By Robert Forczyk
The German military constructed the 37-mm Pak 36 in 1936 to supply the first weapon for its panzerjagers, who have been accountable for anti-tank security in infantry divisions. understanding that the recent Wehrmacht offensive doctrines meant to totally take advantage of the surprise impression, firepower and mobility of armor, the panzerjagers have been meant to allow German infantry to fend off enemy tanks. even if the Pak 36 was once enough opposed to such a lot pre-war tanks, through the 1940 crusade within the West it proved not able to defeat the British Matilda II or French Char B, so the Wehrmacht all started constructing the 50-mm Pak 38 to supersede it. notwithstanding, the method of re-equipment was once gradual and so much German infantry divisions that participated within the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 merely had a handful of Pak 38s and nonetheless relied in most cases at the Pak 36. simply 4 days into the invasion, German troops encountered the 1st KV-1 and KV-2 tanks close to Raisinai in Lithuania and the impotence of either the Pak 36 (soon derisively categorized the "Door Knocker") and the Pak 38 was once published. therefore firstly of this decisive crusade, the German military was once confronted with the truth that it's panzerjagers couldn't supply powerful anti-tank protection opposed to Soviet heavy tanks and the Wehrmacht was once pressured to undertake a crash-program to improve its division-level AT defenses. New weaponry, together with the 75-mm Pak forty, captured Soviet 76.2-mm weapons switched over into Pak 36(r), warmth shells and tungsten-core rounds, provided attainable ideas to the Soviet armored behemoths, yet will require time to increase. in the meanwhile, the panzerjagers have been compelled to undertake a number of advert hoc strategies and stand-in gear to outlive in an unequal duel with heavy Soviet tanks.
On the Soviet part, established upon classes from the Spanish Civil battle, the crimson military made up our minds to enhance a heavy "breakthrough" tank to damage enemy infantry defenses. the outcome was once the KV-1 and KV-2 tanks, brought in 1939. at first of Operation Barbarossa, either those tanks have been nearly invulnerable to the guns of the panzerjager and established their skill to overrun German infantry on numerous events. This virtue gave the pink military a window of chance among the autumn of 1941 and the spring of 1942 to take advantage of their heavy tanks to repel the German invasion in a sequence of determined counteroffensives. but the window of Soviet virtue was once a slender one and the duel among the Soviet KV heavy tanks and German panzerjagers had an immense effect upon the fight for the strategic initiative in 1941-42.
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Additional resources for Panzerjäger vs KV-1: Eastern Front 1941-43 (Duel, Volume 46)
7cm and 5cm PaK guns. 5cm weapons began arriving in quantity in mid-1942. com A 5cm PaK 38 crew in a more realistic training posture, with the crew hunched behind the gun shield. Note the battery observer’s telescope to the right. The low profile made the PaK 38 very difficult for KV-1 tanks to spot. (Ian Barter) 47 COMBAT Nobody in Germany knew anything about these [KV heavy] tanks, even that they were under construction. Panzer-Division, June 1941 As expected, the Panzerjäger made short work of the handful of T-35 heavy tanks, most of which broke down before they even met the enemy.
German training was normally regarded as tough and realistic, although it should be evident that here the loader is standing at full height and the gun commander is casually sitting on the towing hitch, neither posture being likely in combat. com Once trained, a gun crew was sent in a recruit draft to join an antitank unit at the army, division or regimental level. Each German infantry and Panzer division had a PanzerjägerAbteilung, with a typical authorized strength of around 700 men, organized in a headquarters, three Panzerjäger companies, an antiaircraft company (with 12 2cm Flak), and battalion logistic trains.
FIREPOWER In order to destroy a target on the battlefields of 1941–43, the firing platform needed to be able to detect that target and engage it with appropriate ammunition. Spotting the enemy first and shooting first conferred a significant advantage. The KV heavy tanks had the ability to destroy all forms of towed and self-propelled Panzerjäger throughout the period of 1941–43. 62mm coaxial machinegun fire. The OF-350 was a point-detonating round with a relatively small bursting charge, which made it less than ideal for destroying small, concealed PaK guns.
Panzerjäger vs KV-1: Eastern Front 1941-43 (Duel, Volume 46) by Robert Forczyk