German equipment names

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Christian Ankerstjerne
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German equipment names

Post by Christian Ankerstjerne » 26 Apr 2005 01:32

While it appears on a glance that Germans names follow strict rules, there are certainly a lot of exceptions to the perceived rules. Looking at artillery abbreviations, the most common ones are (not including conventional artillery)
  • Kw.K.,
  • Pak,
  • Pjk,
  • Flak and
  • StuK,
with that exact use of lower- and upper-capital letters and punctuation. As can be seen, only Pak, Pjk and Flak seems to follow some kind of standard.

Furthermore, the abbreviations are not consistent. Pak is most commonly used as an abbreviation for Panzerabwehrkanone, and Pjk is used for Panzerjägerkanone. However, for the 4,2 cm Pak 41, Pak is an abbreviation for Panzerjägerkanone. There is no rational explanation given, it's just the way it is.

Vehicle designations are not any better. The vehicle known to most as the "Kettenkrad" is designated as Kleiner Kettenkraftwagen (Sd.Kfz.2) Typ HK 101 in 1941-05-03 and as Kleines Kettenkraftrad (Sd.Kfz.2) Typ HK 101 in 1942-10-28. Both are official designations for the exact same vehicle, and in the same series of manuals from the same publisher.

The Sd.Kfz.-number system isn't left out of the madnes either. For most vehicles, the abbreviation is Sd.Kfz.[number], and the name is typically put in parantheses (see above) however for the Leichter Ladungsträger Sd.-Kfz.303, a hyphen is added, and the number is not in parantheses.

There are plenty of other examples, and the only conclusion is, that the only way one can know an actual name of a piece of German equipment is to get it from an authorative source (typically a manual), with the acceptance that it is unlikely to be the only designation.

Sources
  • JENTZ, Thomas L. & DOYLE, Hilary Louis. PANZER TRACTS No.9 - Jagdpanzer - Jagdpanzer 38 to Jagdtiger. Darlington (MD) : Darlington Productions, 1997.
  • JENTZ, Thomas L. & DOYLE, Hilary Louis. PANZER TRACTS No.6 - Schwere Panzerkampfwagen - D.W. to E-100 including the Tigers. Darlington (MD) : Darlington Productions, 2001.
  • JENTZ, Thomas L. & DOYLE, Hilary Louis. PANZER TRACTS No.8 - Sturmgeschuetz - s.Pak to Sturmmoerser. Darlington (MD) : Darlington Productions, 1999.
  • JENTZ, Thomas L. & DOYLE, Hilary Louis. PANZER TRACTS No.12 - Flak selbstfahrlafetten and Flakpanzer - Sd.Kfz.10/4 to 8.8 cm Flak auf VFW. Darlington (MD) : Darlington Productions, 1998.
  • Oberkommando des Heeres. D 391 - 4,2 cm Panzerj¨gerkanone 41 - Gerätbeschreibung und Bedienungsanleitung. Berlin : Oberkommando des Heeres, 1942.
  • Oberkommando des Heeres. D 624/1 - Kleines Kettenkraftrad (Sd.Kfz.2) Typ HK 101 - Gerätbeschreibung und Bedienungsanweisung. Berlin : Oberkommando des Heeres, 1942.
  • Oberkommando des Heeres. D 624/2 - Kleiner Kettenkraftwagen (Sd.Kfz.2) Typ HK 101 - Ersatzteilliste. Berlin : Oberkommando des Heeres, 1941.
  • Oberkommando des Heeres. D 654/10 - Leichter Ladungsträger Sd.-Kfz.303 - Gerätbeschreibung und Bedienungsanweisung. Berlin : Oberkommando des Heeres, 1943.

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tom!
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Post by tom! » 26 Apr 2005 07:38

Hi.

regarding Pak:

In 1942 the Wehrmacht changed the meaning of the abbrevation "Pak" from "Panzerabwehrkanone" to Panzerjägerkanone" for psychological purposes. AFAIK the abbrevation Pjk was never used officially.

