French 25mm anti-tank gun....

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Cannonball
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French 25mm anti-tank gun....

Post by Cannonball » 03 Oct 2004 04:14

I know the French had a 25mm anti-tank gun in the early years of WWII. I have heard a little about it. Some say it was just junk, others say it was about on par with the 37mm pieces of the time.

What gives?

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Post by Tony Williams » 03 Oct 2004 07:39

The performance was slightly worse than the German 37mm PaK 36, but not by much. It was quite a useful performer against most 1940-era tanks, but soon became obsolete.

In the pic below of 1940-era tank/anti-tank gun rounds (from the ammo photo gallery on my website), the Hotchkiss is the 25x194R, the PaK 36 the 37x249R, and the British 2 pdr the 40x304.

Tony Williams: Military gun and ammunition website and Discussion forum

Image

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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 04 Oct 2004 00:59

The French 25mm AT guns were very modern in 1934. About 4500 of these guns were in service in May 1940. They were especially known as being very discreet, the flash hider used on them made them difficult to spot according to both French and German AARs. They proved to be very accurate guns, and able to destroy all the German tanks up to 800m if the angle was good enough, but their armor penetration capability was already limited in 1940 when facing the PzIV Ausf.D at long range.
In the first 500m the penetration efficiency was equal to the penetration of the Pak36 and after the KE felt more rapidly due to the lightweight projectile (0.320kg for the 25mm ATG and 0.685kg for the Pak36 AP shell).
The Germans captured such guns in large numbers in 1940 and used them in secondary roles as coastal defence and in some garrisons. Finland used also about 240 of these AT guns.

There were theoretically 12 of these AT guns in each French infantry regiment in 1940 but several regiments had only 4 or no AT gun at all. For example the 55th infantry division at Sedan had no AT guns in its infantry regiments, 12 AT guns in divisional AT company and 4 AT guns in the 4th GRDI, a total of 16 AT guns for the whole division on a large front (26% of the number of the paper).

The 37mm TR infantry gun was often still in service even in AT role. The 25mm AT gun was lacking HE shells to neutralize human/soft targets and therefore the 37mm TR infantry gun was still liked since it could fire HE shells. About 220 25mm AT guns were also given to the British Expeditionnary Force (BEF) to increase its firepower, in exchange the British gave the French some Boys AT rifles which were not efficient and had a weaker penetrating power than the Hotchkiss 13.2mm HMGs.

Regards,

David

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Cannonball
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Post by Cannonball » 07 Oct 2004 05:29

Thanks guys! :)

Jeff

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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 07 Oct 2004 18:35

In a classical French infantry division there are theoretically 59-62x AT guns :

• 12x 25mm SA34/SA37 AT guns in each of the 3 infantry regiments :
o 2 in each of the 3 infantry battalions
o 6 in the regimental heavy company

• 12x 25mm SA34/SA37 AT guns in the divisional AT company

• 3-6x 25mm SA34/SA37 AT guns in the reconnaissance battalion (GRDI)

• 8x 47mm Mle1937 or 75mm Mle1897/33 AT guns in the BDAC (AT divisional battery for the protection of the light artillery regiment)


Canon de 25mm SA Mle1934 (Hotchkiss) and SA-L Mle1937 (Puteaux) L/72
Caliber : 25mm
Weight : 480kg (SA34 carriage) or 300kg (SA37 carriage, L = light)
Length : 3.71m
Width : 1.05m
Barrel length : 1.80m
Rate of fire : 18-20 rpm
Traverse : 60°
Elevation : -5° to +15°
Telescopic sight : 4x (L.711 telescopic sight, with a 3450m range drum, field of view 10.13°)
V° : 920 m/s
Practical range : 800m (against tanks) - 1500m (against softskins)
Penetration : 40mm/0° at 500m; 32mm/35° at 200m (French source)


Ammunitions :

Cartouche de 25mm Mle1934 à balle perforante (AP) - in German service : Pzgr 114(f) -
Caliber : 25x194R mm
Weight of projectile : 0.320 kg (steel/tungsten core)
Length of projectile : 109 mm
V° = 920 m/s (charge normale = 137g propellant powder)
Penetration : 40mm /25° at 400m (54mm /0° at 100m)

Cartouche de 25mm Mle1934 à balle traçeuse perforante (APT) - in German service : Pzgr 115(f) -

Cartouche de 25mm Mle1934 à balle traçeuse perforante (APT) - in German service : Pzgr 116(f) -
(different color than 115(f) shell)

The 'charge forte' shells : V° = 950 m/s (charge forte = 148g propellant powder – more propellant to offset shorter barrel length) were usually only used in the shortened barrel gun version used in fortifications and vehicles. A 25mm SA35 (L/60 or L/47.2 ?) gun - in German service : 2.5cm KwK 121(f) - used in the Panhard 178 (AMD-35), AMR-35 ZT2 and ZT3 for example.

