luckily for all of us we have English as an ’emergency tool’. So, any of those languages is fine by me.

          • Accounts I’ve read of manufacture have the tubes heated / chilled and shrunk on.

            In the late 19th century there were also guns with the inner tube wrapped with tensioned wire as a means of compressing it. There are a number of scans of references on the design of wire wrapped guns, up (for free) on archive.org.

            One of Lindsay’s reprints of ordnance articles from 1900, covered the design and making of an artillery piece during the seige of Kimberley, during the boer war. It used shrunk on rings, some of which bulged during use.

            The mining engineers who had designed and built the gun were able to remove them by building a sand mould around the barrel and running molten cast iron into it to heat only the rings which needed to be removed!

            http://www.youroldtimebookstore.com/product-p/22717.htm

  4. I would guess the PAK-40 crew would only get off one or two shots before the tankers would zero in on that muzzle flash. The shrapnel sheild would not help much with a main gun round.

    • True. But on the plus side from the gunners’ POV, PAK 40 wasn’t a lot bigger than its predecessor, the 5cm PAK 38; in fact, the trail legs are pretty much the same, and the shield is only a few inches wider and higher IIRC.

      This means it isn’t all that much bigger than the British six-pounder (aka U.S. 57mm AT M1), and has a low enough silhouette that with even minimal “digging in” or some intelligence exhibited in siting (like firing over the top of a reverse slope, or even an existing shell crater or swale in the ground), even if the Sherman, Churchill or whatever knew where the AT gun was, hitting it with return direct fire could be a bit of a problem.

      According to an uncle of mine who was a tank troop commander in the 3rd Army from D-Day to VE-Day, their usual method of dealing with a dug-in PAK was either to call for artillery, or mortars. Or else let the infantry have them. He never turned down an air strike, either.

      The old movie trick of “one tank keeps ’em busy up front while two more flank ’em” was frowned upon. The German army wasn’t stupid. Their PAK guns were normally organized as a battery (four tubes), and in combat they tended to dig in with one up, two flank, and often no.4 acting as “overwatch” a couple of hundred meters back. Trying to “end-around” usually invited a 15-lb AP shot into your side armor, assuming they didn’t have infantry support, which they generally did. Said infantry being armed with Panzerschreck, Panzerfaust, and AT mines to be emplaced in suitable spots, as well.

      In that sort of setup, the odds tended to favor the AT gunners. My uncle naturally survived by cheating whenever possible. Hence, artillery, mortars, and air strikes.

      cheers

      eon

      • This what you say regarding American tactics in WWII is very consistent with what I read or heard. Yes, the habitual call for air support and Thunderbolts fixed ’em up, was there more often than not.

        That has had become such a routine that it is used to this day. Some may think that Americans were not into even-footed heavy slugging. Hard to be a judge, I’d would probably also look at shortcut, whenever possible; save your men and win the battle.

        • As my uncle’s “Boss of Bosses”, General Patton, said,

          No b*****d ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb b*****d die for his country.

          No, that wasn’t just in the movie. “Old Blood and Guts” really did say that.

          My favorite one of his, though, was an official message. HQ sent him this;

          X BYPASS TRIER AS IT WOULD TAKE THREE DIVISIONS TO TAKE IT X

          He replied with this;

          X HAVE JUST TAKEN TRIER WITH TWO DIVISIONS X WHAT THE H**L DO YOU WANT ME TO DO GIVE IT BACK TO THE GERMANS X

          Except of course he didn’t use asterisks.

          😉

          cheers

          eon

          • Eon, this is supper, I like colloquial language. George Patton was a “character” for lack of other words; some details of his existence and namely death still shrouded in mystery. His units took part of operations in south and west Bohemia (CR) in May of 1945. At some places, the resistance was stiff and number of Americans put their lives for Czech liberation. Let them be honored and respected for that!

  5. Here are some pictures of the PaK 40 from re-enactment event in Finland:

    http://www.panzergrenadier.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=15709&view=previous

    Notice the proper stances of the crew. Like with most re-enactments, the Finnish uniforms are “too” period correct; in reality quite a few soldiers wore captured Soviet helmets like in this authentic image: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a7/Finnish-gun-crew-1942.jpg

    Also, no way an anti-tank gun crew would have had a Suomi SMG. They were much too valuable for the infantry.

    Finland was by far the last country to have the PaK 40 in service. Although they were replaced as primary AT weapons by recoilless rifles in the mid-1960s, they were retained for use in fixed fortifications until the late 1980s.

