8.8 cm Pak 43

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8.8 cm Pak 43/41
8.8 cm PaK 43-41 2.JPG
8.8 cm Pak 43/41 at US Army Ordnance Museum.
Type Anti-tank gun
Place of origin Nazi Germany
Service history
In service 1943-1945
Used by Nazi Germany
Wars World War II
Production history
Manufacturer Krupp, Rheinmetall
Produced 1943-1945
Number built ~2,100
Variants PaK 43 on cruciform carriage
Pak 43/41 on split-trail carriage
KwK 43 vehicle mounted
Specifications
Weight 4,380 kg (9,660 lb)
Length 6.4 m (21 ft 0 in)
Barrel length 6.61 m (21 ft 8 in) L/71
Height 1.8 m (5 ft 11 in)

Shell See Ammunition Table
Caliber 88 mm (3.5 in)
Breech Horizontal semi-automatic sliding block
Recoil hydro-pneumatic
Carriage split-trail
Elevation -5° to +38°
Traverse 56°
Rate of fire 20-25 rpm
Muzzle velocity See Ammunition Table
Effective firing range 4,000 m (4,400 yd)
Maximum firing range 16,000 m (17,000 yd)

The Pak 43 (Panzerabwehrkanone 43) was a German 88 mm anti-tank gun developed by Krupp in competition with the Rheinmetall 8.8 cm Flak 41 anti-aircraft gun and used during the Second World War. The Pak 43 was the most powerful anti-tank gun of the Wehrmacht to see service in significant numbers, also serving in modified form as the main gun on the Tiger II tank, and Elefant, Jagdpanther and Nashorn tank destroyers. The improved 8.8 cm round had a virtually flat trajectory out to 910 m (1,000 yd) and was able to frontally penetrate all Allied tanks at long ranges, up to and occasionally exceeding 1,800–2,300 m (2,000–2,500 yd) (restricted only by the accuracy of shell and optics). Even the Soviet IS-series tanks and tank destroyers (the most heavily armored Allied vehicles fielded during World War II) were vulnerable to and outranged by the PaK 43.[1]

Versions[edit]

The main version of the Pak 43 was based on a highly effective cruciform mount, which offered a full 360 degree traverse and a much lower profile than the ubiquitous anti-aircraft 8.8 cm Flak 37. However the manufacture of this version was initially slow and costly.

To simplify production some were mounted on the two-wheel split-trail carriage from the 10.5 cm leFH 18 field howitzer, resulting in a version known as Pak 43/41. The 43/41 proved heavy and awkward to handle in the mud and snow of the Eastern Front and gunners referred to 43/41 as the "barn door" (German: Scheunentor),[2] a reference to the size and weight of the gun. Nevertheless the PaK 43/41 proved just as effective as the earlier PaK 43.

The Pak 43 was also mounted in German armored vehicles and this version was known as the 8.8 cm KwK 43. Versions of this gun were mounted in a number of German armored vehicles under different designations, including the Tiger II heavy tank (KwK 43 L/71) and several tank destroyers: the Hornisse/Nashorn (Pak 43/1), Ferdinand/Elefant (Pak 43/2), and Jagdpanther (Pak 43/3 and Pak 43/4). A few examples of the Tiger II-based Jagdtiger were also completed with the 8.8 cm weapon due to a shortage of the 12.8 cm Pak 44, but these tank destroyers are not believed to have seen operational service.

Pak 43 on cruciform mount, in towing configuration
The 8.8 cm Pak 43/41 on the Eastern Front, 1943.

Ammunition and penetration[edit]

Pzgr. 39/43 APCBC-HE[edit]

Average penetration against a rolled homogeneous armour plate at 30 degrees from the vertical
Hit probability versus 2.5 m x 2 m target[3]
Range Penetration in training in combat
100 m 202 mm 100% 100%
500 m 185 mm 100% 100%
1000 m 165 mm 100% 85%
1500 m 148 mm 95% 61%
2000 m 132 mm 85% 43%
2500 m n/a 74% 30%
3000 m n/a 61% 23%
3500 m n/a 51% 17%
4000 m n/a 42% 13%

Pzgr. 40/43 APCR[edit]

Penetration figures established as average against a rolled homogenous armoured plate laid back 30 degrees from the vertical
Hit probability versus 2.5 m x 2 m target[3]
Range Penetration in training in combat
100 m 238 mm 100% 100%
500 m 217 mm 100% 100%
1000 m 193 mm 100% 89%
1500 m 171 mm 97% 66%
2000 m 153 mm 89% 47%
2500 m n/a 78% 34%
3000 m n/a 66% 25%

Gr. 39/3 HL (HEAT)[edit]

  • Projectile weight: 7.65 kg (17 lbs)
  • Muzzle velocity: 600 m/s (1,968 ft/s)
  • Penetration: 90 mm

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "The New 88 and its Carriages". Intelligence Bulletin, Jan. 1945. Reprinted at http://www.lonesentry.com/new88mm/
  2. ^ Gander and Chamberlain (1979) p. 119
  3. ^ a b http://www.fprado.com/armorsite/tiger2.htm

References[edit]

  • Gander, Terry and Chamberlain, Peter. 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: Doubleday, 1979 ISBN 0-385-15090-3
  • Hogg, Ian V. German Artillery of World War Two. 2nd corrected edition. Mechanicsville, PA: Stackpole Books, 1997 ISBN 1-85367-480-X

External links[edit]

8,8 cm Pak 43 (L/71) - Panzerworld