What if the PAW 600 introduced in 1939?

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by wiking85, Jan 31, 2015.

  1. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    8 cm PAW 600 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Historically the Germans started developing a cheap alternative to the existing PAK weapons based on the HEAT shells. What if they had started earlier so that the PAW 600 was ready in 1939 and deployed en masse? How would having a cheap, light, more effective PAK weapon affected the course of war, specifically the Eastern Front?
     
  2. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    For Eastern front, I'd say the firing range (750 m) is too short. Something like twice that range is needed. Where it might come handy is as a replacement for the 81mm mortar, that would also be capable to do anti tank work.
    One still need to have a truck or half-track to haul it, crew and ammunition, a cheap weapon solves only a small part of the equation.
    The greater proliferation of HEAT charges will mean the earlier introduction of screens, that would prematurely detonate the fuse thus rendering the penetration insufficient. Soviet attached bed mattresses on their tanks once aware of the 'Faustniks'.
    Positioning such weapons close to the front line also means they are a suitable target for enemy infantry and mortar fire.

    Where it might come handy would the supplying other Axis armed forces, like Romania, Finland or Italy, who either were fighting on a more restricted terrain, or were otherwise short of suitable AT weaponry, or both. In the bocage country they would've posed a threat. Also equipping the own Paratroopers, in case those are more widely used than historically.
     
  3. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    #3 wiking85, Jan 31, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2015
    It was much cheaper than standard AT guns and a longer range 105mm version was developed too. It could be pulled by a team of horses, not needing mechanical propulsion, while being light enough to move by a team of men into a position, which its very minor recoil and smoke signature made identifying the firing location very difficult of camouflaged, more than a standard AT gun. If encountering spaced armor their dual ability to fire HE and HEAT would mean in a PAK Front situation they could hit the target with HE to knock off the springs or whatever and then hit them with HEAT. IIRC historically the spring solution, while better than nothing, was not particularly effective at stopping HEAT, otherwise HEAT shells wouldn't have been a problem by 1944 and postwar. As far as paras go this would be an ideal solution compared to the historical one of recoilless rifles. Also with the high-low pressure idea developed so early perhaps we'd see a 40mm grenade launcher for infantry that later resulted in the M79.

    Slat armor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  4. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    The horses also need to pull the ammo, while the gunners will need to walk all the time. A wounded horse is quickly a dead horse in time of war. The AT gun that is towed by horse teams will not be able to change the ww2.
    The gun with a range of 750m, situated 400-500m behind own infantry will not provide meaningful protection, and if it is with the infantry it will be spotted easily. After the ww2, the countries went with thicker armor to defeat the HEAT (and other shell types).

    I've acknowledged the ease of manhandling, when stating the restricted terrain suitability. Once in the open, it is brute power what counts.
    The earlier grenade launcher might've come in handy, though. I'd like the 'pump action' type, with vertical magazine :)

    Re. slat efficiency - looking it by 'glass half full' principle, it means half of the missiles will be defeated. Not bad at all.
     
  5. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    #5 wiking85, Jan 31, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2015
    Until the 75mm PAK the German AT guns couldn't penetrate Allied and Soviet armor above 500m. So the 750 meter kill range is an improvement up until the PAK 40, which could not be moved except with a truck or halftrack and could not be manhandled into position. Even then it was much more expensive and all AT guns were kept within 1-2 km from the front. The PAW600 could handle anything the Allies had unlike the PAK 40, which by 1944 was having issues with the heavier Allied armor. IIRC most AT guns didn't open up beyond 1km and the ideal combat range was around 750m for all AT guns, even the 88mm, despite it being able to kill further out.
    German Antitank Units and Tactics, WWII Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 10, October 22, 1942 (Lone Sentry)
    Notes on German Antitank Tactics, Intelligence Bulletin, February 1944 (Lone Sentry)
    https://books.google.com/books?id=K...ge&q=german antitank gun attack range&f=false

    https://books.google.com/books?id=O...e&q=german anti tank gun attack range&f=false
     
  6. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    The reports are dated as of February and October 1944. That would imply that Italy and France are in question. I've acknowledged that PAW 600 would be a workable weapon there.

    True.
    However, vast majority of Allied tanks in 1941 was well within the capabilities of the 5 cm, at ranges well above 1000 m. For the PAW 600 to work, we also need to have the 1944/45 quality of HEAT round available in 1940/41.

    Again true. Again: however, the truck or halftrack solve the problem of moving ammo and crews across the territory of Soviet Union (or elsewhere), the horse teams don't. We might recall that not only the Pak 40 have had better range, it's MV was much greater that also meant it was able to hit the distant, small moving target far better than the low MV PAW 600.

