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ANTITANK RIFLES

 
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jackehammond



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 330
Location: Indiana, USA

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 10:22 am    Post subject: ANTITANK RIFLES Reply with quote

Folks,

When the first British tanks appeared in 1916 the German's started looking for a solution other than small field guns. One of the weapons they developed to counter tanks was the world's first antitank rifle the Tank Gewehr Model 1918 which was nothing more than an oversized Mauser 98 without the magazine and chambered to fire the 13mm AP round. The T-GEW did not have a muzzle brake and the recoil required a very large person to crew the weapon and even then there were some dislocated shoulders. But it was effective against the world's first tanks.

After WW1 antitank rifles were forgotten and instead most armies relied on semi-auto cannons in the 20mm to 23mm caliber and then later, dedicated antitank cannons in the 25mm to 47mm caliber (note: The US Army believed its .50 caliber heavy machine gun was all that was required to combat tanks at the infantry level). But shortly before the start of WW2 the antitank rifle concept was reborn with the German's fielding and antitank rifle that fired a extremely powerful 7.92mm round and Poland an antitank rifle that fired an even more powerful 7.92 round. The British developed an antitank rifle called the BOYSthat fired a .55 caliber round. The BOYS was fielded in large numbers by both the British and French Army's before the 1940 invasion of France (ie the British in turn bought a number of the French 25mm antitank cannon). By this time almost all the major armies in Europe had tanks which were immune to antitank rifles. The BOYS though gave good service against Japanese tanks in the Asian theater and some were even given to US Marine's airborne regiment that had been raised. Also, by 1942 various armies had developed manportable antitank weapons using HEAT warhead like the US "Bazooka" and the British "PIAT" that had far better penetration than antitank rifles, but were far lighter than antitank rifles.


Jack E. Hammond

Below is WW1 German T-GEW 13mm world's first AT rifle



Below is two pages from a 1942 US publication "Popular Science" on the British BOYS antitank rifle and how it operates. It also explains in detail the one big technological advantage that the WW2 antitank rifles had over their WW1 German ancestor: the muzzle brake. No more busted shoulders!








Only the Russian stuck with the antitank rilfe firing a powerful 14.5mm round. And they produced them in large numbers. The first was the single shot bolt action PTRD41 introduced in 1941. While the PTRD41 looks like a very simple design it is in fact ingenius in how it combines both a muzzle brake and long recoil. The other antitank rifle developed by the Russians was the PTRS41. Unlike PTRD41 the PTRS41 was semi-automatic and had a magazine. And while the PTRS41 should have been the superior weapon, the less complex PTRD41 was considered the better of the two. Below is a collection of both the PTRD41 and the PTRS41.

Below: Russian antiarmor teams with both the PTRD41 and the PTRS41





Below: Photos of Russian antiarmor teams (gunner and loader) with the single
shot PTRD41









Below is a photo of a loader reloading the PTRS41





Below: Photos of the semi-automatic PTRS41 and the various 14.5mm rounds
fired by both the PTRD41 and PTRS41 antitank rifles









Last edited by jackehammond on Thu Aug 16, 2007 5:28 pm; edited 1 time in total
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jackehammond



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 330
Location: Indiana, USA

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 10:42 am    Post subject: WW2 Japan's Model 97 Antitank Cannon Reply with quote

Folks,

Some nations decided to stick with manportable cannons for the infantry antitank role. One of the most complex and advance was the Japanese Model 97 20mm antitank cannon. This semi automatic, box magazine weapon was extremely effective against the few light tanks the Chinese had and in the first 6 months of the war was equally effective (due to the close range of the engagements in the jungle) against the M-3 Stuart tank Bren Gun Carrier used by both the British Army and US Army and the few light armored vehicles the Dutch had in the DEI. The Model 97 was operated by just two men (a gunner and loader) but it required four men to move it due to it's heavy weight. And by the last half of 1942 the Allies had introduced medium tanks like the Grant and Sherman which the Model 97 was totally ineffective against. But it still soldier on as a anti-landing craft weapon in beach side bunkers.