  6. Now tell me, where can I get reloading manual?!
    Now we are talking, THIS is what I love to see. Not to say small arms are boring, but this is REAL stuff. And as we know, artillery really counted and counts to this day.
    Once you get close to it and even see it at its element, it is just a total experience. I came only half-way years ago when I saw this and mighty 88 at military museum attached to Camp Borden in Ontario – plain awesome…. very well developed for its time.

    • I guess you could also use that slow burning “powder” in a .17/.50 Browning wildcat – count the appropriate number of pieces of “powder” into the primed .50 case before necking it down to .17 cal…

      Barrel life probably around 25 rounds…

      • Yeah, one really has to wonder if it can be scaled down. I knew a guy, toolmaker actually, who built his own muzzle-loaded field gun scaled model, kind like Napoleonic wars type. As far as I know, it did not blow up on him (used commercial black powder). Smart cookie he was.

    • Grant was, I believe, bowdlerizing Wellington, who is reputed to have said;

      The purpose of cavalry on the battlefield is to lend tone to what would otherwise be merely an unseemly brawl.

      Of course, the Duke put his faith in volleys of musketry from infantry in ranks and firing by the numbers, plus field guns firing canister, round shot, and “shrapnel” (or “spherical case” as we Yanks more accurately designated it).

      He considered that cavalrymen rushing hither and yon, armed mainly with nothing but sabers (a smoothbore ML carbine being next to impossible to either hit anything with or reload on horseback without stopping- thereby getting yourself shot) were mostly nothing but very tempting targets for everyone standing on their own two feet, from field gunners to riflemen and down to the rank-and-file.

      The accuracy of his hypothesis would be proven over and over again, notably at Balaclava and several times during the American Civil War. The most successful cavalry commanders in the latter case either trained their men to operate as essentially mounted guerrillas, riding at night and avoiding enemy regular formations (John Singleton Mosby), or as dragoons, mounted riflemen who rode in but then dismounted and fought on foot as skirmishers (John Buford, notably on the first day of Gettysburg).

      It took first the revolver, carried in pairs or quartets on the saddle (Mosby) and the breechloading carbine, either single-shot or repeater (Buford) to make cavalry a practical proposition again.

      Until the machine gun came of age, that is.

      cheers

      eon

      • Cavalry, riding around a battlefield had become effectively obsolete in Europe from the battle of Crécy, in 1346.

        The English fielded approximately 3,000 longbowmen, each one used to comfortably firing up to 10 aimed shots per minute, at targets placed a furlong (225 yards / 200 metres) away so approximately 30,000 arrows a minute going down range.

        An acquaintance who is into historical metallurgy, and who experiments with a bellows blown “bloomery” for smelting iron, estimates (presumably on the basis of sampling) that there are around 9 or 10 tons of iron arrowheads spread around the battlefield site.

        • Hi Eon and Keith, given the discussion on cavalry I thought I’d chip on with my opinion for what its worth
          Wellington had a rather poor view of cavalry based mainly on the performance of his mounted forces in the peninsula campaign, the problem with the heavy cavalry in particular was that though they were excellent in the charge they tended to go mad with bloodlust once an enemy had broken and so were difficult to reform, making them often a one use force. The light cavalry were somewhat better but their commander, Uxebridge, eloped with Wellington’s sister in law which didn’t really enhance his opinion of them either
          The trick was using the cavalry intelligently as part of a combined arms force, while cavalry couldn’t hope to break disciplined infantry they had several other uses that extended beyond the obvious pursuit of a routed enemy
          Firstly though infantry in square were nigh invulnerable to cavalry such a formation was appallingly vulnerable to artillery fire and the reduced frontage meant that far less muskets could be brought to bear against infantry in line. Cavalry would be advanced in support of infantry and the threat would force the opposing infantry into square ensuring that they were at a disadvantage in the ensuing firefight. This happened to the 27th Inniskilling regiment at Waterloo and they suffered 70% casualties, it’s a testament to their discipline that they did not break despite this. Cavalry could also destroy attacks by unsupported infantry, to use another Waterloo example a Hanoverian battalion was destroyed almost to a man when French Cuirassiers flanked it as they counter attacked at La Hay Sainte.
          Generally it’s also worth noting that the success or failure of a cavalry charge often depended upon skilful leadership. A straight up flat out charge was often doomed to failure so the skill lay in using the dead ground to conceal cavalry from opposing infantry until the distance was too close to give time to form square. The best kind of cavalry country was actually that with rolling hills giving a good amount of dead ground for concealment until the last possible moment, not a long level plain.
          I guess my point is that Cavalry didn’t suddenly become obsolete, they had their place as part of a combined arms method of warfare and their usefulness as a shock force was dependent on the terrain, it’s worth noting that while cavalry charges were routinely getting shot up in the American civil war similar actions had been carried out successfully during wars in Europe a few years before.
          About the video I think it’s great, I’ve never seen anything quite like it before and had no idea the back blast could be so violent.
          It sounds like the gun had a lucky escape from that hippy woman, it’s sad that someone could let an amazing piece of history like that just rust away on some badly though out set of principles. It’s lucky she limited her show of disapproval of painting it pink and didn’t deliberately damage anything.

