German 128mm - any good?

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by schwarzpanzer, Apr 3, 2010.

  1. schwarzpanzer

    schwarzpanzer Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    663
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    At the moment, my thinking is that it was pointless. My reasons are:

    In the Anti-tank role, the 88mm L71 was more than enough? and better than the 128mm. If it wasn't, then I'm sure the 88mm L100 would hae been a better upgrade?

    If you're going to have a giant gun, why not just have the existing 155mm?

    I know the 128mm would have made an awesome dual-pupose gun, but the ammo count would have been too low - just a few rounds of AP HE?

    Most 128mms were L55, though some were L61 and mounted in a few Jagdtigers and the Sturer Emil. I wonder how they performed...

    It was also considered for the Jagdpanther II - in what length I do not know. I wonder howw effective this vehicle would have been - some sources state it was to use a Panther II chassis, others just a normal Panthers.

    I hope this hasn't been covered before? If it has, sorry! :oops:
     
  2. hartmann

    hartmann Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2005
    Messages:
    70
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Occupation:
    Student
    Location:
    Spain
    Hello schwarzpanzer ¡¡ :D

    Germany didn’t have this calibre. It was the 15 cm (really 149,1 mm).
    It was briefly considered for the Maus and E-100 in the form of the KwK 44 15 cm L39, although I think that It was dropped fastly in favour of the new 128 L66 PaK 44 (enlarged barrel) and the new 17 cm KwK gun (I think that It was around 50 calibres length) with an APCBC-HE PzGr 43 shell weighing ¡¡71 Kg¡¡ :shock: :shock:

    Slightly after the war, the US Army (If I remember well) used an M-26 “Pershing” as target versus the 128 mm L55 from a captured Jagdtiger (I don’t remember if it was dismantled and fixed in land or if they used the entire Jagdtiger and associated optics). The results were devastating (in both senses): The Pershing was completely penetrated by the glacis at near 2100 metres at first impacting shot. I don’t know exactly were did I read this, If It was in Hunnicutt´s book about Pershing or something similar.


    In other state of things, the 128 mm L61 was the FlaK 40 gun adapted as improvised PaK gun, and only used APC-HE shells in the Sturer Emil. It used fixed ammo, of different length of the PaK 44/80 (which also used separated ammo, with at least 3 different propellant charges for different MVs). It was not used after this in an AFV.


    It had to mount the 128 mm gun PaK44/80, although it is not specified if it would use the standard L55 barrel or the lengthened L66 barrel. I will see if I find something more.

    Best regards :D
     
  3. CharlesBronson

    CharlesBronson Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2005
    Messages:
    3,821
    Likes Received:
    66
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Metalurgic Technician
    Location:
    Cordoba - Argentina
    Any Good ? yes it was good, but I think it was also excesive( too heavy, slow rate of fire ) for the antitank needs of ww2. With an self propelled 88 flak 18, Pak 43 or flak 41 you were pretty much covered against anything on tracks the allies might had.
     

    Attached Files:

    • 01.jpg
      01.jpg
      File size:
      17 KB
      Views:
      135
  4. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2009
    Messages:
    9,760
    Likes Received:
    791
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    retired Firefighter
    Location:
    Central Florida Highlands

    Many armies tended to stay with calibers they already had in use. In addition to simplifying tooling it some times took months if not a couple years to get the internal ballistics right (how much of what type of powder to not only get the desired velocity but to get it in a consistent manner from shot to shot (low standard of deviation) in a variety of weather conditions. Getting shells to perform consistently at long range or flight times for AA shells was also a largely trial and error proposition. Sometimes a small change in the ogive curve could either improve things or cause them to go to pot.
    Being able to base one cannon on an existing one speeded up development considerably even if the breech mechanism was changed or even if the barrel length was changed slightly.

    The 128mm was probably too big but there were a couple of projects to develop 128mm field artillery with greater range than the 15cm howitzer so there may have been some commonality with that.
     
  5. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2008
    Messages:
    7,987
    Likes Received:
    432
    Trophy Points:
    83
    128mm did not have any advantage vs. 8,8-10,5 German cannons if we look at their development. I agree with C. Bronson about the 'overkill' issue here, too.
    German industry was able to produce 'super-Marder' as early as 1939 (not that they needed it bask then, but it was needed in Russia, and it would've been useful in West in 1940) - Pz-III chassis mounting Flak 18 (8,8cm/L56), supplemented later with 10,5cmL63 (or 10,5cm field cannon) on VK3001 chassis.
     
