7,5 cm Pak 97/38 (L/36)

By Christian Ankerstjerne

During the invasion of Russia in 1941, the Germans encountered the T-34 medium tank and KV-1 heavy tank. The armor of these tanks was much thicker than what German anti-tank guns were intended to face. This was made worse by the fact that at the time of the invasion of Russia, the more powerful APCR ammunition was in short supply, making up only about ten percent of ammunition stocks.

Selected armor thicknesses of the T-34 and KV-1 tanks.
Armor Section Thickness Angle Relative Thickness
T-34
Hull front 45 mm 37-30° 75-90 mm
Hull side 40-45 mm 90-50° 45-52 mm
Turret front 52 mm Rounded -
Turret side 52 mm 60° 60 mm
KV-1
Hull front 40-75 mm 60-25° 87-95 mm
Hull side 75 mm 90° 75 mm
Turret front 90 mm Rounded -
Turret side 75 mm 75° 78 mm
German anti-tank gun status at the beginning of Unternehmen Barbarossa, using standard ammunition.
Gun Penetration Availability, 1 June 1941
100 m 500 m
s Pz B 41 60 mm 40 mm 183
3,7 cm Pak 34 mm 29 mm 14 459
5 cm Pak 38 69 mm 59 mm 1 047

Two more powerful anti-tank guns, the 7,5 cm Pak 40 and the 7,5 cm Pak 41, were being designed, but were several months away from entering production. Furthermore, until sufficient numbers of the new anti-tank guns could be manufactured a stop-gap measure was needed. The solution was to mount gun barrels from the obsolete French Canone de 75 Mle 1897 field artillery piece, large quantities of which had been captured in 1940, on a modified 5 cm Pak 38 carriage.

The relatively short gun barrel resulted in a low muzzle velocity. As a result, the 75 mm APCBC-HE ammunition, which was of Polish design, was only approximately equal in penetration capability to the short 5 cm Kw K of the Pz Kpfw III firing standard APC-HE ammunition, and inferior to the 5 cm Pak 38. HEAT ammunition was designed for the gun, which could penetrate up to 90 mm of armor. However, because the low velocity, and therefore much more curved projectile trajectory, anti-tank gunners were reported to prefer high-velocity ammunition, even though it could penetrate less armor.

Production

Production Statistics

Month Opening Balance Wa A Fz In Losses
Combat Other Exported
1942
May 0 1000 1000 1021
June 898 0 0 0
July 898 1000 1000 192 120
August 1759 0 0 98 6
September 1655 0 0 62 0
October 1593 0 0 24 0 0
November 1569 0 0 13 0 0
December 1556 854 574 44 239
1943
January 1847 449 727 35 6143 0
February 1925 207 138 217 6 75
March 18464 123 181 45 215 196
April 16646 52 15 9 0 65
May 1605 12 9 28 0 45
June 1541 15 0 7 0 10
July 1524 0 0 78 0 0
August 1446 0 0 99 0 0
September 1347 0 0 68 0 0
October 1279 0 437 67 0 0
November 1255 No further reports
Total - 3712 3 687 734+ 641+ 517+

Production Costs

7,5 cm Pak 97/38 (L/36)
Price 8000 Reichmark
Man-hours 1500
Production time 4 months

Technical Information

7,5 cm Pak 97/38 (L/36)
Gun
Caliber 75 mm
Weight, combat ready 1190 kg
Weight, with transport carriage 1270 kg
Barrel length 2.72 m
Barrel length in calibers 36.27 m
Range (max) 11 000 m
Rate of fire 12-14 rounds per minute
Mount
Maximum elevation 25°
Minimum depression
Traverse 60°

Armor Penetration

Round Shot type Weight (shot) Muzzle velocity Range
100 m 1000 m 1500 m
7,5 cm K Gr Pz (p) ABCPC-HE 6.80 kg 570 m/s 61 mm 58 mm 8
7,5 cm Gr 38/97 Hl/A (f) HEAT 4.40 kg 450 m/s 75 mm
7,5 cm Gr 38/97 Hl/B (f) 4.57 kg
7,5 cm Gr 15/38 Hl/A (f)
7,5 cm Gr 38/97 Hl/C (f) 4.80 kg 90 mm

Ammunition

The 7,5 cm Pak 97/38 (L/36) could fire both the original French ammunition, as well as German-design ammunition. For space reasons, the ammunition names have been abbreviated in the table, but is presented in full below the table.

