Best tank gun for year

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by Vincenzo, Aug 14, 2014.

  1. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    #1 Vincenzo, Aug 14, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2014
    Your choices only guns in tank fielded in the war operations
    years from 1940 to 1944
     
  2. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    #2 Vincenzo, Aug 14, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2014
    just for help

    1940 tank gun (i omit 20mm and smaller)
    French: 25 SA35 (L47), 37 SA18 (L21), 37 SA38 (L35), 47 SA34 (L30), 47 SA35 (L32), 75 SA35 (L17)
    British: 2 pdr (40/52), 3 L25 (76/25), 3.7 L15 (94/15)
    Germans: 3.7 KwK 36 (L45), 3.7 KwK 34 (t) (L40), 3.7 KwK 38 (t) (L48 ), 7.5 KwK 37 (L24)
    Italians: 37/40, 47/32
    Soviets: 45 20K (L46), 76 KT28 (L16), 76 L10 (L26), 76 L11 (L30) (only in prototypes but tested in battle)
    Japanese: 37 Type 94 (L36), 37 Type 98 (L36)*, 57 Type 90 (L18 ), 57 Type 97 (L18 ), * not sure on this
    probably some "minor" countries had some other tank gun

    1941 (idem i add only new types)
    Germans: 5 KwK 38 (L42)
    Soviets: 57 ZIS-4 (L73) (small serie), 76 L11 (L30) (series tanks), 76 F32 (L30), 76 F34 (L41), 152 M10T (L24)
    US: 37 M5 (L49)

    1942
    British: 6 pdr Mk 3 (57/43)
    Germans: 5 KwK 39 (L60), 7.5 KwK 40 (L43), 7.5 KwK 40 (L48 ), 8.8 KwK 36 (L56) (small test unit)
    Japanese: 47 Type 1 (L48 )
    US: 37 M6 (L56), 75 M2 (L31), 75 M3 (L40)

    1943:
    British: 6 pdr Mk 5 (57/50), 75 (L36)
    Germans: 7.5 KwK 42 (L70)
    Italians: 47/40
    Soviets: 85 D5T (L52)

    1944:
    British: 17 pdr (76/55)
    Germans: 8.8 KwK 43 (L71)
    Italians: 75/34 (used in small numbers by Germans)
    Soviets:85 S53 (L55), 122 D25T (L46)
    US: 76 M1 (L57), 76 M1A1 (L52)
     
  3. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    IMO the best light tank main gun for the entire war.
     
  4. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    #4 fastmongrel, Aug 14, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2014
    1940 I would say the French 47mm APX just a pity they werent used properly by the French. Good powerful gun with a useful HE shell.

    47mm.jpg

    It has been pointed out to me that the 47mm APX was not the gun fitted to French tanks but the rather smaller 47mm SA35. In that case I change my pick and go for the 2 pounder.

    Loading_Valentine_tank_2_pdr_gun_IWM_E_9766.jpg
     
  5. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    #5 fastmongrel, Aug 14, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2014
    1942 the 7.5cm KwK 40 L/48
     
  6. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    1941 the Soviet F-34 76.2 L/42.5

    76psvkF34.jpg
     
  7. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    In the early part of the war few, if any, guns were dual purpose. In other words both hole punchers and HE carriers ( field fortification wreckers). SO in the early war it sort of depends which type of gun you want.

    The French 25mm was a fair hole puncher but pretty useless for anything else, The 37mm guns were hardly first class the SA18 being especially poor. The 47 SA35 was actually pretty near the top of the heap. The 75 SA35 falls into the HE thrower category and it's only service mounting made it pretty useless in a tank dual.

    British 2 pdr was near the top of the heap as a hole puncher (it was in a different class than most/all of the 37mm guns) but it's lack of HE is well known. The other two guns listed are pretty much useless for fighting other tanks and in fact throw rather light projectiles for their caliber making them rather light in the HE dept.

    German/Czech 37mm guns are medium hole punchers and due to shell design, not much for HE although something is better than nothing. One source saying the HE shells only had 25 grams of HE?. The 7.5 KwK 37 (L24) might be a candidate for best all-round gun simply by being kind of medium in both categories. Except for...later. :)

    The Italaian guns are out of the running, not as bad as some but not as good as others.

    The Soviet 45mm is good but doesn't quite live up to it's caliber. On the other hand the Soviet 76mm guns are a bit of a question mark and a mixed bag. Not listed is the 76mm L-10 gun of 26 calibers length which used the same ammo as the regular field guns and the both 76mm guns used in the T-34. The shorter barrel hurt performance a bit but this gun may be the best all round gun in 1940, it was used in some T-28 tanks. I am not sure if the shorter guns used the same ammo as the 76mm 'infantry" guns. There is a difference of about 190-200m/s in velocity between the L16.5 and the L26 guns.

    The Japanese guns are also out of the running, the 37mm guns are not good enough hole punchers and the 57mm guns are bad hole punchers and nowhere near the equal of a 75/76mm gun for HE.
     