  6. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2008
    Messages:
    10,674
    Likes Received:
    676
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Urban Design/Strategic Studies Tutor
    Location:
    Orange NSW
    128 cm were developed firstly as superheavy AA guns, and in this role they were essential, because the early marks of 88mm simply lacked the performance to be effective above approximately 24000 feet (less if the barrel was worn). I havent the performance of the 128 mm wepapon in AA role, but it could reach very high altitudes, and was accurate
     
  7. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2008
    Messages:
    7,987
    Likes Received:
    432
    Trophy Points:
    83
    As an AA piece, it had merit.
    As an AFV gun, or towed AT gun, it was waste of effort.
     
  8. schwarzpanzer

    schwarzpanzer Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    663
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Hi hartmann,

    150mm?:oops: Sorry, my mistake - at least you knew what I meant!:lol:

    I suppose the 128mm would have advantages over the 150mm, and be enough - though having one single gun might have had developmental, manufacturing and logistical advantages?

    Was there an L66 KwK 44? I've heard of a rumoured L61 before - and the L55 was fitted to the Maus, tough I heard the L61 was intended for it. Also, some Jagdtigers were apparently actually fitted with an L61 - and were identified by the lengthened casemate, that extended out over the engine deck.

    Thanks for the info. That reminds me of the 32pdr vs Panther tests - it was just ripped apart! The Pershings glacis wasn't brilliant though - it even had vertical areas. I wonder how malleable it was though, being cast?

    Thanks.:D Single-piece ammo? Makes me wonder why this wasn't mass produced? Overkill perhaps? Why the KwK 44 should use split-loading ammo is beyond me, if this older gun managed without.:confused: When you say PaK 44/80 - do you mean the barrel was 80 calibres long?

    Thanks, look forward to it, cheers!


    Hi CharlesBronson,

    Yes, that pretty much sums it up - but I was wondering for a 1945-1946 scenario, with IS-3's and T-54s - would previous guns be enough for them?


    Hi Shortround,

    Some nice info there!

    Good point. Could Flak HE shells be used too? I suspect flak rounds would be devastating against infantry too? Perhaps a 128mm shells explosive yield is too low though - what made the ML-20 perform so well do you know btw?

    I can't see why the PaK 36 was brought on the scene - when the Flak 37 on a simpler carriage would have had much better performance (thought that it wasnt needed?).


    Hi tomo,

    It would have been less likely to suffer shatter, when encountering the IS-2s 120mm hull armour, and even 90-100mm turret armour.

    I think it was overkill only untill the IS-2 '44 model came on the scene (slope glacis).

    Would have been good against Matildas. Did they actually go so far as to build one?


    Hi Parsifal,

    What you say makes it seem like an ideal anti-tank gun, but it seems something got lost in translation (sawing the barrel down to L55 for a start). I could see that the extra yield would be very useful for an anti-bomber flak shell.

    I wonder if heavy flak guns were a waste of time? - much better use the crews as anti-tank gunners - and concentrate on more Zerstorer fighters, at the expense of bombing - as Rommel suggested?


    I think that it's main competitor to the 128mm would be an adapted 155mm? - Or an 105mm friring APFSDS? - no the 88mm L71 L100, as I 1st thought?

    Some good info guys, thanks! just like the good old days! :D
     
  9. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2008
    Messages:
    7,987
    Likes Received:
    432
    Trophy Points:
    83
    #9 tomo pauk, Apr 7, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2010
    I was talking about development advantage - the 10,5cm 8,8cm cannons were developed prior WW2.
    Plus, they were much smaller, their platform could have carried more ammo, while those cannons were able to kill anything at great ranges until VE day.
    But certainly the bigger guns have bigger reserves for up coming threats.

    Nope, but they have had 8,8cm Flak mounted at half-tracks used them in France (12 pcs IIRC).

    I just like to talk about hardware :D
     
  10. vanir

    vanir Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    Messages:
    705
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Melbourne
    FlaK-18 to 37 had alt 8km at 9.24kg (FlaK 36 to 37 had changeable barrel sections)
    8.8cm FlaK-41 had alt 14.7km (48,250ft) at 9.4kg (maxim no in service 318 )
    10.5cm FlaK-38 to 39 had alt 12.8km at 15.1kg
    12.8cm FlaK-40 had alt 14.8km at 26kg (max no in service was 570)

    The two proliferant types in forward deployment late in the war would be the 8.8cm FlaK-36 and 37, and the 10.5cm FlaK-38. The 12.8cm was used only within the Reich in mostly static emplacements but is famous for its twin tower mountings near high value targets. The FlaK-41 was prized but few and far between.

