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"Standard German Weapons" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following intelligence report on WWII German weapons was originally published in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 9, Oct. 8, 1942.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


The following list gives the more important characteristics of the standard German weapons now in use. The details given may contain slight inaccuracies, since a few figures are estimated, and many others have varied in indifferent tests. The muzzle velocity of an old gun, for example, may be considerably lower than that of a new one. Ranges, also, may contain some errors, for they have been taken from tables which reported figures sometimes as "range," at other times as "effective range," and at others as "maximum effective range," or merely "effective range." Usually there has been no indication of which of several possible propelling charges has been used.

Generally, the Germans give their weapons a model number corresponding to the last two digits of the year in which the first model was produced. Minor modifications make no change in the model designation, but a major improvement, even though the weapon remains basically the same, will give the equipment a corresponding new model number.

French, Polish, Russian, and other captured weapons have not been listed, nor have certain German weapons, such as heavy artillery, on which no details are available.

More complete details on the individual guns have been published in previous issues of Tactical and Technical Trends, and these articles will be continued in the future. A large amount of enemy materiel is now being examined at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, and the tests conducted there should provide the most complete reports yet available on all types of enemy armament.

The next issue of Tactical and Technical Trends will contain similar data on Italian weapons, and the one after that, information on Japanese armament.


Weapon 7.92-mm rifle 7.92-mm carbine 7.92-mm machine gun 7.92-mm antitank rifle 9-mm submachine gun
German Name 7.92-mm Gew (Gewehr) 98 Karbiner 98 k 7.92-mm MG (Maschinengewehr) 34 7.92-mm PzB (Panzerbüchse) 38 and 39 9-mm MP (Maschinenpistole) 38 and 40
Caliber (inches) .31 .31 .31 .31 .35
Muzzle Velocity (foot-seconds)       3,540  
Range (yards): Maximum     2,200 (bipod); 3,800 (tripod)   1,870
Effective 2,200 2,200 1,300 to 1,640 (bipod); 1,640 to 2,735 (tripod)    
Weight of Projectile .43 ozs   .43 ozs .51 ozs .23 ozs
Rate of Fire (RPM): Theoretical     900 628 520 to 540
Practical     110 to 120 (bipod); 300 (tripod) 6 to 8 80 to 90
Remarks Largely replaced by the carbine 98 k. 3 ft 7 1/4 in long. Standard MG throughout army. Light MG when mounted on bipod; heavy MG when on tripod; air-cooled; 15 1/2 pounds without mount; barrel changed after 250 rounds continued fire.   Widely used. Magazine holds 32 rounds; several other types of submachine guns are used.


Weapon 9-mm pistol 20-mm AA/AT machine gun 20-mm tank gun 20-mm 4-barreled AA/AT gun 28/20-mm AT gun
German Name 9-mm Pistole 08 and 38 2-cm Flak (Flugabwehrkanone) 30 and 38 2-cm KWK (Kampfwagenkanone) 30 and 38 2-cm Flakvierling 38 2.8/2-cm SPzB (schwere Panzerbüchse)
Caliber (inches) .35 .79 .79 .79 .79
Muzzle Velocity (foot-seconds)   HE 2,950; AP 2,625 HE 2,950; AP 2,625 HE 2,950; AP 2,625 4,700
Range (yards): Maximum   6,124 (vertical, 12,468 ft) 6,124 6,124 (vertical, 12,468 ft)  
Weight of Projectile .23 ozs AP 5.2 ozs; HE 4.08 ozs AP 5.2 ozs; HE 4.08 ozs AP 5.2 ozs; HE 4.08 ozs AP 4.6 ozs
Rate of Fire (RPM): Theoretical   280 280 1680 to 1920 (4 barrels)  
Practical   120 120 700 to 800 (4 barrels) 8 to 10
Remarks This and other models carried by many officers. AP 40 penetrates 1.57-in armor at 90° at 100 yards; usually mounted on a half track. Usually mounted on light tanks and armored cars. Magazines of two guns can be changed while other two are firing. Barrel has to be replaced after 400 rounds.


Weapon 37-mm AT gun 37-mm tank gun 37-mm AA/AT gun 42/28-mm AT gun 47-mm self-propelled AT gun
German Name 3.7-cm Pak (Panzerabwehrkanone) 3.7-cm KWK (Kampfwagenkanone) 3.7-mm Flak 36 4.2-cm Pak 41 4.7-cm Pak Sfl (Selbstfahrlafette)
Caliber (inches) 1.45 1.45 1.45 1.10 1.35
Muzzle Velocity (foot-seconds) 2,500 to 3,380 2,500 2,755   2,620 to 3,000
Range (yards): Maximum 4,400 4,400 8,744 (vertical, 15,600 ft)   11,695 (vertical, 24,000 ft)
Weight, Projectile AP 1.68 lbs; HE 1.37 lbs AP 1.68 lbs; HE 1.37 lbs HE 1.37 lbs   AP 3.6 lbs; HE 5.1 lbs
Rate of Fire (RPM): Theoretical         20
Practical 8 to 10 8 to 10 80 to 150   8 to 12
Remarks Formerly the standard AT gun, still found in some units. Largely replaced by 50-mm AT gun. Formerly mounted on Mark III tank. Largely replaced by 50-mm long or short-barreled gun.   A new tapered-bore gun; no details are available. Mounted on Mk I tank chassis.