Regards,

David

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Post by Erik E » 13 Oct 2004 21:35

I`ve been told that these twin guns used in the Maginot line are also 25mm`s....
Any info on these PzMeyer??

EE

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Post by David Lehmann » 13 Oct 2004 22:28

Hello Erik,

I think this is just a twin MG mount (two MAC31 MGs) in a blockhouse.
From the interior it would look like that (casemate Esch in Alsace) :

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Post by David Lehmann » 13 Oct 2004 22:35

I made a little summary of the Maginot line main armament, at least the most common.

The Maginot line is composed of big forts includings several blockhouses and artillery blocks/turrets (retractable or not) linked together by a network of tunnels (on several levels). Underground are whole barracks, ammunition dumps, power supplies, radio station, HQ etc. Above a blockhouse there are generally 2-3 copulas (observation and/or armed ones) and around the casemate there is generally a ditch (“fossé diamant”), a barbed wire network, an anti-tank stakes networks with AT mines and anti-tank ditches.
Between these big forts there are smaller blockhouses, bunkers, fortified houses, tank turrets, gun emplacements, trenches etc.

Maginot Line blockhouses are very resistant ... repeated 8.8cm Flak18 shells at 100m couldn't penetrate them. Only small pillboxes were destroyed : the Germans fired at the basis of the copulas above the casemate. After several 8.8cm Flak18 shells (generally more than 10) the copula was blown away or there was a hole in which the German engineers could throw satchel charges to increase the hole and also fire their flamethrowers.


---------------------------
The main types of copulas (sealed deep in the concrete of the bunkers) are :

Cloche GFM Mle1929 (GFM = guetteur, fusil-mitrailleur) = spotter/LMG copula
1-2 on each casemate
Armor : 20-30cm (type A) and 25-30cm (type B) steel
Equipments :
• FM 24/29 LMG in alternance with a 50mm mortar
• episcopes/binoculars
• often a retractable periscope on the top of the copula
The armament/binoculars could be moved from one loophole to an other depending from the area to defend.

Cloche JM Mle1930 (JM = jumelage de mitrailleuses) = twin MG copula
Armor : 20-30cm steel
Equipments :
• 2x MAC31 MGs
• episcopes/binoculars

Cloche AM Mle1934 (AM = arme mixte) = mixed armament copula
Armor : 25-35cm steel
Equipments :
• 1x 25mm AT gun + 2x MAC31 MGs
• episcopes/binoculars

Cloche d’observation = observation copulas
Various models with episcopes and periscopes
VD = vision directe = direct vision, with binoculars and episcopes
VP = vision péricopique = periscopic vision = with a periscope only
VDP = vision directe et périscopique = witu binoculars, episcopes and a periscope
---------------------------



---------------------------
The main types of turrets are :

1) Artillery retractable turrets (traverse 360°)
• 2x 75mm guns / howitzers
OR
• 2x 81mm mortars
OR
• 2x 135mm mortars / howitzers


2) Infantry retractable turrets (traverse 360°)

a) Tourelle à deux armes mixtes = double AM turret
• 2x [1x 25mm AT gun + 2x MAC31 MGs]

b) Tourelle à une arme mixte + mortier de 50mm = AM turret with mortar
• 1x 25mm AT gun + 2x MAC31 MGs
• 1x 50mm mortar (able to fire also if the turret is retracted)

c) Tourelle de mitrailleuse = MG turret
• 2x MAC31 MGs
---------------------------




