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WW2 guns that could destroy modern tanks.


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#1 Revue

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 03:15 PM

I don't mean the railway guns or the very heavy artillery but something that is mobile.

I can think of only this.
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#2 Wikzardo

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 03:47 PM

i think eveything that causes a boom can pick it up with modern tanks.
The Technology has not change that much in the years... I think a Panzer IV with a good driver can still be more efficient than an average US Tankdriver with his Abrams.

#3 formerjughead

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 04:22 PM

i think eveything that causes a boom can pick it up with modern tanks.
The Technology has not change that much in the years... I think a Panzer IV with a good driver can still be more efficient than an average US Tankdriver with his Abrams.


Saddam Huessein thought that during the first Gulf War, how'd that work out for him?
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#4 lwd

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 04:32 PM

In answer to the original questoin. Most artillery could especially if equipped with modern ammo. However even a 20mm with WWII ammo if it gets a hit in the correct spot has a chance.

... The Technology has not change that much in the years...

There has been considerable change in the technology of anti tank weapons. A TOW or a Javelin is a long way from a bazooka. A smooth bore 120mm fireing DU sabot rounds is a long way from a WWII vintage 75mm gun.

I think a Panzer IV with a good driver can still be more efficient than an average US Tankdriver with his Abrams.

Complete BS. Most US Tankdrivers are good or better. Consider the amount of time they have training and the quality of the training. Of course it takes more than just a driver to make an effective tank. It takes the rest of the crew and the hardware as well. Given todays hardware and training I'd wager on the average Abrams crew in an Abrams over even the best of WWII crews and tanks. I suppose you could come up with a scenario that was unbalanced enough to give them a chance but hardly more than that.

#5 Wikzardo

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 04:39 PM

Ok, I see, I'm not a Tank Expert and I see I was wrong. I always learn more and more here.

Edited by Wikzardo, 15 September 2010 - 04:42 PM.
While I was writing, another post came, which answered all I wanted to know.


#6 Stitchy

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 06:39 PM

I'm assuming you mean against the frontal armor of a modern MBT, and the short answer is, no, there aren't really any WWII tank cannons that could penetrate a modern MBT (with the possible exception of the 128mm PaK 44 L/55); armor protection these days is measured in terms of "Rolled Homogeneous Armour equivalency", or RHAe, and some of the measurements for modern armor are off the scale. For instance, the RHA of a King Tiger circa 1945 (probably the most heavily armored tank of WWII) was approximately 180 (front of the turret); the RHAe for an M1A2 SEP Abrams is almost 1500 (front of turret with DU armor). So, you can see modern MBT's have almost 10 times the armor protection of even the most heavily armored WWII tank. Even at point bank range, the most powerful anti-tank gun of WWII (the above-mentioned PaK 44) could only penetrate 200mm of armor, not 1500. You would probably have to get a side or rear shot at an M1 to get penetration, even with the PaK 44.

Here are a couple of good websites with armor & penetration info:

Tank Protection Levels

Guns vs Armour 1939 to 1945
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#7 Triple C

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 09:08 PM

To put things in perspective, a Bradley or BMP-3 can easily kill Tiger tanks with their automatic cannon. Modern MBTs have composite armor that WWII weaponry could not cope with. Their gun and fire control system, able to hit targets regularly at 2-3 km, far exceeded anything from WWII. The only effective weapons, like massive anti-tank guns, were immobile and wouldn't have much practical value in combating MBTs.

The best Western tanks nowadays have 1,000mm RHAe against KE munitions and 1,500 against HEAT rounds frontally. Man with Panzerfaust or mines would probably be more useful, they make smaller targets.

#8 Erich

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 09:13 PM

how about aircraft cannon like the Mk103, hits in the right spot .....ouch
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#9 CrazyD

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 01:30 PM

how about aircraft cannon like the Mk103, hits in the right spot .....ouch


I would imagine the the top deck armor on modern tanks would be maybe the only place a WW2-era gun would have a chance of any penetration- which would make Erich's idea about aircraft mounted cannons likely the only possible one.

As others have noted... the armor on modern tanks vs. WW2 tanks just isn't in the same league, by a long shot.

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#10 lwd

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 02:05 PM

The rear and to a lesser extent the flank armor on modern tanks isn't all thta thick at least in some cases. Of course this brings to question exactly what vehicles are consdiered "modern tanks". If you talk frontal penetration the WWII guns would indeed have a hard time. Flank, rear, top, or belly and it becomes possible. And again are we talking just WWII guns or WW guns and ammo? In the former case a 105 might have a pretty good chance against some "modern" tanks depending.

#11 m kenny

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 03:26 PM

This question pops up a lot and the driving force behind it is the belief that an 8.8cm was so good that even today it is potent.
I think using the Tiger image in the first post (even though it is armed with a rocket and not a gun) gives the game away.

