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German hollow charge weapons: dates of introduction

Discussion in 'Information Requests' started by Andrew Phillpotts, Jul 4, 2001.

  1. Andrew Phillpotts

    Andrew Phillpotts recruit

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    Does anyone know the dates that the following German hollow charge ammunition rounds (HEAT projectiles) and weapons entered service?

    The GR (Granate Hohlladung --hollow charge shell) 38 H1, H1/A, H1/B and H1/C were made for guns such as the 7.5 cm Sturmkanone KwK 37 L/24 mounted on early war Panzer IVs and late model Panzer IIIs (such as the M and N) and the 7.5 cm Infanterie Geschutz 37.

    The GR 39 H1/A-C rounds were made for guns like the 10.5 cm le. F.H.18 series.

    One of my sources says that the Gr.38 H1 entered service in June 1940. As for the service dates of later patterns of German HEAT projectiles, none of my sources mention when they were introduced.

    Ian Hogg in German Artillery of World War Two says this of the original Gr.38 H1 design: "…few were used since it was soon replaced by the improved model H1/A.”

    I wonder if the late model Gr.38 H1/C was used very late in the war or whether it came out in late 1942, or in early 1943 when Panzer III Ms and Ns armed with 7.5 cm guns came into service [the 7.5 cm Kwk 37 L/24 gun had a superior armour penetration performance (when using HEAT ammo) than the 5 cm L/60 gun].

    ***

    I also wondered when the HEAT rounds for the 3.7 cm and 5 cm antitank guns went into service.

    The Steil.Gr. projectiles for the 3.7cm Pak 35/36 and the 5cm Pak 38 were developed to extend the useful life of the guns by providing them with a hollow charge (HEAT) projectile. As they are designated Steil.Gr.41 and Steil.Gr.42, I expect that they were developed in 1941 and 1942, respectively.

    I also wondered when the Raketenwerfer 43 (or Püppchen) was developed and when it went into service. This was essentially a weapon like the Raketenpanzerbüchse 43/54 series of weapons (the "Panzerschreck"-- similar to the US bazooka), except that it was mounted on a wheeled carriage. Does anyone know the date it entered service and how many were built?

    ***

    Finally I was also interested in the Panzerhandmine/Handhafthohlladung antitank magnetic mine series. Does anyone know when these weapons went into service?

    These weapons were hollow charge grenades that were placed on a tank in close combat (three magnets kept it on the tank). I've seen one source saying that it was first used on the Russian front in May 1942. But I also have read combat report in which a Fallschirmjäger of the 3 Kompanie, Fallschirm-Pionier Bataillon (Fleiger Division 7) knocked out a 26.3 ton tank with one of these weapons on the date 22 October 1941. (The author describes the weapon as a 3 kg charge with magnets, so I thought this must be an early version of the weapon.)

    I've read of small early trials with Panzerhandminen with shaped charges of 300 and 400g. The first usable weapon, the Panzerhandmine 3 or PzHM 3, had a bottle-like shape with a length of 27cm and a diameter of 14cm. Three magnets were to fix the weapon to steel armor of the tank. The weapon was attached onto the target vehicle by the infantryman who was attacking the tank. It had a shaped charge of 1 kg capable of penetrating 130mm of armor. The successor model, the Panzerhandmine 4, had a bigger charge and had stronger magnets and an improved penetration performance of 150mm.

    Acording to one of my sources, first use of the PzHM 3 was in the battles in the Wolchow sector in Russia in May 1942. As I said however, my other source mentions its use in October 1941.

    The Panzerhandmine was succeeded by the larger Hafthohlladung which was basically an improved Panzerhandmine. The Hafthohlladung 3 had a weight of 3 kg, and had a shaped charge of 1.5kg that could penetrate at 140mm of armour. Later a 3.5 kg version (with a 1.7 kg charge) was introduced with even better tank killing ability.

    Does anyone have any idea when these weapons were introduced?

    Thanks,

    Andy
     

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