1) Machineguns, light mortar and close defense

a) Fusil Mitrailleur Châtellerault Mle1924/29 (in bunkers, blockhouses or copulas and on access doors)
• In blockhouses (single or twin mounts)
• On all the rear access doors of casemates, shelters or bunkers
• In the GFM copulas

b) Mitrailleuse 7.5mm "Reibel" MAC Mle1931 (in blockhouses or turrets)
• In blockhouses (twin mounts and 2.3x telescopic sight – L.638, L.639 or L.672 sight)
• In blockhouses (twin mounts and 2.3x telescopic sight – L.638, L.639 or L.672 sight) in alternance with the AT guns, thanks to a rail system
• In the JM and AM copulas

c) Mitrailleuse de 13.2mm Hotchkiss Mle1930 (in blockhouses)
It has been mounted in bunkers/blockhouses of the Maginot Line on the Rhine and in the Vosges fortifications which were too narrow to be equipped with 37mm or 47mm AT guns. The twin 13.2mm HMG used in these fortifications has some anti-tank capacities and it is used in alternance with the MAC31 twin mounts. They are fitted with 2.3x sight.

d) Goulotte lance-grenade (in blockhouses)
A very close defense device to eject defensive F1 hand grenades around the bunker/casemate without axposing the soldiers. They are often mounted on the rear of the casemate to protect the doors and on the front/sides to throw grenades in the “fossé diamant”, the ditch around the bunker. The ditch has a protection role but it is also thought to receive the multiple rubbles after bombings etc. So that they do not block the main armament.

e) Mortier de 50mm Mle1937 (in blockhouses or copulas)
• In blockhouses (45° elevation)
• In the GFM copulas (20° elevation)
Rate of fire : 15 rpm
Max. Range : 695 m


2) 75mm guns

a) 75mm guns in BLOCKHOUSES

75mm Mle1929 (gun / howitzer)
Caliber : 75 mm
Barrel length : 2721mm
Elevation : -8° to +40°
Traverse : 45°
Rate of fire : 30 rpm (12 rpm in intensive fire)
Range : 12100m

75mm Mle1932 (à “pivot fictif”, with Nordenfeld breech) (gun / howitzer)
Caliber : 75 mm
Barrel length : 2421mm
Elevation : -8° to +40°
Traverse : 45°
Rate of fire : 30 rpm (12 rpm in intensive fire)
Range : 11900m

75mm Mle1932R (with Nordenfeld breech) (howitzer)
Caliber : 75 mm
Barrel length : 1555mm (Mle1905 barrel)
Elevation : -17° to +34°
Traverse : 45°
Rate of fire : 30 rpm (12 rpm in intensive fire)
Range : 9200m

75mm Mle1931 (mortar)
Caliber : 75 mm
Barrel length : 1371mm
Elevation : -3° to +35°
Traverse : 45°
Rate of fire : 30 rpm (12 rpm in intensive fire)
Range : 6000m

75mm Mle1933 (gun / howitzer)
Caliber : 75 mm
Barrel length : 2421mm
Elevation : -9° to +40°
Traverse : 45°
Rate of fire : 30 rpm (12 rpm in intensive fire)
Range : 11900m


b) 75mm guns in retractable TURRETS

75mm Mle1935 (x2) (gun / howitzer)
Caliber : 75 mm
Barrel length : 2421mm
Elevation : -2° to +40°
Traverse : 360°
Rate of fire : 26 rpm in intensive fire
Range : 11900m

75mm Mle1932R (x2) (howitzer)
Caliber : 75 mm
Barrel length : 1555mm
Elevation : -5° to +35°
Traverse : 360°
Rate of fire : 26 rpm in intensive fire
Range : 9200m

75mm Mle1905R (x2) (gun / howitzer)
Caliber : 75 mm
Barrel length : 1555mm
Elevation : 0° to +30°
Traverse : 360°
Rate of fire : 26 rpm in intensive fire
Range : 8200m


75mm guns ammunitions :
• Obus de rupture Mle1910M (APHE)
• Obus perforant AL (André Lefèvre) de 1916 (APHE)
• Obus perforant AL (André Lefèvre) de 1918 (APHE)
• Obus explosif Mle1915 (HE)
• Obus explosif Mle1917 (HE)
• Obus explosif FA Mle1929 AL (HE)
• Obus à balles (canister shell) "A" Mle1897
• Obus à balles (canister shell) "M" Mle1897/1911
• Obus à balles (canister shell) "A" Mle1897/1917
• Obus à balles (canister shell) Mle1926
• Boîte à mitraille (shrapnel shell) Mle1913
• Obus fumigène Mle1915 (smoke shell)
• Obus éclairant Mle1916 (illuminating shell)
• Obus incendiaire Mle1916 type G (incendiary shell)

In the Maginot line the ammunition dotation for the 75mm guns/howitzers/mortars was theoretically of :
• 70% HE shells
• 27% canister and shrapnel shells
• 3% APHE shells
• various other shells (smoke, illuminating an incendiary) were probably mostly issued to field artillery


