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Anti-tank gun - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Anti-tank gun
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Anti-tank guns (towed or self-propelled) are cannons or guns


designed to destroy enemy armored vehicles[1] normally from
defensive positions. In order to penetrate vehicle armor they fire antitank ammunition[2] from longer-barreled guns to achieve higher
muzzle velocity than field artillery weapons, e.g. howitzers. The higher
velocity, flatter trajectory ballistics provide terminal kinetic energy to
penetrate the moving/static target's armor at a given range and
contact's angle. Any field artillery cannon with barrel length 15 to 25
times longer than its caliber was able also to fire anti-tank ammunition,
such as the Soviet A-19.

Bofors 37 mm anti-tank gun as used


by several nations

Contents
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World War II
Self-propelled anti-tank guns
See also
References

World War II
Prior to World War II few anti-tank guns had (or needed) calibers larger than 50 mm. Examples of guns in this
class include the German 37 mm, US 37 mm (the largest gun able to be towed by the jeep), French 25 mm and
47 mm guns, British QF 2-pounder (40 mm), Italian 47 mm and Soviet 45 mm. All of these light weapons could
penetrate the thin armor found on most pre-war and early war tanks.
At the start of World War II many of these weapons were still being
used operationally, along with a newer generation of light guns that
closely resembled their WWI counterparts. After Soviet T-34 and
KV tanks were encountered these guns were recognized as
ineffective against sloped armor, with the German lightweight 37 mm
gun quickly nicknamed the "tank door knocker" (German:
Panzeranklopfgert), for revealing its presence without penetrating
the armor.
Germany quickly introduced more powerful anti-tank guns, some
which had been in the early stages of development prior to the war.
By late 1942 the Germans had an excellent 50-mm high-velocity
design, while they faced the QF 6-pounder introduced in the North African Campaign by the British Army, and
later adopted by the US Army. By 1943 Wehrmacht was forced to adopt still larger calibers on the Eastern
Front, the 75 mm and the famous 88 mm guns. The Red Army used a variety of 45 mm, 57 mm, and 100 mm
guns, as well as deploying general-purpose 76.2 mm and 122-mm guns in the anti-tank role. For the Invasion of
Normandy the British QF 17 pounder, whose design had begun before the 6 pounder entered service, was
produced that proved to be a highly effective anti-tank gun also used as a tank and tank destroyer gun.
German PaK 38 50-mm anti-tank gun

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Anti-tank gun - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Self-propelled anti-tank guns


As towed anti-tank cannon guns grew in size and weight, they
became less mobile and more cumbersome to maneuver, and
required ever larger gun crews, who often had to wrestle the gun into
position while under heavy artillery and/or tank fire. As the war
progressed, this disadvantage often resulted in the loss or destruction
of both the antitank gun and its trained crew. This gave impetus to the
development of the self-propelled, lightly armored "tank destroyer"
(TD). The tank destroyer was usually based on the hull of existing
tank designs, using either a gun integrated into the hull or a fully
rotating turret much like that of a conventional tank. These selfpropelled (SP) AT guns were first employed as infantry support
weapons in place of towed antitank guns. Later, due to a shortage of
tanks, TDs sometimes replaced the former in offensive armored
operations.

A British Archer tank destroyer,


based on the hull of a Valentine tank

Early German-designed tank destroyers, such as the Marder I, employed existing light French or Czech design
tank chassis, installing an AT gun as part of an armored, turret-less superstructure. This method to reduced both
weight and conversion costs. The Soviet Union later adopted this style of self-propelled anti-tank gun or tank
destroyer. This type of tank destroyer had the advantage of a reduced silhouette, allowing the crew to more
frequently fire from defilade ambush positions. Such designs were easier and faster to manufacture and offered
good crew protection, though the lack of a turret limited the gun's traverse to a few degrees. This meant that if
the TD became immobilized due to engine failure or track damage, it could not rotate its gun to counter
opposing tanks, making it an easy target. This vulnerability was later exploited by opposing tank forces. Late in
the war, it was not unusual to find even the largest and most powerful tank destroyer abandoned on the field
after a battle, having been immobilized by a single high-explosive shell to the track or front drive sprocket.
US Army pre-war infantry support doctrines emphasized the use of tank destroyers with open-top fully rotating
turrets, featuring less armor than the standard M4 Sherman tanks, but with more powerful cannon. A 76 mm
long-barrel tank cannon was fitted to the M10 and M18 designs. Late in 1944, the M36 appeared, equipped
with a 90 mm cannon. With rotating turrets and good combat maneuverability, American TD designs generally
worked well, although their light armor was no match for enemy tank cannon fire during one on one
confrontations. Another disadvantage proved to be the open, unprotected turret, and casualties from artillery fire
soon led to the introduction of folding armor turret covers. Near the war's end, a change in official doctrine
caused both the self-propelled tank destroyer and the towed antitank gun to fall from favor in U.S. service,
increasingly replaced by conventional tanks or infantry level antitank weapons. Despite this change, the M36
tank destroyer continued in service, and was used in combat as late as the Korean War.

See also
Anti-tank grenade
Anti-tank warfare
List of anti-tank guns
Tank gun

Wikimedia Commons has


media related to Anti-tank
guns.

References
Notes
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Anti-tank gun - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1. OXFORD Advanced Lerner`s DICTIONARY opf


Current English, NEW EDITION, Cornelsen &
OXFORD, A S Hornby, 5th edition, page 42.
2. MILITRISCHES STUDIENGLOSAR
ENGLISCH Teil II/ Teil III, Deutsch Englisch,
Abkrzung Begriff, Bundessprachenamt (Stand
Januar 2001), page. 283, anti-tank ammunition.

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Categories: Anti-tank guns Anti-tank weapons
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