  7. There are tony old bars in the better parts of Manhattan where the longstanding and lethal house specialty is the “French 75” – a martini glass filled with equal parts of cognac and champagne – named after the famous WW1 cannon. Which leads one to wonder… what would a “German 75” be? A litre stein of schnapps?

    • Yep. Considering how sensitive the things are (I’ve seen them triggered by someone slamming a car door or trunk lid across the street from the alarm-sounding car) I’m surprised there was only one.

      Just as I’m surprised only one car window was fractured by the backblast pressure wave. Until you’ve been up close with one of the Great Guns, you don’t realize just how powerful they are.

      And remember; AT guns are generally defined as the Munchkins of the breed. Even the blast and backblast of an 8.8cm PAK, or a British 17-pounder, is puny compared to a 5″/38 naval rifle, let alone a 16″/50.

      There’s a reason they put them in enclosed turrets, and protection from enemy fire was only part of it. The two IJN giants, Yamato and Musashi, had to stow their whaleboats, motor launches, etc., in special port and starboard “tunnels” under their quarterdecks. In shoreside tests, it was found that the overpressure wave of just one of their 18.1″ main guns’ muzzle blast would otherwise reduce a 45-foot power launch to kindling.

      cheers

      eon

      • If you have said about naval guns:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/35_cm_Marinekanone_L/45_M._16
        The 35cm L/45 naval gun (as suggest Marinekanone name – “Navy Cannon”) was used as a ground gun because the ship wasn’t finished in time so: “The operative position near the town center forced the personnel to activate a siren before shooting in order to open all the surrounding windows to prevent damages by the shock waves.”

    • Gregory, standard cannons have muzzle blast, not back blast.

      Back blast is what comes out the aft end of a rocket launcher or breech of a recoilless rifle, and is why courteous infantry types glance over their shoulder and yell “Backblast clear!” before slapping the trigger.

      • True. A better term for what is seen here is sideblast. And the main culprit is the four-port muzzle brake of the PAK 40.

        A well-designed muzzle brake can reduce recoil, and thus trunnion pull and necessary hydraulic recoil system values, up to 30%. But the bill gets called due when the gun fires. Such a high-efficiency brake redirects up to 40% of the high-velocity gases that would normally go straight forward (thus increasing recoil- see Newton’s Third Law of Motion)out to the sides and at a rearward angle on each side of the muzzle. The result is not as intense as the backblast of an RCL or an RPG, but is dangerous enough if you happen to be a bit too far forward of the gun shield or a bit too far out to the side of a wheel hub.

        BTW, those gasses are just as hot as an RCL’s backblast. They tend to scorch the paint on not just the brake, but the outside of the gun tube immediately behind it.

        Two of the most formidable “side-blasters” were the 8.8cm KWK 36 L/56 on the Tiger I, and the even more powerful 8.8cm KWK 43 L/71 on the Tiger II, Jagdpanther, and Nashorn. It was actually dangerous for the drivers of the Tigers to stick their heads out of their overhead hatches when the main gun fired in the forward arc.

        The all-time champ for OMG sideblast was probably the French 105mm F1 gun on the Israeli M51 Isherman. It had a shorter tube than the version used on the AMX 30, and slightly lower MV, but still needed the multiport brake to cut recoil to a level the Sherman T23 turret’s ring ballrace could tolerate. Standing too close to an M51’s “10-11” and “1-2” arcs during range live-fire was even more hazardous than it is with most “braked” guns.

        And even with that, most Isherman crews tended to fire “forward” with the tank’s drivetrain in neutral, and let it roll back to take some of the “kick”.

        Probably the most awesome Sherman of them all. (Tank variants as opposed to SPGs, that is.)

        cheers

        eon

  8. BTW the PAK 40 was not in wide use at the beginning of Barbarossa (Jun 41), most units retained the old PAK 36 in 3.7 cm. This quickly became known as the Heeresanklopfgeraet (Army door knocker) due to its inability to penetrate the heavier Soviet tanks. Delivery of the PAK 40 didn’t start till the end of 41, and wasn’t completed until 43.

