12.8 cm Pak 44

The 12.8 cm Pak 44 L/55 (PaK, (Ger.) Panzerabwehrkanone) was a German heavy anti-tank gun used during World War II. It was designed as a result of experiences on the Eastern front in 1943. The German army had encountered the Russian 122 mm guns and had issued a requirement for a similar weapon. Development initially concentrated on a field gun known as the Kanone K 44. However once heavier Russian armour such as the IS-2 started to appear the design requirements were altered to include an anti-armour role.

The Pak 44 had short to medium-range performance similar to the 8.8 cm Pak 43, but the 12.8 cm Pak 44 better maintained its anti-tank performance over long to extreme-long ranges (1800–2700+ metres) while also doubling as an effective field gun when firing HE.

12.8 cm Pak 44
Class Vehicle
Type Towed Artillery
Manufacturer Krupp
Origin Germany
Country Name Origin Year
Germany 1944
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Germany 1944 1945 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Krupp 1944 51 View

The choice of 128 mm was made because of the availability of tooling due to the use of this caliber on naval weapons, design contracts being awarded to Rheinmetall Borsig and Krupp, the first prototype guns were delivered for testing in late 1944. Rheinmetall began development on a variant of the 128 mm FlaK gun, whilst Krupp opted to design a new weapon from the ground up. After initial tests the Rheinmetall design was dropped and development continued with the Krupp design. However the service tests showed that a towed anti-tank gun weighing nearly 11 tonnes was impractical so the towed design was terminated.

Approximately 50 barrels and breeches were used on existing carriages. The weapon that used the ex-French GPF-T carriage was known as the K 81/1 while the K 81/2 used the ex-Russian carriage. Both of these designs were rushed, and were too heavy, making them cumbersome to deploy. In 1943 the design was started for a gun to mount on the Jagdtiger (Sd.Kfz. 186) and the Maus super-heavy tank was started using the Pak 44 as its starting point. This weapon of which approximately 100 were made was known both as the Pak 44 and Pak 80 / Panzerjägerkanone Pjk 80. Performance was identical to the initial design.

Type Heavy Anti-Tank Gun
Place of origin Nazi Germany
Service history
In service 1944—1945
Used by  Nazi Germany
Wars World War II
Production history
Designer Krupp
Designed 1943
Manufacturer Krupp
Produced 1944
Number built 51
Weight 10,160 kg (22,400 lb)
Barrel length 7.023 m (20 ft) L/55
Shell semi-fixed
Shell weight 28 kg (62 lb) (HE)
28.3 kg (62 lb) (AP)
Caliber 128 millimetres (5.0 in)
Breech semi-automatic horizontal sliding-block
Recoil Hydro-pneumatic
Carriage cruciform (some were split trail)
Elevation -7° 51' to +45° 27'
Traverse 360° (some were about 90°, or less)
Muzzle velocity 950 m/s (3,100 ft/s)
Maximum firing range 24,410 m (26,700 yd)

End notes