|7.5 cm Panzerabwehrkanone 40|
A Pak 40 75 mm anti-tank gun, displayed in Parola Tank Museum, Finland
|Place of origin||Nazi Germany|
|Used by||Nazi Germany|
Kingdom of Hungary
|Wars||World War II|
|Number built||Approx. 23,500|
|Weight||1,425 kg (3,142 lb)|
|Length||6.2 m (20 ft 4 in)|
|Barrel length||46 calibres|
|Caliber||75 mm (2.95 inch)|
|Breech||semi-automatic horizontal sliding block|
|Elevation||-5° to +22°|
|Rate of fire||14 rounds per minute|
|Effective range||1,800 metres (5,906 ft) direct fire|
7,678 metres (25,190 ft) indirect HE shell
The 7.5 cm Pak 40 (7.5 cm Panzerabwehrkanone 40) was a German 7.5 centimetre anti-tank gun developed in 1939-1941 by Rheinmetall and used during the Second World War. Pak 40 formed the backbone of German anti-tank guns for the latter part of World War II.
Development[edit | edit source]
Development of the Pak 40 began in 1939 with contracts being placed with Krupp and Rheinmetall to develop a 7.5 cm anti-tank gun. Priority of the project was initially low, but following the invasion of the USSR in 1941 and the unexpected appearance of heavily armoured Soviet tanks such as the T-34 and KV-1, it was given an increased priority. The first pre-production guns were delivered in November 1941. In April 1942, the Wehrmacht had 44 guns in service; by 1943 the Pak 40 formed the bulk of German anti-tank artillery.
Operational use[edit | edit source]
The Pak 40 was the standard German anti-tank gun until the end of the war, and was supplied by Germany to its allies. Some captured guns were used by the Red Army. After the end of the war the Pak 40 remained in service in several European armies, including Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Finland, Norway, Hungary and Romania.
About 23,500 Pak 40s were produced, and about 6,000 more were used to arm tank destroyers. The unit manufacturing cost amounted to 2,200 man-hours at 12,000 RM. A lighter automatic version, the heaviest of the Bordkanone series of heavy calibre aircraft guns, was used as the BK 7,5 in the Henschel Hs 129B-3 ground attack aircraft and the Junkers Ju 88P-1 bomber destroyer.
Performance[edit | edit source]
The weapon was effective against almost every Allied tank until the end of the war. The Pak 40 was much heavier than the 5 cm Pak 38; its decreased mobility meant that it was difficult or even impossible to move without an artillery tractor on boggy ground.
The Pak 40 was first used in Russia where it was needed to combat the newest Soviet tanks. It was designed to fire the same low-capacity APCBC, HE and HL projectiles which had been standardized for use in the long barreled Kampfwagenkanone KwK 40 tank-mounted guns. In addition there was an APCR shot (Panzergranate 40) for the Pak 40, a munition which - reliant on supplies of tungsten - eventually became very scarce.
The main differences amongst the rounds fired by 75 mm German guns were in the length and shape of the cartridge cases for the Pak 40. The 7.5 cm KwK (tank) fixed cartridge case is twice the length of the 7.5 cm KwK 37 (short barrelled 75 mm), and the 7.5 cm Pak 40 cartridge is a third longer than the 7.5 cm KwK 40.
The longer cartridge case allowed a larger charge to be used and a higher velocity for the armour-piercing capped ballistic cap round to be achieved. The muzzle velocity was about 790 m/s (2,600 ft/s) as opposed to 750 m/s (2,500 ft/s) for the KwK 40 L/43. This velocity was available for about one year after the weapon's introduction. Around the same time, the Panzer IVs 7.5 cm KwK 40 L/43 gun and the nearly identical Sturmkanone (StuK) 40 L/43 began to be upgraded with barrels that were 48 calibers long (L/48), which remained the standard for them until the end of the war.
In the field, an alarming number of L/48 cartridge cases carrying the hotter charge failed to be ejected properly from the weapon's semi-automatic breech, even on the first shot (in vehicles). Rather than re-engineer the case, German Ordnance reduced the charge loading until the problem went away. The new charge brought the muzzle velocity down to 750 m/s (2,500 ft/s), about 10 m/s higher than the original L/43 version of the weapon. Considering the average variability in large round velocities from a given gun, this is virtually negligible in effect. The first formal documentation of this decision appears on May 15, 1943 ("7,5cm Sturmkanone 40 Beschreibung") which details a side-by-side comparison of the L/43 and the L/48 weapons. The synopsis provided indicates very little difference in the guns, meaning the upgrade had little if any benefit.
