Aper and bombard

GoodGuy

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You better ask Gunther (GoodGuy)

*Cough* ... Gunnar ... :p

I believe these 10 aarm rounds used in the Estab for 10.5cm leFH 18/40 are representing 10cm Pzgr Rot L'Spur shells. You better ask *COUGH* (GoodGuy) whether these were historically used in field artillery loadouts in 1944 or not. To my knowledge, at least in Summer 1941 these were not available to regular German field artillery crews (who therefore had to use HE rounds against Soviet tanks until later in 1941 HEAT rounds became available, however in very limited quantities)

Hitler ordered the production of hollow-charge rounds in December 1941, which were then to be used in tanks and PaKs. The first tank units received those rounds in January 1942, which came in 2 flavors, the 75-mm variant for the KwK 37 (the short-barreled gun on the Pz.IV) and the PaK 40 and - later on - the 88-mm variant for the KwK 36 on the Tiger. The round was referred to as Pz.Gr. 38 HL, but quite a few contemporary sources seem to refer to it as Pz.Gr. 39 HL. A revision (38 HL/B) was available in September 1942, another improved version (38 HL/C) either in '43 or '44.
German crews usually refrained from using the HL-grenades with guns that provided somewhat higher velocities (ie. on the Tiger or the PaK), as the long barrels and the high(er) velocities resulted in a pretty toned down penetration performance of those HL-grenades - so the regular AP grenades were preferred.

Afaik, Leichte FH 18 units received 10.5-cm variants of the Pz.Gr.HL. The gun's mediocre muzzle velocity (470 m/sec) might have produced fair/good results when used in an AT-role. The units also received regular Pz.Gr. (AP) rounds, possibly after Hitler had ordered the production of the HL-rounds, means sometime during 1942. Afaik, a regular gun outfit would contain a number of AP rounds and one or another HL round.
 
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GoodGuy

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Well, I just don't know about the German artillery. Someone else may know whether they actually had an APER shrapnel type round. They may have. It's certainly possible. I just don't know. I know a lot about US towed artillery from my own experience and being taught the history and development when I was in the Army. :)

Dave

This puzzles me kinda.... Since WWI, German grenade projectiles were made of steel (iirc, the Germans had to partially switch to use iron towards the end in both wars, when resources got scarce).
When the fuze triggered the high explosive component, the steel compartment holding the HE fragmented. That means the steel case/projectile was the source of the shrapnels.

For instance, the frag blast radius of a HE round of the leFH 18 was 10 meters forward (from the tip) and 30 to 35 meters to the sides. The thickness of such HE projectiles and the amount of HE needed was throroughly calculated, so that the explosion created the highest possible amount of fragments and the strongest possible blast. While some Armies created/used shells that contained additional shrapnels (steel balls, scrap metal, etc.), the design of the German (and other nations') projectiles didn't really need additional shrapnels. The fragments of the steel casing traveled at tremendous speeds and those rugged, deformed and sharp fragments of the projectile case created brutal wounds that would often cause tetanus infections or that would be plain lethal. Compared to a shell with additional shrapnel material, those rounds created less splinters, of course, but some of those splinters could be bigger - thus more dangerous, plus: since there were no additional shrapnels, the shell contained way more HE than rounds with additional shrapnels, and with more HE the projectile fragments would travel way faster than those added shrapnels.

In addition to the regular (means "HE fragmentation") rounds, the French produced additional "shotgun" rounds (most likely containing metal balls) for their tank guns and for their 25-mm and 37-mm AT guns, at least. While you might refer to those rounds as "shrapnel" rounds only, I (and others) refer to most - if not all - HE rounds as shrapnel rounds, as all their projectile cases disintegrate and create splinters upon ignition/impact.
Such HE rounds didn't just create a blast/shockwave, like say the British No. 69 hand grenade (which consisted of Bakelite entirely) which did not create any fragments, as its hull just broke apart or even "disappeared", since the material was relatively soft.
 
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GoodGuy

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The document linked below is a very interesting discussion of the "work on sabot projectiles by the University of New Mexico" from 1942 - 1944 for the US Army.
The development discussion also included sabot projectiles for the 105-mm M3 Howitzer, the 75-mm pack howitzer and AP sabot projectiles with tungsten-carbide cores for the 76-mm gun M1A2, along with designs for the 76-mm and 90-mm guns for construction by Remington Arms:

https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a800118.pdf
 

TMO

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This one's for Ioncore but please feel free to chip in Gunnar (and anyone else). Going back to the15cm sFH 18 do you think it should actually have 5 rounds AP and 60 round HE or 65 rounds HE. My feeling is 60 rounds HE and 5 rounds AP is about right. Which leads me on to my next question, how often did medium and heavy artillery actually have to fire AP rounds?

Regards

Tim
 
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This one's for Ioncore but please feel free to chip in Gunnar (and anyone else). Going back to the15cm sFH 18 do you think it should actually have 5 rounds AP and 60 round HE or 65 rounds HE. My feeling is 60 rounds HE and 5 rounds AP is about right. Which leads me on to my next question, how often did medium and heavy artillery actually have to fire AP rounds?

