Anti-Tank Weapons Captured by the German Wehrmacht

Shell Types and Armour Penetration Capabilities

Beutepanzer SU-85 (r)

1:87 scale ROCO model of a captured Soviet SU-85 assault gun Beutepanzer of the Wehrmacht.

The table lists armour penetration values for captured, and re-designated Wehrmacht tank and anti-tank guns at 0 to 100 meters range and 0 degrees inclination of armour. Dates indicate the year when a particular shell type entered production, not necessarily the year of availability to combat units. New shell types would take several months to reach the troops at the front, some favoured units receiving the new shells more quickly than others. Andrew Mark Reid is the author of Panzergranate, a set of miniature wargame rules using carefully researched gunnery data to simulate armour penetration results.

Captured Weapons Projectile Penetration
2.5 cm L.72 Puteaux PaK 112 (f) A.P. (f) 50 mm
2.5 cm L.72 Puteaux PaK 112 (f) A.P.C.R. (Pz.Gr. 40) 65 mm
2.5 cm L.77 Hotchkiss PaK 113 (f) A.P. (f) 54 mm
2.5 cm L.77 Hotchkiss PaK 113 (f) A.P.C.R. (Pz.Gr. 40) 70 mm
3.7 cm L.33 KwK 40 (f) A.P. (f) 47 mm
3.7 cm L.33 KwK 40 (f) A.P.C.R. (Pz.Gr. 40) 60 mm

French ammunitions factories were put to use by the Wehrmacht for the following reasons:

  1. The production lines and tooling were already in place, they had not been destroyed!
  2. Production personnel was readily available because of the French mobilisation, and war production increase during 1939/1940.
  3. Large stockpiles of ammunition, guns, armoured fighting vehicles, aircraft, and spare parts were captured intact. Apparently, little effort had been made to destroy these stocks to prevent them from falling into enemy hands.

Subsequently, the factories adopted German shell production methods, and German designed ammunition was produced there from about 1941 onwards.

