German Tungsten Shells and Weapons in ASL.

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Some quick things that have come to light, thanks to many guys at 'ammo' forums including hands-on EOD-types in Europe.

Pak 40 APCR
(Pngr 40) were VERY rare. Evidence exists that even 7,5 cm Pzgr 39 were under a SOP that stipulated that HEAT rounds be used when they could do the job. This condition being from mid 42 to the end of the year (at least). Many Soviet light tanks, and easy targets were around during this time. Also, the Pak 40 fired many HE it seems and even had a smoke round. The Pak 40 had a great performance with 'regular' Pzgr 39 ammunition, and it did out-perform KWK 40 weapons at this time. Actual manufacture of the Pzgr 40 itself is so limited, that any use of it is so small as to be perhaps in some Marder units. One EOD guy has said that German 7,5 cm Pzgr 39 rounds (Pak 40+KWK 40+Stuk40+ KWK42) are among the three most common rounds dealt with. One said he has never seen a 7.5 cm Pzgr 40 round in any form (Pak 40, KWK 40 or others, or Panther KWK 42)

KWK 40
The KWK 40/STUK 40 story (Pzgr 39 yo) is basically StuGs get L43 with progressive rifling (mid-42). So do Panzer IV (mid 42). StuGs get L48 with progressive rifling (soon), but perhaps have issues, and StuGs then get L48 w/o progressive rifling (constant). Panzer IV hang onto L43 longer even into early 1943. ALL fire same ammunition. But it gets a bump around Kursk to a slightly higher propellant load (2.43 Kg to 2.51 Kg Pzgr 39). There is some manufacturing numbers to suggest that Pzgr 40 rounds for the KWK 40 variations may have been higher than Pak 40, but it was short lived. The manufacture numbers show that not only was APCR manufactured in greater numbers than Pak 40 ammunition, the 'users' were a smaller pool since Pak 40 was fielded in greater numbers. Some claim limited Pzgr 40 use for all the same '40' family weapons even past early 1944. Something akin to US tankers getting these rounds. I would think Panzerjager types might get it over Panzer types...eh.

KWK 42
Panther APCR was very rare and is only known through Kursk captures and testing by Soviets. This might be rarer than the Pak 40. Given the performance of the Panther gun using the duel driving band 7,5 cm Pzgr 39/42, and the Soviets pushing Medium tanks with the same armor, there may have been a complete halt to this ammunition regardless of what the manuals said.

88mm
Evidently, the Soviets did capture 'Ferdinands' and fire them against a Panther. There is photographic evidence. It ricocheted off the bow armor but did make air through it. These are also rare since the long barrel 88mm had great performance regardless.

So, what is the story? Basically, there is the ammo 'recall', that is no ammunition to be given out from depots and returned to distribution, but there is also the story about the 'bolts'. That is, the actual tungsten-carbide penetrators that have not been manufactured into ammunition. Evidently, these were held in a reserve status if needed. This is a massive amount BTW. There may be some late war re-issue and US tankers report 'souped-up' ammo being used.

German manufacture of smaller caliber rounds was very high. And in some cases, like the 50mmL42, not worth it.

An interesting thing is that Tungsten Carbide is needed, and consumed, when manufacturing 'regular' hardened Pzgr 39!
 
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An interesting thing is that the Panther APCR is not the same as the other Kwk 40/StuK 40. While the regular AP, that is Pzgr 39 design is basically the same (Panther had two driving rings instead of one), the Panther APCR had a bigger tungsten 'bolt' inside. I believe it was the same bolt as another weapon, but it escapes me. Maybe the squeeze gun Pak 41? In any case, the Pak 41 was canceled and the Panther had little to very little Pzgr 40/42. I think the Soviets fired one at a Ferdinand after Kursk rounds.

http://tankarchives.blogspot.com/2014/12/more-ferdinand-penetration-tests.html
 
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