  8. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Actually a not very good light tank gun as used in the MK II tank. HE ammo was NOT general issue to the tanks so it's anti-personnel performance was pretty low. It's armor punching ability was also not particularity good for most of the war.

    14mm at 500m at 30 degrees for normal AP ammo which isn't bad for a 20mm gun but is pretty useless against any sort of "real" tank. APCR only kicks it up to 20mm penetration at 500m and APCR wasn't all that common.

    Light tanks/armoured cars armed with 37-45mm guns had more flexibility and target effect, They may not have been able to take on "medium tanks" from the front after 1940/41 but they at least had a chance at the sides/rear of many medium tanks for several years after.
     
  9. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    fastmongrel:
    the 47mm APX is not the same 47mm gun on french tanks. i'm agree on your choice for 1941, and i'm not agree with your for 1942 the 7.5 KwK 40 was a superior weapon.

    Shortround6:
    the 25mm on tank (just 10 light tanks) was a shorted variant on the ATG idk its performance but the cut is long (over 20 calibre), the french 47/32 is balistically only marginally better of italian 47/32, yes i missed the L-10 i adding.
     
  10. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    I didnt know that my bad. In that case I would change my 1940 weapon to the QF 2 pounder.

    I got myself in a tangle with the 41 and 42 choices I originally was thinking the 5cm for 41 and the L43 version of the 7.5cm for 42 thinking the L48 version didnt come into service till 43. Did a bit more research realised I had forgotten the Soviet 76.2mm and that the L48 7.5cm came into service earlier than I thought.

    I will edit things to make more sense :oops:
     
  11. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Recon vehicles have no business fighting medium tanks. They fight each other (i.e. counter recon mission) and employ HE in self defense when discovered by enemy infantry.
     
  12. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The Problems with that theory are many. One is that the Germans were chronically short of medium tanks and and used the MK II and it's 20mm gun to bulk out numbers in the early part of the war. Another is that the battlefield is seldom so orderly. The Americans had some great theories about armored warfare too, like tanks weren't supposed to fight tanks, that was the job of tank destroyers. Trouble was it required the co-operation of the enemy in order to work.
    Sometimes Recon units (including light tanks) were used for flank security which requires a bit more firepower than annoying the units making a counter thrust.
    A big anti-tank rifle might have been acceptable armament in 1939/40 for a light tank, it was hardly acceptable in 1942 and by 1944 it was a bad joke.
    Maybe there was a reason the German Recon units had so many "extra" vehicles mounting larger guns?
     
  13. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    Its noticeable that British recon vehicles started with a MG and ended up with a mix of 2 pounder, 6 pounder and 75mm armed vehicles.
     
  14. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    #14 Vincenzo, Aug 16, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2014
    my choice
    all/only main medium tanks gun (for this purpose are medium tanks all the tanks with guns that are not heavy, main 25% or more of medium tank fleet)
    1940: 76 L10-11 / TBA
    1941: 76 F34 / 5 KwK 38
    1942: 8.8 KwK 36 / 76 F34
    1943: 8.8 KwK 36 / 7.5 KwK 40
    1944: 8.8 KwK 43 / 7.5 KwK 42

    edit:
    1940 tank guns taking requirements for MMT gun
    French: 37 SA18, probably all the other were too few for the 25% requirement (the 47 also combined were under 15%, the 37 SA 38 is probably near around the 20%)
    British: obviously the 2 pdr
    Germans: 3.7 KwK 36, 7.5 KwK 37
    Italians: 37/40, 47/32
    Soviets: 45 20K
    Japanese: 37 Type 95, 57 Type 90

    my choice 7.5 KwK 37
     
  15. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    my choices
    88mm cannons were too heavy for medium tanks
    1940: 76 L10-11 / 2pdr
    1941: 76 F34 / 5 KwK 38
    1942: 7.5 KwK 40
    1943: 7.5 KwK 42 / 85 D5T
    1944: 7.5 KwK 42 / 85 S53

    Juha
     
  16. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    British wound up with a mix, usually 2 mg armed scout cars and 2 cannon armed armored cars per section/platoon. But the 15mm Besa gun certainly went away.

    German 20mm gun has some of the same problems in use as the 2pdr did. Like lack of HE ammo at least early/mid war. What tanks units were able to 'borrow' from AA units may change that on occasion but the MG was the primary anti-personnel weapon. 2nd problem in the MK II tank (as opposed to the armored cars) is the one man turret on the MK II tank. Both use 10 round magazines as opposed to the 20 round magazine used by the AA guns so magazine changes are that much more frequent. Perhaps the radio operator in the hull could hand magazines up to the commander/gunner in the MK II tank but that is the extent of the help. The fact that the commander/gunner could fire 10 rounds without having to 'reload' was certainly an advantage in a one man turret in an anti-vehicle engagement but the lack of hitting power was a real problem. The Sd. Kfz. 222 used a high angle mount as did the Sd. Kfz. 234/1 and some half-track and Pz 38(t) chassis. This mount was intended for dual ground/AA use and these vehicles probably did have HE ammo.

