Lebel anti tank gun?

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daveh
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Location: uk

Lebel anti tank gun?

Postby daveh » 03 Jan 2010 17:00

Was the Lebel rifle fitted with a VB grenade launcher ever used or planned to be used as an anti tank weapon in WW1 or after?

I ask because on
http://www.bunkergordel.be/3-0-Het%20Be ... 0leger.htm

when describing the weapons used by the Belgian Army mention is made of the
Lebel anti tank gun
.

The details given say it dates from WW1 and fired anti tank projectiles of 13mm and 20mm and that it was hoped they would be of some use in 1940.

The photos underneath the description show the Lebel rifle fitted with the the Tromblon V.B. (Viven-Bessières) Grenade Launcher.

Idomeneas
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Re: Lebel anti tank gun?

Postby Idomeneas » 03 Jan 2010 20:19

I only have in mind, a note of the Hellenic Army dated 7 February 1939, where some ammunition orders are mentioned.
There, you can find a note stating: "400.000 Lebel rounds armoured piercing (antitank)". This ammunition was not destined for use by the Lebel rifle, but by the M1907 St. Etienne MGs.

In another report, it is stating the during October 1940, there was an order for 600.000 armour piercing rounds for M1907 St. Etienne MGs, to the greek industry.

There is also a note stating: "15.000 rounds for Hotchkiss 13,2mm HMGs. From these half will be tracing and the other half, armour piercing (antitank)".

As far I know, even if the Hellenic Army used the Lebel rifle fitted with a VB grenade launcher, during WW II, there was no plan for use them in the antitank role.

Idomeneas

daveh
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Joined: 11 Feb 2003 18:14
Location: uk

Re: Lebel anti tank gun?

Postby daveh » 04 Jan 2010 14:50

Very helpful Idomeneas, thank you.

daveh

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David Lehmann
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Re: Lebel anti tank gun?

Postby David Lehmann » 16 Jan 2010 13:09

Hello,

8x50R mm cartridges

a) For rifles, carbines and machineguns :

Cartouche Mle1886 D (12.8 gram heavy bullet)
V° = 701 m/s in a 800mm barrel rifle
V° = 637 m/s in a 450mm barrel carbine

Cartouche de 8mm à balle traceuse (T) (11.2 gram tracer bullet)
V° = 750 m/s (rifles and MGs)
Ball is tracing only in the first 600m
There are 2 different tracer cartridges :
magnesium + baryum nirate = WHITE color
magnesium + strontium nitrate = RED color

Cartouche de 8mm à balle perforante (P) (9.6 gram AP bullet)
A 4.2 gram special stubs steel core and brass
V° = 840 m/s (rifles and MGs)
Penetration : at least 6mm /0° at 400m

b) For machineguns only :

Cartouche Mle1932 N (15.05 gram heavy bullet)
V° = 690 m/s


AFAIK the VB rifle grenades were sometimes fires against vehicles but they had no AT capacity.

