Different ammo for same caliber guns?

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Peter89
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Different ammo for same caliber guns?

Post by Peter89 » 21 Oct 2020 13:11

Hello all,

I ran into a field report of a Panzer III commander which claimed that once, when they (the Panzer III) were out or ammo, they quickly sent for the ammo of some nearby PAK units, so they could continue to fight.

What made me wonder here is that the Panzer III supposed to have a KwK 38 L/42 gun, that fired the 50×289 mm ammo.

The report is from July 1941, so the Panzer IIIs should not have the KwK 39 that used the same ammo as the PAK 38. The PAK 38 was in service by that time, but it fired the 50×419mm ammo.

The earlier versions of Panzer III equipped with the KwK 36 used the same ammo as the PAK 36, the 37x249 mm, but the report says the Panzers were equipped with an 50mm gun.

Now I suspect that either the report is wrong or the KwK 38 could fire the KwK 39 ammo. But could it?

Any thoughts on this one?

Peter89
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Re: Different ammo for same caliber guns?

Post by Peter89 » 21 Oct 2020 13:24

Also, if we have an expert on the topic, I became interested in the same caliber KwK / PAK ammo interchangeability beyond the obvious ones.

For example: KwK 37, KwK 40, KwK 42 vs. PAK 39 and PAK 42.

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Grzesio
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Re: Different ammo for same caliber guns?

Post by Grzesio » 22 Oct 2020 08:52

For example: KwK 37, KwK 40, KwK 42 vs. PAK 39 and PAK 42.
PLEASE use full, correct names of the guns, complete with calibres!

Generally, in bigger calibres, there was not much interchangeability between KwK/Pak/Flak ammunition.
7,5 cm KwK - 7,5 cm KwK 40 - 7,5 cm KwK 42 - 7,5 cm Pak 40 - 7,5 cm Pak 41 all fired different types of ammo.
8,8 cm KwK 36/8,8 cm Flak 18/36/37 - 8,8 cm KwK 43/8,8 cm Pak 43 - 8,8 cm Flak 41 - fired different ammo types. BUT in case of the 8,8 cm KwK 36 and 8,8 Flak 18/36/37 the cartridges, although dimensionally and ballistically identical, had different igniters - electric (Zdschr. C/22) for the KwK and percussion (Zdschr. C/12 n.A.) for the Flak. so the ammo could be interchanged between Flak and KwK only after changing the igniters. I'm not sure what igniters were used for the 8,8 cm Pak 43, though.
12,8 cm KwK 44/12,8 cm K 81 - 12,8 cm Flak 40 - used different ammunition.

Peter89
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Re: Different ammo for same caliber guns?

Post by Peter89 » 22 Oct 2020 11:24

Grzesio wrote:
22 Oct 2020 08:52
For example: KwK 37, KwK 40, KwK 42 vs. PAK 39 and PAK 42.
PLEASE use full, correct names of the guns, complete with calibres!

Generally, in bigger calibres, there was not much interchangeability between KwK/Pak/Flak ammunition.
7,5 cm KwK - 7,5 cm KwK 40 - 7,5 cm KwK 42 - 7,5 cm Pak 40 - 7,5 cm Pak 41 all fired different types of ammo.
8,8 cm KwK 36/8,8 cm Flak 18/36/37 - 8,8 cm KwK 43/8,8 cm Pak 43 - 8,8 cm Flak 41 - fired different ammo types. BUT in case of the 8,8 cm KwK 36 and 8,8 Flak 18/36/37 the cartridges, although dimensionally and ballistically identical, had different igniters - electric (Zdschr. C/22) for the KwK and percussion (Zdschr. C/12 n.A.) for the Flak. so the ammo could be interchanged between Flak and KwK only after changing the igniters. I'm not sure what igniters were used for the 8,8 cm Pak 43, though.
12,8 cm KwK 44/12,8 cm K 81 - 12,8 cm Flak 40 - used different ammunition.
Thank you.

And how about the ammo interchangeability for the 50mm KwK 37 L/42 and the 50mm KwK 38 L/60? Could they fire each other's ammo?

