Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

PAK 40's intro

Discussion in 'Artillery' started by JBark, Oct 8, 2010.

  1. JBark

    JBark Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2008
    Messages:
    359
    Likes Received:
    21
    A side discussion popped up in the armor section about the introduction of the PAK 40 AT in the German army and its allies. I've seen two books by Osprey that mention late '41 as the intro with more in the field the following year. By 1943 I have read it was the main AT gun for the Wermacht. Another poster has found some conflicting data; anyone have a source on this that can be considered concrete?
     
  2. sniper1946

    sniper1946 Expert

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    Messages:
    12,560
    Likes Received:
    1,017
  3. Spartanroller

    Spartanroller Ace

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2010
    Messages:
    3,620
    Likes Received:
    220
    That site's one of the ones under debate actually Sniper, the main issue is when the gun was actually in service. Many sources say November 1941, many say February 1942, and production numbers vary widely.

    Incidentally is there a way to move the posts in the T-34 thread or should we maybe just copy and paste the info?
     
  4. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2002
    Messages:
    13,478
    Likes Received:
    1,385
    Location:
    London, England.
    Ian V Hogg's book, 'German Artillery Of World War Two' ( A&AP, 1975) has the first PAK 40s being issued in November 1941.
     
  5. Spartanroller

    Spartanroller Ace

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2010
    Messages:
    3,620
    Likes Received:
    220
    From the T-34 thread (modified);

    Apparently 'Waffen und Geheimwaffen des deutschen Heeres 1933-1945', by Fritz Hahn also agrees with the wwiiequipment.com figures for 1941, which while claiming Hogg as a source seem to contradict him;

    From this forum;

    http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtop...55979&start=15

    "One can accumulate the following figures for Pak 40 in 1941: Gun production none, ammunition production none, guns lost on the Eastern Front none, ammunition consumption in the East none"

    "It is quite possible that pre-production Pak 40s were used in field trials in 1941. According to Waffen-Revue No.79 the Heer received first guns in February 1942: 15 Pak 40s (3 of which on wheeled carriage), further 10 were delivered in March 1942 (all on wheeled carriage). However the Heer inventory on 1.4.1942 included 44 Pak 40s; 19 more than deliveries of production Pak 40s by that date. Thus it seems that at least 19 pre-production guns remained in Army inventory."

    "Waffen-Revue No.79 notes that the statement that the first Pak 40 deliveries to the troops were in 1941 stems from a British report that was used as a source by post-war German authors. However according to Überblick über den Rüstungszustand beim Heer the first Pak 40 deliveries were made in February 1942 (only three of which on a wheeled carriage). Although the stats are known not to be quite consistent it is notable that on 1.12.1941, 1.1.1942 and 1.2.1942 the Heer arsenal included zero Pak 40. Thus it seems that a Pak 40 delivery to a sideshow theatre of war in 1941 is highly unlikely and that Milintel reports are not always the most reliable source especially if they conflict with primary ones."
     
    sniper1946 and Martin Bull like this.
  6. sniper1946

    sniper1946 Expert

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    Messages:
    12,560
    Likes Received:
    1,017
    thanks nigel..I deleted that link..:)
     
  7. Spartanroller

    Spartanroller Ace

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2010
    Messages:
    3,620
    Likes Received:
    220
    Not sure it's wrong yet - I tend to think it's closer to the truth than the 1941 claims - I have a feeling that a lot of the claims about 1941 issue PAK 40s might be due to French, Polish and similar 75mm guns being used in the AT role from late '41, IIRC some of these were classified as PAK 40/.......? and PAK41/....? and the PaK 97/38, and because of the calibre I think accounts of them in action may have been misinterpreted.
     
  8. JBark

    JBark Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2008
    Messages:
    359
    Likes Received:
    21


    I would doubt this simply because of the performance of the PAK 40. Remember this gun had started design/developement in '39, being in the field by late '41 is no large feat.
     
  9. Spartanroller

    Spartanroller Ace

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2010
    Messages:
    3,620
    Likes Received:
    220
    Don't disagree with you at all - although the Brit 6 pounder was a longer length of time into service - the issue isn't whether it could have happened, which i believe it could, it's when it actually did happen, which seems to be variably recorded in several good sources.

    The better performance of the PaK 40 over any foreign stopgaps is not in question, but against early T34s those 75mm stopgaps certainly were better than the PaK36 and equivalents and the Czech 47mms on the PzJgr 1s. whether or not they were better than the PaK38 with the ammunition in service at the time is probably very debatable, I don't have figures, but for sure it wouldn't have been a big perfomance gap either way. My point there was that their use as 75mm guns or issue or ammo figures may have been misinterpreted as PaK 40s in accounts by historians who didn't understand the variety of weapons employed.