#12 formerjughead

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 05:34 PM

I would imagine the the top deck armor on modern tanks would be maybe the only place a WW2-era gun would have a chance of any penetration- which would make Erich's idea about aircraft mounted cannons likely the only possible one.

As others have noted... the armor on modern tanks vs. WW2 tanks just isn't in the same league, by a long shot.

:cheers:


Depends if you are trying to go for a "Mobility Kill" or a "Total Kill". Without tracks tanks are just another pill box.

#13 TiredOldSoldier

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 05:52 PM

The kinetic energy of some WW2 guns like the German 128 or the Soviet 122 is pretty impressive, while neither is likely to pentreate a modern MBT frontal armour a "mission kill" is not ulikely as they will knock it around pretty bad.

The derivatives of the Soviet 122 and 100mm are still in lmited use today though the tanks that mount them are no longer considered first line.

#14 CrazyD

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 05:56 PM

Depends if you are trying to go for a "Mobility Kill" or a "Total Kill". Without tracks tanks are just another pill box.


True- and I would think that even a WW2-era gun could likely damage the tracks on a modern tank enough to immobilize it. In that case, maybe even some of the smaller WW2 cannons/AA guns/etc. could score some significant damage there.

Would take a very good/lucky shot though!

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#15 formerjughead

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 06:07 PM

True- and I would think that even a WW2-era gun could likely damage the tracks on a modern tank enough to immobilize it. In that case, maybe even some of the smaller WW2 cannons/AA guns/etc. could score some significant damage there.

Would take a very good/lucky shot though!

:cheers:


The trick would actually be getting close enough to get a shot. The Abrams weapon system is such that if the tank even gets a hunch that someone is looking at it a bell goes and the computer creates a firing solution.

Now if you had a bunch of tanks and could preoccupy a solitary Abrams, by allowing them to destroy all your other tanks, you might have a chance at getting a round off.

Aside from that the only way would be through the use of mines or hope that the Abrams threw a tread while it rolled over the hull of your burning tank.

#16 TiredOldSoldier

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 06:22 PM

The trick would actually be getting close enough to get a shot. The Abrams weapon system is such that if the tank even gets a hunch that someone is looking at it a bell goes and the computer creates a firing solution.

Now if you had a bunch of tanks and could preoccupy a solitary Abrams, by allowing them to destroy all your other tanks, you might have a chance at getting a round off.

Aside from that the only way would be through the use of mines or hope that the Abrams threw a tread while it rolled over the hull of your burning tank.


WW2 aiming systems are completely passive, against a stationary enemy in ambush position there'se nothing for the sensors of the M1 to detect before the first shell is fired, and if the M1 is hit by a 122 or 128 there is a good chance the sensors are no longer going to work. Flight time for high velocity rounds is a few seconds, so you are probably going to get hit before getting your shot off except at very long range where the WW2 weapom accuracy would be poor anyway, the M1 would probably survive but it's capabilities would be heavily degraded.

#17 lwd

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 06:32 PM

In response to formerjughead. I think I could come up with a number of examples using rather pathological terreign that would also give the WWII tank/AT gun a chance.

WW2 aiming systems are completely passive, against a stationary enemy in ambush position there'se nothing for the sensors of the M1 to detect before the first shell is fired, and if the M1 is hit by a 122 or 128 there is a good chance the sensors are no longer going to work.

A number of problems with this.
1) The IR signature of a tank is different from most surrounding terreing.
2) Hitting an M2 moving at any where near full speed with a WWII gun is non trivial.
3) During ODS M1's took hits from 125mm guns and didn't notice it until after the battle was over.

Flight time for high velocity rounds is a few seconds, so you are probably going to get hit before getting your shot off except at very long range where the WW2 weapom accuracy would be poor anyway, the M1 would probably survive but it's capabilities would be heavily degraded.

If the M1 is in view of the WWII tank for any length of time there's a good chance it will get picked up by the M1's thermals. If not it's basically a snap shot which doesn't have all that good of chance of hitting. The M1 on the other hand can return fire while on the move with a very good chance of hitting. In it's frontal aspect an M1 (or Leopard or Chieftan or Merkava or LeClerc) has a very good chance of simply shrugging off a hit from just about any WWII tank. Now if it's a 155 that's another matter.

#18 CrazyD

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 07:03 PM

I'd think if we're actually talking about a combat situation, this whole topic is a non-starter. The technology gap is just too huge.

For me, I was thinking of this in a purely theoretical situation- essentially a laboratory firing range. If we could set up a WW2 gun, aim it at the Abrams, and fire in a static situation, would any damage occur.

Aside from a WW2-era gun- I'd think one might have more luck in terms of causing damage with something like a bazooka or panzerfaust- a weapon using a shaped-charge warhead. As long as the hit wasn't on a section of explosive-reactive armor (which would entirely deflect the shaped-charge blast), some significant damage could be caused.