    The British mix allowed for recon to be conducted by both stealth and fighting for it. Once you start using tracked vehicles stealth rather goes out the window, the tracks make too much noise even if the engine has a decent muffler.
     
  17. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    "Chronically" barely begins to describe the problem. German Army established requirements for medium tanks during mid 1930s but production wasn't funded until 1942.

    However that doesn't alter fact that high velocity 20mm auto cannon works just fine for recon vehicles right up to present day.
     
  18. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    Juha so your choices are limited to medium tank guns?

    Shortround6 actually german 20mm as not the same problem of 2 pdr because they had APHE shell and is autocannon
     
  19. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    #19 Shortround6, Aug 16, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2014
    Production was not funded until 1942?????? in what alternate universe?

    3522 MK III tanks built by the end of 1941, not "funded" but actually built.
    1081 MK IV tanks built by the end of 1941, not "funded" but actually built.

    MK III figures do include Stugs though.

    There were 1267 PZ 38(t) chassis built until the beginning of 1942 also but those maybe considered "light" tanks after 1940?

    Modern 20mm cannon may work "just fine" but again the targets are a bit different (most modern 20mm have secondary AA or anti-helicopter role), they use more powerful ammunition than the German WW II gun/s, they fire faster (in some cases much faster) they are belt fed with much more ammo both in the feed system and in reserve than the WW II vehicles and in many cases have TWO different feed systems allowing for a very quick switch between ammo types.

    This is almost like saying that because a Bofors L70 gun is quite useful today for a variety of roles that the British 40mm AT gun was perfectly good for all of WW II just because it was the same caliber.

    German Modern 20mm Rh 202 cannon used a number of 1950-90 vehicles fires at 800-1000rpm instead of 280-450rpm for the WW II guns, the velocity is 100-150 meters a second higher with comparable projectile types. In the Luchs armored car it has an elevation of 69 degrees which is certainly an indication that is has some sort of AA role. The Luchs carried 300 rounds of HE ammunition and 75 rounds of AP. Which is roughly twice the amount of ammo carried by the majority pf German WW II vehicles armed with 20mm guns. BTW a Marder APC carried 1250 rounds of 20mm ammo and has THREE feed systems the gunner can choose from for different types of ammo.

    And there was quite a bit if debate about modifying/up gunning a number of the vehicles using it to 25mm, 30mm or even 35mm guns. Salesmanship for the gun companies or dissatisfaction with the weapon capabilities? Most or all were ussually side lined due to cost/budgets.

    Sorry, neither the Germans weren't "funding" Medium tanks until 1942 or the 20mm was a good recon armament in WW II really stand up to a good look.

    BTW the API-T ammo for the 'modern' German 20mm gun is listed as penetrating 32mm of armor at 1000 meters at 0 degrees. 24mm of armor at 1000 meters at 30 degrees and 8mm at 1000 meters at 60 degrees. Compared to the 14mm at 500 meters at 30 degrees for the WW II gun.

    Using modern guns and ammo to try to justify WW II use has too many things that vary.
     
  20. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    #20 Shortround6, Aug 16, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2014
    I have a reprint/translation of a German training manual and the recommended tactics for engaging towed AT guns with MK II tanks are spelled out pretty well, from the flank or rear the AT gun the weapon used was the MG from recommended distances. Only when engaging the front of the AT gun (against the common armor shield) was the 20mm gun to be used. Similar recommendations for other targets are made. It doesn't seem like the 20mm gun was being used at all for HE effect for unprotected troops.
    The early 20mm gun (KWK 30) fired at 280rpm cyclic (about 4-4.5 rounds per second) from 10 round magazines.

    The "normal" German 20mm ammuntion seems to have contained 6-7grams of HE or HE/incendiary material per round of HEI or HEI-T. The API/T or APHE/T rounds were 3-4 grams of HE or incendiary. The German 37mm AT/tank round contained 25 grams of HE and the 50mm HE round contained 165 grams. Then you have a fusing problem. If the fuse is supposed to detonate the charge after it penetrates 6-12mm of steel plate what does it have to hit in order for the fuse to function when firing against men in the open or even in "cover" (shrubs, bushes, wooden fences, etc).
    You are correct the 2pder did not have HE ammuntion but the 20mm German gun had very little or ammunition that was not effective against troops in the open or non armoured vehicles (will fuse function even on a door or fender?), The HE fuse might since it was designed to function of aircraft skin but fuses that function too quickly on AP ammo detonate the shell before in penetrates and degrade the penetration ability. APHE is NOT dual purpose ammo.

    I am not sure if the MK II tank used the gun semi auto or just fired short (2-4 round) bursts. With 10 round magazines they sure weren't hosing down an area with continuous fire :)

    You also have a similarity in while the 2pdr was a semi-automatic gun it's practical rate of fire on the AT gun mount and it's practical rate of fire in some armored vehicle turrets are very different things, see photo so kindly provided above.
    Practical rate of fire for MK II tank 20mm vrs 20mm AA gun are likewise very different despite the same 'nominal' cycle rate of fire.
     
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