This has always bugged me, the Flak 18 was designed and built to shoot down airplanes with exploding shrapnel rounds. It was later discovered that it worked well against tanks. When they first used it against the French tanks did they have special AP ammo or did they just shoot it with the AA ammo? Could a Flak shell kill say a matilda?
The FlaK 18 was first used in Spain, during the civil war. Although designed as an anti-aircraft gun, it was often used to fire at ground targets (and was thus also supplied with anti-tank shells). In Spain it was found that the FlaK 18 made an excellent tank-killer and it was subsequently used in that role in France with great succes.
A high-explosive round, even from a FlaK 18, cannot destroy a Matilda 2.
aka Killed in First Minute
21st October 2005
It would have been unthinkable to build and equip soldiers with an 88mm cannon and not give them some AT rounds. Even if it was intended primarily as an AA gun. If you think about it, you have an 88mm AA gun, and suddenly enemy tanks are coming! "Crap, did NO ONE at any point down the line think to give us a couple of anti-tank rounds for this big gun!" But of course that didn't happen. The did make them, the rest is history.
so they did manufacture AP ammo right from the get-go?
It's Happy Fun Ball!;4227207But of course that didn't happen.
Unless you're British :p
Yes, they did manufacture AP ammo from the get go.
Hell, even Wespe and Hummel howitzers carried I think 8 rounds of AP as a just in case, so that was probably the way it was originally for the 88.
It's only in 1938 that the 88 was officially used against static ground forces (fortification etc ...) and mobile forces (tank) and so get specific ammos. However even if the 88 was a good gun to pierce armor, it was a waste of ammo compared to real at gun like a pak40. For the NA front, the average of ammo used is about : 11 ammo/tank at medium range 24 ammo/tank at long range
The WW2 standard AP round for the 88, the panzergranate39
Forgive my German but loosely it means
granate=grenade referring to the bursting charge inside the projectile
39= the year the round was adopted by the Heer.
That means in 1940 the Germans would have had available the PzGr.39
The 88 was used so much in the A/T role in North Africa because the standard AT guns such as the PAK 36 were all but worthless and the PAK 38 had problems penetrating Matlda II and Valentine tanks unless at medium to close range (500m or less IIRC).
Whether a HE round could kill a tank depends mostly on where it hits.
Generally speaking no it cant. If the gun crew got really really lucky they might get lucky and find a weak spot but its highly unlikely.
In WW2 there were a few cases reported where HE rounds were fired at approaching tanks and the round had enough force to blow a hole through the hull roof or turret roof armor.
Out of all the tanks built and destroyed in WW2 by both sides I can think of only two or three reports of it happening so it would appear it was one of those "one in a million" shots.
That said the number one killer of tanks in WW2 was artillery strikes.
Actually, I read that at the battle of the Halfaya Pass in June 1941, the Italian artillerymen removed the fuses from their HE shells to their 100/17 howitzers and used them as anti-tank shells.
Seth_Soldier;4227500It's only in 1938 that the 88 was officially used against static ground forces (fortification etc ...) and mobile forces (tank) and so get specific ammos. However even if the 88 was a good gun to pierce armor, it was a waste of ammo compared to real at gun like a pak40. For the NA front, the average of ammo used is about : 11 ammo/tank at medium range 24 ammo/tank at long range
Is that for the 88, or all anti tank guns. Because say, a Pak36, is going to fire lots more rounds then a 88.