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

The US 57mm M1 Anti-Tank Gun

Discussion in 'Artillery' started by redcoat, Oct 19, 2009.

  1. CometFan

    CometFan Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    3
    Very intersting discussion indeed.
    I have always thought that the 6-pounder was an excellent (although late) replacement for the 2-pounder in British service.
    It was very valuable in defence especially in the desert but even in Europe 1944, but less suited for the 'Blitz-krieg' like tactics of the allies in France.
    Maybe thats why the Americans preferred the much more mobile and hard-hitting Tank Destroyers like M-10 ?
    I can recommed the book: 'Breaking the panzers (The bloody battle for Rauary normandy 1 July 1944)'.
    The 6-pounder had a big role in this battle and the book describes in great detail how they were handled.
    It is based on interviews with the British soldiers tha participated in this battle and gives a very intense and trustworthy account of a hectic battle
    For instance it tells about how the crews had been issued wih 'Sabot' (APDS) ammunition without proper instructions or training.
    As a result of this a lot of targets were missed because the guns sights were adjusted incorrectly.
    The flatter trajectory required the 'no range setting' at typical battle ranges of 400-500 yards, but crews kept setting the range scales as they were used to (page 126-127).
    Talking about missed oppertunities !
    But in spite of this the 6-pounders managed to knock-out quite a lot of German AFV's in this battle, in one action one gun took out 5 AFV's.
    A lot of information about the British 6-pounder can be found on this link 6 Pounder Anti-Tank Gun
    Note how the production of both tank and towed 6-pounders fell from 1943 to 1944. The gun was clearly getting obsolecent.
     
  2. Greg Canellis

    Greg Canellis Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2009
    Messages:
    402
    Likes Received:
    25
    The 83d Infantry Division fought at St Malo. Looks like they could possibly be firing at the Citadel, but that's just my guess.

    Greg C.
     
  3. STURMTRUPPEN

    STURMTRUPPEN Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2008
    Messages:
    611
    Likes Received:
    4
    how much damage could a 57mm inflict
     
  4. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    Messages:
    7,392
    Likes Received:
    715
    Recall somewhere the 57mm in US service was very loud, perhaps going deaf might be a cause for troops not to like it?
     
  5. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2007
    Messages:
    1,051
    Likes Received:
    81
    The penetration vs armor was mentioned earlier in the thread so I'll leave that on aside. Against point targets, like a MG in a bunker or masonry building it can be usefull if the drew is properly led and trained for that sort of use. If they are not trained for using the gun that way forget about it. Both the Germans and Soviet infantry regiments had a variety of light guns for direct fire attacks and regularly used them that way. When you are hitting within a meter of a MG crew caliber of the weapon is not so important. What matters is getting the gun into position undetected and nailing the target in one shot.
     
  6. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2007
    Messages:
    1,051
    Likes Received:
    81
    The US soldiers were comparing the 57mm against the 3" AT gun, which was just entering production in late 1942 for use on the M10 TD and the towed AT gun carriage ordered in late 1942. Both those weapons were intended for the independant TD battalions, but the AT crew of the infantry regiments compared their guns to be big ones and wondered why they should not have them as well.
     
  7. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2003
    Messages:
    5,945
    Likes Received:
    760
    Location:
    Phoenix Arizona
    One reason the 3" towed didn't go to infantry formations was its relative immobility. Even with a 12 man crew and a halftrack prime mover the gun was a beast to emplace and displace. Man handling it or prolonging it into position was not going to happen with any ease.
    This would have meant adding more men into infantry regiment antitank companies and replacing the 1 1/2 ton truck tows with M2 halftracks or 2 1/2 ton trucks to move the gun.
    The best thing the US probably could have done is simply copy the German 75/46 Pak 40 and gave that to the infantry.
     
  8. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2002
    Messages:
    13,478
    Likes Received:
    1,385
    Location:
    London, England.
    I've just been reding an account of Corporal Henry F Warner's posthumous MoH action serving a 57mm A/T gun at Dom Butgenbach in the Ardennes and was struck by the similarities to Lance Sergeant Baskeyfield's also posthumous VC action with a 6-pr A/T at Arnhem.

