German APCR Ammunition

By Christian Ankerstjerne

Introduction

Germany was well-aware of the increased armor penetration capability offered by APCR ammunition before the Second World War. The S. m. K. and S. m. K. H. rifle ammunition, using hardened steel and tungsten, respectively, could achieve reasonable results. The Panzerbüchse 39 anti-tank rifle likewise used tungsten-cored ammunition, and was available in limited numbers for the invasion of Poland. Unlike the French army, however, Germany did not provide APCR ammunition for its conventional anti-tank guns prior to the invasion of France. It was not until September 1940 that the first tungsten-cored ammunition was made available, with the 3,7 cm Pzgr Patr 40. In March 1941, the 5 cm Pzgr Patr 40 was introduced.

Usage on the Eastern Front

Availability for Barbarossa

At the time of the invasion of Russia in 1941, only 5.8% of all the ammunition for the German-produced 37 mm and 50 mm tank and anti-tank guns was APCR. APCR ammunition for Czechoslovak 37 mm and 47 mm guns used on the Pz Kpfw 35 (t), Pz Kpfw 38 (t), and Panzerjäger I was very limited compared to that of German guns.

The number of shells available for each guns is listed below. As can be seen, the stock of APCR ammunition for anti-tank guns was very low.

Gun Guns per 1 July 1941 HE AP-HE/APBC-HE APCR
3,7 cm Pak 14 445 1 354 70
3,7 cm Kw K 327 9 541 1 115
5 cm Pak 1 189 418 529 62
5 cm Kw K 1 174 1 030 554 109

37 mm Shell Inventory

Sprgr Patr (high-explosive) and Pzgr Patr (regular armor-piercing) ammunition was reported together for the 37 mm ammunition.

Availability of 3,7 cm Sprgr Patr (HE), 3,7 cm Pzgr Patr (AP-HE), and 3,7 cm Pzgr Patr 40 (APCR). In thousand shells.
Month Anti-tank Tank Total Ratio
HE AP-HE APCR HE AP-HE APCR HE AP-HE APCR
May 1940 19 596.0 0 1 326.4 0 20 922.4 0 0%
June 1940 19 139.8 0 1 213.4 0 20 353.2 0 0%
July 1940 19 816.5 0 1 367.6 0 21 184.1 0 0%
August 1940 19 566.8 0 1 559.0 0 21 125.8 0 0%
September 1940 19 265.0 136.3 1 684.0 159.4 20 949.0 295.7 1.4%
October 1940 19 557.0 250.0 2 005.5 219.5 21 562.5 469.5 2.1%
November 1940 19 206.0 323.5 2 189.8 254.1 21 395.8 577.6 2.6%
December 1940 19 652.9 337.8 2 300.4 266.9 21 953.3 604.7 2.7%
January 1941 19 268.5 339.9 2 401.1 298.2 21 669.6 638.1 2.9%
February 1941 19 423.7 393.4 2 503.8 308.2 21 927.5 701.6 3.1%
March 1941 19 104.8 468.6 2 714.5 308.2 21 819.3 776.8 3.4%
April 1941 18 330.8 650.0 2 778.6 332.4 21 109.4 982.4 4.4%
May 1941 18 874.3 792.4 3 088.8 365.1 21 963.1 1 157.5 5.0%
June 1941 19 139.3 938.8 3 138.0 365.1 22 277.3 1 303.9 5.5%
July 1941 19 554.7 1 005.4 3 120.0 364.5 22 674.7 1 369.9 5.7%
August 1941 18 964.7 1 027.4 3 000.0 352.0 21 964.7 1 379.4 5.9%
September 1941 18 194.0 1020.3 2 975.5 348.6 21 169.5 1 368.9 6.1%
October 1941 17 668.0 898.0 2 818.1 330.1 20 486.1 1 228.1 5.7%
November 1941 17 948.0 902.3 2 688.9 331.6 20 616.9 1 233.9 5.6%
December 1941 18 051.0 906.4 2 680.0 324.2 20 731.0 1 230.6 5.6%

50 mm Shell Inventory

Until October 1940, 50 mm anti-tank gun and tank gun ammunition was reported together, as anti-tank gun ammunition.

