7.5 cm KwK 40

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Summary

The 7.5 cm KwK 40 is a high-velocity cannon developed from the anti-tank gun 7.5 cm Pak 40. The cannon, though the same caliber as the 7.5 cm KwK 37, is much more powerful due to a longer tank barrel and a larger propellant charge in the cartridges. The gun would equip the majority of the German armored fighting vehicle employed in World War II, drastically improving the German's anti-tank capabilities in from 1942 onward.

Users

L/43

L/48

Pak 39

PaK 40

Ammunition

Historical

Game Statistics

L/43

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 39 135 133 121 107 95 85 APCBC 740 6.8 1.3 15.0 28.9 +4° 42° 27° 19°
PzGr 40 175 173 151 127 108 91 APCR 919 4.2 N/A N/A N/A +1.5° 24° 20° 18°
Hl.Gr 38B 80 80 80 80 80 80 HEAT 450 4.4 0.0 0.1 872.1 +0° 28° 21° 17°
Sprgr. 34 10 10 10 10 10 10 HE 570 5.7 0.1 0.1 715 +0° 11° 10°

L/48/Pak 39

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 39 136 135 123 109 97 86 APCBC 750 6.8 1.3 15.0 28.9 +4° 42° 27° 19°
PzGr 40 177 176 154 130 109 92 APCR 930 4.2 N/A N/A N/A +1.5° 24° 20° 18°
Hl.Gr 38B 80 80 80 80 80 80 HEAT 450 4.4 0.0 0.1 872.1 +0° 28° 21° 17°
Sprgr. 34 10 10 10 10 10 10 HE 570 5.7 0.1 0.1 715 +0° 11° 10°

PaK 40

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 39 147 146 133 118 105 93 APCBC 792 6.8 1.3 15.0 28.9 +4° 42° 27° 19°
PzGr 40 197 195 170 144 121 102 APCR 990 4.2 N/A N/A N/A +1.5° 24° 20° 18°
Hl.Gr 38B 80 80 80 80 80 80 HEAT 450 4.4 0.0 0.1 872.1 +0° 28° 21° 17°
Sprgr. 34 10 10 10 10 10 10 HE 570 5.7 0.1 0.1 N/A +0° 11° 10°

History

Development

In 1941, the German's dedicated anti-tank weaponry was mainly the 5 cm PaK 38 anti-tank gun and tank armament on the Panzer III. Though adequate, it wasn't enough when the Soviets started to bring in more armored T-34 and KV-1 tanks that could withstand the 5 cm rounds except within closer than optimal ranges. Other than the 5 cm, the Germans had no other front-line anti-tank weaponry that can adequately deal with the new tank threats. With the severe lack of equipment, the German Army requested for a weapon that can help even the odds against the Soviets.

The development of such a gun began in 1939 when Soviet tank designs were known to the Germans. It was requested from Krupp and Rheinmetall to develop a 7.5 cm version of the Pak 38 gun. Though given low priority due to the apparent German dominance in tank warfare, the situation in the Soviet Union prompted a renewed effort in this program, which became developed into a production model in November 1941, though in very low quantities. Even by 1942, there were only 44 of the new 7.5 cm Pak 40 cannons available for infantry use, it wasn't until 1943 when widespread deployment of the gun made it an effective artillery piece, being able to effectively penetrate the armor of every Allied armor within its range. It's drawbacks was the heavy weight that decreased its mobility without a vehicle to tow it.

Vehicle mounts

The weight of the gun, plus its great performance in anti-tank capabilities, made mounting the gun on a mobile platform a must in order to effectively move and use the gun in the battlefield. One of the first vehicles to mount the gun was the Marder series, all of which mounted the gun under the designation 7.5 cm Pak 40 and was relatively unmodified.

The mounting of the gun onto StuG III and Panzer IV series of tanks were known as the StuK 40 and the KwK 40 respectively. These mounted guns used a modified 7.5 cm cartridge compared to the Pak 40, in which the cartridge case is a third shorter than the original for a more compact case to allow easier storage in the vehicles at the cost of a lower muzzle velocity. These guns were produced in two variants, the L/43 and the L/48. The L/43 was the shorter of the two and had a distinctive ball-shaped muzzle brake with one baffle, with a later model using a double baffle muzzle brake instead, such as on the Panzer IV Ausf. G. The L/48 was developed later, had a double baffle muzzle brake, and was much longer. The longer length allowed for a higher muzzle velocity for the shells and improved the penetration value of the shorter cartridges on the KwK 40. Another variant of the KwK 40 L/48, the Pak 39 gun, was mounted on the Jagdpanzer 38(t) and the Jagdpanzer IV.

Service

The 7.5 cm Pak 40 and its tank mounts are perhaps the most common German anti-tank weapon in the later half of World War II. Approximately 20,000 guns were made to fit the anti-tank gun, self-propelled gun, and tank armament role. The guns were first used in the Soviet Union to combat the T-34s, where it did much better than any of the German armament at the time. The widespread usage of the gun helped allow the Germans to equalize their armored forces into a more-able fighting force to take on the Allied tanks from the Soviet T-34s to the Allied M4 Shermans.

Images

Additional information (links)