Why the Germans fired on the tanks of the red Army of the Soviet guns

Weapons 15/01/20 Why the Germans fired on the tanks of the red Army of the Soviet guns

When the leaders of Germany were planning war with the Soviet Union, it was believed that the red Army has about 10,000 tanks. As you know, they were wrong in the two and a half times, but when he realized it was too late. And it was not so much in quantity as in quality of the Soviet tank Park. Besides the already well known to the Germans models of Soviet tanks, they had to deal with the new T-34 and KV. And if with previous types of tanks of the red army, the German antitank weapons were successful, the new machine has created serious problems.

As you can see from the book “the German Armed forces. 1939-1945 G.” (by K. Shishkin), in 1940 in the face of French and British tanks, the German command began upgrading its anti-tank artillery 37 mm guns 3.7 cm Pak on a more powerful 50 mm gun — the 5 cm Pak 38. However, the 50-mm guns were still little, not re-finished. In this case, 5 cm Pak 38 vs T-34 tanks were ineffective, and against HF is practically useless. As can be seen from reference A. Ivanov “Ivanov A. Artillery of Germany in the Second World war”, its armor penetration at ranges of 500 m was 60 mm. it was Necessary to start production of an even more powerful weapon. This gun, 7.5 cm Pak 40, the Germans already had a decision on its Express run was made. However, mass production was delayed, and the guns had to be right now.

French and Polish trophies

at the beginning of the campaign in the Soviet Union depots of the Wehrmacht was already littered with numerous trophies, including a variety of artillery pieces. Among them were anti-tank guns, and the Germans actively used, but the best 47-mm French and Czech guns are not superior to the German 5 cm Pak 38, and there were many of them.

there were a lot of French 75-mm field guns, Canon de 75 mle 1897. How many of them were precisely known, the Germans did not even consider unnecessary. In service with the Polish army consisted of 1,200 of these guns in service with French — more than 4,500. In the Wehrmacht these guns were used in coast defense, and then only in small quantities.

a Revolutionary of the late nineteenth century 75-mm French gun, of course, is little suited for combating tanks 40 years, but the German engineering has found a solution. The swinging part of the French guns (something valuable) decided to install on the carriage a 50-mm gun 5 cm Pak 38. The result was a quite powerful 75-mm gun on it is a modern and easy carriage.

of Course, it was not so simple. Installed a muzzle brake, otherwise the gun just turned over, lengthened the cradle, put a new scope and modified trigger mechanism. Developed and launched new ammunition. Moreover, due to the small initial velocity of the projectile, for anti-tank had no armor-piercing and cumulative shells.

the resulting hybrid, named 7.5 cm Pak 97/38 was not a masterpiece, but was very handy. In the summer of 1942 these guns began to arrive in the troops.

interestingly, in the States of connections of the Wehrmacht no 75-mm guns in them in 1942 was not quite. However, it is the gun 7.5 cm Pak 97/38 become the main means of combating the Soviet tanks to German infantry. New anti-tank gun 7.5 cm Pak 40 was received primarily in the armored and motorized divisions, and even there they are not enough. And the infantry would be left with an almost useless 37mm guns and weak 50-mm, if not the Franco-German hybrid. New guns, capable of destroying not only the T-34, but the KV was a very unpleasant surprise for the Soviet tank crews, especially in the battle of Rzhev.

In 1942, released 2854 gun 7.5 cm Pak 97/38, in 1943 — the still 858 units. For the sample produced 160 guns 7.5 cm Pak 97/40, which took the carriage from the 75-mm antitank guns, but these guns have not had the advantages of lightness, what was Pak 97/38. And the issue of improved German guns were already established, so that needs improvisation with trophies is no longer there.

the Soviet Trophies

At the beginning of the great Patriotic war the Wehrmacht had captured more than one thousand Soviet 76-mm guns of different models. In the Wehrmacht they are not particularly valued. System service with the German army does not provide for the use of light field guns.

the Need to combat Soviet heavy tanks forced to look at the trophies from a different angle. Moreover, the red Army field guns were actively used as antitank weapon.

Soviet 76-mm gun mod. 1936 for anti-tank, very few came, and in the red army for this role is not used. However, she had an important advantage. Though used in the standard gun shots from a gun mod. 1902/30, but it was originally designed for more powerful ammunition. Gun had a large margin of safety, which does it was not used and only created extra weight.

the Germans wasted the charging chamber under the sleeve of larger size, reduced the angle of elevation from 75 to 18, suffered arm pointing to one side of the trunk, installed the muzzle brake, changed the shield. Under the gun has developed a new ammunition. A new tool is already very different from the original sample, and not only in performance but also in appearance. Called gun 7.62 cm Pak 36.

Not stopping there, the Germans decided similarly to remake another trophy: 76-mm gun model 1939, and they got it. To produce these guns were even easier, since the original elevation was less and shield the Germans were not altered. But armor penetration was lower because of the shorter barrel.

the Gun has received the name 7.62 cm Pak 39, but it was not all easy. Remake was the only weapon of issue, 1940, which still preserved elements of the gun mod. 1936. Guns later editions were built in a more economical version, and the right margin had not.

Only the Germans have altered in the years 1942-44 nearly fifteen hundred guns, how many of them were Pak 39 is not precisely known, it is believed that about 300. With 894 guns from this number, went to the production of self-propelled anti-tank units. The vast majority of issue had in 1942 and the first half of 1943.

Gun 7.62 cm Pak 36 could penetrate 100 mm of armor at ranges of nearly a kilometer of armor-piercing projectile (sabot even more), allowing you to successfully deal with heavy Soviet and British tanks until the end of the war.

of Course, there were cannons and disadvantages in the first place, a large mass and dimensions. But the biggest drawback was a small amount. The Germans themselves had not produced, and the trophies were a bit. However, in the spring of 1945 the Wehrmacht still had 165 guns 7.62 cm Pak 36.

Cyril Shishkin

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