Regards

Tim
AP rounds are generally cartridge based, meaning the propellant is packaged with the projectile like a bullet. Medium artillery generally use cartridge based ammo to facilitate rapid fire, so medium artillery was more likely to be a weapon that could fire either an APER HE round or an AP round.

Heavy artillery generally fired a round using a variable number of propellant bags depending on the range the gun needed to attain. It would be less combat effective to fire an AP round that required the crew to separately load propellant bags and then the AP round into the tube before firing.

For weapons that could fire either type of cartridge round, the combat developers would recommend a "loadout" for rounds (in the case you mention, 60 rounds of HE, and five rounds of AP) as a standard supply. The loadout would be based on the projected likelihood of performing either mission, the fire support mission being more prevalent in a combat than the anti armor mission. It could be adjusted in the field, if a commander expected an armor attack that required anti armor firepower he could change the standard loadout on the fly to account for the new tactical role.
 

GoodGuy

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This one's for Ioncore but please feel free to chip in Gunnar (and anyone else). Going back to the15cm sFH 18 do you think it should actually have 5 rounds AP and 60 round HE or 65 rounds HE. My feeling is 60 rounds HE and 5 rounds AP is about right. Which leads me on to my next question, how often did medium and heavy artillery actually have to fire AP rounds?

The gun had HE rounds (fragmentation blast radius ~35 to 40 meters on lower gun elevations and 50 meters on high-angle shots) and HE rounds supposed to be used against bunkers, the latter were equipped with delay-fuzes (which were supposed to ignite the HE after penetration - means inside the bunker). The delay mechanism was basically a steel ball that had to go through a too tight lead tube and that would then hit/trigger the ignition charge. I am not sure whether the crews could disable the delay fuze or not.

Available rounds (according to one source): 15 cm Gr 19 (43,5 kg); 15 cm Gr 19 Stg (stg = "Stahlguss" = cast steel projectile); 15 cm Gr FeS; 15 cm 36 FeS; 15 cm Gr Be; 15 cm Gr 19 rot (rot = red, referring to "Buntrauch" grenade, but I am not sure if that term refers to the type of explosives/propellant or not), 15 cm Gr 39 FeS HL (most likely a rocket-propelled version of the regular hollow-charge round), 15 cm Gr 39 HL/A (regular hollow charge round); 15 cm Gr 19 Nb (smoke round), 15 cm Gr 38 Nb (smoke round?); 15 cm R Gr 19 FeS (red, rocket-propelled round, range: 19 km) 15 cm SprGr 42 TS (this may be a sabot round, not sure tho); 15 cm Anti-concrete HE fragmentation Granate; 15 cm stabilized "mine" with retractable tail fins, 15 cm HL/C hollow-charge round with tail fin.

Some sources indicate that a 15-cm version of the Panzergranate 39 (AP or APBC etc.) was available as well, but this pretty well researched page indicates that there was no AP round but only the HL round(s):
http://michaelhiske.de/Wehrmacht/Heer/D_HEER/D0435/Teil01/Anlagen/Anlg19.htm

In an essay for the "Militärgeschichtliche Zeitschrift" (military history magazine issued by the Military Research Department Potsdam), Adrian Wettstein (uni teacher, military historian and author of sev. books, his dissertation detailed the Wehrmacht's urban warfare 1939-1942, he is currently teaching Strategical Studies at the MILAK at ETH Zurich), mentioned that - according to an activity report from August 1941 - the full allowance of a single 10.5-cm leFH 18 (field howitzer) amounted to 250 rounds and to 275 rounds for the 15-cm Kanone 18 (= cannon).

I am not sure how many HL rounds were issued to individual guns, but I think it's safe to say that something between 3-8 rounds were kept in the stand-by stocks of each gun. I'll try to find the gun's manual/regulation. It looks like it's not available online. I'll see if the online section of the Federal Archive has it. Might take a few days.
 
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GoodGuy

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AP rounds are generally cartridge based, meaning the propellant is packaged with the projectile like a bullet. Medium artillery generally use cartridge based ammo to facilitate rapid fire, so medium artillery was more likely to be a weapon that could fire either an APER HE round or an AP round.

Heavy artillery generally fired a round using a variable number of propellant bags depending on the range the gun needed to attain. It would be less combat effective to fire an AP round that required the crew to separately load propellant bags and then the AP round into the tube before firing.

I wouldn't consider the 105-mm leichte (=light) Feldhaubitze 18 to be a heavy artillery piece, yet it had to use two-part ammo (projectile + powder cartridges with up to 6 loads). The gun received AP and HL rounds.

Here's a picture of the 105-mm AP round (at the right bottom):

http://michaelhiske.de/Wehrmacht/Heer/D_HEER/D0435/Teil01/Anlagen/Anlg11.htm

As you can see, there's no cartridge.
 
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I wouldn't consider the 105-mm leichte (=light) Feldhaubitze 18 to be a heavy artillery piece, yet it had to use two-part ammo (projectile + powder cartridges with up to 6 loads). The gun received AP and HL rounds.