All further official presentations of the KwK 40 L/48 ("Oberkommando des Heeres, Durchschlagsleistungen panzerbrechender Waffen") indicate a muzzle velocity of 750 m/s for the gun. As for the Pak 40, the desire for commonality again appears to have prevailed since the APCBC charge was reduced to 750 m/s, even though case ejection failures were apparently never a problem in the Pak version of the gun.
For unknown reasons some 75 mm APCBC cartridges appear to have been produced with a charge which gave a muzzle velocity of about 770 m/s (2,500 ft/s). The first documented firing by the US of a Pak 40 recorded an average muzzle velocity of 776 m/s for its nine most instrumented firings. Probably because of these results, period intelligence publications ("Handbook on German Military Forces") gave about 770 m/s as the Pak 40 APCBC muzzle velocity. Post war publications corrected this.
German sources differ; the Official Firing Table document for the 75 mm KwK 40, StuK 40, and the Pak 40 dated October, 1943 gives 770 m/s on one of the APCBC tables.
General characteristics[edit | edit source]
- Caliber: 75 mm
- Barrel length: L/46
- Rifling: 32 Grooves, right-hand increasing twist, 1/24 to 1/18.
- Length with the carriage: 6.2 metres (20.3 ft)
- Length: 3.45 metres (11.3 ft)
- Width: 2 metres (6.6 ft)
- Height: 1.25 metres (4.1 ft)
- Weight (combat ready): 1,425 kilograms (3,142 lb)
- Traverse: 65°
- Elevation: -5° to + 22°
- Rate of fire: 14 rounds per minute
- Engagement range: 1,800 metres (5,906 ft)
- Indirect range: 7,678 metres (25,190 ft) m (HE shell)
- Projectile weight: 3.18 kilograms (7.0 lb) to 6.8 kilograms (15.0 lb)
|Round||Muzzle velocity||Penetration of armour|
90 degrees incidence at 500 metres (1,640 ft)
|Armour piercing||792 m/s (2,598 ft/s)||132 millimetres (5.2 in)|
|APCR||933 m/s (3,061 ft/s)||154 millimetres (6.1 in)|
|HE||550 m/s (1,804 ft/s)||n/a|
Survivors[edit | edit source]
Pak 40s are or have been lately held in several military museums, outside museums or free entrance open-air fields
See also[edit | edit source]
- Ordnance QF 17 pounder - similar British gun
- 3 inch Gun M5 - similar US anti-tank gun
- 7.5 cm PaK 97/38 - captured French 75 mm anti-tank gun on German carriage
- 7.5 cm PaK 41 - 75 mm anti-tank gun based on squeeze bore principle
References[edit | edit source]
- Rada, Tibor (2001) (in Hungarian). A Magyar Királyi Honvéd Ludovika Akadémia és a Testvérintézetek Összefoglalt Története (1830-1945). II. Budapest: Gálos Nyomdász Kft. p. 1114. ISBN 963-85764-3-X.
- One document, "Terminal Ballistics" stipulates production of Panzergranate 40 ceased entirely in 1943.
- L/48 tube production began in June 1942 for StuGs, and new production Panzer IV tanks started being equipped with L/48 tubes in late March, 1943
- "First Report of Test of a German 75 mm Pak 40 Antitank Gun and Seventeenth Report on Ordnance Program No. 5772
- Department of the Army Pamphlet No. 30-4-4, "Foreign Military Weapons and Equipment (U) Vol. 1 Artillery (U) dated August of 1955-this document was originally classified
- "Schusstafel für die 7,5cm Kampfwagenkanone 40"
- IWM collection record
- Engelmann, Joachim and Scheibert, Horst. Deutsche Artillerie 1934-1945: Eine Dokumentation in Text, Skizzen und Bildern: Ausrüstung, Gliederung, Ausbildung, Führung, Einsatz. Limburg/Lahn, Germany: C. A. Starke, 1974
- Gander, Terry and Chamberlain, Peter. Weapons of the Third Reich: An Encyclopedic Survey of All Small Arms, Artillery and Special Weapons of the German Land Forces 1939-1945. New York: Doubleday, 1979 ISBN 0-385-15090-3
- Hogg, Ian V. German Artillery of World War Two. 2nd corrected edition. Mechanicsville, PA: Stackpole Books, 1997 ISBN 1-85367-480-X
[edit | edit source]
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to PaK 40.|
- Intelligence report on Pak 40 at Lonesentry.com
- Model Book German 7,5 cm Anti-tank Gun Pak 40
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