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The World War II Photo of the Week
for 7 April 2003

PAK 40

Deadly Package ...

   Photo from unidentified location shows an SS crew manning a Pak 40 75 mm anti-tank gun, the standard anti-tank gun used by German forces in WW II (Pak denoted Panzerabwehrkanone). Rheinmetall-Borsig AG produced 23,303 Pak 40s from 1942 to 1945. As with all German anti-tank guns it could fire high-explosive rounds and was used as a field gun in divisional artillery in large units. (An experienced crew could fire 14 rounds per minute.) The barrel was 3,450 mm (11.5 ft.) in length and had a semiautomatic horizontally sliding breech block. Like the 5-cm gun, it had a split trail and a double artillery shield 4 mm thick. Its maximum armor-piercing capability was 91 mm (3.6 in.) of steel at 500 meters (550 yds.) and 80 mm (3.2 in.) at 1,000 meters (1,100 yds.). With improved ammunition, these numbers could be increased to 108 or 87 mm (4.3 or 3.5 in.), respectively. With hollow-charge projectiles, 90 mm (3.6 in.) of armor could be penetrated at any combat distance to a maximum of 1,800 meters (1,980 yd.). Its weight (1,425 kg) was a drawback as it was difficult to manhandle through mud, snow, or rough terrain, prevalent during the campaign in Russia.

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