3.72 cm L.40 Skoda A.3 KwK (t) A.P.H.E. (Pz.Gr. 34 (t)) 45 mm
3.72 cm L.40 Skoda A.3 KwK (t) A.P. (Pz.Gr. 39) 58 mm
3.72 cm L.40 Skoda A.3 KwK (t) A.P.C.R. (Pz.Gr. 40) 70 mm
Main armament of the LT vz. 35 light tank, re-designated Pz.Kpfw. 35 (t) by the Wehrmacht.
3.72 cm L.47 Skoda A.7 KwK (t) A.P.H.E. (Pz.Gr. 34 (t)) 50 mm
3.72 cm L.47 Skoda A.7 KwK (t) A.P. (Pz.Gr. 39) 69 mm
3.72 cm L.47 Skoda A.7 KwK (t) A.P.C.R. (Pz.Gr. 40) 84 mm
Main armament of the LT vz. 38 light tank, re-designated Pz.Kpfw. 38 (t) by the Wehrmacht.
3.7 cm L.47.8 M.37 PaK 185 (t) A.P. (Pz.Gr.) 69 mm
3.7 cm L.47.8 M.37 PaK 185 (t) A.P.C.R. (Pz.Gr. 40) 84 mm
3.7 cm L.60 Hotchkiss FlaK (f) A.P./T. (f) 36 mm
3.7 cm L.60 Hotchkiss FlaK (f) A.P.C.R. (Pz.Gr. 40) 86 mm
4 cm L.52 2-Pdr. PaK 154 (b) A.P. (b) 84 mm
4 cm L.52 2-Pdr. PaK 154 (b) A.P.C.R. (Pz.Gr. 40) 98 mm
4.7 cm L.39.4 Böhler PaK 196 (r) A.P. (Pz.Gr.) 71 mm
4.7 cm L.39.4 Böhler PaK 196 (r) A.P.C.R. (Pz.Gr. 40) 87 mm
It is not clear why the Wehrmacht listed the Austrian Böhler M.35.B infantry gun as a captured Russian weapon. The Latvian army had procured Böhler M.35.B from Austria prior to the war, and the 4.7 cm L.39.4 was build under license by a number of other nations. Most likely, Soviet forces used these Böhler guns to repel the German invasion of occupied Latvia and Estonia.
4.7 cm L.40 Böhler M.35 Infantry Gun A.P. (Pz.Gr.) 71 mm
4.7 cm L.40 Böhler M.35 Infantry Gun A.P.C.R. (Pz.Gr. 40) 87 mm
The Böhler 4.7 cm L.40 was in service with the Austrian army, and it had been exported to Estonia prior to the war. If M.35 Böhlers were captured in Estonia, they may have received the same designation as the M.35.B above, regardless of the difference in length.
4.7 cm L.43 Skoda PaK 36 (t) A.P.H.E. (Pz.Gr. 36 (t)) 66 mm
4.7 cm L.43 Skoda PaK 36 (t) A.P. (Pz.Gr. 39) 86 mm
4.7 cm L.43 Skoda PaK 36 (t) A.P.C.R. (Pz.Gr. 40) 144 mm
Captured 47 mm Skoda guns were used by the Wehrmacht to convert Pz.Kpfw. I light tanks to Panzerjäger I, the first of many self-propelled anti-tank guns. Panzerjäger I tank destroyer platoons consisted of four vehicles.
4.7 cm L.53 Puteaux PaK 114 (f)
4.7 cm L.53 Puteaux M.1937 PaK 181 (f)
4.7 cm L.53 Puteaux M.1939 PaK 183 (f)
A.P. (f) 95 mm
4.7 cm L.53 Puteaux PaK 114 (f)
A.P.C.R. (Pz.Gr. 40) 118 mm
7.5 cm L.30 PaK 50 (f) A.P. (f) 73 mm
7.5 cm L.30 PaK 50 (f) A.P.C.R. (Pz.Gr. 40) 107 mm
The L.30 PaK 50 (f) was a marriage between the PaK 38 chassis and an unidentified French 75 mm L.29.7 gun, possibly the 75 mm Puteaux tank gun mounted in Char 2C heavy tanks. The L.30 PaK 50 (f) was notorious for its tremendous recoil when A.P.C.R. shells were fired, causing the carriage to jump off the ground, and requiring that the gun be aimed again after each shot. The weapon was only issued to German penal units and Axis allies on the Eastern Front. A model of the PaK 40 may be easily converted to represent this weapon. Shorten the barrel of the PaK 40, leaving just 10 mm of barrel beyond the end of the recoil slider. The PaK 50 (f) had no muzzle brake.
7.5 cm L.36.3 PaK 97/38 (f)
7.5 cm L.36.3 PaK 97/40 (f)
A.P. (Pz.Gr.) 90 mm
7.5 cm L.36.3 PaK 97/38 (f)
7.5 cm L.36.3 PaK 97/40 (f)
A.P.C.R. (Pz.Gr. 40) 128 mm
The French army upgraded many of its old 75 mm Puteaux M.1897 field guns by adding pneumatic tires in the course of the 1938 and 1940 mobilization effort. Captured weapons were fitted with a PaK 38 carriage and a T.R. breech by the Wehrmacht. If German A.P.C.R. rounds were later fired from this weapon, the recoil springing system had to have been strengthened to accept the increased recoil. These guns had no muzzle brake, although they may have been fitted with proper sights and other minor design improvement. The weapon was issued to Axis allies deployed on the eastern front. After 1942, the 7.5 cm L.36.3 PaK 97/38 (f) or 97/40 (f) could not have been much use in combat.
7.62 cm L.51 M.1936 F.G. PaK 36 (r) A.P.H.E. (M.1936) 98 mm
7.62 cm L.51 M.1936 F.G. PaK 36 (r) H.V.A.P. (M.1942) 125 mm
7.62 cm L.51 M.1936 F.G. PaK 36 (r) A.P. (Pz.Gr.) 128 mm
7.62 cm L.51 M.1936 F.G. PaK 36 (r) A.P.C.R. (Pz.Gr. 40) 182 mm
A.P.H.E. and H.V.A.P. are Soviet shell types captured in large enough quantity to be used by the Wehrmacht.
7.62 cm L.54 PaK 54 (r) A.P.H.E. (M.1936) 104 mm
7.62 cm L.54 PaK 54 (r) H.V.A.P. (M.1942) 133 mm
7.62 cm L.54 PaK 54 (r) A.P. (Pz.Gr.) 133 mm
7.62 cm L.54 PaK 54 (r) A.P.C.R. (Pz.Gr. 40) 193 mm
Russian guns, and large stocks of ammunition were captured during the campaign, and subsequently employed by the Wehrmacht.

The Wehrmacht captured large numbers of guns, and enormous stockpiles of ammunition in the early campaigns of the war. In preparation for the invasion of Russia, many captured guns were upgraded and brought as near as possible to German standards. They were usually issued to Axis allied forces and legions serving in Russia. Second rate equipment was initially only issued to the least important units of the Wehrmacht, a policy which would change as equipment shortages became more pronounced during the campaign. The origin of captured equipment was noted in brackets, French (f), British (b), Czech (t), or Russian (r).

Andy Reid

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