233/1 230/1 230/1 (m) 230/1 (k) 231/1 231/1 (m) 231/1 (k) 236/1 38/97 Hl/A 38/97 Hl/B 15/38 Hl/B 38/97 Hl/C K Gr Pz
Full ammunition names
  • 7,5 cm Sprgr Patr 233/1 (f) - frz 17 -
  • 7,5 cm Sprgr Patr 230/1 (f) - frz 1900 -
  • 7,5 cm Sprgr Patr 230/1 (f) - frz 1900 - mittl. Ladung
  • 7,5 cm Sprgr Patr 230/1 (f) - frz 1900 - kleine Ladung
  • 7,5 cm Sprgr Patr 231/1 (f) - frz 15 -
  • 7,5 cm Sprgr Patr 231/1 (f) - frz 15 - mittl. Ladung
  • 7,5 cm Sprgr Patr 231/1 (f) - frz 15 - kleine Ladung
  • 7,5 cm Sprgr Patr 236/1 (f) - frz 18 -
  • 7,5 cm Gr Patr 38/97 Hl/A (f)
  • 7,5 cm Gr Patr 38/97 Hl/B (f)
  • 7,5 cm Gr Patr 15/38 Hl/B (f)
  • 7,5 cm Gr Patr 38/97 Hl/C (f)
  • 7,5 cm K Gr Patr Pz (p)
Type
Type HE HEAT APCBC-HE
Physical Characteristics
Caliber 75 mm
Weight, shot 6.195 kg 5.445 kg 6.595 kg 4.40 kg 4.57 kg 4.80 kg 6.80 kg
Length, shot - 305.3 mm
Length, round 596 mm 585 mm 590 mm 585 mm 590 mm 585 mm 578 mm 604 mm 618 - 630 mm
Muzzle velocity 575 m/s 550 m/s 396 m/s 344 m/s 550 m/s 396 m/s 344 m/s 555 m/s 450 m/s 570 m/s
Muzzle energy - 1104 kJ
Maximum range 11 000 m -
Explosive Contents
Weight, propellant 750 g 600 g 304 g 250 g 600 g 304 g 250 g 695 g 345 g 340 g 345 g - 805 g

Additional Reading

Web Links

7,5 cm Pak 40
Information about the 7,5 cm Pak 40, which replaced the 7,5 cm Pak 97/38 (L/36).
Tank Combat Firing Methods
Experience report for the 7,5 cm Pak 97/38 (L/36), comparing it to other German guns.

Books

Notes

  1. Including 96 given to the Waffen-SS. Back.
  2. Including six given to to Wa Abn. Back.
  3. Including 339 given to Luftwaffe. Back.
  4. Arithmetic discreprency not explained in reports. Back.
  5. Given to Luftwaffe. Back.
  6. Arithmetic discreprency not explained in reports. Back.
  7. Repaired combat-damaged guns. Back.
  8. Unknown penetration. Back.

Sources

  1. 1943. 5 p.
  2. Heereswaffenamt. Merkblatt für Ausbildung und Einsatz der schweren Panzerkompanie Tiger. Berlin : Oberkommando des Heeres, 1943. 17 p. Merkblatt 47a/29.
  3. HOGG, Ian V. German Artillery of World War Two. London : Greenhill Books, 1997. 304 p. ISBN 1-85367-480-X.
  4. Koch. Handbuch Die Munition der deutschen Geschütze und Werfer. Berlin : Heereswaffenamt, Oberkommando des Heeres, 1940. 324 p. D 435/1.
  5. PAWLAS, Karl R. Waffen-Revue W 127 - Datenblätter für Heeres-Waffen, -Fahrzeuge und Gerät. Nurnberg : Publizistisches Archiv für Militär- und Waffenwessen, 1976. 248 p. ISBN 3-88088-213-4.
  6. Waffenamt. Stand: Juni 1941 (Waffen). Berlin : Oberkommando des Heeres, 1941. 84 p.
  7. Waffenamt. Stand: Dezember 1942 (Waffen). Berlin : Oberkommando des Heeres, 1942. 125 p.
  8. Waffenamt. Stand: Februar 1943 (Waffen). Berlin : Oberkommando des Heeres, 1943. 167 p.
  9. Waffenamt. Stand: März 1943 (Waffen). Berlin : Oberkommando des Heeres, 1943. 168 p.
  10. Waffenamt. Stand: April 1943 (Waffen). Berlin : Oberkommando des Heeres, 1943. 169 p.
  11. Waffenamt. Stand: Mai 1943 (Waffen). Berlin : Oberkommando des Heeres, 1943. 208 p.
  12. Waffenamt. Stand: Juni 1943 (Waffen). Berlin : Oberkommando des Heeres, 1943. 211 p.
  13. Waffenamt. Stand: Juli 1943 (Waffen). Berlin : Oberkommando des Heeres, 1943. 217 p.
  14. Waffenamt. Stand: August 1943 (Waffen). Berlin : Oberkommando des Heeres, 1943. 225 p.
  15. Waffenamt. Stand: September 1943 (Waffen). Berlin : Oberkommando des Heeres, 1943. 233 p.
  16. Waffenamt. Stand: Oktober 1943 (Waffen). Berlin : Oberkommando des Heeres, 1943. 237 p.
  17. Waffenamt. Stand: November 1943 (Waffen). Berlin : Oberkommando des Heeres, 1943. 233 p.
  18. Waffenamt. Stand: Dezember 1943 (Waffen). Berlin : Oberkommando des Heeres, 1943. 225 p.