    It may be considered a 'pea-shooter' in some quarters but some very courageous actions took place using this weapon.

    [​IMG]
     
    4th wilts likes this.
  9. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Messages:
    1,599
    Likes Received:
    230
    Just finished Zaloga's book on US anti-tank guns.

    The Americans found self-propelled tank destroyers or real tanks far more effective than anti-tank guns. The post-war evaluations suggest R&D in AT guns to be abolished, and all future anti-armor capabilities were to be provided by tanks.

    I don't think US 57mm compared poorly to the Soviet 45mm or the German 50mm regimental anti-tank guns. The 3-in. was clumsy but not much worse than PAK 75. I think United States was fighting a rich man's war, and their perspective was shaped by what could have been accomplished, instead of viewing the merits of what they had on their own ground.
     
  10. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2011
    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    36
    I allways thought that the larger anti-tanks guns went to the motorized and armoured units, please see below.

    British
    infantry 6 pdr
    armoured 17 pdr
    German
    infantry Pak 38
    armoured Pak 40
    usa
    infantry 57mm
    armoured 76mm
    Russian
    infantry 45mm
    armoured 76mm

    I could be wrong (I usually am) like some one said earlier in the thread, infantry units did not have the transport and crews to man a big gun.
     
  11. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2003
    Messages:
    5,945
    Likes Received:
    760
    Location:
    Phoenix Arizona
    In British units the 6 pdr was most often towed by a Carden Lloyd "dragon" carrier. This is a bigger version of the Universal carrier. It hauled the gun and crew. In some cases a 3 cwt 4 x 4 truck was used but this is less frequent as the war progresses.
    The 17pdr is in divisional anti-tank regiments and had a Quad or larger 3 ton truck pulling it with the crew and ammuniton.

    The Germans used whatever went to that division. They tried whenever possible to provide some sort of motorized vehicle to pull the gun in every unit. The prefered tow vehicle is the Sdkfz 10 tractor but these became progressively more rare.

    The US provided 57mm guns with a 1 1/2 ton 6x6 truck in non-armored units and a M2 halftrack in armored infantry battalions. The 76mm was only in Tank Destroyer battalions and was universally towed by an M2 halftrack.

    The Russian 45mm was small enough to manhandle by its 6 man crew. Otherwise, it was towed by a horse team or by a smaller motor vehicle as available. The 76mm is a divisional artillery piece that doubles as an antitank gun. The 8 man crew could pull it using a harness arrangement short distances otherwise it got a horse tow team or a motor vehicle.
     
  12. MastahCheef117

    MastahCheef117 Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2009
    Messages:
    380
    Likes Received:
    17
    I think the reason the US troops disliked the M1 to such a degree during the 44-45 campaign in Europe was simply because it didn't have the stopping power to put down Tigers, King Tigers, Panthers etc. unless at extreme close range or firing against the AFV's side or rear. The good thing I think though is that it was far more mobile in comparison to the heavier AT guns such as the 76mm, which despite have much better stopping power against heavier vehicles was very heavy and difficult to set up and pack (as I believe Gardner said before). I think the same goes for other nation's AT guns that were similar to the 57, like the Russian infantry 45mm gun and the Pak 35/36.
     
  13. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2011
    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    36
    Did the Americans fully develope a 90mm anti-tank gun ?. I heard that the had plans to, if they did manage to get this rather large piece to the troops was in used much in ww2 or maby Korea.
     
  14. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2003
    Messages:
    5,945
    Likes Received:
    760
    Location:
    Phoenix Arizona
    Yes, the US did develop both the 75mm (3") antitank gun and a several experimental 90mm guns as shown below:
     

    Attached Files:

  15. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2011
    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    36
    I seen a nice shot in a book the other T.A. of a 76mm M.5 ATG defending a road in a Belgian town during the Battle of the Bulge, looks alot like your colour photo above.
     
