3.7 cm TAK 1918

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3.7 cm TAK 1918
Typeanti-tank gun
Place of originGerman Empire
Service history
Used byGerman Empire
WarsWorld War I
Production history
DesignerRheinmetall
Designed1918
ManufacturerRheinmetall
Produced1918
No. built~600
Specifications
Mass463 kg (1,020 lb) travel
175 kg (386 lb) combat
Length2.17 m (7 ft 1 in)
Barrel length780 mm (2 ft 7 in) L/21[1]
Width730 mm (2 ft 5 in)
Height515 mm (1 ft 8 in)[2]
Crew7[2]

ShellFixed 37x94mm R
460 g (1 lb)
ActionManual
RecoilNone
CarriageBox trail
Elevation-6° to +9°
Traverse21°[3]
Muzzle velocity435 m/s (1,427 ft/s)
Effective firing range300 m (328 yd)
Maximum firing range2,621 m (2,866 yd)[2]

The 3.7 cm Tankabwehrkanone 1918 in starrer Räderlafette or 3.7 cm TAK 1918, was an anti-tank gun built by Rheinmetall for the Imperial German Army near the end of the First World War. This was the world's first AT gun ever built that was purpose-designed for the role of an anti-tank gun.

History[edit]

At first, the German High Command was indifferent to the idea of developing specialized anti-tank weapons. The problem of dealing with tanks was considered to be a tactical problem and not a technical problem. Riflemen and machine gunners were given armor-piercing k bullets, while artillery units were trained to engage the tanks with direct fire.[4] However, once allied tanks began to be encountered in greater numbers and employed with better tactical coordination an emergency program was launched to develop weapons and tactics to counter the threat from tanks.[2]

The first response to the tank threat was an anti-tank rifle based on the standard Mauser bolt-action rifle of the time, the Gewehr 98. The new Mauser 1918 Tankgewehr was a scaled up version of the Gewehr 98 firing a 13.25 × 92 mm SR armor-piercing round. Although adequate to pierce the armor of the time this gun proved unpopular due to its weight of 18.5 kg (40 lb 13 oz) and strong recoil.[1] The second gun was the Maschinengewehr 18 Tank und Flieger or MG 18 TuF, which was a dual-purpose anti-tank and anti-aircraft heavy machine gun based on the MG 08 and firing the same 13.25 mm round as the T-Gewehr. However, the MG 18 TuF was expensive, heavy, complex and never reached service.[5]

In July 1918, the OHL asked both Krupp and Rheinmetall to submit designs for a competition for a new anti-tank weapon with greater range and better penetration than previous weapons. Both companies presented a number of prototypes for the competition and after tests, during August 1918 at the Kummersdorf Proving Grounds, the Rheinmetall design was declared the winner. The Rheinmetall design was considered mobile, stable and accurate enough to be useful in combat.[3]

Description[edit]

The 3.7 cm TAK 1918 was not a rifle or machine gun but instead was a small artillery piece. The barrel was rigidly mounted with no recoil mechanism or muzzle brake on a box trail carriage with two wooden-spoked wheels. The barrel came from the earlier Hotchkiss 5-barrel rotary cannon and the carriage was based on the 7.58 cm leichte Minenwerfer carriage.[2] At the front of the carriage was one large storage box on each side of the gun barrel which could carry 24 rounds of ammunition, while above the storage boxes the barrel had elevated front and rear ring sights. A hand wheel was provided for traverse and double screws were provided for elevation.[2] Towards the rear of the carriage there was a metal seat for the gunner and at the end, there was a recoil spade and towing bar. For transport, the gun could be attached to the minenwerfer's limber and towed by a horse or it could be pulled by 4 men using a harness.[2] The wheels were detachable, so the gun could be dug in and its profile lowered. The gun fired a 465 g (1 lb) armor-piercing round that was capable of penetrating 15 mm (0.59 in) of face-hardened armor at 500 m (550 yd). A high explosive anti-personnel round was also developed to deal with targets such as machine gun nests.[2]

Deployment[edit]

The 3.7 cm TAK 1918 was to be deployed by Minenwerfer Battalions, with each receiving 32 guns. Training was to be conducted by instructors of the Infanteriegeschützbatterien (Infantry Gun Batteries) who would teach the new gunners anti-tank tactics. Each gun would have a 7 man crew consisting of a gunner, a loader, a commander, and four assistants who would provide covering fire and protection from infantry attacks. Two guns would form a team under the command of a four-man team consisting of a commander, a 2nd in command, and 2 dispatch runners.[2] The two guns would then be deployed to provide overlapping fields of fire and mutual assistance. An initial order for 300 guns was placed and this was soon raised to 1,020 guns. At the end of the war, approximately 600 guns had been delivered.[4]

Similar Weapons[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Land power. Batchelor, John H. New York: Exeter Books. 1979. p. 119. ISBN 0896730107. OCLC 5718938.CS1 maint: others (link)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "3.7cm Tankabwehrkanone Rheinmetall - Tank Encyclopedia". www.tanks-encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2018-06-01.
  3. ^ a b Hogg, Ian (2000). Twentieth-century artillery. New York: Barnes & Noble Books. p. 135. ISBN 0760719942. OCLC 44779672.
  4. ^ a b "TAK anti-tank". www.landships.info. Retrieved 2018-06-01.
  5. ^ "Противотанковый пулемет MG 18 TUF". ww1.milua.org. Retrieved 2018-06-01.