Yours

tom! :wink:

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Ace31
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Post by Ace31 » 26 Apr 2005 12:07

Well, very interesting post Christian !
What about "Stuk" guns ? Were them used only on Stugs ?

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Christian Ankerstjerne
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Post by Christian Ankerstjerne » 26 Apr 2005 13:40

Tom
I haven't seen any evidence that suggests that 'Panzerabwehrkanone' was changed to 'Panzerjägerkanone'. Do you have any documents to enlighten this subject?

Pjk was used for the 7,5 cm Pjk 42 L/70, the 8,8 cm Pjk 43/3 L/71 and the 12,8 cm Pjk 80 L/55 (Jentz, 1997)

Christian

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MAX_theHitMan
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Post by MAX_theHitMan » 26 Apr 2005 14:13

Most interesting post Christian
thanks for the news, I wasn´t aware of that.
Good info for future researches.
Many thanks :wink:

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tom!
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Post by tom! » 26 Apr 2005 15:54

Hi.

Christian Ankerstjerne wrote:Tom
I haven't seen any evidence that suggests that 'Panzerabwehrkanone' was changed to 'Panzerjägerkanone'. Do you have any documents to enlighten this subject?


In the journal "Waffen Revue" Karl Pawlas showed some Wehrmacht documents regarding this change in an article about the 3,7 cm Pak (can´t say which number exactly, I´m not able to have a lok before mid-May as im far from home at the moment. But it must be a number arround 75)


Christian Ankerstjerne wrote:Pjk was used for the 7,5 cm Pjk 42 L/70, the 8,8 cm Pjk 43/3 L/71 and the 12,8 cm Pjk 80 L/55 (Jentz, 1997)


I have some official ordnance data sheets from the Wehrmacht and as faf as I remember the designation in these documents is "Pak" not Pjk. But I will have a look when I´m home again.

Here is a document about the Jagdpanther with the abbrevation "Pak" regarding the 88 mm gun. The text is adapted for PC from the original Merkblatt.

Yours

tom! :wink:

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Post by Christian Ankerstjerne » 26 Apr 2005 16:54

I would be interested in seing those documents regarding the 3,7 cm Pak, however that would of course only be relevant for the 3,7 cm Pak (since we won't know the names of the other guns).

As for at least the 8,8 cm L/71, I know it was also named 8,8 cm s.Pak 43/3 (L/71) when used on the Jagdpanther (or 8,8 cm Pak 43/1 (L/71), when used on the Hornisse), however that is not proof that it wasn't assigned the Pjk designation either when used on the Jagdpanther (just like it was also named StuK 42, when assigned to the 8,8 cm Stu.-Gesch.42 auf Panther-Fahrgestell, which was as earlier name for the Jagdpanther.

I have a copy of the original document transscribed above (which I prefer, since I have no idea which errors have been made during the transscribing process). Comparing the two, the copy from Lexikon der Wehrmacht has taken some liberties, and have altered the document significantly from the original appearence (for example, the original contains no images, and the page changes are incorrect).

Christian

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Post by RB » 27 Apr 2005 19:14

Hi,

I have webpage about the panzer-waffe in Hungarian language. (http://www.panzerkeil.ini.hu)
I use this abbreviations usually this way: PaK, FlaK, KwK, StuK
Do you think it's wrong?

RB

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Post by Christian Ankerstjerne » 27 Apr 2005 22:08

I know they're wrong. It's Pak, Flak, Kw.K. and StuK

Christian

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Post by sdkfz182 » 27 Apr 2005 23:28

Christian,

As you can see, even on official documents like 2 pages from the Stoffgliederung 21 Heeresdienstvorschrift they mix the abrevations KwK and Kw.K

Regards, Benno
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Post by Harri » 27 Apr 2005 23:37

I think the abbreviation "PaK" comes from "Panzerabwehr-Kanone" and "FlaK" is from "Fliegerabwehr-Kanone". With this logic "StuK" should be "Sturm-Kanone", "StuH" "Sturm-Haubitze", "StuG" "Sturm-Geschütz" etc. While Germans start substantives with capital letters this would be the most logic way also in abbreviations.

