2.8 cm sPzB 41

Infobox Weapon
name=2.8 cm schwere Panzerbüchse 41


caption=sPzB 41 at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa
origin=Germany
type=anti-tank gun
is_ranged=yes
is_bladed=
is_explosive=
is_artillery=yes
is_vehicle=
is_UK=
service=1941–1945
used_by=Germany
wars=WWII
designer=
design_date=1940
manufacturer=Mauser-Werke AG
production_date=1940–1943
number=2,797
variants=
weight=229 kg (505 lbs)
length=2.69 m (8.82 ft)
part_length=overall: 1,730 mm (with muzzle brake)
width=965 mm (3.16 ft)
height=838 mm (2.74 ft)
crew=3
cartridge=
caliber=28/20 mm
action=
rate=up to 30 rounds per minute
velocity=1,400 m/s (4,593 ft/s)
range=500 m (547 yds)
max_range=
feed=
sights=
breech=horizontal block
recoil=hydrospring
carriage=split trail
elevation=-5° to 30°
traverse=70°
blade_type=
hilt_type=
sheath_type=
head_type=
haft_type=
diameter=
filling=
filling_weight=
detonation=
yield=
armour=
primary_armament=
secondary_armament=
engine=
engine_power=
pw_ratio=
suspension=
vehicle_range=
speed=

2.8 cm sPzB 41 was a German anti-tank weapon working on the squeeze bore principle. Officially classified as heavy anti-tank rifle ("schwere Panzerbüchse"), it would be better described, and is widely referred to as a light anti-tank gun [E.g. see [http://www.lonesentry.com/german_antitank/index.html US War Department Intelligence Bulletin, Nov. 1944] ] .

Description

Although the sPzB 41 was classified as a heavy anti-tank rifle, its construction was much more typical of an anti-tank gun. Like the latter, it had a recoil mechanism, carriage and shield. The only significant feature the weapon had in common with anti-tank rifles was lack of elevation and traverse mechanisms—the light barrel could be easily manipulated manually.

The most interesting feature of the design was its cone-shaped barrel, with caliber reducing from 28 mm at the chamber end to only 20 mm at the muzzle. The projectile was fitted with two external flanges; as it proceeded toward the muzzle, the flanges were squeezed down, decreasing the surface area and propelling the projectile at a very high velocity. The barrel construction resulted in very high muzzle velocity—up to 1,400 m/s. The bore was fitted with a muzzle brake. The horizontal sliding block breech was "quarter-automatic": it closed automatically once a shell was loaded. The gun was equipped with open sight for distances up to 500 m; telescopic sight ZF 1х11 from 3.7 cm PaK 35/36 anti-tank gun could also be fitted.

The recoil system consisted of hydraulic recoil buffer and spring-driven recuperator. The carriage was of split trail type, with suspension. Wheels with rubber tyres could be removed, making the gun significantly lower and therefore easier to conceal; the process took 30-40 seconds. The gun construction allowed toolless dismantling to five pieces, the heaviest of which weighed 62 kg.

Development and production history

The cone-bore principle was first patented in 1903 by a German designer Karl Puff. In the 1920s and 1930s another German engineer, Gerlich, conducted experiments with coned-bore barrels which resulted in an experimental 7 mm anti-tank rifle with muzzle velocity of 1,800 m/s.

Based on these works, in 19391940 Mauser-Werke AG developed a 28/20 mm anti-tank weapon initially designated "Gerat 231" or "MK.8202". In June–July 1940 an experimental batch of 94 (other sources say 30) pieces was given to the army for trials. The trials resulted in some modifications and in 1941 mass production of what became 2.8 cm schwere Panzerbüchse 41 started. One piece cost 4,520 reichsmarks (for the sake of comparison, one 5 cm PaK 38 gun cost 10,600 reichsmarks). The last gun was built in 1943; the main reason for the discontinuance was lack of tungsten for projectiles.

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Notes

References

* Gander, Terry and Chamberlain, Peter. "Weapons of the Third Reich: An Encyclopedic Survey of All Small Arms, Artillery and Special Weapons of the German Land Forces 1939-1945". New York: Doubleday, 1979 ISBN 0-385-15090-3.
* Hogg, Ian V. "German Artillery of World War Two". 2nd corrected edition. Mechanicsville, PA: Stackpole Books, 1997. ISBN 1-85367-480-X.
*Shirokorad A. B. "The God of War of the Third Reich". M. AST, 2002 (Широкорад А. Б. - Бог войны Третьего рейха. — М.,ООО Издательство АСТ, 2002., ISBN 978-5-17-015302-2).
*Ivanov A. "Artillery of Germany in Second World War". SPb Neva, 2003 (Иванов А. - Артиллерия Германии во Второй Мировой войне. — СПб., Издательский дом «Нева», 2003., ISBN 978-5-7654-2634-0).
*Zaloga, Steven J., Brian Delf. "US Anti-tank Artillery 1941–45" (2005). Osprey Publishing (New Vanguard 107). ISBN 978-1-84176-690-4.
* [http://www.freeweb.hu/gva/weapons/german_guns1.html Guns vs Armour: German Guns up to 30mm calibre]


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