7.5 cm Pak 97/38

The Pak 97/38 (7.5 cm Panzerabwehrkanone 97/38) was a German anti-tank gun used by the Wehrmacht in World War II. The gun was a combination of the barrel from the French Canon de 75 modèle 1897 fitted with a Swiss Solothurn muzzle brake and mounted on the carriage of the German 5 cm Pak 38.

Country Name Origin Year
Germany 1942
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Finland View
Germany 1942 1945 View
Hungary View
Italy View
Romania View

During the invasion of Poland and invasion of France the Wehrmacht captured thousands of 75 mm Model 1897 guns, built by the French arms manufacturer Schneider. These guns were adopted by the Germans as the 7.5 cm FK 97(p) and the 7.5 cm FK 231(f) and used in their original field artillery role.

Soon after the German invasion of the USSR in 1941, Wehrmacht units encountered new Soviet tanks, the medium T-34 and the heavy KV. The thick sloped armor of these vehicles gave them invulnerability against German towed 3.7 cm Pak 36 anti-tank guns. The situation led to requests for more powerful weapons that would be able to destroy them at normal combat ranges. Since Germany already had a suitable design, the 7.5 cm Pak 40, this weapon entered production and the first pieces were delivered in November 1941. However, until enough of these were manufactured, some expedient solution was required.

It was tempting to adopt the readily available French gun to the anti-tank role. In the original configuration, those guns were ill-suited for fighting tanks because of their relatively low muzzle velocity, limited traverse (only 6°), and lack of a suitable suspension (which resulted in a transport speed of just 10–12 km/h). It was decided to solve the traverse and mobility problems by mounting the 75 mm barrel on the modern split trail carriage of the 5 cm Pak 38 anti-tank gun. To soften the recoil, the barrel was fitted with a large muzzle brake. The gun was primarily intended to use HEAT shells as the armor penetration of this type of ammunition does not depend on velocity.

Interestingly, another major user of the French gun, the US Army, created and briefly adopted a similar suitable design, known as the 75mm Anti-tank gun on Carriage M2A3.

Type Anti-tank gun
Place of origin Nazi Germany
Service history
In service 1942–1945
Used by Nazi Germany
Finland
Italy
Romania
Hungary
Wars World War II
Production history
Designer Albert Deport
Etienne Sainte-Claire Deville,
and Emile Rimailho.
Produced 1942–1943
Number built 3712
Specifications
Weight combat: 1,190 kg (2,623 lbs)
travel: 1,270 kg (2,800 lbs)
Length 4.65 m (15 ft 3 in)
Barrel length 2.58 m (8 ft 6 in) L/34.5
2.72 m (8 ft 11 in) L/36.3 (without muzzle brake)
Width 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Height 1.05 m (3 ft 5 in)
Shell 75×350 mm R
HE, HEAT, Shrapnel, armor piercing
Caliber 75 mm (2.95 in)
Breech Nordenfelt interrupted screw
Recoil hydro-pneumatic
Carriage split trail
Elevation -10° to 18°
Traverse 60°
Rate of fire 10-14 rpm
Muzzle velocity 570 m/s (1,900 ft/s)

End notes