7.5 cm PaK 41
The 7.5 cm PaK 41 was one of the last German
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 anti-tank guns brought into service and used in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and notable for being one of the largest anti-tank guns to rely on the Gerlich principle (pioneered by German gun-designer Hermann Gerlich who developed the principle in the 1920s, reportedly for a hunting rifle) to deliver a higher muzzle velocity and therefore greater penetration in relation to its size.

Design and development

Designed and built by Krupp
The Krupp family , a prominent 400-year-old German dynasty from Essen, have become famous for their steel production and for their manufacture of ammunition and armaments. The family business, known as Friedrich Krupp AG Hoesch-Krupp, was the largest company in Europe at the beginning of the 20th...

 AG to compete with the Rheinmetall
Rheinmetall AG is a German automotive and defence company with factories in Düsseldorf, Kassel and Unterlüß. The company has a long tradition of making guns and artillery pieces...

 7.5 cm Pak 40, the Pak 41 was intended from the onset to take advantage of the Gerlich principle to increase shot velocity. In addition to its squeeze bore design and use of a tungsten core flanged shell, the Pak 41 incorporated several novel features. One feature was that the barrel was split into three distinct sections: the rear part was parallel-sided and conventionally rifled; the central part was unrifled and tapered down; at the muzzle end, the last 27.6 inches (701 mm) it was parallel-sided again but remained unrifled. Another novel feature was the attachment of the split trail legs and solid rubber tires directly to the gun shield to save weight. The gun cradle was set inside a special ball mount attached to the gun shield. The cradle itself was cylindrical, covering the whole of the rear half of the barrel.

The weight of the powder charge fired is 95 percent of the weight of the projectile. With an estimated velocity of approximately 1200 m/s (4,000 f/s), and a penetration of 15 cm (5.94 inches) of homogeneous armor at 900 m (1,000 yards.)
The reinforced breech
Breech-loading weapon
A breech-loading weapon is a firearm in which the cartridge or shell is inserted or loaded into a chamber integral to the rear portion of a barrel....

 is of the vertical wedge type, with a semi-automatic
Semi-automatic firearm
A semi-automatic, or self-loading firearm is a weapon which performs all steps necessary to prepare the weapon to fire again after firing—assuming cartridges remain in the weapon's feed device or magazine...

 action. Compared to the PaK 38 and the PaK 40, the appearance was long, low, and sturdy.

The gun is sighted up to 1,500 meters; the sight has four scales for use according to the actual muzzle velocity
Muzzle velocity
Muzzle velocity is the speed a projectile has at the moment it leaves the muzzle of the gun. Muzzle velocities range from approximately to in black powder muskets , to more than in modern rifles with high-performance cartridges such as the .220 Swift and .204 Ruger, all the way to for tank guns...

 of the gun. The barrel life is provisionally estimated as 500 to 600 rounds.


When first introduced, the 7.5 cm Pak 41's performance would seem to indicate that it might supplant the Pak 40 as the standard issue anti-tank gun for the Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

. However, the emergent shell's muzzle velocity tended to drop dramatically over long range and accuracy and penetration suffered as a consequence. This factor along with a growing shortage of tungsten which was needed for the gun's special ammunition would ensure that only 150 Pak 41's would ever be produced. Most Pak 41's were scrapped when their barrels had worn out and / or their ammunition supply was exhausted, although it is believed that a small number of Pak 41's were converted to accept 7.5 cm Pak 40 barrels and components.

A small number were known to have been mounted on halftracks and used as lightly armored tank destroyers.
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