An Anti-tank gun is a form of artillery designed to destroy tanks and other armored fighting vehicles, normally from a static defensive position.The development of specialized anti-tank munitions and anti-tank guns was prompted by the appearance of tanks during World War I. To destroy hostile tanks, artillerymen often used field guns depressed to fire directly at their targets. However, this practice expended too much valuable ammunition and was of increasingly limited effectiveness as tank armor became thicker. The first dedicated anti-tank artillery began appearing in the 1920s and by World War II was a common appearance in many European armies. In order to penetrate armor they fired specialized ammunition from longer barrels to achieve a higher muzzle velocity than field guns. Most anti-tank guns were developed in the 1930s as improvements in tanks were noted, and nearly every major arms manufacturer produced one type or another.
Artillery is a class of heavy military ranged weapons built to launch munitions far beyond the range and power of infantry's small arms. Early artillery development focused on the ability to breach defensive walls and fortifications during sieges, and led to heavy, fairly immobile siege engines. As technology improved, lighter, more mobile field artillery cannons developed for battlefield use. This development continues today; modern self-propelled artillery vehicles are highly mobile weapons of great versatility providing the large share of an army's total firepower.
A tank is an armoured fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat. Tanks have heavy firepower, strong armour, and good battlefield manoeuvrability provided by tracks and a powerful engine; usually their main armament is mounted in a turret. They are a mainstay of modern 20th and 21st century ground forces and a key part of combined arms combat.
World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the resulting 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.
Anti-tank guns deployed during World War II were often manned by specialist infantrymen rather than artillery crews, and issued to light infantry units accordingly.The anti-tank guns of the 1930s were of small caliber; nearly all major armies possessing them used 37mm ammunition, except for the British Army, which had developed the 40mm Ordnance QF 2-pounder. As World War II progressed, the appearance of heavier tanks rendered these weapons obsolete and anti-tank guns likewise began firing larger and more effective armor-piercing shot. The development of the compact hollow charge projectile permanently altered anti-tank warfare, since this type of ammunition did not depend on a high muzzle velocity and could be fired from low-recoil, man-portable light weapons, such as the Panzerfaust and the American series of recoilless rifles.
The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of British Armed Forces. As of 2018, the British Army comprises just over 81,500 trained regular (full-time) personnel and just over 27,000 trained reserve (part-time) personnel.
The Ordnance QF 2-pounder, or simply "2 pounder gun", was a 40 mm (1.575 in) British anti-tank and vehicle-mounted gun, employed in the Second World War.
The Panzerfaust is an inexpensive, single shot, recoilless German anti-tank weapon of World War II. It consists of a small, disposable pre-loaded launch tube firing a high-explosive anti-tank warhead, and was intended to be operated by a single soldier. The Panzerfaust's direct ancestor was the similar, smaller-warhead Faustpatrone ordnance device. The Panzerfaust was in use from 1943 until the end of the war. The weapon's concepts played an important part in the development of the later Russian RPG weapon systems such as the RPG-2. Most notably, the RPG-7 added a sustainer rocket motor to the grenade.
Although a number of large caliber guns were developed during the war that were capable of knocking out the most heavily armored tanks, they proved expensive and difficult to conceal.The later generation of low-recoil anti-tank weapons, which allowed projectiles the size of an artillery shell to be fired from a man's shoulder, was considered a far more viable option for arming infantrymen. Recoilless rifles replaced most conventional anti-tank guns in the postwar period; nevertheless, the development of new anti-tank guns exhibiting similar low-recoil performances continued until the late 1950s in France, Belgium, and the Soviet Union. A few Soviet designs saw combat well into the 1980s. The People's Republic of China was still producing large caliber anti-tank guns as late as 1988.
The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a Marxist-Leninist sovereign state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralised. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Tashkent, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres (6,200 mi) east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres (4,500 mi) north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.
