37-mm Anti-tank Gun Pak. 35/36, Germany

  • Years of issue – 1928 – 1942
  • In total, 16,539 units were produced.
  • Caliber – 37 mm
  • Weight in firing position – 440 kg
  • Barrel length – 1665 mm
  • The length of the threaded part – 1308 mm
  • Calculation – 5 people
  • Travel speed – 45 km / h
  • Rate of fire – 15 – 20 rds / min
  • The greatest firing range – 6800 m
  • Direct shot range – 1000 m
  • Shooting angles:
  • Horizontal – 59 °
  • Vertical – 8 ° + 25 °

The development of this anti-tank gun began by the German arms concern Rheinmetall-Borsig AG back in 1924, bypassing the terms of the Versailles Peace Treaty, according to which Germany was prohibited from having anti-tank artillery.

Already at the end of 1928, a new gun, designated 3,7-cm Tаk 29 L / 45 (Tankabwehrkanone – anti-tank gun, the word Panzer was used later in Germany), began to enter the troops. The gun was intended to combat enemy tanks and armored vehicles, as well as to destroy firing points and openly located manpower. The 37-mm anti-tank gun weighing 435 kg had a light two-wheeled carriage with tubular frames, on which a monoblock barrel was mounted with a semi-automatic horizontal wedge gate, which provided a high rate of fire – up to 20 rounds / min.

The recoil device and the knurler were mounted in a casing under the barrel. The angle of horizontal firing with the extended beds was 60 °, but if absolutely necessary, it was possible to fire without spreading the bed, only by turning off the suspension. To protect the crew, a shield of 5-mm armor plate was used, and its upper part was folded back on hinges. The cannon was fired using an optical or collimator sight. The cannon had wooden wheels with spokes and was transported on horse-drawn vehicles.In 1934, the 3,7-cm Tak 29 cannon was modernized – it received a wheel drive with pneumatic tires, which allowed it to be towed with a mechanized traction, an improved sight and a slightly modified carriage design. Under the designation “3,7-cm Panzerabwehrkanone 35/36 (Rak. 35/36)” (37-mm anti-tank gun sample 35/36), it entered service with the Reichswehr, and from March 1935 and the Wehrmacht – as the main anti-tank means of infantry divisions. Rak. 35/36 were in service with anti-tank companies of infantry regiments (12 units) and tank destroyer divisions in infantry divisions (36 units). Taking into account 3 guns in the reconnaissance battalion, the Wehrmacht infantry division in the state had 75 Pak.35 / Zb guns.

Initially, for firing from Rak 35/36, two types of unitary shots were used with the armor-piercing Pz.Gr. 39 (with an initial speed of 760 m / s and armor penetration at 500/1000 m – 48/27 mm) or fragmentation Spr.Gr (with an initial speed – 1030 m / s and armor penetration at 100 m – 65 mm) shells.

In 1940, after a collision with British and French tanks, which had thick armor, a sub-caliber Pz.Gr. shell was introduced into the Rak 35/36 ammunition load. 40 with tungsten carbide core, effective up to 400 m. At the end of 1941, a cumulative over-caliber grenade Stielgranate 41 was developed specifically to combat the Soviet T-34 and KB tanks for the Rak. 35/36 gun, which penetrated 90-mm armor at ranges up to 100 m, which was very small in combat conditions.

In 1936 – 1939, Cancer. 35/36 was baptized by fire during the Spanish Civil War – these guns were successfully used by both the German Legion “Condor” and the Spanish phalangists to fight the Soviet T-26 and BT-5 tanks, which were in service with the Republicans, at a distance of up to 700 – 800 m. In September 1939, the Wehrmacht had 11,250 Rak. 35/36 cannons. However, already in the course of the 1940 French campaign, it turned out that 37 mm anti-tank guns were ineffective against British and French tanks with armor up to 70 mm.

By June 1941, the Rak. 35/36 Wehrmacht had 15515 units. The end of the career of the Rak 35/36 was the Eastern Front, when they were completely powerless against the KB and T-34 tanks. So, in one of the reports of 1941, it was said that the calculation of the 37-mm cannon achieved 23 hits on the same T-34 tank without any result, and only when the shell hit the base of the tower, the tank was incapacitated. Therefore, it is not surprising that Cancer. 35/36 in the Wehrmacht received the contemptuous nickname – “army mallet”.

The Rheinmetall-Borsig AG concern (Dusseldorf) carried out the serial production of the Rak. 35/36 guns. In January 1942, with the release of the more powerful 50 mm anti-tank guns Rak.38, the production of these guns was discontinued. The 37-mm anti-tank gun Rak. 35/36 was taken by the Red Army as a trophy during the Great Patriotic War.

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