8.8 cm PaK 43
The Pak 43 was a 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...

 88 mm anti-tank gun developed 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...

 in competition 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...

 8.8 cm Flak 41 anti-aircraft gun and used during the Second World War. The Pak 43 was the most powerful anti-tank gun of 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:...

 to see service in significant numbers. The Pak 43 was an excellent weapon, able to penetrate the heaviest Allied tanks at combat ranges, including the Soviet IS-2
Iosif Stalin tank
The Iosif Stalin tank , was a heavy tank developed by the Soviet Union during World War II and first used in the Kursk area in September 1943...

 and the American M-26 Pershing.


The main version of the Pak 43 was based on a highly efficient cruciform mount, which offered a full 360 degree traverse and a much lower profile than the ubiquitous anti-aircraft 8.8 cm Flak 37. However the manufacture of this version was initially slow and costly.

To simplify production some were mounted on the two-wheel split-trail carriage from the 10.5 cm leFH 18
10.5 cm leFH 18
-History:The 10.5 cm leFH 18 was the standard divisional field howitzer used by the Wehrmacht during the Second World War. It was designed and developed by Rheinmetall in 1929-30 and entered service with the Wehrmacht in 1935. Generally it did not equip independent artillery battalions until...

 field howitzer, resulting in a version known as Pak 43/41. The 43/41 proved heavy and awkward to handle in the mud and snow of Eastern Front
Eastern Front
Eastern Front may refer to one of the following:* Eastern Front * Eastern Front * Eastern Front * Eastern Front * Eastern Front * 1635: The Eastern Front...

 and gunners referred to 43/41 as the "barn door" , a veiled reference to the size and weight of the gun. Nevertheless the Pak 43/41 proved just as effective as the earlier Pak 43.

The Pak 43 was also mounted in German armored vehicles and this version was known as the 8.8 cm KwK 43. Versions of this gun were mounted in a number of German armored vehicles under different designations, including the Tiger II
Tiger II
Tiger II is the common name of a German heavy tank of the Second World War. The final official German designation was Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. B,Panzerkampfwagen – abbr: Pz. or Pz.Kfw. Ausführung – abbr: Ausf. .The full titles Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf...

 heavy tank (KwK 43 L/71) and several tank destroyers: the Hornisse/Nashorn
Nashorn , initially known as Hornisse , was a German tank destroyer of World War II. It was developed as an interim solution in 1942 and was armed with the outstanding Pak 43 anti-tank gun...

 (Pak 43/1), Ferdinand/Elefant
The Elefant was a "schwerer Panzerjäger" of the German Wehrmacht used in small numbers in World War II. It was built in 1943 under the name Ferdinand, after its designer Ferdinand Porsche. In 1944, after modification of the existing vehicles, they were renamed Elefant...

 (Pak 43/2), and Jagdpanther
The Jagdpanther was a tank destroyer built by Nazi Germany during World War II based on the chassis of the Panther tank. It entered service late in the war and saw service on the Eastern and Western fronts...

 (Pak 43/3 and Pak 43/4). A few examples of the Tiger II-based Jagdtiger
Jagdtiger is the common name of a German tank destroyer of World War II. The official German designation was Panzerjäger Tiger Ausf. B. The ordnance inventory designation was Sd. Kfz. 186. It saw service in small numbers from late 1944 to the end of the war on both the Western and Eastern Front...

 were also completed with the 8.8 cm weapon due to a shortage of the 12.8 cm Pak 44
12.8 cm PaK 44
The 12.8 cm Pak 44, was a German heavy anti-tank gun used during World War II. It was designed as a result of experiences on the Eastern front in 1943. The German army had encountered the Russian 122 mm guns and had issued a requirement for a similar weapon. Development initially concentrated on a...

, but these tank destroyers are not believed to have seen operational service.

PzGr. 39/43 APCBC-HE

  • Type: Armour Piercing Capped with Ballistic Cap - High Explosive
  • Projectile weight: 10.4 kg (22.92 lbs)
  • Muzzle velocity: 1,000 m/s (3,281 ft/s)

Penetration figures established as average against a rolled homogenous armoured plate laid back 30 degrees from the vertical
Hit probability versus 2.5 m x 2 m target
Range Penetration in training in combat
100 m 202 mm 100 % 100 %
500 m 185 mm 100 % 100 %
1000 m 165 mm 100 % 85 %
1500 m 148 mm 95 % 61 %
2000 m 132 mm 85 % 43 %
2500 m n/a 74 % 30 %
3000 m n/a 61 % 23 %
3500 m n/a 51 % 17 %
4000 m n/a 42 % 13 %

PzGr. 40/43 APCR

  • Type: Armour-piercing, Composite Rigid construction)
  • Projectile weight: 7.3 kg (16 lbs)
  • Muzzle velocity: 1,130 m/s (3,707 ft/s)

Penetration figures established as average against a rolled homogenous armoured plate laid back 30 degrees from the vertical
Hit probability versus 2.5 m x 2 m target
Range Penetration in training in combat
100 m 238 mm 100 % 100 %
500 m 217 mm 100 % 100 %
1000 m 193 mm 100 % 89 %
1500 m 171 mm 97 % 66 %
2000 m 153 mm 89 % 47 %
2500 m n/a 78 % 34 %
3000 m n/a 66 % 25 %

Gr. 39/3 HL (HEAT)

  • Projectile weight: 7.65 kg (17 lbs)
  • Muzzle velocity: 600 m/s (1,968 ft/s)
  • Penetration: 90 mm
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