3) 135mm howiters / mortars

135mm Mle1932 in BLOCKHOUSES
Caliber : 135 mm
Barrel length : 1145mm
Elevation : 0° to +40°
Traverse : 45°
Rate of fire : 6 rpm
Range : 5600m

135mm Mle1932 (x2) in retractable TURRETS
Caliber : 135 mm
Barrel length : 1145mm
Elevation : +9° to +45°
Traverse : 360°
Rate of fire : 12 rpm
Range : 5600m


4) 81mm mortars

81mm Mle1932 in BLOCKHOUSES
Caliber : 81 mm
Barrel length : 1575mm
Elevation : +45° (range is modified by propellant quantities and the +/- volume of gas liberated by outtakes)
Traverse : 45°
Rate of fire : 13 rpm
Range : 3600m

81mm Mle1932 (x2) in retractable TURRETS
Caliber : 81 mm
Barrel length : 1575mm
Elevation : +45° (range is modified by propellant quantities and the +/- volume of gas liberated by outtakes)
Traverse : 360°
Rate of fire : 26 rpm
Range : 3600m


5) Anti-tank guns

a) 25mm Mle1934 RF (in copulas, turrets, bunkers, fortified houses and blockhouses)
L/40 : in various anti-tank copulas and turrets
L/47.2 : in “cloche AM” (AM copula, 1x 25mm AT gun coupled to 2x MAC31 MGs)
L/60 : in “tourelle AM” (AM turret, 1x 25mm AT gun coupled to 2x MAC31 MGs)
L/72 : in “casemate AM” (AM bunker, 1x 25mm AT gun coupled to 2x MAC31 MGs) and bunkers
Caliber : 25 mm
Rate of fire : 18-20 rpm
Telescopic sight : 4x (L.711 sight, field of view 10.13°)
Practical AT range : 600-800m

b) 37mm Mle1934 RF L/56.4 (in blockhouses) in alternance with 2x MAC31 MGs
Caliber : 37 mm
Barrel length : 2088mm
Rate of fire : 20 rpm
Telescopic sight : 4x
Elevation : -15° to +10°
Traverse : 45°
Practical AT range : 800m

c) 47mm Mle1934 RF L/50 (in blockhouses) in alternance with 2x MAC31 MGs
Caliber : 47 mm
Barrel length : 2350mm
Rate of fire : 20 rpm
Telescopic sight : 4x
Elevation : -15° to +10°
Traverse : 45°
Practical AT range : 800-1000m


6) Former navy guns used in anti-tank role

a) 47mm Mle1885 L/40 (in bunkers and gun emplacements)
Caliber : 47 mm
Barrel length : 1880mm
V° : 650 m/s
Penetration : 35mm at 500m
Recoiless mount on open gun emplacement :
Elevation : -21°45’ to +13°40’
Traverse : 360°

b) 47mm Mle1902 L/50 (in bunkers and gun emplacements)
Caliber : 47 mm
Barrel length : 2350mm
V° : 690 m/s
Penetration : 45mm at 500m
Recoiless mount on open gun emplacement :
Elevation : -20° to +20°
Traverse : 360°

c) 65mm Mle1888/91 L/49.2 (in bunkers)
Caliber : 65 mm
Barrel length : 3200mm
V° : 715 m/s
Penetration : 50mm at 500m

d) 65mm Mle1902 L/50 (in bunkers and gun emplacements)
Caliber : 65 mm
Barrel length : 3250mm
V° : 800 m/s
Penetration : 55mm at 500m
Recoiless mount on open gun emplacement :
Elevation : -40° to +35° or -40° to +40° or -15° to +20° (different mounts)
Traverse : 360°


7) dismountable MG-turrets

a) Renault FT17 or FT31 turret
Armed with a Mle1914 Hotchkiss or a MAC31 MG

b) Dismountable turret Mle1935 and Mle1937
Armed with a Mle1914 Hotchkiss MG and generally equiped with a camo/anti grenade nest around the turret. The MG itself is protected by armor.


8 ) interval artillery units

Between the important pillboxes and on the rears there were surface infantry and artillery position. Older guns/howitzers are often found in these postions but also the more usual ones. Among the old types you could find :

a) Canon de Bange 120mm L Mle1877
Max range : 8650 m

b) Canon de Bange 155mm L Mle1877
Max range : 9100 m

c) Canon de Bange 155mm C Mle1881
Max range : 6400 m

d) Mortier de Bange 270mm Mle1885

etc.