    I was hoping there'd be more enlightening input to this thread, but i guess it's early yet :)
     
  10. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2008
    Messages:
    3,223
    Likes Received:
    451
    Doyle and Jentz put start of KwK 40 development by Krupp/Rheinmetall for the Pz IV at November 1941 based on the Rheinmetall 75cm Pak 44 L46 that later became the Pak 40. So it looks like the Pak 40 designation was not yet official at the time, it may be listed in use under the Pak 44 L46 designation. The late StuG and Pz IV did not carry the Pak 40 but a modified gun with a shorter and wider firing chamber and shorter recoil, anyone who has seen a Pak 40 round close tho a Pz IV turret will understand why the redesign was necessary. The first long Pz IV were delivered in March 1942 though I have no dates for field use, it would be surprising if the redesigned gun and modified tank made it before the original one !!.
    The "long" gun for the Stug is also reported by the same authors as 7.5cm Kannone 44 L/43 rather than Stu. K. 40 L43 as it was later known so confirming the "44" is not a typo. I wonder what the non weeled guns were, early Marder on either Pz II or Pz 38(t) chassis ?.
     
  11. Spartanroller

    Spartanroller Ace

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2010
    Messages:
    3,620
    Likes Received:
    220
    thanks TOS - do they have any figures as to actual in-service dates? - if the Pz IV got the gun before the field carriage then that would put a Nov 1941 date for that less likely?
     
  12. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2008
    Messages:
    3,223
    Likes Received:
    451
    In North Africa I believe long Pz IV were at Gazala but enough ammo had not arrived so were kept in reserve. Doyle and Jentz report an earlier use at the begginning of the counteroffensive in May but it clashes with Allied reports.
    LSAH ad Grossdeutchlandhad some in "early 42" in the USSR, at the beginning of case Blau in late June 1942 there were 135 Pz IV lang spread out in the AGS divisions.
    I don't remember any photos of Pak 40 in DAK usage before El Alamein though there were plenty of ex soviet 76mm both on field and Marder chassis.
    The development of the Pak 40 was at least 5 months ahead of the equivalent tank guns so I would expect a similar difference in field deployment but I have no "hard data", the Germans were still replacing the Pak 36 with the Pak 38 in 1941 so they may have delayed the Pak 40.
     
  13. Spartanroller

    Spartanroller Ace

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2010
    Messages:
    3,620
    Likes Received:
    220
    That's about the way I read it too - I'm pretty sure Stug III F and Pz Iv F2s were both at Gazala, although as you say the Pz IVs weren't used much if at all.

    Incidentally I read recently that at Gazala the Grants didn't actually have any AP for the 75s, just HE, and they had to actually capture some German 75 AP ammo and essentially stick it in their own shell cases in a field workshop to have some AP bigger than the 37mm. I think it was Alam Halfa before they had it working. It supposedly didn't work well in the first 75 gun, but was almost copied for the longer, higher velocity second model gun and then was useful.

    The point in relation to this thread is that if it was true, where did that German 75 AP ammo come from? was it a StuG F? perhaps, but an AT gun is more likely.

    Irrespective of any of that, both battles were well after the latest dates for PaK 40 introduction that we currently have. End of 1941 is the key period and sources/opinions are divided.

    And LSAH and GD having PaK 40 before Blau would have been expected even with the later intro dates.
    :)
     
  14. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2008
    Messages:
    3,223
    Likes Received:
    451
    IIRC the first Stug, long or short, that reached North Africa were in Tunisia, Rommel didn't have a Stug batallion and Stugs were not allocated to Panzer divisions before Guderian got control of them as they were artillery.
    The short 75/L24 had AP ammo but your story sounds strange, the French at Bir Hakeim had AP for their 75/1897 and IIRC the M2 of the Grant is more or less the same gun and could shoot the same 75x350R ammo !!

    Back to original thtread, I strogly doubt the Pak 40 was the most common A/T gun in 1943, mid 1944 is more likey. 1943 would relegate the Pak 38 to a very short window between late 1941, most units started Barbarossa with the Pak 36, and late 1942.

    Axis history relayes
    7.5 cm PAK 40 (Development started in 1939, entered service in late 1941, basically a scaled up PAK 38, remained as standard AT gun until the end of war)
    wonder what their sources are
    But this source shows no Pak 40 production in 1941
    Production Stats on German Tube-fired Weapons 1939-1945
    but both are secondary if not worse, we need some German docs here and I don't read German :(
     
  15. Spartanroller

    Spartanroller Ace

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2010
    Messages:
    3,620
    Likes Received:
    220
    Yes got that, but the M2 was a low velocity gun and as such wasn't issued with AP, so they had to make do and apparently was with german ammo - but until i can find the story again it is just that - will look again tomorrow. maybe was L24 AP ammo?

    as far as the StuGs go, i've got info that shorts were at gazala and alamein;

    Sturmgeschütze vor!

    but as you say longs only in tunisia.
     
