Electromagnetic Propulsion Rail Gun

The rail gun is a new US Navy weapon. As of 2016, it is on the last trial stage at sea, as it has alreay been exhibited at the US Navy expo in Washington DC. Developed by Bae System, this powerful gun uses cutting-edge, revolutionary techonology to propel its lethal projectile. Instead of traditional gun powder, the rail gun uses an electromagnetic propulsion system to shoot the tungsten-hardened projectile at ten times the speed of sound, over distances well over 170 miles. With this new propelling system, there is no need to carry dangerous explosive aboard a ship, for this high-tech gun uses only electricity as power source, representing a new offensive capability for the US Navy. The projectile is about 1,20 m in length, with a slender, pointed, conical shape and a round, flat base, being able to destroy any type of seagoing vessel.


WW2 German Anti-Tank Guns

The role of the German anti-tank guns increased in importance as the war wore on and the new battlefield realities the Wehrmacht ground troops had to face. The German foot soldiers entered World War II equipped with only one type of anti-tank gun; the 3.7 cm Pak 36, which could defeat only lightly armored enemy tanks in the Polish Campaign, the Battle of France, and the Balkan Campaign from September 1939 to April 1941. However, in late 1941, four months after the beginning of Operation Barbarossa, the battlefield reality changed for the German infantry with the emergence of the Soviet T-34, a fast and mechanically reliable tank with good armor protection, and, by 1943, a new Russian heavy tank would also crop up on the Eastern Front horizon: the IS.

These tanks were immune to this German underpower anti-tank gun, with which the Wehrmacht had gone to war. These raw facts of war forced the Germans to develop much more powerful and effective anti-tank weapons. Meanwhile, they had to resort to AA guns, like the 88mm, which became effective tank killers.

List of German Anti-tank Guns in WWII

2.8 cm schwere Panzerbüchse 41. A 28mm taper-bore anti-tank gun, used by the infantry, tapering from 28mm at the breech to 20mm at the muzzle, firing tungsten-core ammunition.

3.7 cm Pak 36

4.7 cm Pak 36(t). An infantry, light, anti-tank gun based on the Czech Skoda 47-mm P.U.V vz 36.

5 cm Pak 38

7.5 cm Pak 40

8.8 cm Flak 18/36/37/41. A famous, 88mm, anti-aircraft gun adapted to be used as a powerful anti-tank weapon.

4.2 cm Pak 41. An infantry anti-tank gun that was not produced in significant number.

8.8 cm Pak 43. It was designed by Krupp. Along with the 8.8-cm Flak gun, it was the most powerful anti-tank gun deployed by the German Army. It was also mounted in the turret of the Tiger II tank.

Skoda 47-mm vz 36

The Skoda 47-mm P.U.V vz 36 was a WWII, anti-tank gun developed and manufactured by the Czech firm Skoda but it was used in combat by the German Army from the beginning of the war. This gun production and factories had been seized and taken over by the Wehrmacht when Czechoslovakia was annexed to Germany in March 1939. Alongside the 5-cm Pak 38 and the 7.5-cm Pak 40, it was in service with German infantry units until 1945. In German hands, it was also known as the 4.7-cm Pak 36(t), which had an impressive, powerful punch and piercing capacity, being able to penetrate 55-mm-thick armour from a distance of 640 m as it fired AP 1.64 kg and HE 1.5 kg.


The 4.7-cm Pak 36(t) was also used to attack and destroy fortified, artillery or machine gun emplacements. It was mounted on a two-wheeled carriage, fitted with a steel shield, and towed by horses or trucks. Many Skoda 47 mm guns were installed in German armoured vehicles, which were used as tank destroyers.


Type: anti-tank gun
Caliber: 47mm
Barrel length: 2 m
Weight: 605 kg
Elevation: -8º to +26º
Maximum range: 4,000 m


3.7-cm Pak 36

The 3.7 cm Pak 36 was a 37-mm anti-tank gun used by the German Army’s infantry during the first two years of World War II. Although it had been in service with the Wehrmacht since 1934, it was designated 3.7-cm Panzerabwehrkanone 35/36 in 1936. It first saw combat action in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), being part of the armament used by the Condor Legion. Effective against light tanks, the 3.7cm Pak 36 was widely used during the Polish Campaign (1939), the Battle of France (1940), and Operation Barbarossa (1941). However, in late 1941, the Battle of Moscow saw the emergence of the Soviet T-34 tank, which proved to be immune to this German anti-tank gun. Thus, by 1942, it had been replaced from frontline service by the 5 cm Pak 38 and the 7.5 cm Pak 40; nevertheless, some German paratroop units re-activated it in late 1942 and continued to employ it until 1945, thanks to the availability of the Stielgranate 41, which was a new shaped-charge shell that could defeat any armor. All in all, it was a modern weapon when it came out in 1934 and was exported to several countries before the war broke out, being used as a model from which other anti-tank guns were developed.


Technical Characteristics

Mounted on a two-weeled carriage, it was fitted with tubular split trail legs and a sloping steel shield. The 3.7 cm Pak 36 featured a 1.66m-long rifled barrel, which fired 0.680-kg shells, with an effective range of 300 m. The maximum armor thickness it could punch through was 64mm at 100 m. With a total weight of 440 kg and an elevation of -8º to + 25º, it was operated by a crew of 3.

8.8-cm Pak 43

The 8.8 cm Pak 43 (Panzerabwehrkanone 43) was an anti-tank gun, with a hydro-pneumatic recoil system, used by the Wehrmacht mechanized infantry units during World War II. Manufactured by Krupp, it was in service from 1943 until the end of the war and was fielded on all three Fronts of the European theater of operation. The 8.8 cm Pak 43 was an effective and powerful anti-tank gun capable destroying and putting out of action any Soviet and Allied tank and armored vehicle.


Although the main version was set on an effective, 4-wheeled, cruciform mount, a simplified variant was mounted on a two-weeled split-trail carriage, being hauled to the battlefield by trucks or tracked military vehicles. With a 6.61m-long rifled barrel, it had an effective range of 4,000 m, being able to punch holes in a 140mm-thick steel plate, with a 30º inclination, located at 2,000 m away. This tank-buster gun was also mounted on the chassis of tank destroyers, such the Nashorn, Elefant, and Jagdpanther, as well as in the Tiger II tank’s turret.


Type: anti-tank gun

Caliber: 88mm

Barrel length: 6.61 m

Weight: 4.4 tons

Breech type: horizontal sliding block

Elevation: -5º to +38º

Rate of fire: 15 rpm

Muzzle velocity: 1,130 m/s – 1,000 m/s

Shell: 7.3 kg Panzergranate 40/43 armor-piercing round or 10.2 kg PzGr 39 APR

8.8 cm Pak 43 in Action (footage)