Regards,

David

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Musashi
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Post by Musashi » 13 Oct 2004 22:54

Panzermeyer wrote:MAC31 MG

Could you post its image?
Regards,
Chris

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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 13 Oct 2004 23:06

Mitrailleuse 7.5mm "Reibel" MAC Mle1931
Type : Medium/Heavy machinegun used in fortifications (twin mounts) and tanks/armored cars, sometimes dismounted and used by the infantry.
Total length : 1030 mm
Weight (empty) : 11.8 kg
Barrel Length : 600 mm
Caliber : 7.5x54 mm
Magazine : 150 rounds drum magazine
Rate of fire : 600-750 rpm (according to various sources)
V° : 840 m/s
Sight : iron sight up to 2400m (for the heavy ball) or telescopic sight (in tanks and in the fortifications)

7.5x54 mm cartridges
- Cartouche Mle1929 C (9 gram ball) V° = 840 m/s
- Cartouche Mle1929 D (12.3 gram heavy ball) V° = 694 m/s
- Cartouche Mle1929 T (tracer)
- Cartouche Mle1929 P (AP) Penetration : 8mm /15° at 50m
- Cartouche Mle1929 TP (APT)
- Cartouche Mle1929 I (incendiary)
- Cartouche Mle1935 I (incendiary)

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Re: French 25mm anti-tank gun....

Post by Meczyk » 02 Apr 2010 11:26

Hi,

I need some help with the official name of the 25 mm gun. Sometimes it is called Canon de 25 mm semi-automatique modèle 1934, sometimes Canon léger antichar de 25mm Semi Automatique-Long modèle 1934, sometimes Canon antichar de 25 mm SA-L Mle 34...and I simply do not know which name is the proper military name "by the book".

Help? :(

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Re: French 25mm anti-tank gun....

Post by takata_1940 » 02 Apr 2010 13:23

Hi Meczyk,
Meczyk wrote:I need some help with the official name of the 25 mm gun. Sometimes it is called Canon de 25 mm semi-automatique modèle 1934, sometimes Canon léger antichar de 25mm Semi Automatique-Long modèle 1934, sometimes Canon antichar de 25 mm SA-L Mle 34...and I simply do not know which name is the proper military name "by the book".


This confusion is due to the existence of two different models:
. Canon de 25mm SA Mle 1934 (Hotchkiss)
. Canon de 25mm SA-L Mle 1937 (Puteaux)
SA = semi-automatique; Mle 1934 = 480 kg.
SA-L = semi-automatique, léger; Mle 1937, lighter carriage = 300 kg.

The Mle 1934 manual is intitled exactly: "canon de 25 mm S. A. Mle 1934"

S~
Olivier
Last edited by takata_1940 on 02 Apr 2010 13:31, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: French 25mm anti-tank gun....

Post by Meczyk » 02 Apr 2010 13:28

Thank You ! :D

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Re: French 25mm anti-tank gun....

Post by Meczyk » 04 Apr 2010 00:47

Another question...or maybe two...

1) http://www.municion.org/25x193R/25x193R.htm Some kind of rifle grenade for PAK 113(f)?

2) I have little trouble with tracer bullets. in German D 50/8a Kennblätter Fremden Geräts, Munition bis 3,6cm there are two versions of such ammo, in German designation 2.5 cm Pzgr Patr L'spur 115(f) (colour of the tracer?) and 116(f) (red). Are both of them made by the French before the war, or is one of them some German invention? I'm asking because the British manual for 25 mm, Hotchkiss, Mark I says that there was only one kind of tracer ammo.

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25mm AT gun performance?

Post by Urmel » 05 Jul 2011 09:21

Tony Williams wrote:The performance was slightly worse than the German 37mm PaK 36, but not by much. It was quite a useful performer against most 1940-era tanks, but soon became obsolete.

In the pic below of 1940-era tank/anti-tank gun rounds (from the ammo photo gallery on my website), the Hotchkiss is the 25x194R, the PaK 36 the 37x249R, and the British 2 pdr the 40x304.

Tony Williams: Military gun and ammunition website and Discussion forum

Image


Tony

Can you say a bit more about this? According to this 8 Army document, the 25mm gun was actually not bad, and certainly better than the German 37mm.

http://crusaderproject.wordpress.com/20 ... uary-1942/

Many thanks.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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