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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Introducing the PAK 40

The PAK 40 (Panzerabwehrkanone) was a 75 mm anti-tank gun manufactured by Germany. It was initially designed and prototyped during the period of 1939 to 1941, but the invasion of the Soviet Union and the heavier tanks that were encountered there made it go quickly into production. Between 1942 and the end of the war, about 23,500 guns were manufactured, making it their main antitank gun. Another 6000 were mounted on self-propelled guns. It's weight was close to 1.5 tons, which meant that it had to be towed, and in the often muddy terrain of the Soviet Union this could be a big challenge. It could effectively fire rounds up to approximately 2kms, but for optimal armor penetration it was best to fire at about 500m, when it could penetrate armor up to 15cm (6 inches) thick. In terms of scale models we have a couple of examples available.

21st Century Toys PAK 40
This is a nice gun. It comes factory painted and has several moving parts. The muzzle can be elevated/lowered and the carriage can be fully deployed or collapsed together and locked in place so that it can be towed. The downside of this gun is that it was not sold individually, but you had to buy it as part of a set. Luckily, I was able to find several at Toy Solider shows from collectors that no longer needed them.

21st Century Toys PAK 40 with CTS crew
Classic Toy Soldiers recently released an artillery crew set. The set contains an observer/officer and two loaders. They are a welcome arrival to staff the many PAKs that I have without crews.

Britains Deetail PAK40 with CTS crew
This is another nice model from Britains Deetail. Unfortunately I do not have the crew to go with it, so I had to enlist some of the new CTS guys to man the gun. One nice feature of this PAK is that it can actually fire. It has a small lever that you can pull to compress a spring and when released it could fire a round. I don't have the ammo that came with it either, but it should not be hard to improvise some rounds. 

21st Century Toys PAK 40 - Afrika Korps
This is actually the same model as the previous one, except that this one was painted by a fellow collector. It is one of those that I picked up at a local toy soldier show. He did a very good job on the painting. So much that it is hard to tell that it did not come this way out of the box.

Italeri PAK 40 AT gun with 'servants'
The Italeri gun offers what the 21C gun lacks. A good crew. As you can see, it comes with 6 figures. Most of them are ammo handlers. But it does have a man operating the gun and an officer directing the action.  The gun itself offers fewer moving parts and degrees of movement. But once it is setup it looks just as good. Probably a good combination will be the painted Italeri crew with the 21C PAK. One thing that I do find very amusing about this set is that Italeri translated crew as servants.

Forces of Valor PAK 36 with CTS crew
This PAK came with the kfz 70 truck which was used to tow it. The PAK 36 was a 3.7 cm caliber weapon. It was the main anti-tank gun in the German Army until mid 1941, when given its inability to deal with the soviet medium tanks liek the T34, it was replaced by the PAK 38 which fired a 5cm shell. The PAK 36 was initially issued in 1928 and first saw combat in 1936 during the Spanish civil war. It was also used by the Chinese against the Japanese where it was a lot more effective neutralizing the lightly armored Chi-Ha tanks.

Click here to see a post about the 88mm gun.

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