The first specialized anti-tank weaponry consisted of anti-tank rifles. These emerged from the mixed results of deploying field artillery against tanks during World War I, and the need to produce a more economical weapon to destroy them. cm TAK 1918 was designed and built for the Imperial German Army in 1918. The 3.7 cm Pak 36 which first appeared in 1928 was probably the first purpose built anti-tank gun. Weighing some 160 kg, the Pak 36 could inflict a catastrophic kill on a tank rather than merely penetrating its armor plate. Towed guns similar to the Pak 36 were the only anti-tank weapon issued to European armies during the 1930s, and a number of influential designs proliferated, such as the Böhler gun. By the late 1930s, anti-tank guns had been manufactured by companies in Germany, Austria, France, Czechoslovakia, Belgium, Great Britain, Denmark and Sweden. A few countries, such as the Soviet Union, also manufactured foreign designs under license.Most anti-tank rifles were over 1.3m in length, however, and difficult for infantrymen to operate in the confines of their trenches. They could penetrate a tank's armor at long range, but without explosive firepower, often failed to cause catastrophic damage, kill or even seriously injure the crew, or disable the tank. A number of infantry support guns designed to defeat hard targets such as fortified machine gun emplacements were used as makeshift anti-tank weapons, including the French Canon d'Infanterie de 37 modèle 1916 TRP. The 3.7 cm Tankabwehrkanone 1918 im starrer Räder–lafette was probably the first dedicated anti-tank gun in service. However, its gun barrel was based on an earlier Hotchkiss 5- barrelled rotary-cannon. The 3.7
Field artillery is a category of mobile artillery used to support armies in the field. These weapons are specialized for mobility, tactical proficiency, short range, long range, and extremely long range target engagement.
Infantry support guns or battalion guns are artillery weapons designed and used to increase firepower of infantry units they are intrinsic to; offering immediate tactical response to the needs of the unit's commanding officer. The designs are typically with short low velocity barrels, and light construction carriages allowing them to be more easily manoeuvred on the battlefield. They are generally used for direct fire missions, as opposed to indirect fire like other artillery units. Their role has generally been replaced by tanks using tank guns, infantry fighting vehicles using autocannons, other combat vehicles, mortars, recoilless rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and shoulder-launched missiles.
The Canon d'Infanterie de 37 modèle 1916 TRP was a French infantry support gun, first used during World War I. TRP stands for tir rapide, Puteaux. The tactical purpose of this gun was the destruction of machine gun nests. It was also used on aircraft such as the Beardmore W.B.V and the Salmson-Moineau. Fighter ace René Fonck used a 37mm mle.1916 on a SPAD S.XII.
At the outbreak of World War II, most armies were fielding light anti-tank guns firing 3.7 cm (37mm) ammunition. The guns were usually mounted on two-wheeled carriages so they could be towed into position, then withdrawn and repositioned rapidly. Since they weighed only a few hundred pounds on average, they could also be manhandled into position. All fired high-explosive and solid armor-piercing shot effective at relatively medium range, and an increasing number were manufactured with protective gun shields in addition to a split rail mounting. They were able to destroy tanks fielded by both sides during the first two years of the war, but soon proved impotent against the heavier tank armor that debuted in 1940. Introducing improved ammunition and increasing muzzle velocity initially helped compensate for their mediocre performance, but it was clear that small caliber anti-tank guns would soon be overtaken by yet more heavily armored tanks. Medium caliber guns in the 40mm to 50mm range began to appear, some of which simply utilised rebored 37mm barrels. Although they too were soon approaching obsolescence, most remained in use with infantry units until the end of the war. Anti-tank guns remained ineffective against sloped armor, as demonstrated by an incident in 1941 when a single Soviet T-34 tank was hit more than 30 times by a battalion-sized contingent of German 37mm and 50mm anti-tank guns. The tank survived intact and was driven back to its own lines a few hours later. This helped earn the Pak 36 the moniker of Panzeranklopfgerät ("tank door knocker") because its crew simply revealed their presence and wasted their shells without damaging the T-34's armor. Anti-tank gunners began aiming at tank tracks, or vulnerable margins on the turret ring and gun mantlet, rather than testing their lighter cannon against bow and turret armor. These difficulties resulted in new types of ammunition being issued, namely high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) and armor-piercing discarding sabot (APDS) projectiles.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 70 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
An armor-piercing shell, AP for short, is a type of ammunition designed to penetrate armor. From the 1860s to 1950s, a major application of armor-piercing projectiles was to defeat the thick armor carried on many warships. From the 1920s onwards, armor-piercing weapons were required for anti-tank missions. AP rounds smaller than 20 mm are typically known as "armor-piercing ammunition", and are intended for lightly-armored targets such as body armor, bulletproof glass and light armored vehicles. The classic AP shell is now seldom used in naval warfare, as modern warships have little or no armor protection, and newer technologies have displaced the classic AP design in the anti-tank role.
