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HE vs Tanks

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"Due to a shortage of armour piercing shells presently experienced by artillery units, the practice of firing other types of ammunition out of 76.2 mm divisional guns is common.
  1. Armour piercing shot. Penetrates the armour of German tanks from any direction. Insufficient beyond armour effect. Fire and destruction of the tank are only caused if the engine, fuel tank, or ammunition is hit.
  2. Steel cased HE grenade. Can be used in combat against light (in some cases medium) tanks. Aimed at the sides during oblique movement or the turret ring, it destroys or tears off side armour in addition to jamming the turret and destroying mechanisms inside the turret, including optical sights and observation devices. In a number of cases the turret stopped traversing. When howitzers are used, light tank turrets were torn off.
  3. Shrapnel is still one of the most effective anti-tank means, as at a distance of up to 300 meters it can penetrate up to 35 mm of armour, which makes it a viable weapon against light tanks, and at closer range (200 m) against the flanks of medium tanks.
  4. The incendiary shell is insufficiently effective, but in a number of cases can be used when firing directly. It is desirable to concentrate fire of an entire battery firing incendiary shells at one tank.
  5. The steel cased explosive grenade is most effective when firing at the sides of the tank during oblique movement.
  6. The cast iron fragmentation grenade can be used only when firing at the turret to blind the tank.
None of the listed types of ammunition can fully replace armour piercing shells, as they either lack the necessary penetration (at least 60 mm) or beyond armour effect."

Excerpt from "Destruction of the armour of German tanks", June 1942, NII-48

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