Saturday, March 04, 2006

The 6pdr ATG story

As mentioned, the 6pdr ATG development was started in April 1938. By June 1939, the project received a higher priority, and a prototype gun was ready for testing by June 1940. The British General Staff, in their infinite wisdom, decided that they needed to produce large numbers of the obsolescent 2pdr ATG, rather than smaller numbers of a really effective gun. In late 1940, converting one gun factory to produce 6pdrs was considered, but since they might only initially receive 100 6pdr guns in the rest of the year, when they might receive 600 2pdrs. Quantity production of the 6pdr commenced in November 1941 and by May 1943, perhaps "100 guns had reached the Middle East". The Official History points out that the 40mm 2pdr was superior to the German 37mm gun, but that gun was obsolete by 1941, and the 50mm PAK38 was in fairly wide use. The Official History also points out that the Germans had produced the 50mm L/42 gun for use in their tanks, although this was not as good at the 50mm ATG coming into service. With the shortcomings of the 2pdr in the anti-tank role, the 25pdr gun-howitzer was pressed into service against tanks. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Official History. As early as April 1941, development of a much larger gun, the 17pdr (a 76.2mm gun), commenced.

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