Monday, 23 March 2020

HEAT and APCR

"USSR NKO
Main Artillery Directorate of the Red Army #11794s
ArtKom
December 18th, 1943
#800360s

To commanders of Fronts and Armies
Copy for Leningrad Front only
RE: using subcaliber and armour burning (HEAT) ammunition

With the goal of increasing the effectiveness of artillery against modern enemy tanks, the Main Artillery Directorate produces and supplies the following new types of ammunition:
  • 45 mm, 57 mm, and 76 mm subcaliber AP-tracer shot with a tungsten core
  • 76 and 122 mm armour burning (HEAT) shells with a powerful explosive charge
Subcaliber shot penetrated armour with a pointed tungsten core and is most effective at close tactical ranges as due to the shape and light weight it quickly loses speed, and therefore penetrative power.

HEAT shells penetrate the armour via a directed explosion and allow the use of guns with low muzzle velocity as effective anti-tank weapons. The effectiveness of these shells remains at long ranges.

Based on extensive proving grounds trials, the effectiveness of subcaliber and HEAT ammunition is as follows:


Projectile
Penetrates
Effective range in meters
45 mm subcaliber
Front and side armour of PzIII and PzIV tanks
300

Side armour of the Panther, Tiger, and Ferdinand (at normal)
300
57 mm subcaliber
Side armour of the Panther, Tiger, and Ferdinand
1000
Front armour of the Panther and Tiger
600
Front armour of the Ferdinand (at normal)
200
76 mm subcaliber
Side armour of the Panther, Tiger, and Ferdinand
400
Front armour of the Panther and Tiger
200
76 mm armour burning (HEAT)
Tracks of tanks of all types
500

Front and side armour of the PzIII and PzIV tnaks
500
122 mm armour burning (HEAT)
Side armour of the Panther, Tiger, and Ferdinand
1000
Front armour of the Panther and Tiger
1000
152 mm armour piercing sharp tipped shell for the gun-howitzer and SPG
Front and side armour of the Panther tank and side armour of the Ferdinand
1000

Subcaliber and HEAT shells are difficult to produce and are in limited production (due to a shortage of tungsten and cyclonite, a powerful explosive) and are delivered to the army in limited quantities. They should be used against targets that are resistant to regular armour piercing shells.

Despite developing and setting up supply of these rounds a year ago (for 45 mm subcaliber and 76 mm HEAT), the GAU does not have enough information on the results of their use in various battle conditions.

Because of this, I ask you to collect information from the forces and inform the GAU by January 10th, 1944, of typical applications with the following information: caliber, round type, range, type of tank, result (number of shots, amount and location of hits, result of hits).

The information requested by the GAU is necessary to perform further work on improving the design of the rounds with the goal of increasing their effectiveness.

Authorized representative of the Chief of the GAU, Colonel General of Artillery Yakovlev"

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