For some reason Germans used all kinds of variations with or without dashes ("-") also in their unit names. The use of dots is also interesting because in most books they are usually left off from the text just to make it easier to read and shorter. But I have never understood why Germans used dots sometimes also with Roman numbers although they indicate the sequence even without a dot (for example "II./JG 5") but on th other hand they are not used in Panzer names.

As far as I know all adjectives were always written in small first digit i.e. "s." = "schwere", "le." = "leichte", "gem." = "gemichste", "kl." = "kleines/r" etc.

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Post by Christian Ankerstjerne » 28 Apr 2005 00:27

Benno
As far as I can see, those are hand-written names, and therefore not official. The only names which can be called official are those which are either directly ordered to be used by the proper authority, or those found in documents authorized to be issued by the proper authority. Everything else is just slang.

Harri
You can't apply logic to names. The exact spelling must be known from credible sources, or it is only speculation. There are, to my knowledge, no official documents using the PaK or FlaK abbrevation version. Also, Flak in 8,8 cm Flak 18 and 8,8 cm Flak 36 stands for Flugabwehrkanone (Oberkommando des Heeres. H.Dv.481/541 - Merkblatt für die Munition der 8,8 cm Flugabwehrkanone 18 (8,8 cm Flak 18) und der 8,8 cm Flugabwehrkanone 36 (8,8 cm Flak 36). Berlin : Oberkommando des Heeres, 1942.)
It is true that common grammar applied to the German names, i.e. adjectives have lower-capital letters, however not when they are the first word in a sentence (e.g. Kleines Kettenkraftrad (Sd.Kfz.2) Typ HK 101).

Christian

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Post by Erik E » 28 Apr 2005 01:44

Some more fuel for your fire guys :wink:
Guess this list of Pak shows how the "Jäger" or "Abwehr" is used for the various guns, but everyone still got the
"Kurzbenennung" given as Pak


The following info can be found in Gerätliste D97/1 published by "Oberkommando des Heeres, Heereswaffenamt" 1st July 1943:

3,7cm Panzerabwehrkanone 37(t) [Bespg] - 3,7cm Pak 37(t) [Bespg]
3,7cm Panzerabwehrkanone 37(t) [Kzg] - 3,7cm Pak 37(t) [Kzg]
3,7cm Panzerabwehrkanone [Bespg] - 3,7cm Pak [Bespg]

4,2cm Panzerjägerkanone 41 - 4,2cm Pak 41
4,2cm Panzerjägerkanone 41/42 [Bespg] - 4,2cm Pak 41 [Bespg](M1)
4,2cm Panzerjägerkanone 41/42 [Kzg] - 4,2cm Pak 41 [Kzg](M2)
4,2cm Panzerjägerkanone 41/42 [Kzg] - 4,2cm Pak 41 [Kzg](Rh1)
4,2cm Panzerjägerkanone 41/42 [Kzg] - 4,2cm Pak 41 [Kzg](Rh2)

4,7cm Panzerabwehrkanone(t) [Sf] - 4,7cm Pak(t) [Sf]
4,7cm Panzerabwehrkanone(t) [Kzg] - 4,7cm Pak(t) [Kzg]
4,7cm Panzerabwehrkanone(ö) [Sf] - 4,7cm Pak(ö) [Sf]
4,7cm Panzerabwehrkanone K36(t) - 4,7cm Pak K36(t)

5cm Panzerabwehrkanone in Kasematte - 5cm Pak K
5cm Panzerabwehrkanone in Turm - 5cm Pak T
5cm Panzerjägerkanone 37 - 5cm Pak 37
5cm Panzerjägerkanone 37/184 - 5cm Pak 37/184
5cm Panzerjägerkanone 38 - 5cm Pak 38

7,62cm Panzerjägerkanone 36 - 7,62cm Pak 36
7,62cm Panzerjägerkanone 36 (PzSf) - 7,62cm Pak 36(PzSf)


