British 40 mm 2 Pdr. Anti-Tank Gun of World War Two, 1940–1945

British 40 mm 2 Pdr. L.52 Anti-Tank Gun of World War Two

This British 2 pdr. anti-tank gun stands in front of the Museum of the Mareth Line in Tunisia, commemorating the battle which was fought here from February to March 1943. The 2 pdr. was an exceptionally well-made gun, but it lacked the penetration capability required to defeat anything but the weakly armoured Italian tanks and some of the early German light and medium tanks. In retrospect, the 2 pdr. was already obsolete at the beginning of the war. More than 500 of these guns were lost in the course of the 1940 campaign in France, but the remaining weapons continued to serve quite well against the Italian tanks encountered in North Africa. The first procurement order for the more powerful 6 pdr. anti-tank gun had already been placed in the summer of 1940, but the gun could not be produced until 1941, and the first issue did not reach the troops in the desert until mid-1942.

In the meantime, the 2 pdr. was deployed in the portee role, mounted on a Morris-Commercial 15cwt truck. The 2 pdr. could be fired from the back of the truck, and the improved mobility gave the gun and crew noticeably better chances of survival in combat. The remaining Morris-Commercial trucks were later converted to anti-tank gun tractors.

In 1943 the "Little John" squeeze bore attachment was adopted to increase the velocity and armour penetration of the 2 pdr. gun. Armoured cars and light tanks which could not be upgraded to a larger gun, received the Little John attachment to keep them in service a while longer. When the 6th Airborne Armoured Recce Regiment landed in France in 1944 most of their gliderborne Tetrach tanks were equipped with Little Johns.

Available Scale Model Kits

  • 2 pdr. Anti-Tank Gun, 20 mm SHQ FBG60
  • 2 pdr. Anti-Tank Gun firing, 1:76 Hinchliffe 20/49A
  • 2 pdr. Anti-Tank Gun limbered, 1:76 Hinchliffe 20/498
  • 2 pdr. Anti-Tank Gun (8th Army), 15 mm Flames of War BR500
  • 2 pdr. Anti-Tank Gun, 15 mm Forged in Battle B-61
  • 2 pdr. Anti-Tank Gun & Crew, 15 mm Minifigs BV-83
  • 2 pdr. Anti-Tank Gun & Crew, 1:300 HEROICS & ROS B36
British 40 mm 2 Pdr. L.52 Anti-Tank Gun, 1940–1945

Technical Specifications

  • Calibre: 40 mm
  • Barrel Length: L.52 (2082 mm)
  • Weight: 797 kg
  • Elevation: -5° to +23°
  • Traverse: 360°
  • Rate of Fire:
  • Ammunition Weight: 907 g per round
  • Muzzle Velocity: 808 m/sec
  • Effective Range: 1,000 m
  • Armour Penetration at 0-100 m:
    • A.P./T. (Armour Piercing Tracer) 84 mm
    • A.P.S.V. (A.P. Squeezed Velocity, 1943) with "Little John", 103 mm

Bibliography

Historical Employment

  • British & Commonwealth anti-tank gun, 1937–1943
  • British & Commonwealth tank gun, 1934–1945
    • Daimler Mk.I Armoured Car
    • Daimler Mk.II Armoured Car
    • Coventry Mk.I Armoured Car, 1944–1945
    • Light Tank Mk.VII, Tetrarch I
    • A.9 Cruiser Tank Mk.I, 1934
    • A.10 Cruiser Tank Mk.II, 1938
    • A.12 Infantry Tank Mk.I "Matilda" II
    • A.12 Infantry Tank Mk.II "Matilda" III, 1939–1942
    • A.13 Cruiser Tank Mk.III, 1938
    • A.13 Cruiser Tank Mk.IV
    • A.13 Cruiser Tank Mk.V "Covenanter"
    • A.14 Cruiser Tank "Crusader" I
    • A.15 Cruiser Tank Mk.VI "Crusader" II
    • A.17 Cruiser/Infantry Tank Mk.III "Valentine" I, 1940
    • A.18 Cruiser/Infantry Tank Mk.III "Valentine" II
    • A.19 Cruiser/Infantry Tank Mk.III "Valentine" III
    • A.20 Cruiser/Infantry Tank Mk.III "Valentine" IV
    • A.21 Cruiser/Infantry Tank Mk.III "Valentine" V
    • Cruiser/Infantry Tank Mk.III "Valentine" VI
    • Cruiser/Infantry Tank Mk.III "Valentine" VII
    • A.22 Infantry Tank Mk.IV "Churchill" I, 1941
    • A.23 Infantry Tank Mk.IV "Churchill" II

Self-Propelled Mountings

  • Truck, 4×4, AT Portee (2 pdr.), Morris-Commercial C8/MG

The towed 2 pdr. anti-tank gun was taken out of service when more powerful 6 pdr. anti-tank guns became available in sufficient numbers. However, the 2 pdr. tank gun did serve until the end of the war as the main armament of the Daimler armoured car and Tetrach light tank. Most of these vehicles had their guns fitted with the "Little John" squeeze bore attachment which increased the armour penetration capability of the 2 pdr. by 23 percent.

Frequently Asked Questions

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British Miniatures of World War Two