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"Recognition Leaflets for German AT Guns" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following U.S. military report on German tank recognition guides for antitank guns was printed in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 41, December 30, 1943.

[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.]


Four-page leaflets showing the vulnerable parts of Allied tanks and the range at which they can be pierced by AT shells are furnished the crews of German antitank guns, according to an officer just returned from Italy. A translation of one of the leaflets is shown herewith (inside section only). Such leaflets are issued to 20-mm antitank gun crews (2-cm Kw. K. 30 u 38 Kraftwagonkanone 30 and 38). Similar leaflets are reported to be made up for the 37-mm, 50-mm and 75-mm guns, as each gun has a different range and penetration. The leaflets are reported to be part of the regular equipment of the gun and are stowed in the box that contains the sight. They permit quick and accurate identification of targets, and immediately available information as to the range at which the gun may open fire and at what parts of the tank, shots should be aimed.

The translation which follows refers specifically to combatting the American M-3 tank (General Lee). The German leaflet indicates that supplements are issued as more information becomes available.

*          *          *

[Recognition and Destruction Diagram: Translation of German Leaflet]


1. Keep calm and cool (Kaltblutig): let the tank come close enough for the vulnerable parts to become clearly seen in order to hit them with lethal effect.

2. Attack enemy armor from camouflaged positions and at unexpected angles. On open ground, fire against the enemy with your tank presenting an angle to his line of fire so as to afford yourself maximum protection.

3. Though careful aim should be taken prior to each shot, a high rate of fire must be maintained.

4. Watch closely the effect of your fire. Trust your weapon.

5. Strive for a favorable angle of impact. The optimum effect is obtained when the front or the side are in a direct line of fire; minimum effect at an oblique angle of fire (45 degrees). When firing against round or rounded turrets, always keep the target in a direct line of fire.

6. Selection of ammunition: With ordinary AP shells a penetrating hit can only be expected in exceptional cases at a very short range. For deterrent or damaging effect, see "high explosive" below. Solid shot must not be used at a distance of over 250 meters. Study the antitank range table carefully.

HE shells have:

- deterrent or damaging effect when they strike against the armament, the firing ports, vision slots and the range finder;

- lethal effect in the event of a lucky hit against the engine exhaust at the rear (incendiary effect);

7. The following is the key to this antitank range table

[Antitank Ammunition Effect]

To obtain results against the vulnerable sections of the tank, fire the type of rounds corresponding to the abbreviated designations on the illustration [see preceding page].

The distances in meters represent the maximum ranges at which complete armor penetration is assured.

For details regarding the effect of ammunition, etc., see the text of Army Manual (H.Dv.) 469/3b.


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