Friday 24 May 2013

Penetration, Part 3

I posted penetration tables before (part 1, part 2), but I am not even close to collecting the data for every gun. Here are some more guns, some we have seen before, and some we have not.

CAMD RF 81-12104-9

The first gun is a 45 mm model 1937. It can penetrate 30 mm at a 30 degree slope at 1000 meters, but 40 mm at the same slope at only 150 meters. This performance is better than in part 1 (a different model 45 mm gun is used) and worse than in part 2 (no indication of what model tank gun is used).

Next are the L-11 and F-32 76 mm guns. They can penetrate 40 mm sloped at 30 degrees from 900 meters, but 50 mm sloped at 30 degrees at only 300 meters. This is more or less consistent with the findings in part 2.

Next, we see some unfamiliar faces. The 76 mm model 1902/30, model 1938 (also referred to as a model 1939 in a different part of the document, making it unclear what gun this is), and F-34 guns. They are capable of penetrating 50 mm of sloped armour at 800 meters (quite an improvement over the shorter 76.2 mm guns), or 60 mm at 400 meters.

Here's something brand new. The 76 mm AA gun model 1931 (which was trialed inside a T-34 under the index S-54 in 1943) can penetrate 70 mm of armour sloped at 30 degrees at a distance of 1000 meters.

The 107 mm M-60 gun can penetrate 100 mm of armour at a 30 degree angle at 900 meters (although here it can penetrate that armour at 1000 meters).

The 122 mm model 1938 howitzer (M-30) penetrates 30 mm of sloped armour at 1000 meters. The HE shell breaches the armour, the shell explodes, and strikes the insides of the tank with shell and armour fragments.

The 152 mm model 1938 howitzer (M-10) is tested with three shells. The first is a naval HE (half-AP) shell. It can penetrate 100 mm of "reduced quality" flat armour at 500 meters, or 90 mm of the same armour at 30 degrees. A newly developed AP shell doesn't work so well: at 50 meters, it can only dent an angled 90 mm plate, but is capable of breaching it if it is flat. The resulting penetration is less than a caliber. The old concrete piercing shell can penetrate a 70 mm plate at 500 meters, but only if it is flat. The same plate at 30 degrees cannot be penetrated.

The 122 mm model 1931 gun (A-19) penetrates 100 mm of armour at 30 degrees from 900 meters with a concrete piercing shell.

The 152 mm model 1937 gun-howitzer (ML-20) is also tested with several shells. The naval HE (half-AP) shell penetrates 120 mm of armour at 1800 meters, and 100 mm of armour at 30 degrees from 2000 meters.  A new concrete piercing shell penetrates 100 mm of armour at 230 meters. The old AP shell cannot penetrate 90 mm of armour at 500 meters, but could penetrate 80 mm of armour at 30 degrees at 2600 meters (that's not a typo, really, 2600). The shell breaks up and penetrates the plate in pieces.

Now, we get to the big guns. The 152 mm model 1935 Br-2 gun, with a naval HE (half-AP) shell, can penetrate 180 mm cemented armour at 1900 meters, and 152 mm if the plate is angled.

The 203 mm model 1931 howitzer (B-4) can penetrate 102 mm of armour with its light concrete piercing shell (100 kg) at 500 meters, and 27 degrees. The heavy concrete piercing shell (146 kg) can penetrate that same plate at the same angle at 1800 meters. In either case, the shells break up, and penetrate the plate in pieces.

The 280 mm Br-5 mortar, with its 240 kg concrete piercing shell, can only dent 102 mm and 90 mm armour plates at 1700-1800 meters. The rounds shatter into pieces.


  1. Soviet guns had poor penetration here. Might be because they were tested before war?

    1. Pay attention to the shell types. The A-19, for example, is firing a concrete penetrating shell against armour. AP works much better.

    2. You're right, I missed the part saying that concrete piercing rounds were tested. Though M-60's penetration corresponded with the table on Wikipedia.

      Off-topic question, Peter. Do you have any more information regarding this weapon (link:мм_ампуломёт_образца_1941_года), it's some sort of incendiary vial-launching mortar. Translated text says it was quite a success and could take out fortifications and tanks.

    3. What an interesting project. Sadly, I do not.

    4. Nevermind, Peter, the original article was good enough. I was just looking for some extra information on its service and units who used it.

  2. Might the "76 mm model 1939" refer to the F-22USV?

  3. I stumbled on this old article. Out of curiosity, what separates a concrete-piercing shell from a normal AP or HE shell? Is it shaped differently? Does it have a longer fuse? And if these are somewhat shatterprone, does it mean that the shell body is made of a more brittle material?

    1. A concrete piercing shell is designed to do two things: penetrate a thick layer of concrete and then explode, tearing out more concrete or destroying the fortification (depending on how far it penetrated). It is hardened like an AP shell, but its walls can be thinner, meaning it can carry a lot more explosive filler.

  4. The 76 mm model 1902/30 should really be the /40 version if they are saying it has the same muzzle velocity as the F-34. I would assume that the USV is the model 38 (39). The F-22 does not appear here?

    The AA gun should be the model 38 which had that high velocity and different ammunition.

    The Soviets seem to insist that all T-34, KV, Divisional guns share the same weak ammunition. The Germans jumped on improving the F-22.

  5. The results of testing for the G-530 concrete-piercing shell match my estimates:
    Even the solid shot of same weight and caliber would be capable of only defeating about 100mm/30° at normal combat ranges. A semi-AP shell like the G-530 doesn't have enough structural integrity to reach even this level.