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#19 T. A. Gardner

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 07:40 PM

In terms of WW 2 era guns:

The Soviet 100/60 Model 1944 was used more or less unchanged through the 1970's as a division antitank gun. It was the main armament of the T 54/55. With APDS and HEAT it was up until the latest generation of composite armored tanks a more than capable tank killer.

The German 88/71 and 128/55 are two more WW 2 era antitank guns capable of dealing with modern MBTs at least up through the end of the 70's (ie pre cobbham / composite armor). Either with APDS would have drilled a T 64, M60, Cheiftain or, other MBT of that era out to 1500 meters and beyond.

Of course, none of these weapons would be much use on a fluid, mobile battlefield. They are all large, heavy and, difficult to conceal. But, they could have proven useful in certain defensive situations where their emplacement and concealment would have allowed them to engage a modern tank just as their smaller counterparts did in WW 2.


Now, with the current generation of tanks using reactive and composite armor things change. These weapons would be largely obsolete. They cannot fire a powerful enough kinetic energy round, even if issued a modern APFSDS and such, nor will they fire a HEAT round that can do the necessary damage. For the later, missiles often with smart features like pop up attack on the top of the target do the job cheaper and more surely than a gun. For the former, large caliber smoothbores simply completely out perform the WW 2 era rifled guns.

Artillery is still dangerous simply because something firing a 95 lbs + HE common round can demolish the running gear of any tank in existance, concuss the living daylights out of the crew with a direct hit or, even severly damage the heaviest armored tank through simple shock and fragmentation damage.
Most larger WW 2 artillery say 105mm and up using HEAT ammunition likewise would be capable of taking on a modern MBT. Larger guns of 150mm or so could also likely do significant damage with straight heavy wall HE (aka Common) rounds. Just the sheer mass and explosive power of such rounds could severly damage or kill most tanks.
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#20 Stitchy

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 10:56 PM

Either with APDS would have drilled a T 64, M60, Cheiftain or, other MBT of that era out to 1500 meters and beyond.


Especially with the tungsten-cored APCR Panzerkopfgranate 40.
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#21 lwd

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 01:11 PM

... Aside from a WW2-era gun- I'd think one might have more luck in terms of causing damage with something like a bazooka or panzerfaust- a weapon using a shaped-charge warhead. As long as the hit wasn't on a section of explosive-reactive armor (which would entirely deflect the shaped-charge blast), some significant damage could be caused....

Actually composite armor is designed for increase performance vs HEAT look at the RHA figures posted earlier and note that the RHA equivalant for HEAT is substantially higher than KE.

One note is that most penetration data is for a single hit. Multiple hits can penetrate armor that a single hit can't. Then there's the damage to stuff outside the armor. I remember seeing a picture and a description of a T-72 that was used as a test target for a medium caliber AA gun firing a three part ammo. No penetration but on the side that was targeted it was pretty much scrubbed down to bare metal. Vission blocks crazed to unuseable, sensors gone, arials gone, suspension shot to pieces, road wheels destroyted, track in pieces, etc.

#22 CrazyD

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 01:49 PM

Actually composite armor is designed for increase performance vs HEAT look at the RHA figures posted earlier and note that the RHA equivalant for HEAT is substantially higher than KE.


Doh! Should have read that more closely. Shows how much (not very!) I know about modern armor!

Seems I should stick with my Tigers and whatnot!

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#23 Revue

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 05:30 PM

This question pops up a lot and the driving force behind it is the belief that an 8.8cm was so good that even today it is potent.
I think using the Tiger image in the first post (even though it is armed with a rocket and not a gun) gives the game away.


I don't think that the 88 can penetrate the frontal armour of modern tanks. But imagine in a city where a Leo2, Abrams, T90 or any other modern tank rolls through the street and suddenly a Sturmtiger or a ISU-152 appears almost next to it and gets to fire first. What would the damage be like?

#24 Triple C

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Posted 18 September 2010 - 04:46 PM

The tempo of modern mechanized company would cut a WWII anti-tank regiment to pieces. Heck, maybe a platoon could do it. I can knock out Mike Tysen cold, at the peak of his powers, if he is not allowed move or throw punches back at me. Some WWII guns can achieve limited success firing at the flank and rear of modern tanks, but really, how likely is that gonna happen?

#25 TiredOldSoldier

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Posted 18 September 2010 - 05:16 PM

I don't think that the 88 can penetrate the frontal armour of modern tanks. But imagine in a city where a Leo2, Abrams, T90 or any other modern tank rolls through the street and suddenly a Sturmtiger or a ISU-152 appears almost next to it and gets to fire first. What would the damage be like?

Possibly the hull will resist penetration but a 152 or larger HE direct hit is likely to knock off some essential pieces. I also expect the crew to be knocked around pretty badly. But with the Sturmtiger you have probably a better chance against a modern MBT by scrapping the vehice and using the ammo as IEDs :D.




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