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    8,8cm Pzgr, 8,8cm Pzgr.39, 8,8cm Pzgr39/1

    Cutaway models of two 8,8 cm PzGr. (PanzerGranate / Armour piercing) shells. These shells are used in the Famous 8,8cm Flak 18/36 L/56 gun, also used in the Tiger1 tank as the Kwk36 L/56. This gun, using these shells, was the main participant as were it came to the destruction of many Allied tanks over great ranges. Only when the Brittish 17 Pdr. with A.P.D.S. shells and the American 90mm H.V.A.P. shells appeared on the end of WW2, the 8,8cm Flak 18/36 guns found their match.

    Four types of AP shells were available for the 8,8cm Flak 18/36 gun ; two types of PzGr., the PzGr.40 (hardcore) and the Hollow charge type. Here, only the 8,8cm.PzGr. And the PzGr. 39(-1) shells will be described.

    Both PzGr. shells exist of a carbon steel body, pointed at the nose, with a flat base. The nose of the projectile is hardened. Both shells have a piercing cap with a remarkable round nose, made of mild steel. This cap prevents the hardened nose from shattering on impact (devides the impact force over the entire nose) and prevents the shell from bouncing off the target when hitting at lower angles.
    Both shells have a ballistic cap to reduce drag, and so prevent loss of speed over greater distances.

    The main difference between both shells is in the size of the exploder cavity, the 8,8cm PzGr. (older type) has a larger exploder cavity with a large fuze (BdZ. F. 8,8cm Pzgr), the (later type) PzGr.39 and PzGr.39-1 have a small exploder cavity with a smaller fuze (BdZ. 5127 f. Pzgr39). When placed on a shellcase, the outer appearance of both shells is exactly the same. To prevent confusion, the 8,8cm Pzgr. projectile was painted black , the Pzgr39 (-1) had the upper 40mm of the ballistic cap painted white. For the Pzgr 39-1, a large 1 was stencilled , just below the white tip on the ballistic cap. The main difference between the PzGr.39 and the PzGr. 39-1 was that the PzGr.39-1 was made of a better quality steel (harder and tougher).

    The main difference between the Flak18/36 shell and the KwK.36 shell is the primer in the shellcase that is used. The Flak18/36 uses the C/12 n.A. or C/12n.A.St. (steel) firing pin activated primer, as where the KwK.36 uses the electric primed C22 or C22 St. primer. Therefore, the cartridges are not interchangable in spite of the fact that it is the only difference between the two shells. When the shells are meant for the KwK.36 tankgun, the text “8,8cm KwK.36” is printed on the shellcase. The steel shellcase has a C12n.A.St. primer, the brass shellcase has a C12 n.A. primer. So both shells in the picture are meant for the Flak 18/36 gun.

    The 8,8cm PzGr. Weighs in at 9,65 kg and has a 134 grams Fp10 (TNT+10% wax) (yellow) explosive charge, with a 34 grams NP10 (Nitropenta)(pink) core in the centerline of the main charge, just above the detonator. The entire Charge is packed in an aluminium bushing that fits in the explosives charge cavity in the base of the projectile. It is named: Sprldg.d.8,8cm PzGr. (Sprengladung der 8,8cm Panzergranate / Explosive charge for 8,8cm Armour piercing shell). On top of this bushing a glass or bakelite half ball was glued to fill up the top of the cavity. It also prevented the projectile from detonating prematurely through impact generated heat. In fact a kind of heat insulation. This bushing was glued in place with magnesiumkit (WW2 predescessor of polyester resign).The bushing is 48,5 mm in dia at the base, 93,5mm long and has a dia. of 27mm at the top. The glass or bakelite “half ball” on top of the bushing has a dia. of 27 mm. The complete prepacked charge is 107mm long. Total weight of the prepacked charge is 178 grams ±10 grams. The Fuze used in this projectile is the BdZ. f. 8,8cm PzGr. (BodenZunder fur 8,8cm PanzerGranate / BaseFuze for 8,8cm Armour piercing shell). The fuze body is made of steel. The base of the fuze has a threaded hole to receive a no.4 tracer element. The top of the fuze has a stepped hole, threaded in top. The lower part of the stepped hole houses a firing cap in an inertia cylinder. Above it, an aluminium ring is placed, on which the centrifugal safety segments (sicherungskappen) are placed. These segments prevent the firing cap from moving forward when unfired; after firing they are thrown outward by the centrifugal force, enabeling the firing cap to move forward into the fixed firing pin on impact. This firing pin is housed in the upper part of the fuze, which is screwed into the main body of the fuze. Around the firing pin, four holes are drilled, ending up in a gas collection chamber. This chamber is internally threaded in top to receive a brass cap with a 0,05 mm dia hole in the centerline. After impact, the flame of the firing cap travels through the four holes, into the gas collection chamer where it must gaine some momentum (pressure build up) before it can press itself through the 0,05 mm dia. hole and ignite the detonator. The time lapse between impact and explosion caused by this phenomina, is the time the projectile needs to penetrate the enemy armour and than explode inside the target. Detonator P3 (Sprenkapsel P3) is screwed over the upper portion of the fuze. It is an all aluminium detonator, containing 0,15 grams of heat (flame) sensitive bleiazid-Trizinat in the lower part and 0,15 grams of Np5 (Nitro penta with 5% wax) on top of this. Weight of the detonator is 16 grams.Weight of the fuze with detonator is 845grams +16 grams, a total of 861 grams.