  16. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2003
    Messages:
    5,945
    Likes Received:
    760
    Location:
    Phoenix Arizona
    The color photo is the T7 90mm ATG. It remained an experimental weapon and was not used operationally. The middle drawing is of the T17 version with the integral shield - trail mount and improved T15E2 90mm gun. The third is an experimental variant of the 76mm M1 gun on a new mount. It never saw service as the 3" towed ATG was on the verge of being declared "substitute standard" in any case (that is it was going to be withdrawn from service).

    The US Army by late 1944 had decided that towed ATG's were not worth the trouble and was phasing them out in favor of self-propelled ones.
     
  17. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2011
    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    36
    Sorry T.A. your right, I better start wearing my glasses.
     
  18. Jadgermeister

    Jadgermeister Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2010
    Messages:
    94
    Likes Received:
    3
    "ONLY" a 1.3:1 kill ratio??!!!! That would probably be the highest of any anti tank weapon on the Allied side! Im sure anyone in their right mind would trade a single dead 57mm for the six dead Shermans that inevitably were a product of fighting the average German tank.
     
  19. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2011
    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    36
    I have this info on the three 57mm Anti-Tank Guns I know off,

    57mm ZiS-2 M.41/43

    Design: Grabin
    Type: Medium Anti-Tank Gun
    Year: 1941
    Amount: 10.016
    Calibre: 57mm L/72.9
    Weight: 1.250 kg
    Elevation: -5
    ° to +25°
    Traverse: 56
    °
    Shell Weight: 2.80 kg (AP) 3.683 kg (HE)
    Muzzle Velocity: 1000 m/s
    Rate of Fire: 25 r.p.m.
    Armour Penetration: 85mm @ 500m @ 30
    °
    Maximum Range: 8.400m
    Crew: 4
    Traction: Horse Drawn (six horses) & Motorised

    Ordnance QF 6 pdr

    Design: Woolwich
    Type: Medium Anti-Tank Gun
    Year: 1942
    Amount: 50.600 + 1.387 (Airborne)
    Calibre: 57mm L/43 (Mk II & III) L/50 (MK IV & V)
    Weight: 1.140 kg
    Elevation: -5
    ° to +15°
    Traverse: 90
    °
    Shell Weight: 2.86 kg (AP) 3 kg (HE)
    Muzzle Velocity: 846 m/s (L/43) 884 (L/50)
    Rate of Fire: 20 r.p.m.
    Armour Penetration: 81mm @ 500m @ 30
    °
    Maximum Range: 4.600m
    Crew: 6
    Traction: Universal or Carden Lloyd Carrier

    57mm M1 Anti-Tank Gun

    Design: ?
    Type: Medium Anti-Tank Gun
    Year: 1942
    Amount: 16.637
    Calibre: 57mm L/50
    Weight: 1.140 kg
    Elevation: -5
    ° to +15°
    Traverse: 90
    °
    Shell Weight: 2.7 kg (AP) 2.7 kg (HE) 2.83 (Canister)
    Muzzle Velocity: 825 m/s
    Rate of Fire: 8 r.p.m.
    Armour Penetration: 78mm @ 500m @ 30
    °
    Maximum Range: 9.140m
    Crew: 6
    Traction: Dodge 4 x 4 Truck


    Looking at the stats now I see that the British 6 pdr and the U.S. 57mm have different stats, I thought it was virtually the same gun, I will have to go back to the drawing board.

    Regards Yan.
     
  20. dr deuce

    dr deuce recruit

    Joined:
    May 24, 2011
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    A couple items about the US 57mm AT gun. I have one

    According to my USA manual, it weighs 2995 lbs.
    That is a lot for the Dodge 1.5 tonner 6x6 with the flat head to tow. They were very under powered to begin with.

    When you spread the trails, they drop off of a couple of blocks welded on top of the axle. The design did not include a bevel or lead in on the blocks. If you try to get the trails closed, you have to have them perfect to get them to go over the blocks and close the trails.

    I have been searching for pictures of the hitch assy. Mine had the hitch cut off and I had to have one fabbed from the stub I had left. I am sure I over did it to make absolutely sure that the spades could never hit the ground while being towed by my 1943 GMC .deuce
     

Share This Page