Weapon 50-mm tank gun 50-mm tank gun (high velocity) 50-mm AT gun 50-mm AA/AT gun 50-mm mortar
German Name 5-cm KWK   5-cm Pak 38 5-cm Flak 41 LGrW (leichte Granatwerfer) 36
Caliber (inches) 1.97 1.97 1.97 1.97  
Muzzle Velocity (foot-seconds) 2,600 3,444 2,700 to 3,280    
Range (yards): Maximum         568
Weight, Projectile AP 4.56 lbs; HE 3.94 lbs AP 3.9 lbs AP 4.56 lbs; HE 3.94 lbs   2 lbs
Rate of Fire (RPM): Theoretical          
Practical 16   16   6 rounds in 8 secs.
Remarks Mounted on most Mk III tanks; being replaced by long-barreled 50-mm gun. Replacing the 5-cm KWK. Standard AT gun. There may be a small number self-propelled. No details available; the "41" may indicate a Guerlich principle tapered-bore traverse gun. At least one to each rifle platoon. Smoke and HE used; traverse, 16° right and left.


Weapon 75-mm tank gun 75-mm tank gun (new long-barreled model) 75-mm infantry and mountain howitzer 75-mm assault gun 75-mm mountain gun
German Name 7.5-cm KWK 7.5-cm KWK 40 7.5-cm LIG (leichte Infanteriegeschütz) 18 and LGeb IG (leichte Gebirgs Infanteriegeschütz) 18 7.5-cm StuG (Sturmgeschntz) 7.5-cm GebK (Gebirgskanone) 15
Caliber (inches) 2.95 2.95 2.95 2.95 2.95
Muzzle Velocity (foot-seconds) 1,600 2,400 725 1,600 1,000 to 1,250
Range (yards): Maximum 9,000   3,800 9,000 7,650
Weight, Projectile AP 14.81 lbs; HE 12.56 lbs   HE 12 and 13.2 lbs AP 14.81 lbs; HE 12.5 lbs 12 lbs
Rate of Fire (RPM): Theoretical          
Practical     6    
Remarks Standard armament on Mk IV tanks. Being replaced by long-barreled 75-mm gun. Replacing the low-velocity 75-mm on Mk IV tanks. Penetrates 2.44-in homo armor plate at 30° at 2,000 yds. Found in the cannon company of infantry regt. Being replaced by another model which has a range of 4,200 to 5,600 yards, depending on the weight of the shell. Mounted on Mk III chassis. A new long-barreled model, the same as the long-barreled tank gun, is replacing this weapon.  


Weapon 75-mm mountain gun 75-mm light field gun 81-mm mortar 88-mm self-propelled gun 88-mm multi-purpose gun
German Name 7.5-cm GebGesch (Gebirgsgeschutz) 36 LFK (leichte-Feldkanone) 18 SGrW (schwere Granatwerfer) 34 88-cm Flak 18 (Sfl) 8.8-cm Flak 18, 36, and 38
Caliber (inches) 2.95 2.95 3.2 3.46 3.46
Muzzle Velocity (foot-seconds) 1,600 715   2,750 2,750
Range (yards): Maximum 10,900 3,860 2,070 16,000 (vertical, 37,000 ft) 16,000 (vertical, 37,000 ft)
Effective     1,312    
Weight, Projectile 13 lbs   77 lbs AP 21 lbs; HE 20 lbs AP 21 lbs; HE 20 lbs
Rate of Fire (RPM): Theoretical       25 25
Practical     6 rds in 8 secs 12 to 15 12 to 15
Remarks     4 different propelling charges are used. Not in common use. Cannot be used for AA unless taken off trailer.


Weapon 100-mm smoke mortar 105-mm AA gun 105-mm gun-howitzer 105-mm gun 150-mm infantry howitzer
German Name 10-cm NbW (Nebelwerfer) 35 and 40 10.5-cm Flak 38 10.5-cm LFH (leichte Feldhaubitze) 18 10-cm K 18 15-cm SIG (schwere Infanteriegeschütz)
Caliber (inches) 3.94 4.14 4.14 4.14 5.91
Muzzle Velocity (foot-seconds)   2,890 1,540 2,650  
Range (yards): Maximum   19,075 (vertical, 41,300 ft) 11,640 19,700 6,000
Weight, Projectile Smoke 16.2 lbs HE 32 lbs AP 34.62 lbs HE 35 lbs HE 80 lbs
Rate of Fire (RPM): Theoretical          
Practical   8 to 10      
Remarks HE also used.   Standard light field artillery weapon. Formerly 1 battery in each divisional medium artillery battalion. Actually a 105-mm gun, although called "10-cm." Standard in infantry cannon company.


Weapon 150-mm medium howitzer 150-mm self-propelled howitzer 150-mm gun 150-mm smoke mortar 210-mm heavy howitzer
German Name 15-cm SFH 18 and 18/40 15-cm SIG (Mot S) 15-cm K 18 15-cm NbW (Nebelwerfer) 41 21-cm Mrs (Mörser) 18
Caliber (inches) 5.91 5.91 5.91 5.91 8.26
Muzzle Velocity (foot-seconds) 1,970   2,920   1,815
Range (yards): Maximum 16,400 6,000 27,200   18,300
Weight, Projectile HE 95.7 lbs HE 80 lbs HE 100 lbs   264 lbs
Rate of Fire (RPM): Theoretical          
Remarks Standard in medium battalion of German divisional artillery. Mount is a Mk II light tank chassis.   HE also used.  


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