Germans are credited with much inovative technological designs , but they have a curious history. It seems that some of the best tech was ignored
because Hitler didn't believe in it...until the war was lost and he needed 'just one more V weapon to win the war'...last desprite pleas of a
FOr example the work on jet engines began before the war and progressed and could have been fielded mid war had it been given the priority that it
deserved. Missiles designed for shooting down planes or even ships may sound unacceptably expensive but consider the alternative. In 1943 British
estimated it took ~ 1000 flak rounds [88 or larger] to down one bomber, which cost > 300,000 Rm , by late 1944 this had spiraled to 3000 rounds. TO
put that in perspective a Tiger I or II tank cost about 300,000 Rm....so every bomber shot down in 1944 was the same cost as 3 x TIger II tanks.
So had such weapons been developed they could have saved the germans lots of money to spend on other weapons.But Hitler thought jets were unnessesary
and repeately passed over their development.
Heres another more obscure example. PAW-600. THis was a low pressure gun developed from the basic 80mm mortar to fire HEAT tiped grenades with fins ,
in late war and actually fielded in 1945. It weight as much as a 37mm ATG but fired a PzSchreck type HEAT shell [145mm penetration] out to 1km and
beyond. At only 600kg of low stressed metal it could have been easly built at a rate of 10,000 to 15,000 guns per year from 1942 on.
That would have solved one of the critical weakness in german defence on the eastern front...ineffective infantry AT defence. Infact plans to rachet
up assault gun production in 1945 to 15,000 units per year were based on the assumption that this weapon would become the main weapon since its recoil
would be very small and a 105mm diameter version was in development that would have boosted range and penetration [ 200mm @ 1.5km].
Finally One of the most serious problems that plagued german tank programs was the lack of special ammo to deal with heavy armor. In allies camps the
solution to this centered around heavymetal tungsten carbide versions of AP shots, fired through 'sabot's [carriers] out to velocities 50% higher
than possible with full caliber ammo. THis penetrated obsene amounts of armor at short range, but lost velocity and penetration rapidly. This was due
to the poor carrier design.
Initially the germans attempted the same but ran out of supplies of Tungsten carbide...until later in the war when they discovered that Uranium could
be used as an adequate substitue. Had they recognised that earlier it would have helped them, however they had a more devistating solution right under
Part of the answer to subcaliber super penetration was a sabot that discarded. THe allies followed a french design [Brandt] and developed the APDS for
6lb and 17lb guns. But these had problems with accuracy that turned out to be the way in which the pelts seperate. THis was finally solved by the
Canadian research after the war and lead to the 20lb & 105mm APDS in the mid 1950s.The solution envolved using "pot sabot" instead of "pelt
But the germans had already developed a series of "pot sabot " round during the war...but they were for the Luftwaffe inorder to extend the range
and ceiling of their heavy flak. In practice an 88mm round was mated to a 105mm gun/charge through a pot sabot and a 105 or 88 was mated to the 128mm
flak gun to achieve very high Muzzle velocities and ceilings. Only later in the war did they consider doing the same for AP rounds but none were ready
when the war ended.
Further more the germans developed finstablized AP rounds decades ahead of every one else. At the start of the war they developed a low velocity long
rod penetrator for their super heavy howitzers [210 & 350mm], that punched through obscene amounts of concrete and steel fortifications [2-3m of steel
equivilent]. Although they had a velocity of 700m/s they used a simple wooden cage sabot that worked so well that they produced 6000 rounds for the
heavy howitzers for the invastion of France. After their astounding performance Hitler forbade their use incase the design fell into enemy hands
Had they made the simple connection this could have been the basis of a series of very effective long rod penetrators [APFSDS] for german tank guns
through out the war. In modern research penetration efficency is defined by projectile lenght and the originals penetrated almost 100% of there
lengths [12 x 220 cm = 2 meters penetration]. Now a subcaliber projectile for say a 75mm gun on the Pz-IV would get a penetration efficency of close
to 50% . Such a projectile would have a muzzle velocity of around 1000m/s and a geometry of 38 x 3.9cm and achieve estimated penetration of 12cm @ 0°
at 2km range and almost >5cm @ 60° [Based on modern research]. That would be enought to penetrate the T-34/85 frontal armor at 2km range. This is the
same penetration as the Panthers gun.
Like wize the Panthers gun penetration would be raised to the level of the Tiger II, 88L71 gun.
The same round on a 88L71 gun on a Tiger II should penetrate the frontal armor of the IS-II at estimated range of 2.5-3km and the IS-III at ~600-1500m
range. The adding of a small uraninum slug in the nose would extend this penetration into the IS-III to a estimated 2-3km.
Again given actual rounds were in use in howitzers in 1940 its logical that they could have been ready for use in 1942/43 when the supplies of
Tungsten Carbide dried up.
[edit on 29-6-2004 by psteel]