    In the anti-tank role the Flak-41 could dispose of any tank at around 2km compared to around 1km for the FlaK-18.

    This is just from my WW2 weapons encyclopedia, I'm not particularly well versed.
     
  11. schwarzpanzer

    schwarzpanzer Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    663
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Hi vanir,

    Don't worry, it's good enough for me! Thanks. :D

    IIRC the KwK36 didn't though (?)

    As a flak gun? The Pak43 was based on a rejected competitor for the Flak 41 competition IIRC?

    I've heard that German proximity shells were pretty poor - rendering the flak guns not so good? - perhaps better to use them as AT guns?

    Apparently the Pak43 (described above) took out an IS-2 heavy tank at 4,600m! (in a Horrnisse or Nashorn).


    Hi tomo,

    Great point, sorry I forgot about that.:oops: When did the 128mm 1st see service? I know I've got the info in my head somewhere...:lol: Maybe the 88mm was lucky that the Soviets ill-advisedly used armour that was hard, at the expense of being brittle - which, as someone on here recently said, should not be relied on to go on forever (when did this change btw? if ever?). I think it was able to deal with any vehicle in the West though, with rare exceptions like the Super Pershing Tortoise. Good point on the ammo though. Yes, I think bigger guns may have been necessary - maybe even 280mm's? - I can start to see the want for the guns on the Ratte now. :lol: Still, 105mm proved to be enough in the Cold War (using better ammo though).

    Ah right. I know about those, I thought you meant a fully-tracked vehicle. Those were still being used in 1944 on the Ost Front btw. Do you have any combat data on them? Were they used in the anti-tank role? Were they intended for that?

    Me too (as if you couldn't tell!:lol:). It seems were in good company here. Does all this tech stuff get on peoples nerves though? :|
     
  12. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2008
    Messages:
    7,987
    Likes Received:
    432
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Guess 128mm fired at enemy in 1941 :?:
    The 8,8 would've enjoyed a healthy performance margin over anything weaker than IS-2 in 2km distance (and vs. IS-2 under 1km without problem) even if Soviets have used better steel for their armor.
    280mm? Why not 380-406 :D

    I was thinking of fully tracked vehicle for 'Super Marder'.

    Well, I do stay away from many topics, and tend to participate in techy ones :) People are rightly pissed off when someone attacks other member ad hominem, not when people discuss (any) stuff.
     
  13. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2007
    Messages:
    3,734
    Likes Received:
    65
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Helsinki
    #13 Juha, Apr 7, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2010
    Hello Schwartzpanzer
    Quote:"Ah right. I know about those, I thought you meant a fully-tracked vehicle. Those were still being used in 1944 on the Ost Front btw. Do you have any combat data on them? Were they used in the anti-tank role? Were they intended for that?"

    Those half-tracks were primary designed as A/T vehicles, that's why they had armoured cabin. They were deployed in France 1940 with PzJgAbt 8 IIRC, with 1. PzD IIRC. The vehicle was based on 12 ton h-t, those 88s used in 44 were on 18ton h-t.

    Juha
     
  14. schwarzpanzer

    schwarzpanzer Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    663
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Hi Juha,

    Those half-tracks were primary designed as A/T vehicles, that's why they had armoured cabin. They were deployed in France 1940 with PzJgAbt 8 IIRC, with 1. PzD IIRC. They were put on 12 ton h-t those 88s used in 44 were on 18ton h-t.

    Thanks for that info. I did wonder about the armoured cabin, but figured I'd made a mistake (protection against infantry, arty or AA attack maybe, or like on the Kayusha, I reasoned). Thanks for the info. It also appeared to me that the elevation wasn't that high?

    BTW a cheapish, fully-built painted model of this vehicle will be made, along with some information on it, does anyone want me to post when it becomes available?

    - this is for the later '44 vehicle btw, does anyone have any pictures of the earlier 12-ton one?


    Hi tomo,

    In the Sturer Emil? Would have been (even more?) pointless back then though, so I can see why it was dropped - though I can't reason why they switched to split-loading?

    I was just thinking about prevention of shatter. Even the T-34/85 had advantages here when vs the 88mm - theoretically, though in practice the 88mm was always more than enough (the APCBC design will have helped there).

    I was taking the 280mm armour of the IS-3 into consideration - and what calibre would be required to prevent shatter (a 280mm projectile could still theoretically shatter btw!).

    Ah right. How about a Nashorn/Hummel -thingy? (forget name).