    The 8,8cm PzGr.39 and the 8,8cm Pzgr.39-1. Weight of the projectile is 10,2 kg. It has a explosive charge of 64 grams H10 (Hexogen with 10% wax). The charge is pressed into the body. The projectile is fuzed with the BdZ.5127, a spring loaded fuze, screwed into the baseplug. The fuze body (green) has a firing cap placed in the lower part. In the upper part, a spring loaded, downward facing firing pin is held in position by two balls which are locked up by a ring sleeve (red). Above this ring, a wire ring with an interruption is placed in a groove, blocking the ring sleeve from moving forward and releasing the firing pin. After firing, the ring wire is forced open by the centrifugal force, enabeling the ring sleeve to move forward on impact. The balls can than move out and the firing pin is released. It is however held in it’s tensioned position by the enourmous desceleration while piercing armour. Once the armour is pierced and the desceleration stops, the firing pin moves down into the firing cap. The flame travels up through two holes in the firing pin into the detonator, exploding the projectile inside the enemy target. The detonator used is the detonator no.34A /B which is screwed in the baseplug, above the fuze. It contains 0,30 grams of heat (flame) sensitive bleiazid-Trizinat in the lower part and 0,15 grams of Np5 (Nitro penta with 5% wax) on top of this. The detonator is made of steel. In the base of the baseplug a tracer element No.1 is placed (leuchtspurhulse No.1).
    The fuze will not function when a steel plate of 30 mm thick or less @ 90 degree angle is hit.

    It Must be noted that the PzGr39 / PzGr39-1 / Pzgr39/43 , if found as a misfire (or dud / Blindgäner), should be concidered to be one of the most dangerous type of projectile known. The ring sleeve (red) can have partially crept forward, on the virge of releasing the locking balls. Handling or dropping the projectile may result in the sleeve moving further upward, releasing the spring loaded firing pin, exploding the projectile. German EOD descriptions clearly state that a Pzgr.39(-1), if found, should be :”blown up on the spot without changing position, by means of a hollow charge without making any contact to the projectile.”

    The shellcase for the 8,8cm Flak 18/36 cartridge is made in brass and steel. The shellcase number is 6347 (brass)or 6347 St (Stahl / Steel) The shellcase is 570 mm long. The primers in the shellcase used are the C12, C12Na., C22 or C22St. The powdercharge in the shellcase is made up of 2,5kg Digl. R.P-8-(495 x 5,5/2,75); Dyglykol tubes, 495mm long, 5,5mm in dia with a 2,75 mm bore. Below this main charge a bag was sewed, containing 20 grams of Nz.Man.N.P. (blade powder) (1,5x1,5x0,5)

    The 8,8cm PzGr.39-1 projectile was also used on the shellcase of the KwK.43 gun for the Koningtiger. It has wider drivingbands. In the German nomenclature it was known as the PzGr.39/43.

    The 8,8cm PzGr.39-1 projectile was also used on the 88x855R shellcase of the Flak41 gun. The powdercharge in the shellcase is made up of 5,5kg Digl. R.P-7,5-(740 x 4,7 /1,5); Dyglykol tubes, 740mm long, 4,7mm in dia with a 1,5 mm bore. Below this main charge a bag was sewed, containing 20 grams of Nz.Man.N.P. (blade powder) (1,5x1,5x0,5).
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. The Following 11 Users Say Thank You to pzgr40 For This Useful Post:

    Andysarmoury (15th January 2019), Bellifortis (15th January 2019), Darren (15th January 2019), Depotman (15th January 2019), Endel (21st January 2019), Grzesio (16th January 2019), highlandotter (15th January 2019), Martin Bull (16th January 2019), ron3350 (15th January 2019), thehairbarebunch (19th February 2020), thekees (15th January 2019)




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