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Thread: WW2 Tank Gun Comparison

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    Banned Soren's Avatar
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    WW2 Tank Gun Comparison

    WW2 Tank Gun comparison

    I thought it would be interesting to compare the performance, potency & energy of the premier high velocity tank guns of the west in WW2 in depth & detail, so here we go.

    8.8cm KwK43 L/71



    Projectile weight: 10.4 kg (APCBC)
    Sectional Density: 1.910
    Muzzle Velocity: 1000 m/s
    Total Kinetic Energy: 5200 KJ
    Kinetic Energy pr. cm^2: 85.49 KJ

    7.5cm KwK42 L/70

    Projectile weight: 6.8 kg (APCBC)
    Sectional Density: 1.719
    Muzzle Velocity: 936 m/s
    Total Kinetic Energy: 2979 KJ
    Kinetic Energy pr. cm^2: 67.43 KJ

    7.62cm 17pdr

    Projectile weight: 7.7 kg (AP)
    Sectional Density: 1.886
    Muzzle Velocity: 883 m/s
    Total Kinetic Energy: 3001 KJ
    Kinetic Energy pr. cm^2: 65.8 KJ

    9.0cm M3 L/53

    Projectile Weight: 10.94 kg (APBC)
    Sectional Density: 1.921
    Muzzle Velocity: 853 m/s
    Total Kinetic Energy: 3980 KJ
    Kinetic Energy pr. cm^2: 62.56 KJ

    8.8cm KwK36 L/56

    Projectile weight: 10.4 kg (APCBC)
    Sectional Density: 1.910
    Muzzle Velocity: 773 m/s
    Total Kinetic Energy: 3107 KJ
    Kinetic Energy pr. cm^2: 51.09 KJ

    7.6cm M1 L/55

    Projectile weight: 7.0 kg (APCBC)
    Sectional Density: 1.724
    Muzzle Velocity: 792 m/s
    Total Kinetic Energy: 2195 KJ
    Kinetic Energy pr. cm^2: 48.38 KJ

    7.5cm KwK40 L/48

    Projectile weight: 6.8 kg (APCBC)
    Sectional Density: 1.719
    Muzzle Velocity: 790 m/s
    Total Kinetic Energy: 2122 KJ
    Kinetic Energy pr. cm^2: 48.03 KJ


    The best performers in terms of their size compared to their potency & energy are clearly the 8.8cm KwK43, 7.5cm KwK42 & 7.62cm 17pdr, these three also feature the best penetrative performance of all the guns above which is also proportionate to their KE pr. cm^2.

    Next I'll post the Aberdeen test results for each gun against 240 BHN RHA armour.

  2. #2
    Senior Member drgondog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soren View Post
    WW2 Tank Gun comparison

    I thought it would be interesting to compare the performance, potency & energy of the premier high velocity tank guns of the west in WW2 in depth & detail, so here we go.

    8.8cm KwK43 L/71

    Projectile weight: 10.4 kg (APCBC)
    Sectional Density: 1.910
    Muzzle Velocity: 1000 m/s
    Total Kinetic Energy: 5200 KJ
    Kinetic Energy pr. cm^2: 85.49 KJ

    7.5cm KwK42 L/70

    Projectile weight: 6.8 kg (APCBC)
    Sectional Density: 1.719
    Muzzle Velocity: 936 m/s
    Total Kinetic Energy: 2979 KJ
    Kinetic Energy pr. cm^2: 67.43 KJ

    7.62cm 17pdr

    Projectile weight: 7.7 kg (AP)
    Sectional Density: 1.886
    Muzzle Velocity: 883 m/s
    Total Kinetic Energy: 3001 KJ
    Kinetic Energy pr. cm^2: 65.8 KJ

    9.0cm M3 L/53

    Projectile Weight: 10.94 kg (APBC)
    Sectional Density: 1.921
    Muzzle Velocity: 853 m/s
    Total Kinetic Energy: 3980 KJ
    Kinetic Energy pr. cm^2: 62.56 KJ

    8.8cm KwK36 L/56

    Projectile weight: 10.4 kg (APCBC)
    Sectional Density: 1.910
    Muzzle Velocity: 773 m/s
    Total Kinetic Energy: 3107 KJ
    Kinetic Energy pr. cm^2: 51.09 KJ

    7.6cm M1 L/55

    Projectile weight: 7.0 kg (APCBC)
    Sectional Density: 1.724
    Muzzle Velocity: 792 m/s
    Total Kinetic Energy: 2195 KJ
    Kinetic Energy pr. cm^2: 48.38 KJ

    7.5cm KwK40 L/48

    Projectile weight: 6.8 kg (APCBC)
    Sectional Density: 1.719
    Muzzle Velocity: 790 m/s
    Total Kinetic Energy: 2122 KJ
    Kinetic Energy pr. cm^2: 48.03 KJ


    The best performers in terms of their size compared to their potency & energy are clearly the 8.8cm KwK43, 7.5cm KwK42 & 7.62cm 17pdr, these three also feature the best penetrative performance of all the guns above which is also proportionate to their KE pr. cm^2.