A gun shield is a flat piece of armor designed to be mounted on a crew-served weapon such as a machine gun or artillery piece, or, more rarely, to be used with an assault rifle.
Towards the end of World War II, armor plating became still thicker, with tanks such as the Tiger II being fitted with armor over 100mm in thickness, as compared to the 15mm more typical in 1939.This prompted the development of a third generation of anti-tank guns, large caliber pieces in the 57mm to 100mm range. The British Army adopted the Ordnance QF 6-pounder and Ordnance QF 17-pounder, which were then considered great advances in firepower, and the Wehrmacht fielded the even larger 7.5 cm Pak 41 and 8.8 cm Pak 43. The early 37mm anti-tank guns were easily concealed and moved; these large caliber weapons required equally large vehicles to tow them into place and were difficult to conceal, dig in, withdraw, or reposition. By 1945, large anti-tank guns had become almost impractical in their role, and their size and weight was considered a liability. They were also expensive to produce. Many were issued, at least initially, on the divisional level but gradually made their way to individual infantry battalions.
The Tiger II is a German heavy tank of the Second World War. The final official German designation was Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. B, often shortened to Tiger B. The ordnance inventory designation was Sd.Kfz. 182. It is also known under the informal name Königstiger, often translated literally as Royal Tiger, or somewhat incorrectly as King Tiger by Allied soldiers, especially by American forces.
The Ordnance Quick-Firing 6-pounder 7 cwt, or just 6-pounder, was a British 57 mm gun, serving as a primary anti-tank gun of the British Army during World War II, as well as the main armament for a number of armoured fighting vehicles.
The Ordnance Quick-Firing 17-pounder was a 76.2 mm (3 inch) gun developed by the United Kingdom during World War II. It was used as an anti-tank gun on its own carriage, as well as equipping a number of British tanks. Used with the APDS shot, it was capable of defeating all but the thickest armour on German tanks. It was used to 'up-gun' some foreign-built vehicles in British service, notably to produce the Sherman Firefly variant of the US M4 Sherman tank, giving British tank units the ability to hold their own against their German counterparts. In the anti-tank role, it was replaced after the war by the 120 mm BAT recoilless rifle. As a tank gun, it was succeeded by the 84 mm 20 pounder.
Meanwhile, the effect of very compact hollow charge warheads was being noted and a number of countries began producing man-portable anti-tank weapons utilizing this ammunition.The development of man-portable, shoulder-fired anti-tank rocket launchers began in 1941; most could be reloaded, but a few such as the German Panzerfaust were fired from disposable tubes. Unlike anti-tank guns, their light weight made them easily portable by individual infantrymen on the battlefield, and they offered similar degrees of firepower whilst being quicker and cheaper to produce.
Towed anti-tank guns disappeared from most Western countries, such as the United States, after World War II, to be replaced by shoulder-fired rocket launchers, recoilless rifles, and eventually, guided anti-tank missiles.