The 'Tromblon VB' (Tromblon Vivien-Bessière) grenade dischargers are fitted on Lebel Mle1886/93 rifles, Lebel Mle1886 R35 and sometimes MAS Mle1936 rifles. Every French infantry platoon has a group of VB grenade launchers. Feared for its efficiency among German troops since WW1 and very valuable because of their ability to engage and destroy entrenched troops and MGs. The VB grenade was used during WW1 by the USA and UK and copied by the Germans.
The discharger is attached to the muzzle of the rifle and either 1 or 2 grenades, as desired, are inserted. The rifle is loaded with an ordinary cartridge. The bullet is fired and passes through the barrel of the rifle and the central tube of the grenade(s), forcing the striker against the primer and igniting the fuze, the VB rifle grenade will explode 8 seconds later. The gases generated by firing the cartridge collect in the lower chamber of the discharger and exert a pressure on the base of the grenade great enough to propel the later at a distance of 170m with a rifle (800mm barrel) when only 1 grenade is fired.
These grenades were shipped in wooden boxes that held a total of 48 each. Each box was marked with a painted yellow circle that had black lettering which contained the following information in it; Top line: the type of grenade it carried ( V.B. EXP. ) and number contained, Second line: type of explosive, who manufactured the explosive, the Lot number along with the month and year it was manufactured in, Third line: the manufacturer who filled the grenade, the Lot number along with the month and year it was done.
There is a minimum range because the grenade would have to be fired close to the vertical and would explode in the air, before reaching the ground. That can nevertheless be used to create dangerous air bursts. The range is 80m with an angle of 85° and 175m with an angle of 50° when usind a rifle with a 800mm barrel.
The Tromblon was carried in a special shaped leather holster called an Etui, which was normally worn on the waist belt of the grenadier. A special sight called the "appareil de pointage et de repérage Mle1917" and Mle1917M (modified) was developed for use with the tromblon that could used to help verify the angle at which the weapon was fired and aided in determining the approximate range the grenade was to go. The difference between the two different sights was in the range calibrations. These sights were affixed to the rear sight of the weapon by means of a hand-tightened screw.

Grenade explosive Mle1915 (VB de guerre) (explosive and fragmentation, dangerous in a 100m range)
Caliber : 50 mm
Weight : 490g
Explosive : 60g
Range : 80-170 m (800mm barrel rifle) or 145-215m (450mm barrel carbine)
The sighting device Mle1917 M is graduated from 10m to 10m until 170m
Rate of fire : 4-9 rpm (therefore usually a group of 3-4 VB launchers are firing together)

There were about 16 tromblons VB issued per company, which could cover a 200m wide front and fire together at up to 150 rpm.

Ranges of VB grenades : the grenades range was determined by the angle of fire that the trombon was pointed when the grenade fired.

Angle of Fire and Range (with the Balle "D" service bullet loaded with BN3F powder and 800mm barrel ) :
45° : 190 meters
50° : 175 meters
55° : 170 meters
60° : 160 meters
65° : 140 to 150 meters
75° : 110 to 120 meters
80° : 85 to 100 meters
85° : 80 meters

------------

Note : At the end of 1939 Brandt developed also a 50mm HEAT rifle grenade. It had a range of about 100m and an armor penetration of 40mm. A 22mm "manchon" was added on the rifle to fire the grenade. This "manchon" could also be used to fire the 50mm mortar shell used in the Brandt 50mm Mle1937 mortar.
The HEAT rifle grenade entered in production during May 1940 and was successfully tested at the Satory test range on June 10, 1940 but they could not be issued to the combat units before the armistice. The documents related to these works were sent to the USA in June 1940 and were in some extend used as basis to develop the M9 AT rifle grenade and the HEAT rocket of the Bazookas. The Brandt HEAT rifle grenade was also secretly produced in France at 300,000 pieces (under the name grenade M-41) in the free zone and issued to Vichy forces. Several partisans groups used them in 1944.

Regards,

David

JBbelgium
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Re: Lebel anti tank gun?

Postby JBbelgium » 15 Aug 2012 17:11

daveh wrote:Was the Lebel rifle fitted with a VB grenade launcher ever used or planned to be used as an anti tank weapon in WW1 or after?

I ask because on
http://www.bunkergordel.be/3-0-Het%20Be ... 0leger.htm

when describing the weapons used by the Belgian Army mention is made of the
Lebel anti tank gun
.

The details given say it dates from WW1 and fired anti tank projectiles of 13mm and 20mm and that it was hoped they would be of some use in 1940.

The photos underneath the description show the Lebel rifle fitted with the the Tromblon V.B. (Viven-Bessières) Grenade Launcher.


I think it's a mistake by the author. He means the normal VB launcher. I suspect that the webmaster of that site doesn't know all that much about the weapons used in WW2. (He wrote Flak88 next to a picture from a 10 cm K18. That's corrected now.)The bunkers around Ghendt are his prime interest.


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