    Granted, the PAW 600 would be able to handle the Allied tanks, following the prerequisites: the area of interest is not shelled by artillery and/or aircraft, Allied tanks want to play the game every time (coming too close slow enough), not just the PAW 600 but also the shell from 1944/45 is available earlier, tanks are not outfitted with skirts/aprons/logs/sand bags, shell does not hit tool/lamp/exhaust muff first, fuse works on sloped surfaces, .
    The pak 40 is viable even without most of those prerequisites.
     
  7. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    #7 wiking85, Jan 31, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2015
    The specific section I took it from was in reference to the Eastern Front.


    Sure, but most firing happened below 1000m on all fronts. At 1km or above the chance of a miss is much higher, even with the PAK38. In North Africa they didn't engage beyond 1km if possible, with the 88mm being an exception.
    Even assuming the first HEAT rounds the PAW uses aren't as good as later versions (the historical 1940 HEAT round still penetrated 90mm of armor), they would be effective and upgrade as better versions became available and enemy armor protecting increased.


    Edit:
    Originally I said AT guns were horse drawn except for the mobile divisions and 75mm gun; I was wrong. It turns out the only part of an infantry division that was totally motorized was the AT guns. So these guns too would be truck borne, but easier to move and could carry more rounds per gun due to the lighter ammo due to lower propellent needed.

    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PR9vqJZkmJY

    Minute 6:38 to see the flash:

    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7fhBm1ouSU

    Difficultly move it:

    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4X-yIkXX3fA

    The range aspect was actually desireable even in 1944-45 when the plan was to turn the PAW out like hot cakes and replace all other PAK weapons.


    I take your point about the range and velocity advantages, but doctrine was to open up at shorter ranges to guarantee a hit, which negates those relative advantages. The accuracy of the PAW 600 was not affected by velocity below 750 meters.


    I would disagree that the PAK 40 is not affected by the above. In fact the PAW is easier to conceal because its smaller and can be moved much more easily by men instead of a vehicle if needed, which the PAK 40 cannot. Also losing it is far less costly due to being less than half the price and cost in materials and labor. A PAW Front could handle the improvised armor with HE first (potentially by different guns), which the PAK didn't have as much an ability to switch between, while the low signature compared to the PAK 40 made it much easier to keep hidden when firing multiple shots. AFAIK HEAT pretty much ignored the deflection of sloped armor
     
  8. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Requires a larger then historical 1930s German commitment to expansion of Heer industrial base.

    If 1930s Germany gets serious about army weapons production then why not just mass produce the StuG IIIG? Give every Heer infantry division an assault gun battalion for direct support. That would make Heer infantry divisions considerably more powerful and mostly solve the anti tank problem.
     
  9. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    Well the PAW was far cheaper, didn't require nearly as much fuel to transport, and Germany couldn't support that level of mechanization.
     
  10. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    1930s German army consisted of only about 36 combat divisions.
    18 StuGs per division (i.e. one battalion). 648 StuG to equip 36 battalions. Let's round up to 1,000 which allows spares, training and perhaps some exports.

    RM 65 million. Nibelungenwerk Tank Plant. Historical Alkett StuG plant in Berlin was probably more like RM 50 million. So this allows plenty of room for cost over runs.
    .....320 vehicles per month. Up to 70 tons.
    RM 82 million. 1,000 StuG IIIG @ RM 82,000 each.
    ..... RM 147 million total for tank plant plus 1,000 StuG IIIG.

    For comparison purposes.
    RM 250 million. New Wilhelmshaven locks (IV. Entrance)
    RM 200 to 250 million. German Stadium, Nuremberg.
    RM 197 million. KM Bismarck. Germany built two such battleships.
    RM 90 million. New Reich Chancellery.
    RM 86 million. KM Hipper. Germany built five such cruisers.


    You will have a tough time convincing me 1930s Germany couldn't afford a modern tank plant plus 1,000 vehicles. This is about national priorities. 1930s Luftwaffe and German Navy received priority for new equipment. Heer received crumbs. Amazingly enough those priorities didn't change until fall of 1941 when Hitler finally agreed to let Heer procure medium tanks. One gets the impression Hitler didn't like and/or trust the Heer so he intentionally kept them weak.
     
  11. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    What the PAW 600, if introduced earlier, might do is to replace the infantry guns, while not putting too much pressure to acquire the 5 cm Pak. The elevation should be greater, so the mortar shells can be lobbed at high angles.

    The Pak 40 was fully able to fire HE, it used less propellant to do that than when firing AP.

