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Question about the shell size of the 88mm

Discussion in 'Armor and Armored Fighting Vehicles' started by worldwar2, May 9, 2008.

  1. worldwar2

    worldwar2 recruit

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    Hi, i play a worldwar 2 game online and its a cool game, the thing is i was telling the people online that the tiger 88mm shell looks so much biger than the 75mm shell sherman and 76mm of the sherman firefly shell and they said its not much biger. So i was wondering if any of you came across a picture of a 88mm tiger shell vs a 76mm shell. I live in the us but i beleave i should give credit to where it should belong. So a picture from the net would be great, i cant find any of the one i want with both shell next to eachother. THX guys love ww2 stuff
     
  2. Canberra Man

    Canberra Man Member

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    Hi.
    If you equate mm to inches, it gives a better indication of size.

    75mm = 3 inches
    88mm = 3.5 inches
    But that extra 1/2" give much heavier weight.

    Ken
     
  3. Panzer4000

    Panzer4000 New Member

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    It's a game!!! They might not have them porportioned right but, just as the name says an 88mm shell is 88mm
     
  4. Walter_Sobchak

    Walter_Sobchak Member

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    The 88mm shell for the tiger is much bigger than the 75mm or 76mm shells used in the M4 sherman. Check out the graphic. The Tiger I shell is the one labeled 88x571R. The 75mm shell for the Sherman is labeled 75x350r and the 76mm shell is labeld 76x420r.

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. Otto

    Otto No More Half Measures Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Thanks for posting that Walter_Sobchak. It's odd, that image you posted is one I edited for a member here a few years back. He had taken the two photos separately, one of German shells, and one of the US shells, but the images of the rounds were about the same size, so there was no good comparison. I took the two, measured the size, scaled it exactly pixel by pixel and we got the image above. You can see the font on the right side if smaller due to my re-sizing. Nice to see it again after all this time.
     
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  6. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member Patron  

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    It is the capacity of the case that is so different, even some German 75's, such as the Panther's main gun had much more powder capacity. Powder itself makes a big difference with varied rates of burn and length od barrel allows more of the propellant to burn, They you have various projectiles that vary greatly in their ability to penetrate, sub-caliber munitions being encased in a discarding sabot allow the propellant to "push a bigger base" which falls away allowing a smaller diameter
    "core" to hit the target at a higher velocity, Discarding sabots predate WW2 by a considerable time but the science vastly improved during that war. Tungsten cores were used in WW2 but tungsten was often hard to come by in Germany. It is still used in many current tank munitions and several munitions have depleted uranium cores, a most dense material, In such cases, WW2 and now, the core punches a clean hole though the armor using the armor itself as scrapnel inside the fighting compartment

    Even in WW2 tank munitions grew increasingly sophisticated on both sides and simply subtracting 75 mm's from 88 does not begin to address the effectiveness , diameter, weight, mass, velocity construction all affect performance. The standard Sherman and the Panther both had 75mm guns but the Panther was vastly superior in the tank killing role. The US 76 was greatly better than the 65, bigger case, longer barrel, and the 77 Firefly better by a bit than the 76.....all virtually the same diameter.

    By the way some authorities state the 75mm Panther had the best armor penetration of the war, even beating the 88. I will try and dig up the source. And the Tiger 11 had a larger case than the Tiger 1 plus longer barrel,

    My apologies , I need to give specific model numbers and sources but work calls , all this is from my old memory

    Gaines

    PS, One of the arguments the US Ordnance Department used to keep the 75 in most Sherman's was it's better high explosive. As any handloader knows it is possible to reduce velocity, fit a similar HE projective all within an identical case. I imagine most US tankers would have liked to have had the 76. I am aware that many thought that tanks should not fight tanks, etc, the barrel was longer and the brake caused more dust but still...................
     
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  7. Walter_Sobchak

    Walter_Sobchak Member

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    From what I remember, the 75mm x 70 gun on the Panther and the 88mm x56 gun on the Tiger 1 had very similar penetrating power. Due to its higher velocity, the 75 actually had slightly better penetration out to 800 yards or so, but beyond that the Tiger's 88 was better, as the lighter 75mm projectile lost velocity more quickly over distance. Of course, the 88mm x71 gun on the Tiger 2 had significantly more penetrating power than either the Panther or Tiger 1 guns.
     
