Saturday 28 September 2013

Schwere Panzerbuchse 41

I have previously explored the effectiveness of Soviet AT weapons, so now let's look at the German side. The data is not as complete, as it only shows effectiveness against side armour, shooting at the larger profile, but it's something. The following is a captured and translated German document.

"When the Russian tanks attacked on 9.4.1942 and 11.4.1942, they mainly tried to break through to the main battlefield on the south shore of the lake, south of Koia-Assan. The tanks, at first, could not be spotted from the observation point, as they approached through a valley. The tanks were spotted when they were to the left of our positions, occasionally already behind us, or returning to their positions. Tanks were not shot at the front, but at the sides, and usually the rear.

The following types of tanks were destroyed:
  • 09.4.1942: 9 T-26, 2 BT-7
  • 11.4.1942: 4 T-60
The tanks were shot at the following approximate distances, and took the following amounts of rounds:
  • 1 T-26 at 40 meters, 3 shots.
  • 3 T-26 at 100 meters, 3 shots each.
  • 2 T-26 at 150 meters, first in 1 shot, second with 5 shots.
  • 1 BT-7 at 400 meters, approximately with 9 shots.
  • 2 T-60 at 550 meters, approximately 6 shots each.
  • 3 T-26 at 600 meters, approximately 10 shots each.
  • 1 BT-7 at 600 meters, approximately 10 shots.
Aside from three tanks, all caught fire. On April 9th, close to the evening, a reinforced 44 ton KV tank came. We shot at it fruitlessly during the day, and, on its way back, 12 times at a range of 50 meters. The KV had a trail of smoke coming out of the rear, but kept going towards its positions and disappeared. On May 11th, a burning T-60 approached from the rear. We fired at it twice, and the crew bailed. "

CAMD RF 38-11355-651

The effectiveness seems similar to the Soviet infantry AT weapons previously explored: good against light vehicles from the sides and rear at a few hundred meters, and not against much else. Of course, in German tradition, the gun is much more complicated and expensive. Unlike the Soviet PTRD and PTRS, which were pretty ordinary large caliber rifles, the sPzB 41 was a squeeze-bore weapon, closer to a light AT gun than a rifle. At a much greater cost and much higher mass, the weapon is as effective as its Soviet equivalent.


  1. I had no clue that the Russians attacked in the 1950s!

    (Seriously, though, you might want to edit this post, as you made a typo on the date. I assume you mean 9.4.1942, not 1952.)

    1. I've noticed this too, i was curious wheter someone caught this typo :p

    2. Oh no, I have accidentally published top secret materials from the forgotten battles of WWIII!

    3. It was a mistake inserted to make sure people do read the text!

  2. Well, the SPzB 41 was really more of a light antitank gun anyway - and in that category it was actually fairly potent for its size and weight (the sources the Wiki quotes give 40 to 52mm of penetration at 30 degrees from vertical at 500m). Saw a fair bit of use in light recon vehicles due to that I gather.

    1. The Ordnance QF 2-pounder gave roughly the same performance at 500 m (37 mm with AP, 54 mm with APCBC).

    2. And the QF was four times as heavy and fired a much larger shell. So what's your point? :P

    3. IIRC most of the 2-pdr's weight came from the unnecessarily complicated carriage. The barrel itself was not that heavy. That and the fact that it too had its own squeezebore modification (the Littlejohn) which was a lot better than the sPzB 41.

    4. Oh, and you did not have to use valuable tungsten-carbide for the AP or APCBC.

    5. AFAIK the 2-pdr was in the vicinity of 40mm caliber whereas the Panzerbüchse was 28/20mm; unless the Germans made the barrel out of uranium or something the latter oughta been a decent bit lighter pretty much by default.
      As for the tungsten thing, well, that buried all of the other bright taper-bore projects too. Being under a continental blockade does that kind of thing and it was hardly the only important material the Germans started running desperately short of.