At the end of the war, German engineers had proposed a new large caliber anti-tank gun that used less propellant than a rocket or recoilless weapon, yet fired similar compact hollow charge shells. mm anti-tank gun. Because of its low recoil forces and light construction, the gun was particularly useful for being mounted on armored cars or small gun carriages. Its design inspired the lightly rifled French DEFA D921 anti-tank gun, which fired fin-stabilized shells and was available on a towed carriage or as a vehicle mount. It was later mated to the AML-90 and EBR series of French armored cars. The Soviet Union also adopted a similar design at around the same time, the 100 mm T-12 anti-tank gun, which was smoothbore and fired fin-stabilized shells. Switzerland developed a postwar 90 mm anti-tank gun of its own, the Pak 50/57, firing shells with an even lower velocity than the Mecar or DEFA guns. Apart from the T-12, which utilized APDS rounds, these weapons could only use HEAT shells for armor-piercing purposes. France did introduce an APFSDS shell for the DEFA D921 at some point in the 1980s. The last country known to have produced a dedicated anti-tank gun was the People's Republic of China, in 1988. The Chinese gun was known as the Norinco Type 86 and was probably manufactured as a replacement for the ageing Soviet-sourced T-12.German forces subsequently fielded the 8 cm PAW 600, which was an extremely lightweight, low pressure weapon still able to fire the same ammunition types as higher velocity anti-tank guns. In the 1950s, this idea was revived by a Belgian firm, Mecar, which subsequently improved on the concept and developed a low pressure, smoothbore 90
Anti-tank guns continued to be used in a number of conflicts around the world, such as the Six-Day Warand the South African Border War. Soviet anti-tank guns in particular were exported to at least eighteen other countries after being retired from service and have continued to see action.
Although still being drawn by horses or towed by trucks, towed anti-tank guns were initially much lighter and more portable than field guns, making them well-suited to infantry maneuvers.However, as their size and caliber increased, the guns likewise became increasingly heavy and cumbersome, restricting their role to static defense. In consequence, during World War II, both sides were compelled to make anti-tank guns self-propelled, which greatly increased their mobility.
The first self-propelled anti-tank guns were merely belated attempts to make use of obsolete tanks, such as the Panzerjäger I, which was a 4.7 cm Pak (t) mated to a Panzerkampfwagen I chassis.The trend continued with older tanks, which were available in large numbers for conversions to self-propelled guns when they were replaced by heavier and better-armed tanks. Although just a makeshift solution, these initial experiments proved so successful they spawned an entire class of new vehicles: dedicated tank destroyers.
Tank destroyers offered some advantages over towed anti-tank guns, since a static gun emplacement sacrificed concealment and surprise after firing the first shot; however, the same gun mounted on a tracked or wheeled chassis could open fire and throw a tank formation into substantial disarray before quickly withdrawing to repeat the same tactic elsewhere.The introduction of tank destroyers also put an end to the traditional tactic of suppressing anti-tank gun batteries with heavy artillery bombardments, as their crews were now well-protected under armor. They were not without their own series of disadvantages, however, namely presenting a much larger target than a towed gun, the added responsibilities of vehicle maintenance and logistical support, and the limited spaces in which the crew had to operate and stow all their available ammunition.
By the end of the war, dedicated tank destroyers had been superseded by tanks, which were just as effective at destroying other tanks, and there was little incentive to continue their separate development.Nevertheless, much like towed anti-tank guns, they were widely exported and were still in service with several armies in the late twentieth century.
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A recoilless rifle, recoilless launcher or recoilless gun, sometimes abbreviated "RR" or "RCL" is a type of lightweight artillery system or man-portable launcher that is designed to eject some form of countermass such as propellant gas from the rear of the weapon at the moment of firing, creating forward thrust that counteracts most of the weapon's recoil. This allows for the elimination of much of the heavy and bulky recoil-counteracting equipment of a conventional cannon as well as a thinner-walled barrel, and thus the launch of a relatively large projectile from a platform that would not be capable of handling the weight or recoil of a conventional gun of the same size. Technically, only devices that use spin-stabilized projectiles fired from a rifled barrel are recoilless rifles, while smoothbore variants are recoilless guns. This distinction is often lost, and both are often called recoilless rifles.