    • In-between was the 5cm PAK 38, which was developed and deployed in the ’39-40 timeframe. Its development was mainly due to the HWA noticing that everyone else (notably the Russians and French) were upgunning from 37mm to 45mm (R) and 47mm (F) for their AT guns. Since the 5cm gun was already in development for the Panzer III, the towed gun version was more-or-less a foregone conclusion.

      When the British noticed all of the above, they responded with the six-pounder (57mm), which was still able to do in most anything short of a Tiger II right up to the end of the war. (Actually, with tungsten shot and a good angle from behind, it could probably have roughly handled the Tiger II, as well.)

      The 5cm served well into mid-’43, as with tungsten shot it could take out a T-34 out to 500 meters. But when the order came down restricting tungsten use to machine tools, the 5cm was pretty much out of the fight. Most units with PAK 38s were re-equipped with PAK 40s by late ’43, especially on the Ostfront. Trouble is, the two guns resemble each other so closely that in wartime photos it’s sometimes hard to tell which one you’re looking at. (Hint; the 5cm has a curved gun shield, rather than an angular one- most of the time, at least.)

      cheers

      eon

      • Don’t forget the venerable Pak36(t). It was the best small AT gun the Germans had until the 38 came into widespread use

      • There was a tungsten-carbide core APDS (Armor Piercing, Discarding Sabot, ie. subcaliber) shot for the 6-pounder AT gun and it was issued in autumn 1944. It was the first APDS round issued (by any country, that is). It could handle the Tiger II even through the sides, although of course not frontally.

  9. If you want blast, then stand at the side of an M109! The crew used to get extra points if they could bowl over a young officer more than 180 degrees.. 🙂

    You were also talking about sleeved and fretted barrels. Tank and anti tank guns are sometimes fitted with a loose liner to ease barrel changes – a typical HV barrel will only last around 300 shots.. Barrels have been fretted since the 1920s – the process involves forcing an oversize drift down the barrel or by pressurising with oil. The aim of frettage is to stress the inner layer of the barrel past the elastic limit but leave the outer layers below so that the inner layers are always under compression when the barrel is at rest.

  10. Saw this at FARK.

    I am curious, where was the video shot? Usery Mountain? Gunsite?

    How is the gun transported? I imagine many cops would be a bit taken aback to see that on the freeways.

      • Thanks. I googled a bit for pak 40 arizona and google image search and my “CIA” skills “determined” it was shot on the north side of Flatiron Mountain near Tonopah.

        Am I close? And was it the north side? (That’s the side from GIS that appears to have the most vehicle tracks and marks.)

        I would have loved to have seen the the gun and the hellcat transported, especially through cities (and drive through windows).

  11. INCREDIBLE!!!!! The muzzle flash on the gun is HUGE!!!! I’ve read about the PaK 40 my whole life(My late and much-loved and missed Dad introduced me to WW2 history) and I’ve loved it since it was the armament of my favorite tank of the war, the Panzer IV. I had an idea of how powerful the gun was, but CRAP!!!! I’d be shocked to see what the effect of a live round from that gun would do to a BMP!

  12. While everyone here is applauding the video and the tremendous muzzle flash, have you ever stopped to think about what would have happened in real life? That gun would be a very expensive single shot weapon as all the camouflage in creation would not hide that. Now I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s parade here, but in WWII the Germans used low flash, smokeless powder for their tank and antitank guns which made them very difficult for the allied tankers to spot. Check out a few veterans memoirs if you don’t believe me.

    If I had to guess I would say the video crew are using black powder in their cartridges which is available without the same kind of restrictions in the US and produces exactly that kind of flash seen in the clip.

    • This gun now lives in Texas. The powder is the same surplus arty powder we use for oir tanks. Blackpowder is used, but contained in a vented pvc pipe that run s down the middle. It serves to make sure we get an even burn.

  13. Oh boy…where to begin?

    The FLASH!!! They are using the cheapest bulk powder they can. The Germans used a fast burning powder and also added Potassium sulfate as a flash reducing agent. It would not look that way IRL.

    The Pak 36 (r) was rebored to accept a much longer cartridge. Almost a foot longer. So the breech had to accept the dimension changes, but also the barrel had to have rifling removed. So, in effect, while the Soviet version was “L51”, the German projectile was traveling in the tube a shorter distance. Something like L48.

    The German 7.62cm projectile was also heavier. And MUCH better. A APCBC-HE Pzgr 39 rot design. Very similar in shape overall to a 88mm BTW.

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