Also, could a 50mm KwK 37 L/42 fire a 50mm PAK 38 L/60 ammo?

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Grzesio
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Re: Different ammo for same caliber guns?

Post by Grzesio » 22 Oct 2020 14:16

Also, could a 50mm KwK 37 L/42 fire a 50mm PAK 38 L/60 ammo?
I'd have to check my sources.

The earlier versions of Panzer III equipped with the KwK 36 used the same ammo as the PAK 36, the 37x249 mm
As far as 37 mm guns are concerned, ammunition of 3,7 cm Pak and 3,7 cm KwK (there was no 3,7 cm Pak 36 nor 3,7 cm KwK 36!) was not directly interchangeable, even if cases, projectiles and charges were exactly the same - Pak used percussion igniters (Zdschr. C/13 family), KwK electric igniters (Zdschr. C/23).
So generally, we can assume, 3,7 cm KwK and Pak ammunition was not interchangeable in combat as no-one would have spare igniters at hand there (nor time to change them).

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Re: Different ammo for same caliber guns?

Post by peeved » 22 Oct 2020 14:24

No straight swap was possible since the 5 cm Kw K had a different cartridge case from either 5 cm Kw K 39 or Pak 38. However a competent field workshop could have married e.g. Pak 38 shells to Kw K (L/42) cartridge cases; Emergency issue only since the propellant powders used were typically not the same and e.g. Röhrenpulver awkward to load.

Markus

Peter89
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Re: Different ammo for same caliber guns?

Post by Peter89 » 22 Oct 2020 17:48

Grzesio wrote:
22 Oct 2020 14:16

As far as 37 mm guns are concerned, ammunition of 3,7 cm Pak and 3,7 cm KwK (there was no 3,7 cm Pak 36 nor 3,7 cm KwK 36!)
I was talking about these guns:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/3.7_cm_KwK_36
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/3.7_cm_Pak_36

Thanks for the infos anyway!!

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Re: Different ammo for same caliber guns?

Post by Peter89 » 22 Oct 2020 17:49

peeved wrote:
22 Oct 2020 14:24
No straight swap was possible since the 5 cm Kw K had a different cartridge case from either 5 cm Kw K 39 or Pak 38. However a competent field workshop could have married e.g. Pak 38 shells to Kw K (L/42) cartridge cases; Emergency issue only since the propellant powders used were typically not the same and e.g. Röhrenpulver awkward to load.

Markus
Thank you, it was informative!

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Grzesio
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Re: Different ammo for same caliber guns?

Post by Grzesio » 22 Oct 2020 21:01

I was talking about these guns:
I know ;) - but it only shows, you cannot always trust Wikipedia. There were no 3,7 Pak 36 nor 3,7 cm KwK 36 guns.
As far as 5 cm ammo interchangeability is concerned, as peeved wrote, 5 cm KwK (no year) and 5 cm KwK 39 used different cartridges, with cases 288,6 mm and 420 mm long respectively. 5 cm Pak 38 (sometimes designated as Pak 38 only) used generally the same ammunition as the 5 cm KwK 39, with the 420 mm case, but again, KwK ammo had electric and Pak ammo percussion igniters, so there was practically no possibility to exchange Pak and KwK ammunition in the heat of the battle.

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Re: Different ammo for same caliber guns?

Post by Peter89 » 23 Oct 2020 05:36

Grzesio wrote:
22 Oct 2020 21:01
I was talking about these guns:
I know ;) - but it only shows, you cannot always trust Wikipedia. There were no 3,7 Pak 36 nor 3,7 cm KwK 36 guns.
As far as 5 cm ammo interchangeability is concerned, as peeved wrote, 5 cm KwK (no year) and 5 cm KwK 39 used different cartridges, with cases 288,6 mm and 420 mm long respectively. 5 cm Pak 38 (sometimes designated as Pak 38 only) used generally the same ammunition as the 5 cm KwK 39, with the 420 mm case, but again, KwK ammo had electric and Pak ammo percussion igniters, so there was practically no possibility to exchange Pak and KwK ammunition in the heat of the battle.
Thank you for the infos! It was very useful.

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