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WW II German APDS projects?


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Were there any interest towards APDS in German military during WW II?

AFAIK Brits were only ones really using those rounds, but would have thought after encountering Soviet heavy tanks there might have been some interest among Wehrmacht.

Google says there was 105 mm one using 75mm sabot. Why not for 75mm or even for 50mm? 

There was this interesting discussion, but does anyone have something to add:

https://www.forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=225989#:~:text=Yoozername Member-,Re%3A Did%2Fwhy didn't Germany deployed,75mm APDS rounds in WW2%3F&text=The Germans did have a,used in all 105mm weapons.

Edited by Sardaukar
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They had one, for 10.5cm leFH18, using IIRC 88mm AP projectile in the sabot.

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Hogg has described a range of German sabot rounds.  One of the best known being the Peenemunde Pfiegeschosse.

https://www.nevingtonwarmuseum.com/peenemunde-arrow-shell.html

He also describes 4 main types: Semi-sabots, Pot Sabots, Cage Sabots and Separate Ring sabots.

German sabot rounds were mainly to increase range of normal artillery or shorten time to altitude for FlaK.  He notes that by 1943 there was not enough tungsten to develop PaK rounds.

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There were at least two German APDS projectiles (10.5 cm Pzgr. 38 TS  and 15 cm Pzgr. 39 TS), the former used 75 mm APCBC(HE) and the latter with 88 mm. Both with discarding base and separate ring design. There were also other experimental variants like 105/75 mm, 105/88 mm and 128/88 mm. In all cases modified existing APCBC shells were used.

 

Peenemünder Pfeilgeschoss was not anti-armour design. It was HE(FSDS) shell made for extended range, like other sabot projectiles, designed for 'Hochdruckpumpe' cannon. There were also Röchling shells, long and with discarding sabots. Those were bunker-busters, hence can be somehow called AP(HE)FSDS.

 

 

Why rather low interest of APDS ammunition in WWII Germany? My guesses: tungsten carbide shortage, matured APCR designs, various issues with discarding sabot technology (compare with British and, later, American problems), big, potent, long-barreled guns with efficient fullbore shells, doubts on behind armour effect (when compared with normal shells), need for energetic and probably erosive propellant, increased barrel wear because of erosive propellant, hypervelocity and interactions of sabot and barrel bore. But I cannot point the major issue from that list.

 

 

 

 

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One thing I was thinking...would it have been feasible to have APDS for 50L60 gun to keep it effective vs. enemies longer?

E.g. 28mm sabot or such (somehow I have this weird idea of using 28mm Panzerbüchse 41 round as sabot...). Would that sort of thing achieve anything?

After all, there was 2.8 cm KwK 42 project.

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There was APCR for 50/60, it was of some effectiveness vs T-34 and KV, but not really enough for it to stay really valid weapon.  APDS would have comparable performances up the 500m range, so it would not enable it to be any more valid. APCR had short range penetration comparable to APDS, but APDS lost velocity slower, enabling better long range performances, which was not really relevant until post-WW2.

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There's a translation of a German document from Feb '45 over at https://forum.warthunder.com/index.php?/topic/317927-german-intended-tank-and-anti-tank-gun-development/ It seems to say that they thought about getting higher velocities either by using very long barrels or by using sub-caliber ammunition (APDS or Cone Bore).

  • Super long barrels were rejected for both technical and production complexity
  • Cone bore was rejected as being over-specialized and difficult to manufacture
  • Sub-caliber AP projectiles were not seen as giving enough of a performance increase, esp at longer ranges, to make them worthwhile, particularly since they might cause issues with existing muzzle brakes.  The modest performance increase was presumably at least partly due to having to make the projectiles with steel, since no tungsten was available for them.
    • The same tungsten shortage was presumably taking APCR off the table.

The upshot of all this is that they seemed to be happy with regular AP for the large AT weapons (88 L71 and 128mm) and HEAT for everything else.

Other pages of the same document, however, show  interest in a using the PAW 1000 both with a full caliber HEAT round, for shorter ranges, and a sub-caliber round, firing a saboted 75mm round (possibly a version of the 75mm fin stabilized HEAT round being developed for the Pak40), for engagements at longer ranges.

 

Edited by CaptLuke
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On 5/25/2021 at 7:29 AM, Sardaukar said:

One thing I was thinking...would it have been feasible to have APDS for 50L60 gun to keep it effective vs. enemies longer?

E.g. 28mm sabot or such (somehow I have this weird idea of using 28mm Panzerbüchse 41 round as sabot...). Would that sort of thing achieve anything?

After all, there was 2.8 cm KwK 42 project.



If they want to bring new life to tanks that can't carry anything beyond the 50L60, IMO they'd be better off developing a large bore, low pressure gun (like the DEFA 90mm) with low intrusion into the turret that can fit into existing turret rings, and opt for HEAT.  Might struggle with graze or anything beyond ~60 degrees without the advantage of piezo fusing, but penetration would be better.  8.8cm HEAT ended up doing 90mm penetration IIRC, but that was without rotation compensation and un-optimized hemispherical liner, I'm confident with messing around with flash radiography (developed in 1938) to examine the jet, they could have done a lot to optimize it even if just trial and error and yielded more along the lines of 140mm at any range, which would be better than the 5cm PzGr. 40 APCR at 100m

Aside from the AML90, here's the X1A based on M3A1 Stuart with the DEFA gun

 

X1A stuart.jpg

Edited by Burncycle360
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  • 4 weeks later...
On 5/29/2021 at 8:11 PM, Burncycle360 said:



If they want to bring new life to tanks that can't carry anything beyond the 50L60, IMO they'd be better off developing a large bore, low pressure gun (like the DEFA 90mm) with low intrusion into the turret that can fit into existing turret rings, and opt for HEAT.  Might struggle with graze or anything beyond ~60 degrees without the advantage of piezo fusing, but penetration would be better.  