    Yes, I'm prone to doing that too.:lol:

    I made the mistake of doing it in another Forum, funnily enough, that resulted in a few attacks. :lol: - it meant a few people wanted to throttle me. :lol:
     
  15. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2007
    Messages:
    3,734
    Likes Received:
    65
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Helsinki
    Hello Schwartzepanzer
    the gun was normal FlaK 18 on pedestal mounting, so it probably had usual high elevation, but I don't know how well the chassis could handle high angle firing and without predictor accurate AA fire was impossible a for heavy AA gun.

    Some photos can be find here plus tech specs:

    8.8 cm FlaK 18 (Sf) auf Fgst Zgkw 12t Sd.Kfz. 8
     
  16. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2009
    Messages:
    9,760
    Likes Received:
    791
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    retired Firefighter
    Location:
    Central Florida Highlands
    There is a problem in trying to compare 1950-60 guns and projectiles with with WW II guns and projectiles.

    Some countries Post war had better metallurgy in the gun barrels that allowed higher pressures to be use.

    Propellants got a bit better.

    You had that 10-20 years of extra development time on the projectiles. Granted peace time is slower than war time But the majority AP projectiles at the start of WWII were based on Navel projectiles scaled down and some of them from WW I. Granted people started using trick projectiles fairly quick but post war designers had all the experience of WW II to draw on, no material shortages to speak of, and less pressure to feild SOMETHING,ANYTHING, THIS MONTH and more time to get it RIGHT.

    The British (NATO) 105 L7 was never intended to shoot a full sized normal AP projectile. It was designed from the start to use APDS as it's primary round with HESH as the secondary anti-tank shell. This is important because the the 105 cartridge case is basically a necked up 20pdr (83.4mm) case. The larger bore size allows more area for the propellant to push against which gets the lighter, sub caliber projectile moving faster for the same pressure. It made more efficient use of the propellant than the 83.4 mm bore. However if they had tried to fire a conventional 105 AP round from the barrel it would have had less velocity than the 83,4 mm round. A conventional 105 projectile weighing about 30-34lbs. vs the 20lbs of the 83.4mm. Once you are using APDS you can tailor the weight of the penetrator a bit better.
    Hesh rounds are never fired at full charge and so don't have any pressure problems.

    WWII guns were designed to fire full bore AP rounds, except for the German taper bores. This ment different choices had to be made.
    large WW II guns, 120mm and above almost have to use 2 part ammunition because of the size and weight of the ammo. By the time you get to 120mm you are dealing with 40+to 50lb projectiles and large heavy cartridge cases. combine that with restricted space inside an AFV and two piece ammo was almost mandatory. Modern 120+ guns with their much lighter projectiles, at least AP ones where the demand for high rates of fire would be greatest have much more manageable ammo. And even the British guns still used 2 piece ammo for quite some time.
     
  17. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2008
    Messages:
    7,987
    Likes Received:
    432
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Shortround6 covered that switch :)

    Think 105mm would've overcome the danger of the projectile being shattered, while allowing twice the ammo count, half of gun weight, reduction of crew (though not issue if you field 2 pieces of such an AFVs), ticker armor for same weight - while still commanding the battlefield.

    You were talking about 280mm gun - check your post... :)

    Nashorn/Hornisse was decent system; the Pz-III/8,8cm Flak combo would've been available 3 years prior, at 3/4 of price, while still having the considerable edge vs. armor of T-34 KV-1/2.
     
  18. hartmann

    hartmann Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2005
    Messages:
    70
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Occupation:
    Student
    Location:
    Spain
    Hello to all :D

    No problem, my friend (If you know how many times I have made mistakes). Hehehe :oops: :thumbup:.

    It was experimental. They tried to extract all the maximum performance without too many changes I suppose (If I remember well, Soren posted sometime ago a scale model of the E-100 with this special enlarged barrel gun)

    As it has been discussed previously, the only 128 mm L61 gun available was the FlaK40 gun adapted to AT role in the Sturer Emil.

    I don’t know about this. I will check for info :confused:.

    It’s nothing, my friend :thumbup:.

    Really, it is very simple. FlaK guns need to reload as fast as possible, so If they had a rammer to help the gunners, It is far faster to reload a single piece ammo than a split one.
    All the heavy German Flak guns, both Luftwaffe/Heer, and Kriegsmarine, had single piece ammo, from 105 to 128 mm (also the rare and completely experimental FlaK guns of 150 mm FlaK Gerät 50 and 60, which were semiautomatic charged).

    It was mass produced, but only in the form of FlaK gun. Which is very sad :( .


    It was more problems of internal ergonomics (like the 122 mm Soviet gun) and lack of pneumatic rammers than other things (It could be very heavy work for the gunners) as pointed Shortround.