7,5cm Panzerjägerkanone 37 - 7,5cm Pak 37
7,5cm Panzerjägerkanone 40 - 7,5cm Pak 40
7,5cm Panzerjägerkanone 41 - 7,5cm Pak 41
7,5cm Panzerjägerkanone 40/1 (Sf LrS) - 7,5cm Pak 40/1(Sf LrS)
7,5cm Panzerjägerkanone 40/2 (Sf II) - 7,5cm Pak 40/2(Sf II)
7,5cm Panzerjägerkanone 40/3 (Sf 38) - 7,5cm Pak 40/3(Sf 38)
7,5cm Panzerjägerkanone 42 (L/48) - 7,5cm Pak 42
7,5cm Panzerjägerkanone 97/38 - 7,5cm Pak 97/38
7,5cm Panzerjägerkanone 97/40 - 7,5cm Pak 97/40

8,8cm Panzerjägerkanone 43 - 8,8cm Pak 43
8,8cm Panzerjägerkanone 43 (L/71) - 8,8cm Pak 43 (L/71)
8,8cm Panzerjägerkanone 43/1 (L/71) - 8,8cm Pak 43/1 (L/71)
8,8cm Panzerjägerkanone 43/2 (L/71) - 8,8cm Pak 43/2 (L/71)
8,8cm Panzerjägerkanone 43/3 (L/71) - 8,8cm Pak 43/3 (L/71)
8,8cm Panzerjägerkanone 43/41 - 8,8cm Pak 43/41

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Post by Christian Ankerstjerne » 28 Apr 2005 08:08

Thanks, Erik!

Christian

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Post by cbo » 29 Apr 2005 13:12

These two does not exclude one another, Christian:

Christian Ankerstjerne wrote:As far as I can see, those are hand-written names, and therefore not official.


Christian Ankerstjerne wrote:The only names which can be called official are those which are either directly ordered to be used by the proper authority, or those found in documents authorized to be issued by the proper authority. Everything else is just slang.


The documents Benno was referring were made by the Reichminister für Rüstung und Kriegsproduktion (RfRuK) and stamped as Geheime Kommandosache. According to Pawlas, who published the documents in facsimile in 1976, RfRuK was actually annoyed by the plethora of different names and numbers they recieved from various organisations about equipment and these documents represent their attempt to make uniform references.

Now to the funny bit: In the index for these documents, which is typed, not handwritten, the following abbreviations are used*:

Kw.K
Stu.K
Stu.H
FlaK
PaK

But as you leaf through the pages, you find all sorts of variations on the theme:

PaK
PiK (the gun in the Jagdpanzer 38, probably a typo)
PaK.

KwK
Kw.K
Kw K
Kw.K.

You can of course decide that one particular source is "authoritative" and go with that, but does that really make sense? Why is a manual more "authoritative" than a document from the minstry of production or the General-inspector of armoured troops, for example?

In some cases, you even have two agencies fighting over the "correct" name in an attempt to mark their territories: Case in point, the arguments between the artillery and panzerwaffe about what constitutes a Sturmgeschütz (artillerie) and a Jagdpanzer (panzerwaffe).

Seems to me that it is more productive to simply accept that there is no singular, official way of spelling or use of names. Of course, you might find a manual issued by some agency desparately attempting to get people to write the same way and you could call that "authoritative". But what if no one followed these recommandations?
You have this type of problem in relation to some names of British AFVs. Inside the British administration (Department of Tank Design IIRC), the M10 tank-destroyer re-armed with the 17-pdr gun was given the name "Achilles". So that is official. But that name apparently never made it into a manual or any document outside that particular office. It is certainly not in the 1952 manual I've got a copy of. But writers of British Armour history noticed the name in DTD records so since then, every book speaks of the "Achilles", even though noone working with the vehicle would ever use that term, not even in official documents. So you tell me: Which sources are "wrong"? The DTD documents? The manuals? The wardiary author in Italy who called it a "Firefly" :D

Claus B

* Just for fun, lets include some of the others:
Gr.W
R.Pz.B
Nb.W
s.W.G
s.Wu.R
le. F.K
L.G
Geb.H
le.F.H
K.
s. F.H.
Mrs.

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