Jack E. Hammond

Below - Two pages from a WW2 US Army manual on Japanese weapons giving full details on the Model 97







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jackehammond



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 330
Location: Indiana, USA

PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Folks,

Without a doubt the largest and heaviest "antitank rifle" was the WW2 24mm Swiss Tb.41 (Tankbusche 41) a semi-auto weapon that fired a powerful 24X128mm round. It was more a light towed antitank rifle. But the Swiss Army said it was an "antitank rifle" so it is listed. Below are two photos and one video by re-enactors with the Tb.41.

Jack E. Hammond

Swiss Tb.41 (Tankbusche 41) towed by bicycle


Swiss Tb.41 (Tankbusche 41) firing position without box magazine inserted



Video of TB.41
Swiss TB.41 Antitank Rifle video



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Costas



Joined: 06 Oct 2005
Posts: 389
Location: Thessaloniki, GREECE

PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 5:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Jack,
Excellent post as always. But what about the 20mm Solothurn S.18/100 and S.18/1000 20mm AT guns? The latter was considered by the US Army as a replacement for the 50cal as an infantry AT weapon prior to the introduction of the 37mm gun.

Also, there is the Finnish Lathi L-39 20mm AT weapon.

http://www.inert-ord.net/atrkts/50-55-20/index.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rV170xEEgw&NR=1
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jackehammond



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 330
Location: Indiana, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 8:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Costas,

Thanks for the link. I post the information as I come across it and have the time. I was hoping that some of the thousands of people that view the postings would add their own. But with a few exceptions like RUS77 and you they don't. And I mean they view these messages in the thousands, but we need their input.

Finally, what kind of antitank weapons did Greece have in 1940 when Italy and Germany invaded. Did they have any antitank rifles or antitank cannons, or relied on small artillery like pack howitzers?

Jack E. Hammond

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Costas



Joined: 06 Oct 2005
Posts: 389
Location: Thessaloniki, GREECE

PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Hellenic Army AT weapons in 1940 were the PAK 35/36 acquired from Germany and, in an extermporized role using locally developed ammunition, the famous Soixante-Quinze, the 75mm Schneider Mle.1897. The light armor of tanks of the period (even the PzIII) meant that they could also be engaged by low velocity weapons like, say, the 65mm mountain howitzer with a good prospect of success, especially with plunging fire. One imagines what damage a Schneider 75 or 85mm field gun could do to a tank if the latter happened to be in the direct line of fire.
A common AT weapon, however, used with great success against Italian tankettes was the common wool blanket, used for jamming the running gear and capturing the vehicle intact.
The lack of sufficient numbers of AT weapons forced the Army to rely on the terrain, mines and carefully presighted artillery.
In the Middle East and Italy, the Hellenic Brigades under British command used 2-pdr Portees, as well as 6-pdr and 17-pdr towed guns, with the 6-pdr being retained post-war (the Brits did not give the 17-pdr), being retired in the late '80s-early '90s from the coastal defense role.

And the BEF and ANZAC forces in Greece did use the .55" Boys (or Boyes, as I have seen it spelled sometimes), but I have no reference of the weapon being given to the Hellenic Army. Also lacking are references to any use made of captured 47mm Breda-Bohler L/32 AT guns by the Greeks.
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"To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women."
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bob909



Joined: 16 Apr 2006
Posts: 87

PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Short manual to WW2 Soviet 14.5 ATR (in Russian):

Click Thumbnails For Full Size Photos






And few sketches about the WW2 German patrones AT rounds and AT rifle grenades:






Thanks to www.weltkrieg.ru

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77RUS



Joined: 29 Jun 2008
Posts: 572
Location: Moscow

PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Several links to pics of Degtyarev antitank rifle from WW2 Salute Victory Museum thread







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http://vitalykuzmin.net
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jackehammond



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 330
Location: Indiana, USA

PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2009 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Vitaly and Bob,

Again, t hanks for the wonderful photos. Much appreciated.

Jack E. Hammond/Moderator

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