    Oh, no. My fault :oops: :oops:.

    The Rheinmetall-Krupp family of guns, designated commonly as “PaK44” were designated also as “Panzer Jäger Kanone 80", but the barrel length was the same, 55 (or 66 in extended barrel) calibres. I should have been clearer.

    Hope this helps :thumbup:
     
  19. vanir

    vanir Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    Messages:
    705
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Melbourne
    #19 vanir, Apr 9, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2010
    I don't know about that but also I don't really know what I'm talking about myself, I should think the designation suggests you could change the breech section in a full tear down maintenance routine, assuming a spare was handy. This is the part which would be changed over in the FlaK-36, but this is also assuming the KwK36 designation has any relationship to the FlaK36. There is also however the consideration a KwK just doesn't have the fire volume requirements of a FlaK, the life of a barrel might equal the expected lifespan of a tank.

    As a dual role weapon, all 8.8cm always had the dual role of AT support and front line magazines were equipped for this.
    Schwerer PaK are more like turning them into a field weapon, arguable in terms of necessity with anything bigger than the 8.8cm imho, this was how the Russians got into trouble in that last ditch defence at the Oder (trying to bring up heavy AT support over marshy ground in the face of concentrated FlaK/PaK fire from a hilltop).
    The FlaK-41 was probably unsuitable for this due to its highly complicated sighting system and extremely high maintenance design. It also needed to be close to logistical stores because if a batch of ammunition didn't have the highest quality brass machining the cases would jam. In the end the type was restricted for use within the Reich for reasons of technical issues but when it was working the gun had brilliant performance. Again so according to my encyclopedia.

    In the AA role it had a rate of 25rds/min which was remarkable for its 14.7km ceiling. And as mentioned earlier it doubled the lethal AT range of earlier 8.8cm, and in common with them could be pressed into field gun service which was Rommel's favourite (and only) trick. By the time yanks got on the European continent they called anything and everything they saw "Eighty-eights," it's kind of annoying actually. Clear photographs of 10.5cm FH and 15cm sFH are marked "the 88's we spiked at Normandy"

    I haven't heard anything bad about German proximity fuses, afaik they were good but again I'm not particularly well versed. You could be referring to the automatic fusing system specifically on the PaK-41, which if it was having technical issues on a particular day that would be one of them.


    Hi Juha,

    only one vehicle of the SdKfz8 (which is a 15t chassis, 12t is its design tow capacity in normal service) was ever converted to carry any kind of weapon, which is the vehicle you mention using a FlaK-18 and was service tested in France during 1940. According to my encyclopedia no further evidence of any other examples aside from a single vehicle can be found (ostensibly it is possible, but unconfirmed with evidence).

    It is the same story with the SdKfz9 which was modified to carry a FlaK-37 during 1943 with fold down platform, stabiliser arms and an armoured cabin, but this one the book is adamant is only the one of these ever converted and no other weapon carriers were made from the chassis.
    You're right about this one being an 18t chassis, which coincidentally also has an 18t tow capacity as an artillery tractor (recovery conversions were capable of doubling or tripling up and moving a Tiger though, tow capacity was frequently exceeded by German tractors and it's pretty likely you'll see a SdKfz9/2 running around towing damaged PzIVJ around Germany...yup, one book and I'm an expert just kidding).
     
  20. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2007
    Messages:
    3,734
    Likes Received:
    65
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Helsinki
    #20 Juha, Apr 10, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2010
    Hello Vanir
    Chamberlain, Hilary Jentz: Encyclopedia of German Tanks… says ten were made on the chassis of Zgkw 12t in 1939 as heavy A/T vehicles, and yes, German designation means tow capacity, and in 1940 15 were made on the chassis of Zgkw18t, these had much bigger armoured cabin and were designed as dual purpose. A/T and AA, vehicles. It seems that Chamberlain et al are right because in the unit history of 1.PzD, there is the Kriegsgliederung for 1. PzD on 9. May 1940 where one sees that 1./(unclear digit) Pz.Jäg. 8 with 6 SP heavy A/T guns was attached to PzJgAbt 37. Also Niehorster’s GERMAN WWII ORGANIZATIONAL SERIES Vol 2/II (10 May 1940) knows 1./PzJgAbt 8 with 6 8,8cm Flak 18(Sf) auf Zgkw 12t, even if he allocates it to 2. PzD, which is probably in error because of the above-mentioned Kriegsgliederung and because I didn’t find any mentions of these vehicles in the unit history of PzJgAbt 38, which was the A/T battalion of 2. PzD.

    Juha
     
Loading...

Share This Page