5 cm Pak 38

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5 cm Panzerabwehrkanone 38 (L/60)
Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-549-0743-13A, Tunesien, Soldaten mit Pak 38.jpg
German soldiers with 5cm Pak 38 during the Tunisian Campaign
Type Anti-Tank Gun
Place of origin Nazi Germany
Service history
In service 1940–1945
Used by Nazi Germany
Wars Second World War
Continuation War
Production history
Designed 1938
Manufacturer Rheinmetall-Borsig
Produced 1940–1943
No. built 9,566[1]
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)
Crew 5


50×419 mm. R
5 cm Pzgr.
5 cm Pzgr. 39
5 cm Pzgr. 40
5 cm Pzgr. 40/1

5 cm Sprgr. 38
Caliber 50 mm (1.97 in)
Action Semi-automatic
Breech Horizontal sliding wedge
Carriage Split-trail
Elevation -8°–±27°
Traverse 65°
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
Feed system Manual
Sights Z.F. 3x8°

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[edit]

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 had 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.

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.

Romania imported 110 Pak 38s in March 1943. The guns remained in service with the Romanian Armed Forces until 1954, when the 57 mm anti-tank gun M1943 (ZiS-2) replaced them.[2]

Pak 38


  1. ^ Panzer Divisions: The Eastern Front 1941-43, Peir Paolo Battistelli, 2008
  2. ^ Stroea, Adrian; Băjenaru, Gheorghe (2010). Artileria româna în date si imagini [Romanian artillery in data and images] (PDF) (in Romanian). Editura Centrului Tehnic-Editorial al Armatei. p. 84. ISBN 978-606-524-080-3. 
  • Gander, Terry; Chamberlain, Peter (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: Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-15090-3. 
  • Hogg, Ian V. (1997). German Artillery of World War Two (2nd corrected ed.). Mechanicsville: Stackpole Books. ISBN 1-85367-480-X. 

External links[edit]