  8. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member Patron  

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    Thanks Walther, that makes perfect sense. I wonder if their is a ballistic coefficient chart on WW2 tank projectiles. I can see the 88X56 carrying it's weight/ velocity better. Interesting that case proportions of that era reflect powder chemistry of the day and resemble WW2 rifle cartridges. Currently 120-125MM smoothbore cases are wider relative to length resembling the latest rifle cartridge designs....Control burn of powder is much more precise . The Germans were and still are excellent chemist !

    Perhaps you will know this, I vaguely remember reading about a 50mm tapered bore gun mounted on Mark 111's on the Russian front to increase velocity. Cannot imagine the precise engineering and wondered if the projectile had a sabot or softer outer layer. Bore wear would likely be a problem and I also wonder what velocity was achieved. I believe it was not in use long.

    Gaines
     
  9. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    The Germans had a family of taperedbore (gerlich priciple) guns (i think softer outher layers as sabot will not work well in a tapered bore design, a 28/20mm and a 75/55mm were actually issued in some numbers but the tungsten consuming ammo brought about their abandonment, not so sure abot the 40/29 . The 75/55 was experimentally mounted both on Pz III and Pz IV. Muzzle velocity was highest on the smallest one at 1400 m/s

    If you google "gerlich guns" you will find tonns of info.

    Otto was that member Tony Williams by any chance? I remember the pic from his site, from the look of his current collection he can do better than just scale two pictures now!.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member Patron  

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    Thanks, TOS, I will do that. If the core was tungsten could a steel barrel actually squeeze the core ? That is what got me thinking that It would have to have some more malleable layer but in truth all speculation on my ill informed part!......I will go and Google !!!

    Here is a super link to the OP's post.

    http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk/tankammo2.htm

    Gaines
     
  11. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member Patron  

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    LOL, In reading my own post I see the Gerlich squeezebore as well as two British 2 pounders also sqeezebores!! in the greatly expanded pictures,

    Gaines
     
  12. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member Patron  

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    It appears compression would only occur in the extended ridges, greatly reducing friction in all the WW2 designs. The evolution of armor and armor piercing projectiles would keep one busy researching for years.
     
  13. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    Gentlemen,

    When making war, "size isn't everything".

    Before we have some of form of size envy over the monstrous 88mm shell and cartridge, please note the 57x441 R (6pdr APDFS) and 76x583R (17 pdr APDS) rounds. These are smaller than the 88mm but can penetrate a lot of German tank for their size and weight. Each can over match the Tiger's frontal, side and turret armour at NW Europe engagement ranges. These turned the 6 Pdr and 17 Pdr Anti tank guns, the Sherman firefly and Comet tanks into Tiger killers. Tony doesn't seem to have any images of the 6 Pdr or 17 Pdr APBC ammunition which had a bit less penetration, but was more accurate and would kill anything other than a Tiger.

    I don't think the Germans cottoned on to the lethality of the British 17 Pdr until long after the Normandy campaign. The German in house training publication for panzer troops for August 1944 reminded Tiger crews that they are not invulnerable as the 90mm and 93mm AA guns can knock them out. 17 Pdr guns weren't on that list.

    Big shells and cartridges take up space in a the limited space in a tank and are heavy to handle, manufacture and transport.

    These APDS rounds are the ancestors of the modern tank ammunition.

    In this case natural selection resulted in the evolution of the cleverest, rather than the biggest!
     
  14. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Don't forget that these same rounds (on both sides) were used as infantry support with HE shells - against personnel, buildings, etc - both from tanks and various towed guns. In that case, size does count. The volume of explosive contained within a shell increases exponentially rather than mathematically as the diameter increases. An HE round from an 88 creates a much larger explosion than one from a 75.

    Tanks are dual purpose weapons, used to support troops as well as fight other tanks.
     
  15. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    To a certain extent you are correct. Any tank with a big enough gun (75mm +) could fire an HE round that could shower an anti tank gun crew with lethal splinters and force dug in troops to cower in their trenches. An 88mm shell has more explosive than a 75mm shell, but its a moot point whether those on the receiving end appreciate the difference. For what it is worth allied soldiers claimed that any high velocity shell fired at them was from an 88. But statistically that cannot have been so, as the vast majority of German tank and anti tank guns were 75mm.