Here's a picture of the 105-mm AP round (at the right bottom):

http://michaelhiske.de/Wehrmacht/Heer/D_HEER/D0435/Teil01/Anlagen/Anlg11.htm

As you can see, there's no cartridge.
That's why is said "generally."

I doubt the piece was effective in a rapid fire multi-shot anti-armor role after the first shot..
 

TMO

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Hello guys, so going back to the question of what calibre artillery would have AP rounds issued, and taking in mind how far behind the forward lines the artillery actually was, would you say 105 and below would have AP as well as HE as standard issue?

Regards

Tim
 

GoodGuy

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That's why is said "generally."

I doubt the piece was effective in a rapid fire multi-shot anti-armor role after the first shot..


You are mistaken.
Start the video at 1:30. You'll see the leFH 18 performing rapid fire against tanks in North Africa, the gun was used in emergency situations but also because the deliveries of PaK 40 guns to the NA theatre were lagging. It turned out to be a showstopper for allied armor, very well. You'll see 1 or 2 tank kills.
The scene right after shows the crew of a leFH 18 performing rapid fire, the gun seems to be positioned in a Russian wood (that's what the narrator seems to suggest, at least). I wouldn't completely rule out that the particular scene was actually filmed in autumn '44 in the Hürtgen Forest, even though the narrator keeps talking about the Russian theatre during that particular scene.
 
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TMO

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Hi Gunnar! I would consider 105mm as light (field) artillery and have AP rounds. Did medium and heavy artillery units have AP rounds as standard?

Regards

Tim
 

GoodGuy

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Hello guys, so going back to the question of what calibre artillery would have AP rounds issued, and taking in mind how far behind the forward lines the artillery actually was, would you say 105 and below would have AP as well as HE as standard issue?

Regards

Tim

The 105, yes. The leIG 18 had only over-calibre H/C rounds, as its muzzle velocity was very low, some captured artillery pieces used by the Germans had either AP rounds, or over-calibre H/C rounds (if the Germans deemed the production of a HC round for captured guns to be useful/necessary - very rare tho).
When both kinds (HE + anti-tank rounds) were available, then the units received corresponding loadouts as standard issue. Afaik, this was standard procedure since around early '42 (Flak 88 guns had received AP in '39 or '40 already, which allowed them to engage French tanks).
 

TMO

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My feeling is that the heavier calibres didn't need AP as they were so far back. Would you go with up to German 105mm as using AP?

Regards

Tim
 

GoodGuy

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Hi Gunnar! I would consider 105mm as light (field) artillery and have AP rounds. Did medium and heavy artillery units have AP rounds as standard?

For instance, the 150-mm s.IG 33 only received an over-calibre hollow-charge (stick-)grenade, which was put on the muzzle, while the "17-cm Kanone 18" received AP rounds.

I can't find any reference that the "10.5-cm Schwere Kanone 18" (range: ~19,000 m) received any AP rounds, but a modification of the gun (schwere Kanone 18/40 produced in 1940 and later renamed to Schwere Kanone 42), which was produced in a small batch series (~10 guns only) had received AP rounds.
These guns had a higher range (~21,000 meters with the L/52 barrel), but Krupp even managed to increase that range somewhat by using a longer Barrel (L/60) which then provided a max range of 21,150 m.
The plant did not receive a follow-up order, as the Wehrmacht wanted to focus on the production and improvement of the field howitzers. The original s.K 18 was produced until 1945, though.
EDIT: Unlike howitzers, cannons were used for low curved fire missions and generally provided higher ranges than field howitzers. Generally, the 10.5-cm cannons ("Kanonen") were employed in the heavy Bns of the arty regiments of Panzer Divisions. The basic idea was to use the extra range to support the attacking tanks without having to redeploy or follow the tank units frequently.
EDIT: So yes, the higher ranges of some arty pieces allowed for putting them further back in theory, but the heavy batteries equipped with the 10.5-cm Kanone 18 (usually EDIT: 4 pcs., iirc) weren't necessarily put far back, as they were supposed to cover their extra range into enemy territory for the tank dashes (well, that was the general/theoretical doctrine with those pieces, at least).
Those guns were also used for Schwerpunkt bombardments, and that's where they were probably pulled far back (or left in the back).

So, it can be quite confusing, but you can't just extract a simple rule there, as even the 170-mm pieces received AP, while some lower calibres didn't, it seems. The muzzle velocity, wear and tear on particular gun types/classes EDIT: and their usual/expected deployment regime dictated what (or if) anti-tank round(s) could be used (at all), most likely.
 
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ioncore

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@blonkossos short version: aper and bombard fires do use the same HE shell pool which is 90+0 = 90 or 0 + 100 = 100 shells. There is no need to assign separate numbers of shells to aper and bombard if the shell type is the same.
Longer version: please check my reply #14 earlier this thread
https://forums.lnlpublishing.com/threads/aper-and-bombard.6505/#post-36973
and also replies #3 and #9 in HEAT thread
https://forums.lnlpublishing.com/threads/heat-rounds.6478/#post-36720
https://forums.lnlpublishing.com/threads/heat-rounds.6478/#post-36782
 

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