    The HEAT rounds depended on reliable fusing. It took a while to introduce piezoelectric fuses, and mechanical fuses were not that reliable when striking on a sloped surface. However, even the HEAT shells with un-obtainable fuses don't solve the problem of fusing on skirt/apron/sand bags.
    The performance of HEAT round is still depending whether it need to go against, say, a 100 mm plate that hits on 0 deg obliquity, or against the same plate that is sloped at certain angle. At 45 deg, it represents 141 mm that need to be pierced. Granted, most of the tanks were outfitted with thinner and less well sloped armor than 100 mm @ 45 deg, but the HEAT technology also have had a long way to go.

    Total mechanization of German army was probably out of the question, even with some dubious projects cancelled. Not going against Soviets was probably a cheaper and more efficient option.
     
  12. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    The E-5, basically Pz I chassis, could mount the PAW 600 in a Hetzer-like TD layout. The Pz II probably would have offered better room for the crew, but basically the much cheaper and lighter existing chassis could use this weapon and give a SP AT set of weapons to the infantry. Why use up the Pz III chassis which were in short supply (never mind that the StuG was not developed until 1940) when cheaper ones were available?
     
  13. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The PAW 600 was an interesting weapon and could have been rather useful, but it was not quite the wonder weapon that some people are making it out to be.

    The 750 meter range is the range at which 50% of the rounds fired would land on a 1 meter square target that was not moving and with no cross wind. It also needs either a range finder or a very good estimate to hit a tank with the first round at that distance. Point blank range is much closer to 600meters. Point blank being the range at which the projectile will neither rise above nor drop below the target. The 5cm PaK 38 had a point blank range of around 900 meters. I have no figures but would guess that a rifled gun would be more accurate than a smooth bore with fin stabilized ammo (remember this is 1939-40, not the 1990s). Higher velocity also means you need to lead a moving target less.
    The goal of an anti tank gun is not to simply put a hole in the armor but to destroy what is behind the armor. Shaped charge projectiles need a certain amount of over penetration in order to ensure enough target effect (damage) behind the armor.
    Conventional shells pretty much penetrate or don't. If the 5cm round penetrates you not only have the projectile but a fair amount of the material that used to occupy the the 50mm dia hole flying around inside the tank. Shaped charges tend make tapering holes in thick armor and near their limit of penetration the hole can be rather small and not all the material from the hole gets blown into the tank.
    I am not saying the 5cm pak 38 is deadlier than the PAW 600 but the difference is somewhat less than a simple comparison of the armor penetrations would suggest. The 5cm pak 38 is easier to hit with out to much farther ranges.
     
  14. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but most PAK engagements happened under 600 meters anyway due to doctrine, but also armor penetration issues. Unless it was a very powerful tank gun like the 75mm L70 or 88mm gun engagement was expected until 1km, more like 500m, so the short range of the PAW shouldn't be that big of an issue based on doctrine.
     
  15. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    That's for towed weapons which were essentially used only if SP AT guns weren't available.

    German armored vehicles armed with 7.5cm/48 cannon routinely killed enemy tanks @ 1,000 meters. German armored vehicles armed with 7.5cm/70 and 8.8cm/56 cannon routinely killed enemy tanks @ 1,500 meters. That was by far the preferred way to kill enemy tanks.
     
  16. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    A lot depends on the location (Theater) and year. North Africa or Russian Steppes in 1941 vs France or Eastern Europe in 1944.
    British Cruiser tanks (and M3 Stuarts) as targets or KV tanks.

    Some even depends on the ammo as the AP40 had a higher dispersion at long ranges and depending on the gun crossed over and failed to penetrate as well at "longer" ranges. This cross over varied from a bit over 500m for the Pak 37 to around 1500m for the 7.5 Pak 40. With only a few AP40 rounds per gun using them at long range (chance of first round hit being small) was wasteful.
    Revealing AT position too soon was also a bad tactic but again, terrain and vegetation/buildings could alter the basic tactic.

    Limiting the guns performance based on average is never a real good idea. You can get a 500 meter average by knocking out one tank at 100 meters and one at 900 meters. If your gun is limited to 600-750m range there are times you will be at a disadvantage.

    Drawings of PAW 600 ammo
    8cm-smooth-bore-ammunition.jpg
    Weight of projectiles is 2.70kg for the shaped charge and 4.46Kg for the HE round. Neither is going to hold onto it's velocity as well as a conventional round that weighs around 5.8-6.8kg with a better shape and slightly smaller diameter.

    The PAW 600 might have been a very good gun for close in fighting but it's limited ability at long range would have been a handicap in the desert or some areas of Russia.
     
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