  16. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2008
    Messages:
    3,223
    Likes Received:
    451
    The M2 was a gun not a howitzer and very closely related to the French M1897.
    Calling it "low velocity" is true only if compared with the L70 of the Panther. It did a respectable 588 m/s, the very similar German Pak 97/38 (both were modified M1897 and fired 75x350R) did 570 m/s with German AT ammo, the original French gun did 500 m/s with HE.
    The "tank destroyers" on M3 chassis used the M1897 gun and it obviously had AP ammo.
    From Wiki
    The 75 mm GMC M3 was an M3 Halftrack with an M1897A4 75 mm gun mounted in the rear of the halftrack. The gun had an indirect fire range of 9,200 yards (8,400 meters),[3] and fired the AP M72 (Armor Piercing) shell that could penetrate 3.2 inches of armor at 500 yards, the APC M61 (Armor Piercing Capped) shell that could penetrate 2.8 inches of armor at 500 yards, and the HE M48 (High Explosive) shell for use against infantry and other non-armored targets. The GMC M3 carried 59 rounds of 75 mm ammunition onboard.[4] The crewmen were equipped with a rifle and four carbines for self defense.

    Thanks for the Sv288 Stugs, but 3 vehicles are not going to have a big ammo supply and if they made it to El Alamein if was unlikely to have been captured in time for the Alam Halfa battles, the similar Pz IV short ammo is a better bet.
     
    sniper1946 likes this.
  17. Spartanroller

    Spartanroller Ace

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2010
    Messages:
    3,620
    Likes Received:
    220
    Found it finally: :)

    Armorama :: Building the Academy M3 Grant by Alan McNeilly

    "The arrival of the Grant didn’t swing the balance but it helped even it out a bit as for the first time they had a weapon in the 75mm that could match the German firepower. Strangely when it first arrived it had no AP rounds, and the tanks was therefore still reliant on the 37mm weapon for anti tank action, but the addition of the 75mm gave great indirect fire support to the infantry attacks.

    For me the Grant represents that period of transition when armoured development and thinking started to move up a gear and the slow and painful reality of the ‘enemy’ strength in armour was finally getting through to those at the top. Without doubt it had many failings, but it proved a useful weapon and after the British captured a large stock of German AP rounds and converted them to fit the Grant’s 75mm it could pack a serious punch."

    Not sure if the article stands up to scrutiny as he doesn't quote any sources, but maybe there's some truth behind the story.

    Also found this;

    http://208.84.116.223/forums/index.php?showtopic=28277&st=20

    "Not so sure this gives the whole picture. There was a thread quite a while back about Grant tanks, and one of the interesting facts that came out was that the British were disatisfied with the performance of the anti-tank rounds for the Grant. To solve this they set up an ammunition manufacturing operation using converting and substituting ex-French 75mm ammo which worked very well. The dumps for this ammo were overun following Gazala so the battles of Alam el Halfa and Alamein were fought with the original US ammo."

    and reply;

    "The anti-tank ammunition that you refer to was actually converted from German 75mm APCBC ammo. The Brits had substantial stocks of this explosive-loaded ammunition (from the L/24 7.5cm gun of the Pz IV) captured during the relief of Tobruk in late 1941. The resulting 75mm AP-Composite ammunition was apparently very effective against Pz III and Pz IV targets, as Mobius notes. The penetration was on par with the new U.S. M61 75mm APCBC ammunition, which, apparently, was not available for use by the time of the Gazala battles."


    This site seems to have the whole story and some references;

    http://afrikaaxisallied.blogspot.com/2010/03/sherman-introduction-in-desert.html

    but let's not get too far off topic :)

    TOS your production stats site looks like it was sourced from Hogg - maybe someone has a copy and can confirm where he got his info?
     
  18. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Messages:
    1,599
    Likes Received:
    230
    I am pretty sure Pz. IV ausf. F2 didn't play a major role in Gazala if at all. I recall von Melethin said in Panzer Battles that the Mark IV Special arrived in North Africa during the Gazala operations but in tiny numbers without ammunition. Yes, we are off topic. My problem with a super-early fielding time line like in Dec 41 is, if there were PaK 40s in service at the time, why weren't they mentioned in German sources? One would have expect that the effect of such a new and important weapon would be noted. But they weren't... Puzzled.
     
  19. JBark

    JBark Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2008
    Messages:
    359
    Likes Received:
    21
    My problem with a super-early fielding time line like in Dec 41 is, if there were PaK 40s in service at the time, why weren't they mentioned in German sources? One would have expect that the effect of such a new and important weapon would be noted. But they weren't... Puzzled.[/QUOTE]

    I would have two questions for you on the above. First, what sources do you have that don't mention the PAK 40? Second, when do you see mention of its introduction?
     
  20. Spartanroller

    Spartanroller Ace

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2010
    Messages:
    3,620
    Likes Received:
    220
    What about the EK citations - they would have mentioned the gun type I believe - perhaps someone has an example of the earliest EK to go to a PaK 40 crewman? Not necessarily conclusive evidence depending on the date, but those are well documented.

    Anyone have those convenient?
     

Share This Page