3.7 cm KwK 36

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Summary

The 3.7 cm KwK 36 was the standard anti-tank armament used by Germany during the inter-war period and would see use in World War II. The cannon was derived from the anti-tank gun 3.7 cm Pak 36 and fires a 37x249mmR shell. It is most famous for equipping the initial models of the Panzer III medium tank. Good during the inter-war period, it became outdated with the onset of World War II due to advancements in tank technology and was replaced by the 5 cm Pak 38 as a towed anti-tank gun and tank armament for the Panzer III.

Users

Ammunition

Historical

Available rounds for the gun:

  • Pzgr - Standard armor-piercing round.
  • Pzgr 40 - Armor-piercing Composite-Rigid round.
  • Steilgranate 41 - Shaped charge (HEAT) round.
  • Sprgr. 18 - High-explosive rounds.

Game Statistics

Ammunition Penetration in mm @ 90° Type of
warhead
Velocity
in m/s
Projectile
Mass in kg
Fuse delay
in m:
Fuse sensitivity
in mm:
Explosive Mass in
TNT equivalent
in g:
Normalization At 30°
from horizontal:
Ricochet:
10m 100m 500m 1000m 1500m 2000m 0% 50% 100%
PzGr 65 64 52 40 30 23 APHE 762 0.69 1.3 15 22.1 -1° 43° 30° 25°
PzGr 40 91 90 48 22 2 1 APCR 1020 0.36 N/A N/A N/A +1.5° 24° 20° 18°

History of creation and combat usage

After World War I, the introduction of tanks prompted countries to develop weapons to counter the armored beasts. Germany's solution was a form of artillery piece that can fire in a direct-role role to attack tanks approaching their positions. The gun was developed since 1924 by Rheinmetall and used on a mobile carriage. The developed gun was designated the 3.7 cm Pak 36 and was first used in the Spanish Civil War, which gave insightful experience into tank warfare for many countries. The 3.7 cm gun was also adapted into a tank gun to mount the new Germany tank models, these were designated the 3.7 cm KwK 36 and were first mounted onto the Panzer III in its early production models. The gun benefited from its ease of handling, good mobility, lightweight, small profile, and high rate of fire.

The 3.7 cm served well in its first few years of service, however against the Western Allies in the Battle of France, it went against more heavily armored tanks such as the British Matilda II and the French Char B1 that were impervious to the gun. The inadequacy of the gun prompted for the development of better anti-tank guns, but this was halted with the conclusion of the battle with German victory. It wasn't until the invasion of Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa that the complaints rose again about the 3.7 cm ineffectiveness against the T-34 medium tank. The ineffectiveness of the 3.7 cm had the German soldiers began nicknaming it the Heeresanklopfgerät ("Army's Doorknocker").

Thus, the development of a better anti-tank gun for the towed variant and for the tank armament restarted. The 5 cm Pak 38, introduced in 1940, began to become more widely issued, but the 3.7 cm gun was still widely issued until 1942, when the 5 cm gun replaced it in all of its role.

Images

A Pak 36 at the American Military Museum.

Additional information (links)