Anti-tank warfare originated from the need to develop technology and tactics to destroy tanks during World War I (1914-1918). Since the Triple Entente developed the first tanks in 1916 but did not deploy them in battle until 1917, the German Empire developed the first anti-tank weapons. The first developed anti-tank weapon was a scaled-up bolt-action rifle, the Mauser 1918 T-Gewehr, that fired a 13mm cartridge with a solid bullet that could penetrate the thin armor of tanks of the time and destroy the engine or ricochet inside, killing occupants. Because tanks represent an enemy's greatest force projection on land, military strategists have incorporated anti-tank warfare into the doctrine of nearly every combat service since. The most predominant anti-tank weapons at the start of World War II in 1939 included the tank-mounted gun, anti-tank guns and anti-tank grenades used by the infantry, as well as ground-attack aircraft.
The French 75 mm field gun was a quick-firing field artillery piece adopted in March 1898. Its official French designation was: Matériel de 75mm Mle 1897. It was commonly known as the French 75, simply the 75 and Soixante-Quinze. The French 75 was designed as an anti-personnel weapon system for delivering large volumes of time-fused shrapnel shells on enemy troops advancing in the open. After 1915 and the onset of trench warfare, other types of battlefield missions demanding impact-detonated high-explosive shells prevailed. By 1918 the 75s became the main agents of delivery for toxic gas shells. The 75s also became widely used as truck mounted anti-aircraft artillery. They were also the main armament of the Saint-Chamond tank in 1918.
The 8.8 cm Flak 18/36/37/41 is a German 88 mm anti-aircraft and anti-tank artillery, developed in the 1930s. It was widely used by Germany throughout World War II, and was one of the most recognized German weapons of that conflict. Development of the original model led to a wide variety of guns.
The Marder II was a German tank destroyer of World War II based on the Panzer II chassis. There were two versions, the first mounted a modified Soviet 7.62 cm gun firing German ammunition, while the other mounted the German 7.5 cm Pak 40 gun. Its high profile and thin open-topped armor provided minimal protection to the crew. Nevertheless, the Marder II provided a great increase in firepower over contemporary German tanks during 1942 and into 1943. Only four Marder IIs remain today.
A tank gun is the main armament of a tank. Modern tank guns are large-caliber high-velocity guns, capable of firing kinetic energy penetrators, high explosive anti-tank rounds, and in some cases guided missiles. Anti-aircraft guns can also be mounted to tanks.
The 90–mm Gun M1/M2/M3 is an American heavy anti-aircraft and anti-tank gun, playing a role similar to the German 8.8cm Flak 18. It had a 3.5 in (90 mm) diameter bore, and a 15 ft (4.6 m) barrel, giving it a 50 caliber length. It was capable of firing a 3.5 in × 23.6 in shell 62,474 ft (19,042 m) horizontally, or a maximum altitude of 43,500 ft (13,300 m), the M1 can pierce 9 inches (228.6mm) of armor at 1,000 yards with APFSDS ammunition.
The 7.5 cm Pak 40 was a German 75 millimetre anti-tank gun developed in 1939–1941 by Rheinmetall and used during the Second World War. With 23,303 examples produced, the Pak 40 formed the backbone of German anti-tank guns for the later part of World War II, mostly in towed form, but also on a number of tank destroyers such as the Marder series.
The Cannone da 47/32 mod. 1935 was an Italian artillery piece that saw service during World War II. It was originally designed by Austrian firm Böhler, and produced in Italy under license. The Cannone da 47/32 was used both as an infantry gun and an anti-tank gun; it was effective against lightly armored tanks.