Availability of 5 cm Gr Patr 38 (HE), 5 cm Pzgr Patr 39 (APBC-HE), and 5 cm Pzgr Patr 40 (APCR). In thousand shells.
Month Anti-tank Tank Total Ratio
HE AP-HE APCR HE AP-HE APCR HE AP-HE APCR
June 1940 12.7 5.1 0 0 0 0 12.7 5.1 0 0%
July 1940 15.6 31.6 0 0 0 0 15.6 31.6 0 0%
August 1940 84.2 91.1 0 0 0 0 84.2 91.1 0 0%
September 1940 72.8 82.2 0 0 0 0 72.8 82.2 0 0%
October 1940 72.8 82.2 0 108.1 87.8 0 180.9 170.6 0 0%
November 1940 94.4 163.9 0 129.5 97.1 0 223.9 261.0 0 0%
December 1940 100.0 273.0 0 143.8 196.8 0 243.8 469.8 0 0%
January 1941 138.7 295.5 0 184.5 246.8 0 323.2 542.3 0 0%
February 1941 206.4 371.5 0 206.9 246.4 0 413.3 617.9 0 0%
March 1941 294.0 389.3 1.4 246.6 268.8 3.6 540.6 658.1 5.0 0.4%
April 1941 277.9 430.6 4.6 269.8 364.8 29.2 547.7 795.4 33.8 2.5%
May 1941 470.6 454.9 36.8 601.0 445.6 86.7 1 071.6 900.5 123.5 5.9%
June 1941 493.9 522.2 50.3 981.7 590.7 121.3 1 475.6 1 112.9 171.6 6.2%
July 1941 497.2 628.4 73.9 1 209.8 650.6 128.3 1 707.0 1 279.0 202.2 6.3%
August 1941 540.1 679.6 63.9 1403.3 723.7 136.8 1 943.4 1 403.3 200.7 5.7%
September 1941 537.7 758.3 90.9 1 780.5 783.8 190.8 2 318.2 1 542.1 281.7 6.8%
October 1941 360.1 843.3 81.9 1 797.9 947.6 185.9 2 157.9 1 790.9 267.8 6.4%
November 1941 372.9 947.7 76.7 1 811.5 1 129.6 253.1 2 184.4 2 077.3 329.8 7.2%
December 1941 361.0 982.0 81.4 1 919.9 1 374.9 347.9 2 280.9 2 356.9 429.3 8.5%

Sources

  1. Munition - Heer : Mai 1940. Berlin, 1940. 3 p.
  2. Munition - Heer : Juni 1940. Berlin, 1940. 3 p.
  3. Munition - Heer : August 1940. Berlin, 1940. 3 p.
  4. Munition - Heer : September 1940. Berlin, 1940. 3 p.
  5. Munition - Heer : Oktober 1940. Berlin, 1940. 3 p.
  6. Munition - Heer : November 1940. Berlin, 1940. 3 p.
  7. Munition - Heer : Dezember 1940. Berlin, 1941. 3 p.
  8. Munition - Heer : Januar 1941. Berlin, 1941. 3 p.
  9. Munition - Heer : Februar 1941. Berlin, 1941. 3 p.
  10. Munition - Heer : März 1941. Berlin, 1941. 3 p.
  11. Munition - Heer : April 1941. Berlin, 1941. 3 p.
  12. Munition - Heer : Mai 1941. Berlin, 1941. 3 p.
  13. Munition - Heer : Juli 1941. Berlin, 1941. 3 p.
  14. Waffen u. Geräte : Juli 1941. Berlin, 1941. 2 p.
  15. Munition - Heer : Juli 1940. Berlin, 1940. 2 p.
  16. Munition - Heer : August 1941. Berlin, 1941. 2 p.
  17. Munition - Heer : September 1941. Berlin, 1941. 5 p.
  18. Munition - Heer : Oktober 1941. Berlin, 1941. 4 p.
  19. Munition - Heer : November 1941. Berlin, 1941. 4 p.
  20. Munition - Heer : Dezember 1941. Berlin, 1942. 5 p.