    Next I'll post the Aberdeen test results for each gun against 240 BHN RHA armour.
    So, in order to discuss performance beyond the muzzle - what are the ballistic coeficients/retained velocity at 1000 and 2000 meters?

  3. #3
    Banned Soren's Avatar
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    Well the BC of APCBC, APBC, APC & AP projectiles of this kind of caliber are very similar. But looking at penetrative performance over distance the German Pzgr.39 seems to hold its velocity better for any given caliber than the rest, although we're talking small amounts here.

    With a starting velocity of 1,000 m/s (As in the KwK43) the 8.8cm Pzgr.39 retains its speed extremely well, the velocity being in excess of 775 m/s at 2,700m. (Thats faster than the MV of the KwK36)

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    I don't know that much about the specific ballistic characteristics of the various tank guns used during WWII (but apparently you do, Soren), but I do know that I have read in several places that in the opinion of many, the best tank gun was the KwK 43 L/71 as fitted on the Jagdpanther and the Tiger II.

    However, I would be curious to know what the ballistic characteristics of the 12.8cm PaK 44 L/55 as fitted to the Jagdtiger are. I know that it was the largest-calibre tank gun to be used during WWII, but I don't think it was as effective as the KwK 43 L/71; correct me if I'm wrong.

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    Banned Soren's Avatar
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    Well the 12.8cm Kwk44 L/55 was the largest and most powerful AT gun of WW2, but it fired a two piece round where the projectile & charge (Which was contained in a large brass cartridge) were loaded into the breech seperately. This meant a rather low rate of fire, and since the 8.8cm KwK43 already was capable of destroying any Allied tank past 3.5km the 12.8cm KwK44 was unnecessary large & powerful, thus less effective than the 8.8cm KwK43.

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    I would be interested in the performance of the APDS shell used in the 17pd. At the time it was quite a revolutionaly shell but I have always wondered how it stacked up against 'normal' shells.

    If you could give some guidance it would be appreciated.

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    Senior Member Civettone's Avatar
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    Well, the good thing about the 12.8 was that it held its energy better over large distances. With the arrival of the IS series, the 8.8 was insufficient over large distances. Plus, the 12.8 was better at destroying fortifications, again over large distances. As such the JagdTiger was excellent if used in the right way: for long range engagements, never close combat.

    Those anyone have any background information on the German 10.5 cm tank cannon? It was to be used with the latest Tiger IIs and E-75s, perhaps also with the JagdPanther II.
    Do you think it also had two piece rounds?

    Kris



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    Quote Originally Posted by Civettone View Post
    Well, the good thing about the 12.8 was that it held its energy better over large distances. With the arrival of the IS series, the 8.8 was insufficient over large distances. Plus, the 12.8 was better at destroying fortifications, again over large distances. As such the JagdTiger was excellent if used in the right way: for long range engagements, never close combat.

    Those anyone have any background information on the German 10.5 cm tank cannon? It was to be used with the latest Tiger IIs and E-75s, perhaps also with the JagdPanther II.
    Do you think it also had two piece rounds?

    Kris
    The 10.5 le FH 18 was originally an artillery piece designed after WWI by Rheinmetall and, later, developed into an anti-aircraft piece during the early part of WWII; it fired single-piece ammunition, including high explosive, smoke, tracer, hollow-charge and incendiary. I don't know much about it's development into an anti-tank piece.

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    Well, the good thing about the 12.8 was that it held its energy better over large distances.
    At any practical range this is completely irrelevant as the energy retention is pretty much the same for both rounds out to 3km.

    With the arrival of the IS series, the 8.8 was insufficient over large distances.
    That however is completely wrong Civettone, the IS-2 was vulnerable to the 8.8cm KwK43 even past 3.5km, the KwK43 easily penetrating any part of the IS-2's turret beyond this distance, and the lower hull was very vulnerable at this range to the KwK43 as-well.

    The performance of the 8.8cm KwK43 L/71 against 240 BHN RHA armour at the Aberdeen proving grounds was as follows:


    As you can see the 8.8cm KwK43 will penetrate 153mm's of high quality armour at 3,000m with its std. AP round, this clearly means that the IS-2 (Which didn't even feature the same quality armour) couldn't feel safe at any range really.

    Nashorn & Tiger crews reported the complete destruction of several IS-2 tanks past 4,700m as-well as several SU-122, SU-152 & SU-100 TD's .

