Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Small guns in 1941
The best guns in use in the Western Desert in 1941 were the German 5cm PAK38 and the 8.8cm FLAK36. Since the British were using the 40mm 2pdr and the toy gun 0.55in Boys anti-tank rifle, they had to rely on firing 25pdrs over open sights. As we noted recently, they also were not issued very many AP shot. After all, they were mostly expected to be firing in howitzer mode, so for that, they needed HE shells. The German tanks were not very well armed, either. In early 1941, they still were using MG-armed Pzkw I, 20mm-armed Pzkw II, with the short 5cm L42 being the best tank gun. The Pzkw IV was still just a close support tank with the short 75mm L24. When the American Stuart light tank arrived, it had the pop-gun like American 37mm gun. Their only chance was to get a close-in side shot at a German tank. That was practically true of the 2pdr, although it did have better performance than the 37mm. Once the Germans started using applique armor on the glacis and turret, the lesser guns were almost useless.