The Pak 36 is a 3.7 cm caliber German anti-tank gun used during the Second World War. It was the main anti-tank weapon of Wehrmacht Panzerjäger units until 1942. Developed by Rheinmetall in 1933, it was first issued to the German Army in 1936, with 9,120 being available by the beginning of the war in September 1939 and a further 5,339 produced during the war. As the predominant anti-tank gun design in the world during the late 1930s, demand was high for the Pak 36, with another 6,000 examples produced for export and the design being copied by the Soviet Union as the 45 mm anti-tank gun M1932 (19-K) and by other nations such as Japan.
The M-42 was a 45-mm Soviet light semi-automatic anti-tank gun. Its full official name is 45-mm anti-tank gun model 1942 (M-42). These guns were used from 1942 until the end of World War II.
The 45 mm anti-tank gun model 1937, nicknamed the Sorokapyatka, was a light quick-firing anti-tank gun used in the first stage of the German-Soviet War. It was created by Soviet artillery designer M.N. Loginov of Plant No. 8 after the arrest and execution of former designer V. von Behring. Due to insufficient armor penetration it was replaced in service by the longer-barreled M-42 in 1942. Production of the gun ceased in 1943, with a total of 37,354 units built from 1937 to 1943.
37 mm anti-tank gun model 1930 (1-K) was a Soviet light anti-tank gun used in the first stage of the German-Soviet War.
7.5 cm Pak 39 (L/48)(7.5 cm Panzerjägerkanone 39) was a 7.5 cm German Second World War era anti-tank gun. The gun was used to equip Jagdpanzer IV/48 and Jagdpanzer 38(t) "Hetzer" tank destroyers; no towed version of the weapon was made. The Pak 39 was an electrically fired weapon fitted with a semi-automatic breech mechanism and a 48 caliber long barrel. It was a formidable gun, able to destroy the most common allied tanks at up to 1,000 meters. It used the same 75 x 495R ammunition as the 7.5 cm KwK 40 of Panzer IV and 7.5 cm StuK 40 gun fitted on the Sturmgeschütz assault guns. The Pak 39 was manufactured from 1943 onwards by Rheinmetall-Borsig AG in Unterlüß and by Seitz-Werke GmbH in Bad Kreuznach. The main types of ammunition used were: Panzergranatpatrone 39 (APCBC), Sprenggranatpatrone 37 (HE) and different versions of the Granatpatrone 39 HL (HEAT).
The Pak 97/38 was a German anti-tank gun used by the Wehrmacht in World War II. The gun was a combination of the barrel from the French Canon de 75 modèle 1897 fitted with a Swiss Solothurn muzzle brake and mounted on the carriage of the German 5 cm Pak 38 and could fire captured French and Polish ammunition.
The PAW 600 was a lightweight anti-tank gun that used the high-low pressure system to fire hollow charge warheads. In 1945, it was used operationally by the Wehrmacht in small numbers. Only about 250 were produced before the war's end.
The 10 cm PAW 1000 - later re-designated 10H64 - was a lightweight anti-tank gun that utilized a high-low pressure system to fire hollow charge warheads.
The High-Low system, also referred to as the "High-Low Pressure system", the "High-Low Propulsion System", and the "High-Low projection system", is a design of cannon and antitank launcher using a smaller high-pressure chamber for storing the propellant. It enables a much larger projectile to be launched without the heavy equipment typically required for large caliber weapons. When the propellant is ignited, the higher pressure gases are bled out through vents at reduced pressure to a much larger low pressure chamber to push the projectile forward. With the High-Low System a weapon can be designed with reduced or negligible recoil. The High-Low System also allows the weight of the weapon and its ammunition to be significantly reduced. Manufacturing cost and production time are drastically lower than for standard cannon or other small-arm weapon systems firing a projectile of the same size and weight. It has a far more efficient use of the propellant, unlike earlier recoilless weapons, where most of the propellant is expended to the rear of the weapon to counter the recoil of the projectile being fired.
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