5 cm Pak 38
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|5 cm Panzerabwehrkanone 38 (L/60)|
|Place of origin||Nazi Germany|
|Wars||Second World War
|Weight||830 kg (1,800 lb)|
|Length||4.75 m (15.6 ft)|
|Barrel length||3 m (10 ft) L/60|
|Width||1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)|
|Height||1.05 m (3 ft 5 in)|
50×419 mm. R
|Caliber||50 mm (1.97 in)|
|Breech||Horizontal sliding wedge|
|Rate of fire||13 rounds/min|
|Muzzle velocity||550-1,130 m/s (1,804-3,707 ft/s)|
|Maximum firing range||3,000 yards|
The 5 cm Pak 38 (L/60) (5 cm Panzerabwehrkanone 38 (L/60)) was a German anti-tank gun of 50 mm calibre. It was developed in 1938 by Rheinmetall-Borsig AG as a successor to the 37 mm Pak 36, and was in turn followed by the 75 mm Pak 40.
A successor to the 37 mm Pak 36
After the Spanish Civil War, the German authorities started to think that a new anti-tank gun would be needed, even though the 3.7 cm Pak 36 was proven to be very successful. They asked Rheinmetall-Borsig to produce a new and more capable AT-gun. They first designed the Pak 37 in 1935 but the German authorities didn't approve it because of its low capabilities. Rheinmetall-Borsig were forced to create a new gun under the designation Pak 38, which fitted a new and longer L/60 barrel and was approved for mass production in 1939.
The Pak 38 was first used by the German forces during the Second World War in April 1941. When the Germans faced Soviet tanks in 1941 during Operation Barbarossa the Pak 38 was one of the few early guns capable of penetrating the 45 mm (1.8 in) armor of the T-34. The gun was also equipped with Panzergranate 40 APCR shots with a hard tungsten core, in an attempt to penetrate the armor of the heavier KV-1 tank. The Pak 38 was also used in the Atlantic Wall because of its range and anti-tank capabilities which would have been very useful to destroy allied tanks on the shore.
Although it was replaced by more powerful weapons it remained a potent and useful weapon and remained in service with the Wehrmacht until the end of the war.
The Pak 38 carriage was also used for the 7.5 cm Pak 97/38 and the 7.5 cm Pak 50(f) guns.
- Panzer Divisions: The Eastern Front 1941-43, Peir Paolo Battistelli, 2008
- Gander, Terry; Peter Chamberlain (1979). Weapons of the Third Reich: An Encyclopedic Survey of All Small Arms, Artillery and Special Weapons of the German Land Forces 1939-1945. New York. ISBN 0-385-15090-3.
- Hogg, Ian V. (1997). German Artillery of World War Two. 2nd corrected edition. Mechanicsville: Stackpole Books. ISBN 1-85367-480-X.
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