Arguably that's exactly what they did when they switched out the 50L60 for the 75L24 in the PzIIIN.  75L24 was not as good as your proposal, but was available off the shelf.  Penetration with the Gr.38 Hl/B HEAT round was very close (87mm) to your 90mm number and the Gr.38 Hl/C got that up to 115mm.  Late war they were looking at firing a fin stabilized 75mm HEAT round from rifled barrels with 140mm penetration, though by then the 75L24 was an afterthought and it was targeted for the 75mm L40-48 weapons.

Late war they were looking at the PAW 1000 for vehicle use, which is more or less your suggestion.

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  • 1 month later...

Just continuing my brain-fart. 

What would be weight and velocity of 28mm (or 30mm) sabot for 50mm L 60 gun? 

Would it have been possible to achieve 130 mm pen at 500m ? (Average penetration performance established against rolled homogenous steel armour plate laid back at 30° from the vertical by APCR at 100m stated as 130mm.) Accuracy issues of early APDS might have made it unreliable over 500m, but enough against KV-1/T-34 etc. from closer range.

APCR and AP:

PzGr. 40/1 (Armour-piercing, composite, rigid)
Weight of projectile: 1.06 kg (2 lb 5 oz)
Muzzle velocity: 1,130 m/s (3,700 ft/s)

PzGr (Armour-piercing)
Weight of projectile: 2.06 kg (4 lb 9 oz)
Muzzle velocity: 835 m/s (2,740 ft/s)

KwK 39 used shell 50×419 mm

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

You could reasonably assume that the muzzle velocity of a sabot round would be comparable with the APCR, obviously assuming the same projectile total mass, because the sabot performs the same basic function as the "shell" for the APCR.  the benefit you get from the sabot round is after separation, with the combination of a reduction in cross section yet retention of most of the mass. In other words, you'd expect the performance fall-off to be slower, rather than a significant improvement in close-range penetration.

You'd need to look at velocity drop curves for APDS versus APCR to give a better idea.

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Hasn't the maths been essentially done re a 2.8cm sabot round by simply considering the 4.2cm Pak 41, that squeezed the projectile down to 2.8cm? 

That is 336 g (11.9 oz) projectile at 1,500 m/s (4,900 ft/s) MV.   That is from a L55.8 gun (close enough to L60).

The problem was essentially that any sabot round would need tungsten, that was simply not available in quantity for AT rounds, which was why the 4.2cm Pak 41, and the other squeeze bore guns, fell from use.

The Littlejohn adapter achieved similar results with a 2pdr, squeezing 40mm down to 30mm (close to your 28mm figure).

Canada was working on a higher velocity version of the 2pdr, nicknamed 'David': that is a 2pdr round fired with a 6pdr cartridge case from a modified 6pdr.  The work never came close to being a service weapon but was evidently a useful tool for high velocity gun information.  A squeezebore round from that development would have been 'interesting'.  I guess that the 6pdr APDS may have overtaken the use use of the 40mm projectile from what was otherwise a 6pdr gun.

I cannot find any reference to the weight of the projectile of the APDS 6pdr round except the weight of the entire projectile rather than just the shot without the sabot.  Total shot weight being 3.25lb so if the actual projectile was around 35mm it would have weighed about a kilo.

 

Edited by DougRichards
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You could use steel for both APDS and APFSDS. In fact Soviets used steel successfully for their early APFSDS.

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I wonder how good this calculator is?

http://www.tankarchives.ca/p/demarre-calculator.html

Seems that my 50 mm APDS (28 or 30mm penetrator) would not be much better than APCR if velocity was similar c. 1100m/s.

1.25 kg 28mm penetrator fired at 1500 m/s would be better, but wonder if it'd be too "hot" for gun. Or possible to design.

Anyways, I think 50mm was bit of a dead end as caliber in my case. 🙂 75L48 with sabot might be totally different beast.

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75/48 worked OK until the end of war, so there was no point in trying to introduce new ammo.

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17 hours ago, bojan said:

75/48 worked OK until the end of war, so there was no point in trying to introduce new ammo.

Agreed, only thing it had problem was IS-2.

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From the frontal sector, and vast majority of AT engagements were flank shots.

Edited by bojan
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/17/2021 at 11:40 AM, bojan said:

75/48 worked OK until the end of war, so there was no point in trying to introduce new ammo.

It's true they didn't successfully introduce any new ammunition, but they worked on two:

  1. In Hogg's German Artillery of WWII, he talks about work on a 7.5cm Pzgr PAK Patr TS42, a 6cm APDS using a steel core.  Projectile weight 2.74kg.  If the late war document I referenced in my earlier post is correct, then this work was dropped as part of a general disenchantment with APDS.
     
  2. Hogg also provides details of the 7.5cm Sprgr 38 H1/C Klappleitwerk fin stabilized HEAT round, which penetrated 140mm.  They never got it working but, again if the doc I referenced is correct, they were trying to get it into service right up until the end.
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