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    Senior Member Civettone's Avatar
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    SoD, thanks but you're talking about the howitzer artillery gun. I'm talking about a tank gun. It was suppose to be the new gun of the Tiger II and the Panther II. Yet there is little known of its penetration values as the only ones I can find are with the dubious PzGr.rot which are some sort of HEAT shells.


    Soren, I tend to follow official German tests on this. At 2 km penetration was 132mm. A 12,8cm had 148mm.
    Heavier objects tend to hold their energy better. At least with similar resistance and initial muzzle velocity. Or else I don't know why the Germans pushed on with the 12.8.

    Kris



  11. #11
    Banned Soren's Avatar
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    The official German figures were obtained against top quality German armour plates layed back at a 30 degree angle. The results from the tests at the Aberdeen proving grounds were obtained against 240 BHN RHA armour at a vertical impact angle and represents the penetrative capability of the KwK43 against Allied armour.

    The British tested the Pak 43 and obtained the following results against 30 degree sloped armour plates of their own very hard type (Slightly brittle though): 167mm at 1,300y, and 139mm at 2,200y.

    As to why the Germans wanted to adopt the KwK44 12.8cm L/55 as soon as possible, that was purely because of its enormous anti personnel capability. As you can see the penetration performance was similar to that of the 8.8cm KwK43 which was already the most powerful gun to be put on a tank with a turret.
    Last edited by Soren; 11-25-2007 at 06:27 PM.

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    Senior Member plan_D's Avatar
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    "As you can see the 8.8cm KwK43 will penetrate 153mm's of high quality armour at 3,000m with its std. AP round, this clearly means that the IS-2 (Which didn't even feature the same quality armour) couldn't feel safe at any range really."

    The IS-2 wasn't safe against the Tiger or Panther, let alone the Tiger II, at above combat ranges up to 2km. I've mentioned the poor quality of IS-2 production before.
    "When you go home tomorrow, don't expect anyone to know what you have been through. Even if they did know, most people probably wouldn't care anyway. Some of you may get the medals you deserve, many more of you will not. But remember this, all of you are now members of the front-line club, and that is the most exclusive club in the world." - Lt. Col. Matthew Maer CO 1st Battalion, the Princess of Wale's Royal Regiment. Camp Abu Naji, Oct. 2004

    To those in that club.

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    Senior Member freebird's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soren View Post
    WW2 Tank Gun comparison

    I thought it would be interesting to compare the performance, potency & energy of the premier high velocity tank guns of the west in WW2 in depth & detail, so here we go.


    The best performers in terms of their size compared to their potency & energy are clearly the 8.8cm KwK43, 7.5cm KwK42 & 7.62cm 17pdr, these three also feature the best penetrative performance of all the guns above which is also proportionate to their KE pr. cm^2.

    Next I'll post the Aberdeen test results for each gun against 240 BHN RHA armour.
    Do you also have figures for the British 25 pounder? I know it wasn't a great antitank gun, but I have read it was used because of the poor performance of the 2 pounder against the newer German tanks. Was the 25 pounder about 85 mm?

  14. #14
    Banned Soren's Avatar
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    Absolutely Freebird, I'll post it as soon as I get home.

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    Senior Member freebird's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soren View Post
    Absolutely Freebird, I'll post it as soon as I get home.
    I found the listing for the 25 pounder, its 87.6mm. I think the antitank capability was not great, it was a secondary function (probably used when the 2 pounder became ineffective, before the 6 & 17 pounder showed up)

    I wonder if they ever used any of the captured 88mm's?

    I copied this from Wikepedia, so take that for what it's worth.

    The 25 pounder's main ammunition was the High Explosive (HE) shell, but it could fire base ejection smoke, star and flare shells, Shell (projectile)#Chemical chemical shells, and smoke shells were sometimes reloaded with propaganda leaflets. In the direct fire role, the 25 pdr was also supplied with a limited amount of 20 pound (9 kg) solid armour piercing (AP) shot, later replaced with a more potent version with a ballistic cap. A shaped charge anti-tank shell was under development in Canada, but the introduction of the 17 Pounder dedicated anti-tank gun ended its development. After the Second World War UK replaced AP shot with a HESH shell.

    Even by WWII standards, the 25 pdr was at the smaller-end of the scale although it had longer range than most other field equipments. However, it was designed to support the proven British doctrine of suppressive (neutralising) fire, not the concept of destructive fire that had proved illusory in the early years of World War 1. Most forces had entered the war with even smaller 75 mm designs, but had quickly moved to 105 mm and larger weapons. Nevertheless the 25 pdr was considered by all to be one of the best artillery pieces in use. The devastation caused by the gun (and the speed at which the British artillery control system could respond) in Normandy and the rest of North-West Europe made many German soldiers believe that the British had secretly deployed an automatic 25 pounder.

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