Sunday 9 November 2014

50 mm APCR Effectiveness

While exploring the confusion among Soviet battlefield investigators with German HEAT and APCR shells, kris_reid discovered the following curious fragment.

"...62 mm of armour was penetrated. A notable characteristic of this penetration was that both shells exploded in the fighting compartment without harming anyone, aside from the company commander, who was stunned.

During the same day, another Valentine was sent out without proper preparation, and was also hit.
  1. There are still combined forces commanders that do not understand tank tactics.
  2. The enemy has a long-barrelled 50 mm anti-tank gun that fires thermite shells that can burn through 62 mm of armour. The shell itself burns up and the remainder is ineffective at harming the crew."
50 mm gun firing HEAT shells? Of course not. The damage described (little internal damage, no trace of shell) is characteristic of APCR. After penetrating the armour, the hard tungsten carbide core shatters into small pieces, which are difficult to recognize as a penetrating element. 


  1. Cool story, tank got penetrated .. Conclusion: Tank Commander is stupid :)

  2. Tungsten tends to shatter after passing through armor. Even light armor. One reason the Germans used schürzen on their tanks to defeat the tungsten cored AT rifle bullets.

  3. I think this is more describing the switch to 50mm APCBC rounds from APC as the ABCBC has an explosive filler rather than a description of APCR unless this is the proof of German uranium APCR shots?- :-)

    1. Explosive filler in AP shells is specifically included to damage the crew and components after penetration. As you can see in this case, it didn't happen.

      Also, "thermite shells" or "armour burning shells" in Soviet documents refer to enemy APCR (more rarely, HEAT), anything that leaves an indentation in the armour with a subcaliber penetration in the center.

    2. Peter, 5,0 cm APCR did not have an explosive filler.
      What happened is described in the 2nd comment i think.