    Even with tanks and SP guns with ordnance over 75mm there is a difference between those optimised for killing tanks with AP natures and those optimised for firing HE against infantry and other soft targets. WW2 guns optimised for killing tanks with kinetic energy rounds ;such as the German 88, the US 76mm and the British 17 Pdr have a very high muzzle velocity, which is necessary to deliver the energy at the target to penetrate armour. However there is a cost. Any HE shell needs to be built of thick enough steel to resist the stresses of firing and the barrel will wear badly. It does not matter if the barrel of an anti tank gun wears out after, say, 100 rounds as any anti tank, or tank gun which has survived 100 duels with the enemy has more than justified its manufacture. It does when firing HE as 100 rounds could easily be fired in a single day. The lethal bit of an HE round is from the explosive in the shell The gun is merely a means of putting the shell in the right place. The gun does not need to fire at maximum MV (indeed there are all sorts of problems with using high velocity flat trajectory guns to fire HE. (In ww2 the Mortar was possible the ideal means of delivering HE). The 75mm Sherman gun was a good gun for firing HE. The HE round for the 76mm and 17 Pdr wasn't as effective.

    The Germans AFVBs optimised to fire HE were the Stug 105mm and Pz IV Sturmpanzer 43 or Sd.Kfz. 166 with the Tiger equivalent Sturmmörserwagen 606/4 mit 38 cm RW 61.

    PS. A gunner pedant writes: The ordnance is the gun, the round is the ammunition. The same ordnance i.e. gun can fire different ammunition natures, i.e. rounds of shot, shell, shrapnel or canister. The same rounds cannot be of different natures, if its is the same round it has to be HE, AP etc. .
     
  16. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Partially.

    But, putting the shell in the right place also has to do with the shell/round/ammunition too.

    For instance, the APDS rounds that are being discussed were not terribly accurate at anything but close range, by 450 yards the 17-pounder APDS rounds had dropped to about 56% chance of hitting, by 600 yards that chance had shrunk to 34%, at 800 yards it was just 22%, and at 1,000 yards it was a mere 15%. The same 17-pounder firing APC at respective ranges was 90%/73%/57%/45%. This would not be much of a problem in the bocage, but in open "tank country" it could be somewhat of a problem.

    Also, IIRC, the Germans had experimented with APDS for most of their "big" guns, however. they were unable to develop a round fit for combat. Although, I have heard it said that they did successfully develop a 105mm round that was just entering service as the war ended.
     
  17. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member Patron  

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    There is an account of a 6 pounder, 57mm, firing , I believe, APDFS, knocking out a Tiger in "Tigers in Normandy" by Wolfgang Schneider. Schneider's account supports Sheldrake as to whom killed what with what, Interesting reading.
     
  18. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    Interesting statistics. What is the source of these figures?
     
  19. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member Patron  

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    Sheldrake, a question for you. You noted and I have read in many places that the Sherman 75 ( lower velocity) HE round was more effective than the 76 0r 77. My question is why? I imagine the projectile is at fault but do not understand why this could not be solved. Velocity , within reason , can be adjusted by propellant choice , why could not the HE projectile be the same for all these ? Is it a case, no pun intended, of designing a new round and just not getting it right before going into production in the rush of war? Being English please excuse the run on sentences, I type with one finger as I think and of course am a colonist descendent !!

    As a corollary, did the various German 75's, PAK's, Mark 4 and 6 panzers, fire HE effective rounds? If so how did they do it?

    This thread having started out as a war game inquiry, nothing wrong with that, has turned into a very interesting thread. It transcends just size and discusses total effectiveness. Your input as well as Walter's, TOS',KB's, and Takao's is appreciated .

    The accuracy comments are interesting as well. Were any tank main guns or anti-tank guns inherently more or less accurate to a notable degree ? It my youth I handloaded and shoot at long ranges so this is an upscaled train of thought.

    Gaines
     
  20. Walter_Sobchak

    Walter_Sobchak Member

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    That's a good question regarding the HE shells on the US 75 and 76 mm guns. I don't know for sure, but I would guess that part of the reason that the 75mm gun had a better HE shell is that it was derived from the old french 75mm field gun, so at it's core, it's an artillery piece, optimized for HE ammo. The 76mm was developed as an anti-aircraft gun (3inch) and was later adopted for tank use. It's design put more of a premium on muzzle velocity rather than HE payload. If you look at the picture I posted earlier in the thread, the shape of the two shells is totally different, the 75mm has a much longer projectile in relation to the propellent casing than the 76mm.
     

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